John G. Laird
John G. Laird, an influential and prosperous resident of
McGregor, is operating a sawmill and deals in lumber and fuel. He
is also the owner of eleven hundred acres of land located near
that city, which is a well improved and valuable tract, the
greater part being now under cultivation., Mr. Laird is a native
son of this state, born in Bradford township, Chickasaw county,
September 45, 1857, his parents being George and Catherine
(Grant) Laird. They were both born near Montreal, Canada, the
father in 1831, and the mother in 1835. In early life the father
worked at the carpenters trade and also engaged to some
extent in farming. May, 1857, he started for the middle west,
traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by rail and boat. From that
city he made his way to McGregor, Iowa, and thence to Chickasaw
county, purchasing land in Bradford township, which he cleared
and improved and when not engaged in the cultivation of his farm
he worked at his trade, being thus employed for fifteen years. He
then sold his farm and removed to Bradford, devoting his entire
time to carpentry. His last years, however, were spent in Nashua,
and he passed away there in 1906. His first wife died in 1861 and
he was married a second time. By the first union there were three
children, of whom John G. Laird is the eldest, and of the second
marriage six children were born, but only four survive.
John G. Laird acquired his education in the public schools and also in Bradford Academy. At the age of eighteen he began work in the sawmills, being employed in the timber during the winter months for two years. At the end of that time he rented a sawmill in Nashua, operating the same for one year, after which he built a steam sawmill at that place, equipping it with all the machinery necessary for carrying on a successful business. After about twelve years, because of failing health, he disposed of his mill and for about eighteen months lived practically retired in the hope of recuperating his health. He then established a general hardware business and also handled plumbing and heating apparatus. He continued in that line for thirteen and a half years, when he disposed of his interests in Nashua and removed to Allamakee county. Here he purchased a tract of timber land, erected a sawmill and began dealing in lumber and fuel. He not only cut the timber from his own land but made extensive purchases from others, which he manufactured into bridge timber, furniture and lumber for interior finishing. He has built a switch for loading his products, which are shipped throughout this state and the Dakotas. He is now the owner of eleven hundred acres of farm land, all of which is enclosed with fences and the greater part of it is under cultivation. He keeps on hand from one hundred to one hundred and fifty head of cattle, which range on the land from which the timber has been cut. He has been highly successful in all his business ventures and is now in comfortable financial circumstances. He and his family spend the summer months on the farm, while the winter seasons are spent in McGregor, that his children may have the advantage of the city schools. In addition to his other interests Mr. Laird holds stock in the water power company at Nashua, the power being supplied from the Big and Little Cedar rivers.
Mr. Laird made arrangements for having a home of his own by his marriage October 7, 1883, to Miss Elizabeth M. Richardson, who was born near Montpelier, Vermont, October 7, 1861. Her parents, Henry A. And Arlett (Pickett) Richardson, removed from the green Mountain state to Nashus, Iowa, where the father established a saddlery business. Both he and his wife are now deceased.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Laird have been born five children, as follows: Catherine A., who was born July 7, 1885, and is now the wife of Ralph L. Brown, registry clerk in the post office at Charles City, Iowa; Marjorie E., who was born September 2, 1896, and graduated from the McGregor high school with the class of 1913; Burton F., who was born December 24, 1989, and is now in school; Charleton G., born March 16, 1902, and now in school; and Elton H., whose birth occurred in 1904, and who is also in school.
Mr. Laird votes for the candidates of the republican party. He served for eleven years as clerk of Bradford township, Chickasaw county, and then resigned the office, while for three years he served as supervisor of that county. He is a Mason, belonging to the blue lodge at Nashau. He is not identified with any religious organization but attends the Congregational church. He is a capable business man, of sound judgment and honesty of purpose, and while he has not confined his attention to any one line of activity, his knowledge of the various lines in which he has engaged has been such that he has met with prosperity in each and every undertaking, and he now takes rank with the prosperous, influential and substantial citizens of McGregor and Allamakee county.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich
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