IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

William McLaughlin


Although thirty years have elapsed since William McLaughlin passed away on his farm in Hanover township, there are many in this vicinity who still remember his sterling qualities of character and his business progressiveness and who respect the substantial contributions which he made to the agricultural development of this part of the state. He was one of the pioneers in Allamkee county, coming here in 1856, and in the work of progress and expansion he bore an active and honorable part through the years, becoming known as one of the substantial and representative farmers of his township.

William McLaughlin was born in Ireland in 1820 and he spent his youth and early manhood in his native country. In 1852 he came to America, and settling in New York, followed railroad contracting for a few years. In 1856 he came to Iowa and made his home in Allamakee county for a few years. In 1856 he came to Iowa and made his home in Allamakee county in pioneer times. After a year he bought land on Bear creek, Hanover township, and from that time until his death continued to engage in farming, success coming as a natural result of his energy, ability and enterprise. Pioneer conditions prevailed throughout the county at the time of his location here, but the hardships and privations of this life were met with confidence and courage. From time to time he bought more land, his last purchase being a fine tract on the Iowa river upon which he continued to reside until his death. He passed away on the 14th of May, 1883, and since that time his wife and one of his sons have operated the homestead which comprises four hundred and twenty acres lying on sections 4,3, and 9. They have ably carried forward the work which Mr. Mclaughlin began in pioneer times and have today a productive, well improved and well equipped farm, evidencing everywhere the many years of care and labor which have been spent upon it. Mrs. McLaughlin and her son operate this as a stock farm, making a specialty of raising and selling high-grade cattle, horses and hogs.

Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin became the parents of seven children. William makes his home in Ryder, North Dakota. Margaret is teaching school. Katherine is a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is engaged in farming in Hanover township. He married Miss Mary O'Meara, a native of Allamakee county, and they have seven children: Donald, born in 1900; Mary Bernice, born in 1905; John Bertrand and Dorothy Marie, twins, born in 1907; James Melvin, 1909; Ralph Edmond, 1911; and Genevieve J., 1913. Thomas, the fifth child born to Mr and Mrs McLaughlin, lives upon the homestead. Josephine resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Celia, the youngest, became the wife of William Collins, of this county.

Mr. McLaughlin was a devout member of the Roman Catholic church and was a democrat in his political beliefs, taking an active interest in public affairs. He served for two terms as assessor of his township and proved able, conscientious and reliable in the discharge of his duties. He was a man of many sterling traits of character, trustworthy in business, progressive in citizenship and faithful to all ties and obligations of life - and thus it was that in his passing Allamakee county lost one of her most valued and useful citizens.

-transcribed by Cathy Joynt-Labath


Research notes:

William McLaughlin's first wife was Hanora Gavin, who died June 3, 1864 and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Dorchester.  They were the parents of Mary, Patrick, Hugh, and Agnes.  In about 1868 William married Margaret Danaher, daughter of Thomas and Margaret Ryan Danaher.  Margaret Danaher McLaughlin would be the Mrs. McLaughlin of this biography.  She died February 13, 1925. ~from Matthew Whalen, June 2013

From Kathy Maurer's, "McLaughlin Family History" -
William McLaughlin was born in the parish of Moygawnagh, Co. Mayo, Ireland.  His true date of birth is difficult to ascertain.  According to his headstone , he was born on September 12, 1823.  An 1882 biography  claims he was born September 1, 1823, and another posthumous biography (above) printed in 1913  claims he was born in 1820.   The federal census is of little help in determining the true birth year of William McLaughlin.  In 1860, he's listed as age 45 (with which his birth year would calculate to about 1815), in 1870, age 46 (birth year about 1824) and in the 1880 census, age 57 (birth year about 1823).  Maybe, since his second wife was so much younger, he knocked a few years off his age for modesty. ~from Matthew Whalen, June 2013

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