IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

D. D. Ronan


A native of Allamakee county, having been born in French Creek township on August 15, 1858, D. D. Ronan has become one of the foremost agriculturists of his district and his success is the more commendable as it has been largely brought about by his own efforts. He now owns a highly improved farm on one hundred and sixty acres on section 32 and also one hundred and thirty acres on section 29. He is a son of John and Margaret (Ring) Ronan, natives of Ireland, where they were married. They came to the United States in the early ‘50s and in this country the father first engaged in railroad construction work in New York and Freeport, Illinois. In May, 1858, he came to Allamakee county and settled on one hundred and sixty acres of wild land which he had purchased in May, 1855. There were no improvements made on the place as yet and he built thereon a log house which was later supplanted by a second structure of a similar kind. Subsequently he erected a stone house which still stands, although it suffered at one time heavily through fire, being almost entirely destroyed except the walls, but was rebuilt by our subject. Settling amid pioneer conditions, the parents and children experienced many hardships, but gradually the father succeeded in wresting a valuable farm from the wilderness. He died on this property at the age of sixty-seven, the mother reaching the advanced age of eighty-seven years. Both were members of the Catholic church and the father was prominent in local public life, having served as school director and justice of the peace. Politically he was a democrat. D. D. Ronan was the fifth of six children, the others being: M. E., of Waukon, Iowa; G. F., of Kansas City; Charles, who died at the age of two years; James, who passed away at the age of twenty-six; and Johanna, who married Thomas Foley and is also deceased.

D. D. Ronan was reared under the parental roof and educated in the district school near his father’s farm, the Lansing high school and also received lessons in the private school conducted by Professor J. Laghren in Waukon. Well prepared for the profession, he taught school for twelve terms and also learned telegraphing and the railroad business, but as the father died at about that time, he returned to the home farm in order to take charge of its management. He later bought out the other heirs and now owns the homestead, comprising one hundred and sixty acres, all of which are highly improved. His buildings are substantially and modernity equipped and his farm machinery is of the latest type. His acres yield him rich returns and as the years have passed Mr. Ronan has come to be considered one of the most substantial men of his neighborhood. He also owns one hundred and thirty acres of land on section 29.

Mr. Ronan was united in marriage to Miss Anna Devitt, a daughter of Martin and Mary Devitt. She passed away leaving three children: Anna Grace, Charles D. And Mary Irene, all of whom are at home. Subsequently Mr. Ronan married Mary McGahn, a native of Illinois and a daughter of John McGahn, who with his family subsequently came to Allamakee county. Of this union were born two children, Gertrude and James.

Mr. Ronan is one of the most up-to-date agriculturists of Allamakee county and has not only attained individual prosperity but has been instrumental in forming agricultural standards and promoting agricultural growth. Politically he is a republican and is now serving in his second term as county supervisor. He has likewise been a member of the school board for a number of years and for the past twelve years has acted as treasurer of the board. For one year he served in the capacity of justice of the peace. He and his family are devout communicants of the Roman Catholic church. Mr. Ronan enjoys the full confidence and respect of his friends and neighbors and has made himself effectively felt in the advancement that has taken place in Allamakee county as primitive conditions have given way to the onward march of civilization. He has proven himself a good, useful and valuable citizen and his success lies as much in the regard in which he is held by his fellowmen as in his material achievements.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

Return to 1913 biographies index