IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.


Michael Martin Walsh


No farmer in Allamakee county has achieved greater success in agricultural pursuits than Michael Martin Walsh, whose attractive homestead is situated on the exact spot where the old Winnegabo mission one stood and comprises four hundred acres of valuable land. Through his own industry and enterprise he has risen to prominence as a farmer, each step in his career being a step forward until today he ranks among the men whose individual success has been an important factor in general agricultural development. He is a native son of Allamakee county, born in Fairview township May 21, 1875, his parents being Mathias and Honorah (King) Walsh, natives of Ireland. The father came to New York city in 1845 and moved from there to Iowa, where he settled upon the farm upon which he is still residing, being now in the eightieth year of his age. He is honored as a veteran of the Civil war, having served for ninety days as a member of a New York regiment. His marriage occurred in that state on New Year’s day 1859, and three of his children were born there. He has always taken an intelligent interest in public affairs and since coming to Iowa has served capably and conscientiously in various public office, including those of justice of the peace and township assessor.

Michael M. Walsh was reared at home and acquired his education in what is now called the Nicholson school. When he was fifteen years of age he secured a position as farm laborer and soon afterward joined his brother Joseph in the purchase of a tract of land in the vicinity of the family homestead. Because the brothers were age the deed has to be made out to the father but the sons developed and improved the property for a number of years. When Michael M. Walsh was twenty-one years of age he purchased another farm in Fairview township and after seven years bought a tract of eighty acres adjoining his present homestead. He has since added to his holdings from time to time and although he has disposed of some of his land, still owns four hundred acres. He operates this with the aid of hired help and is especially interested in stock-raising, keeping high grade of cattle and shipping a great deal of stock every years. His property is well improved in every particular, the buildings being substantial and in good repair and the equipment modern. Mr. Walsh devotes practically all of his time to the development of his farm and has won that success which follows earnest and persistent labor.

On the 4th of February, 1907, Mr. Walsh was united in marriage to Miss Helen Thirza Buxton, who was born in Fairview township, one and one-half miles from her husband’s birthplace, on May 13, 1889. She is a daughter of Stephen Luther and Thirza Ellen (Hoadley) Buxton, natives of Vermont, the former born June 19, 1839, and the latter November 26, 1844. In his early life the father followed agricultural pursuits and upon the outbreak of the Civil was left the farm and enlisted as a volunteer in the Eleventh Regiment, Vermont Cavalry. He served for three years and then enlisted for a second time, receiving his honorable discharge at the end of one year. He took part in many of the most important engagements of the Civil war and was twice wounded and once had his horse shot from under him. He was twice taken prisoner and held seven months in Andersonville prison and about six weeks in Libby prison. He was confined in Andersonville at the close of the war and after his discharge returned to Vermont, where he again turned his attention to farming. Ten years later he came west and settled in Clinton, Iowa, securing employment as a tie inspector for the Northwestern Railroad Company. In the meantime, however, he had taken up a soldier’s claim in Dakota, and having made the necessary improvements, returned to Clinton for his family. Upon his arrival in South Dakota, however, he found that his claim had been jumped, the agent having purposely misinformed him, and his eight hundred dollars’ worth of improvements became a total loss. He again returned to Clinton and after two years moved to Fairview township, where he located upon a small farm upon which he made his home until his death, which occurred September 19, 1906. His wife survives him and resides on a large stock ranch which she owns at Tarrizazo, New Mexico. He had always been interested in public affairs and especially in the cause of education, which he did much to promote during his term of service as school director. His daughter, Mrs. Walsh, is the youngest of four children and she acquired her education in what is now known as the Wachter school and in a business college at St. Louis, Missouri. She and her husband have become the parents of a son, Stephen Michael, who was born February 17, 1908.

Mr. Walsh is a member of the Monona Farmers Shipping Association. He is a democrat in his political beliefs and is interested in all that pertains to the welfare and progress of his native community. He and his wife are members of the Roman catholic church at Cherry Mound and are widely and favorably known in Fairview township, where their excellent qualities of heart and mind have gained for them the friendship of many and the high regard of all who know them.

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

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