J[ohn] A. McDANIEL, a well-known and prominent citizen of Vinton, was born in Licking County, Ohio, April 11, 1827. His father, John McDaniel. was a native of Ireland, born in 1795, but was of Scotch descent. He came to America in 1811, when but sixteen years old, and became acquainted with and married Mary Dunlap, of Licking County, Ohio, a native of that State, born in 1800. Four children blest their union — James, now resident in Mankato, Jewell Co., Kan., engaged in the livery business; Mary J., now resident in Licking County, Ohio; J. A., the subject of this sketch; William R., a farmer and stock-raiser of Licking County, Ohio. The parents were both members of the old Covenanter Church. The mother died in 1852, and the father in 1880, at the age of eighty-five.
J. A. McDaniel was reared upon a farm and well knows the meaning of hard work, having assisted in clearing the timber to make a farm. Notwithstanding this, he was enabled to and did obtain a liberal education, which has served him to good purpose. When twenty-one years of age he went to Utica, Ohio, where he engaged as clerk in a store, remaining there some time. He afterward lived for a time in Newark, Ohio. From boyhood he had an earnest desire to try his fortunes on the broad prairies of the fertile West, believing that there was a more favorable opportunity to advance in life. Becoming acquainted with H. D. Gay, an agreement was entered into that if a favorable location could be found, they would form a partnership in the general mercantile trade. Mr. McDaniel then came in 1856, to Iowa, and after carefully surveying the ground, chose Vinton as his future home. The firm of Gay & McDaniel soon after commenced business in this place and continued for ten years, when Mr. Gay sold his interest to Sherman Tracy. The firm of McDaniel & Tracy was then formed, and had an existence for about three years, when Mr. McDaniel purchased the interest of his partner and continued alone until 1872, when J. C. Aldrich purchased a half interest, and under the firm name of McDaniel & Co., the business was continued until 1877, when it was closed out. Since that time Mr. McDaniel has engaged in the importation of Norman horses and the breeding of fine stock. At present he owns a number of the finest horses in the State, including nine full-blood stallions, seven of which he had imported from France, and all registered in the American Percheron-Norman Stud Book. He has a number of high grades, having forty head in all. He has a fine herd of Jersey cattle, including six heifers and a bull of full blood, besides grades. He owns two fine farms, containing 200 and 185 acres respectively, with necessary improvements. He also owns a fine residence and large barns, the former located on the corner of Clay street and Asylum avenue, the barns being one square farther south; he also owns a two-story brick store on Jefferson street, Vinton, occupied as a clothing store. Mr. McDaniel has been twice married. His first wife was Malvina Skinner, who died in 1863, leaving one child — Garrett Smith, a clerk in Vinton. He subsequently married Miss Florence Hewes, a daughter of Rev. Charles E. and Abigail Hewes. Her father is a Universalist minister and a native of Massachusetts, while her mother is a native of Vermont. Mrs. McDaniel's literary education was secured in New York. In Vinton and Chicago she studied painting, possessing a natural taste for the same. She is regarded as an artist of more than ordinary ability. Mr. and Mrs. McDaniel have one child — Lola Abbott. In politics Mr. McDaniel is a straight-out Republican, but has never been an office-seeker. He is a member of the A. O. U. W., of Vinton.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 212-213.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.