THOMAS McLAUGHLIN, who owns a farm of two hundred and twenty acres in Cedar township, section 36, has been a resident of Benton county since 1859. He was born in 1840, in East Troy, New York, and when five years of age moved with his family to Illinois. He is a son of Thomas and Mary (Russell) McLaughlin; the father was born and reared in Scotland, and came to New York City as a young man. He worked some time by the day and later removed to East Troy, New York. In 1850 he came to Illinois and there worked a short time on a farm, on shares. About ten years later he removed to Iowa City, Iowa, and shortly after to Vinton, whither his son Thomas had already come. Thomas McLaughlin, Sr., rented a farm two years and then bought the present home. It was at first raw prairie, and he set to work to improve it, and had it in good shape before his death. His wife was born in Ireland, and they were there married. She came with her husband to New York, and finally to Benton county. Their children were: John, deceased; Margaret, deceased; Anna, lives in Montana; Elizabeth, wife of Augustine Milhan, connected with the Blind College in Vinton; Thomas; and Ellen, deceased.
Thomas McLaughlin, Jr., came with his parents to Illinois when ten years of age. He received a common school education and was reared on a farm. In 1859 he went to Iowa alone, and the next year his parents followed. He worked in the Claire Quarry, in Cedar township, where his father also worked afterwards.
In 1861 Mr. McLaughlin enlisted in Company G, Fifth Iowa Infantry, and was mustered out in 1866. He was at the Battle of Shiloh, in the "Hornets' Nest," took part in the Battles at Iuka and Corinth, and skirmished some two weeks; he went to Tennessee, took part in the battles of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and went down through Georgia with Sherman, on his march to the sea. After the company returned to Benton county: part of them went west, but Mr. McLaughlin remained at home and worked on the farm with his father. Later he purchased a part of the land from his father, amounting to forty acres, and has lived on the place ever since. He has added to his land as he was able, and besides general farming breeds Duroc Jersey and Poland China hogs, Holstein cattle and also Clyde horses.
In political principles Mr. McLaughlin is a Democrat, but he votes independently in local affairs. He is a public-spirited, influential citizen, and actively interested in public affairs. He has served a number of years as school officer. The family are members of the Catholic church.
In 1865 Mr. McLaughlin married Alice, daughter of John and Mary (O'Brien) Katen, who came from County Tipperary, Ireland, to New York, where the mother died; the father came to Iowa with his daughter Alice, and there died. Mr. McLaughlin and his wife have been blessed with children as follows: Mary Ann, died in infancy; Margaret, died in infancy; John, at home; Alice, died when fifteen years of age; Claire, at home; and William, also at home.