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Justin R Doran


Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/11/2009 at 17:12:20

Justin R Doran is the leading farmer of the western part of Boone county, his agricultural interests being very extensive as he is the owner of nearly two thousand acres of land which is very rich and arable. He is therefore classed among the wealthy men of this portion of the state and moreover he deserves great credit for having reached this position through his own well directed efforts. During twenty-eight years he has reside in Boone county and has been deeply interested in its progress and welfare, bearing his part in its rapid development and improvement. He was born in Niagara county, new York, August 8, 1850, and is a son of Patrick and Catherine (Keely) Doran, both of whom were native of County Carlow, Ireland. The father was engaged in the operation of a flour mill on the Emerald Isle in early life. He and his wife were married in Burris, that country. They sailed for America on board the ship, Richard Cobdon, and the vessel narrowly escaped shipwreck, but they landed safely7 at New York city, about February 1, 1849. From there they went by packet boat, by the way of the Erie canal, to Reynolds Basin, in Niagara county, New York, where they lived for four years. Thence by boat they proceeded to Buffalo, New York, and on by steamer to Detroit, Michigan proceeding thence to Chicago and by way of the Illinois and Michigan canal to Ottawa, Illinois. In the vicinity of the last named place Mr Doran worked out as a farm hand for a few years. He then removed to Livingston county, Illinois, where he purchased a tract of land and engaged in farming on his own account until his death which occurred November 25, 1865. His wife died in La Salle county, Illinois, august 25, 1855. They were the parents of eight children: Edward, a farmer of Polk county, Iowa, Ellen the widow of Christopher Harvey, and a resident of Grand Junction, Iowa, Mary, who also reside at Grand Junction, Thomas, H, a lumber dealer, stock raiser and one f the owners of a telephone system, living at Burwell, Garfield county, Nebraska, Justin R, of this review, John a resident farmer and stock raider of Bradshaw, York, county, Nebraska, and two who died in infancy.
The mother of our subject died when he was only five years of age and he was left an orphan when but a youth of fifteen. He then started out in life on his own account and has since been dependent entirely upon his own resources. He began by doing chores for his board, for Mrs. Carroll, in Livingston county, Illinois, and during that period also attended school. In March 1866, he returned to La Salle county, Illinois and was employed by Charles Hoag, in Serena township, for eight and a half months, at sixteen dollars per month, after which he worked for the same gentleman during the winter months, doing chores of his board and the privilege of attending school The following spring the notes which had been give at the sale of the personal of his father, became due, and after all debts were cancelled there was still a balance of about seven hundred with which the four youngest children, including our subject, purchased another outfit and began farming upon the old homestead until November 6, 1874. Justin Doran had previously visited Iowa in July, 1870, largely making the trip in order to benefit his health. He went to Union township, Benton county, where he worked for about a month as a farm hand and then went to Blairstown, Iowa, where he was employed in an elevator for some time. He next returned to Illinois, remaining until January 1872. At that time he and his eldest brother purchased a corn thresher with which they returned to this state, conducting the same until the following July, when Justin R Doran once more went to Illinois and there remained until he sold the old homestead of the family. In that year he came to Boone county, Iowa and purchased 370 acres of his present farm, on Sec 5, Beaver township. This he purchased for his brother, Thomas H, and their sister Mary, as well as for himself. Mr Doran was the first settler upon the four sections that form the school district No 3, in Beaver township. AS the years have passed he has made other purchases, investing his capital in farm land until he now owns 1920 acres of rich and valuable land most of which is in Beaver township. This is well improved and he operates 1000 acres of land while the remainder he rents. His residence is located on Sec 5 and is but a short distance from the village of Beaver. It is a large, commodious and attractive home and upon the farm are two large barns and all the equipments found upon a model farm of the twentieth century. He carries on general farming and stock raising and has two registered Norman horses and several graded and Hambletonian and Norman horses which are very valuable.
Mr Doran was united in marriage to Miss Olive F Blanshan, both of Auburn, New York, thence they went to Wisconsin in 1848, coming to Iowa in 1874. The father followed farming throughout his entire life and was a prominent and influential citizen. He served for two terms in the state legislature of Wisconsin and was also a member of the county board of supervisors for a number of years. He died in 1890 and his wife passed away in February, 1902, at the home of her son in Grand Junction, Iowa. Unto Mr and Mrs Doran have been born eleven children: Lester G who is a graduate of the Highland Park school, is engaged in farming and stock raising in connection with his father, Alford T, who died at the age of one years and five days, Alexander R, Eugene B, Benjamin B, Oliver E, Lucia S, Maud H, Lant H, Mamie Charlotte, Milo T, and Daisy Ellen, all at home.
At one time Mr Doran supported the Greenback party, but is now identified with the Republican party. He has held the office of township trustee for several terms and is now serving as school director in his district. Socially he is a member of Junction Lodge, No 357, F $ A M at Grand Junction , and Beaver Lodge No 657, I O O F of Beaver. Since 1895 he has been adjuster for the Boone County Farmersí Mutual Insurance Company for all of the territory west of the Des Moines river in Boone and adjoining counties. He is indeed a self made man and is a firm believer in the idea that things do not come by accident, but that success is the result of persistent effort.
Intelligent and well read, he keeps in touch with the interests and issues of the day and at the same time capably superintends his extensive business interests. His life history certainly proves that prosperity is not the outcome of genius, but is the reward of persistent and indefatigable lavor when guided by sound common sense. Year by year he has added to his property until today he is one of the wealthiest and most extensive land owners in his portion of the state. Great credit is due him for what he has accomplished and his life should be served as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others.

1902 Boone County History Book


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