John Cavanaugh (1847-1910)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 9/23/2022 at 23:09:28
(1847 – February 26, 1910)
With the history of Calhoun County, John Cavanaugh is familiar. He came to this locality when it was a frontier region, when much of the land was still in possession of the government and the track of the shining plow was not seen on many sections. Deer and lesser wild game was to be had in abundance. The homes of the settlers were widely scattered and one could drive for miles over the country with no fence to bar the progress. Mr. Cavanaugh, in the work
which has wrought such a great change over the county, has borne an active and important part and well does he deserve honorable mention in its annals. He was born in Ireland, in 1847, and is a son of Thomas and Mary (Waugh) Cavanaugh. The father was a farmer by occupation, and in early manhood came to America, locating
first in Canada, whence he afterward removed to McHenry County, Illinois. The journey was made by team and he became an early settler of that locality. Not long was he permitted to enjoy his new home, for death came to him soon. His widow, however, survives and is now living with our subject. In Illinois John Cavanaugh was reared to manhood and in the year of 1866 he came to Iowa, locating first in Jefferson, Greene County. In 1874 he took up his abode on a farm, where he now resides and which he had purchased in 1866. The country was wild and the nearest market was Jefferson,
twenty miles distant. No roads had been laid and it was only at rare intervals that the home of the pioneer was seen. Wild geese,
ducks, cranes, deer and an occasional elk were seen, and venison and wild fowls furnished many a meal for the early settlers.
Mr. Cavanaugh at once set to work to improve the primitive condition of the land and transform his farm into productive fields,
which would yield him good harvests. He first purchased one hundred and twenty acres and as his financial resources have increased he extended the boarders of his farm until it now comprises five hundred and forty acres. In addition to this he owns other lands. All of the improvements have been made by him and the substantial buildings there seen stand as monuments of his enterprise and
industry. He carries on general farming, also keeps one hundred head of cattle. He prefers the short-horns. In recent years he has sold some of his land, but still operates a portion of it.
On the 20th of April, 1884, occurred the marriage of Mr. Cavanaugh and Mary (Gaffney) MeGowan, who was born in Jackson County, Iowa, October 11, 1856, the daughter of Patrick and Maria (Hatton) Gaffney. Her parents were born in Ireland, and the father was a farmer by occupation. After emigrating to America he became identified with the agricultural interests in Jackson county, Iowa. Subsequently he removed to Greene County and in Lohrville spent his remaining days, his
death occurring when he was about eighty-four years of age. His wife passed away in Jackson County in 1869, at the age of
forty-two years. Mrs. Cavanaugh was first married to James McGowan, and by that marriage had two children, Roger and Anna. By her present marriage she has ten children, namely: Thomas and John, twins; Mary, Elizabeth, Aggie, William, Harry, Helen, Mark and Mildred. Mr. Cavanaugh has been an industrious and energetic man, and, realizing that success cannot be won easily, has labored indefatigably to win the handsome competence which now crowns his efforts. He has an excellent farm and the fertile fields annually
return to him rich harvests. In his political views he is a Democrat, and in religious faith is a Catholic. His life has at all times been worthy of commendation, for he has true manly principles, has been straightforward in all his dealings and reliable in the discharge of his duties of citizenship. [Source – Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S. J. Clarke, 1902, p.346]
Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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