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Thomas Maher, 1821-1915


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 2/21/2009 at 15:17:19

Deceased entered on a Claim Near Mud Lake, where he has since resided

On Saturday last, [November 6, 1915] at the City Hospital in this city, Thos. Maher, Emmet county's first white citizen, passed to that great beyond. It was in the latter part of 1856 or early in 1857 that Mr. Maher arrived at Dubuque, and wended his way into this great untraveled country. Dubuque was as far as there was travel by rail at that time and the remainder of the trip to Emmet County was made on foot. While here he selected claims for his brothers, who were then in business in New York City, and also for his brother-in-law, Edw. Donahue. He then returned to the city, and with his brothers, John, Patrick, William, Frank and James, and his brother-in-law, they returned here and located on the claims that had been selected near Mud Lake [later named Ingham Lake]. The day they arrived here was the fourth day of July, 1857. Since that time he has always resided on this claim, until about three years ago, when he went to live at the Emmet Moore home. He returned to the old homestead many times, however, and lived there alone, and as he called it, on a visit.

Mr. Maher was peculiar in many respects. Some of these peculiarities probably was derived from his lonely life on his homestead. He was exceptionally loyal to his friends, was scrupulously honest in all his dealings.

Something like six weeks ago he was brought to the hospital in this city for treatment. Many times since being here he has desired to return to his old haunts where he had passed so many days. While he was ninety-four years of age at the time of his death, he was very bright and with an active brain. He had made a great study of the war until a short time ago, when his failing eyesight compelled him to desist. In his early days he was a weaver by trade, employed in the mills in the east.

He was born in Ireland, May 21, 1821. He was married, and two daughters, Mrs. Jerry Flynn and Mrs. Mary McSweeney of Rock Valley, are the only survivors. The funeral services were held from the Mrs. Hattie Brown home, on Monday, the Rev. Father Murtagh officiating.

If the data Mr. Maher could have furnished were in print, we would have a great story of early happenings in Emmet County.

Contributed by: Ruth M. Hackett. Source: the Estherville Enterprise, Emmet County weekly newspaper, Emmet County, Iowa, November 10, 1915.


Mr. Tom Mahar, (Uncle Tom) the first settler in Emmet county and doubtless the oldest citizen of this county, died in the hospital in this city Saturday, aged 94 years, 6 months and 5 days. Funeral was held from the Catholic church Monday and interment made in the Catholic cemetery.

Deceased was undoubtedly the oldest settler in Emmet county. He came here from New York City previous to 1857 and selected homesteads for himself and brothers in Jack Creek township near Mud Lake. In 1857 he and his brothers and sister, mother of Mrs. Otto Brown, came to the county and settled on the homesteads previously selected. Up until about six weeks ago, when he was brought to the hospital in this city, he had lived continuously in Jack Creek township either on or near the old homestead. The past few years and up to the time he was taken to the hospital he resided on the farm of Mr. and Mrs. G. E. Moore, and was cared for by this worthy couple whose farm was at one time a part of the Mahar homestead. Deceased was born in Ireland May 1, 1821. When he reached manhood he came to this country and located in New York City and worked at his trade as a weaver, in a big factory until he decided to go west about 1855 or 1856. He was married twice, his first wife being buried on one of the islands in Mud lake. Two daughters are now living, Mrs. Jerry Flynn and Mrs. Mac Sweeney, both of Rock Valley, Iowa. These daughters and his sister, Mrs. Donahue, and niece, Mrs. Otto Brown, of this city, are the only surviving immediate relatives in this country.

Source: Estherville Vindicator and Republican, Nov. 10, 1915


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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