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CURRAN, HENRY

CURRAN, DUFFEY, KNIGHT, PARKER, NORTHRUP, SMITH

Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 5/14/2004 at 16:44:20

Biography reproduced from page 541 of the History of Kossuth and Humboldt Counties, Iowa published in 1884:

Henry Curran was born in August, 1831, in the county of Louth, Ireland. His mother died when he was quite a child. In 1850, he came with his father to America, landing in New Orleans. Shortly after their arrival, his father, one brother, and two sisters died, with what is called ship-fever. The next year he removed to St. Louis, Mo., where his sister was married. In a short time, he went to Galena, Ill., and from there to Allamakee Co., Iowa, where he purchased land and built him a house. The following year, he went to St. Louis Co., Mo., and engaged in farming. Remaining there two years, he went to Montgomery county and staid two years. He then went up the Mississippi river on a speculation. He purchased 250 sacks, intending to buy potatoes, but failing to find any, he had to give it up. So he purchased a boat running it six months. After this, he went to Hampton, Rock Island Co., Ill., and bought a cooper shop. The next summer he hauled logs, and in the following spring commenced making brick. He continued in that business until the war broke out in 1861, his men all enlisted, and he was obliged to suspend. In the spring of 1865 he went back on his farm in Allamakee Co., Iowa. In the fall he sold out, and came to Kossuth county, locating on section 22, Sherman township, then call Irvington township. He purchased 160 acres of land, and built him a house, which burned down in February, 1872. He then built a house half a mile away from where the old one stood, and that year, he took a contract to make brick for the Algona court house. In 1874 he took a contract to carry mail from Spencer, Clay Co., to Sioux Falls, a distance of 100 miles. He remained on this route one year, then for two years carried mail from Sibley to Algona, He then went back on the farm where he now lives. He was married April 12, 1857, to Jerusha Parker Knights, born in Danville Caledonia Co., Vt. They had ten children, of whom eight are living—Mary M., Henrietta, Helen J., Lillian L., Caroline B., Artemus F., Archibald M. and John P. Politically, Mr. Curran is a Republican.
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Biography reproduced from page 216 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

Henry Curran is one of the pioneer settlers of Iowa and has devoted practically all his life to the improvement and development of farm lands in various sections of the state. He is now living retired in Sherman township and is in the eighty-second year of his age. He is enjoying a well deserved rest after a life of honorable and useful activity connected with the upbuilding and progress of the middle west.

He was born in Ireland on the 15th of August, 1831, and is a son of Nicholas and Mary (Duffey) Curran, also natives of that country. Nicholas Curran was a farmer in his native land. He was a stanch supporter of O’Connell and took a keen interest in Irish politics during his residence in that country. After the death of his wife he came to the United States in 1850, making the voyage across the Atlantic in a sailing vessel in seven weeks and three days. He landed in New Orleans with his family of six children, namely: Patrick, who is now deceased; Bridget, who is living with her brother, Henry, in Kossuth county; Mary, deceased; Henry, of this review; James, a retired farmer of Allamakee county, Iowa; and Anne, who has passed away. When the family located in New Orleans they found the city in the midst of a raging epidemic of cholera and the father and three of his children succumbed to the disease. Henry Curran was also stricken but recovered and remained in New Orleans until March or April of 1851. It has been the father’s intention at the time he left Ireland to make his way to the western part of America and take up a grant of land. Henry Curran determined to follow out this line of action and left New Orleans in 1851. He journeyed as far as St. Louis and remained there until August of the same year, when he pushed on to Allamakee county, Iowa, and purchased eighty acres of unimproved land at one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. There he lived for some time, improving his farm and gradually bringing it to a high state of cultivation. He sold his holdings at a good profit and came to Kossuth county in the fall of 1865. He found the country in an extremely unimproved and unsettled condition. There were four or five families located in Sherman township and the people lived in a very primitive manner. Mr. Curran found it impossible to take up a homestead claim in Sherman township and so purchased the land which he now owns. It was entirely unimproved and difficult to cultivate, but he began the task of development with an energy and industry which made success inevitable. He erected a rude board house in which he lived while breaking the land. At first he had only one yoke of oxen with which to carry on his labors, but he was not disheartened by any obstacle. He constantly added to his buildings and equipment. At one time he was the owner of one of the largest tracts of land in Sherman township but has lately disposed of some of this and has only eighty acres under cultivation. To the development and improvement of his land he gave his entire time and personal attention. He planted groves and also devoted a number of acres to the raising of fruit. He has now retired from active life and is living with his sister, Bridget, on the old home place.

In 1857 Mr. Curran was married to Miss Jerusha Parker Knight, a distant relative of Theodore Parker. She was born in Vermont and removed with her family to Rock Island, Illinois, where her marriage occurred. She died in 1909 and is buried in Riverview cemetery at Algona, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Curran became the parents of ten children: James Henry, now deceased; Mary, who lives at home; Hattie, who has also passed away; Artemas F., now a resident of Sherman township; Archibald Moulton, who makes his home in the same township; Henrietta, who is the wife of John Northrup of Luverne, Iowa; John, who now resides at La Grange, Wyoming; Helen, who married Benton Smith and is living in Montana; Lillian, deceased; and Caroline, who lives at home.

Politically Mr. Curran gives his allegiance to the republican party and he takes an active interest in the educational affairs of his township. He is a director of the school board and was one of the first to organize a school in Sherman township. He holds the position of township trustee and takes an active interest in any movement to promote the welfare of Kossuth county. He holds membership in the Roman Catholic church, while his wife was a devout member of the Freewill Baptist organization.

Mr. Curran has been identified with agricultural pursuits during practically his entire life. He learned the trade of brickmaking in his native land, and when his crops were destroyed during the famous “grasshopper” plague in Iowa, he worked at that trade for a short time. He helped to make the brick which was used in the construction of the courthouse at Algona and worked at his trade during the years of 1872 and 1873. He has always been willing to do his part to promote the development of this section of the country. He carried mail from Algona to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1874, under contract with Ambrose Call, and in the following year contracted with C. K. Howard of Sioux Falls and served under him for four years. He subsequently sold his mail route and again took up farming which has been his real life work. He has always done the work which he found to do and has done it worthily and well. He has encountered obstacles and difficulties in the course of his career but has conquered them by a firm purpose and a keen determination which are the foundation of his success.

(Photos of Henry Curran and Mrs. Henry Curran accompany this biography.)


 

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