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Hogan, Michael L., 1844-1933


Posted By: Lydia Lucas - Volunteer (email)
Date: 3/26/2019 at 21:11:32

An obituary for him is posted in the Obituaries Section of this website. The Alton Democrat of January 20, 1933, also published an interview with him that gives additional details about his life. The date of the interview is not given.

Hogan Worked as Deck Hand on “Big Muddy”—Interview

An interview which a Democrat reporter had with the late M. L. Hogan of Hull, who died last Thursday in Sioux City, now published for the first time, tells of the early days in northwest Iowa. Here it is:

Q. When did you come to Sioux county?
A. I came to Sioux county in 1871 from Sioux City, after working there as a teamster for two years.

Q. Did you take land here?
A. Yes, I filed a claim on 80 acres near Hull and homesteaded that. Later I bought 40 acres of what is now the Henry Hymans place at $3 an acre. Some time after that I traded the 40 in on another 80 adjoining my homestead.

Q. Do you still have that land?
A. Yes. I still have my original homestead and 160 acres with it. I was offered $550 an acre for it during the boom of a few years ago, but did not take it up.

Q. Briefly, how was life different then than it is now?
A. I can’t tell you briefly. Volumes have been said and written on the subject, and the matter has only been touched. It is sometimes hard to believe that such vast changes did take place during my life. Now, the essentials of life are more or less taken for granted. Then, clothing, food, and housing had to be fought for amid great privations and hardships. The few things the pioneers raised brought little money on the market. Things we bought were high priced. Money was almost unknown.

Q. What did you do for your cash?
A. Pioneers worked for wages whenever they could get work or could get away. I sometimes worked as a deckhand on “The Far West,” a river boat plying the Missouri below Sioux City.

Q. So you have navigated the Missouri! What, then, do you think of the Missouri river project now being discussed?
A. Things have changed since I worked on the Missouri and modern engineering is sometimes beyond my comprehension. Worthy as the undertaking may be, it seems improbable to me that the river channel can be kept open to Yankton. During the June rise the Missouri used to go on a terrible destructive campaign. Many a pioneer has left his home and belongings safe on the banks of the river only to find everything swept away a week later when he returned. I was once ready to take a farm on the banks of the Missouri but was warned in time. I have known whole farms to be cut away by the Big Muddy.

Q. Where were you born?
A. I was born in the County Carlow, Ireland, in the province of Linstar, about 35 miles from Dublin.

Q. When did you come to this country?
A. I came to the United States in 1864, when I was 18. My brother was going to join the Union forces in the Civil war and sent for me to take care of his family.

Q. What made you come west?
A. My uncle sent for me to come to Wisconsin, and I worked in his grocery store there for two years. Then, in 1869, I started for Big Bear City, Montana, to dig gold. I stopped at Sioux City and decided to remain there.

Q. Did you ever come in contact with the well known figures of that day?
A. Yes, I often did. One event I remember especially well was the visit of Jesse and Frank James and Shorty Yonkers, paid us while I was staying with my father-in-law at Summit, between Jackson and Ponca, Neb. They came in the evening and said that they were with a party going to Sioux City and that some of the party had stayed at a neighbor’s. Of course we took them in. I remember them vividly as they sat by the stove that evening. Jesse was a fine looking chap and it was easy to believe the romantic stories about him and of his defense of the helpless. Frank looked a bit more the part of the bandit. He was dark complected and wore heavy whiskers. He was a bit lame. Frank soon went to bed as he appeared to be tired, but Jesse and Shorty Yonkers sat up and talked for a long time.

Q. Did you know who they were?
A. No, and I don’t think my father-in-law did until he got to talking with the neighbor and until the story of their trip north came back to us. They were on their way to Northfield, Minnesota, where they robbed a bank. When they came near Ireton they met a Norwegian with a fine horse. They asked him if he would trade or sell, and when he refused, the horse was taken away from him. I think some of the gang were killed and captured during the Northfield raid.

[Transcriber's note: This seems like a rather abrupt end to the interview, and perhaps it went on longer, but this is all that was published.]


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