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McKay, Benjamin J. 1874 1933


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 4/11/2015 at 15:39:51


The name of Benjamin J. McKay, cashier of the Citizens Savings Bank of Decorah, is widely and favorably known in this city by the general public and held in high esteem by his confreres. Comparatively a young man, he has demonstrated his qualities as a financier by successfully administering the duties of his important position in such a way as to greatly extend the business of the institution with which he is connected. Born March 4, 1874, in Decorah, Iowa, he is a son of Alexander and Mary (Tobin) McKay, natives of Ireland. The father came to America with his parents when a boy of about fifteen years, the family locating in New York. A short time afterward he came to Decorah where he learned the wagon maker's trade under Benjamin Barfoot, a business which he ever after successfully followed in Decorah, being so occupied until his death, which occurred April 5, 1906, when he was seventy-six years of age. His wife is still living at the age of seventy-three.

Benjamin J. McKay was reared under the parental roof and educated in Decorah, graduating from the Immaculate Conception Academy with the class of 1892. He prepared himself for a commercial course by entering Valder Business College, from which he was graduated in 1893. Fully prepared in theory for a successful career, he then entered the Citizens Savings Bank as bookkeeper and, his ability and honesty of purpose soon being recognized, he was elected assistant cashier in 1897 and served as such until 1906, when he was chosen to the important position of cashier. He has since filled this office with great circumspection and through his labors has largely extended the bank's relations. Deposits have increased under his management to a remarkable degree and the resources of the bank are such that it is considered one of the strongest institutions of its kind in this section, a position which it has largely gained through the faithful performance of the duties of Mr. McKay.

On October 20, 1897, Mr. McKay was married to Miss Grace Allen Jennisch, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jennisch, the latter of whom passed away when her daughter was but an infant. Mr. Jennisch was a native of Germany who came to this country in early life, locating in Decorah when it was in its pioneer period. Here he followed the blacksmith business until his death, which took place in 1896. Mr. and Mrs. McKay were the parents of four children: Katharine, aged ten years; Charles Alexander, five years of age; Gretchen Marie, aged one year; and Virginia, a twin sister of Gretchen, who died September 22, 1912.

The financial interests of Mr. McKay also extend to other institutions for he is a director of the Calmar Savings Bank and also a stockholder of the Burr Oak Savings Bank. He owns an attractive home on John street where often gather the many friends of Mr. and Mrs. McKay. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Columbus and is also prominent in the local Elks lodge, of which he is a past exalted ruler and treasurer. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church and he and his wife take an active and helpful interest in the organization and its allied societies. Politically he is a republican. An upright man, with ability in his chosen field, Mr. McKay is a distinct force for advancement along financial lines in this city and while he has attained a position of prominence for himself his labors have been a factor in the upbuilding of Decorah.

Source: History of Winneshiek County, Iowa Vol. II Chicago the S. J. Clark Publishing Company 1913

St. Benedict cemetery gravestone

Winneshiek Biographies maintained by Bruce Kuennen.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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