Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 545-46. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


One of Dougherty township's good citizens and a man who has attained to a substantial competence through his own intelligent efforts is P. H. Cahalan, a farmer whose productive acres are situated in section 2. He was born in Washington county, New York, March 2, 1852, and is of Irish extraction. He was eleven years of age when his parents moved westward from New York and took up their residence in Fayette county, Iowa. There he received a good common school education and grew to young manhood, receiving a very practical training in agriculture upon his father's farm. In 1875, when he was about twenty-three years of age, he believed himself to be sufficiently well versed to make an independent venture and accordingly rented land of ex-Governor Larrabee. He afterward purchased a small farm but lost it on account of the bad wheat failure of 1878. He soon rallied from his discouragement and borrowed five hundred dollars, with which he went to buying calves and cattle and from that time on things came his way and he found it easy to make money.

Mr. Cahalan married in 1889 (sic) and he brought his to Cerro Gordo county, where he bought about one hundred and sixty acres in section 2 of Dougherty township. This was wild land and there were no buildings upon it, but he set to work diligently to improve it and soon had the soil in very productive condition. He has added to his holdings from time to time until he has twelve hundred acres in Dougherty township, all of which he operates with the exception of one hundred and sixty acres which he has rented. He keeps two hundred head of cattle and two hundred head of hogs on the place and is one of the most extensive stock men in the county. Mr. Cahalan has given a life-long allegiance to the principles of Democracy and enjoys the confidence of his neighbors. He is now serving his third term as township trustee, has been township assessor and held various school offices. He and his family are members of St. Patrick's Catholic church at Dougherty. He is a stock-holder in the Cartersville Supply Company and has connection with the Farmers' Co-operative Society.

Mr. Cahalan was married, April 3, 1877 (sic), in Fayette county, Iowa, to Bridget McGaheran, born April 4, 1847, in county Cavan, Ireland. She is the daughter of Michael and Rose (Sherdin) McGaheran, who came to the United State in 1848, their voyage across being of six weeks duration. They first located at Galena, Illinois, the father securing employment in the lead mines, and in 1855 came to Fayette county, Iowa, where for the remainder of their lives they engaged in farming. The father died in February, 1893, aged eighty years, and the mother survived until August 1907, her age at the time of her death being eighty-eight years. Mr. and Mrs. Cahalan have five children, Sarah, James, William, Harry and Fred, all of whom are still sheltered beneath the home roof tree.

Mr. Cahalan is especially to be congratulated upon his success when it is remembered that he started out in life not only without a competence but five hundred dollars in debt.

NOTE: P.H. Cahalan's gravestone gives 1850 as his birth year. He died in 1930 and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City IA.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2014



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