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Abraham M. CAGLEY was born in Indiana in 1835 and in 1854 came to Chickasaw County with his parents, Mr and Mrs John CAGLEY, who raised a family of fifteen children.  John CAGLEY purchased several hundred acres of government land for one dollar and a quarter-dollar per acre in Bradford Township. He died on the family farm at age eighty years.

John CAGLEY's son, Abraham married Miss Ann WRIGHT who was born in England in 1842 and came to the United States with her parents.  Her father died soon after the family landed in this country and the mother and children continued the journey west to Floyd and then Chickasaw Counties, where Miss WRIGHT married Abraham CAGLEY.  They took up their abode upon a farm near the town of Chickasaw where Mrs CAGLEY passed away in 1875 and then Mr CAGLEY died four years later.  Their family numbered seven children, including J.S. CAGLEY and Robert R. CAGLEY; farmers of this county.

John S. CAGLEY, owns and operates a farm on Section 20, Bradford Township, Chickasaw County, and was born near the old town of Chickasaw on the 8th day of July 1856, son of Abraham M. and Ann (WRIGHT) CAGLEY, who cast in their lot with the pioneer settlers of this section of the state.

J.S. CAGLEY, graduated from Bradford Academy and then Breckenridge Institute of Decorah, Iowa before taking up the profession of teaching in this county and in 1912 moved to his present Bradford Township farm.  On August 28, 1889, Mr J.S. CAGLEY married Miss Eva May LAYTON and they have two daughters: Clare, a graduate of Iowa State Teachers College of Cedar Falls and Cleo, who died at the age of three years.  Mr CAGLEY has filled practically all of the offices in Bradford Township and was a county supervisor for three terms.

Robert R. CAGLEY, born January 9, 1873, is farming Section 16, Chickasaw Township.  His father died when he was a lad of seven years and until his fifteenth year he lived with relatives.  At that age he started out life independently and followed farm work and did a years school work in four months study.  At age eighteen he began teaching until having carefully saved his earnings, was able in 1896 to begin farming on his own account, buying a farm of one hundred sixty acres.

On June 9, 1896, Mr Robert CAGLEY was united in marriage to Miss Edna SLOAT, who passed away in 1905, leaving two children, Doris and Faith.  In 1907, Mr CAGLEY again married, to Miss Elva GROELL, of Jackson County, Michigan. Robert CAGLEY served for a quarter of a century on the school board and held several township offices.

Source: History of Chickasaw and Howard Co (1919), Vol II, pages 368 - 373

Parents - Terrence and Mary (Galligan) Commerford

P. J. Commerford, who is engaged in general merchandising at Jerico, Chickasaw County, has for the past fifteen years served as treasurer of the Jerico Creamery Association and throughout his life has been active and influential factor in the business development of his section of the state.

He was born in Chickasaw County, March 24, 1859, and is a son of Terrence and Mary ( Galligan) Commerford, who were natives of Ireland. They were married, however, in Wisconsin, both having come with their respective families to the new world in early life, the father arriving in 1849 and the mother in 1850. They continued their residence in Wisconsin until 1854 and then removed to Iowa, settling in Utica Township, Chickasaw Co., at which period the homes in the township were widely scattered, the inhabitants being very few in number. Terrence Commerford homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land, whereon he built a log cabin and this continued to be the family residence for a number of years. He did his marketing in and hauled his grain to McGregor by ox team. It required a week to make the trip. The family shared in all the hardships and privations incident to settlement upon the frontier and the father performed the arduous task of developing the wild land and converting it into a good farm. As the years passed he prospered and after some time be built a modern home and became owner of one of the well improved farm properties of his township. He also extended the boundaries of his place by additional purchase until he had two hundred and forty acres of land, of which he afterward donated fifteen acres to the Catholic church, and upon that tract has been erected the present handsome church edifice that now stands at Riley Ridge. Mr. Terrence Commerford died at the comparative early age of fifty-four years, while his wife reached the very advanced age of eighty-five years.

P. J. Commerford was educated in the district schools, which he attended to the age of twelve years. His father died about that time and he and his brothers took up the active work of further cultivating and improving the home farm, upon which he lived until 1892, when he removed to Jerico and established his present mercantile business. In the conduct of the store he has been very successful and he now carries a large line of carefully selected general merchandise, meeting all the requirements of the purchasing public. His business methods are thoroughly enterprising and reliable and his success is the merited reward of persistent and earnest labor.

In addition to winning for himself a place among the substantial merchants of the county he has made an excellent record as an office holder:

  • Postmaster of Jerico, Chickasaw County for 15 years (Until the post office was abandoned)
  • Treasurer of the Jerico Creamery Association ( 1904 until present time)

In 1901 Mr. Commerford was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Welch , of Jacksonville township, Chickasaw county. They became the parents of four children: Genevieve, who died of influenza while attending Mount St. Clare Academy at Clinton, Iowa; John, Mildred and Eugene, all at home.

In his political views Mr. Commerford has always been a democrat and has given stanch support to the party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. Her and his family are members of the Catholic church and he is identified also with the Knights of Columbus, a fraternity which draws its membership only from people of the catholic faith. He ranks with the well known citizens of Chickasaw county, his personal worth, his progressiveness in business and his loyalty in citizenship winning for him an enviable position in public record.

Source: History of Chickasaw and Howard Co (1919), Vol II, pages 49 - 50


Maurice F. CONDON, attorney of law at New Hampton, was born in Chickasaw County on September 4, 1873, a son of Maurice CONDON and Elizabeth DORSEY, who were natives of Ireland.

The father and his mother came to United States after the grandfather died in the Emerald Isle and they later moved west to Wisconsin.  It was there that he married Elizabeth DORSEY and they immediately left for Chickasaw County Iowa in 1859. They purchased a farm in Washington Township and farmed until his death June 21, 1894.  His widow died April 24, 1913.

Maurice F. CONDON, attended Iowa State University at Iowa City, graduating with law degree on June 6, 1899.  Over the years he worked in various law and banking partnerships until elected as Chickasaw County Attorney in 1912.

In 1914 he married Miss Ida KELSON, a daughter of Ole and Belle KELSON of New Hampton.  As of this printing (1919) no children are mentioned.

Source: History of Chickasaw and Howard Co (1919), Vol II, pages 46 - 49


James Curran, president of the State Savings Bank of Lawler, is an enterprising, alert and progressive business man whose labors have been an effective force in prom oting progress and improvement in the district in which he lives. Iowa numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Jackson county, August 12, 1856, his parents being Patrick and Catherine (Savage) Curran, both of whom were natives of Ireland. The father was born in 1805 and in 1828 crossed the Atlantic to Newfoundland, where he was connected with the fishing industries for four years. He then came to the United States and was employed for a time on the construction of the first railroad built in this country—the line from Boston to Washington. Through the succeeding seven years he was engaged in railroad construction and on other public works throughout various parts of the country. In 1839 be returned to Ireland and was there married in 1840, after which he continued to make his home in his native land until 1847, when he again came to the new world. After some years spent in the New England states he made his way westward to Illinois and in 1854 became a resident of Iowa, settling on a farm in Jackson county, whereon he continued to reside until 1875. He then removed to Lawler to make his home with his son James, with whom he resided until his demise, which occurred June 9, 1885, when he had reached the advanced age of eighty years.

James Curran was reared on the old homestead farm in Jackson county and pursued his education in the rural schools. On attaining his majority he started out in the business world independently. He became a resident of Law ler in December, 1877, and here turned his attention to merchandising, with which business he was prominently identified for eighteen and a half years. In January, 1897, he established a private bank conducted under the name of the Merchants Exchange Bank, and he was at the head of this institution for nine years, during which period its business gradually increased. In 1906 he organized the State Savings Bank of Lawler, of which he has since been the president, and the success and growth of the institution are the direct outcome of his capability and effort. He is thoroughly acquainted with the various phases of the banking business and has made the institution one of thorough reliability. He extends credit wherever possible to his patrons and is ever ready to aid any project that will not endanger the safety of the bank.

In 1896 Mr. Curran was united in marriage to Miss Jennie O'Brien, of Independence, Iowa, by whom he has two sons. William Francis, who is now attending Dubuque College, of Dubuque, Iowa, received military training for the great World war at Fort Sheridan. James Omer is a high school student.

In politics Mr. Curran is a democrat but not an office seeker. He and his wife are members of the Catholic church and he also has membership with the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Order of Foresters. He has always lived in Iowa and the spirit of western enterprise and progress has found exemplification in his career.

Source: History of Chickasaw and Howard Co (1919), Vol II, page 407