Joseph Riley, painter, Monona, was born in Green County, Wis., on the 27th day of April, 1845, and was a son of George, a native of Indiana, and Elizabeth (Graham) Riley, a native of Tennessee, who emigrated to Illinois when she was twelve years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Riley were married in Green County, Wis., where two children were born--Joseph and David. He followed the trade of a carpenter and joiner there, and in 1853 emigrated with his family to Clayton County, Iowa, and located in Mendon Township, one mile southwest of McGregor. He purchased 160 acres of land, paying for the same one horse and $160 in cash; erected a cabin, 18 x 20 feet, shingled with shakes or clapboards, and in the meantime cut poles and stretched their wagon cover over them, where they lived until the cabin was finished. Some years later he traded his property for 240 acres of prairie land in the Southen part of Allamakee County, receiving $600 cash. Since that time he has been offered $12,000 for his land. When he came to Clayton County it was still in its infancy, wild game being very plentiful. He was very fond of hunting, and would stand in the door of his cabin and shoot deer, killing fifty-five deer in one winter. Mrs. Riley died Aug. 29, 1856. He still resides on the old homestead in Allamakee County. The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm, and received a common school education. When twenty-one years of age he learned the trade of a painter, which he has followed since. In November, 1856, he married Emily, daughter of Thomas B. Walker, who settled on Turkey River in an early day, and is now a resident of Audubon County, Iowa. She was born in Clayton County in 1843. To them have been born four chidren--Hattie J., Nora M., Lillian and George Ira. Mr. Riley has been identified with this county nearly thirty years, and is one of her most prominent citizens.
source: History of Clayton
County, Iowa, 1882, p. 1059-1060
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