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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 319~


M. McGowen

M. McGowen, dealer in hardware and implements, of Randalia, has for the past twelve years been a resident of that place, and since 1855 has been a resident of Iowa. He is a native of the Empire State, his birth having occurred in Franklin County, in 1826. He is the second in order of birth in a family of twelve children, whose parents are Robert and Mary (Sullivan) McGowen. His father, a native of County Down, Ireland, emigrated to this country at the age of eighteen years, and settling in Canada, there became acquainted with, and wedded Miss Sullivan, who was born in that community. The family lived for some twenty years in Franklin County, N. Y., and on emigrating westward in 1852 located in Wisconsin, where the same year the husband and father died, being then sixty-five years of age. He was a farmer by occupation and followed that business in pursuit of fortune throughout his entire life. He always took an active part in political affairs in the community where he resided and was a member of the Masonic fraternity. Both he and his wife belonged to the Presbyterian Church and were highly esteemed citizens. All of their twelve children grew to mature years: James, the eldest, who served in the late war as a member of the Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry was killed at Spanish Fort, Tex., in 1865; our subject is the next younger; Robert died in Little Rock, Ark., in 1887; Agnes died at the age of twenty-two years; John is a farmer of Nebraska; Margaret is the deceased wife of George Fleming; Alexander is a merchant of Independence, Iowa; Eliza is the deceased wife of Dr. George of Cleveland, Ohio; Catherine is the wife of Eli Brown, Postmaster of Jessup; William is a merchant of Sibley, Iowa; David, who served in the late war as a member of the Twenty-seventh Iowa Regiment, was killed by the guerrillas in Georgia; Mary is the deceased wife of Merrill Davis, of Canton, Iowa. The mother of this family died in Independence in 1882.


Our subject spent his boyhood days in New York, where he received a good education, his early training being supplemented by a three years' course in Middlebury Academy, Vt. Being thus fitted to battle with the world, on attaining his majority he began life for himself, working on the railroad in Wisconsin, which pursuit he followed eight years both as a foreman and contractor. In 1861 he settled in Independence, Iowa, where he engaged in dealing in grain and stock, whereby he supplied the wants of himself and family until 1878, and also acquired a considerable competence. He built two elevators in Independence, and his business prospered. In the year 1878 he removed to Randalia, where he engaged in the grain business for six years, when purchasing a stock of hardware and implements he opened a store, and has since carried on operations in that line. He is a successful business man, enterprising, far-sighted and sagacious, and is now numbered among the prosperous citizens of Randalia.


In 1858, in Grant County, Wis., Mr. McGowen was joined in wedlock with Miss Rachel F., daughter of Mathias and Nancy (Bowers) Allensworth, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Both are now deceased. The daughter was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and their marriage has been blessed with six children: Mary A., who died in 1860; Eva, now Mrs. H. A. Giles, of Casper, Wyom.; Gertrude L., wife of Chris. Klemme, of Dows, Iowa; William R. is living at home; also Alice M. and Ethel. Mrs. McGowen is a member of the Christian Church, and a most estimable lady. In politics Mr. McGowen is a stalwart Republican, and held the office of Township Trustee of Independence, and was also a member of the City Council at that place. He has here served as Township Clerk, and for a number of years has filled the office of Justice of the Peace. He is a worthy citizen who has won the confidence and respect of all with whom business or pleasure have brought him in contact.




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