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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 334~

William B. McCleery


"William B. McCleery, deceased, was born in Mercer County, Pa., in 1831, and there was reared to manhood. After he had attained to mature years he married Elmira Hoagland, also a native of Mercer County, and with their family they emigrated westward in 1863, becoming residents of Auburn, Fayette County, Iowa, where he engaged in the milling business for some years. He first purchased a half interest in the East Auburn Mills and on selling out purchased the West Auburn Mills property which he owned until his death, doing a good business in that line. He was an enterprising and successful business man, sagacious and far-sighted and the prosperity which attended his efforts was due to his own industry. He was a consistent and devoted member of the Christian Church with which he united in early life. Both in the church and Sunday-school he was a zealous worker and he died as he had lived, a firm believer in the promises of the Bible. Such was the confidence placed in him that his word was as good as his note and his recommendation as a written guarantee. He died May 19, 1871, and his loss was mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances as well as the immediate family. His wife is still living and in September, 1881, became the wife of David Vermilya, of Auburn, who follows the occupation of farming.


The children of this worthy couple, numbering two sons and two daughters, are Frank, who was born in January, 1854; he is married, has three children and is engaged in the hotel business in Stewart, Mont.; Jennie A., was born in April, 1857, and is a partner in the firm of J. A. & W. C. McCleery; Clara, born May 6, 1860, is the wife of Addison Vent, of Union Township, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits and is largely interested in raising fine cattle, the fourth child is William Clarence, twin brother of Clara.


Miss McCleery was educated in the public schools of this county, at the Upper Iowa University of Fayette and afterwards pursued a course of study in the Iowa Agricultural College of Ames. She then engaged in teaching for several years and was very successful. William C., her partner in business, was educated in the public schools of Auburn. They embarked in the mercantile business and from the beginning have met with success. For some time they operated two stores, one in Auburn and one in Hawkeye, each carrying full lines of merchandise, including groceries, dry goods, boots and shoes, hats and caps, etc. The Hawkeye store was opened in 1889, in charge of the brother, while the Auburn store was carried on by Miss Jennie and the necessary clerks. They have obtained an enviable reputation as a business firm for fair dealing and as a result have acquired a liberal patronage and secured the unbounded confidence of their patrons, creditors, and employees. They handle large quantities of wood and other products of the farm, thus enabling many poor persons in the Turkey Valley to secure a market for their products. They, in turn, usually sell to a market near at hand, but have also shipped considerable quantities of wood and hardwood lumber to foreign markets. They now have in view the establishment of a cold storage warehouse in West Union, where they will purchase eggs ad butter, storing them until there is a greater demand. In the two stores there was handled annually from $35,000 to $40.000 worth of goods but within the past few months they have disposed of the Hawkeye establishment.


In the social world both William and Jennie McCleery are held in high regard, and their friends throughout the community are many. He is a member of Relief Lodge, No. 138, I. O. O. F., and she has served as church organist for several years and been Superintendent of the Sunday-school of the Christian Church to which she belongs."


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