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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 613~


John Steggall

John Steggall is numbered among the early settlers of the county, having made his home in Oran Township before its organization. He now resides on section 36, where he has a fine farm comprising two hundred and forty acres of valuable land, besides ten acres of timer in Buchanan County. He is a native of England, his birth having occurred in Suffolk in 1825. Four years later he was brought by his parents to America, the family locating in Onondaga County, N. Y., where the father and mother spent the remainder of their lives. The children, brothers and sisters of our subject are, William who was born in England, married a Miss Potter by whom he had four children and is now deceased; Mary Ann who became the wife of Elihu Bolsby, an agriculturist, but both are now deceased; Jonathan married a New York lady by whom he had three children and resided in the Empire state until his death, which occurred some years ago; John is the next younger; Samuel, who removed to Ohio in 1852 where he rented land until 1856 and then came to Iowa, now has a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Jefferson Township. He married Emily Hassner and unto them have been born eleven children; Maria became the wife of Sidney King in New York, whence they emigrated to this State, locating on section 31, Jefferson Township, where Mr. King improved a farm. Thence they removed to Independence, Iowa, where Mrs. King died. Later he sold and is now engaged in the dairy business in Fairbanks. They had four children; Asa, who was married in New York had five children, ran a canal boat in the East for some years then came to this county and purchased eighty acres of land, but after three years spent in farming returned to New York, where he sailed as captain on a canal boat until his death, which occurred several years ago; Sarah married John Aigen and they are both deceased.


The subject of this sketch received his education in the schools of Onondaga County, N. Y., where on the 20th of January, 1846, he was united in marriage with Sarah A. Harford, daughter of Harvey and Ann Harford. They were parents of four children - Jane became the wife of J. A. Porter, and after his death married Benjamin Merchant, of Kenosha, Wis., by whom she had two children but both she and her husband are now deceased; Cynthia resides in Vernon County, Mo.; and Peter resides in Oelwein. He married in Lake County, Ill., and removed to Dubuque County, Iowa, where his wife died. Afterward he became a resident of Jefferson Township, this county, and in 1869 married Fannie Riddler. Four children were born of the first union and six by the second.


Mr. and Mrs. Steggall began their domestic life in Onondaga County, N. Y., but after three years, with their infant son, started westward, locating in Waukegan, Lake County, Ill., where he worked a farm upon shares as he had no capital with which to buy land, his entire possessions being a team of horses. Their home, however, was brightened by the presence of another son, John F. who was born in Lake County, March 18, 1850. Samuel P., born January 1847, in New York, had come with them to the West. After some years spent in Illinois the family removed to Fayette County, Iowa, locating in Oran Township, where Mr. Steggall entered one hundred and sixty acres of land from the Government. This was all in its primitive condition, not a furrow having been turned. In the spring of 1854 he commenced breaking prairie which he planted in sod corn, and that season he also raised the first crop of wheat ever harvested in that neighborhood. He cut it with a cradle, receiving as his share twenty-seven bushels which was threshed by a machine owned by parties in Buchanan County. After two years he sold his oxen, and with his team of horses it was not long until his land was under a good state of cultivation and yielding him a ready return for his labors. However he bore many hardships and difficulties such as are incident to pioneer life. He had to haul his wheat to McGregor, a distance of seventy miles and then received only forty cents per bushel, but by industry and perseverance he overcame all obstacles in his path and worked his way upward to prosperity. The hardest season he experienced was in 1858, when the wheat crop was almost a failure and good flour could not be made from the small amount raised. The oats were not much better, the corn did not ripen and money could not be obtained from any source. The success which he has achieved is due entirely to his own efforts and he may truly be called a self-made man.


In 1871, Mr. Steggall was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 20th of November, leaving three children. The two sons we have mentioned. Samuel P., who owns and operates a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres, highly improved, married Sarah O'Neil in 1866, and unto them have been born two children; John F., who married Rachel O'Neil in 1869, has a highly cultivated farm of one hundred and twenty acres. One child graces their union. The daughter, Anna A., who was born in this county April 27, 1860, is the wife of Ziba Miller, who since 1867 has resided in this county. He is now a farmer of Oran Township and they have three interesting children.

After the death of his first wife Mr. Steggall was joined in wedlock with Mrs. Nancy M. Tainer, January 11, 1881. She is a daughter of Lindsey D. and Lydia (Kinsman) Engle. Her father was born in New York, July 8, 1805, and on the 22d of October, 1829, in Yates County, married Miss Kinsman, who was born in Arlington, N. Y., January 8, 1805. He was a farmer by occupation in his native State and on his removal to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1830 he purchased a large tract of land. The children of their family are as follows - Betsy Ann, who was born August 2, 1830, and died June 8, 1833; Cynthia C., who was born October 17, 1832, became the wife of Mathew Broadbent in Mt. Pleasant, Wis., July 16. 1850, and came with her husband to this county, where he died February 28, 1875. She then married Edwin Broadbent, brother of her first husband, and they reside in Boone County, Neb. She has had eleven children: Lydia Ann, born August 27, 1834, died February 28, 1842; Alonzo K., born April 20, 1836, enlisted for the late war in August, 1861, as a member of Company C, Ninth Regiment Iowa Volunteers, and died May 5, 1862; Nancy M., wife of our subject, is the next younger; Sarah T. born March 25, 1840, died March 15, 1862; and Emma M., who was born May 15, 1843, became the wife of Erastus Sufficool, September 28, 1863, in Hazleton, Iowa. She died February 27, 1866.

Nancy M. Engle was born January 16, 1839, and on the 8th of April, 1857, in Hazleton, Iowa, was joined in wedlock with Joel E. Tainter, who died in Howell County, Mo., August 7, 1870. They were the parents of five children - Emma J., born in Buchanan County, March 27, 1858, is the wife of E. D. Elliott; Lindsey K., born August 29, 1859, married Helen Baker of Oelwein, and now resides in Strawberry Point, Clayton County, where he is engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery; Myra H., born in Jefferson Township, this county, July 11, 1862, is the wife of George Nichols, a resident farmer of Buchanan County; Emory, born May 12, 1866, is a druggist of Sac City, Iowa; Anson L., born in Howell County, Mo., June 19, 1870, is a student in the Upper Iowa University of Fayette.


In political sentiment, Mr. Steggall is independent, voting for the man he thinks will best fill the office. His wife, a most estimable lady, is a member of the Christian Church. They are held in high esteem by many friends and are widely known throughout the community where they have made their home for many years. His farm comprises two hundred and fifty acres, valued at $40 per acre, and its principal products are corn, oats, hogs and dairy products. He keeps from twenty-five to thirty cows for dairy purposes and receives from this branch of his business an income of $60 per month. He also has several fine horses of the Clyde and Norman stocks and raises a good grade of hogs. Everything about the place is in keeping with a model farm and the owner is accounted one of the leading agriculturists of Oran Township.




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