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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 757~


Thomas Hetherton

The subject of this sketch, an old, esteemed resident of Eden township now living in honorable retirement, was born in Kings county, Ireland, in 1829, and in 1847, the year of the terrible famine in that country, came to the United States and spent the seven years ensuing in New York city, working at the baker's trade. Imbued with the idea of becoming a farmer and land owner, he came to Iowa in 1854 and, being pleased with that part of the country which is now Eden township, decided to make it his home, accordingly he purchased a tract of government land, the same on which he still lives, and at once proceeded to improve the same. In due time he built a small log cabin, which answered the purpose of a dwelling for a number of years, and then addressed himself to the more difficult task of clearing and grubbing out a farm, the land being largely post oak and requiring much hard work to fit it for cultivation. During the time thus engaged he was obliged to do nearly all of his marketing at McGregor, about sixty miles distant, and it was no little matter to haul his grain and other products of the farm that far and sell them at the small prices which then obtained or exchange them for groceries, provisions, etc., with the advantage always in favor of the merchant.

After living on his place for some time and getting the land in fair condition for tillage, Mr. Hetherton went to Dubuque to take charge of a bakery, which position he held for two years and the earnings from which helped him very materially in his subsequent farming enterprise. By well directed labor and effective management he succeeded in due time in bringing his land to a high state of cultivation, besides making a number of substantial improvements, erecting a new and greatly enlarged dwelling about the year 1880, and at intervals previous to and after that date adding buildings which added much to the appearance and value of the place. The original cabin in which the family lived during the pioneer period and experienced many of the joys and vicissitudes of the early times was standing in 1910, being in the rear of the present residence and serving as a reminder of days and scenes forever past.

Mr. Hetherton has always been an honest, industrious man and an excellent, praiseworthy citizen, ever attending strictly to his own affairs and fulfilling his obligations and the scrupulous exactness characteristic of one who makes his work as sacred as his bond. His relations with his neighbors and friends have always been above the suspicion of wrong and by upright life he has maintained unsullied the honor of the family which he so worthily represents. A Democrat in principal and on state and national issues voting with his party, he is not a politician and in matters local gives little attention to the political affiliations, generally giving his support the candidates best qualified for the positions to which they aspire. Mr. Hetherton was among the first members of St. Rose Catholic church and at this time there are very few besides himself who went into the original organization of the parish. He has been loyal to his faith and a true son of the Holy Mother church and is still active in his religious duties, a liberal contributor to the cause which occupies such a prominent place in his heart and affections.

Mr. Hetherton was married in New York city to Catherine McIlroy, of Kings county, Ireland, near the same place where he was born and reared, the union being terminated by the death of the wife in 1886, after a mutually happy wedded life of nearly forty years' duration,. Mrs. Hetherton, was a woman of excellent parts, a true companion and helpmate and warm hearted and generous in her relations with others. She bore her full share of the labor and hardships required to establish a home in a new and undeveloped country nobly assisted her husband in all of his endeavors and reared her children under the wholesome moral and religious discipline which has had such a marked influence in directing their lives in proper channels.

Mr. and Mrs. Hetherton have reared nine children to maturity, namely: Ellen; Richard, a farmer of Chickasaw county; James; Mary Ann; Katie, wife of James Doyle; Thomas, who manages the home farm; Julia; Agnes, now Mrs. Ed Grown; and Delia, who married James Kelly, of Fayette county. Mary Ann, Ellen and Julia are their father's housekeepers. All the above are members of the Catholic church and stand high in the esteem of those with whom they mingle.

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