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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 880~


J. W. Dwyer


Michael Dwyer


Among the leading business men of West Union, Fayette county, Iowa, none take higher rank than the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch, who is successfully engaged in the real estate business. The success attained in his business enterprises has been greatly owing to his steady persistence, stern integrity and excellent judgment, qualities which cause him to take rank with the leading business men of this section of the county, besides winning for him the confidence and esteem of the public to a marked degree. J. W. Dwyer was born in Georgetown, Colorado, on August 26, 1871, and is a son of Michael and Mary (Galvin) Dwyer, both of whom were natives of New York state, though of Irish parentage.


The subjectís paternal grandparents, Dennis Dwyer and wife, were natives of county Limerick, Ireland and on their emigration to America they settled at Hancock, Michigan, where the husband died. He had there followed the pursuit of farming and was a man of fine qualities. The subjectís maternal grandparents, John and Mary (Welch) Galvin, who also were natives of Ireland, located in New York on reaching the United States, and in that state he successfully carried on railroad contracting. Subsequently he came to Fayette county, Iowa, where he became a pioneer farmer, having entered land. He was successful in this enterprise, and acquired more land from time to time, until his accumulations amounted to six hundred and forty acres. He remained on this farm until his death, his life here having been replete with duty faithfully performed and honorable relations with those with whom he came in contact.


Michael Dwyer, the subjectís father, followed the calling of mining and, going to Colorado, he operated one of the big mines of that state in its infancy, being considered an expert in his line. In 1878 he came to Fayette county and bought a farm near Westgate, to which he devoted his attention. The place now comprises two hundred and fifty-one acres and is generally considered one of the best farms in the township. Mr. Dwyer has here carried on a general line of farming and has also with much success given attention to the raising of livestock. In 1900 Mr. Dwyer relinquished the active labor of the farm and retired to the village of Westgate, where he now resides. To Michael and Mary Dwyer seven children were born, of whom five are now living. J. W. Dwyer was reared under the parental roof and received his preliminary education in the public schools of Fayette county, also taking a full commercial course in the Upper Iowa University.


At the age of nineteen years he engaged in the general mercantile business, forming a partnership with William H. Schoonmaker, this business being carried on until 1898. In 1892 Messrs. Schoonmaker and Dwyer began a private banking business, which was conducted with marked success until 1898, when they organized the State Savings Bank of Westgate, of which the subject became the vice-president, which office he still retains. The two gentlemen became associated also in the real estate business at Westgate, to which line Mr. Dwyer gave his entire attention until October 21, 1901, when he moved to West Union. On April 1, 1902, he bought the Colgrove & Snyder lumber and coal yards, taking possession on the 1st of the following October. He operated this business alone for several years, and then formed a partnership with F. B. Tamblyn, with whom he has since remained associated.


Mr. Dwyer has given the greater part of his attention to the real estate business, his operations in the main being confines to Iowa and North Dakota, more particularly to Fayette county. His judgment is considered good as to real estate values and his splendid business ability and sterling qualities of character have given him a marked prestige among business men. He has taken an active and leading part in efforts to advance the interests of the community and has served as president of the Commercial Club continuously since its organization, giving much of his time and personal effort to advance the business interests of the thriving town of West Union.


Mr. Dwyer is also a partner with A. F. Dellit in the lumber and coal business at Wapaloo, Iowa, one of the leading commercial enterprises of that city.


Politically, Mr. Dwyer is a stanch Democrat and has taken an active interest in the success of his party. In November, 1899, he was elected a member of the county board of supervisors, and so eminently satisfactory were his services that he was re-elected to the office in 1904. The more noteworthy is the fact that he is only Democrat ever elected to that office in Fayette county.


Religiously he and his family are members of the Catholic church, to which they give liberal support. His fraternal relations are with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and Knights of Columbus. On September 13, 1893, Mr. Dwyer was married to Grace VanWie, of Osage, Iowa, and they became the parents of two children, Lillian, deceased, and Leo. Mrs. Grace Dwyer died in 1897, and on October 16, 1901, Mr. Dwyer married Helen Farr, a daughter of Levi L. Farr, a prominent citizen of Fayette county, who was a veteran of the Civil war and at one time sheriff of this county. To this union were born two children, John L., born in 1903, and Donald W., born in 1905.


Mr. Dwyer is a man of fine personal qualities, possessing a genial disposition that enables him to readily make friends. He is public-spirited and is numbered among the progressive citizens of the community, being highly regarded by all who know him."

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Georgianna Gray


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