Mills County, Iowa
History of Fremont and Mills County, 1901
Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1901
A prominent citizen and veteran of the Civil war, now residing in Indian Creek township, Mills county, Iowa, is Arthur McClain, the subject of this sketch. He is a son of John and Mary (Stephenson) McClain, and was born in Knox county, Ohio. The parents of our subject settled first in that county, and in 1853 moved to Indiana, our subject being then about fifteen years old. The mother of our subject was born in Ohio, and died there when about thirty-three years old, leaving six children, who in turn married and had families of their own. The paternal grandfather was Arthur McClain and his wife was a native of Pennsylvania, who passed her last days in Knox county, Ohio. The maternal grandparents of our subject were John and Ann Stephenson, the former of whom was born in Ireland, and came to America when he was about fourteen years old. This was a pioneer family in Ohio.
In 1866, our subject was married to Miss Caroline Murray, a daughter of Alexander and Mary A. (Wyman) Murray, the former of whom was born in Schenectady, New York, in 1805, and died in Livingston county, in that state, in 1861, having been engaged in farming all his life. The mother of Mrs. McClain was born in Genesee county, same state, four of her family of five children surviving. Mrs. McClain's paternal grandparents were James and Nellie (Thompson) Murray, natives of New York, who lived and died there, and her maternal grandparents were Warren and Caroline (Roe) Wyman, the former a native of Vermont, who died in New York, the latter a native of New York, who spent her whole life there. Both of these families are old and prominent, having descendants in many states of the Union.
The children born to our subject and wife are: Rev. Albert M., a Presbyterian minister and superintendent of the Nez Perce Indians in Idaho and has two children; John Henry, who has one daughter; Carl A., a school teacher in this township; Marian F., who is attending school in Omaha, Nebraska; and Lulu M., a student of the Emerson school. All of these children have been well educated. Mr. McClain taking a deep interest in educational matters in his district.
On September 18, 1861, Mr. McClain enlisted in the Union army and gave faithful service to his country until October 27, 1864, when he was mustered out. His service was for three years, when he answered the call that was made for three hundred thousand men and entered Company K, Thirty-seventh Indiana Volunteers, under Captain John McKee, who lost his life in the battle of Stone River. Under Captain John B. Reeve, our subject accompanied his regiment through many serious engagements, was captured by the enemy at Pulaski, Tennessee, and paroled, later was taken sick and obliged to spend some time in the military hospitals at Nashville and Murfreesboro. Mr. McClain was present at the battle of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Kenesaw and almost all the important battles of the army of the Cumberland. For one hundred and twenty days our subject was continually engaged, finally reaching Atlanta with his regiment.
The first time that our subject voted the Republican ticket was in the first campaign of Abraham Lincoln, since which time he has never wavered in his allegiance to that party. He is a charter member of the G.A.R. post at Emerson, in which he takes an active interest.
Few men have seen more of the horrors of war than our subject, and few veterans can show a better record. His devotion to his country was sincere, and when sick in the hospital and offered a furlough he would not accept it, hoping sooner thereby to be able to return to the battlefield. Mr. McClain possesses the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens and may be considered a representative man of Indian Creek township.
Among the prominent and successful farmers of Mills county, Iowa, who enjoys the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens must be named the subject of the present review, Augustus McClenahan, who resides upon section 11, Anderson township. He was born in Trader's Point, Iowa, August 18, 1848. He was the son of Robert McClenahan, who was born in Kentucky, in 1807, and died at Trader's Point, Iowa, on December 10, 1852. While still a very young man Robert McClenahan took up his residence in Stark county, Ohio, teaching school there, also in central Illinois, and after his removal to Iowa. In Ohio he made the acquaintance of, and married, Lucy A. Richards, of Stark county, a daughter of Augustus Richards and his wife, who belonged to the old Doggett family of Virginia Mr. and Mrs. McClenahan came to Iowa in 1846 and were among the very first settlers of Mills county, where they reared their family: Mary Ellen, the wife of Daniel Hougas; Frances Elizabeth, the wife of G. P. Schenck, of Montgomery county; and our subject. The father lived until death at Trader's Point, after which the mother married Jeremiah Bunker and bore him one daughter, now Mrs. Gifford, a resident of Carson, Iowa. Mr. Bunker died in Nebraska, and she survived many years, passing away in June 1897.
Brought up on a farm and accustomed to agriculture, our subject has made a success of his life work. His educational advantages, like those of many others of his day, were limited but native good sense and a sterling character have supplied all deficiencies. It was on the 23d of October, 1872, that he was married to Miss Mary I Schenck, a native of Indiana, who was born in 1850 and was a daughter of James M. and Alzina (Fisher) Schenck, both of whom are deceased.
Our subject remained on the farm where his mother had settled in 1855, also becoming the possessor of a land warrant of eighty acres from his grandfather Richards, who had been a soldier of the war of 1812. He now has a finely stocked and well cultivated farm of three hundred and twenty-six acres with eight acres of timber land additional. He raises corn, wheat, oats, but principally corn, some years harvesting from six to eight thousand bushels in all. He also raises Poland China hogs and breeds colts, and owns some twenty horses.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. McClenahan have grown up around their hearth to be the comfort of their declining years. The oldest child was an infant that died when but five months old; Maud is the wife of R. E. Stone and has a little son, Sylvan; Pearl May is a teacher and lives at home; Robert Vernon and Lucy Edna, twins, are eighteen years old and live at home; Edna is a graduate of the Henderson high school; Ralph W.; and Inez, a bright little ten year old school girl. Pearl May was graduated at Shenandoah College and taught her first term of school in the Henderson high school, remaining a year. She is accomplished in music, and the musical talent seems to have been given to the whole family.
As a Republican Mr. McClenahan has always done his whole political duty, and his neighbors have honored him with their confidence, appointing him school director for twenty-five years. He was made treasurer before he was twenty-one years old.
Few homes are more happily placed than that of our genial subject and his excellent wife. Generous and liberal-minded, Mr. McClenahan makes friends in every direction, and is much interested in making his children happy by providing them with educational advantages. A new library is being added to the other comforts of the home.
Pennsylvania has furnished many pioneers to the west whose natural industry and business ability made them prominent wherever they located. Of such stock came Casper O. McCoy, a well known farmer of Ingraham township, Mills county, Iowa, who owns and lives on a fine six-hundred acre farm not far from Silver City.
Casper O. McCoy was born near Uniontown, the seat of justice of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, January 5, 1829, a son of James McCoy, who was born there in 1804 and died in Ingraham township, Mills county, Iowa , in 1865. James McCoy married Margaret Graham, a native of Pennsylvania, who was reared there in a German family, and in 1839 they went with teams from Pennsylvania to Fulton, Whiteside county, Illinois, where they remained during the winter of 1839-40. In the spring of 1840 they moved on to Scott county, Iowa, and in 1843 went to Cedar county, also in this state, whence they came in 1850 to Ingraham township, Mills county. They were practical farmers and reared their three sons and five daughters to the work and responsibilities of farm life, and all of them are living except the eldest son, Joseph G. McCoy, who was killed by a runaway team in Oregon, in his sixtieth year, and whose oldest son was killed there by the Indians. Mr. McCoy was a prominent farmer and a leader in local affairs and held many township offices. His widow survived him ten years and died in 1875, aged seventy-three. They are buried at East Liberty cemetery, Ingraham township.
Casper O. McCoy left home at the age of nineteen years and worked out by the month and for about three years lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was married in 1851, in Cedar county, Iowa to Lucinda Watkins, a native of Pennsylvania, who bore him a son and a daughter, both of whom live in California. He was married a second time in 1856 to Miss Frances Butts, of Platte county, Missouri, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. The daughters are deceased. Frances McCoy died in 1875, and June 20, 1877, Mr. McCoy married Mrs. Josephine Orr, in Council Bluffs, by Rev. T. H. Cleland. the son, William McCoy, who lives on the McCoy homestead, has two daughters and his only son is dead. Lee McCoy, Mr. McCoy's second son, who also lives on the homestead, has six children living.
In the fall of 1861 Mr. McCoy came from Missouri to Ingraham township, Mills county, Iowa, and bought seventy acres of land, at five dollars an acre. He was successful as a farmer and saved money and bought other land, for eighty acres of which, now constituting his home farm, he paid fifty dollars an acre. Mr. McCoy is now living in comparative retirement from active life, believing that his many years of hard work entitle him to a season of rest, and his sons farm his land and are regarded as industrious, intelligent, progressive citizens. Lee McCoy has won a reputation as an expert checker player and his love for the game is well known to all who are acquainted with him. By a former marriage to Anderson Orr, Mrs. Josephine McCoy had a son, Eugene A. Orr, who died as the result of cerebro-spinal meningitis, and was an invalid from the age of sixteen years until his death fourteen years afterward. He was a good student and a boy of bright intellect, whose brief and unfortunate life filled all who knew him with regret at his loss.
McCOY, JAMES J.
Almost every state in the Union has sent some of its sons to Iowa, and the characteristics of the different sections of the country have combined here in forming a spirit of enterprise and progress that has builded up a commonwealth of large proportions, while the work that it has accomplished has excited the admiration of the nation. Mr. McCoy is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in the Keystone state in 1854. His father, Robert McCoy, spent his early life in the east and was there married to Miss Phoebe Anne Jester, a native of Pennsylvania, in which state their marriage was celebrated. Five children were born of their marriage, namely: J. E. and W. E., who are residents of Mills county; Emma and Sarah who are at home with their father; and James J., of this review. The year 1856 witnessed the arrival of the family in Iowa, and the father bought the land upon which he now resides. It was then a wild tract on which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made, but today it is a fine and valuable farm, pleasantly located about one mile east of Glenwood. There the father is still living and is one of the highly respected and honored pioneers of the community. He had one brother, James McCoy, who was a gallant soldier in the Civil war. He enlisted in Pennsylvania and participated in the battle of Gettysburg, the most hotly contested and memorable engagement of the war.
Mr. McCoy, whose name introduces this review, was only two years of age when brought by his father to Iowa, and in the district schools near his home he was educated. Upon a farm he was reared, early taking his place in the fields behind the plow. Practical experience thus fitted him for carrying on agricultural pursuits on his own account and today he owns, occupies and cultivates a farm three southwest of Hillsville.
Mr. McCoy was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Schappell, who was born in New York state, a daughter of Andrew Schappell, who was born in Germany and from the fatherland crossed the Atlantic to New York, and is still living, his home being in Glenwood, Iowa. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Christina Slomp, is now deceased. She, too, was born in Germany, her birthplace being in the northern portion of the country. Andrew Schappell first opened his eyes to the light of day in Worms, one of the most historic places in the fatherland, prominent on account of the reformation which was there inaugurated by Martin Luther, who gave to the world its Protestant religion. Mr. Schappell had two brothers who were soldiers in Blucher's army and were both killed at the battle of Waterloo. Unto the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. McCoy have been born five children: Maggie, now the wife of Lucas Reasner, a member of a very prominent family of Mills county: Mrs. Annie Wiles, whose husband is a representative of one of the old families of that locality; Nellie, Rhoda and Jennie, who are intelligent and ambitious girls, in whose education the parents take a deep interest, being determined that good advantages in that direction shall fit them for life in later years.
Those who have never been called upon to face the necessity of making a home in a new country can scarcely understand the trials and privations which the early pioneers encountered in their struggles with wild nature. The history of the subject of our sketch and a description of his present productive farm would be incomplete without reference to his prents, William and Jane (Harper) McGee, who were among the pioneers of Indiana. They possessed the stalwart frames and sturdy will that made of their children the first pioneers of a land still farther west.
James McGee was born in West Virginia, June 28, 1825, his father, William, having been born in Kentucky, in 1792 and his mother in Virginia, where their marriage took place, in 1820. In 1830 they emigrated to Indiana, settling in the dense woods on the Wabash river. Here Mr. McGee took up and cleared one hundred and twenty acres of government land, laboring as only a man of stalwart frame and perfect health could do, being ably assisted by a faithful and devoted wife. She was noted for her capable management of her household, not only caring for it and her family, in the wilderness, but proving in every way a real and true helpmate for her husband, and her descendants honor her memory. Six sons and four daughters came to them, six of the family still living, all in Iowa, with the exception of one son, who is in California. William McGee died in Fountain county, Indiana, in 1850, the mother of our subject surviving until 1891, dying in Shenandoah, Fremont county, Iowa.
James McGee, the subject of this memoir, had very little chance for schooling, but has proven that success does not always depend upon education. He has accumulated property, is one of the solid men of his neighborhood, and has gained the respect of all by these sterling qualities which enabled him to overcome the disadvantages of early life. When twenty-one years of age he was a flatboatman on the Wabash river, living at home. In 1850, when twenty-five years of age, he removed to Iowa, where he has lived ever since. The next year after his removal to Iowa, he wished to obtain a horse and some money that he had left in Indiana, and started on the long tramp of six hundred miles, making it in twelve and one-half days! Buying another horse and wagon, he returned to Iowa, where he had built a house of logs, and had at that time fifteen dollars with which to begin housekeeping.
Fortunately for Mr. McGee he had married a heroic woman who cheerfully endured the privations of their life, assisted him in every way by her advice and example, and still lives to tell of those days. For eight years she cooked the family meals without a stove, sometimes out of doors, and for two years after building their cabin they had no brick chimney. The first summer a child was born, adding to the cares of Mrs. McGee, and when the daughter was but about two years old the twins came, making her duties heavy indeed, as she was obliged to do all of her own work, the nearest neighbor being two miles away. Wild animals wandered even to the door of their cabin, but through it all she preserved the patience and sweet disposition which have made her beloved by all those who come within her acquaintance. The name of this admirable woman was Lydia A. Davis, born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1827. She was the daughter of John and Mary (Reed) Davis, who had moved from Kentucky in 1836 to Missouri, and thence to Hancock county, Illinois, where the mother died in 1844. Then Mr. Davis moved to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, at which place James McGee first met this lady who became his wife, they being married in Council Bluffs, in 1852. She had been bereft of her mother at the age of seventeen years and upon her shoulders was thrown the care of twin boys five years old and an infant. Her father later removed to Wisconsin, where he died at the age of eighty-four years.
When Mr. and Mrs. McGee started out in life he was often obliged to work for fifty cents a day to provide for the necessities of his growing family; but labor brought its own reward and a proud day it was when they became the possessors of the first one hundred acres of land. They have now four hundred and thirty acres of well stocked and finely cultivated land and three pairs of horses, while for the past twenty eight years they have resided in their comfortable residence in section 1, in Anderson township.
The family of Mr. and Mrs. McGee was a large one, consisting of fourteen members, twelve of whom are still living: Mary, the wife of Charles Russell, a farmer of Hall county, Nebraska, has six children; Luther and Lucy, twins, the former of whom is a farmer in Monroe county, Iowa, and has five children, and the latter died, a young mother, leaving an infant; William and Henry, twins, the former deceased at the age of nineteen and the latter a farmer of Monona county with seven children; Almira, the widow of Edgar Helm, of Page county, Iowa, has three children; Jane, the widow of Julian Parmly, living at home with her parents; Addie, the wife of Robert Harding, has seven children; John, a farmer in Nebraska county, Nebraska, has four children; Charles, a tenant farmer at his parental home, has one son; Maggie, the widow of John Royal; Andrew, a farmer in Pottawattamie county, has one daughter; Bertha, the wife of Frank Sliter, of Woodbury county, Iowa, has two sons; and Della, the wife of Asa Williamson, lives near Emerson, but they have no children. There are two great-grandchildren in the family, and a pleasant sight it must be to see this aged couple with all of their descendants about them.
Mr. McGee is a staunch Republican, and, remembering how he has borne his part through life, one may judge that he has firm convictions.
McKOWN, JOHN B.
John B. McKown is one of the public officials of Hastings, holding the position of postmaster, and his fidelity in office is as marked as was his loyalty when, at the time of the Civil war, he defended the stars and stripes on the battlefields of the south. His wide acquaintance will render his history one of particular interest to the readers of this volume. Therefore it is with pleasure we present his record among those of other representative men of southwestern Iowa.
Mr. McKown was born in Elizabeth, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania in 1842. His father, James McKown, is also a native of the Keystone state, but the paternal grandfather, James McKown, was born in Ireland. On crossing the Atlantic to America he made his way direct to Chester county, Pennsylvania, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, and spent his remaining days in the Keystone state. His wife was also a native of the Emerald Isle, where they were married, and she, too, died in Pennsylvania. James McKown was born on the 24th of August, 1808, and in his early life learned the tailor's trade. He married Miss Maria Bryce, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1797, her parents, however, being natives of Scotland. In order to support his family Mr. McKown continued to work at his trade, and one of his best remembered business transactions was the making of a suit of clothes for James G. Blaine, who was then a young man residing in Allegheny county, where he was married. At one time he belonged to the Pennsylvania militia. His wife prepared food for the American soldiers in the war of 1812, her people being innkeepers in Pennsylvania at an early day.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. McKown were born the following named: James, now deceased; Margaret, the deceased wife of the Rev. Joseph White, a United Presbyterian minister, who also has passed away; Mattie J., who has long been a missionary in the educational department of the United Presbyterian church in Egypt; Mrs. Sarah M. Wright, who is living with her husband in Mahaska county, Iowa; and Mrs. Trapena Taggart, a widow now living in Denver, Colorado. With their family the parents came to Iowa in 1854, locating on a farm in Lee county, whence they subsequently removed to Monmouth, Illinois. Later, however, they returned to the Hawkeye state, taking up their abode in Marion county, in the spring of 1862, there continuing until 1872, when they located in Decatur county. After two years, however, they came to Mills county, in 1875, settling on a farm in Indian Creek township. The father died in Kansas in 1884, while the mother died in Emerson, Iowa, in 1877.
John B. McKown, whose name introduces this record, was twelve years of age when the family came to this state. He accompanied his parents on their various removals and while living in Monmouth, Illinois, he responded to his country's call for aid, enlisting as a member of Company C, Eighty-third Illinois Infantry, on the 22nd of July, 1862. He went to the front under Captain L. B. Cutter and Colonel A. C. Harding, the troops proceeding to Fort Hineman, Kentucky, on the Tennessee river, and the first important engagement in which he participated was at Fort Donelson. Subsequently he was with his company in guerrilla service through Kentucky and Tennessee, being thus engaged until the cessation of hostilities. In that manner of warfare his regiment had frequent conflicts with General Joe Wheeler's men and the troops under other noted southern leaders, and the service which fell to the lot of the Eighty-third Illinois was of a very arduous nature. At Nashville, Tennessee, Mr. McKown was mustered out, on the 24th of June, 1865, and on the 6th of July of that year he received an honorable discharge.
Joining his family in Iowa, Mr. McKown has for some time been engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was connected with commercial interests in Emerson, being employed as a salesman in a dry goods store at that place for twelve years. In public affairs Mr. McKown has been prominent, for his fellow townsmen recognizing his worth and ability, have frequently called him to office. He served for several terms as the town recorder of Emerson, for two years a township clerk and for a number of years was a member of the school board. On the 1st of January, 1898, he was appointed postmaster at Hastings and his administration of the affairs of the office has been commendable and satisfactory. In politics he has been a stalwart Republican, casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. In his social relations he is identified with Milton A. Summers Post, G.A.R. of Malvern, and he and his wife attend the Hastings Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. McKown was married in 1868 to Miss Margaret Carter, a daughter of Henry and Fannie Carter, an old and prominent family of southwestern Iowa. Her people came to this state from Connecticut in 1856 and were therefore pioneers. The marriage of our subject and his wife was celebrated in Knoxville(sic), Mills county, Iowa, and unto them have been born in following children: Ronald K. Fannie M., now the wife of T. G. Fewson, of Pueblo, Colorado; Arthur C., also of Pueblo; and Merle C., James H., Ila C., Ada G., Frank H. and Flora H., the last two being twins, are still with their parents.
Mr. McKown is a man of genial disposition and kindly nature, and manifests thoughtful consideration for others. He finds his greatest happiness by his own fireside in the midst of his family and counts no sacrifice or effort too great that will enhance their happiness or promote the welfare of his wife and children. In his business affairs he has been successful, his careful management, sound judgment and untiring effort bringing to him creditable prosperity. He indeed deserves mention among the prominent people of Hastings and should find a place in the history of the men of business enterprise in the great west whose force of character, intelligence, integrity and control of circumstances have contributed in such an eminent degree to the solid growth and progress of the entire country., His life has been manly, his actions sincere, his manner unaffected and his example well worthy of emulation.
McMULLIN, LOUIS D.
A well known and highly esteemed citizen of Indian Creek township, Mills county, Iowa, is Louis D. McMullin, the subject of this review. He was born in 1830, in Ohio, but was reared in that part of Virginia now known as West Virginia, having been taken there a child of seven years. He was a son of James and Mary (Vears) McMullin, the latter a daughter of Elisha Vears, of German ancestry, but a native of Pennsylvania. Her birth was in Ohio and she died in Illinois. The paternal grandfather was a native of Ireland who immigrated to this country and became a soldier in the Revolutionary war, dying in that service. James McMullin was born in Ohio, but his death took place in West Virginia. The members of the family of Mr. and Mrs. McMullin were: William; Minerva J., deceased; Mrs. Diantha Wagoner, living in California; James, who died in Ottumwa, Iowa; and our subject
In 1852 our subject left West Virginia with his mother and located in Henderson county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming and was a brick-mason and contractor from his twenty-second year until about six years ago, putting up many of the best brick buildings in this part of Iowa. He and his partner built the first business house in Red Oak. He was a good workman, having learned the trade in West Virginia, but farming seemed to be a more secure way of existence and this business he adopted as his life work when he came to Mills county in 1866. He had seen a year's service in the army, having enlisted in Company G, Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, under Colonel Shedd, early in 1864, and this regiment was ordered to Nashville, where it was destined to be connected with some of the severest fighting of the year. Mr. McMullin took part in the destruction of Atlanta and all of the fighting in that vicinity, enduring many privations and bravely doing his duty to his country. He was mustered out in Springfield, in July, 1865, and the next year came to his present home in the great state of Iowa.
Mr. McMullin has been very successful in his farming and now owns one hundred and twenty acres of some of the most productive land in Mills county. His improvements rank well with those of his neighbors and his residence offers every comfort of life to his interesting family.
The marriage of our subject was to Miss Mary Catherine Davis, a daughter of James R. and Hannah (McCullough) Davis, of Scotch and Dutch ancestry. The children of this marriage are: Frank E., James William, Harry C., deceased, Edwin S., Mrs. Clara E. Pratt, Mrs. Mary J. Ruby, Mrs. Euphie H. Salmons, Mrs. Myrtle L. Silkett, Fannie A. and Mrs. Eldra Floy Young. the family life of Mr. and Mrs. McMullin is a most pleasant one and all are connected with the Cumberland Presbyterian church where they are much esteemed.
In politics Mr. McMullin is a Republican, although he does not like any departure from the old principles of the party. In the township he has been called upon to serve as school director for many years. His connection with the Masonic order dates back fifty years, making him one of the oldest members in the county. The family is one of the most highly regarded in this section, and Mr. McMullin is justly considered a representative man in Indian Creek township.
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