History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: firstname.lastname@example.org)
A. R. MCCAIN
A. R. McCain is a prosperous farmer, owning one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 9, Platte township. He is a native of Scott county, Iowa, born September 8, 1862. His father, Alexander L. McCain, was born in North Carolina, where he grew to maturity. He was a strong advocate of the Union cause during the Civil war and on that account it became necessary for him to seek a home in the north and accordingly he settled on a farm in Scott county, Iowa. Later he took up his abode in Warren county, this state, where he continued to follow agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in the spring of 1899. He had been married twice and by his first union there is a surviving son and daughter: John G., a resident of west Tennessee; and Martha J., the wife of William Wilson, of Scott county, Iowa. He was married a second time in South Carolina to Miss Jane McQuiston, who was born and reared in that state. She became the mother of eight children, of whom three sons and one daughter survive: H. J., now a resident of Idaho; R. E. of Chicago; Anna E., who is with her brother in that city; and A. R., of this review. The mother departed this life in 1905, her death occurring in Taylor county.
(Page 297) A. R. McCain, the youngest child of his father's second marriage, was but a lad when the family removed from Scott to Warren county, this state, and it was in the latter place that he was practically reared. As soon as old enough he was set to work in the fields, his time being thus employed during the spring and summer months, while during the winter months he attended the district schools. He continued to assist his father in the management of the homestead farm until the latter's death. In 1899 he purchased his present farm in Taylor county, which he rented for one year to his brother, H. J. McCain, who then removed to an adjoining farm, which he purchased but after a residence of ten years there, removed to Idaho, where he now resides.
It was on the 6th of October, 1892, that A. R. McCain was united in marriage to Miss Cordelia Thompson, a daughter of Mitchell Thompson. He was a soldier in the Civil war, serving as a member of the Eighty-third Illinois Volunteer infantry, and was killed while at the front. Mrs. McCain was born and reared in Warren county, Illinois, and was educated in Monmouth College.
Following his marriage Mr. McCain continued on the home farm in Warren county, Iowa, remaining thereon until 1900, when he took up his abode on his own farm, which had been in his possession since a year before. He has built a large and substantial country residence and outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, has divided the place into fields of convenient size by good fences and has added to the productiveness of the soil by the use of tiling. He is ever seeking to enhance the value and productiveness of his land by the adoption of modern methods of agriculture and is most progressive in all his work.
Mr. and Mrs. McCain have three daughters: Bessie and Evelyn, who are high-school students in Lenox; and Irene, who is attending the district schools. Mr. McCain is a republican with strong prohibition tendencies. Both he and his wife are members of the United Presbyterian church at Lenox and are active in the work of the church and Sunday-school. Few men are more prominent in agricultural circles in Taylor county than is Mr. McCain. He is an important factor in business circles and his prosperity is well deserved, as in him are embraced the characteristics of an unbending integrity, unabating energy and industry that never flags. He is public-spirited, giving his cooperation to every movement which tends to promote the moral and material welfare of he community.
Elisha McCormick who for years was one of the active and prosperous farmers and stock raisers of Taylor county, and still owns a farm in Ross township although he is now living retired in Bedford, is numbered among the early settlers of this part of the state. He has been in Iowa since 1875 and the work that he has accomplished here not only rates him with the substantial men of the community but also as one whose efforts have been a valuable factor in promoting the material growth and progress of the community. A native of Pennsylvania, he was born in Greene county January 24, 1837, a son of Jacob McCormick, who was also born and reared in Greene county and was there (page 300) married to Miss Eliza Wilson, likewise a native of that county. They removed to Ohio in 1846, settling in Ashland county where they spent two years and then removed to Richland county in the same state, taking up their abode in that part of he county which was later set off as Morrow county. There Jacob McCormick engaged in general farming for a number of years but subsequently removed to Warren county, Illinois, settling six miles west of Monmouth, where he spent his last years.
Elisha McCormick arrived in Illinois in 1850 when a lad of thirteen years and was there reared on the home farm. He is almost wholly self-educated but in the school of experience has learned many valuable lessons of life. While still living in Warren county, Illinois, he was married, on the 13th of March, 1861, to Miss Susan Cummings who was born in Fulton county, Illinois, and spent her girlhood days in Fulton and Warren counties. The young couple began their domestic life in Warren county where Mr. McCormick improved a farm and carried on general agricultural pursuits for thirteen years. He then disposed of his property there in 1875 and removed to Taylor county, Iowa, where he purchased land, becoming owner of one hundred and sixty acres in Ross township. It was wild and unimproved when it came into his possession but he soon turned the sod, planted the fields and in course of time gathered rich harvests. He has erected a two-story residence upon the place and being a natural mechanic he planned and built his own house, doing even all the brick work. He first came to the county in 1874 and prepared the home for the family, his permanent removal, however, being in March, 1875. With characteristic energy he began the development and improvement of the place. His indefatigable energy and perseverance soon brought the farm under a high state of cultivation and for many years he gathered rich crops while the fields are still yielding abundant harvests in reward for the care and labor bestowed upon them. From time to time he made substantial improvements, including the building of an addition to the house. He has also put up two barns and good outbuildings, furnishing ample shelter for grain and stock. He likewise planted a grove and orchard. Upon that farm he resided until 1894 when he sold the property and bought a farm in Jackson township constituting an improved property of five hundred and sixty-eight acres. He removed to that place -- a neat and well improved stock farm, and in connection with the tilling of the soil he raised and fed stock and also bred and raised horses. He owned one Shire stallion which he purchased at a cost of two thousand, one hundred dollars. He continued his farming and stock-raising interests until 1907, when he went to Bedford where he purchased a good home, which he has since added to and remodeled. He also has erected a good barn upon his place and is now pleasantly situated, his business activities in former years enabling him to enjoy all of the comforts and some of the luxuries of life.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. McCormick have been born five sons and five daughters: Walter, who is married and follows farming in the Panhandle of Texas, where he owns three hundred and forty-nine acres; Edgar P. and Edwin C., twins, who are married and own and operate a part of the Jackson township farm; Fred, who is married and engaged in the cultivation of a farm in Ross township; Addie, wife of R. J. Montgomery, a farmer of Nodaway county, Missouri; Mary E., the wife of F. P. Beard, a retired farmer residing in Bedford; Villa, (page 301) the wife of C. E. Jones, a resident farmer of Ross township; and Rubie, the wife of A. C. Trumbo, a farmer of Jackson township. Mr. and Mrs. McCormick have lost two children, their first-born, daughter, Fannie, died in 1885, while Elmer died in 1888 in his sixteenth year.
Politically Mr. McCormick has been a life-long democrat since casting his first presidential ballot for Stephen A. Douglas, whom he heard speak on many occasions, also hearing him in the joint discussion and debate with Lincoln. While he has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking he has served for twelve years as township trustee and has been a member of the school board in Ross township for some years. He is always interested in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and cooperates in many movements for the general good. He has led an active life, has helped to improve two farms in Taylor county, and is widely and favorably known.
LEONARD T. MCCOUN
Leonard T. McCoun is a veteran of the Mexican war and also of the Civil war; is a pioneer settler of Taylor county; and is numbered among the lawyers and law makers of the state. All these facts combined make him worthy of representation in the history of Taylor county, within the borders of which he has resided for more than a half century. A native of Kentucky, Mr. McCoun was born in Woodford county, May 6, 1832. His paternal grandfather, John S. McCoun, was likewise a native of that state, where he passed away after reaching mature life. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Nancy Slaughter, died when well advanced in years. Both were of Scotch descent. They reared a family of several children, including John S. McCoun, who was born in Kentucky and became a physician and surgeon. In 1842 he removed to Danville, (page 313) Indiana, but was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, for his death there occurred in 1844, when he was about forty-five years of age. In early manhood he had wedded Elizabeth Munday, who was likewise born in the Blue Grass State and was a daughter of Thomas Munday, a native of Kentucky, who established a ferry on the Kentucky River near Harrodsburg, and also built flat-boats. That place is now called Munday's Landing. He died of cholera when past middle life and his wife, who was called "Sookie" (Slaughter) Munday, also died in middle life. The death of Mrs. Elizabeth McCoun occurred in 1833, and for his second wife Dr. McCoun chose Miss Arsena Towles. There were two children of the first union, Leonard T. and Elizabeth, but the latter died in early childhood. The children of the second marriage are: Nancy, now the widow of Harlan Hadley, and a resident of Danville, Indiana; and Fidelia, the wife of James L. McCoun, of Danville, Indiana.
Leonard T. McCoun was ten years of age when he accompanied his parents on their removal from Kentucky to Indiana, being reared in Danville. His education was largely acquired in the public schools and in the seminary there. He was only twelve years of age when his father died and was a youth of sixteen when he enlisted in the regular army and went as a recruit to Vera Cruz. There he was assigned to Company E, of the Second Regular Infantry, under command of Colonel Riley, while General Lyon of Civil war fame was at that time first lieutenant and was brevetted captain. Mr. McCoun served for one year in the regular army and in the organization of the militia on the border in 1861, he was elected lieutenant colonel of the regiment, the superior officer being Colonel Morledge. In 1862 he raised a company at Bedford, which became known as Company G, of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry. The company went to St. Joseph, Missouri, and there joined the regiment, and Mr. McCoun was chosen captain. He was with that command for more than a year, when, on account of ill health, he was obliged to resign. While at home at Bedford, in the fall of 1863, he was elected captain of Company B, of the Border Brigade, and so served until the following May. Subsequent to that time he raised Company D, of the Forty-sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry and was with that command during its time of service -- one hundred days. The regiment was commanded by Colonel D. B. Henderson, afterward speaker of the national house of representatives.
When the war was over Captain McCoun returned to Bedford and resumed the practice of law, for which he had previously qualified. He was admitted to the bar in February, 1856, at Danville, Indiana, and came to Bedford that year but did not locate here permanently until 1857. He is today the oldest practicing lawyer in Taylor county and throughout the entire period has been regarded as a representative member of the bar because of the ability which he has displayed in handling the legal interests entrusted to his care. He was also elected judge of the probate court in 1861 but resigned that position in 1862, in order to join the army.
Pleasantly situated in his home relations, Mr. McCoun was married on the 12th of December, 1849, to Miss Sarah D. Mahan, a daughter of John and Nancy (Woodson) Mahan. Mrs. McCoun was born in Mercer county, Kentucky, and her father was a native of that state, while her mother's birth occurred in Virginia. Their family numbered nine children, of whom three are now living (page 314): Eliza, the widow of Joseph Lewis and a resident of Pittsburg, Indiana; Mrs. McCoun; and Indiana V., the wife of G. W. Turner, of Bedford.
When Mr. and Mrs. McCoun came to Bedford he purchased one hundred acres of land, for which he paid six hundred dollars, and he added to that, eighty acres. He brought his farm under a high state of cultivation but afterward sold the entire property with the exception of a tract of twenty acres, on which he resides and which constitutes an ideal home. In addition to this property he owns a large farm in Ross township, Taylor county. While carefully managing his business affairs and conducting his law practice -- in both of which he has been very successful -- Mr. McCoun is also supervising the interests of his own household. Unto him and his wife were born seven children, but the eldest, Nancy, died when eight years of age. John, who became a lawyer and practiced in Bedford, died in 1898. Mary J. is the widow of C. W. Connett, who was an engineer on the railroad and was killed in an accident. Emma died in early childhood. Martha died in infancy. William, who is a mason by trade, married Alma Bates, and after her death wedded Nellie Boner. The other child of the family died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. McCoun are devoted members of the Christian church and he belongs to Taylor Lodge, No. 156, A. F. & A. M. and to Sedgwick Post, G. A. R. He has long been recognized as one of the most prominent representatives in his district and was a member of the twelfth and thirteenth general assemblies of Iowa. He became county prosecutor and served for two terms, so that his official service has always been in the path of his profession. He owns a beautiful home just west of the corporation limits of Bedford, situated in the midst of a fine tract of land of twenty acres and there he spends his summer months, while in the winter season he occupies a good home which he owns in town. He is one of the old settlers of Taylor county and has watched with pride its growth and development as it has been transformed from a wilderness into one of the leading counties of the state. Throughout all these years he and his wife have been held in highest esteem here because of their many excellent traits of character. As a lawyer he ranks high, possessing an analytical mind and is noted as a successful pleader at the bar, having won many celebrated cases. Although he has now reached the age of seventy-seven years, he still remains in active connection with the profession and with public interests. In spirit he seems yet in his prime. Old age does not necessarily suggest helplessness or want of occupation. There is an old age which grows stronger and brighter mentally and physically as the years go by and continually gives out of its rich store of wisdom and experience, and such is the record of Leonard T. McCoun.
The name of James McDonald is an honored one in Taylor county, not only because of the success which its owner has attained in the business world but also by reason of the high and honorable principles which have ever guided his actions towards his fellowmen. One of Iowa's native sons, he was born in Monroe county on the 24th of February, 1859, and is a son of Michael and Elizabeth (Ludelow) McDonald. The father, who was born in Ireland, came with his parents to America at an early age and was reared in Canada. It was there he was married and four children were born, and he continued to make his home in that country, engaging in agricultural pursuits, until 1857. In that year he came to Iowa, locating in Monroe county, where he opened up a new farm and reared his family. There his death occurred in 1906, his wife having passed away about 1896. Their family consisted of seven sons and five daughters, all (page 533) of whom lived to years of maturity, while five sons and two daughters still survive.
On his father's farm in Monroe county James McDonald was reared to manhood, acquiring his education in the district schools near his home, and when a young man removed to Adams county, where he followed agricultural pursuits for a number of years in the capacity of renter. Later he came to Taylor county, purchasing eighty acres of partially improved land in Holt township, to the further development and cultivation of which he directed his efforts for several years. He then purchased four hundred and forty acres on section 22, Grove township, of which he later sold two hundred acres, and on the remaining two hundred and forty acres he has continued to make his home to the present time, bringing his fields under a high state of cultivation. He has a comfortable and attractive residence, has erected two large barns and substantial outbuildings, and on the place there is also a fine machine house. Two large wells, operated by wind power, furnish an excellent supply of water, both for the use of the house and for watering stock, while the place is equipped with all of the conveniences and accessories for facilitating farm labor. Here he carries on general farming, having made a close study of agriculture, and in connection therewith is a large stock dealer, raising and fattening from one to two carloads of cattle and from one hundred to one hundred and fifty hogs annually. He was also successfully engaged in raising Shropshire sheep for many years, and made a specialty of breeding good horses, selling a few very fine specimens each year. His stock was all of a high-grade and was well known throughout the surrounding district, his product commanding excellent prices and ready sale upon the market. As a dealer in stock he became very successful, this branch becoming a very important factor in his business activities and proving a most profitable source of revenue, while in his careful and wise management of all of his various enterprises and in his industry, energy and perseverance, lay the secret of the gratifying degree of prosperity which he today enjoys.
On the 22d of January, 1883, in Adams county, Mr. McDonald was united in marriage to Miss Mary Sullivan, a daughter of Timothy Sullivan, one of the early pioneer settlers of Jasper county, Iowa.
Unto them were born five children, namely: Edward, who is engaged in the manufacture of brick in Oklahoma; Nora, who died at the age of twelve years; James, who assists in operating the home farm; Timothy, also at home; and Mary, who died at the age of three years. The mother of these children passed away in Taylor county, April 12, 1894, and Mr. McDonald was again married June 23, 1898, his second union being with Mary M. O'Connell, a daughter of J. J. O'Connell, of Holt township, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Six children bless this marriage: Emmett, Paul, Nellie, Francis, Charles and Esther, all under the parental roof.
Politically Mr. McDonald gives stalwart support to the principles of the democratic party, but he has never aspired to public office as the reward for party fealty, preferring to concentrate his efforts upon the conduct of his private business affairs. He has, however, been connected with the schools of the township for a number of years and is at present serving as a member of the school board, doing all in his power to promote the standard of education in his locality.
Alexander McKenzie, recognized as one of the foremost business men of Taylor county, actively identified with commercial interests in Lenox for a quarter of a century, was born in Whiteside county, Illinois, in September, 1844, and was there reared to manhood. He attended the public schools in acquiring his education and in August, 1862, when not yet eighteen years of age, he enlisted at Fulton, Illinois, in response to the president's call for aid, joining Company I of the Seventy-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. With that command he went south and the first and only engagement in which he participated was at Perryville, Kentucky, for there he sustained three gunshot wounds, one through the jaw while another bullet pierced his arm and the third struck his leg between the bones. He was sent to the hospital at Louisville where he remained all through the winter of 1862-63, his mother going there and nursing him through his illness. His injuries were such that he was honorably discharged in the spring of the latter year and he is now one of the government pensioners, no pecuniary reward, however, being sufficient to recompense him for the suffering which he has undergone because of his injuries.
After his return home Mr. McKenzie again continued his education by attending school. He was married in Afton, Iowa, in October, 1870, to Miss L. C. Devore, a native of Carroll county, Illinois. Following their marriage Mr. McKenzie engaged in farming in Illinois for two or three years and then came to Iowa in the winter of 1874, purchasing raw land in Adams county. He commenced with eighty acres which he brought under cultivation and improvement. In his work he prospered and as his financial resources increased he bought more land from time to time until he owned four hundred acres. On this he placed substantial improvements and for ten years he carried on general agricultural pursuits.
In 1884 he removed to Lenox where he began dealing in agricultural implements and at the same time he superintended the operation of his farm for a few years. Later he extended his efforts in commercial lines by becoming a dealer in furniture and afterward turned his attention to the hardware trade, carrying a large line of shelf and heavy hardware. He secured a liberal patronage by reason of his honorable dealing, his fair prices and his earnest desire to please his patrons and from the beginning the enterprise has proven a source of profit. He erected a large business block and now carries an extensive stock to meet the demands of a growing trade. He is justly accounted one of the successful and prominent business men of Lenox and his enterprise and activity have proven factors in the commercial advancement of the town. While living on the farm he also conducted a contracting business for a time, building residences and barns and also making a specialty of the building of bridges for ten years. At one (page 287) time he was engaged in the hardware, furniture and implement business for ten years at Bedford, entering that enterprise as a member of the firm of Widner, McKenzie & Company, which late became McKenzie & McGregor.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie has been blessed with one son, Howard, who is now his father's partner and the active man of the firm at the present time. He is married and has four children.
In his political views Alexander McKenzie is a republican, giving stalwart allegiance to the party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He served as township trustee for some years and was a member of the city council of Lenox for a number of terms, discharging the duties of both positions in a most prompt and acceptable manner. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and on several occasions has been honored with election as commander of the post. In that organization he maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades, few of whom have made greater sacrifices for the country than Mr. McKenzie did. In all of his business life he has adhered to the highest standard of commercial ethics and in citizenship he has sought ever the welfare of the community before the aggrandizement of self. He is a man of genuine personal worth and his sterling qualities have gained him a high place in the regard of his fellowmen.