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: email@example.com)
GEORGE S. MCKINLEY
Among those whose activities have been important factors in the material growth and prosperity of Bedford may be classed George S. McKinley, well known brick-manufacturer and ex-mayor of this city. A native of Indiana, he was born February 12, 1857, a son of John L. and Elizabeth (Schwartz) McKinley, both natives of Juniata county, Pennsylvania. The family is of Scotch-Irish descent, although represented in America for a number of years. The paternal grandfather of George S. McKinley was John McKinley, native of (page 390) Pennsylvania, who died in Juniata county, November 25, 1841, when still comparatively young. His wife also passed away in that county. They were parents of six children. Nothing is known of the maternal grandfather of our subject save that he was a native of Pennsylvania and the father of nine sons and one daughter. John L. McKinley, the father of George S., was a miller by trade, and upon leaving his native county in Pennsylvania, removed with his wife westward to Indiana where he engaged in the milling business for some time when, in 1857, he located in Topeka, Kansas, where he entered a homestead claim. Here he engaged actively in agricultural pursuits for four years when he removed to Afton, Iowa, where he conducted a mill for a time. Later he went to Clarinda, Iowa, and there he followed his trade as miller for nine or ten years. In the meantime he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in that vicinity and this farm was operated by his sons, with the aid of hired help, while his energies were directed toward the management of his milling enterprise. He died in 1904 when more than seventy-five years of age, having survived his wife for eight years, her death occurring in 1896 when she was about sixty-two years old. They were both members of the Methodist church, and in their family were six children, two of whom died in infancy. Those now living are: George S., of this review; Margaret A., the wife of J. F Pearson of Pitkin, Colorado; William F., also of Pitkin; and John A., of Cripple Creek, Colorado.
The boyhood days of George S. McKinley, whose name introduces this record, were spent on his father's farm in Page county, Iowa, where he attended the district schools and aided his brothers in the conduct of the farm. Here he remained until twenty-two years of age, when, thinking to find broader fields of activity in other lines of business, he took the overland route to the Rocky Mountains and there engaged in gold mining for about fourteen years. In 1893, however, he returned to Iowa and resided near Clarinda until 1897, in which year he came to Bedford and purchased the brickyard of H. U. Greenlee. Here he has continued to manufacture brick and as the years have come and gone, his business has steadily increased until it has reached very gratifying proportions, the output of the enterprise averaging about six hundred thousand brick annually. As he has prospered he has invested to some extent in real estate, and he now owns a fine home in Bedford, a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Lane county, Kansas, and a brick cottage and thirteen acres of land within the corporation limits of Bedford, while the success to which he has attained ranks him among the prosperous and influential citizens of this city.
On the 28th of March, 1894, Mr. McKinley was united in marriage to Miss Ella Cunning, a daughter of William J. and Elizabeth (Good) Cunning, and they have four children: Ralph Edwin, Jesse Harlan, Harry and Charles H., the last-named having died in infancy. Mrs. McKinley was born in Taylor county, Iowa, while her mother was a native of Ohio. Her father, a soldier of the Civil war, was one of the early settlers in Iowa. He lived in Page county, Iowa, until his marriage, when he removed to Taylor county and later to McPherson county, Kansas, where he resided for twelve years. Upon returning to Iowa he located in Page county, making his home there until 1900, since which time he has lived in Bedford. He and his wife were the parents of eleven children, eight of whom are now living, namely: Ira B.; Ella Frances, the wife of George S. McKinley; Harry; Alretta, the wife of R. F. Miller of St. Louis, Missouri; Maggie, the wife of Joseph Meredith of Bedford; William W. of Taylor county; Grace Elizabeth; and Myrtle. William J. Cunning was one of eight children born to Ira and Catherine Cunning, the others being: Elizabeth, the wife of Allen Long; Melissa, the wife of Christopher Claytor; Mary, who wedded Jesse Wickett; Josephine, the wife of Moses Turner; Sarah, who died when a young lady; Amos; and Wilson. The father died in middle life, while his wife survived him, living to a ripe old age. The maternal grandfather of Mrs. McKinley was Noah Good, a farmer and early settler in Iowa, who late removed to Kansas. He and his wife both lived beyond the Psalmist's allotted span of life, his death occurring when he was eight-four years of age, while she died when eighty-two years old. They had a large family, four of whom are yet living: Maggie, the wife of Benjamin Bare; Elizabeth, the mother of Mrs. McKinley; Fannie, who wedded Daniel Kilmer; and Joseph Good.
Mr. and Mrs. McKinley are both members of the Christian church, in which Mr. McKinley is serving as an elder. In his fraternal relations he is associated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while politically he gives his allegiance to the republican party. He served as councilman for four years, and that his efforts received the endorsement of his party and the community at large is indicated in the fact that he was honored with election to the highest office within the gift of his fellow citizens, and for four years served as mayor of Bedford. In his business he is straightforward and reliable, his success coming through legitimate business channels, and he enjoys and richly merits in the highest degree the confidence and respect of the entire community.
George McMaster, living on section 26, Ross township, devotes his time and energies to farming, and that his labors have been attended with desirable results is indicated by the fact that he is now the owner of one hundred and sixty-five acres and altogether cultivates two hundred and forty acres in this county. Stock raising is moreover a profitable feature of his business and his life is altogether one of untiring industry, crowned with success. Taylor county numbers him among her native sons for his birth occurred within her borders August 10, 1876. His father, John C. McMaster, was a native of Scotland and of Scotch and Irish lineage. He spent his boyhood days in the land of hills and heather and when a young man came to the new world, locating first in Taylor county, Iowa, where he became the owner of land, for which he traded an ox team. It was covered with brush and not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made on the farm, but he resolutely faced the situation, knowing that much arduous labor would be required to transform the land into rich and productive fields. As time passed he bought more land for annually the sale of his crops gave him a substantial financial return, and as he prospered he invested his earnings in farm property until he became the owner of several hundred acres. For a long period he figured as one of the prosperous and well known farmers of this community. He was married in this county to Miss Sarah Thompson, a native of Indiana, and they reared their family upon the farm which continued to be the home of the husband and father until he was called to his final rest, his life's labors being terminated in death on the 4th of March, 1901. His widow still survives him and yet resides on the old home place.
George McMaster was one of a family of ten sons and five daughters and with the exception of one of the sons all are yet living. His youthful days were spent in the usual manner of farm lads. He worked on the old home place from the time of early spring planting until crops were harvested in the late autumn and thus became familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. He remained with his father and assisted him in cultivating the farm (page 328) until twenty-four years of age, when he determined to establish a home of his own.
It was on the 18th of April, 1900, in Elden, Iowa, that Mr. McMaster was united in marriage to Miss Maud Fluke, a native of Illinois, who was reared, however, in Iowa. Previous to his marriage, Mr. McMaster had located where he now resides and in the intervening years his labors have been intelligently directed toward the development and improvement of this place which, under his wise supervision, has come to be one of the valuable farm properties of Ross township. He has erected a substantial house and barn, has planted many fine red cedar and evergreen trees and has also set out an orchard which yields its fruits in season and which constitutes one of the attractive features of the place. He also practices the rotation of crops, that he may keep his soil in good condition, and he raises and feeds stock and is also well known as a breeder of and dealer in pure blooded short horned cattle, having now a fine herd of fifty animals upon his place. He likewise raises Jersey hogs and is well known as a leading live stock dealer of the county, making frequent exhibits at the Taylor county fairs, on which occasions he has won numerous premiums.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. McMaster has been blessed with one daughter, Ethel, who is yet under the parental roof. The parents belong to the Union Baptist church and Mr. McMaster has been a life long republican, giving to the party his early support since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He has never held nor desired office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which have brought him a substantial return. His good qualities are widely recognized and he has many friends in the county where he has lived throughout his entire life.
J. C. MCMASTER
On the honor roll of the citizens of Taylor county appears the name of J. C. McMaster, whose death occurred at the old home on section 25, Polk township, March 3, 1902. He was numbered among the early settlers of this part of the state, having located in the county in 1857. He was at that time a young man of about twenty-nine years, his birth having occurred in Ireland in 1828. He spent the first twenty-four years of his life in the land of his nativity and then heard and heeded the call of the new world, believing its advantages and opportunities to be superior to those offered in Great Britain. Accordingly he crossed the Atlantic in 1852, settling first in Illinois, where he remained for about five years, while in 1857, he came to Iowa and made permanent location in Taylor county. This section of the state was then largely wild and unimproved and its residents were few. Much of the land was still in possession of the government and Mr. McMaster entered a tract of eighty acres, which he afterward sold. He then bought eighty acres, whereon the family now reside and moved to this farm.
It was on the 24th of November, 1859, that Mr. McMaster was united in marriage to Miss Sarah A. Thompson, a daughter of Daniel Thompson, who removed to Iowa about 1855 and was one of the first settlers of this county. He was a native of Owen county, Indiana, and removed thence to Texas, where he lived for seven years, on the expiration of which period he came to Iowa.
Following the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. McMaster they located on the farm where the family still reside and with determined purpose and indefatigable energy he took up the task of tilling the soil and improving the place, purchasing (page 577) more land from time to time until he became one of the large landowners and prosperous farmers of this locality, being well known in Taylor and Nodaway counties. He made substantial improvement on his place, including the erection of an attractive residence and good barns. As the years went by and he prospered in his undertakings, he gave to each of his sons a hundred acres of land and to one son, one hundred and seventy-five acres, and to his daughters he gave eighty acres each and also bestowed some valuable property on his wife. Since his death, Mrs. McMaster has purchased more land and now has over one hundred acres. She and her son have charge of the farm and the business interests of the property, and the farm is now carefully and successfully managed.
Mr. and Mrs. McMaster became the parents of ten sons and six daughters: Louisa Jane, who died when only about a year old; William D., a prominent and representative farmer of Polk township; Abram, who follows farming in Alabama; John Noble, who died May 4, 1908, at the age of forty-five years, leaving a family of eight children; Charles A., who is now engaged in the real-estate business in Idaho; Archie, who follows farming in Nodaway county, Missouri; Jerome, who is living on the home place; George, who is a resident farmer of Ross township; Amos, living in Hopkins, Missouri; Arthur, a farmer and prominent citizen of Nodaway county, Missouri; Harmon, who is connected with the Conservatory of Music at Maryville, Missouri, and also owning a half interest in the old home place; Mary, the wife of J. C. Beauchamp, now of Idaho; Martha, the wife of Reece George, living in Montana; Dora, who is residing with her brother William; Sarah and Alta, both at home. While their son, John Noble was returning from a trip to Chicago, a woman requested him to look after her baby while she got off the train at a certain station, but when the train started up again the woman did not appear and he found a note pinned to the child requesting him to see that it was well cared for. Taking it home, his parents at once announced their intention of keeping the helpless little one, who has since lived with the family and to whom they gave the name of Francis Train McMaster.
Mrs. McMaster and her daughters who are yet at home are members of the Baptist church. The family are numbered among the most prominent of Taylor county, occupying an enviable position in social circles, while their business connections are those of prominence.
W. D. MCMASTER
W. D. McMaster, a prosperous and representative agriculturist of Polk township, is numbered among the worthy native sons of Taylor county, his birth having occurred on the old family homestead in Polk township. His parents were J. C. and Sarah A. (Thompson) McMaster and a sketch of the father, who is now deceased, appears on another page of this volume. Mr. McMaster, of this review, attended the district schools in his youthful days and early in life also became familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist, giving his father the benefit of his services in the cultivation of the home farm. The work of the fields has claimed his attention throughout his entire business career, and he is now residing on a farm in Polk township which was given him by his father. He utilizes the most practical and progressive methods in the conduct of his agricultural interests and has won that measure of success which is ever the reward of earnest, untiring and well-directed labor.
Mr. McMaster has been married twice. On the 1st of January, 1884, he was joined in wedlock to Miss May A. Eggers, a daughter of Mathew Eggers, of Taylor county, by whom he had three children, namely: Evert and Roy, who are residents of Idaho; and Charles, at home. The wife and mother was called to her final rest on the 9th of May, 1887, and in April, 1894, Mr. McMaster was again married, his second union being with Miss Olive Lewis, a daughter of V. P. Lewis and a resident of Hopkins, Missouri. The children born unto them are four in number, as follows: Glenn, Ruth, Ernest and Mary, all of whom are still under the parental roof. Mr. McMaster is well known and highly esteemed throughout the county where he has resided from his birth to the present time, his many good traits of character having won him the confidence and respect of all with whom he has been associated.
FRANK C. MAHAFFEY
Frank C. Mahaffey is entitled to mention in this volume from the fact that he has been a resident of Taylor county from the time of its early settlement and has therefore witnessed the many changes which have been going on within its borders during the intervening years, at all times doing his full share in the work of improvement and transformation. He comes from a family which was founded in America during the early colonial days, representatives of the name having participated in the Revolutionary war, while his parents, Andrew and Martha (Flowers) Mahaffey, were among the pioneer settlers of the state of Ohio. His father, who was a farmer by occupation, had one brother, Hollingsworth Mahaffey, while his wife, who was a daughter of William Flowers, had two brothers and a sister, namely: William, Valentine and Katherine. Our subject has one sister and three brothers living, namely, Ara Ellen, William, Hollingsworth and Allec, while three brothers have passed away -- Andrew, Clint and Lewis.
Frank C. Mahaffey, whose name introduces this sketch, was born in Adams county, Ohio, July 21, 1857, and was a pupil in the public schools of his native state until he attained the age of fourteen years. When sixteen years of age, in company with his mother, he came to Iowa, settling in Washington county, where he lived with her for two years. Then, desiring to enter business life on his own account, in 1875 he purchased eighty acres of land, which constitutes the nucleus of his present extensive holdings. With characteristic energy and zeal he set about the development and improvement of this place and in due course of time his efforts were rewarded, for the soil of Iowa is naturally rich and fertile and responds readily and abundantly to the care and labor bestowed upon it. Soon he had his fields under a high state of cultivation and that his industry and perseverance brought to him substantial returns is indicated in the fact that from time to time he was able to add to his original purchase until his farm today consists of two hundred acres of the finest and most highly improved land in the township. He engages in general farming and also raises all kinds of stock, and his close application and good management are the salient elements in the gratifying degree of prosperity which he now enjoys.
On the 22d of December, in Page county, Mr. Mahaffey was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Millhone, a daughter of Lambert and Catherine (Nicholson) Millhone. The father was one of a family of eight children, the (page 597) others being Eliza, Harvey, Edward, Ebeneezer, John, Margaret and Isabelle, while the mother had three brothers, Jacob, Thomas and Benjamin Nicholson. Mrs. Mahaffey was one of a large family of children, namely: Frank and Emma, both now deceased; Newton; Thomas; Maude; Docia; and Effie, while some passed away in infancy. Harvey Millhone and Thomas Nicholson, brothers of Mr. and Mrs. Millhone respectively, were soldiers in the Civil war. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Mahaffey has been blessed with four children: Fraazes, Lambert, Hawley and Loren, all attending the public school.
Mr. Mahaffey holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church at Gravity, the teachings of which form the guiding influence of his life. In politics he gives his allegiance to the republican party, but neither seeks nor desires office for himself as a reward for party fealty. He has served as a director on the school board, the cause of education finding in him a stanch champion, while at all times he is interested in the social and moral development as well as the material progress of the community. An analyzation of his life work shows that his success is not the result of unusual characteristics but has come rather from his close application and ready utilization of opportunities such as are met with in the life of almost every individual. He has known how, when and where to put forth his best energies and the careful direction of his efforts along the lines where mature judgment has led the way has brought to him the prosperity which he now enjoys.