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Posted By: Nettie Mae (email)
Date: 4/19/2021 at 17:05:30


The subject of this sketch, who is now engineer on the "overland limited" on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway between Clinton and Boone, Iowa, has been a resident of Clinton since 1876, and owns a good home in that city, purchased at that time. He was born in Dunkirk, New York, on the 9th of July, 1852, a son of James and Nancy (Dunbar) Killean. The father was born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1816, and came to this country when eighteen years of age. After living in the east for many years he came to Clinton and made his home with our subject, where he died in 1896. He was never ill a day in his life and never wore glasses. In early life he followed the occupation of farming, and, meeting with well-deserved success, he was able to live retired for a number of years prior to his death. The mother of our subject died at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when John was only eight years old. For a time the family lived near Fairfax, Linn county, this state, where the father improved a farm. There were six children, three sons and three daughters, namely : James, who served in the Army of the Potomac under General McClellan during the Civil war, was yardmaster for the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company at Clinton before the bridge was built across the Mississippi at this place, and remained in the service of the company until his death, which occurred in 1870, while he was serving as conductor. Dennis, who was a farmer, died in 1867. John, our subject, was the youngest son. Kate is the widow of Joseph Lane, formerly a passenger conductor on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, and now makes her home with our subject. Anna died in New York City in 1864, unmarried. Mary died at the home of our subject in Clinton. The children were all born and reared in New York, while their education was obtained in its common schools. All came to Iowa and made their home with their parents in Linn county until grown.

John Killean attended the public schools of Cedar Rapids for a time, and remained under the parental roof until he entered the employ of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company in 1868, at the age of sixteen years, first firing the steam shovel between Carroll and Glidden for a short time. The same year, however, he went as fireman upon the road, and in 1872 was promoted to engineer, in which capacity he ran a freight from Clinton to Belle Plaine for about ten years. He then resigned his position and was in the employ of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad for three months, but in 1883 returned to the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, with which he has since been connected. He had charge of a fast freight until the 1st of March, 1901, when he was made engineer of the "overland limited" from Clinton to Boone, and is now acceptably filling that position. He has met with no accidents, and has always drawn his salary when the pay car came round, having never been laid off for any cause.

On the 9th of April, 1877, Mr. Killean married Miss Sarah E. Davy, who was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, July 7, 1852, but was then living in Clinton, Iowa. Her father, Patrick Davy, is now a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and her mother is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Killean have three sons: Henry F., a machinist, who has been employed in the railroad shops at Clinton since 1897; John, chief clerk in Mr. Blach's office at that place; and James, who'is still attending school. They were all born in Clinton and educated in its public schools. Since his graduation Henry F. has become a draughtsman, making a specialty of air brakes, and is a very accomplished young man. The family are communicants of the Catholic church, and Mr. Killean is also a member of Clinton Division, No. 125, B. of L. E., in which he has held office at various times. He is self-educated as well as a self-made man, and has become well informed by reading good literature. He is well and favorably known, and has many warm friends in the city where he has so lone made his home.

Source: The 1901 Biographical Record of Clinton Co., Iowa, Illustrated published: Chicago : S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1901.


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