Peeking Into Lake City's Past

Irish Immigrants Came to Calhoun County

Once upon a time there were Sheahans and Doughertys in Cork county, Ireland, who were not satisfied with the limited financial opportunity available to so called middle class citizens. The numerous travails imposed on those who kissed the blarney stone in the early eighteen hundreds inspired a young family named Cornielius and Mary Sheahan Dougherty to take their four children on a hazardous journey across the rough Atlantic to a world unknown to them, which was called America.

The year was 1848 when Cornielius, his wife Mary and children Patrick, Hannah, Ellen and John Dougherty left the only home they ever knew, leaving behind their dearest relatives and friends, to journey to the other side of the world in a wooden sail boat over a turbulent ocean. The Doughertys, like other families of their time, took a supreme gamble when they left their comfortable homes in Europe to invade a primitive and unknown land. They knew full well that whatever might happen to them, such must be accepted with an optimistic look toward the future, bolstered by their undaunted faith in their God for guidance.

The young Dougherty family stayed in New York for a short time before continuing on the Hoboken, New Jersey where Cornielius started farming. However, New Jersey did not satisfy their American dream. The call of the wild west was still ringing in their ears so they joined a wagon train headed for the frontier state of Illinois. They landed near Chicago, stayed a short time, finally selecting a farm near Champaign, Illinois where Cornielius and Mary Sheahan Dougherty spent the balance of their lives. Cornielius died at age 65 and Mary at age 64. Mary went to her demise while living with her daughter Hannah, in Champaign.John, Cornielius and Mary's youngest was ten years old when they landed in America and will be the next subject of this review. John was born on June 20, 1848. He grew to manhood on the Dougherty farm in New Jersey where he became an employee of the Camben and Amboy Railway. After the family settled in Champaign, Ill., John acquired some land and became a pioneer farmer. Twenty years later, in 1889, John sold his Illinois farm and moved to Calhoun county, Iowa, where he purchased 160 acres of undeveloped farm land a short distance north of Lake City. Later he purchased another adjoining 40 acres, expanding his farm to 200 acres, a really large farm before labor saving farm machinery was invented.

John Dougherty was a good farmer. He developed his farm to a high state of cultivation. John also rented additional prairie land, after which his agricultural activity was dedicated to the production of crops and livestock on 500 acres. John produced lots of live stock, his specialty was raising registered short-horn cattle.

Before coming to Lake City, John was married to Miss Mary Wright at Urbana, Illinois. Mary Wright Dougherty was the daughter of James and Rebecca Wright, formerly of Ohio and Kentucky. Later, in the year 1900, after her husband's death, Mary's mother Rebecca Wright moved here to be with her daughter. John and Mary Wright Dougherty were the parents of nine children, namely: Charles F. Dougherty, John Austin Dougherty, Nellie Dougherty Smith, J. Oliver Dougherty, Ira E. Dougherty, Grace Dougherty Acklin, Bert Dougherty and Clara Dougherty Kayo. (the ninth child Mamie Dougherty DuBois, who married a Rockwell City medical doctor, is not listed in the article but is listed in a picture next to the article). All the above are deceased. J. Oliver and his wife retired in a Lake City home on West Main Street.

John Dougherty is remembered as patriotic citizen who took an active part in local civic affairs. He was politically a Republican, a rugged individualist who some called a self made man. He believed in the free enterprise system which affords opportunity for any man or woman who is determined to be financially successful, a system vastly different than that which existed in Ireland, the land of John's birth. John passed to his final reward on October 11, 1927 at the age of 79. His wife Mary died on March 4, 1929. both are interred in the Lake City Cemetery.

The next subject of this review is the eldest son of John and Mary, born February 3 ,1872, who moved to Calhoun county with his parents in 1889. Charles F. Dougherty married Miss Myrtle Nicholson of Atlanta, Illinois on February 26, 1896. To this union were born two children, Glenn and Gladys. Gladys became the wife of Steve O'Connor, a local farmer and later a Lake City international implement dealer. Steve's business location was in the building presently occupied by Alcox Sales and Service on the north side of the square. Steve and Gladys were the parents of Don O'Connnor, who operated the Lake City Sale Barn. Charles F. and Myrtle Nicholson Dougherty, after their marriage in 1909, acquired a 160 acre farm in Lake Creek township, northwest of Lake City. Their grandson, James Dougherty, presently lives on this farm.

After Charles Dougherty's demise on October 28, 1931, his wife Myrtle in her late fifties learned to drive a car. She lived on the farm with her son Glen until she moved to Lake City, where she lived until her demise on March 5, 1959 at age 84. The writer knew Myrtle Dougherty for over 15 years remembering her as a brilliant personality who loved people.

Charles and Myrtle's son Glen, (father to James) was born May 22nd, 1897 in Lake Creek township. Glen attended rural schools and the Lake City High School. Glen Dougherty was agriculturally oriented, staying on with his father to operate the farm, taking over the operation after his father's death.

Glen was united in marriage to Miss Katherine Zeplin of West Point, Nebraska, a registered nurse who received her training and basic experience in hospitals in Lincoln, Scotts Bluff and Columbus, Nebraska. However, a great change came in Katherine's life when she accepted a position at the McCrary Hospital in Lake City Iowa, such change was created by what one might call a situation of adversity involving an automobile accident.

The accident victim, Glen Dougherty was confined to the McCrary Hospital where an attractive, young registered nurse looked after his every need to restore his damaged body to a state of good health. While all this was taking place, they fell in love and a beautiful romance began which culminated in the above mentioned marriage on March 7, 1933. To this union were born three sons; James, Jack and Robert. At this time, Katherine Zeplin Dougherty has eight grand children. Glen Dougherty went to his demise on April 11, 1971 while visiting his son Jack at Deerfield Illinois, his death caused by a heart attack. Katherine Zeplin Dougherty currently lives in Lake city. It is well for Graphic readers to note that the descendants of the Irish immigrant family of Cornielius and Mary Sheahan Dougherty 134 years after they landed in New York would number in the hundreds. These historic articles are not intended to be a genealogy of the entire family, and relate only to some of each generation who settled in the Lake City area.

Let us not forget that we in America are the most blessed people on earth and we are here only because of our ancestors who braved the wilderness of the new world and settled a country which many foreigners look upon as Utopia. Let us be proud of our lineage, this is our heritage.