Born November 15, 1844
||One of the larger farmers of Richland township, who has taken some part in local affairs, is Thomas McGovern, who was born in Washington township, this county. He is the son of William and Jane (Heery) McGovern, both natives of Ireland where the father's birth occurred in 1825 and the mother's in 1819. In 1837 they came to the United States, separately, and sixteen years later were married in New York. The following year, that of 1854, they came to Jones county, Iowa, where for a short time they rented land, later buying the farm in Richland township, on which their son Thomas now lives. Although they came after the first band of men and women had braved the hardships of pioneer life, there was yet much to be done before their property could be brought to the state of cultivation it showed after they had lived here nearly half a century, for Mr. McGovern lived until 1900 and his wife six years longer. Of the eight children born of their union, two now survive: William, a farmer of Richland township; and Thomas, the subject of this sketch.
Thomas McGovern received a fair education in the common schools of this county, and, being reared at home, he obtained a thorough and practical training for the work of life. He remained with his parents until their death assuming the heavier cares of the cultivation of the farm when his father's advancing years made active work impossible. Upon the death of the latter he bought the interests of the other heirs and has continued to make his boyhood's home the scene of his mature labors. He has added to the original tract, however, as success has crowned his efforts, and now owns five hundred and seventy-seven acres of good, arable land in Richland township. In connection with general farming Mr. McGovern has made a specialty of feeding stock for the market, finding that a most profitable adjunct to his other interests. The success which he now enjoys has not been a thing of chance but the well deserved reward for years of conscientious toil, bringing with it a satisfaction that comes from the work of one's own hands and not through the misfortune of another.
In 1891 Mr. McGovern was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Dolphin. She was born in this county in 1857 and is a daughter of James and Mary (Gogen) Dolphin, the latter a resident of Cascade, Iowa, and seventy-six years of age. Mr. Dolphin, however, has passed away. Three children were born to Mr. McGovern and his wife: Mazie, Valinda and George. Mrs. McGovern died January 12, 1909, in the faith of the Catholic church, in which she has been reared and of which she was a devout member during her lifetime.
Mr. McGovern is also a member of that church, while politically he is in sympathy with the principles of the democratic party. For a period of sixteen years he was clerk of his township, and later, since he has taken an increased interest in the educational opportunities here, he has been secretary of the school board.
Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 208.
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