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John A. McLaughlin
Born June 1845


That the invariable law of destiny accords to tireless energy and unfaltering industry a successful career is indicated in the life record of J. A. McLaughlin, one of the leading and representative agriculturists of Castle Grove township, Jones county. His birth occurred in Wayne township on the 30th of June, 1843. He is a son of James and Mary (Hill) McLaughlin, both natives of Ireland, who came to America early in life. In the year 1837, James McLaughlin with his family settled on section 2 Of Wayne township, Jones county, Iowa, where they resided until 1846, when they removed to Castle Grove township, which continued to be their home until their death several years ago.
The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood in Jones county and has made this county his home continuously during the entire period of his life. As a lad he did chores about the farm and attended the common schools of his home district, where he acquired a good knowledge of the branches of English learning. He later had the privilege of attending Lenox College at Hopkinton, Iowa, for two years, and also took a course of study in Notre Dame, Indiana, for one year. As in his other duties, he applied himself diligently to his studies and made good use of his privileges.
Upon reaching man's estate, he started out in business on his; own account, wisely choosing as his life work the occupation of farming, to which he had been reared. For several years he operated the old homestead in the capacity of renter and later bought the place, which has continued to be his home to the present time.
Mr. McLaughlin, by his untiring energy and the application of good business methods, became the owner of other lands besides the family homestead and now owns about a section and a half of choice farm land in Castle Grove township, to the cultivation and improvement of which he devotes a large part of his time and attention. He has equipped the farm with many of the modern accessories and conveniences, and it is conceded to be one of the finest improved properties in the township.
In connection with his agricultural pursuits, he make a specialty of raising and feeding stock, and in this branch of his business, as well as in the raising of crops, he is meeting with most gratifying success. Energy, industry and perseverance have been salient elements in the prosperity which he now enjoys, and through close application and good management he has attained a worthy rank among the prosperous and progressive agriculturists of the locality.
It was in 1878 that Mr. McLaughlin was united in marriage to Miss Alice Downer, who was born in Jones county, a daughter of Horace Downer, and Ruth Downer, pioneers of Castle Grove township, who were natives of Vermont. The parents came to this county in 1840 and entered land, continuing to make their residence within its borders until their death. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin have been born seven children, all of whom are yet living. The children are as follows: Frank, who resides in Chicago, Illinois; William D., at home; John, also making his home in Chicago; Richard, of South Dakota; Clarence, also of Dakota; Minnie and Eugene, both under the parental roof. Being appreciative himself of the advantages to be obtained through a good education, Mr. McLaughlin has given all his children excellent educational training and advantages, each having benefitted by a course of study at college.
Ever since the time when age conferred upon him the right of franchise, Mr. McLaughlin has been a stalwart supporter of republican principles., although he has never been an aspirant for political office, being content to concentrate his energies upon the conduct of his own business affairs. He has spent his entire life within the borders of Jones county, and throughout his active business career he has ever been identified with its substantial development and improvement and has likewise ever been a hearty supporter of those movements which had for their object the maintenance and promotion of civic virtue and civic pride. His home has always been one of cheerful hospitality, and the welcome hand is ever extended to the friend and the stranger who may pass that way. He is widely known throughout the community, and the fact that among his warm friends are numbered many who have known him from his boyhood is an indication that his salient characteristics are such as command the respect, confidence and good will of his fellow-men.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 160.
Note: This bio gives his birthdate as June 30, 1843. The one below gives it as June 13, 1845.

JOHN A. McLAUGHLIN is one of the prominent and well-to-do farmers of Castle Grove Township, his post office being Monticello. His history has been during his entire life interwoven with that of Jones County, for here his birth occurred June 13, 1845, and, with the exception of a few terms when he was away at college, he has rarely been outside the county limits. He comes from one of the worthy pioneer families who were the founders of the prosperity which has come in so great a measure to this region. His parents, James and Mary (Hill) McLaughlin, were both natives of Ireland, who, when in childhood, came to the United States. Their marriage was solemnized in New York State, and in 1837 they came to Jones County, locating on a piece of land in Wayne Township, which is now the property of the Hon. George W. Lovell. At that early day there were few neighbors and no schools or other advantages.
The family later removed to Castle Grove Township, where the father entered a tract of land from the Government, and from time to time, as his resources increased, extended the boundaries of his farm, until, at the time of his death, which occurred in 1873, he owned a valuable farm comprising five hundred acres. The faithful wife and mother, who had truly been a helpmate in every sense of the word to her industrious husband, survived him many years, passing from this life in 1892. By her marriage she became the mother of three sons and three daughters, namely, Anna, Elizabeth, Michael, James W., John A., and Mary J., who died at the age of seven years.
John A. McLaughlin is the fourth in order of birth of the surviving children of his parents. He received a good district school education, and afterwards attended the Hopkinton (now Lenox) College, located at Hopkinton, Iowa. In 1863 he went to Wisconsin, where he passed six months in college work, and on leaving there prosecuted his studies for two terms in the excellent Notre Dame University of South Bend, Ind. Later he returned to Lenox College, being a student there for two terms more. Thus equipped for the practical duties of life with a good foundation of general knowledge and information, the young man returned to the old homestead and began in earnest to make his own way.
In his boyhood he had been familiar from actual practice with general farm duties, and now began paying special attention to stock raising and dairy farming. From forty to fifty cows were daily milked, the product being sold to neighboring creameries, arid from this source a steady and reliable income was derived. The first purchase by our subject was one hundred and sixty acres of land in this township, he has pushed his business enterprises successfully, and as his means accumulated invested in more land, and has continued in this policy until he now finds himself the fortunate possessor of eight hundred acres of valuable land, most of which is under high cultivation. The buildings on the farm are substantial and well kept. There are two large barns, a fine residence and attractive surroundings, and everything about the place gives evidence of the careful supervision of the owner.
In 1877 Mr. McLaughlin married Miss Allie Downer, of Jones County, who was born and reared within its limits. Her father, the late Horace Downer, was one of the early settlers and pioneers of this locality. To Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin have been born six sons and a daughter, whose names are as follows: Frank J., William, John, Rollo, Clarence, Minnie and Eugene. In his political faith our subject is a thorough-going Republican, having given that party his support since he was first able to vote. He has never sought nor desired public office.

Source: Dubuque, Jones, and Clayton Counties History, 1894, pgs. 541-542.
Submitted by: Becky Teubner
Note: This bio gives his birthdate as June 13, 1845. The one above gives it as June 30, 1843.

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