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Robert McNally
Born 1835


Despite his advancing years Robert McNally is still actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in Richland township, which for almost two score years has been the scene of his labors. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1835, and is a son of Thomas and Jane (Farrell) McNally. The parents were both natives of Ireland, coming to America in 1833, shortly after their marriage. For two years they resided in Brooklyn and then removed to Maryland, where they lived for three years. In 1841 they came to Jones county, Iowa, settling in Washington township, where Mr. McNally "squatted" on a tract of land. When the land of this section of the state was put upon the market he secured it from the government through fulfilling the conditions prescribed for homesteaders and it remained his home for the rest of his life. On it he built a log cabin, that served to shelter him and his family from the weather until he was able to erect a more substantial and adequate dwelling. Forty-five years later, in 1886, when his death occurred, he had the satisfaction of contrasting the comforts which he then enjoyed with the hardships of those early years and felt a justifiable pride in the results of his years of labor. His wife, although she died a year before her husband, was also able to partake of the ease which added pleasure to the later years of their lives. They were the parents of eight children, namely: Robert, the subject of this sketch; one who died in infancy; Bernard and Frank, who have also passed away; Mary, who is the wife of James Linch, of Richland township; Anna, who has not married; J. T., of this county; and Norbertis, who is deceased.
Robert McNally was reared at home and attended the public schools to obtain what education they were able to give in the early years of the colonization of this county. He continued to remain with his parents even after he had reached his majority, until he was thirty-two years old, in fact, when he married and had the natural desire to establish a home of his own. Then he bought the farm on which he is living today. It embraces two hundred and twenty acres of good, arable land in Richland township, on which Mr. McNally carries on general farming. With a diligence that may well serve as an example to others he has tilled and improved his fields, until he has brought them to the point where they return a most generous harvest for his industry. This, indeed, has ever been the means of his success and has obtained for him an enviable position among the substantial agriculturists of his township.
At the age of thirty-two Mr. McNally wedded Miss Maria Kenny. She was a native of New York state, born May 1, 1846, but her parents, Michael Kenny and his wife, were of Irish birth. One of a family of six, through her marriage Mrs. McNally became the mother of eleven children: Jennie, who is the wife of Hillar Souser, of Randolph, Nebraska; Anna, who married Theodore Maire and lives in Cascade, Iowa: Lettie, who is a nurse; Katie, who is the wife of Nic Fregen, of Dubuque, Iowa; Nellie, who married James Suple and lives in Cascade, Iowa; Agnes, who is the wife of J. Hayes, of Cascade; Thomas, who is at home; Bernard, Austin and Arthur, who are living in South Dakota; and Robert, who is now attending college in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mrs. McNally died in 1907, and, having been a devout member of the Catholic church throughout her life. her death was attended with all the consolations of that religion. Mr. McNally also professes that creed, in which all of his children have been reared. Politically he has affiliated with the democratic party from the time he cast his first vote but has never sought office, although he served very efficiently for a number of years as a justice of the peace.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 190.

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