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John D. Neelans
Born September 10, 1874


In the thirty odd years that John D. Neelans has lived and worked upon his farm in Clay township, many improvements have been made upon the place, which have brought it to a high state of cultivation and the position it occupies at present, that of being one of the best in the locality. A native of Clay township, he was born upon the place he now owns, September 10, 1874, his parents being William and Mary (Dennison) Neelans, both natives of Ireland. The father was born in March, 1833, and came to the United States with his parents when he was seventeen years of age. The family located in Connecticut, where he found employment in the mines, and in 1866, after his marriage he came to Iowa. He also worked in the powder mills of Connecticut until the accidental death of his brother made him decide to seek other means of livelihood. In 1867 he purchased the first eighty acres of the homestead in Clay township, this county. He had nothing when he made the change to his new mode of life except the meager savings which he had slowly accumulated from his wages while working in the mines and the powder mills, but he was endowed with a capacity for work, and knew the value of industry and thrift, so that it was not long before he was well advanced along the road to success and able to add sixty acres to his land holdings. His long, honorable and well spent life was ended in 1904 and he was mourned as a good man and noble citizen. His widow, who was born in 1837, is still living. They were the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters: John D., Elizabeth, Ellen and William, all of whom are living in Iowa.
Reared to the life of a farmer and initiated into hard work, John D. Neelans nevertheless chose agriculture as his own vocation, and, being satisfied with the returns reaped from the soil of the home place, has never sought other fields of labor. He acquired a fairly good education in the public schools of his town, ship, although study was never permitted to interrupt the work which was carried on upon the farm. For four years, however, he sought a livelihood elsewhere as a day laborer, the experiences of that period only serving to make him better contented with the vocation which had been selected for him. Since he has assumed the full responsibility of operating the home farm, he has instituted a number of improvements, not the least being the erection of the fine residence he now occupies. It is fitted with many of the modern conveniences enjoyed by dwellers in the cities, even to a fine furnace, which thoroughly heats the whole house despite the severe cold without. In addition to the raising of many cereals Mr. Neelans has given a considerable amount of time to the stock business, raising large numbers of hogs, cattle and horses and feeding them for the market. As progressive ideas have guided him in his work and industry has been the force which has put them into constant practice, it is but in the natural course of events that Mr. Neelans should be accounted one of the prosperous farmers of this township.
After he had proved to his own satisfaction that he was able to achieve success in his line of work, Mr. Neelans was married December 20, 1899, to Miss Mate Hanna. Three children have been born to them: Fred J., born January 11, 1901 Mary D., born April 22, 1904; and Ruth G., born November 21, 1907.
Mr. Neelans is a Presbyterian in his religious affiliations and gives his support in political matters to the democratic party. While he could not be called an office seeker, he has served his township most worthily as township clerk, his terms extending over a period of four years. His life, lived in accordance with high principles and spent in useful endeavor, has been of valuable service to the community and proves him deserving of the respect he enjoys.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 438.

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