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Matthew Chesire
1836–1911

This city from center to circumference, and far around, outside on every quarter was shocked on last Thursday morning, as it seldom or never has been before, by the announcement passed with bated breath, from one mouth to another, that, "Matt Chesire was dead in Chicago."
He had been seen less than 48 hours previous walking our streets apparently in the midst of his usual health, strength, and activity, as he was preparing to load up a car of stock for shipment to the Chicago market.
No man coming into the city was a more noteworthy presence than Mr. Chesire, sitting, as he always did, behind a spanking stepper, or a well-matched pair of drivers, which he knew how to handle, without the slightest fear or concern, like a most expert horseman that he was, going generally at a rapid rate of speed, he presented a spectacle as well deserving of admiration as he necessarily attracted attention. His home was but a short distance out of town; and engaged in extensive business, being further independent beyond the need of giving any personal attention to the affairs of his well managed farm, he had occasion to come into the city almost every day. At the same time he was not without knowing what he came for. His time was far too valuable to be wasted away in idle, frivolous, loafing laziness. He was always a man of business. His mind was ever intent on some object, and his steps were always directed toward the accomplishment of his views. Having attended to the purposes which brought him to town, he was a noticeable figure, driving up Main street in the afternoon on his way home, —coming and going, a most respectable gentleman in every sense of the word.
At noon on Tuesday he superintended the loading of a car of stock, and then spent a couple of hours waiting for the Northwestern freight to start for Clinton, and Chicago. No one who spoke to him could see any change from his ordinary condition of health; although as a matter of fact he had suggested to one of his boys that he had better take his father's place in going with the cattle. He next suggested that he felt an inclination to ask his brother Patrick to take his place. Was it an internal feeling of the weakening powers of nature, perceptible only to himself, or was it a mysterious premonition from the angelic spirits in another world of the untimely fate in store for him before his return. No one can solve the mystery. His brother and his children encouraged him to take the journey himself, expecting that the change, the traveling, trip and the excitement of the great busy stockyards would be to him (as it always had been) an enjoyable outing as well as a beneficial, healthful treat.
Having arrived in Chicago the next morning, he was standing in the yard, engaged in conversation with a gentleman from Onslow whilst the attendants prepared to water the stock. At the first sudden strong gush from the faucet, one of the animals scared, and swinging backwards struck its owner who happened to be standing close behind. He was thrown, though not severely, to the ground. Arising immediately, he walked up to the National Livestock Company's office, where he sat down. He himself hoped, as did everyone around him, that he could get readily over it, and take that evening train for home. A physician was called, whose diagnosis decided that there was no reason for alarm. In course of some time, owing perhaps to his age, possibly to a physical failing and hardening of the arteries, a blood vessel in his head ruptured, causing apoplectic hemorrhage. As soon as this was discovered, he was hastily conveyed to the nearest hotel—The Transit House—a room was provided, a special nurse engaged to give the patient her undivided attention, the physician was recalled, a clergyman was summoned from the adjacent Catholic church, and thus every care and assistance was rendered that could be given, even if within the reach of the most devoted relatives. Geo. Gallaher, formerly a resident of Jones county, when informed of the accident, came instantly to the sick man, stayed with him until midnight, and certainly deserves, as he will receive, the everlasting esteem and gratitude of the entire family of the deceased for his friendship, fidelity and goodness to their father in the hours of his illness.
In spite of all that could be done to relieve him, Mr. Chesire continued to sink gradually after this, until 2:00 a.m., Thursday, when the end came and his spirit passed peacefully away.
A telegram went out immediately after the occurrence to Anamosa, but ... a delay in delivery, the fam ... no notification until late ... n, when a second dispatch ... sons John and ... 8:00 a.m. Thursday. [Note: this section was not legible.] The casket was borne sadly to the home he had left two days before. O! The uncertainty of human life!
On Saturday, February 25, the funeral took place from St. Patrick's church, with solemn service conducted by the local pastor, assisted by Fr. Lougbnane of Marion and Fr. Norris of Stone City. Seldom, if ever, was a more melancholy, and, at the same time, a more numerous gathering in that edifice to pay their respects to an old, long-time resident. The house was filled. All vied with one another in anxiety to do honor.
The pastor, who knew the deceased intimately for a quarter of a century, spoke the sentiments of his heart and of his experience in a funeral sermon.
Matthew Chesire was born in the year 1836 in the county of Meath, Ireland, 12 miles from Dublin. In 1850 he immigrated to this country with two brothers, and two sisters, who with their mother settled in Renselaer, N. Y. where they lived three years. In 1853 they moved to Dubuque Co., Ia., where they settled close to the Trappist Monastery. Mr. Chesire first came to Anamosa in 1859, when he bought a farm six miles out of town, where his brother, John, later lived and died. In the year 1860 he made a journey overland to California, whence he soon returned as far east as Virginia City, Nevada. Mr. Chesire being then, as always, sober, industrious and sensible, brought back in 1867 the accumulations of his years of labor in the form of gold dust then worth many times its value in currency. He bought the farm on which he lived forty-four years up to the time of his death.
In 1869 he was married to Margaret Heir of Sinsinawa, Wis. Six children were born to them, Dr. M. U. Chesire of Marshalltown, Julia, now Sr. M. Raphael of Sioux City, John and Frank of Jackson Twp., Wm. and Esther, who lived with their father up to his death. Their mother passed away several years ago. Mr. Chesire's estimate of the importance of education as an asset in life may be judged by the fact that he gave each of his children the advantage of a college course at the close of their studies in the home school; —this included Nicholas Holt, whom he reared.
Mr. Chesire was the ideal of an American citizen—straight and strict, strong and true to his convictions as the needle to the pole; despising dishonesty and deceit in all their forms, currying favor with neither King nor Kaiser, ignoring the grafter as much in politics as in trade. He was honest, honorable, upright and independent, faithful in all relations, political, social, religious, and domestic. He was a model father, loving and providing abundantly for his family, as they loved and respected him.
The following acted as pall bearers: E. M. Harvey, John McMann, Edward Foley, T. L. Power, M. Gavin and Thos. McGuire. J. W. Conmey and W. A. Hogan had charge of the general arrangements. The burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Friends from of out of town in attendance at the obsequies were N. J. Holt and wife of St. Joseph, Mo., J. H. Sheridan of Bancroft, Ia., Dr. Merrill of Marshalltown, Nicholas Murphy of Dubuque Mary McGuiness of Chicago, Sophia Collins of Cascade and Kate McNamara of Oxford Junction.

Source: Anamosa Eureka, February 1911

The funeral of Mr. Matthew Chesire whose sudden ending in Chicago was noted last week, was held Saturday morning at St. Patrick's church. The first reports of Mr. Chesire's death were conflicting and some of them erroneous. He died as the result of injuries received from being knocked down by a steer in the Chicago stockyards. He was standing beside a water trough when the accident occurred. A sudden turning on of the water frightened the steer which jumped against him and knocked him to the pavement with such force as to rupture a blood vessel causing a hemorrhage of the brain. He was able to rise and walk to the office of the commission firm with which he dealt. He later was conveyed to a hotel and every possible aid that human hands could render was provided. The accident happened at 8:30 Wednesday morning, and Mr. Chesire died Thursday at 2:00 a.m.
Matthew Chesire and Patrick Chesire were two brothers who never during their careers, engaged in business apart from each other. All their business lives they worked in partnership without a sign of a contract or a scratch of a pen, and without any other understanding than that of the word of mouth. Patrick Chesire never married and his life was spent in the home that was created by the marriage of Matthew Chesire. And it is the history of these two men that there never was a word of discord between them. They trusted each other implicitly and prospered jointly. What an example there is in this community of interests. What a reflection of the character and the manhood that have stood back of this remarkable association. It is not to be wondered at that the grief of Patrick Chesire is indeed great.
Mr. Matthew Chesire was born in Ireland near Dublin in 1836. He came to America and located in Renselaer county, New York in 1850. He remained there three years and then located in Dubuque county near the monastery. This was in 1853.
In the year 1859, he came with his brother to Jackson township and they bought land in the vicinity of Amber. About a year later Mr. Matthew Chesire went to California where he engaged in mining. He knew something of the romance of those gold hunting days in the far West and he knew something of the hardships that went with the life. The tales he could tell of those days were the tales that are now handed to us between the covers of a bound book, but are seldom given to us first hand by those who met the experiences. From California Mr. Chesire went to Virginia City, Nevada, where he spent some time in a quartz mill, extracting the gold from the ore.
It was in 1867 that he turned again towards Iowa. The return was made to Jones county and the purchase of the farm a mile and a half east of Anamosa was closed. That farm continued to be the family home until death intervened--a period of 44 years.
The deceased was married in 1869 to Margaret Hier at Galena, Wisconsin. To them were born six children. All of these survive and were present at the funeral. The mother died in 1900. The children are: Dr. M. U. Chesire of Marshalltown; Julia M., now Sister Raphael of the Sisters of Charity, and located at Sioux City; John T., William, Esther E., and Frank, of Fairview township.
Mr. Chesire was a successful man in a business way. He was an honest man and a straightforward man in the way that men are judged on this earth. And what more of good should be required? Will not the man of honesty and success and straightforwardness round out a citizenship that will benefit himself, his family, his neighbor and his God? He possessed those qualities that make the human heart respond to the call of others. This is best told by the voice and the manner of N. I. Holt of St. Joe, Missouri, who said to a representative of the Eureka: "Uncle Matt raised me, and I thought as much of him as though he were my own father." And there was that in his voice and his manner that was evidence of his sincerity. He in company with his wife, attended the funeral. Others from abroad were: Mr. Nic Murphy of Dubuque; J.H. Sheridan of Bancroft, Iowa; Mary McGuinness of Chicago; Sophia Collins of Cascade; Dr. Merrill of Marshalltown; Kate McNamara of Oxford Junction.

Submitted by: John Chesire
Source: Anamosa Eureka, March 2, 1911

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