|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.
Submitted by: John Chesire
© Copyright 1997-2013, The Art Department, © Copyright 2014-2020, Richard Harrison.