~ JOHN McCAW, b 22 Dec 1824 ~
Related Surnames - McCAW, WILSON, McCULLOUGH, ROBINSON, WILSON, HAMMOND,
The sons of Erin have been largely represented in the development of the Hawkeye State,
and form no small proportion of its intelligent and thrifty population. We have in the
subject of this sketch one of the finest representatives of the Irish nationality, a
well-to-do farmer and stock-raiser, owning 200 acres of well-cultivated land, pleasantly
situated on section 30 in Fairfield Township. His improvements are above the average,
comprising a substantial dwelling, a good barn, and all the other necesary buildings for
his comfort and convenience, the shelter of stock, and the storing of grain.
Mr. McCaw makes a specialty of live-stock, keeping large numbers of horses, cattle and
swine. His labors have been prosecuted in that thorough and skillful manner which are the
surest guarantee of success.
Our subject was born in County Down, Ireland, Dec. 22, 1824, and received a more than
ordinarily good education in the public schools of his native town. After leaving school
he was occupied mostly at farming until a young man of twenty-two years. He then decided
to seek his fortunes on the other side of the Atlantic. In 1846 he embarked at Belfast on
the sailing vessel "Sir Colin Campbell" which landed him in New York City six
weeks later. He soon set out for the West, and coming to this county during the period of
its early settlement (and the same year in which Iowa was admitted into the Union as a
State), he purchased sixty acres of wild prairie land, put up a frame house with one room,
18x14 feet square, above and below, and occupied this until able to erect a more
commodious and pretentious dwelling.
Mr. McCaw was prospered in his labors as a tiller of the soil, and wisely invested his
surplus capital in additional land until he attained to his present possessions. He is
now practically retired from toil and anxiety, as his daughter and her husband occupy the
homestead and carry on the farm. The cattle raised on this farm are especially fine,
large animals, weighing on the average, 1,400 pounds. When our subject and his young wife
first came to this county they felt proud in the possession of a single cow, and their
first rude dwelling probably sheltered happier hearts than are known to many a palace.
Mr. McCaw, politically, is a sound Democrat, and with his excellent wife is a member in
good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He also belongs to the Masonic
fraternity in which he is a Knight Templar, and has held all the offices of his lodge. He
was at one time a Justice of the Peace, and has been the incumbent of most of the local
offices of his township.!
His wife has been Postmistress twelve years, and is at present serving in that capacity.
During the early days he carried the mail from Union Centre to Maquoketa for a period of
eight years. A fine old gentleman, who has made for himself scores of friends, Mr. McCaw
occupies no secondary place among the honored citizens and leading agriculturists of this
James McCaw, the father of our subject, was also a native of County Down, Ireland, and
married Miss Hannah Wilson, who grew up not far from the home of her husband. The latter
died when her son, John, was a little lad six years of age. The father died about 1857 in
his native county. The parental household included seven children, of whom but three are
living. Margaret, the eldest, married a citizen of Belfast, and is living there; she has
one child, a son John, named after his uncle. Anna is unmarried, and makes her home in
New York City employing herself as nurse in a private house.
The wife of our subject, to whom he was married June 30, 1856, in Canada, was in her
girlhood Miss Susanna McCullough, of County Louth, Ireland, and born in 1826. The maiden
name of her mother was Jane Robinson, who died in County Louth. The father emigrated to
Canada and died there in what is now the Province of Ontario. The parental family
consisted of six children, the eldest of whom, John, married Miss Catherine Wilson of
Ireland, and lives on a farm in Canada West, being the father of eight children;
Margaret, Mrs. Hammond, a widow, also lives in Canada; the Dominion is also the abiding
place of Jane, Mrs. Dennis McAlister; the latter has five children: John, Dennie, Robert,
William and Susannah. Eliza died in Ireland.
To our subject and his estimable wife there have been born six children, of whom only one
is living, Susie M., who married Eugene Simms in February, 1886, and is the mother of two
children - Abva B. and Alba M. (twins). The deceased are Hannah and Jane (twins), Anna,
James E. and John.
("Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson County, Iowa", originally published
in 1889, by the Chapman Brothers, of Chicago, Illinois.)