Transcribed from History
of Adair County, 1915
EDWIN JOHN SIDEY
The name of Edwin John Sidey is well known in newspaper and political
circles through out Iowa. He is now owner and editor of the Free
Press of Greenfield, which he has been publishing for a quarter of
a century. Throughout this period he has made his paper a potent
force in molding public opinion and his efforts have constituted
an important element in winning democratic successes in this part
of the county, for he is one of the political leaders of his section
of the state. A native of Canada, he was born at Coldsprings, Ontario,
November 21, 1862. His father, John S. Sidey, was a native of Dundee,
Scotland, and in childhood became a resident of Ontario, Canada,
where he wedded Eliza Jane Kelley, a native of the north of Ireland.
Following their marriage they remained for some time in Canada and
then came with their family to Greenfield, Iowa.
Edwin John Sidey attended the common schools of his native country
for a few years and then became “devil” in a printing office,
which has been aptly termed the “poor man’s college” and
in which the greater part of his education was acquired. He was a youth
of fourteen years when with his parents he crossed the border into
the United States, after which he worked at the printing business in
Greenfield and Creston, Iowa, in Chicago and in Boston. Step by step
he advanced, working his way steadily upward until he became editor
and publisher of the Creston Commonwealth, which he published as a
weekly for several years and afterward converted it into a daily paper.
Subsequently this was sold and consolidated with the Creston Daily
Advertiser. In 1889 Mr. Sidey removed to Greenfield and began the publication
of the Adair County Democrat, the name of which he changed after eighteen
years to the Adair County Free Press. He has been editor and publisher
of this paper for twenty-five years and has made it one of the leading
country journals in Iowa. Studying modern methods of journalism, he
has in his business kept abreast with the advancement of the times
in his line and has made the Free Press a most attractive journal,
liberally patronized. In addition to his other interests he is a director
in the American Life Insurance Company of Des Moines.
Throughout his entire life Mr. Sidey has been active in the ranks of
the democratic party, advocating its policy and supporting its candidates
through the columns of his paper, while at the same time he is a recognized
leader in party ranks. While publisher of the Commonwealth at Creston
he served his city as clerk and also as clerk of the superior court
there. In 1904 he was elected by his party to represent the ninth congressional
district in the national democratic convention held in St. Louis. In
1906 he was elected a member of the Iowa house of representatives from
Adair county and was defeated for the office in 1909 but was reelected
in 1912. He is fearless in defense of his honest convictions yet never
bitterly nor aggressively partisan, and in his legislative service
he has gained the respect of his contemporaries as well as his colleagues
even though they are opposed to his political views.
Mr. Sidey has been twice married. In 1890, in Toronto, Canada, he wedded
Miss Margaret Sinclair, a daughter of Captain and Mrs. Duncan Sinclair.
She passed away two years later and on the 17th of January 1894, in
Greenfield, Mr. Sidey was again married, his second union being with
Miss Irene Cavanaugh, a native of Florence, Oneida county. New York.
She was the second child in a family of five children born unto Mr.
and Mrs. Thomas Cavanaugh and came west with her uncle in 1892. Our
subject has three children: Kenneth, John and Irene. His religious
faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church
of Greenfield, while fraternally he is identified with the Masons,
belonging to Crusade Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Greenfield; St. John’s
Chapter, R. A. M., of Greenfield; Bethany Commandery, No. 29, K. T.
; Des Moines Consistory, No. 3, A. A. S. R.; and Za-Ga-Zig Temple,
A. A. O. N. M. S., of Des Moines. In Masonic circles he occupies a
very prominent place as a leading representative of the craft in Iowa
and he has the warmest regard of his brethren in the order. It will
thus be seen that he has left the impress of his individuality upon
many lines of thought and activity and the movements with which he
has been most closely allied have been those which count for progress.
Transcribed from History of Adair County, 1915
Edwin John Sidey