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Michael Lawler


Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 10/10/2011 at 21:38:14

Michael Lawler Family

“Parnell Centennial: 1885-1985-100 years in Little Ireland”

Part I

Michael Lawler was born in Ohio on October 12, 1863. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lawler. When he was a child the family moved to Iowa County and settled on a farm in Fillmore Township where young Michael grew up. He was numbered among the early settlers of Parnell, becoming one of the first businessmen in town.

On November 3, 1886, he married Mary Ann Newcomb (Minnie). She had been born in 1863 in Fillmore Township and spent her life there until her marriage and then moved into Parnell. They had ten children, four bouys and six girls, over the next 19 years. Two of those children, Marjorie and Bernice are still living.

Michael Lawler opened a meat market on the north side of Main Street. It was managed for him by Pat Hannon. He also built an ice house on the East side of town and operated the town tavern. Minnie became interested in business too and went into partnership with her only brother, C. J. Newcomb, to found and operate the town bank. Minnie enjoyed having her only sister, Flo Quinn, living close by in Parnell. Michael’s and Minnie’s sons all went into business in Parnell following their schooling too.

Elmer Lawler, the oldest, graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport. It was a boys school at that time, and many young men from Parnell attended. He later married Linnie Humphrey from North English. They built and operated the Lawler Restaurant in Parnell, which became the after-school meeting place for the youth. Eventually they sold the restaurant to Tom and Mae Hannon and moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Elmer worked for American Express there for 40 years before retirement. They lived in Cedar Rapids until their deaths. They had no children.

Mary Mildred (Mae) Lawler graduated from high school in 1907, in the same class with her brother Matthew. She was a kind, loving sister. I remember well her sewing pretty dresses for me. She married Pat Hannon and they had twin daughters, Mary Mildred and Mary Margaret. The twin Mary Mildre died that same day, August 22, along with her mother, Mae. The entire town mourned Mae. I remember theJohn Tiernon, the jewelry store manager saying, “If I had eight daughters, I would want each of them to be like Mae Lawler.” Mrs. Woods cared for Mary Margaret for two weeks before Mama Lawler took her to raise. She became more like a baby sister than a niece. Mary Margaret eventually married John Crowley, a watch maker, and moved To Elgin, Illinois. They later moved to Cedar Rapids where Mary still lives.

Matthew Lawler was the third child. He is probably well rembered by many in Parnell because he lived and worked there his entire life. He went into the grocery store business and, as many may remember, he fed and clothed the needy as readily as those who could pay their bills. He met and married Ione Gross from North English. I remember them as an ideal couple since he was also kind and loving. They had three daughters and a son who also grew up there and graduated from Parnell High School. Jean married Bob Reesink and lives in Davenport; Frances (Bert) married Denny Ryan and lived in Muscatine until her death; Helen Marie (Sug) married Ben Kitsis and lives in Davenport; Parlyn (Pat) married Ruth Ebel and lived in Des Moines until his death. Pat was a medical doctor and three of his nine children (so far) have also finished medical school.


Iowa Biographies maintained by Steve Williams.
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