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Posted By: Dawn Soukup Eckrich (email)
Date: 3/22/2017 at 22:02:44

Leading Events in Johnson County Iowa History
Western Historical Press 1913 pages 715-719


Michael William McDonough, of Oxford, Johnson county,was born in Sheffield, Illinois, in 1857. He is a son of Michael and Catherine (Burk) McDonough, the former deceased but the latter still surviving. Michael McDonough was born in
County Galway, Ireland, and died in Oxford, Iowa, April 9,1880. He is buried in Mt. Calvary cemetery and was one of the first persons to be interred there. He and his wife left Killarney port and, after a voyage of three months in a sailing vessel, landed in America. The captain imbibed too freely of fiery liquor during the trip and lost his way so that the boat merely drifted for a long time and the sickness on board is indescribable. The McDonough family finally left the boat at a port other than their proposed landing place and set sail a second time. They finally reached Buffalo, New York, and there took a steamer for Chicago. They decided to locate at
the town of Sheffield, La Salle county, Illinois. They arrived in this country in 1852 and the father began life in railroad work, as a laborer. He eventually left Illinois and went first to Davenport and then Iowa City. He spent a number of years in the employ of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail-road Company, and became a section foreman for them. Upon leaving railroad work he purchased the farm in Johnson county where his widow now resides. He grubbed, cleared, and improved this place, redeeming 160 acres of land from the wilderness. For some time the family lived in a log dwelling but had a better home as their fortunes improved. The good
frame house he erected is now occupied by his widow and son. The latter, Frank J. McDonough, carried on the farm. He is a widower, his wife, Julia (Mullinea) McDonough having borne him two children, Catherine and Francis. Her brother. Rev.
Mullinea, was a well known Catholic priest, and for some years was chaplain in St. Joseph's Academy, at Des Moines.

Michael McDonough married Catherine Burke, who was born in County Mayo, Ireland, August 15, 1829, daughter of Richard and Catherine (McDonald) Burke, and came to America when she was twenty-three years of age. She is the only
survivor of the seven children of her parents. Her two brothers, Michael and Thomas, are buried in Mt. Calvary cemetery, Oxford. Mr. and Mrs. McDonough became original members of St. Mary's Catholic church, a history of which is given in Volume I of this work. They became parents of children as follows: Mary, unmarried, lives with her mother; Michael W.; John, married Mary Organ; Thomas, who received a good education, became principal of a business college at St. Louis,
was noted as a fine penman, married Margaret Lilly, and both are deceased; Catherine, who was born in the log house on the old home farm, married James Mooney, a farmer of Oxford township. So far back as is known the family is of Irish ancestry. The parents of the children mentioned above were devout and earnest Catholics and reared their children in the same faith. They won the respect and friendship of all with
whom they associated and had at heart the best interests of the community.

Michael William McDonough was educated in Oxford public schools and made the most of his opportunities in this respect. He has always kept well informed on the questions of the day and has been successful in his business career. He was reared to farm work and in 1880 became partner of W. E. Marvin in grain and stock business, which arrangement continued for some time. He continued this line of work until 1896, when he also established a feed mill, where he keeps a stock of everything to be found in a first-class flour and feed depot. He is well known throughout the county as an enterprising man of affairs. He buys stock and fattens it for the market and finds
this enterprise profitable in a large degree. W. B. Jones is associated with him in the latter business. He owns a nice home in Oxford and has various interests in the community besides those mentioned. In 1882 he was elected assessor of
the township and held this office until moving to Oxford, a period of twelve years, and since which time he has served about six years on the town council. He is now clerk of Oxford township, having previously filled an unexpired term in
this office. He was elected by a large majority, having a host of friends who believe in his good faith and his fitness for office. He is an ardent democrat and has served as delegate to the county convention of the party. He is a charter member of St. Mary's church, in which he was confirmed, made his first communion, and was married. Socially he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and of the Catholic Order of Foresters.

On April 29, 1891, Mr. McDonough was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Powers, Father McManus officiating at this function. His brother, Frank, acted as groomsman and Miss Katie Powers, sister of the bride, as bridesmaid. The
charming bride was beautifully and appropriately attired and the groom made a creditable appearance. It was a most pleasant occasion and long to be remembered by those who attended, being a most happy union. The following children have been born of this union, all baptized at St. Mary's church: Ella, is the wife of Thomas Thompson, a prominent farmer of Hardin township; Miss Margaret, a graduate of Oxford schools; Winnifred, now attending school; Anna, also attending school; Beatrice, Mary, William, and Edwin. The four eldest have been confirmed at St. Mary's church.

Mrs. McDonough is a daughter of Edmund D. and
Anastasia (Flynn) Powers, both deceased. Edmund D. Powers was born in Ireland September 11, 1826, and emigrated to America in 1847, arriving in New York in May of that year, after a long and tiresome trip of nine weeks in a sailing vessel. He worked at railroading in early life and came to Iowa in 1852. At that time Davenport was the terminal city of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific road, and in the year 1856 Mr. Powers acted as superintendent in the construction of the road as far west as Malcolm, Iowa. He was foreman on the Rock Island Railroad, at a point known as Copi to the old settlers, this place
being one mile west of Tiffin station. He remained there some twelve years and in 1868 began farming in Hardin township, Johnson county, having previously purchased 160 acres of
partly improved land, containing a small house which he remodelled. He also added on to the house and made further improvements on the land, living there twenty-two years. In 1890 his son, Ed. C. Powers, took charge of the farm and Mr.
Powers retired and moved to Oxford. He purchased part of St. Mary's church and moved it west of the present priest's residence. This place, which is now occupied by Ed. Lally, faces the house of his daughter, Mrs. McDonough. After being ill eight years, Mr. Powers passed away September 14,
1909, and selected six of his grandchildren to act as his pallbearers. A solemn requiem mass was said in St. Mary's church on September 16th, by the present pastor. Rev. R. J. Renihan, and a large concourse followed the remains to its
last resting place in Calvary cemetery. He was blessed by having all the rites of the church at the time of his death and was one of the original members of St. Mary's. Politically he was a democrat. He was married in 1850 and his widow
died May 23, 1910, being buried by the side of her husband. She emigrated to the United States as a young woman and was married in this country. They became parents of the following children: Mary, wife of James Scanlan, deceased; Ellen
Anista, wife of Dan Corbett, of Iowa county, now deceased; Catherine, wife of James Holland; Margaret, Mrs. McDonough; Ed. C, on the old home farm. These good people also adopted into their family one son. Otto J. There are thirty-four grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren of this couple living. Mr. and Mrs. Powers were among the founders of the church at Oxford and lived to see Johnson county transformed from a wilderness to its present prosperous state, doing their share in the march of progress.


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