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Donahey, Matthew P.


Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 10/13/2020 at 17:45:52

Matthew P. Donahey, residing upon section 12, township 75 north, of range 8 west, an attachment to Washington Township, came to Washington County in 1846, the year in which Iowa was admitted into the Union. He was born in Harrison County, Ohio, Jan. 1, 1827, and is the son of John and Sarah (Picken) Donahey, the former a native of Allegheny County, Pa., and the latter of Harrison County, Ohio.

John Donahey emigrated with his parents to Harrison County, Ohio, at a very early day, they being numbered among the pioneers of that county. John was there reared on a farm, and when he grew to manhood married Sarah Picken. Immediately after his marriage he proceeded to clear out a farm in the heavy timber of Harrison County, and there remained until fall of 1846, when he came to Washington County, Iowa. Here he entered 600 of wild land and proceeded to improve a farm. He died in 1854, at the age of fifty-four years. His widow survived him many years, dying at Mt. Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa, in 1876, at the age of seventy-two years. They reared a family of five girls and four boys: Nancy married Samuel Wallace, of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and died in Union County of that State, in 1879; Matthew, the subject of our sketch; Susanna married John Cecil, of Harrison County, Ohio, and died in Marion County, Iowa, in 1881; Robertson died in 1854, in Washington County, Iowa, at the age of twenty-six years; Birney died in 1865, at the age of twenty-seven years, in Washington, Iowa; Fulton died in 1874, at the age of thirty-six years, in the same place; Martha J. is the wife of Simon McLaughlin, and now resides in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Adeline is the wife of Daniel K. Shaffer, of Johnson County, Iowa; Alpha P. is now residing in Montana. Few men were better known at the time of his death than John Donahey, and none more universally respected. He was a member of the Christian Church.

Matthew P. Donahey, the subject of this sketch, came with his parents to Washington County, and lived with them one year after they were here settled. He then engaged with Michael Hayes, for whom he worked until May, 1849, then in company with Mr. Hayes, Jacob Kensler and Hon. A. C. Price, now of Sigourney, Iowa hired men and went West, where they engaged in capturing buffalo calves, which they bred on their farms. The next year he worked for P. C. McKinnie, of Washington, as a teamster, and then engaged with Kendall & McFarland, in selling goods from a wagon through this part of the State. After remaining in their employ about a year, he took an interest in the enterprise, and continued in that line of trade for seven years, during which time, in partnership with Mr. Kendall, he ran a line of stage-coaches from Davenport to Oskaloosa, and also carried the United States mail. While engaged in this business, in company with Mr. Kendall, he entered thousands of acres between Davenport and Oskaloosa. A large portion of the land was near the present city of What Cheer, in Keokuk County. The town of Springfield was laid out by Messr. Donahey and Kendall.

In 1857 Mr. Donahey sold out the stage business and engaged in the livery business in Oskaloosa, and also in Sigourney, having the best stable in each place. In this business he continued until 1860, when, after casting his vote for Stephen A. Douglas for President, he moved to farm in Keokuk County, near Sigourney, where he lived one year, and then moved to his present farm on section 12, Washington Township, where he owns 170 acres of land, all under a high state of cultivation. For some time Mr. Donahey has been somewhat extensively engaged in breeding fine horses of the Bashaw and Membrino stock. He has at this writing, in August, 1887, about thirty-five head of the latter breed.

Mr. Donahey was married in 1853 to Miss Eliza Thompson, a native of Ohio, and daughter of John Thompson. Nine children have been born unto them: Minnie C.; Arminda, in Missouri; D.M., now residing in Dakota, engaged in farming and stock-raising; Edward, now in Dakota engaged in the same business; Elva, a book-keeper; Viola, a teacher; Samuel T. and Anna reside at home.

Mr. Donahey is well known throughout this section of country. He is a man well posted in public affairs, one with a mind of his own, and one who can freely expresses himself upon all questions of public interest. He is of a jovial disposition, one who knows how to give and receive a joke. Politically, he is a Democrat of the strictest sect of our religion.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Matthew P. Donahey, pages 617-618.


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