Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 587-88.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Stephen Callahan

Stephen Callahan, who is now farming on the southwest quarter of section 10, Providence township, was born in Ireland, April 22, 1845.  He represents one of the old families of that country.  His paternal grandfather, John Callahan, was a .shoemaker by trade, and both he and his wife spent their entire lives in Ireland, where they reared their family of six children, namely:  Peter, James, John, Philip, Mary and Ann.  The maternal grandfather was Bernard McDermott, who came to America, and spent his last days in Lafayette county, Wisconsin, where he died when more than ninety-one years of age.  His death came without illness, as the result of the wearing out of the tissues.  His children included Stephen, Mary, Rosa, Ann, Bridget and Kate.


Peter Callahan, father of our subject, was born in Ireland and learned the shoemaker's trade after coming to the United Sates.  He settled first in Albany, New York, and afterward removed westward to Lafayette county, Wisconsin, where he took up his abode on a farm.  There he carried on agricultural pursuits throughout his remaining days, his death occurring in 1876.  He married Miss Kate McDermott, also a native of Ireland, who surviving him for several years, passed away at Omaha, Nebraska, in 1881.  They were both Catholics in religious faith.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Callahan were born nine children, five sons and four daughters:  John and Bernard, both deceased; Stephen of this review; Mary Ann, the deceased wife of John Mehan; Augusta, deceased;  Rosa, the wife of James Kinney, of South Dakota; Harry, of Omaha, Nebraska; Peter, deceased; and Kate, who is living at Chicago.


Stephen Callahan was a youth of twelve years when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Wisconsin.  There he was reared to manhood, living at home until nineteen years of age.  He had attended school in the east, and in the west he worked on a farm, being identified with the labors of the field from the time of early spring planting until the crops were harvested in the late autumn.  He then learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed for eighteen years, during which time he traveled considerable over the country.  Eventually he came to Iowa and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Providence township, which he still owns.  He has since carried on general farming and has made his place one of the attractive features of the landscape.  He has always led a busy and useful life, and to his untiring industry he owes his present success.


In 1867 Mr. Callahan was married to Miss Bridget Rowen, a native of Pennsylvania, where her parents, Michael and Mary (Riley) Rowen, settled in early life, on their emigration from Ireland, their native country.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Callahan were born seven children:  Katie, who is a teacher of Clay county, Iowa; Minnie, the wife of Neil McLaughlin, by whom she has one son, Stephen; Winifred, the wife of Timothy Toohey; Raymond, Leona, Harold and Walter, all yet at home.  The wife and mother died in 1894, when about forty years of age.  She was a communicant of the Catholic church, of which Mr. Callahan is also a member.  He has usually voted with the republican party but is now giving his support to the democracy.  His life has been quietly passed in the performance of daily duties that have come to him in connection with his business interests, and he is now devoting his time and energies to his farming pursuits.