Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 701-02. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


The substantial and well-to-do citizens of Mason City have no more worthy representative [than] Daniel Cahalan, a retired farmer who was for many years actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in Cerro Gordo county, in the prosecution of his independent calling meeting with far more than average success. A son of the late James Cahalan, he was born, September 29, 1840, in the county Kerry, Ireland, and there spent his childhood days.

Born and reared on the Emerald Isle, James Cahalan, whose birth occurred in February, 1808, remained in the old country until 1847. Wishing then to prove for himself the truth concerning the [wonderful] advantages given the laboring man in America, he bade farewell to his family and after a voyage of eight weeks landed in New York. He spent a brief time in Vermont, from there going to Washington county, New York, where he worked at any honest labor. There, in 1850, he was joined by his wife and children; four years later he removed with his family to Rhode Island, and from there, in 1863, located in Fayette county, Iowa. Buying a tract of raw land, he erected a log cabin, and during the years that followed succeeded in clearing a good farm, on which he resided until his death, at the age of sixty-eight years. His wife, whose maiden name was Sarah Griffin, was born in Ireland in 1816, and died in Fayette county, Iowa, at the age of sixty-nine years. They became the parents of nine children, seven of whom are now living, namely: Daniel, the special subject of this sketch; M. P. H., of Dougherty township; Kate, wife of John Carr, of Minnesota; Margaret, wife of Patrick O'Neal, of Mason City; James H., of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mary, wife of A. Nelson, of Devil's Lake, Minnesota; and Sarah, wife of Thomas M. Moriarty, of Minnesota.

A sturdy lad of ten years when he came with his mother to the United States, Daniel Cahalan received limited educational advantages in the commons schools of Washington county, New York. Beginning the struggle of life for himself in 1866, he bought one hundred acres of grub land in Fayette county, paying down twenty-five dollars in cash, his entire capital. Devoting his energies to the improvement of his property, he met with encouraging success from the start, and in course of time bought adjoining land until he had a farm of two hundred and twelve acres. Selling his estate in 1891 for forty-two dollars and fifty cents an acre, Mr. [Cahalan] came to Cerro Gordo county to invest his money, buying first two hundred and eighty acres of improved land in section thirty-three, Bath township. The land yielding profitable harvest each year, he bought more land from time to time, his farm in 1900 containing five hundred and eighteen acres of rich and fertile land, and being one of the most attractive and desirable in the vicinity. He also owns four hundred acres of valuable land in Minnesota.

Retiring from active labor in that year, Mr. Cahalan located at Rockwell, Cerro Gordo county, where he resided seven years, being one of the most active and prominent citizens of the place. Since 1907 he has been a resident of Mason City, and has here gained an assured position among the highly esteemed and respected citizens.

Public spirited and energetic, Mr. Cahalan has never shirked the responsibilities of public office, but while a resident of Fayette county was township assessor twelve years and township trustee a number of terms. He likewise served as trustee of Bath township, in Cerro Gordo county, and was township clerk four years. He was subsequently elected mayor of Rockwell, a position that he resigned on coming to Mason City. While living in Rockwell he was vice president of the Farmers' Co-operative Company, and has since assisted in the organization of a dozen such companies in different parts of the county. Mr. Cahalan and his family are consistent member of Saint Joseph's Catholic church.

On February 5, 1868, Mr. Cahalan married in Clayton county, Iowa, Mary Ann Phelan, who was born in May, 1849 in Clayton County, Iowa, where her parents, John and Mary (Delaheney) Phelan, settled on coming to this country from Ireland in the early forties. Twelve children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cahalan, nine of whom are living, namely: James P. of Bath township; Daniel Jr., of Dougherty township; Anna, wife of Thomas Fleming of Cartersville, Iowa; Patrick F., of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota; Nellie; Theresa; May; Thomas H.; and George W.

NOTE: Daniel Cahalan died on April 14, 1918. Mary Ann (Phelan) Cahalan dued in 1935. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City IA.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2014



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