Michael Neylan. Not a little of the success and prosperity gained by Iowa is due to her citizens who are of Irish birth or descent, and who, combining the qualities of cheerful perseverance and industry characteristic of their race, with the pluck and determination possessed by Americans, have succeeded in advancing their personal welfare and enhancing the material progress of the state. Of this class is Mr. Neylan, a resident farmer of Clayton County, and the owner and occupant of a well improved farm in Boardman Township.
In County Clare, Ireland, the subject of this sketch was born in 1820, being a member of the family of Francis and Jane (Cusick) Neylan, both of whom were born in the same county as our subject, and there remained until death. Michael grew to manhood amid the scenes of his native country, and while his educational advantages were very limited, he managed to acquire a valuable fund of information as a result of habits of close observation formed in boyhood. About the time of the Mexican War he crossed the ocean, seeking a home in our country, and here he has since remained. His home has been in Iowa for forty years or more, but he has also traveled extensively and visited almost every part of the United States.
For a time after coming to Iowa, Mr. Neylan was employed on a railroad, and also followed other lines of work. Finally he settled down to the quiet life of a farmer, and to this occupation he has since devoted his entire attention. His first purchase consisted of forty acres in Highland Township, Clayton County, to the cultivation of which he devoted himself assiduously. So successful was he in his enterprises that he was soon enabled to add forty acres to his landed possessions, and afterward twenty acres, and at the present time he is the owner of one hundred and sixty acres.
The lady to whose counsel and active assistance Mr. Neylan owes not a little of his success bore the maiden name of Mary Glynn, and was born in County Clare, Ireland. Their union has resulted in the birth of four children, of whom three are now living, as follows: Ellen, who is married and has five children; John, also married, and who is the father of seven children, and Jane, who resides with her parents. Mr. Neylan has always been very industrious and persevering, but in his undertakings he was long beset by poverty, and in securing his land he had much to contend with. However, he had the pluck necessary to secure success, and by undaunted energy gradually worked his way upward to a position of prominence in his community. All that he is, and all that he has, may be attributed to his indefatigable exertions, and he is one of the type of men usually termed self-made. He has never taken an active part in political affairs, but favors the policy of the Democratic party, which he supports in national elections. In local matters, he advocates men rather than party and gives his influence to the candidates whom he believes will best advance the interests of the township and county.