County Tyrone, Ireland, was the birthplace of Francis McSorley, who has been a resident of Nishnabotny township for more than twenty years.
He was born in 1858 and is a son of the late Michael and Alice (Donnelly) McSorley, who emigrated from the Emerald isle in 1878, locating upon the place where Francis McSorley now resides. This section of the country was very sparsely settled at that period and there was but one residence between their house and Denison. They continued to live there and on the opposite side of the road until 1889, at which time Mr. McSorley passed away. He was long survived by his wife, whose demise occurred in 1906.
Ten children were born unto them: Catherine, who is the wife of William Smith, of Nishnabotny township; John, Mary and Peter, all three deceased; Lizzie, who became the wife of James Lauren, of Nishnabotny township; Francis, our subject; Alice, the wife of Henry Slater, of Nishnabotny township; Ellen, who married Albert Carson, of Nishnabotny township; Thomas, deceased; and Jennie, the wife of Patrick Hook, of South Dakota.
Francis McSorley acquired his education in the common schools of Ireland, in which country he continued to reside until he was twenty-one years of age. He remained in his native land about six months after his parents sailed from Belfast to New York, in order to dispose of their personal effects. After having settled up all of their business he took passage for America, stopping while en route from New York to Denison at Amboy, Illinois, where he visited for two weeks and then joined his parents in Crawford county. He remained a member of the paternal household, assisting his father in the cultivation of the farm until the latter's demise, subsequent to which event he located upon his present homestead.
His holdings here aggregate two hundred and forty acres, all of which is well improved and under a high state of cultivation. Mr. McSorley engages in general farming but makes a specialty of raising pedigreed Durham cattle and registered Poland China hogs and he also breeds fine Clydesdale horses. He is meeting with success in all of his ventures, having added eighty acres to his holdings since first locating here, while the two-room house which was on the place has given way to a pleasant, modern country residence.
In 1898 Mr. McSorley was united in marriage to Miss Bridget Hassett. a daughter of Jerry and Bridget (Donovan) Hassett, natives of Ireland. Mr. Hassett came to the United States in 1865, having sailed from Queenstown to New York, in which city he remained for a time, and then went to Newport, where he resided for two years, during which time he was married. From Newport he removed to Iowa, first locating in Davenport, which city he left at the end of a year to become a citizen of Denison. Here he worked upon the railroad section for five years, during which period he acquired the means that enabled him to buy eighty acres of land in East Boyer township. After cultivating this for twenty years he bought a tract of four hundred acres in the same township, where he remained until he and Mrs. Hassett retired to Denison one year ago. He now owns a quarter section of land which he rents.
Eleven children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Hassett: Mary, the wife of Michael McMahon, a resident of Denison; Cornelius, living in East Boyer township; Bridget, the wife of Francis McSorley; Thomas, of East Boyer township; Patrick, of Denison; Margaret, the wife of P. M. Lane, living in the vicinity of Vail; J ohn, who is at home; Ellen, who married Joseph Boman, of Buck Grove, Iowa; Hannah, the wife of Frank Comstock, of East Boyer township; Catherine, formerly a school teacher and now a stenographer in Denison; and Lizzie, the wife of Clarence O'Mara, of Washington township. Mrs. McSorley acquired her education in the district schools of East Boyer township remaining at home until she was married.
Six children have been born unto Mr. and Mrs. McSorley: Francis, who is eleven years of age; Leo, who is seven; Clara, five years of age; John, who is now two; Thomas, who passed away at the age of nine months; and the sixth who died in infancy.
The family attend the Roman Catholic church, of which the parents are communicants, while his political allegiance Mr. McSorley accords the democratic party. He never prominently participates in civic affairs, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to the supervision of his personal interests, in the development of which he is meeting with very satisfactory returns.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.