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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 200~


Lorin M. Stranahan


Lorin M. Stranahan, a prominent early citizen of Smithfield Township, resides on a fine farm of two hundred and forty-eight acres situated on section 11. His pleasant home is surrounded by beautiful shade trees that were planted by his own hand and the improvements of the place are many, while in character they are both useful and ornamental. Mr. Stranahan was born in Columbia County, N. Y., July 13, 1831. His great-great-grandfather, accompanied by two brothers, leaving their home in the Emerald Isle, crossed the Atlantic to America and founded a family in Columbia County. The grandfather of our subject, William Stranahan, was born, reared and spent his entire life on a farm in that county where was also born June 20, 1806, William Stranahan, Jr., father of Lorin. The days of his boyhood and youth were spent in the usual manner of farmer lads and in the public schools of the neighborhood he acquired his education. When he was twenty-one years of age he removed to Essex County, N. Y., where he engaged in farming until 1845, when he removed to Rock County, Wis. Entering land from the Government he opened up a new farm, upon which he made his home for nine years when, in 1854 he came to Iowa, spending his remaining days with his son. He died the same year and was buried in the cemetery at Taylorville. His good wife died about two years later. Her maiden name was Miss Dorcas Fisher, but she usually went by the name of Mosely, that being the name of the family in whose home she was reared. They were married in Clinton County about 1829.


Our subject spent the first fourteen years of his life in Essex County, where he first entered school, completing his education however, in Beloit College, of Beloit, Wis. During the summer months he worked upon a farm and in the winter pursued his studies until he had acquired a good education that, supplemented by experience, has made him a well-informed man. He visited Fayette County, Iowa, in 1851, and made a claim near West Union. It was his intention to engage in teaching here, but the county with its log schoolhouses and frontier appearance, seemed so very different from the home which he had left, that he returned to Wisconsin and followed the profession there. He has since been engaged in teaching in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. A second time he visited in the State in 1853 and bought land but returned to Illinois to teach during the succeeding winter. He purchased his present farm in 1854 and in 1856 completed his arrangements for a home by securing as its mistress Miss Sarah A. Cockerell. They were married in Missouri, and began their domestic life in true pioneer style. The lady was a native of Northumberland County, Va., born May 30, 1833. Their home was a frontier cabin situated upon the open prairie across which one could look for miles, but industry, enterprise and hard work have developed the raw land into a rich and fertile farm, one of the best in the county.


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Stranahan were born six children - W. L., now of Southern Kansas; Lizzie, wife of W. B. Stevenson of Fayette; Nellie at home; Lorin S. deceased and Frank Elmore, twins; and Warren. The children were all born on the old homestead and were educated in the public schools of the neighborhood and at Fayette. The mother of this family died in January, 1885. After some two years, in May, 1887, Mr. Stranahan was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary E. Brooks, daughter of Chancy Brooks, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. They have many warm friends throughout the county where they are widely known and by all are held in high esteem. Mr. Stranahan is numbered among the honored pioneers of Smithfield Township, in the organization of which he bore a prominent part. Whatever tends to benefit the community or promote its interests receives his support and cooperation and he is regarded as a leading and influential citizen of the community. He cast his first Presidential vote for Pierce in 1852, and at each succeeding Presidential election since that time has never failed to deposit a ballot for the Democratic candidate. He has filled all the township offices with the exception of Constable and is now Justice of the Peace. On one occasion he was the Democratic nominee for the position of County Treasurer but on account of the large Republican majority, failed of election. Mr. Stranahan and his family enjoy a comfortable competence - the result of his good management and industry.




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