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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1201~




The subject of this sketch is one of the active and useful citizens of West Union, Fayette county, Iowa. Unlike the average citizen of today, he has always exerted his strength and energies in the furtherance of manual labor, and no man in Fayette county has been a more zealous worker than William Loftus. For many years he was engaged in the operation of a large farm in Union township, leaving it and moving to town in order to give his children better educational advantages than they enjoyed in the country schools. Here he has been employed in various ways, but latterly as street commissioner of the city. In this capacity, Mr. Loftus has given universal satisfaction, his work being directed in such a manner as to be entirely devoid of the charge of favoritism or partiality, but every portion of this large district has received the consideration which the condition of the roads and streets would seem to demand.


William Loftus was born in the state of New York, on the 25th day of January, 1857, his parents having located in that state for a few years on their arrival from the Emerald Isle, the country of their nativity. These parents, Daniel and Bridget (O'Donnell) Loftus, came to Fayette county, Iowa, about the beginning of the Civil war, and the father purchased a farm, principally unimproved, in what is now Union township, but then designated as West Union township. William is the eldest of the five children born to these parents, the others being briefly mentioned as follows: John, the second born, who also was a native of New York state, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in December 1907, leaving a widow, but no children; Daniel, who is conducting a restaurant and provision store in West Union, married Eliza McCarthy, and they have two children, Aileen and Francis; the former is a graduate of the West Union high school and a young lady of bright promise; Thomas is the fourth in order of birth and he and his sister Florence have maintained the home in West Union since the death of their mother.


Thomas Loftus has achieved more than the average man in his circumstances. At the age of ten years he was placed in the family of John Owens and remained a member of that family for some fifteen years. He was reared amid the environments of mercantile life and soon became thoroughly familiar with all business details. For many years he was the "head and center" of the extensive business enterprises then conducted by Mr. Owens. He was commissioned postmaster of West Union in 1893, and served four years in that capacity to the entire satisfaction of the government and the patrons of the office. He was in mercantile business eight years in partnership with Charles E. Owens, a son of his former employer, and in January, 1907, he was chosen deputy county treasurer under the administration of Albert B. Blunt. Thomas Loftus wields a potent influence in the councils of Democracy and has been, and still is, a useful and prominent citizen in the community. Members of the Loftus family have performed an active and important part in the history of the locality in which they have lived, and no family in the community sustains a more honorable record within their sphere of existence.


Being the eldest of the family, much of the labor of improving and developing the homestead farm devolved upon William Loftus, the immediate subject of this review, and he then learned something of the duties of the active and self-reliant life which has been a leading characteristic in his later career. The farm home later became a part of the extensive land holdings of John Owens, whose history is so inseparably connected with that of West Union and vicinity.


Mr. Loftus was happily married on the 17th of March, 1876, to Kate Nugent, a most exemplary wife and mother, who bore with him the trials and vicissitudes of life until the meridian was passed. They reared an interesting family of eleven children, namely: Mae, Florence, Laura, Charles, Clarence, John, Lucile, William, Fred, Robert and Herbert. Mrs. Loftus operated a millinery business in West Union, known as the Loftus Millinery Store, from March, 1899, until her death, which occurred August 27, 1907, since which time Miss Florence has conducted the business. Mrs. Loftus was consigned to rest in the Catholic cemetery connected with the church which is the religious home of the entire family. They are active and zealous church people and represent a class of citizens who are welcome in any community and whose lives are an inspiration to the rising generations.


Of the children enumerated above, it may be briefly noted that Clarence is a successful attorney in Des Moines, this state; William, who was employed in a patent office at Des Moines, is at present in the law college of Drake University, Des Moines; Charles is engaged in the wholesale grocery business in the same city; John is employed in a wholesale shoe store in Kansas City; Laura is bookkeeper for Doctor Darnell, at West Union; Lucile is at home and the other children are students in the public schools.



~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Mary Fobian


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