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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 877~


James J. McNaul


"In this sketch it is a pleasure to record the history of a family whose men are the kind who count for something, strong men, of Scotch descent, of hardihood and courage sufficient for all the vicissitudes of life such men as go to make a nation powerful.


James McNaul was born in Scotland March 25, 1787, and came to this country as a boy of five with his father, who settled in Pennsylvania and farmed. He was reared on the Center county farm and married Isabella Swanzey, who was born in the same county March 12, 1793. They were the parents of ten children: William, Sarah, Isabella, Thaddeus, James F., John, Lebbeus, Lusk and Esther Ann. James McNaul died July 20, 1853. William McNaul was born January 17, 1817, grew up on the farm, and in 1844 married Elizabeth Riley, who was born January 11, 1818. In 1856 they came west, bringing three children,, accompanied by his brother Thaddeus, and located in Westfield township, one mile south of Fayette, but remained there only during the winter and then removed six miles south in this county where William lived until his death, farming during his active life. The old farm contained about eighty acres. William was a strong Republican and held many township offices, among them clerk and trustee. He and his wife were Methodists, very active in church work, and noted about the neighborhood on account of their hospitality. They raised to maturity four of seven children born to them. James F., Williamís brother, came to Fayette county in 1865 after serving two years in Company I, Thirtieth Wisconsin Infantry, and has lived here since. Thaddeus remained here until his death.


James J. McNaul was born in Clarion county, Pennsylvania, February 14, 1847, the son of William and Elizabeth McNaul. His maternal grandparents were Thomas F. Riley, born August 11, 1793, and Susanna (McBride) McNaul, born September 1, 1796, pioneers of Clarion county who had opened up timber land and died on the homestead. He was a very much respected and of great influence. In the early forties he joined the Methodist church and was afterwards very active. He lived to the age of ninety-six and when ninety-three walked nearly a mile to the election, his great physical endurance holding out to the end of his life. When young, he used to clear land all day and then do a dayís work in his blacksmith shop at night. J. J. McNaul was educated in the common schools, began work on the farm at a very early age and remained on the farm until his parents died. On July 4, 1871, he was married to Mary Howard, and continued farming until 1891, when he went on the road for the J. R. Watkins Medical Company of Winona, Minnesota, the largest concern of its kind in the world, during which time he lived at Vinton, Benton county. In this time he had many interesting experiences, and has witnessed the development of the county into its present prosperity. He retired in the fall on 1907, and in 1908 came to live at Randalia. He has retained the old farm, about two miles west of Randalia, containing one hundred and sixty aces, which his only living son now farms. They make a specialty of Duroc-Jersey hogs, and have raised very high grade individuals of that breed. Mrs. McNaul was born in Union county, Indiana, the daughter of John and Margaret (Hill) Howard. He was the son of James Howard, and was born in New York, while she was probably born in Indiana. Her maternal grandparents were Jacob and Eliza (Smith) Hill, early settlers near South Bend, Indiana, and the parents of a large family. They came to Arlington, Fayette county, Iowa, when the county was new, locating on government land. Jacob Hill was a soldier in the Mohawk war, and Mrs. McNaul had two uncles in the Civil war. Her father first farmed in Delaware county and moved to Randalia about 1860. He was the father of twelve children by two marriages. Since 1891 he has lived in Arlington, and is still, as formerly, very active in the Sunday school and church work of the Christian denomination. Mr. and Mrs. J. J. McNaul are the parents of four children: Margaret Elizabeth, dead; Willis, who is married and living on the home farm; his wife was formerly Jeannette Burns and they have two children, Hazel Burnie, born June 3, 1903, and Mildred M., born October 16, 1904; Willard, and Cora May, dead. The family are Methodists, and Mr. McNaul is a church worker. He is a Republican and Knight of Pythias, and a man whose presence in the community honors it and is in every way beneficial. The record of his forefathers was a worthy one, and he has in all respects lived up to it."



~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Georgianna Gray


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