supplying the town with water, and that he wanted to sell his outfit and advised Barney to buy it. The
fellow had a pair of steers that he worked with a yoke across their foreheads, and a cart in which he hauled
a barrel or two of water that he obtained from a spring about two miles out. Barney bought him out and set
to work hauling water, the fellow staying with him until he learned the business and the homes of his
patrons, Barney marking the latter with chalk. He prospered at the business, making about $3 a day in
gold, and he yet remembered the names of all the Colombian coins.
Finally an American whaling vessel came to port, and Barney mingled with the sailors on shore. But
whaling vessels carried no passengers and there seemed no prospect for getting away on it. However,
Barney became intimate with one of the sailors and the sailor told him the ship was going up the coast and
that if he was aboard and not discovered until the ship was out at sea they would be obliged to carry him to
some port. Barney said he would give him ten dollars if he smuggled him aboard until the ship was on the
high seas. The sailor agreed, and Barney disposed of his cattle and cart, and the night before the ship sailed
the sailor got him aboard unnoticed and stowed him away, Barney promising never to betray him.
The next day Barney went to the mess table with the others and it was soon discovered that the men were
one ration short, and the fellow who got no ration made complaint and the captain was soon informed that
there was an extra man aboard. The captain commenced an investigation and soon discovered Barney and
asked him with a good deal of sternness who it was that helped him aboard. Barney answered that he
would keep that to himself. "Well," said the captain, "I will put you off at the first port we reach, and you
may keep that to yourself." The captain turned away but Barney followed him and suggested that he had
$90 in gold and that he would give it to the captain if he would take him to San Francisco. The captain
walked away and made no answer. The next day he came to Barney and said to him that he would take him
to San Francisco for the $90, and Barney gladly handed him over the money.
Once in San Francisco Barney's career was like that of most others like him. He associated himself with
other young men and they went to the mountains in search of gold and learned to prospect and to mine by
hard experience. Sometimes they struck it rich and at other times they would work for weeks or months to
dam and divert a stream in order to search its bed for gold, and when the work was about completed a
mountain torrent would come and tear away all their work. He worked thus for about five years and made
some money, and then concluded to return to civilization. He started back by way of Panama again, but
when he reached the Isthmus this time the Panama railroad had been built and he crossed the Isthmus by
rail. [railroad completed in January1855]
He finally reached Iowa, and what diverted him to Iowa we did not learn. He met the lady, Miss Abigail
Batterson, who became his wife, at Washington, Iowa, and they were married at Iowa City. This part of
Iowa had just then been surveyed by government surveyors, and he asked one of them where he could find
good land. The surveyor said there was plenty of good land up the Des Moines river, and advised him to go
up to the fork and that he could find land on the East or West Fork. Barney bought a pair of oxen or two
and a wagon and a whole lot of necessary stuff, and he and his wife started northwest. They finally arrived
at the East Fork of the Des Moines in Southern Kossuth and there pitched their tent and there they
remained and prospered, Barney Devine being for many years regarded as the richest man in the county.
But he did not bring as much with him as many supposed. When he got settled in Riverdale township he
had only about $1500 in money. For years his main business was buying steers and fattening them for the
Chicago market, and he was a liberal buyer and an honest man.
For a number of years past Mr. and Mrs. Devine made their home in Pomona, California, generally
spending their summers here. Mrs. Devine died here three or four years ago and was buried at Irvington,
where Mr. Devine will also be buried. Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Devine, and all are living
except two. Eliza died at the age of four years, and Sarah (Mrs. Matt Freilinger), died at the age of 38. The
living ones are: Mary (Mrs. Charles Wernet of St. Joe), Ellen, Delia, Clara and George of Algona, Frank of
Irvington, and Charles, William and Nellie of California. The burial will be delayed until the California
children come here, and the funeral will probably be conducted by the Masonic Lodge, Mr. Devine having
been a member of that order. Mr. Devine did not profess membership in any church for many years past. In
his youth he was a Catholic. The death occurred about six o'clock Tuesday evening at the home of his son
and daughters in the south part of town, the old John G. Smith home.
--Algona Courier, Thursday, 18 November 1915, page 1
Rachel (Scherf) Levine
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