Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy

Donated Material: Biographies

MONAHAN, Stephen. Born 1844, Co. Clare. Stuart, Iowa, USA.
Donated by Cathy Joynt Labath, Iowa, USA.


Source: A Memorial and Biographical record of Iowa. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1896

Stephen Monahan. The gentleman whose name heads this review is one of the prominent Irish-Americans who are worthy of representation in a work of this character. Beginning life at the foot of the great social and financial ladder, he has, by dint of persistent labor attained a degree of prominence seldom achieved without financial aid.

He was born in county Clare, Ireland, on the 24th of December, 1844. In early childhood he was bereft of a father's tender care and counsel, and when seven years of age accompanied his widowed mother to America. They first located in St. Albans, Vermont, whence they removed to Canada, after returning to Maine, thence to Salmon Falls, New Hampshire. While the maternal home was in New England our subject learned the machinist's trade at North Andover, Massachusetts, and this was his life work for many years.

Being engaged principally in railway machine shops Mr. Monahan was necessarily obliged to seek employment at railway centers. This for some years necessitated much travel and frequent change of location. He worked in Detroit, Michigan, for sixteen months; spent two years in Manchester, New Hampshire; was in Adrian, Michigan, for six months, and in Elkhart, Indiana, for six months. In 1871 he came to Stuart, Iowa, and entered the employ of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, with which he continued for the long period of eighteen consecutive years. This continued service was certainly a high testimonial to his skill and ability and to his devotion to his company's interests. He was very successful in his special line of mechanics and was considered safe counsel in matters pertaining to the machinist's trade.

Mr. Monahan has been twice married, his first wife being Miss Mary Flynn, whom he wedded in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After a happy married life of five years she died, leaving three children, two of whom have joined their mother in the spirit world, the remaining son Patrick, who is now a student in the law department of the Iowa State University. Mr. Monahan afterward wedded Miss Mary Drury, the marriage being celebrated at Salmon Falls, New Hampshire. The lady is a native of the Emerald Isle and came to this country in her youth. Three children bless this union, - Mary, Charles, and Stephen, and all are yet under the parental roof.

While employed at mechanical pursuits Mr .Monahan was industrious and frugal, devoting his leisure to study and careful reading. He therefore became not only generally well informed but especially bright and clear-headed upon political topics, in which he has always taken a great interest. For five consecutive years he has been employed by the Republican State Central Committee as a campaign speaker, and for more than ten years he has taken an active part with that party in political discussions. He is therefore a gentleman widely known throughout his Congressional district as a fluent and able expounder of the doctrines of Republicanism. He is a prominent and active member of the Roman Catholic Church in Stuart, and is public-spirited and enterprising, giving freely of his means to the support of all worthy religious or charitable interests. He is also one of the Irish-Americans who cannot forget the distress of his countrymen across the water and he cheerfully lends them assistance in their dire necessities. He is prominently identified with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and in all the relations of life is an esteemed gentleman whom to know is to honor.

In 1889 Mr. Monahan left the work bench and the turning lathe and directed his attention to buying and selling real estate, loaning money, and to general insurance. His intimate and favorable acquaintance throughout the country enabled him to develop at once a fine business. It is said that his real-estate sales exceed all other business in that line in the city. His office are admirably located and well fitted up and he devotes his time to his business as assiduously as he did when his daily bread depended upon his prompt response to the whistle that called all employees to work. As a reward for industry and frugality he has accumulated valuable property interests in Stuart and vicinity, and is to-day one of the substantial citizens of this section of Iowa.

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