Waukon numbered James Holahan among its capitalists. He became a factor in its business circles as a pioneer implement
dealer and eventually developed his business to include the manufacture of wagons and carriages. His trade extended
throughout northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota and his well merited success made him one of the substantial
and respected residents of the state.
Mr. Holahan was numbered among the worthy citizens that Ireland furnished to Allamakee county, his birth occuring
in Kilkenny. He was but a child in years, however, when the family emigrated to America, making settlement at Naugatuck,
Connecticut, where the years of his youth were passed. He made his initial step in the business world by learning
the trade of a decorator and painter. He was employed in that capacity in a clock factory of Naugatuck for some
time but eventually the family came to Iowa, settling at Decorah, so that from that point onward to the time of
his death Mr. Holahan was a resident of this state. In 1863 he took up his abode in Waukon. The Holahan homestead
consists of a magnificent forest park fifty acres in extent, planned and planted by Mr. Holahan, and surrounds
a stately, old fashioned mansion. It is one of the show spots of the city. After becoming a resident of Waukon
Mr. Holahan opened one of the first implement establishments of the town, becoming a pioneer in that line of trade.
He was not long in winning recognition for his business ability in a growing patronage. He also began the maufacture
of wagons and carriages, conducting an extensive enterprise along that line. The trade not only covered Allamakee
county but extended into adjoining counties until it had covered northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota,
and throughout the entire district his name was household word for more than a generation. He was known as a most
enterprising and progressive business man, carefully formulating his plans and carrying them forward to successful
completion. Obstacles and difficulties in his path seemed but an impetus for renewed effort that never faltered
until his purpose was achieved.
Mr. Holahan was united in marriage to Miss Kate Fenelon, a native of Carlow, Ireland, and they became the parents
of five sons and four daughters, namely: W. J., who is now living in Mason City, Iowa; John, who is located at
Havana, Cuba; M. F., a resident of Atlanta, Georgia; L. J., living in Dixon, Illinois; James, who is located at
Victoria, Illinois; Nellie M., the wife of the Hon. William S. Hart, a prominent lawyer and legislator of Allamakee
county; Anna; Gretta; and Mamie, who is Sister M. Benoit in St. Xavier's Academy of Chicago.
Such in brief is the life history of James Holahan, one of the most worthy and highly esteemed pioneer citizens
of Allamakee county. He early recognized the fact that there is no royal road to wealth and that there is no excellence
without labor. He, therefore, put forth effective effort to secure his advancement and the methods which he followed
and the course which he pursued commended him to the confidence, good will and honor of all with whom he came in
Past and Present of Allamakee County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievemant
By: Ellery M. Hancock
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Allamakee County, IA
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