Biography of Thomas P. McGivern
Iowa County, IA Biographies





THOMAS P. McGIVERN.
Starting out in life on his own account when a youth of seventeen years and shouldering the heavy responsibilities of business, proving his worth as the years went on, Thomas P. McGivern gave evidence of his sound judgment and manifestation of his indefatigable energy and is today one of the largest landowners of Iowa county, his record proving what may be accomplished when there is the will to dare and to do and also standing as proof of the fact that success and an honored name may be won simultaneously. He has important interests not only in land but as a stockman and banker and makes his home at Marengo.

A native of Jackson county, Iowa, Mr. McGivern was born near Preston, June 21, 1867, and is a son of Peter and Margaret (Larkin) McGivern. The father was born in County Armagh, Ireland, where he was reared upon a farm. After attaining his majority he wedded Margaret Larkin, also a native of that locality, and one child was born unto them ere their emigration to the United States in 1848. They crossed the Atlantic on a sailing vessel and after reaching the American coast made their way to Chicago, which was then a tiny hamlet situated on land that was largely low and swampy. The condition there was such that they felt it unwise to settle at that point and pushed on to Elgin, where. the father purchased a small farm. In 1851 he removed to Jackson county, Iowa, and bought land there and in 1868 he came to Iowa county, purchasing land in Marengo township three and one half miles south of the town of Marengo. This was raw prairie which he at once began to develop and improve with characteristic energy and determination. Upon that place he remained until his death, which occurred September 14, 1881, when he was fifty five years of age. He had met with a fair measure of success in his undertakings, becoming the owner of two hundred and forty acres of good land, well improved. He had also reared a large family and had given them a good start in life. His widow survived him for some time, passing away when about seventy five years of age. They were communicants of the Catholic church. In their family were nine children: Francis, now a prosperous banker of Fremont, Nebraska; Michael, a retired farmer and stock raiser living at Davenport, Iowa; Arthur A., a retired farmer of Marengo; F. H., who has also put aside the carers of farm life and makes his home in Davenport; Alice, who became the wife of James Column and died at the age of twenty three years, leaving two children; Mary, the wife of Ed McDonald, who is living retired at Cedar Rapids; Peter, who is engaged in the automobile business in Davenport; James J., a Christian Brother, in the Philippine Islands; and Thomas P.

The last named was but nine months old when the family arrived in Iowa county. He was educated in the district schools and spent his youth upon the home farm. He was but fourteen years of age when his father died and when he was seventeen his mother gave him his time, after which he and his brother Peter rented the home farm and began feeding and dealing in live stock, in which they met with excellent success. Although only a boy in years Thomas P. McGivrn proved himself an excellent judge of stock and a natural trader and dealer and the brothers were very successful. The partnership between them continued for four years, at the end of which time Thomas P. McGivern purchased the interest of his brother in their live stock. He has continued to engage in the live stock business and operated his farms until the 1st of March, 1912, when he rented his feeding farms, only retaining about three hundred acres for pasture. He became a dealer in South Dakota land and realized between twenty five and thirty thousand dollars on his investments there. From time to time he purchased Iowa property and he is now one of the largest landowners of Iowa county. He has bought and sold considerable property in this state and his holdings altogether embrace fourteen hundred and thirty five acres, of which a thousand acres is in one body two miles northeast of Marengo. His realty possessions are the visible evidence of his life of well directed energy, thrift and enterprise. His only inheritance amounted to about twenty five hundred dollars from his father's estate. Aside from this all that he possesses has been acquired through his own efforts and labor and in all of his business dealings he displays keen sagacity and sound judgment. Aside from his business activities in real estate and his fanning and stock raising interests he became one of the organizers and first directors of the Peoples Savings Bank of Marengo and later was elected vice president, which position he still fills. He is likewise the president of the Marengo Gas Company and it is characteristic of him that whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion.

In 1891 Mr. McGivern was united in marriage to Miss Mamie E. Flanagan, a native of Iowa county and a daughter of Fergus L. and Amy (Magahy) Flanagan. The children of this marriage are eight in number: Amy Mane, who was educated in St. Joseph's College of Dubuque, Iowa; Ethel, who was graduated from the Cedar Rapids Business College and is now stenographer to the secretary of Iowa State College at Ames; and Florence, Helen, Thomas, Fergus, Carroll, and Mark, all at home.

Mr. and Mrs. McGivern are communicants of the Catholic church and in that faith have reared their family. In his political views Mr. McGivern is a democrat but has never cared for public office. On the contrary, he has preferred to concentrate his attention and energies upon his business affairs and through the careful handling of his interests he has won the substantial success which is now his and which places him among the prominent residents of his county. He owns and occupies an attractive home in Marengo and therefrom superintends his investments and his livestock interests.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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