Biography of John Locke
Jefferson County, IA Biographies





JOHN LOCKE.
Probably no citizen of Cedar township was held in higher esteem or was a more important factor in promoting its development than John Locke, who for more than fifty years was engaged in the cultivation of his homestead on section 34. He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, on August 13, 1829, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. His parents were John and Elizabeth (McDowell) Locke, likewise natives of County Antrim, where they spent their entire lives. The father, who was a farmer, was employed on the Kilwaughter estate until his death at the age of sixty three years.

After the completion of his preliminary education, John Locke was sent to the Agricultural School at Glasnevin, near Dublin, in order to qualify himself for the vocation of farming. He was a most excellent pupil and was awarded a very creditable recommendation from the faculty upon his graduation. Owing to the high standard of his record and his trustworthiness, after leaving school he was placed in charge of the model farm, maintained in his home district for the benefit of the farming community. He filled this position in a most efficient manner and was retained there until he resigned to conic to America. An ambitious young man, naturally he was not satisfied with the limited advantages afforded for advancement in his native land, and decided to come to the United States, where he felt confident he would find opportunities more commensurate with his abilities. In the fall of 1854 with his young wife he sailed for the new world, coining by way of New Orleans. They came up the Mississippi by boat to Fort Keokuk, thence to Jefferson county, spending their first winter in America in Fairfield. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Locke bought two hundred and forty acres of land on section 34, Cedar township, upon which they settled. He was very successful in his undertakings, being thoroughly qualified as both a farmer and stockman by reason of his splendid training and practical experience in Ireland. Farming was to him both a profession and a business, and he used as much system and method in the direction of his affairs as he would have employed had he been conducting a commercial or industrial enterprise. He applied himself energetically to the operation of his land, making such improvements as he was able, until at the time of his death he was the owner of one of the most highly cultivated and valuable farms in the township.

In County Antrim, Ireland, on the 28th of December, t853, Mr. Locke was united in marriage to Miss Mary McDowell, who was born and reared ih that county and was a daughter of Samuel and Jane (Drummond) McDowell, also natives of County Antrim, and of Scotch-Irish extraction. They were the parents of four children. Samuel. who was the only son, is operating a farm at Dowds, Van Buren county. He married Maude D. Cole, a daughter of John W. Cole of Birmingham, Iowa, and they have three daughters: Mary Everella and Maude Eleanor, who are twins; and Elizabeth Edith. The next two, Mary Ellen and Jane, have been operating the old homestead, which now contains two hundred acres, ever since the death of their father. They lease all of the land that is under cultivation, but retain the pasture and raise cattle and hogs, in which they are meeting with success, being very capable women. They give everything about the place their personal supervision and their's is one of the best kept up and most attractive farms in the community. Miss Jane is one of the well known school teachers of Jefferson county, having been identified with this profession from her very early girlhood until two years ago. She received her first certificate after completing the district school and taught one term before entering the academy at Birmingham. She then taught for three years and at the expiration of that time pursued a teacher's course in the Western Normal College at Shenandoah, Iowa. During the succeeding three years she taught a country school in Mills county, then went to Emerson, Iowa, where she taught for three years. From there she came to the public schools of Fairfield, remaining a year; five years in district No. 1 of Liberty township followed. She next took charge of the school in her home district, which she taught until two years ago. She was very successful in her chosen field of activity and is well known among the profession in this county. The youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Locke, Elizabeth, married S. N. Stonebreaker, a farmer of Van Buren county, and they have had seven children: Samuel Leonard; John Locke; Mary Harriet, who is deceased; Opal Dewey; Cecil Blanch; Newton Brown; and Margaret Eleanor. Mr. Locke's death, which occurred on the 16th of July, 1906, was the occasion of deep and wide spread mourning in Cedar township, where he was regarded as a most estimable citizen, having proven loyal to every trust both in public and private life. He was survived for more than two years by his widow, who passed away on the homestead where they had lived for so many years, on November 22, 1908.

In his political views Mr. Locke was a democrat, and for ten years he served as assessor in Cedar township. He was first elected on the democratic ticket, but refusing the nomination of that party for a longer period his friends nominated him on the independent ticket and he was elected. This was a great tribute to the man and his popularity in his community, as he had proven so efficient that he carried a large part of the democratic and republican support. He also served for several terms as justice of the peace, and as a school director in Union township, No. 1, of Van Buren county, which was an attached district, while for many years he was a member of the board of taxation of Cedar township. He possessed high standards of the responsibilities of citizenship, and despite the exactions of his personal interests, always found time to meet the public duties he deemed it his function to discharge. As an official he manifested the same sense of conscientious obligation as characterized him in every relation of life both public and private. During a residence that covered a period of more than half a century, Mr. Locke was faithful to every trust reposed in him, meeting the ditties of citizenship by indorsing every progressive movement the adoption of which seemed to assure the community welfare or the development of the public utilities. In matters of faith both he and his wife were Unitarians, and were affiliated with the church of that denomination in their native country. Both Mr. Locke and his family have always been held in the highest respect in the community, where his children were born and reared and continue to number among their friends the best people in the township.

From:
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement Vol II
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1914


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