E. W. McVay is a self made man who started out in life empty handed and has worked his way steadily upward through
his energy and persistency of purpose until he is now the owner of three hundred and seventy seven acres of valuable
farm land lying on sections 11 and 12, Liberty township. He was born in Marion county, Iowa, October 23, 1867,
and is a son of Jacob and Mary (Gregory) McVay, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Marion county.
The father came to Iowa in 1849 and lived for about a year in this county, after which he resumed his travels westward
with California as his destination. He had been attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast and with
ox teams started for the far west, journeying by slow stages across the plains, over the hot stretches of sand
and through the mountain passes until at the end of six months he reached the gold fields. There had been much
trouble with the Indians while en route but their journey was at length safely accomplished. Mr. McVay remained
for ten years in California and then returned to Iowa. Following the outbreak of the Civil war his patriotic spirit
was aroused and he enlisted in response to the country's call for aid, becoming a member of the Fifteenth Iowa
Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war, participating in a number of hotly contested engagements.
Although he was frequently on the firing line he was never wounded and at the close of the war he returned with
a most creditable military record to Marion county. He then purchased a farm, was soon afterward married and devoted
his remaining days to general agricultural pursuits in this county, his death here occurring in 1880. His widow
survives. In their family were six children, of whom five are yet living.
E. W. McVay remained at home until he attained his majority and then rented land for a year, at the end of which
time he purchased a part of the old homestead in Clay township and began its further development and improvement.
After living thereon for a decade he sold out and purchased the farm which he now owns and occupies, on sections
11 and 12, Liberty township, comprising three hundred and seventy seven acres, which was only partially under cultivation.
With characteristic energy he undertook the work of converting the entire tract into a rich and productive property
and the result of his labors was soon manifest in highly cultivated fields, from which he annually gathers rich
harvests. He has ever been practical in his farm work and at the same time has employed progressive methods.
In 1893 Mr. McVay was united in marriage to Miss Valeria Stafford, who was born in Monroe county, Iowa, a daughter
of J. C. and Elmira (Hoagland) Stafford, the former a native of Marion county and the latter of Monroe county.
The father has passed away but the mother survives and is now residing in Lovilia. In their family were five children,
all of whom are yet living. Mr. and Mrs. McVay became the parents of six children: Guy and Mary, both deceased;
Mildred F., now attending high school at Lovilia, Iowa; Gladys N.; Edith E. W.; and Jacob P. R.
The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mr. McVay belongs also to the Modern Woodmen camp
at Tracy, in which he has filled all of the chairs. He has served on the school board, of which he is now the secretary,
and he is a stalwart champion of the cause of education. He votes with the republican party but does not seek
nor desire office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs. He is a representative of
one of the pioneer families of the county and has ever been an interested witness of its growth and development,
while through his chosen life work he has contributed much to its agricultural progress.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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