Biography of Barnard J. Carney
Poweshiek County, IA Biographies





BERNARD JOSEPH CARNEY.
In the course of an active business career Bernard Joseph Carney established many business enterprises of magnitude which he carried forward to successful completion, and in his life record demonstrated the power of determination, perseverance, integrity and intelligently directed effort as factors in the attainment of notable and desirable success. While he prospered in the management of important business affairs he also belonged to that class of citizens who while promoting individual interests also advance the general prosperity.

Mr. Carney was born at Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland, in June, 1852, and after spending nine years in his native land came with his parents to the new world, the family settling in Chicago, where his father engaged in business. The family numbered eleven children but five are yet living: W. J. and T. J. Carney, Mrs. G. W. Kelly and Misses Nora and Mary Carney, of Chicago.

Bernard Joseph Carney attended the public schools of Chicago and afterward had the benefit of instruction in Bryant & Stratton Business College, then the leading commercial school of the city. He made his initial step in the business world as a bookkeeper, occupying that position for several years, but the desire to engage in business on his own account and thus enjoy the direct profit of his labors led him to leave the metropolis and come to Iowa. He arrived in Grinnell in 188o and purchased a half interest in a lumber business then owned by Stephen Goss, who, had had dealings with Mr. Carney's brother, W. J. Carney, who was a lumber merchant of Chicago. From that point in his career his prosperity and advancement were assured. He recognized opportunity and employed it to the best advantage. He never seemed to make a false move or take a backward step and he won his advancement by doing daily the duty that lay nearest his hand. After a year, and a half connection with the lumber trade of Grinnell he and his brother, W. J. Carney, purchased the interest of Mr. Goss in the lumber business which was then conducted under the firm style of Carney Brothers until 1902, when the firm of Carney, Brande & Clark was formed, his associates being E. B. Brande and E. W. Clark, Jr. This relation was maintained until 1907 when Mr. Carney and Mr. Brande sold out to Mr. Clark and J. L. Fellows. They then organized the firm of B. J. Carney & Company and conducted a wholesale business in poles. Mr. Carney was a resourceful business man, always looking beyond the exigencies of the moment to the opportunities and possibilities of the future. He found real pleasure in business in the solution of involved and intricate problems and in the masterful handling of complex interests. From time to time he extended his opportunities into other fields. He became one of the organizers of the Carney Coal Company, of Carneyville, Wyoming, and was its vice president. He also held the same official relations to the Saylor Coal Mines of Des Moines, was president of the Coaldale Fuel Company of Des Moines and a director of the Scandia Coal Company of Madrid. He was also president of the Mitchellville Telephone Exchange and for many years was associated with W. F. Hammond in the ownership of the electric light plant at Grinnell.

In 1888 Mr. Carney was united in marriage to Miss E. M. Tibbits, of Plymouth, Indiana, and to them were born five children: Cyril, who was graduated from the Iowa College of Grinnell with the class of 1910 and is now attending Columbia College ; Kriegh, now a senior in Iowa College; Bernard, a junior of the same institution ; and Kathleen and Aileen, who are students in the high school. The relations of his home life were largely ideal. He was to his family the personification of care and goodness and it was a joy to see him in his home life. No interest of childhood was too unimportant to claim his attention if it aroused the interest of his children and to them he was companion and friend as well as father.

Mr. Carney was long a devoted member of the Catholic church and also of the leading social organizations of the city. He gave generously to the various branches of the church work and was a liberal supporter of many public movements which he regarded as beneficial to Grinnell. The Grinnell Herald at the time of his death wrote: "Mr. Carney was more than a business man, more even than a very broad business man; he was a student, both of books and of human nature. In spite of the large business duties which called for constant attention he found time to read and he read the best literature. Few men in Grinnell were so well informed and on such a wide range of topics as he. His versatility, as it showed itself even in chance conversations, was remarkable. A few years ago he became interested in German and attended evening classes enough to acquire a speaking knowledge of it. Shortly afterwards he wrote and read a paper before a lumbermen's association in Minnesota in German. It was with difficulty that he proceeded for the idea of an Irishman with so rich a brogue as Mr. Carney's reading German took the convention by storm. Another of Mr. Carney's chief characteristics was his rare sense of humor. He fairly sparkled with good nature and many a one, we imagine, like the writer, will always remember him pleasantly, with his eyes twinkling and his conversation fairly scintillating with the bright things that came as naturally as the smile to his lips. To meet him and talk to him was a tonic for the jaded spirit and refreshment for the mind. It was the writer's custom to have a chat with him on every possible occasion and such a chat always left him indebted to Mr. Carney. He was by nature one of the brightest and most pleasant men it has ever been our good fortune to know. He was strict with himself in all his habits, though liberal in his views towards others. He was abstemious to a degree and lived cleanly and circumspectly. He was a public spirited man, especially in the latter years of his life. Said a Grinnell banker yesterday: There is no man to whom I would have gone sooner or from whom I would have received help more readily than from Mr. Carney. Especially in more recent years he has taken an interest in public movements, being loyal to his town and its institutions. A close business associate testifies to the fact that in the time he has known Mr. Carney he never knew him to fail to support any movement looking towards public improvement. He was deeply interested and well informed on the latest developments in politics, science and art, but never held a public office excepting that of councilman. During the twenty eight years he lived here Mr. Carney grew in public esteem and in importance until he was without question one of Grinnell's leading citizens. Whenever any public enterprise is started, whenever the Fortnightly Club meets, whenever men have occasion to do business with the firm of which he was a member, whenever there are social gatherings of his friends and whenever the Catholic church needs support in the coming years, B. J. Carney will be missed. But most of all will he be missed in the beautiful home by his wife and children and other relatives who were bound to him by every tie of affection which a kind and clean life can form with those nearest to it."

From:
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1911


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