History of Black Hawk County, Iowa
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
Edward W. Magee, Sr., who owns one of the best and most highly improved farms of Lester township, Black Hawk County, Iowa, consisting of 480 acres in section 5, was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1837, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (McVitty) Magee.
Both of our subject's parents were born and reared in Franklin County and there James Magee followed farming until 1844, when he moved with his family to Illinois, and located in Algonquin township, McHenry County, where he secured 160 acres of land which was almost unimproved. Mr. Magee was a practical farmer and a very industrious man, and he immediately set about the erection of good buildings, the making of many substantial improvements in every direction, and entered extensively into farming and stock raising. There he continued until 1882, when he came to Black Hawk County, where he bought a small farm in Lester township. There his wife died in 1886, and his death occurred in 1889. Politically a Republican, he did a citizen's duty, but never desired political office. He and his wife were prominent in the Presbyterian Church. They had eight children, six of whom reached maturity, as follows: Mary A., who married S. Charles Jyne, - both are deceased; Edward W.; David P., a lumber dealer of Dunkerton, Iowa; Martha, widow of Joseph Klinck, of Elgin, Illinois; James, a mine owner of California; and Loretta D., wife of Sidney Stickle, of Portland, Oregon.
The subject of this sketch made use of the educational opportunities of the district and grew up on his father's farm, where he remained until he reached the age of 24 years. Then he married and established a home of his own in McHenry County, Illinois, where he continued until November 6, 1860. At that date he came to Lester township, Black Hawk County. Here he secured 200 acres of wild land in section 5, and hastily erected a small home 14 by 18 feet in dimensions, in which the family lived and throve for five years. Then Mr. Magee erected his present residence, which is one of the very best residences in the township and is fitted up with everything to make life pleasant and comfortable. In 1892 he built the best barn in the township, a substantial structure 40 feet by 110 feet in dimensions, with 24-foot posts, which will stable 20 head of horses and 75 head of cattle, and will hold 4,000 bushels of grain and 200 loads of hay. This building cost Mr. Magee in the neighborhood of $3,000. All the other improvements are on a similar scale, Mr. Magee taking a just pride in his possessions, which he has secured entirely through his own industry and good management. He devotes the 480 acres which he now owns to the raising of oats, corn and hay, and to the producing of many fine Norman horses, Poland China hogs and first-class cattle, keeping 30 head, exclusive of the 50 milch cows used for dairy purposes. On July 4, 1860, Mr. Magee was married to Sarah Jane Davis, a daughter of Martin and Mary Ann (Neff) Davis, who were early settlers of McHenry County, Illinois, where the father died in 1855, and the mother, in 1896. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Davis were as follows: Sarah Jane, Hannah M., Malissa, Katherine, Amy, Elizabeth, Henry and James. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Magee were as follows: Edward W.; James Martin, a farmer and horse dealer and breeder, of Dunkerton, Iowa; Cora, deceased, who was the wife of Ezra D. Lamb, of Lester township; Frank Wallace, a farmer of Lester township, who married Maria Axtell; Charles H., a farmer on the old homestead; Adelle, wife of Charles H. Dunkerton, a merchant and banker of Dunkerton; William G., a student at the Northwestern University Medical School, class of 1905; Carrie, wife of Thomas Fisher, of Lester township; Alice, wife of J. Y. Campbell, of Barclay township; Arthur, a farmer of Lester township, who married Bertha Baker; and Emery, who will graduate from the Iowa State Normal School at Cedar Falls in the class of 1905. In politics, Mr. Magee is a staunch Republican, but devotes his time and attention so closely to his farm and family and to matters of local interest, that he finds no time to admit of holding office. He is one of the capitalists of the county, and a director in the bank at Dunkerton, Iowa. The family is held in the highest esteem in Lester township.