History of Black Hawk County, Iowa - 1915 - M

Black Hawk County >> 1915 Index

History of Black Hawk county, Iowa, and Its People
John C Hartman, supervising editor. Vols. I & II Chicago: S J Clarke Publ Co., 1915.


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

Emery Ernest Magee, M. D.

Dr. Emery Ernest Magee, a medical graduate of Northwestern University, displayed the elemental strength of his character and his laudable ambition in providing for the expenses of his college course in both his literary and professional training. Such a man will always win success, and it is therefore no matter of marvel that Dr. Magee stands among the able and eminent physicians and surgeons of Waterloo.

He is a native of Black Hawk county, having been born October 28, 1882, on the farm near Dunkerton owned by his parents, Edward W. and Sarah Jane (Davis) Magee, both of whom are natives of the state of New York. In childhood, however, they accompanied their parents on their removal to McHenry county, Illinois, where the marriage of Edward W. Magee and Sarah Jane Davis was celebrated in 1860. The following year they came to Iowa, settling upon the farm in Black Hawk county which has since been their home. To his original holdings Mr. Magee has added until he now owns an entire section of land and is one of the prosperous farmers of this part of the state.

Dr. Magee was reared under the parental roof and acquired his preliminary education in the public schools. He afterward attended the Iowa Teachers College at Cedar Falls, from which he was graduated with the class of 1905, winning the degree of B. D. I. He paid his own way through college at Cedar Falls and in the autumn of 1905 entered the medical department of the Northwestern University, Chicago, from which he was graduated with the class of 1909. Again he paid his own way through school by selling books and when he left college he had a surplus of five hundred dollars. Subsequent to his graduation he acted for two years as interne in the Wesley Hospital of Chicago and greatly augmented his knowledge through the broad and varied experience which is never gained as quickly in any other way as in hospital practice. On leaving that institution he made his way westward to South Dakota and while living in that state purchased a half section of land in Hamlin county, near Castlewood. He still owns that property, which has almost doubled in value.

His first location as a medical practitioner was in Waterloo, where in 1911 he opened his office, occupying a commodious suite of rooms in the new First National Bank building. His office is splendidly appointed in all of the equipments and accessories necessary to medical and surgical practice, and he has made steady advancement during the years in which he has followed his profession in this city. That he keeps in touch with the progress and advanced thought of the day is indicated in the fact that he holds membership in the Waterloo City Medical Society, the Black Hawk County Medical Society, the Cedar Valley Austin Flint Medical Society, the Iowa State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Dr. Magee is also a member of the Phi Beta Phi, a Greek letter fraternity, and a member of the Board of Trade of Waterloo. His interest in the welfare and upbuilding of city and county is that of a public-spirited citizen, but he has had no time for office seeking or public activities of other character to any extent because of the constantly increasing professional demands which are being made upon him.


In presenting the life record of Andrew McElhinney we give to our readers the history of one who was widely and favorably known in Black Hawk county. Although of Scotch ancestry, Mr. McElhinney was born in Donegal , Ireland , March 13, 1829 , and was one of a family of eight children, the only survivor being his brother, Charles McElhinney, of Waterloo . Until he was fourteen years old he attended the local schools, performed duties required in the household and grew up with the rude health an active busy life on a farm produces. He made the best use of the limited opportunities for education, which he acquired through reading and contact with affairs.

In the spring of 1850 Andrew and his brother David left the old home and three months later landed in Philadelphia . From May until August they worked on a farm at seven dollars a month and then went to Oil Creek, where they were accepted as employes in the White Oak Mills, where they worked at lumbering for two years. Their success brought two other brothers, Patrick and William, to join them, and all worked together at Wild Cat Mills for six years. There is no doubt that Andrew was the moving spirit which brought with him Patrick and William on a prospecting tour to the west in 1855. His business instinct suggested to him the purchasing of a tract of the fertile land which rolled miles and miles away over the prairie, and the three brothers together secured a section of land in Tama county, Iowa , Andrew entering one hundred and sixty acres in Geneseo township, at one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. He then went back to the lumber regions but returned to his property in the spring of 1858, broke his land and engaged George Slade, another pioneer, to assist in the building of what was the first frame house put up in the township. That fall found him back again in the Pennsylvania lumber regions. His return in the following year was with his wife, and they settled on his farm in Tama county, which remained their home for thirty-one years.

A man so self-reliant, fearless and capable soon took his natural place among his fellow citizens, and during his residence in that part of the county Mr. McElhinney filled every local office. He served as postmaster, assessor, trustee and school director and declined other positions of greater responsibility, his personal affairs having commenced to weigh heavily upon his time. Having added to his holdings from time to time he became the owner of eight hundred and eighty acres of as fine land as could be found in Tama county and this he brought to a high state of cultivation and added to it many modern improvements.

With the desire to better educate his children and still keep them in the family circle he retired from the farm in 1890 and removed to Waterloo , where he purchased what was known as the Mabie home on the corner of Lime and High streets, but in July, 1890, he bought the Krapfel home at 427 East Fifth street , where he lived until his death and which is now owned and occupied by his youngest daughter Tressa.

It was back in Pennsylvania that Mr. McElhinney first met his wife and was married January 11, 1859 , to Nancy Achsah Smith, at Tidioute , Pennsylvania . She was an only daughter of Peter Smith and had two brothers, Hugh, now living at Reeds Springs , Missouri ; and John, who died at Guys Mills, Pennsylvania , December 21, 1912 . Mrs. McElhinney was a descendant of the original Smiths of Virginia. She was born in Tidioute , Pennsylvania , June 21, 1834 , and passed away at the family home in Waterloo , Iowa , November 9, 1914 , leaving two sons and two daughters, while three of her children passed away in infancy. Estella J., the eldest, is the wife of Dr. H. H. Hanna of Waterloo . Fayette F., the oldest son, was married October 12, 1905 , to Dessie Anderson and lives in Waterloo . Byron W. lives at Goldfield, Iowa , and was married July 3, 1899 , to Fanny Agnes King. Tressa, the youngest, is single and lives in the old home.

In his political views Mr. McElhinney was a stalwart republican, as are also his two sons. Fraternally he was a Mason, having joined the order in 1868, at La Porte City , where he was made a Master Mason. After coming to Waterloo he transferred his membership to the Waterloo lodge and until failing health prevented he was a regular attendant, believing in its principles and adopting them as one of his charts of life. A man of strict integrity, his business was conducted "on the square." He was a man of upright life and clean past. He will always be recalled as he was in his last moments - kind, genial and even gay, concerned for the comforts of others rather than himself. In his charming home, where he was seen at his best, he spent many happy, restful hours, when with the cares of business laid aside, he would show those attractive attributes which made him so dearly beloved by his family and admired by the hosts of friends whom it was his pleasure to hospitably entertain. From boyhood he had been a consistent member of the Protestant Episcopal church, and had long been one of the vestrymen of Christ church, Waterloo , and one of its most liberal benefactors.

Mr. McElhinney was one of the original stockholders in the Union Mill Company and served as a director of that corporation from 1873, when the company was reorganized, until the time of his death and for many years was president. He was also a director of the First National Bank of Waterloo , of which financial institution he was for many years vice president. He was also a stockholder of the Waterloo Improvement Company, which controlled and improved the Logan House property, which is now owned and occupied by the James Black Dry Goods Company. He had other large interests in various business ventures in Waterloo . An important financial interest was the Citizens State Bank of Goldfield, Iowa , which he founded and of which he was president, his successor being his son Fayette until about four years ago, when Tressa was elected president and Byron W. cashier, and they are still serving in that capacity.

Mr. McElhinney never had occasion to regret his determination to come to America when a young man of twenty-one years. He had no unwarranted opinion that fortune was to be had here for the asking, but he became familiar with the eternal principle that industry wins, and he made industry the beacon light of his life. As he passed on his energy and determination overcame many difficulties and obstacles in his path and the honesty of his purpose commanded for him the respect, confidence and goodwill of all. His memory is cherished by those who knew him, for he was not only a progressive and reliable businessman but was a faithful friend a loyal citizen and a devoted husband and father. His wife, too, shared in the high respect which was uniformly accorded to Mr. McElhinney and was indeed a true helpmate. Much of his success he attributed to his loving wife, and they both did many good deeds for those who need assistance on life's journey. Mr. McElhinney passed away at his home July 3, 1903 .

Mr. McElhinney was ably assisted in his work by his youngest daughter Tressa, who assisted him for years in looking after his financial interests, and as he grew more feeble she more and more largely assumed the responsibility in business matters and readily showed her splendid executive ability, unfaltering enterprise and keen insight. She acquired her early education in the country school and afterward attended the Toledo high school, of which she is a graduate. Later she pursued a course in the Waterloo Business College , from which she graduated, and she completed a four years Chautauqua and scientific course, doing the reading in her own home. In 1907 finding the need for a practical banking experience she procured employment at the Black Hawk National Bank, having charge of the savings department. She always felt this was a great benefit to her in her private interests as it gave her a broader knowledge of business. She had charge of her mother's business and her own and has large financial interests in Waterloo . She is a stockholder in the Waterloo & Cedar Falls Union Mill Company, and one of the largest stockholders in the First National Bank; also has stock in Rath Packing Company and in the Black Hawk National Bank and in the Citizens State Bank of Goldfield, Iowa , being president of the last named. She has worked some in real estate, having built and now owns a number of residences which she rents, deriving therefrom a substantial annual income. She has a half interest in the home farm of eight hundred and eighty acres, her brother Byron owning the other half. She is resourceful, alert and sagacious and is seldom if ever at fault in matters of business judgment. She readily discerns the possibilities of a situation and advances steadily toward the goal for which she set out.

She possesses a singular modesty and simplicity of manner. There is no ostentation about anything she says or does. When she does a kindness or performs a duty she finds the sufficient reason for it in her own breast and has no desire to have it heralded abroad. She is prominent in club and social circles, having been secretary and treasurer of the Woman's Club, and she is now secretary and treasurer of the fine arts department of the Woman's Club and was president of the Westminster guild of the Presbyterian church and has filled different offices in the Eastern Star.

G. W. Morris became superintendent of the Black Hawk county farm on the 1st of September, 1912, and has since made a creditable and commendable record in that position of responsibility. His birth occurred in Van Buren county, Iowa, on the 28th of December, 1883, his parents being James H. and Henrietta Morris, who are likewise natives of that county, both the paternal and maternal grandparents of our subject having been pioneers there. James H. Morris is the steward of the Van Buren county farm, while his wife acts as matron. To them were born the following children: G. W., of this review; Ray, who is a resident of Davis county, Iowa; Retson, the survivor of twins, who is attending school at Iowa City; Leland A., who acts as superintendent of schools at Gilbert, Iowa; Ruby, who will complete the high-school course in 1916; Harry, who died in infancy; and Ralph J., who passed away at the age of one year.

G. W. Morris pursued a high-school at Milton, Iowa, and subsequently began farming in Van Buren county, being thus actively engaged until 1907. In that year he became assistant superintendent of the Van Buren county farm, in which position he continued for two and a half years, while subsequently he spent a short time in a similar capacity at the Wapello county farm near Ottumwa. He then remained for six months at Burlington, Iowa, and on the 1st of September, 1912, was made superintendent of the Black Hawk county farm, in which position he has served to the present time. His important duties in this connection have been faithfully and efficiently discharged and the interests intrusted to his care have been well and wisely guarded.

On the 29th of November, 1905, Mr. Morris was united in marriage to Miss Ethel Pinnell, a native of Davis county, Iowa, and a daughter of A. J. and Mary E. Pinnell, who were also born in that county. To them were born seven children, as follows: William S., who is a resident of Ottumwa, Iowa; Mrs. Ethel Morris; Alma, who is the wife of E. O. McGee, of Davis county, Iowa; Howard, living in Scotland county, Missouri; Lina, who is employed as bookkeeper at the Cherokee State Hospital; Leland, a school student at Milton, Iowa; and Florence C., who died at the age of eighteen months. Mr. and Mrs. Morris have one son, Everett W., who was born on the 2d of November, 1906, and who is now attending school. Mrs. Morris pursued a course in music in the university at Mount Pleasant and taught that art prior to her marriage.

Mr. Morris is a stanch republican in politics but has never sought nor desired office as a reward for his party fealty. Fraternally he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America, while his religious faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a public-spirited, able and progressive young citizen and well deserves the high regard and esteem in which he is uniformly held.