Monday, February 10, 2020

Another Dawes County Pioneer: William McGannon

(Editor's Note:  The following story is among the many chronicled in "A Compendium of History, Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska," an illustrated book published in 1909 by the Alden Publishing Company of Chicago.

William McGannon, who has made an enviable record as a farmer and stock raiser, the result of his own toil and economy, and a man who enjoys the respect and confidence of a host of warm friends in the community in which his useful life is passing, was born in the city of Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1858. His father, David McGannon, was a butcher. Both of his parents were natives of Ireland. When our subject was but a boy the family came to Minnesota, settling in Olmstead county, near Winona. His father opened the first butcher shop in Rochester, Minnesota, and also conducted a dray line. Here our subject spent his boyhood days on the frontier.

When Mr. McGannon was seventeen years of age he left his home in Minnesota, and returning to West Virginia, attending school at St. Vincent's College. Some time later he conducted a butcher shop at Lanesborough, and after a time opened a shop of his own at Fountain, Minnesota, where he bought and shipped stock. He also conducted a butcher shop at Canton, Minnesota, for about seven years.

In 1891 Mr. McGannon came to Dawes county, Nebraska, took a homestead and bought some land, and engaged in the raising of cattle and sheep. In 1898 he came to his present ranch in the Pine Ridge, where he has erected a substantial and comfortable house in section 19, township 31, range 49. He secured adjoining land, and now has six thousand five hundred acres of deeded land, all of which is fenced and cross fenced. He has six miles along the Trunk Butte creek and two miles on the Indian creek. There is a small stream three quarters of a mile in length which rises on his ranch. Mr. McGannon has one thousand acres of land under cultivation, and has five hundred acres of the finest timber to be found in Dawes county. He has erected substantial and commodious buildings, and engages extensively in the raising of horses and hogs. Since acquiring this land, he has greatly improved it, and has purchased modern agricultural implements to assist him in making his place one of the most modern and productive in western Nebraska. He has a gasoline engine on his farm and also a steam engine and plow.

Mr. McGannon and Miss Jane Davis were married at Fountain, Minnesota, January 19, 1880. She is a daughter of Patrick and Bridget Davis, native of Ireland. Two children came to bless this union, George Arthur and David Edward.

In politics Mr. McGannon is a Democrat. A more enthusiastic or public spirited citizen of Dawes county could not be found, for from his start in this locality Mr. McGannon has taken an active part in all matters of local interest, and is a firm believer in the future of Dawes county. His efforts to get a railroad to the table-land of the county have been untiring. From the crops raised on his cultivated land he has demonstrated that there are places in Dawes county where the land is as fertile and valuable, and can be made to produce as much as irrigated land.

As an entertainer and enthusiastic storyteller, Mr. McGannon has few equals. Upright and honorable in all his dealings, he has manifested on all occasions a high integrity and a strict adherence to principle. Mr. McGannon has recently become proprietor of the Pleasant View Sanitarium, an important hot springs health resort, at Thermopolis, Wyoming, whence he has removed, leaving his sons to operate his ranching interests in Dawes county, Nebraska.