Pages 513-514, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JOHN E. IRELAND, Iola's efficient ex-postmaster and one of the old residents of Allen county, was born in Devonshire, England, December 18, 1828. Robert Ireland, his father, was a carpenter and master mechanic who passed his years of activity in the city of Liverpool. He married Maria Eggbeer, who was also a Devon, and both of whom died in England's great port of entry. Of their ten children John Eggbeer Ireland was their eighth. His early life was spent as an errand boy and pupil. At the age of fourteen he went to the tailor's trade in Liverpool. Having served his time and completed his trade he came, in 1849, to the United States. He was ten weeks in coming over on the sailer and entered through the famous Castle Garden. He got a job on the dock in New York City, loading vessels with cotton and remained with it till the first of January following. He went up into Schuyler county, New York, and worked at his trade at Havana. Some time later he located in Geneseo and was in that city when the war broke out. He enlisted in the 50th New York Engineers, as first Sergeant, and was promoted to Sergeant Major of his regiment. He was with the Army of the Potomac and saw how it was done and helped do it all the way from first Bull Run, Petersburg, Yorktown, Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Seven Days, and Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, Wilderness and the rest, till his muster out in 1864. In all this conspicuous and hard service he escaped personal injury, in the field, and retired from the


army with a consciousness of having done his full duty to his adopted country. After he was discharged Mr. Ireland worked at his trade in New York City till the 21st of February, 1865, when he came westward to Galva, Illinois. He remained in that city at his trade till 1870 when he was induced to come to Iola to work for Davis & Vannuys, then in the clothing business. He arrived here in June and began a long and pleasant residence in the little western metropolis. The year 1874-5 he spent with W. W. Scott in Winfield, Kansas, as a tailor in his clothing establishment, and upon his return to Iola he established his first independent tailor shop. In 1878 he went into the grocery business with Sam J. Cowan. He was a member of the well known firm of Richards, Lakin & Ireland, wholesale grocers, who were burned out in 1882, later on. After severing this latter connection he went into the livery business with S. T. Ellis. In 1885 he retired from this business to enter the post office as Post Master of Iola—the first and only Democrat to fill the office. His four years of public service was most satisfactory to the patrons of the office. At the expiration of his term a Republican succeeded him and he again went into the grocery business, this time with Eugene Esse. The firm burned out some months afterward and business was not resumed. When it was seen that another Democratic Post Master was to serve the Iola office, with one accord the patrons of the office looked to John Ireland as the rightful appointee. They were not disappointed, for in 1894 he succeeded his successor, William H. McClure, to the office. His second administration was even more popular than his first. His former experience had rendered him perfectly familiar with the office and his second office force was more desirable than the first. Since the fall of 1897 he has been in actual retirement from business.

Mr. Ireland was married in Schuyler county, New York, to Hattie Littlefield. Their two children died in infancy but, after coming to Iola they adopted Sadie Prentis, who became the wife of George Kirby and has a son, Jay Kirby.

John E. Ireland is a very quiet man, without assumption or show, but with all the elements of a real manly man. His relation to his fellow townsmen is most cordial and affable. His homestead, which he purchased at what seemed a fabulous price, when he came to Iola, he has beautified and adorned with shrubbery, and residence and lawn until it is one of the handsome homes in the city.

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