Photo of O.A. McFarland

An Autobiography of O.A. McFarland
- Part I -

August 5, 1895

I write this autobiography not because there has been anything in my life of interest or importance to the public, but because there may be some things connected with my career which may interest my family, and more especially my children. In doing this work I shall probably offer some advice to the children which may perhaps prove beneficial to them providing they are willing to receive advice.

A review of the incidents connected with the life of almost any individual will reveal mistakes, which greater wisdom might have obviated and the advice of a parent of mature years should have some weight when given to his children. The family record here given will, also, be of interest to the children.

I was born in Mercer Co, Pennsylvania on the 9th day of January, 1856, being the 3rd child in my father's family. Father's name was Daniel McFarland. His birth-place was New Vienna, Trumbell Co. Ohio and the date of his birth was Nov. 6th, 1830.

His father, Peter Mcfarland was born in Alleghany Co., Penn. Sept. 18, 1797, and his mother, whose maiden name was Jane McCaughtry was born in Darlington, Beaver Co. Penn. May 8, 1805.

Of great-grand father, Daniel McFarland, I have been able to learn but little.

He was a Scotchman by birth and an American by adoption. At the early age of fourteen he enlisted in the Revolutionary War and served until its close.

Subsequently he fought against the English during the War of 1812, and it was there, I have been told, that he contracted the disease which caused his death. The dates of his birth and death are not known to me but presume he was born about 1762, and must have been at least 53 years old at the time of his death and he was probably older. He had four children. Peter McFarland, my grand-father, Daniel Mcfarland, father's uncle, and two daughters. Grandfather's mother's name was Susannah Dosher before her marriage. She had 10 or 11 brothers and sisters.

Aunt Susannah has told me that on one occasion great grandfather's wife, Susannah, in removing from Alleghany Co. to Beaver Co. Penn., walked over the mountains and carried Daniel, Peter's brother, who was then about two years old.

Grand mother Jane McFarland's great grand-father was Archibald Findlay.

He was Scotch-Irish, having been born in Scotland, but later removed to Ireland near the Scottish border.

He lived to attain the advanced age of 101 years.

Jane McFarland grand-father on her mother's side was Thos Rogers. Her mother's maiden name was Martha Rogers, who was regarded as a woman of great intelligence. Martha Rogers married Robert McCaughtry, who fought in the War of 1812.

The Findleys are said to have been wealthy people.

Leonard Doolittle, mother's father, was born in Cheshire New Haven Co. Connecticut Feb 22, 1787. He had two brothers, Ezra & Levi, and four sisters Betsy, Sally, Sarah, and Eunice.

Leonard Doolittle's father was born in North Haven, Connecticut.

The elder Doolittle's wife was Sarah Hall before her marriage. She was born at Wallingford Conn.

Great grandfather Doolittle and his wife lived in Chesire Conn. up to the time of their death. Leonard, my grandfather removed from Conn. to Vermont & from there he went to Deer Creek Twp. Mercer Co. Penn. Where he resided until his death on Feb. 23, 1872, being 85 years old at the time of his death.

He was twice marrried. His first wife's name was Anna M. Atwater. They had 12 children: Stephen; Edward F; Wm; Elliott; Anna M.; Ezra; Alma C; Tempa C; Leonard Jr; James, Samuel, Alfred, and Almon.

His first wife died Aug 31, 1830, the day her last two children (twins) were born. Anna M. Atwater was born Aug. 28th, 1790 and was 40 years old at the time of her death.

Leonard Doolittle was married the second time to Margaret Prall, whose maiden name was Montgomery. By this marriage he had seven children, making in all nineteen children in his family. The names of these children are M. Jane, Sarah E., Lucinda D, John, Emily, Barton and Hugh.

Of grand-father's character and appearance I have not been able to gather much information.

Grand father Peter McFarland was married to Jane McCaughtry about 1822.

Following is a list of their children:

Susannah born M'ch 26, 1823,     Beaver Co.   Penn
Eliza " April 9, 1826,     Trumbell Co. Ohio
Martha A. " July 20, 1828,           "         "       "
Daniel " Nov. 6, 1830,           "         "       "
Martha A. " April 10, 1833,           "         "       "
Mary J. " Sept. 5, 1835,           "         "       "
Margaret C. " Dec. 21, 1837,           "         "       "
Robert W. " Jan. 31, 1841,           "         "       "
John C. " M'ch 6, 1843,           "         "       "
Nancy M. " Oct 26, 1845,           "         "       "
Laura M. " Dec. 16, 1847,           "         "       "

Grandfather McFarland was a man of small stature being about 5 ft. 6 in. in height of compact build and was a man of unusual strength for his size. He was a fine looking man having regular features and a splendidly shaped head. Although he did not enjoy the opportunities to secure an education, which the average youth now has, he had a fair education and was a man of excellent judgment and strong common sense.

His disposition was always loving and his nature full of sunshine. Children instinctively loved him and he always had a kind word for each of them.

As a little child I was with him much of the time and it is a pleasure now to recall the happy hours spent in his company. He never seemed to tire of my prattle, always listening patiently to my talks and often running foot-races with me. I do not think he had an enemy in the world at the time of his death, which occurred at the old farm-house four miles south of Waucoma, Fayette Co., Iowa, Feb 19, 1878, at the age of nearly 81.


	   I like the man who faces what he must
  	        With step triumphant, and a heart of cheer;
  	        Who fights the daily battle without fear;
	   Sees his hopes fail, yet keeps unfaltering trust 
	   That God is God; that somehow, true and just
    	        His plans work out for mortals; not a tear
    	        Is shed when fortune, which the world holds dear,
	   Falls from his grasp; better, with love, a crust 
	   than living in dishonor; envys not
	        Nor loses faith in man; but does his best,
	   Nor ever murmurs at his humbler lot,
	   But with a smile and words of hope, gives zest
	        To every toiler. He alone is great
	        Who by a life heroic conquers fate. 
	   		           SARAH KNOWLES BOLTON, 
	    	             In Youth's Companion, July 31, 1890.

Peter McFarland was such a man as the fore-going poem describes. He was a poor man all his life but an honest and unselfish one, who by his works, made the world better for having lived in it. Reference will be made to him at other places in this sketch. He was born in Alleghany Co, Penn, Sept 18, 1797.

Grandmother Jane McFarland was a fitting companion for her husband. She bore the trials and burdens of life bravely, was loving, patient, and tender in all her relations in life.

It fell to her lot to rear a large family of children and her example was always such as a good mother may be proud of. She was a woman of large stature and during most of her life enjoyed good health. To me she supplied the place of a mother from the time I was eighteen months old up to the time of her death when I was nineteen.

She died suddenly at the old Union House in Waucoma on April 15, 1875, at the age of 70 years, having been born in Darlington, Beaver Co, Penn, May 8, 1805.

She and grandfather had been married nearly fifty years at the time of her death. The following beautiful poem tells in part the story of her life, and death.

		     Folded Hands.

	Pale, withered hands, that more than four-score years 
	Had wrought for others; soothed the hurt of tears,
	Rocked children's cradles, eased the fevers smart,
	Dropped balm of love in many an aching heart;
	Now, stirless folded like wan rose leaves pressed,
	Above the snow and silence of her breast,
	In mute appeal they told of labor done,
	And well-earned rest that came at set of sun.

	From the worn brow the lines of care had swept,
	As if an angel's kiss, the while she slept,
	Had smoothed the cobweb wrinkles quite away,
	And given back that peace of childhood's day.
	And on the lips the faint smile almost said:
	"None know life's secret but the happy dead."
	So gazing where she lay we knew that pain
	And parting could not cleave her soul again.

	And we are sure that those who saw her last,
	In that dim vista which we call the past,
	Who never knew her old and laid aside,
	Remembering best the maiden and the bride,
	Had sprung to greet her with the olden speech,
	The dear sweet names no later lore can teach;
	And "Welcome home," they cried,
	And grasped her hand;
	So dwells the mother in the best of lands.

My father Daniel McFarland, was 4th child born to Peter & Jane McFarland, and was born in New Vienna Trumbell Co. Ohio, Nov. 6, 1830.

Photo of Daniel McFarland, father of O.A. McFarland

Daniel McFarland
-Father of O.A. McFarland-

When he was twenty years old his parents moved back to Mercer Co. Penn. from which place they had emigrated to Ohio soon after the birth of their oldest child Susannah McFarland.

About April 3rd, 1851 he was married to Sarah Doolittle, my mother. Their married life was not a happy one owing to the violent temper of his wife who, it was said, abused him and neglected and abused her children.

This state of affairs continued until after three children were born; John K, Margaret J. & Oscar A. McFarland when a separation between father & mother occurred and a divorce was granted him.

At that time I was only 18 months old, sister Maggie was about 4, and brother Kossuth about 5 1/2 years old.

Another child, Byron, was born after the separation took place. He died when only a few years old.

I never saw this brother. Not long after the separation grand-father's family moved to the west (in the autumn of 1857,) & father went with him taking his three children.

They located on an 80 acre farm in Green Co. Wisconsin 1 1/4 miles from Monticello.

Grandfather and grand mother kept the children until father's second marriage to Sarah Rutledge in . He then took Koss and Maggie to live with him and left me in charge of my grand parents.

My earliest recollections are associated with the great war of the Rebellion in which father, uncle Robert and uncle John were Union soldiers.

The farm we owned in Wis. was somewhat rolling & a large part of it had formerly been covered with timbers. It was a fairly good place & during the 11 years we lived on it, we succeeded in making a living. The house was a double-log building standing about 100 rods south of the Monticello road.

It faced the east & just in front was a piece of hazel-brush and timber land used for pasture. On the south was a body of timber extending several miles south & southwest. One part of it known as "Bacon's Woods" was a favorite place for hunting hazel-nuts, and for older boys & men it was a good place for squirrel-hunting.

West and south of the house were the cultivated fields and meadows.

There were four large rooms in the house two up-stairs and two down stairs, and although the house was rough in finish as log houses are usually found to be, yet it was comfortable, and around it are clustered some of the most precious memories of a life-time.

It was here that dear old grand-mother and grand-father bade farewell to each of their sons, one after another, and sent them forth to fight for "freedoms holy cause" during the Civil War, not knowing whether they would ever return again or not. Here they toiled during those perilous days to support the family, waiting day by day for news from "the front".

It was here that I had an almost fatal sickness during the winter of 1863-64 - the winter the boys came home on "vet" furlough. Continue with Part II Return to the Table of Contents Bethany McFarland's Family Journals

Please sign my guestbook!

Read my guestbook

Guestbook courtesy of:
Guestbook by GuestWorld

Visit the Chickasaw County Iowa GenWeb Project
Visit the Monona County Iowa GenWeb Project

This page was revised April 23, 1999.

An Autobiography of O.A. McFarland
Part I
Bethany McFarland
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999 by Bethany Rose McFarland