biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
J. W. DOAK is nicely located in one of the finest farm-houses in the county, with all improvements in the way of barns for all kinds of stock, and other buildings needed on a well regulated farm, and is situated on the northeast quarter of section 10, White Oak Township. His parents were born and raised in Washington County, Pa., and moved West (as it was then termed) to Ohio, in 1834, settling in Champaign County, a heavily timbered country, where they experienced all the hardships and privations of frontier life in clearing up a farm in the woods. But they succeeded reasonably well, and secured a farm of about 100 acres. The subject of this sketch, J. W. Doak, was born Sept. 28, 1845, and was the youngest of a family of eight children, five boys and three girls, one boy dying in infancy. His father, John Doak, died Oct. 6,1845, thereby depriving the subject of this sketch of a father's care and training. His mother, Rachel Doak, fought the battle of life as best she could, and raised her family of seven children, and is still living in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, at the ripe age of seventy-eight years, and is yet a remarkably active lady, physically and mentally. J. W. had very little chance of getting even a common-school education, having been taken out of school at the age of fifteen years, in 1860. When those Southern gentlemen of Democratic proclivities insulted the American flag, and the immortal Lincoln said he needed the boys to protect the Stars and Stripes, his two elder brothers, then living at home, enlisted is 1861, and left him to look after the farm and care for his widowed mother, and the remainder of the family. In the winter of 1865 he attended school two and a half months, walking two miles night and morning, and this was practically the last schooling received by him, and ended all his chances for such an education as he desired and intended to have secured. In the spring of that year he began farming for himself, on a small scale, on his mother's farm and in partnership with an elder brother, which continued until the fall of 1867, when the partnership was dissolved, J. W. taking full charge of the old home farm. Oct. 20, 1867, Mr. Doak was married to Miss Ollie C. Chidester, a nativeof North Lewisburg, Ohio, born Feb. 8, 1848. Her parents were natives of West Virginia. She was a young lady of sterling worth, acting well her part in the struggle of life, by caring carefully for the household affairs, and at times lending a helping hand to lighten her husband's labors in the field. In the fall of 1869, being seized with an uncontrollable desire to own a home of their own, he came with his estimable young wife to Iowa, making the long trip in the farm wagon of Ohio dimensions, drawn by a span of heavy French draft mares. They arrived in this county in December of that year, and in March, 1870, purchased a farm of 100 acres near the center of Monroe Township, on to which he moved, and where he lived until the spring of 1875, striving early and late to pay for his land, but by reason of an injury received by him from a wild horse, in his earlier days, he was not physically able to follow the plow, and the failure of his wife's health also compelled him to engage in some occupation other than farming, so he sold his little farm, his cattle, horses and hogs, and set out in search of something else. He had always been a great admirer of fine draft horses, and he soon decided in his mind to introduce the Clydesdale stock to this county, and in the summer of 1875 made a trip to the Eastern States and purchased, for a beginning, a very fine specimen of that family of horses. In the fall of the same year he bought a small farm, one-half mile east of Rose Hill, near the C., R. I. & P. R. R., moved on to it and commenced the erection of the buildings for the establishment of a fine stock breeding and sale farm. In the spring of 1876, having his new barn completed, he established the Rose Hill Breeding Farm and Sale Barn, which business he still continues, making draft horses and fine hogs a specialty. Mr. Doak has perhaps done more to improve the draft horse stock of this county than any other one man, because the offspring of his horses were in nearly every school district in the county long before the establishment of any other breeding farms or importing companies in the county. Among the fine draft horses brought to his establishment at Rose Hill, and that are worthy of special mention, are: Young Topsman, Kep-dowrie, Prince Alford, Kino, Black Lofty, Clio, Marcus Claudius, Prince Royal, Donnald Dinnie, Jr., Norman Frank, Ohio lad and Zulu. Among this collection are, some of the finest draft horses ever owned in the West. Zulu, the fine colt that J. W. brought home from his last purchase, is a dapple bay Clydesdale, weighing 1700 pounds at thirty months old, and his general make-up is nearly perfection. In connection with the breeding of fine horses, Mr. Doak has for several years past kept a fine herd of thoroughbred hogs of different breeds, but of late years has made the Jersey Red swine a specialty, and having such noted hogs as Climax, Billie Waddell, Pride of Rose Hill, Rose Bush, and twenty other recorded animals, with 100 head of young stock to select from, he is prepared to suit purchasers at all times, in price and quality. Being a member of both the Clydesdale horse societies and the Jersey Red Swine Association, he keeps himself thoroughly posted in all matters relating to his business. Mr. Doak is a man of fine social qualities, jovial and full of life, and can tell or listen to a good story and enjoy a hearty laugh as well as any man in the State. Politically he is and always has been a Republican. He is an earnest, active worker in the field of politics, a leader of the party in his township, and has filled all the offices of trust and importance in the township. His family consists of himself and wife, and Nellie Floy, a bright little four-year-old daughter of rare promise intellectually, but delicate physically. Mr. Doak has suffered severely from physical injuries, at one time having both legs fractured, and the bones in both hands badly broken, yet has the full use of his limbs and is a very active man for one who has been so unfortunate. He is not grasping after riches, but is simply desirous of enjoying life while he may, and is willing to take the chances as to the future. Having tried to do as much good as possible, to make friends and keep them, and to have few, if any, enemies, he is willing to continue the battle of life with wife, Nellie Floy, and Jumbo, his dog, and after that enjoy the Poor Man's rest and be contented.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy