biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
WILLIAM J. McFALL, who resides upon section 3 of Des Moines Township, is a native of Ohio, born in 1825, and a son of William and Rachel (Brouse) McFall, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. His early life was spent upon a farm in his native State, his educational advantages being limited to the common schools of that early day. In 1845 he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Lyons, a daughter of John and Margaret (Reed) Lyons, natives of Ohio, but of Irish descent, and early settlers of Ohio. They are the parents of eight children: Charles W., now living in Des Moines Township; John and William, also residing in the same township; Benton, at home; Mary, now the wife of Henry Stone, of Titus County, Tex., her husband being engaged in the lumber business; Fremont, who also resides in Titus County, Tex., engaged in the lumber business; James and B. F. are at home. On the 3d day of March, 1847, during the Mexican War, he enlisted in the 6th United States Infantry, commanded by Col. Clark, and served seventeen months. He was in the battle of Cherabusco and Chapultepec, and in the engagement resulting in the capture of the city of Mexico. His regiment marched from the Mexican capital to Vera Cruz, 250 miles, where they took a steamer to New Orleans, from which place he came up the Mississippi River to Jefferson Barracks, where he was discharged in August, 1848. On returning to Ohio he engaged in farming until the spring of 1856, when he came to this County, and located on section 11 in Des Moines Township, where he purchased forty acres of raw land, and thcre resided until the spring of 1865, when he bought eighty-six acres of partially improved land on section 3 of the same township, where he still lives. On the 14th day of October, 1861, he enlisted in Co. F, 4th Iowa Vol. Cav., and served a little over three years, being discharged on the 6th day of December, 1864. He participated in a number of the battles of the war, and was with Gen. Curtis in his march down White River. Among the engagements were Jackson, Vicksburg, second battle of Jackson, and Canton. The greater part of the time the regiment was engaged in scouting and in destroying the property of the rebels, tearing up railroad tracks, and in general foraging. During the siege of Vicksburg he was with a party of 130 who were sent out to block a piece of road, when they were surrounded and cut off from the command, having to cut their way out. Ten of the number were killed and about thirty captured. Mr. McFall lost his horse, and by hiding in the brush escaped the observation of the rebels as they swept by him. He then returned on foot to camp, reaching the same about sundown. That portion of the command with which he was connected had a skirmish or fight almost daily; It was engaged in scouting in the rear of the army during the siege of Vicksburg, and every time they were sent out engaged in a fight. Mr. McFall was promoted Sergeant at Helena, Ark., and served as such during the remainder of his enlistment. He arrived at home on the 9th day of December, 1864, and resumed farming. In early life Mr. McFall was a Whig in politics, but on the organization of the Republican party he became identified with and a strong advocate of its principles. For some years past he has been identified with the Greenback party. Whether as a Whig, a Republican or a Greenbacker, he has always been outspoken for that which he believes to be right. In local affairs he has been honored by his fellow-townsmen, having served seven years as Township Assessor, fifteen years as a member of the School Board, three years as Township Clerk, and three terms as Township Trustee. Mr. McFall comes from a patriotic family, his father having served in the War of 1812, while his maternal grandfather was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. His father was of Scotch-Irish descent and died in 1829, aged about fifty years. His mother died in 1871, aged eighty-two; she was of German descent. His father was a very prominent Mason, and politically was a Jacksonian Democrat, being quite an active politician and a very fluent speaker. By trade he was a tin and copper smith, and carried on quite an extensive business, having several men in his employ. There were in the family five girls and two boys, one of the daughters and the two sons now living; Rachel, the wife of Sullivan Eckard, resides near Warsaw, Ind.; George W. lives in Hancock County, Ohio, and William J. is the subject of this sketch. The first two years Mr. McFall spent in this county he engaged in teaming, hauling goods from Keokuk to Oskaloosa. The first stock of goods, owned by H. Howard, he hauled from Keokuk. in the spring of 1861 he went to Denver, Col., with an ox-team, taking a load of freight from Oskaloosa, being three months and a half in making the trip. Taking into consideration his active life, and serving in two wars, Mr. McFall is a well-preserved man, and is entitled to the respect and esteem of his friends and neighbors.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy