biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
JOHN McMAINS, deceased, was born in Owen County, Ky.. Jan. 18, 1815. In 1825 he removed to Indiana, then a wild and unsettled country, remaining in that State until 1836, when he came to the Territory of Iowa, then a vast expanse of prairie, occupied almost solely by Indians, buffalo, and the wild animals of the prairie, locating in what is now known as Cedar County, where he remained for eight years, the Indians being his only companions. He then returned to Indiana, and remained three years. Returning again In 1847 to the State of Iowa, he came to Mahaska County, settling in Union Township, where by pre-emption and entry he secured a large tract of land, owning at one time nearly 700 acres of land in that township, which he divided with his children, so that at his death but 240 acres remained. In early life Mr. McMains was an old-line Whig, but he affiliated with the Republican party upon its organization, and was its warm supporter and defender until his decease. He held many local offices of trust and responsibility, such as township Trustee, School Director, etc., performing all the duties imposed with intelligence and fidelity. In 1837 Mr. McMains was united in marriage to Miss Jane Goddard, a native of Kentucky. By this union there were eight children, five of whom are living, viz.: Elizabeth, wife of John H. Fry, deceased; Ann, wife of J. B. Bolton, of the firm of Bolton & McCoy, attorneys at Oskaloosa; Mary E., wife of E. P. Bolton, a farmer in Mahaska County; Isaiah, of New Sharon, and William, at Axtell, Kan. Mrs. Jane McMains died in 1858. She was an acceptable and leading member of the Christian Church. Mr. McMains was again married, Jan. 1, 1861, to Mrs. Rachel Chidester, formerly Rachel Hawley, who was born in Chatauqua County, N. Y., Aug. 27, 1829. Her father, Erie Hawley, was born July 29, 1797. He married Miss Hannah J. Engle, Dec. 22, 1825, who was born Aug. 29, 1808. They were the parents of eight children, four living: Elisha, of Mahaska County, Iowa; Rachel, widow of John MoMains; John, of Mahaska County, Iowa, and Cordelia, wife of James W. Johnson, of Oskaloosa. Two of the children died in infancy. Mr. Hawley left New York about the year 1832, locating in Logan County, Ohio, then an unsettled country; here he remained until the year 1855, when he came to Mahaska County. where he remained until his death in 1880, at the age of over eighty-two years. His wife died the same year at the age of seventy-two. Mr. and Mrs. Hawley were members of the Christian Church for many years, holding a prominent position in its councils and enjoying the confidence and esteem of their neighbors and friends. He was an honest, upright man in all his dealings with his fellow-men. His home was one of hospitality and good cheer, and he died beloved by all who knew him. John and Rachel McMains were the parents of three childrenÄOliver, Ida and Erastus, all of whom reside in this county. Mrs. McMains was previously married to Worthington Chidester, by whom she bad one son, Holdridge, now a resident of Barber County, Kan. Mr. Chidester was an acceptable member of the Christian Church, and died Oct. 21, 1858. John McMains was one of the early pioneers of this county, and aided very materially in the development of its resources. The lands selected by him were among the best in that section of the county, and all the improvements were of a superior quality. He was a prominent member of the Christian Church, a sincere and earnest worker, and gave of his money in support of the same. He was a man of his word, and dealt fairly and honorably with all men. Mrs. McMains resides in Oskaloosa, and is a member of the same church.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy