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John J. Healy Biography


This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1899. Pages 416-419

JUDGE JOHN J. HEALY, proprietor of an estate covering fourteen hundred acres, occupies a prominent place as a progressive and intelligent member of the farming district of Edmunds county. His property interests extend over a portion of Cortlandt and Richland townships and his homestead is on the southwest quarter of section 5 in Richland township. He is a gentleman of the highest character, possessed of an excellent education, and no man in his county takes a more prominent place in general matters than he. He has not only rendered valuable aid in the affairs of local government, but has interested himself heartily in matters pertaining to the state and national government. In connection with this biography is presented a portrait which will be welcomed by his many friends and admirers throughout South Dakota. 

Judge Healy was born in Mineral Point, Iowa county, Wisconsin, June 7, 1860. His grandfather, John O'Dowd, was a wealthy wholesale merchant in New York city, and. was a native of Ireland. His paternal grandfather, James Healy was a Scotch-man by birth, and the father of our subject, William James Healy, was also a native of. Scotland, but came to America unaccompanied at the age of fourteen years. He worked with a carpenter and joiner and learned the trade, and then went to Wisconsin about 1848, and located in Mineral Point, working at his trade. Here he married the mother of our subject, Bridget O'Dowd. 

Our subject was the third in a family of eight children and was afforded an excellent education. He attended the high school, and later two terms in the University of Wisconsin, and afterward was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Mineral Point, with T. Scott Ansley. He went to Dakota in the fall of 1882, and with his brother and cousin located on the southwest quarter of section 5 in Richland township. They erected an eight-by-nine-foot shanty, and farmed and batched for five years. Afterward our subject engaged to some extent in the practice of his profession, but has followed farming, and now owns fourteen hundred acres. He raises the Hereford strain of cattle, and now has one hundred and fifty head of cattle and forty head of horses. Three hundred and twenty acres furnishes pasture, and a good well, with windmill attached, furnishes an ample supply of water. A complete set of farm buildings enhance the value of the property and add to the beauty of the landscape. The former dwelling was burned, with all its contents, including a law library of three hundred volumes, the largest library in the county, April 4, 1893, the fire caused by a defective flue, and October 3, of the same year, prairie fire destroyed his barn, granary, and hay, the two fires burning everything of value on the place. When Judge Healy went to Dakota he had but one hundred and fifty dollars in money and owned one-third interest in a team of horses, and he is now one of the most substantial citizens of that region. Edmunds county was not surveyed at that time, and he took an active interest in its organization. 

Mr. Healy was elected county judge in 1890 and again in 1892, and in 1894, serving six years on this important commission. He was elected state's attorney in 1896, and served one term, refusing nomination for a second term. He is at present chairman of the town board, and is also assistant private secretary to United States Senator J. H. Kyle. He took a most active part in the election of Senator Kyle, during the winter of 1896, and managed the campaign against great odds, and it was to his energetic efforts that the election of Mr. Kyle was assured. As a party leader and organizer he has few equals, and is known throughout the state as an interested worker in political affairs. His political views are Democratic, and he has attended as a delegate every state convention held in South Dakota, with the exception of 1898, when he refused to attend as a delegate on account of the Populist fusion. He attended the first county convention at Edmunds, now Ipswich, when the organization of the county was completed, and was the first chairman of the school board, and the first township board, in which offices he has continued to the present. His services for the welfare of the county, state, and nation have been given heartily, and with the one object in view, that of advancing the interests of his fellow men. 

Mr. Healy was married January 5, 1894, at the West Hotel, Minneapolis, by Judge Thomas Canty, a member of the Minnesota supreme court, to Della C. Olcott, daughter of William R. and Mary (Calhoun) Olcott, both natives of Pennsylvania, the former died in Libby prison and the latter in Pennsylvania. Our subject and wife are the parents of one child, Doris Gladys.


 

 


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