Peter McQuaid, now deceased, was for a number of years a prominent pioneer settler of Nemaha county and in his death the community lost one of its valuable citizens. He was a native of the Emerald Isle and in his life manifested many of the sterling characteristics of his race. His birth occurred April 8, 1830. In the public schools of his native land he pursued his education until eighteen years of age, acquiring an excellent knowledge that well fitted him for the practical and responsible duties of life. He was only eleven years of age at the time of his father's death. In 1848 he came to America, locating in New York where he was first employed in a drug store. Later he learned the blacksmith's trade, at which he worked for some time. He traveled to a considerable extent in Canada, also visited the Mississippi valley and went as far west as the Black Hills, stopping at many intermediate points on his journey. In 1858 he arrived in Nemaha county, locating at Farmington, where he established a blacksmith shop. It was after that that he visited the Black Hills, remaining for about a year and then returning to Nemaha county, where he resumed work at his trade, conducting his smithy at Seneca throughout a long period. His working ability ultimately led to his election to public office and in 1869 he was chosen on an independent ticket to the position of register of deeds. He was also one of the county trustees before the county was divided into townships. In 1871 he located upon a farm, where his widow now resides, -- then a tract of raw land with no improvements. He carried on general farming and stock raising until his death and was very successful in his operations, making a comfortable competence.
In 1865 Mr. McQuaid was united in marriage Miss Elizabeth Draney, who was born in Canada May 8, 1842, and now resides on section 28, Nemaha township. Her father, Hugh Draney, was a native of Ireland, who, when a young man, crossed the Atlantic to Canada, Where he followed the occupation of farming. In 1856 he removed to Iowa, where his last days were spent. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Margaret Conley, was born and reared in Ireland, going to Canada while in her maidenhood, where she was married. The year following her husband's death she came to Nemaha county, where she remained until called, at the age of eighty-three years, to the home beyond. She was the mother of seven children. Mrs. McQuaid, the only daughter, was about fifteen years of age when she came to Nemaha county, in 1857. The greater part of her education was obtained in Canada, but here she pursued her studies for a time in a sod school house, having one door and one window. She is to-day one of the oldest settlers in the county and one of its most highly esteemed ladies. Her home farm comprises three hundred and twenty acres and in addition she owns one hundred and twenty acres located in other sections of the country. By her marriage Mrs. McQuaid became the mother of ten children, all born in Nemaha county, namely: Anna, wife of Max Novak, of Nemaha county; Lizzie, deceased; Hugh, who has also passed away; Peter and James, who carry on the home farm; Jerome, who wedded Ida Haug, of Nemaha county; Mary, wife of John M. Smith, of Clear Creek township, Nemaha county; an infant, deceased; Alice, who is attending school in Atchison, Kansas; and Katie, at home. All are members of St. Mary's Catholic church at St. Benedict. After his removal to the farm Mr. McQuaid served as trustee of his township and in public affairs affecting the progress and prosperity of the community he took an active and helpful interest. He, too, was one of the prominent members of St. Mary's Catholic church and assisted greatly in its work. His kindly manner and genial disposition made him very popular and he was widely and favorably known in his adopted county. He died August 27, 1894, and his memory is cherished by his many friends as well as by his immediate family. Mrs. McQuaid still occupies the old homestead farm and enjoys the respect of all who know her.