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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Michael L. Devin

MICHAEL L. DEVIN was born in Morgan County, Ohio, January 23, 1823. He received a common school education and while a young man removed to Macon County, Illinois, and from there to Des Moines, Iowa, in the spring of 1855, where he engaged in selling goods until 1860, when he entered eight hundred acres of Government land seven miles south of the city where he opened a farm, planting a large orchard and engaged extensively in breeding fine stock. He was an intelligent farmer and a citizen of wide influence. He was active among the “Grange” reformers and from the beginning took a deep interest in the barb wire contest. He was elected president of the Farmers' Protective Association and served several years during the time of the continued litigation with the Washburn Syndicate. At one time when the attorney of the Association failed to appear on the day set for an important trial before Judge McCrary, United States Circuit Judge, the attorney of Washburn moved for judgment against the association by default. Mr. Devin was present and asked permission of the judge to appear for the association of which he was president. The judge consented and upon explanation by Mr. Devin, he refused to have a default entered and postponed the case until the attorney could be present. At another time a bond of $50,000 was required to be given by the association and Mr. Devin soon made it up through his influence among business men who had implicit confidence in his management and judgment. Mr. Devin raised the money to pay for the first car load of wire to start the farmers' free factory and all through the struggle with the syndicate was a tower of strength to the association. He was active, alert, full of resources to meet and overcome all obstacles and never for a moment contemplated or feared defeat. In 1878 he was nominated by both the Democrats and Greenback party for State Treasurer but the Republican majority was too large to be overcome and he was not elected, although he received a large vote.