Dr. M. N. McNaughton: Pioneer
Obituary - June 27, 1912
Physician and Wealthiest Citizen Passes Away at His Home In This City After Short
Illness--Was Here Before Railroad
Dr. M. N. McNaughton died at his home on Upper
Third avenue in Villisca Sunday evening, June 23, 1912, at ten o'clock. Death came
as the result of chronic Bright's disease and a complication of diseases, and followed an
illness of about three weeks' duration, although the doctor's health had been gradually
failing during the latter years of his life. Dr. McNaughton was 63 years, 2 months
and 22 days of age.
Funeral services were held at the home in this city Tuesday
at half past two o'clock under the ministration of Rev. W. J. Ewing, pastor of the
Presbyterian church, and in charge of Montgomery Lodge No. 270 A. F. & A. M. The
interment was in the Villisca cemetery.
Malcolm Ney McNaughton was born at Caledonia, New York, April
1st, 1849, his parents being P. P. and Flora McNaughton, who were farmers. As a boy
he attended the village school and then the academies at Riga and Leroy in western New
York. He began the study of medicine at the age of 15, entering the Buffalo
Medical college, from which he graduated before he was 19. He was considered one of
the brightest students in his class, and the fact that he was but eighteen was unknown to
his instructors who refused to graduate any one under twenty-one. He received his
degree on February 23, 1868, and straightway started for the west.
His parents had moved to Galesburg, Michigan,
and the young doctor followed them, and then came to Omaha. That was in the day
before railroads had spread a network over Iowa. Finding Omaha overrun with doctors
the ambitious young doctor started for Red Oak in company with a friend, but he missed
catching the wagon and had to walk nearly all the way. At Red Oak he entered into
partnership with Dr. Sperry, and was associated with him during the summer of 1868.
The Burlington had not yet reached this section of the country, and Red Oak, it is
said, was virtually on wheels waiting to see where the depot was going to be located.
In the winter of 1868-69 Dr. McNaughton came to Villisca, then a new frontier
village, entered into practice and has remained. He retired in 1905. He was
married to Isadore Lynch at Galesburg, Michigan, September 21, 1869.
During his first year in Villisca he bought a lot and built a
residence on the corner where J. L. Palmquist and family live now and as time went on he
accumulated wealth and property all of which he invested in his own community. As a
builder and booster for his home city there have been few to equal Dr. McNaughton and none
to excel him. He bought land extensively and at the time of his death his farm
possessions aggregated some 975 acres of the best of Iowa land. He has owned the
farm north of town since 1877. He purchased 160 acres of the John Van Horn estate
nineteen years ago, and there are 320 acres lying north of Sciola and 80 acres on the
Bottom road north of Villisca.
The McNaughton Block (the
building on the far right).
In 1890 he and Dr. D. W. Jackson built the
Jackson block in Villisca, and the two had offices in the same building. He sold out
to Dr. Jackson in 1905, and two years later began the erection of the McNaughton block,
the largest and most modern structure in the city for many years. The building is 75
X 120 feet, two stories and basement, and cost approximately $20,000. It stands
today as Dr. McNaughton's most enduring monument, a tribute to his enterprise and his
genius. With it began the era of bigger and better buildings in Villisca, and
to Dr. McNaughton as much as to any other man is due the credit of making Villisca modern.
He has always been a builder and a booster. He was in favor of a
sewerage system for the city and he signed one of the first petitions for paving. He
was a member of the Villisca Industrial Association and subscribed to its funds in an
effort to get factories for the city.
He built the present home on Upper Third avenue in 1875, and
some fifteen years later caused two homes to be erected for his daughters and their
For a time Dr. McNaughton had engaged in the drug business
with his brother in law, Dr. L. J. Lynch, the latter being in active charge of the store,
which was located on the corner now occupied by the Woodward Bros. Investment company.
At the time the First National bank was organized, in the
year 1882, Dr. McNaughton became the principal stockholder, and was at the time of his
death and had been the bank's vice president since its organization. He was the
holder of 200 shares of the capital stock of this institution. He also helped to
form the Adams County bank at Nodaway, and owned 100 shares of the stock of that
Although public spirited to a very marked
degree Dr. McNaughton was averse to public office of any kind, and there is no record of
his having held any other office than that of school director. He was a life long
Democrat, but it was his belief that business and politics do not mix very satisfactorily,
and he devoted his time and attention more strictly to the former. He had been a
mason since 1870, when on April 20 he was taken into the membership of Montgomery Lodge
No. 270 at Villisca. He was the second member to join after the lodge was
organized. He served as Worshipful Master during the year 1897, and was a charter
member of Villisca Chapter No. 80, O. E. S., which was organized September 11, 1890.
In addition to the three degrees in masonry of the blue
lodge, Dr. McNaughton belonged to Royal Arch Chapter at Red Oak, to the Bruce Commandery
of Knight Temlars of Red Oak and to the Tangier Temple of Shriners at Omaha.
Besides his wife Dr. McNaughton is survived by two daughters,
Mrs. C. W. Breisford and Mrs. D. E. Lomas, both of Villisca, and two brothers, M. G.
McNaughton of Leavenworth, Kansas, and John P. McNaughton of Galesburg, Michigan.
The funeral services, which were Masonic, were attended by
hundreds of people, the entire city and community uniting in paying their last respects to
a citizen highly esteemed in life and universally mourned in death. Masons from
Corning, Nodaway and Red Oak attended the services in a body.
The pall bearers were: F. E. Shane of Nodaway, W. S.
Alger, B. F. Fast, J. L. Neill, D. Whitmyer and F. B. Fryer.
Among those from out of town who attended the funeral Tuesday
were: Mr. and Mrs. M. G. McNaughton of Leavenworth, Kansas; John P. McNaughton of
Galesburg, Michigan; Dr. and Mrs. L. J. Lynch of Ames, Iowa; and Mrs. John McKee of
Burlington, Iowas, a sister of C. W. Brelsford.
Those from Red Oak were: Sheriff O. E. Jackson, F. P.
Greenlee, C. P. Liegerot, H. T. Thomas, A. S. Ellis, C. D. McElvain, A. M. Hawkins, O. P.
Worley, C. W. Larson, County Recorder S. E. Pryce, Roy Illingworth, Prof. J. A. McLean,
Samuel Neill, Wm. Boll, County Superintendent Clara Cowgill, Mrs. W. S. Ellis and Mrs. E.
Those from Stanton were: Dr. C. W. Hine and Mayor T. J.
McCormick. Those from Corning: D. H. Meyerhoff, Dr. Mary Johnson. Others
were: C. H. Hall of Benson, Nebraska, Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Burleson and Mrs. Minnie Wilson
of Clarinda, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Collier of Lincoln.
Article courtesy of the June 27, 1912
issue of the The Villisca Review.
Photographs courtesy of the Villisca
Review Illustrated Supplement,
Thursday, December 20, 1906