Biography of John S. Farley

John S. Farley, a prominent merchant in Milbank, has built a prosperous business in hardware and farming implements. Born in Galena, Illinois, in 1856, he grew up on a farm in Howard County, Iowa. After assisting with farm work, he established himself in the hardware business in Milbank in 1880. Through diligent work and correct methods, his business thrived, drawing customers from a wide area. Farley’s dedication to public service is evident in his support of the Republican Party and his elected positions as county treasurer and member of the board of aldermen. He is also involved in community organizations and holds membership in the Catholic Church.

John S. Farley is one of the prominent merchants and representative citizens of Milbank, where he conducts a prosperous and extensive business in hardware, farming implements, etc. Mr. Farley is a native of Galena, Illinois, where he was born on the 28th of February, 1856, being a son of John J. and Lucina Farley, the former of whom was born in the state of New York and the latter in Ohio. They were numbered among the early settlers of Illinois, and John J. was for a number of years a successful teacher, though he devoted the major portion of his active career to agricultural pursuits. He died in Milbank, June 11, 1893, and his wife passed away in Iowa in 1883, and their three sons and one daughter are still living. John S. grew to maturity under the sturdy discipline of the home farm in Howard County, Iowa, where his parents took up their abode in 1859, and there received his early educational training in the district schools. After leaving school, he continued to assist in the management and work of the home farm until 1880 when he came to Milbank and established himself in the hardware business, being one of the pioneer merchants of the town. He began operations on a modest scale, and with the development of the county and the advancement of the town as a business center, he has prospered and now controls a large and flourishing business, drawing his trade from a wide radius of country. Correct methods have gained and retained for him the confidence and regard of all, the result being that his business has constantly grown in scope and importance. Mr. Farley has not hedged himself in with his personal interests and affairs but has shown that potent public spirit which ever proves a factor in the upbuilding and advancement of any community. In politics, he gives a staunch support to the Republican Party, on whose ticket he was elected treasurer of the county in 1888, remaining incumbent of the office for four years and ably administering the fiscal affairs entrusted to his care. In 1899, he was elected a member of the board of aldermen of Milbank and has served about four years in this capacity, having been elected for the third time in the spring of 1903. He is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and both he and his wife are communicants of the Catholic Church, holding membership in the local parish of St. Laurens Church.

On the 27th of June, 1883, the marriage of Mr. Farley to Miss Minnie Dore was solemnized. She was born in St. Croix, Wisconsin, being a daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Dore, the latter surviving upwards of thirty years. Mr. and Mrs. Farley have been blessed with nine children, and the living ones are John E., George Stanley, Mary E., Francis, and Earl S. Paul. Walter, Lucina, and another boy died in infancy. The family home, located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Fifth Street, is one of the attractive residences in the town.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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