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History of Adair
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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Jay Sullivan.

Jay Sullivan, postmaster of Fontanelle, to which position he was appointed by President Wilson in 1914, is one of the native sons of Adair county, his birth having occurred here on the 10th of May, 1856.  He is a son of Titus H. and Christina (Lentz) Sullivan, both of whom were natives of Indiana.  In the year 1855 they arrived in Iowa and in the spring of 1856 took up their abode upon a tract of land in Adair county, which Mr. Sullivan entered from the government.  It was in its primitive condition, being covered with the native prairie grasses, not a furrow having been turned nor an improvement made.  The arduous task of developing a new farm confronted him and he built a log cabin covered with clapboard roof and with a clapboard door with the customary latchstring.  There was also a stick chimney and other indications of frontier life.  But hospitality reigned in that pioneer home and the latchstring always hung on the outside of the door.  As the years passed Mr. Sullivan carefully improved his farm, breaking the prairie and then harrowing and planting the land, so that in time good crops were gathered.  The father died in 1872 but the mother survives at the age of eighty-four years, and is yet enjoying good health.

Jay Sullivan is one of a family of eight children, five of whom yet survive.  He remained at home until he attained his majority and through attendance at the public schools acquired a good education, completing the high-school course.  He started out in the business world as a clerk in a store at Fontanelle and was thus employed for eight years, during which period he carefully saved his earnings until his industry and economy had brought him a sum sufficient to enable him to engage in business on his own account.  He then established a grocery store, in which he continued for a number of years and subsequently he worked in a lumberyard for two years.  At different times he has been called to public office, occupying several municipal offices, in which he has made an excellent record by reason of his capability and his loyalty.  For seven years he filled the position of town marshal of Fontanelle and in 1914 was appointed to the office of postmaster by President Wilson, being the present incumbent in that position.  He has likewise been officially connected with the schools, serving on the board at Fontanelle for several years.  His influence in such matters is always on the side of progress and improvement and his labors have been effective and far reaching.  His appointment to his present position indicates his political preference, his support always having been given to the democratic party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise.

In 1882 Mr. Sullivan was united in marriage to Miss Emma Vest, a native of Indiana, and a daughter of John and Maria (Smith) Vest, in whose family were three children, all of whom survive.  Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan have two children:  Guy V., who was graduated from the high school at Fontanelle and is now assistant postmaster; and Pearl J., who is the wife of F. C. Eaton, of this county.  She, too, is a high-school graduate and for some years she successfully engaged in teaching school.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan are members of the Christian church, in the work of which they are helpfully and actively interested.  Mr. Sullivan owns a residence in the village and their home partakes of the old-time pioneer hospitality.  He his representative of one of the old families of the county and has been a lifelong resident here, having for fifty-nine years been a witness of the growth of the county and the changes which have occurred, bringing it to its present prosperous condition.



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