Biography of David McConkey McFarland1Wiley Garner, Biography and History of Chester County
David McConkey McFarland, one of the leading and most successful business men of Chester County, and a prominent and public spirited citizen of West Chester, is a representative member of that distinguished class of self-made men, who not only deserve success, but who win it.
He is a son of James and Mary (McConkey) McFarland, and was born in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County Pennsylvania, May 6, 1839. James McFarland (father) was a native of Montgomery county, was of Scotch-Irish descent, and in early life came to Chester Valley, where he engaged in farming, and removed to Phoenixville in 1840, where he continued farming and kept the celebrated “Fountain Inn” for five years. At the end of that time he removed to Mercer county, and invested all of his means in iron enterprises. He died April 19, 1849, when in the forty-fifth year of his age2Garner’s death date for James McFarland is incorrect. He is listed on the Mortality Schedule for 1850 With a death date of April 1850 of lung inflammation. He and his brother-in-law John S. King were partners in the iron business in Mercer county and owned the Big Bend Furnace.. He married Mary McConkey, and reared a family of seven children. Mrs. McFarland, who died February 18, 1891, at eighty-six years of age, was a daughter of John McConkey, a native of the north of Ireland, who married Elizabeth Rickabaugh, and settled in Tredyffrin Township, where he followed his trade of cooper for several years, in connection with farming.
David M. McFarland was reared on the farm and received his education in the common schools. At sixteen years of age he went into the great school of life to do for himself, and commenced his remarkably successful business career as a clerk in the office of his maternal uncle, David McConkey, a successful broker, and dealer in mortgages. By his natural aptitude for business and close attention to his duties he became indispensable to the office and in a few years was intrusted with the management of the business. His uncle died February 29, 1868, and in the following month of March, Mr. McFarland successed to the large and renumerative business of the office, which he has continued to develop until it has reached its present large proportions.
On September 11, 1866, Mr. McFarland married Mary M. Rothrock, a sister of Dr. J. T. Rothrock, the great American botanist, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. To Mr. and Mrs. McFarland have been born six children, three of whom are still living, two sons and one daughter: Charles T., who is engaged in business in West Chester; Elizabeth W. and George Keim, the latter now a student at the Pennsylvania State College.
In politics, Mr. McFarland is a republican, but his life has been and is preeminently a business one. He does a money loaning and private banking business, and has devoted himself to home investments, whereby he furnishes a large amount of capital that is employed in building up and operating different enterprises, and in the development and improvement of many farms. He loans money on mortgages on real estate in Chester, Delaware, Lancaster and many othe rof the best counties of the keystone State. Mr. McFarland is a well-known business man of established integrity, and to his well directed and conservative management of his various enterprises may be attributed a part of his remarkable success. His prosperity is also largely a reward of his ability and perseverance.
It is justly said that the progress and prosperity of a county depends not so much on the natural advantages and facilities it offers, as upon the character and spirit of its leading men, and David M. McFarland is among those of that class who have contributed largely to the permanent prosperity and material development of Chester County.
Sources & Notes
- 1Wiley Garner, Biography and History of Chester County
- 2Garner’s death date for James McFarland is incorrect. He is listed on the Mortality Schedule for 1850 With a death date of April 1850 of lung inflammation. He and his brother-in-law John S. King were partners in the iron business in Mercer county and owned the Big Bend Furnace.