[J. F. Merry]
JOHN F. MERRY was born in Summit County, Ohio, March 24, 1844. He came to Iowa with his parents in an emigrant wagon in 1856, his father locating on a farm in Delaware County. The son secured an education in the public schools and became a teacher. In 1880 he entered the service of the Illinois Central Railway Company as excursion agent, making himself so useful that he was soon promoted to general western passenger agent, and finally to assistant general passenger agent of the entire system. Captain Merry served in the Civil War, as a private first in the Twenty-first Infantry. He afterwards recruited and was elected a lieutenant in Company F, of the Forty-sixth Regiment. He was on the staff of General Fairchild in the Grand Army of the Republic, and was the originator of the law converting the battle-field of Vicksburg into a National Park. Captain Merry was a member of the Iowa Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition Commission. He has given special attention to the agricultural and commercial development of the country traversed by the Illinois Central Railroad system and has published several works of interest among which are “Where to Locate New Factories,” “The Southern Homeseekers' Guide,” and the “Industrial Outlook for New Orleans.” Captain Merry has held the following important positions: assistant general passenger agent of the Illinois Central Railway Company, secretary and assistant treasurer of the Dunlieth & Dubuque Bridge Company, secretary and treasurer of the Iowa Land & Loan Company, secretary and assistant treasurer of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad Company, and secretary and assistant treasurer of the Fort Dodge & Omaha Railroad Company. He is a prominent Republican, serving as delegate to the Republican National Convention at St. Louis in 1896.