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Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 439-440

JOHN RYAN, Assistant General Yard Master of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, with headquarters at Blue Island, has long been connected with that corporation, and is one of its most trusted and faithful employes [sic].  A native of the Emerald Isle, he was born in Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland, on the 1st of November, 1843, and is a son of Michael and Mary (Ryan) Ryan.  He attended school part of the time until eleven years of age, when, his parents having died, he and his twin brother Michael crossed the broad Atlantic to America.  The voyage was made in a sailing-vessel, and was a long and tempestuous one of thirteen weeks, during which their supply of water and provisions was nearly exhausted and they were threatened with starvation.  On the 1st of April, 1854, the brothers reached Kalamazoo, Mich., where Michael is still living.  The subject of this biography there secured work as a brick-mason, being thus employed [sic] until 1859, which year witnessed his arrival in Chicago.

On his removal to the city, Mr. Ryan was employed [sic] by a physician, with whom he came from Kalamazoo to Chicago.   He was afterward employed [sic] by James M. Walker, an attorney at law, and in 1862 he entered the employe [sic] of the Illinois Central Railroad, working in the Chicago freight house.  Three years later he went to St. Louis, where he worked for the Northern Missouri, now the Wabash Railroad.  In 1872 he returned to Chicago and secured a position with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, with which he has been employed [sic] for twelve hours per day regularly since, except for a few weeks when sickness detained him at home.   During the past three years he has been Assistant General Yard Master, and since January, 1893, he has resided in Blue Island.

Mr. Ryan was married in 1860 to Miss Johanna Cumming, of Chicago, a native of Neneh, County Tipperary, Ireland.  Their union has been blessed with four children: John P. and James M., who are now employes [sic] of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, and Mary and Ellen, who are still at home.  The parents and children are all members of the Catholic Church, and Mr. Ryan belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Yard Masters' Association, which includes all yard masters of the United States and Canada.  In his political views, he is a Democrat, having supported that party since casting his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas.  He has, however, never sought political preferment, giving his entire time and attention to his business interests.

Soon after his removal to Chicago, Mr. Ryan made plans to sail for Milwaukee on the ill-fated excursion steamer, "Lady Elgin," but fortunately was detained and failed to embark.  That was the "Lady Elgin's" last voyage, for during the trip the vessel went down with several hundred passengers on board.  Mr. Ryan twice witnessed the breaking down of the Rush Street bridge.  During his early residence in Chicago, Fr. Dearborn and the Marine Hospital were still familiar landmarks in that neighborhood, and the principal hotel and business houses were all located on Lake Street.  He has witnessed the greater part of the growth and development of the city, being familiar with its history from early times.  Mr. Ryan is an affable, genial gentleman.  In business he is distinguished for punctuality, regularity, and his just treatment of those under him.   His long service and experience have made him practically indispensable to the corporation with which he is connected, and he is equally popular with employes [sic].

                                -- Submitted on 9/12/99 by Sherri Hessick ( )