James Gallagher


JAMES GALLAGHER, who is probably one of the oldest living citizens of the upper Ohio valley, was born on Callow Hill street, in the city of Philadelphia, October 31, 1806. He was the son of Charles and Eleanor (Maloy) Gallagher, who were both natives of Ireland, the former having been born in county Derry, and the latter in county Donegal. His father was born in about the year 1780 and his mother in the year 1782. His parents were married in their native country and emigrated to America in 1804. They located in Philadelphia, Penn., where the father followed the trade of a tanner until his death, which occurred when the subject of this sketch was five years old. The latter was the second of three children, the eldest of whom, Catherine, was born in Ireland and the youngest, Eleanor was born in Philadelphia. The former died in Philadelphia when about seven or eight years old, and the latter also died in that city at about the age of sixteen. In 1816 our subject emigrated with his mother from Philadelphia to Steubenville, Ohio, in which place the latter died in 1830. In the spring of 1817 her son James was apprenticed to Joseph Walker, with whom he served seven years at the saddler's trade. After this he worked at his trade as a journeyman, until 1830, being, during much of the time, in the employ of Mr. Walker as foreman. From 1830 until 1838 he devoted his attention to the life of a riverman, having become initiated into this pursuit by becoming a half owner of a flat-boat, William G. Murdock, an old fellow workman of his, owning the other half. While on the river Mr. Gallagher accumulated some means and acquired much valuable experience. He made fourteen trips to new Orleans and back, and upon one occassion he made the trip from Natchez home on horseback. That was in 1833 and his reason for selecting this mode of travel was to avoid the cholera, with which the river towns were then pervaded. For a short time after quitting the river, Mr. Gallagher indulged some in the pork packing business. In 1839 he had the misfortune to meet with an accident which, though only a sprained ankle, resulted in permanently disabling him for the rest of his life. For many years he was almost totally disabled, and he has never recovered to such an extent that he could walk with impunity without the use of a cane. Being thus unfitted for any pursuit that required bodily activitiy, Mr. Gallagher now began to pay some attention to banking. As early as 1836 he had become a stockholder in the Farmers' and Mechanics' bank of Steubenville and in 1839 he was elected a director in the same, and continued as such until the expiration of the bank's charter. Soon after this the state bank of Ohio was organized, and of the Jefferson branch of that bank at Steubenville, Mr. Gallagher was a director and stockholder throughout its entire existence, which covered a period of twenty years. From 1842 until 1848 he also served in the capacity of justice of the peace. In 1865 the Jefferson National bank of Steubenville was organized, and he was a director and stockholder in it for twenty years, and for more than half the time he served as its president. In 1885 this bank was succeeded by the Steubenville National bank, and since that time Mr. Gallagher has been a stockholder in it. He was one of the incorporators of the old Steubenville & Indiana railway, and he is the only surviving one. For a number of years he was a stockholder in the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad. Mr. Gallagher was married September 27, 1836, to Rachel Shaw, daughter of Anbrose Shaw, who was an esteemed and highly respected citizen of Steubenville, throughout its early history. She bore to him seven children, only three of whom are now living. They are: Charles , who is now cahshier of the Steubenville National bank; John D., who is an attorney at law of Cincinnati; and Rachel S., who is the wife of Dr. A. A. Elliott, of Steubenville. The wife of Mr. Gallagher died May 20, 1854. Mr. Gallagher's political affiliations were formerly with the whig party, and since 1856 he has been a republican. Mr. Gallagher is a man of superior intelligence, keen perception, and notwithstanding his advanced age, his facilities are in an excellent state of preservation. He is thoroughly familiar with the early history of the upper Ohio valley, and is also well versed in general history and literature. His acquaintance is extensive and by all who know him he is most highly esteemed and respected. He possesses a genial nature and he is both a kind hearted and liberal man.

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