Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 605-606 transcribed by Caleb Williamson, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on 10-23-00.


James Galvin

JAMES GALVIN. - In Wyandotte county there are representatives of every nationality and for the most part the foreigners prove themselves good citizens. Amongst these foreigners are people from Ireland, (if we may speak of the Irish as foreigners) one of the most beautiful countries of the world. The scenery is picturesque, the wild beauty of the hills contrasting with the more placid beauty of the river districts. Unfortunately, however, a man cannot live on scenery and there is a great deal of poverty in Ireland, where a man who has no inherited wealth has a hard time acquiring it. That is the reason that men of enterprise, like James Galvin of Quindaro township, come to America, where they have a chance to sink or rise on their own merit.

James Galvin was born in Kings county in the central part of Ireland, in May, 1827. He went to school in his native country and then tried to get a start in a business way, but saw nothing a head of him but a life of toil for a bare living. He lingered on until he was twenty-five years old, when he decided to try his fortune in the United States. In 1852 he landed in New York and went to Syracuse, where he stayed for four years. He next went to Ottawa, Illinois, where he lived for two years, doing farm work. Then he went to Davenport, Iowa, worked in the lumber yard for one summer and then came to Wyandotte county in 1857, where he engaged in farming until the Civil war broke out in 1861. He was one of the first to enlist in the army of the north. He enrolled at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in the Tenth Kansas Infantry and was there mustered into service. He took part in many battles, notably those fought at Newton, Prairie Grove, Arkansas and Kane Hill, Arkansas. He remembers distinctly the battles of Vicksburg, Nashville, Franklin and Mobile in the army of the Cumberland. He remembers Spanish Fort and Fort Blakesley on March 9, 1865. Mr. Galvin was wounded from a shot in the leg at the battle of Franklin and was in the hospital about two months. After the close of hostilities, he was mustered out at Montgomery, Alabama, from which place he got transportation to Leavenworth, where he received his pay. With the money earned by his very blood, he bought fifty acres of land in Quindaro township. It was very wild, uncultivated land, covered with timber and underbrush; there was not a road to his place, but he set to work with the same determination which had carried him through hardships while in the army. He built a little log cabin which he divided into two rooms; this constituted his home for a number of years, when he built the home where he now lives on the Parallel road. He added to his property by degrees, until he had two hundred and ten acres. He found this more than he wanted to manage himself, however, and sold part of it, now owning ninety acres.

In 1865, after the war was over, he married Mary McGurgan. She was the daughter of Patrick McGurgan, an Irishman like himself. Mrs. Galvin died in 1904, having borne ten children, as follows: William, Henry, Catherine, now Mrs. T. D. McGraph; Thomas and Rose, twins; Margaret, Lizzie, James, Frank and Jane. All ten children are living.

Mr. Galvin is a member of the Old Settlers' Association. He is also a member of the Catholic church at Delaware. He may well feel that his coming to America was a good move for him. He has gained a position that he would never have had in his own country. He has retired from active work on the farm and lives there in contentment, surrounded by his children, who never tire of hearing him tell about his experiences in the army. The battles he was in are nothing but a list of names to outsiders, but to him each name recalls scenes of bloodshed, horror and bravery such as cannot fully be described. He is known all over the county and is universally respected.



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