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Biography of James Shanahan

JAMES SHANAHAN A STATE official whose long, industrious, persevering career in mechanical pursuits, and whose works in different parts of the country evince his superior powers as a master of his art is the Hon. James Shanahan, superintendent of public works of the state of New York. He belongs to a class of men whose talents and energy have advanced and enriched the interests of the empire state by the construction of works intimately connected with the railroads and canals, trade and commerce. He is a native of Ireland, and was born on the 6th of February, 1829, having now reached a period in life in which high purposes, aims and achievements are usually unfolded in full power. His ancestors were useful and substantial citizens of their country and some of them held responsible positions. His father, having determined to seek his fortune in “the land of the free,” cast a last lingering look on the home of his childhood and then boldly sailed away with his family from the coasts of “old Erin” for American soil. His son James, the subject of this sketch, was then but eight years of age, and distinctly remembers the roar and tossings of old ocean during the voyage. On reaching this country the family first turned their faces westward, traveling into central New York and taking up their residence in the rich county of Onondaga. There for seven years the elder Mr. Shanahan, who was not only an enterprising but an industrious man, labored hard to earn a livelihood and to make suitable provision for his young family. And there James received...

Biography of William McEniry

William McEniry, one of the early settlers of the County of Rock Island, was born in Charleville, County Cork, Ireland, a village near the line of County Limerick, on February 15, 1817, where he received his education and where he was engaged in mercantile business two years prior to his departure for America which was in April 1840, having heard much of the United States from an uncle who at that time lived in Albany, New York, he concluded to pay a visit to his uncle, and in company with his eldest sister, departed for America, arriving in New York City on a sailing vessel, steam vessels not being in use. He proceeded up the Hudson River on a steamboat to the City of Albany, and while visiting with his uncle he learned much of the country west of the Hudson River along the Erie Canal which had recently been opened to navigation. He decided to take a trip up the canal to Syracuse, and while there formed the acquaintance of John White, brother of the late Spencer White of Moline, who induced him to take charge of the office of a brick factory he was operating. In the Spring of 1841 John White’s father and mother were desirous of coming to Peoria, Illinois, to make their home with a daughter in that city. John White induced him to take the old couple by team from Syracuse to Peoria, driving across the country. After reaching Peoria the old people desired to send a letter to their son, Spencer White, who was in Moline, and he volunteered to bring the...

Biography of Charles McHugh

Among those prominent in business, social and club life in the City of Rock Island, is Charles McHugh, a man who through persistent industry and commercial acumen has wrought for himself a successful career. His parents were Thomas Edwin and Ellen (House) McHugh. His mother was born in Syracuse, New York; his father was a native of Inniskillin, Ireland, but removed to this country, where the subject of this sketch was born September 3, 1863, at Syracuse, New York. Four years later his parents came west and located at Tiskilwa, in this State, where his mother is still living. Here their son received a common school education. Mr. McHugh remained in Tiskilwa until 1881, when he came to Rock Island. Seeking employment, he obtained a position as bell-boy at the Harper House, the hotel of which he is today manager and associate proprietor, but which was then owned and managed by the late Benjamin Harper. As a bell-boy Mr. McHugh received the princely salary of ten dollars a month, but with a firm determination to deserve and to attain a higher position he paid diligent attention to his duties. This determination upon his part was rewarded by a promotion to a position as clerk in the hotel, which position he held until 1894 when he, together with J. E. Montrose, purchased the management of the hotel from the Harper estate. This required an investment on their part of $35,000. The investment was a financial success, and in 1898, desiring to enlarge the scope of their business, these gentlemen took over the National House, of Peoria, Illinois, the leading hotel...

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