McGaffigan Family of Clinton and St. Clair Cos., Illinois

Source:  Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1894, pp. 261-62.


Carlyle is the home of many gentlemen of fine natural abilities, thorough education and business energy, who in var­ious fields of industry are acquiring enviable reputations and gaining the highest worldly success. Among this number, we present the life sketch of Mr. McGaffigan, City Attorney of Carlyle and one of the most influential counselors-at-law re­siding in Clinton County. Of the success he has achieved he has no reason to complain, and he merits especial regard inas­much as his present standing is due to his unaided exertions and represents the results of his own unremitting efforts.

Of Irish parentage and ancestry, our subject is the son of Andrew McGAFFIGAN, a native of County Donegal, Ireland, who there married Mary LAFFERTY. Emigrating to the United States in 1836, he settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., and there secured a position as foreman in a distillery. In 1849 he removed to Virginia and engaged in the same business in Lynchburg, whence in 1852 he came to Clinton County, Ill., and settled upon a farm in Irishtown Township, about nine miles north of Carlyle. Upon that place he carried on mixed farming together with stock-raising until about 1886, when he retired from active life. Two years later, in July of 1888, he was bereaved by the death of his devoted wife, who through all the years of their wedded life had been his faithful companion and loving helpmate.

In the parents family there were nine children, of whom seven attained years of maturity, and five are still living. Of these John J. is the youngest. The others are:  Hugh J., who is engaged in the railroad business at Denver, Colo.; Mrs. Ellen MCCLAREN, a widow residing in Carlyle; Dr. A. J., a physician who conducted an extensive practice in Carlyle, Ill., for about fourteen years, and who removed to East St. Louis, Ill., in 1893, where he is now practicing his profession; and Mary A., the wife of M. P. MURRAY, State’s Attorney of Carlyle. The father of this family is a Democrat in politics, and though now advanced in years, still retains his interest in local and national issues of importance. In religious belief he is identified with the Catholic Church.

In Lynchburg, Va., the subject of this notice was born December 14, 1852. A mere lad when the family came to Clin­ton County, he was reared in Irishtown Township and attended the schools of the home neighborhood. For some time he was a student in Blackburn University, in Macoupin County, Ill., and afterward attended the southern Illinois Normal at Carbondale. His studies completed, he engaged in teaching school for seven years, and during the last year was Superintendent of the Schools of Carlyle. At the same time and also for one year ensuing, he read law with the firm of Murray & Andrews, of Carlyle. In February, 1886, he was examined for admission to the Bar before the Appellate Court, and was admitted before the Supreme Court at Mt. Vernon May 1, 1886.

Opening an office in Carlyle, Mr. McGAFFIGAN has since conducted an extensive legal practice, which includes the clientage not only of Carlyle’s citizens, but also of many resi­dents of the surround­ing country and towns. In the ranks of the Democratic party in this section he has for years been an active worker and has represented that political organization in numerous con­ven­tions. In the spring of 1886 he was elected City Attorney, which office he still fills, having had charge of many very important cases, in all of which he has proved his admirable adaptability for the position he occupies. In 1892 he was chosen Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee for Clinton County. He is a member of the Board of Education, and has served as its President.

October 22, 1884, J. J. McGAFFIGAN and Miss Anna R. SHINN were united in marriage. This lady is a daughter of Samuel SHINN, one of the early settlers of Irishtown Town­ship; she was born and reared on the old homestead in this county, and is a lady of amiable disposition, who is devotedly attached to her husband and children. Of the latter there are four, James Clinton, Mark A., Emma Mary and Harold. The fam­ily is identified with the Catholic Church of Carlyle. The life of Mr. McGaffigan furnishes an illus­tration of what may be ac­complished by perseverance and determination. Through pluck and energy he has won his way to an influential position in the legal fraternity. He devotes his attention to general practice, and has an excellent and thorough know­ledge of the intricacies of the law. His office is situated on the west side of the public square in Carlyle, and his residence is a commodious and tastily furnished house in the same city.

[Emphasis added.]

A. J. (possibly Andrew Jackson?) McGaffigan and Ella Kennedy were married in Carlyle, Clinton Co., Illinois on 3 Nov 1881, as recorded in Marriage Record Book 1, p. 49, certificate number 627 in the records of Clinton Co., Illinois.

According to an email from Dorothy Falk, one of the coor­dinators of the Clinton Co., Illinois US GenWeb site, the follow­ing is a copy of the 1900 census record for the family of Ella (Kennedy) McGaffigan followed by the records of the house­holds headed by her husband’s brother, John J. McGaffigan, and brother-in-law, Matthew Murray.

1900 Clinton County, Illinois census, Carlyle Township

Household 260-279
McGaffigan, Ella [Kennedy], Head, May 58, widow, had 5 children, PA
McGaffigan, Viola, Dau, Oct 84, IL
McGaffigan, Olive, Dau, Nov 86, IL
McGaffigan, Josephine, Dau, Oct 88, IL
McGaffigan, Matthew, Son, Jun 91, IL
McGaffigan, Paul, Son, Dec 93, IL

[Note:  This record appears to be slightly inaccur­ate, because by 1900, Ella (Kennedy) McGaffigan had been the mother of at least 6, not 5, children, but their eldest child had died in Carlyle, Clinton Co., Illinois in 1887 per newspaper abstracts obtained from the Clinton County Historical Society. It is possible she believed she should report only the names of her children still alive in 1900 to the census taker.  Please also note that although the name of Dr. Andrew J. McGaffigan did not appear on the 1900 census in the household of Ella (Kennedy) McGaffigan, he was still alive, but not then residing with his family in Carlyle, Clinton Co., Illinois.  An obituary was found in the newspaper East St. Louis Journal, East St. Louis, Illinois, dated 19 Apr 1911, which says he had died the previous day or on 18 Apr 1911 in East St. Louis, St. Clair Co., Illinois.  Ella (Kennedy) McGaffigan also died in East St. Louis, Illinois on 21 May 1936, according to her obituary found in the East St. Louis Journal, East St. Louis, Illinois.]

Household 450-474
McGaffigan, John J., head, Dec 51, Married 16 years, VA
McGaffigan, Anna R., wife, May 64, had 6 children, 5 living, IL
McGaffigan, James C., Son, Jun 86, IL
McGaffigan, Mark A., Son, Sep 88, IL
McGaffigan, Emma M., Dau, Dec 90, IL
McGaffigan, John H., Son, Apr 93, IL
McGaffigan, Henry, Son, Nov 96, IL
Eveld, Christine, Servant, Mar 86, IL

Household 269-290
Murray, Matthew, head, Jun 47, married 30 years, IL
Murray, Mary A., wife, Jan 47, had 12 children, 9 living, IL
Murray, Mary Julia, dau, May 72, single, IL
Murray, Nana A., dau, Feb 74, single, IL
Murray, Celo B., dau, Oct 75, single, IL
Murray, Paul M., son, Sep 77, single, IL
Murray, Richard L, son, Mar 83, single, IL
Murray, Irene E., dau, May 85, single, IL
Murray, George E., son, Sep 87, single, IL
Murray, Doloe E., son, Nov 82, single, IL
Houlet, George H., nephew, Nov 82, single, IL
McGaffigan, Andrew, father-in-law, Jan 12, widower, Ire, 36
Pratlis, Elizabeth, servant, Sep 82, single, Ger. ?

Also, see other information on the McGaffigan family elsewhere on this website.

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