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Arthur Finnegan


Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 4/12/2010 at 13:43:46

Arthur Finnegan, who now lives retired in Boone, is one of the city's most venerated residents, having been for many years connected with the railraod servce. He now lives retired at No 1310 Seventh street, passing his declining years in comfortable surroudings and in the enjoyment of a competency to which he is entitled by reason of long years of arduous, faithful and trustworthy labor. He selected Boone as his residence forty-eight years ago, coming here in 1866, and is therefore to be considered one of the pioneers of the city, for there were but the beginnings of a village when he arrived. Not only has he watched the onward march of civilization in his district, but he has been a factor in its growth and has made many valuable contributions toward its development in the many years in which he has made his home here.
Mr Finnegan is a native son of the Emerald isle, his birth having occurred in County Monaghan, August 15, 1838, his parents being James and Rose (Halligan) Finnegan. The father was a miller by trade and also a millwright. he died in Ireland when his son Arthur was about five years of age. After her husband's death the widow brought her seven children of America, her mother later joining her and passing away in Fairfield, New York, at the most extraordinary age of one hundred fourteen years. Mother and children landed in Toronto in 1843 and there the former remained for the rest of her life, passing away in that city from the effectrs of a fall at the age of ninety-six. She bore her husband the following children: Marageret, the wife of John Ellward, Mrs May Baxter deceased, Philllip deceased, Catherine and Arthur twins, the former living in Rochester, New York, Alice of Rochester, and Bridget who is also a resident of the city.
Aruthur Finnegan was about five years of age when his father died and early was identured to the latter's trade. In Toronto he leaned carriage painting and subsequently was connected with theToronto Iron Works for four years. This was in his early boyhood, and hen but seventeen he went to Buffalo, New York, where he worked as machinist for nine months. He then made his way to New Orleans, where he continued along the same line, his sojourn in that city being shortly before the Civil war broke out. Leaving here, he returned to Toronto, where he accepted work on the Grand Trunk Railway as a machinist foreman at Port Sarnia on the St Clair river. However, illness overtook him and after revovering he became a fireman on the Grand Trunk Railway, continuing that occupation for eighteen months. He then recieved a run as an engeineer on the same line. Relinquishing this positon, he made his way to Chicago, illinois,where he arrived in 1864, finding employment in the Northwesten railway shops for one year. During that time he was setting up engines for the Iowa division. On April 16, 1866, he was given charge of an engine and located in Boone, which place was the beginning of his run for forty-five years. Tried and true and trustworthy in he discharge of his duties, he stood high in the estimation of the officails of the road and was often commissioned to undertake confidntail trusts. Prominent men of the world would particulary request that he should be put in charge of the shipments of large sums of money, as it was generallay known that he was most cautious and would willingly sacrifice life in order to protect the interest of those who had confidnece in him. During his long period as an engineer he never had an accident- a record which is most remakable and earned him the highest commedation. When he came to Boone it was a village of a few straggling houses, but he recognized its opportunites and foresaw its future and as his means permitted bought lots, gradually acquiring much property and building on many of them he also owns valuable farm land in Iowa.
On April 24, 1864 at Mount Clemens, Michigan Mr Finnegan marreid Miss Mary McCaffery, of Mount Clemens, a daughter of Dennis McCaffery.To this union six children have been born: Edward D, Arthur J and Robert L of Boone, Mary E deceased, George Marion deceased and Phillip Adelbert of Peoria, Illinois.
On account of his long and faithful service Mr Finnegan was placed on the pension roll of the Northwestern Railway, April 1, 1911, and now lives in the enjoyment of a most comfortable income, being one of the most highly esteemed and respected citizens of Boone, where he has many friends. Indeed there are few who know him, if any, who are not his friends. He and his family are devout members of the Roman Catholic church and fraternally Mr Finnegan is a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Politically he is a democrat stanchly supporting that party and thoroughly in sympathy with its principles. He is a useful, patriotic, public-spirited citizen who has always placed public interests above his own and who has been more loyal to outside obligations than even to his own welfare. He is a kindly, courteous, affable gentleman whom it is an honor to know and who has brought sunshine into many lives by his pleasing, kinly, obliging ways and his sympathetic personality.

1914 Boone County History Book


Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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