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James Leahy (1853-1948)

[The following information is gleaned from old newspaper clippings collected by Anne C. Spellman Leahy (1891-1983/daughter-in-law of James Leahy; married to Justin D, Leahy (1892-1975), third son of James Leahy.]

On the occasion of his wedding:

Wednesday, 24 NOV 1886: In Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Random Lake, WI

Married to Miss Elizabeth A. Foster by their pastor, Father M. J. Lochemes.

Mr. Leahy was an accomplished scholar, held in great esteem wherever known.

He was elected the Sheboygan Country, WI Superintendent without opposition in the fall of 1886. He held the office of president of branch 52 C. K. of WI, established at Randon Lake, WI.

Miss Foster [a teacher in Ozaukee county] "has by her excellent qualities of heart and mind, won numerous friends both at home and abroad."

[The couple made their home in Random Lake, WI.]

In a New Year's Day Tribute (year unknown):

[From "A Tribute to James Leahy Sr" prompted by two events: 1) A recent Editorial entitled "An Honored Pioneer" and 2) James Leahy's renewal of his subscription to the Sheboygan Press.] …To the younger generation the name of James Leahy may not have the meaning that it does to older residents of the county. He was born in [Pawtucket] Kent Country, Rhode Island on 19 NOV 1853. His parents were born in County Cork, Ireland, and came to this country in 1847 spending seven years in Rhode Island after which they emigrated westward to Sheboygan county [in AUG 1854], locating in the town of Sherman [formerly known as Abbott].

He spend his boyhood days on the farm and at the age of nineteen [9 NOV 1873] he began teaching school in the town of Sherman and followed that profession for thirteen years, four years of which time were spent as an instructor. For four years he was County Superintendent of Schools [elected in 1886; re-elected in 1888. During that second term, he was appointed Visitor to Oshkosh Normal School by the state superintendent] and later served as town Chairman [for two years].

In the early days when the [Sheboygan] Press was first founded Mr. Leahy was a frequent visitor and a man we held in the highest esteem. Looking back through the record we find that he cast his first vote for Samuel J. Tilden. Very few men the age of Mr. Leahy keep in touch with their old county as he has.

In wishing [the Sheboygan Press] a Happy New year, we want to return that wish and with it the hopes for continued good health. One of his old "buddies" and who is still living at the age of ninety [is] Gerhard Franzen. How well we recall these two coming into the old office on Pennsylvania [A]venue and this was nearly forty years ago.

On the occasion of his death:

Funeral services were held Saturday, 26 NOV 1948 at 8:45 a.m. at the Wilk Funeral Home, and at 9:00 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, Random Lake, WI for James Leahy, Sr., age 95. Burial was made in the church cemetary. The Reverend P. Bonner officiated. He died Wednesday, 23 NOV 1948 at the home of his son, Dr. Justin D. Leahy, in Park Falls, WI.

In 1889, he bought the lumber business in Random Lake which had a branch at Fredonia, WI, and ran it successfully until he sold it [year unknown].

He was a charter member of the State Bank of Random Lake, WI; he watched the back grow and flourish during the years he held interest in it. [Year interest sold: unknown.]

He spent several years on the Sheboygan country board [years unknown].

He was also a trustee in the county asylum [years unknown].

He and his wife moved to Port Washington, WI in NOV 1933. His wife, Elizabeth, died there 8 FEB 1935.

On 8 June 1942, at age 89, he moved to Park Falls to live with his son, Justin D. Leahy. On Sunday, 19 SEPT of that year, he fell in the home (of J. D. Leahy) and broke his hip; since that time until his death, he was hospitalized.

At the time of his death, three sons survived him: James F. Leahy (of Milwaukee, WI), Dr. Justin D. Leahy (of Park Falls, WI), and Dr. Paul Leahy (of Port Washington, WI). In addition, there were eight grand- children and eight great-grandchildren. His wife and five daughters preceded him in death.

[From the Sheboygan Press]…When James Leahy died last Wednesday he had lived as the Maker meant man to live. He had "passed through this world but once" and had left his mark. The town of Sherman farm boy had grown into a man of sterling character, held in the highest esteem by all who knew him. He had been entrusted with positions of responsibility and had fulfilled that trust. He made friends and had treasured them. He accepted duties and accomplished them; met barriers and hurtled them; set goals and reached them.

…Though one of the leading figures in the early development of education in Sheboygan county [WI], James Leahy found time to play an important part in the civic development of Random Lake, [WI]. He served on the Sheboygan county board several years, as town chairman for two years, and as town clerk for three years.

…[The family] brought him back Wednesday to the little piece of Sheboygan that will ever be his. "And into the earth of which he was made, and for which he had so much love, they laid him."

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Page Created 4 APRIL 1999
for the Leprechaun News
Last Modified: 4 APRIL 1999/11:43 AM CDT