John Hall Leader's Obituary
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DEATH OF MR. JOHN LEADER
Another Esteemed Citizen Joins the Majority
Montana? This is new. There was a gold rush to Montana starting in 1863. 1863 was also the year that the Bozeman Trail was established. The Bozeman Trail was the most reasonable route for John Leader to follow to get to Montana. The "Bloody Bozeman" was the focus of a furious Indian War which the Indians actually won. This was the war that made Fort Phil Kearney and the Fetterman Massacre famous. The Bozeman was closed in 1868.
We don't yet know where in Montana John Leader may have gone, but there weren't many towns in Montana in 1864 and all were raw frontier towns. Virginia City is the most famous. In January, 1864, the vigilantes hung the Plummer Gang. That's a bit early for John Leader to have been involved. Also, if John Leader went to Virginia City, Montana, he would have been there at the same time that Frank Robert Sr. was in Virginia City, Nevada, another famous mining town.
While getting rich was always a good reason to head west in a gold rush, another reason may have been conscription in the Civil War. Both John Leader and Frank Robert sought their fortunes during the Civil War and both returned east after the war was over. Both were immigrants who may not have felt that the Civil War was their war.
It was with surprise as well as sorrow that the people of Galena heard the news this morning that Mr. John Leader was dead. He had been ill for eleven days with pleurisy and grippe, and on Friday of last week it was thought that his end was near. On Saturday, however, he exhibited signs of improvement, and on Sunday and Monday his physicians expressed strong hopes of his ultimate recovery. Last night he fell quietly asleep, but it was a sleep that knew no waking. The direct cause of his death was heart failure, from which he passed peacefully away at midnight without a struggle. His age was 66 years.
John Hall Leader was born in the city of Cork, Ireland, January 2, 1828. He was educated in the school of the Christian Brothers in his native city, and came to America in 1848. After spending seven years in the eastern states he came to Galena in the spring of 1855, and taught school for a time after which he entered the service of the Illinois Central Railroad company. In 1864 he went to Montana where he remained two years. In 1866 he returned to Galena and took the situation of baggage agent and check clerk at the Illinois Central depot, which position he creditably for 26 years, resigning last year.
When the Irish-American Benevolent Society of Galena was organized in 1873, Mr. Leader was elected its first President, and was semi-annually re-elected 40 times, holding the same honorable position at the time of his death. It is a large and influential charitable organization and has accomplished a great deal of good in watching at the bedside of the sick and relieving the wants of the needy, a work in which Mr. Leader was always found among the foremost.
Mr. Leader was reared in the Catholic Church and adhered to its tenets and conscientiously lived in accordance with its teachings throughout his life. The strictest honesty of purpose marked his career, and he was esteemed and trusted by all who knew him without regard to creed or nationality. His early education was more generous than that of most young men of his day, and through life he enlarged and broadened it by constant reading and study. He was a vigorous, independent thinker and possessed the courage of his convictions. Possessing a retentive memory, well read in matters of history and having a fund of information, he was a formidable antagonist in an argument, although one of the most kindly and charitable of men. In his death a good man and an affectionate husband and father has gone to his reward. The community as well as the family circle have sustained a loss.
In Syracuse, N. Y., Nov. 23, 1854, Mr. Leader married Miss Honora Donoghue, who survives him with seven children. The eldest son, William J. Leader, of Superior, Wis., is deputy county clerk of Douglas county, John of Superior, is conductor on the South Shore railroad, James H. of Duluth, Minn., is train dispatcher on the Northern Pacific railroad, George is reporter on the Minneapolis Tribune and Frank E. associate editor of the GALENA GAZETTE. The daughters are Dora, wife of W. F. Carroll of Stockton, and Bell, wife of John Cloran, merchant of Galena. The children were summoned home when Mr. Leader’s condition became serious, and were all at his bedside when he died.
The funeral will take place from the family residence on Meeker street on Thursday, at 9:30 o’clock to St. Michaels church, where requiem mass will be celebrated.
This page last modified on Sunday, November 18, 2007