JAMES REILLY, whose name and fame are so familiar in railroad circles, and also has been prominently connected with the welfare of Springfield, Mo., where he has made his home for many years, is a native of the Green Isle of Erin, born in the year 1833. No better class of citizens have come to Greene County, than those who emigrated from that country and who brought with them as their inheritance, the traits of character and life which have ever distinguished the race. He crossed the ocean in 1849, landed in New York City, and after remaining there a short time, went to Delaware County, that state, where he connected himself with the railroad business. For some time he resided in New York State but later moved to Lancaster City, Penn. where he .assisted in the construction of the railroad. He gained a thorough knowledge of all the exacting and difficult branches of modern railroad building, assisting to build a number of railroads in the East. In 1857 he came to Missouri and is now known as one of the most prominent railroad contractors in southwest Missouri. In l870 he contracted in grading and laying road on the Frisco railroad. He also was one of the contractors on the Iron Mountain railroad, the Hannibal & St. Joe, the Chicago & Alton R. R., through Missouri, the Wabash, the Wichita & Western, the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis, Kansas City, Clinton & Springfield, Leavenworth & Galveston and many other railroads. Mr. Reilly has been a very successful business man and has earned more money in his day than any other man in his part of the State. Aside from being a railroad contractor he has erected a large number of bridges, viaducts, etc., and all kinds of general contracting. He came to Springfield to live in 1881, and is deeply interested in real estate in the city, both in fine resident and business property. He built the bridge on the Frisco railroad at Rolla, Mo., which is a fine work of art. Mr. Reilly has had an extensive experience in handling men and carrying on successfully the line of work that he does. He has had a great deal of work in the city of Springfield, such as street building and grading and excavating. He put in the foundation for the new post-office at Springfield, has been deeply interested in the Springfield Zoological Gardens, and Interstate Fair Association, he being one of the principal owners of the same. He has associated himself with F. S. Heffernan, one of the ablest attorneys in Springfield, and has built and improved the large park which is about three miles from the public square. This park covers many acres, is a very handsome place, and has large buildings with all kinds of animals, from all countries. Mr. Reilly was president of the Electric Light Company in this city, and helped to build the plant. He was also interested in the ice factory and has ever been one of the foremost to establish all the public improvements of the city. He is a stock holder in the American National Bank, and has other interests in the city. His office is on Phelps Avenue and Campbell Street. A Democrat in his political views, he has ever upheld the principles of his party. He is a member of the Catholic Church and is a liberal giver to all worthy causes.
Springfield-Greene County Library