Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

JAMES W. REILLY. The name Reilly has long been a familiar one among railroad men of Springfield, for both our subject and his father before him were long on the Frisco payrolls in this city, having come here from the great Crescent City of the far South shortly after the close of the war between the states. The one is now living in retirement and the other has passed on to his eternal rest.

James W. Reilly was born on January 25, 1856, at New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a son of John and Bridget (Fitzpatrick) Reilly, and as the names would indicate, his Irish blood comes from both sides of the house. The father of our subject was born in County Cavan, Ireland, where he spent his boyhood days, emigrating to New York City when a young man, and from there went south to New Orleans, working some time as a laborer and gang foreman. Coming to Missouri in the sixties he assisted in building the St. Louis & San Francisco railroad line from St. Louis to Springfield, working from Rolla to Neosho. Later he became gang foreman in the North Side shops, Springfield, having long been connected with the blacksmith department, and was numbered among the Frisco employees for a period of twenty years. His death occurred in 1897 at the age of sixty-seven years, and he was buried in St. Mary's cemetery. He and his wife were both members of the Catholic church. The mother of our subject died in 1886 at the age of fifty-five years. The following children were born to John Reilly and wife, namely: James W., of this sketch; Charles, who was a car repairer in the Frisco shops at Springfield, died when forty-nine years of age; Mary is the widow of Warren Reed, deceased, and lives with her children in St. Louis; Eugene died in infancy; John is a car repairer in the Frisco's North Side shops, Springfield; Ellen married John Powell, a traveling engineer for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railroad and lives at Danville, Illinois.

James W. Reilly was twelve years of age when he came to St. Louis. Two years later he was employed as water-boy, when the road was being built into Springfield, having thus begun his railroad career at a tender age, after a brief schooling. However, it was not long until his father removed with him to a farm, where they remained some time, then young Reilly returned to the city and went to work in the North Side railroad shops, learning the trade of car repairer. He worked as foreman for sixteen years in the North Side shops, also as journeyman for some time. At intervals he had engaged in farming for short periods. In September, 1911, he left the road permanently and has since lived in retirement. He owns several valuable properties in Springfield, which he keeps rented. He now lives on the site where his father built the first house for the family upon coming here, it being one of three homes in the section of the city now known as "the North Side." Our subject erected his present splendid residence in 1911.

Mr. Reilly was married in 1879 to Mary E. Hooper, a daughter of Spencer and Harriet F. (Kane) Hooper. Her father was a native of North Carolina, from which state he came to Missouri in 1845, located in Greene county, and the Hooper family lived on a farm on the Cherry street road, near Springfield. Mrs. Reilly grew to womanhood in this locality and was educated in the common schools of Greene county.

To our subject and wife six children have been born, namely: Paul married Hattie Dodson and is employed as switchman in St. Louis for the Iron Mountain railroad; Kate married T. E. McKenna, a Springfield switchman, and they have four children, Francis, Thomas, Elenore and Paul; James L. is a switchman for the Cotton Belt at Jonesboro, Kansas. He married Maud Gaffker and they have two children, Clifford and Louise; Charles died in infancy; Ralph is engaged in the grocery business on Jefferson street, this city; he married Annie Connelly and they have two children, Connelly and Clarence; Clarence died on May 26, 1914.

Politically, Mr. Reilly is a Democrat. Fraternally, he belongs to the Catholic Knights and the Modern Woodmen of America.


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