Biography of James Flanagan

Success comes not to the man who idly waits, but to the faithful toiler whose work is characterized by intelligence and force; it comes only to the man who has the foresight and keenness of mental vision to know when and where and how to exert his energies, and thus it happens that but a small proportion of those who enter the “world’s broad field of battle” come off victors in the struggle for wealth and position.

James Flanagan, a worthy pioneer and successful businessman of Boise, is one of the many good citizens that Ireland has furnished the United States. He was born near Dublin, in July 1837, a son of William and Mary (Burns’) Flanagan, also natives of the Emerald Isle. The father died of cholera, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and his widow lived to the advanced age of seventy-eight years. Both were devout members of the Catholic Church. Of their children four sons and four daughters five are still living.

Their son James, the subject of this review, received his education in his native country, where he remained until he was sixteen years of age. He then sailed for America, to make his own way in the world and to enjoy the civil liberty denied to him in his own land. Arriving in New York City, he secured employment and remained there for a number of years, part of the time working as a brick-maker. Later he removed to Wisconsin, where he engaged in farming. On the 18th of July 1864, he arrived at Boise, Idaho, where at first he worked for wages and did anything that offered whereby he might earn an honest living, and for some time he was employed by a brick-maker, who later failed in business. Sir. Flanagan then embarked in the same line of manufacture and for twenty-two years followed it successfully, his business being so conducted that it brought not only financial prosperity to him but also gave general satisfaction to his patrons. Being a man of industry and general reliability, he was liberally patronized by the people of this vicinity, and many of the fine buildings of Boise stand as monuments to his enterprise. During his career here he has acquired considerable property, and at one time owned fifteen acres of land in what is now the very best residence portion of the city. Some of this land he platted and sold, and many beautiful homes have been built upon it, but he still retains enough to insure him a good income and a competency for the rest of his life. He took great pleasure and pains in building the residence which he and his family now occupy. It is modern and convenient, exemplifying the good taste, not only of the fortunate owners but of the decade, as well Mr. Flanagan also has valuable mining interests, and for the past five years has given much attention to the same. Several of his excellent quartz claims, in the Hornet and McIntire districts, are situated but six miles from Boise.

Mr. Flanagan was happily married, in 1861, to Miss Catherine Murray, a native of county Meath, Ireland, and they have had two children, a son and daughter. The son is deceased and the latter, Mary Ellen, resides with her parents, and with them holds a membership in the Catholic Church.

Fraternally. Mr. Flanagan is identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, has filled all the offices in his lodge and, besides having been a representative to the grand lodge of the state, is now acting in the capacity of deputy grand master workman. Politically, he has always been loyal to the Democratic Party, and for three years he has represented his ward in the city council of Boise. For thirty-five years he has been sincerely concerned in everything affecting the growth and advancement of the city, and has performed his full duty as a townsman and patriot.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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