The City of Rock Island has several contractors and builders whose operations are upon a very extensive scale, and whose work is known, not only in the immediate vicinity of their home city, but throughout the entire western part of the United States, where they have been engaged to erect large public buildings, manufacturing plants, railway depots and other edifices requiring the expenditure of thousands of dollars. Among the men so engaged is Charles J. Larkin.
Mr. Larkin was born September 13, 1852, in Schenectady, New York, and lived in that city until he was four years of age, when his parents, Michael and Mary (Smith) Larkin, came with their family to Rock Island. Mr. Larkin’s parents were natives of Ireland, the father being from Galway and the mother from Athboy, County Meath. After coming to Rock Island, Mr. Larkin’s parents made that city their home until their death, the father passing away in 1893 at the advanced age of seventy-five, and the mother six months later at the age of seventy-four. Mr. Larkin, senior, was a blacksmith, and during his lifetime he was of great assistance to his son in the contract work, in which he was actively engaged.
Charles J. Larkin attended and graduated from the public schools of Rock Island, and after laying aside his school books he learned the stone cutter’s trade, beginning his work as an independent contractor when only twenty years of age. It would be impossible in this brief sketch to enumerate the many large and imposing structures that have been erected by Mr. Larkin. It was he who built Rock Island County’s handsome Court House, and also the magnificent home of the Modern Woodmen of America in Rock Island. The eighty thousand dollar post office at Davenport is another public building that he was called upon to erect, while as a builder of magnificent churches Mr. Larkin can point with pride to the Catholic Cathedral at Des Moines, Iowa, for it was he who erected that great house of worship.
On October 20, 1873, Mr. Larkin married Miss Annie T. Ford, a daughter of William and Ann (Broderick) Ford, of Sheffield, Illinois. Eight children, four daughters and four sons, have been born to them, they being the Misses May, Katherine, Annie and Hattie, and Leo, Harry, Charles J. and Willard, all of the children making their home with their parents. Mr. Larkin’s elder sons are engaged with him in his contracting operations. His daughters are cultivated and talented young ladies who have received many advantages, both in the schools of Rock Island and else-where. Miss Katherine Larkin is a reader and impersonator of great ability and power, and frequently is heard before Tn-City audiences.
In politics Mr. Larkin has always been a Republican, and he has represented his home ward as Alderman for several terms during past years. He is always ready to con-tribute willingly and liberally either of his time or his money to his party’s cause, and although not an office seeker himself, he gives his support to those in his party whom he considers best qualified to fill the offices to which they aspire.
His home is at No. 556 Elm Street, and here Mr. Larkin spends most of his leisure hours, as he is a man of domestic tastes, and finds much of his happiness in this life in the companionship of his family. He is a man of pleasing personality, kind-hearted, genial and always to be found in the forefront of any movement calculated to advance the welfare of his city. In religious conviction Mr. Larkin is a Catholic. He has -many friends throughout Rock Island who speak highly of his high integrity and sterling worth.