Biography of John E. Gallivan

John E. Gallivan is a native of Champaign County, but his name is widely known over this entire part of the state. He is now serving as deputy state fire inspector.

Mr. Gallivan was born at Ivesdale, Champaign County, August 18, 1860, son of Patrick T. and Anne (Doyle) Gallivan, both natives of Ireland. His father was born in County Kerry and his mother in County Wexford. Patrick T. Gallivan at the age of fourteen came to this country with his parents, Thomas and Margaret (Ferriter) Gallivan, who first located in the East and gradually kept moving westward until they reached Michigan. Patrick Gallivan eventually came to Ivesdale, Champaign County, and at the age of fifteen was driving a team in railroad construction work in that locality. At the same time he used some of his leisure time at night to educate himself. He remained with the railroad work on the Great Western, now called the Wabash, until that line was constructed through to Danville. After that for four years he worked for the Wabash in the railroad yards at Danville, and was finally appointed foreman of the section at Ivesdale in Champaign County, a position he held until 1867. In the meantime, hard working and thrifty as he was, he had invested his earnings in a 240-acre farm in Champaign County, and in 1867 he was ready to occupy it and make it the principal source of his living. He continued farming on that place until 1890, when he retired to Ivesdale, where his death occurred March 25, 1912. This honored old timer was at different periods township supervisor, member of the council and school treasurer. He was largely instrumental in settling the Catholic communities in Ivesdale and Colfax townships. At one time he was in the grain and elevator business in that community. His widow still lives at Ivesdale, at the age of eighty-two, and is in splendid physical health and in full possession of her mental faculties. There were eight children: John E.; George of Ivesdale; Margaret, wife of James E. Dugan of Indiana; Thomas J. of Urbana; Mary, wife of J. A. Fallen of Chatsworth, Illinois; Catherine L., who is unmarried and is an osteopath at Ivesdale; Daniel of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Anna, wife of Ora Curtis of Clinton, Indiana.

The youth of John E. Gallivan was one of hard work and lack of opportunities beyond those he could secure for himself. The first school he attended was in an attic in a log house in Ivesdale, and for three years he studied under James M. Graham, now congressman from the Springfield district. At the age of twenty-one he began railroad work and was employed in the train and yard service continuously for thirteen years.

Having married and having the responsibilities of a family, Mr. Gallivan gave up railroading and engaged in the furniture and undertaking business at Ivesdale for six years. From Ivesdale he removed to Champaign, and developed a large and prosperous business as a real estate dealer. He handled real estate altogether for twelve years. For the past four years he has served as deputy state fire marshal and has charge of eighteen counties in the central part of Illinois. Mr. Gallivan is an active Democrat, a member of the Knights of Columbus and of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

He married at Bloomington, April 28, 1886, Miss Alice M. Jones. They are the parents of seven children: Ann and George, now deceased; Lillian, bookkeeper for the Twin Ice Company at Champaign, Illinois; John and Thomas, twins, the former located at Indianapolis and the latter deceased; Lyle, a student in the University of Illinois; and Milo, a student in St. Mary’s High School.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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