The subject of this sketch is one of the well known men of Centralia, and
his residence in Marion county has shown him to be a man of business ability
and honesty of purpose so that he has won the confidence of those with whom
he has come in contact.
Thomas F. Meagher was born December 23, 1848, in Toronto, Canada, the son of James W. and Anna (Ryan) Meagher, the former a native of the county of Tipperary, Ireland, as was also his wife, where they grew up and married. He was a carpenter by trade and he came to Toronto, Canada, in 1842, and in 1865 he moved with his family to Chicago, where he worked at his trade until his death in 1869, his widow having survived until 1892. They were members of the Catholic church and they were the parents of the following children; Joseph P., who was in the United States navy during the rebellion and later a policeman and butcher in Chicago; Thomas F., our subject; Harry is a painter and foreman in the Denver & Rio Grand Railroad shops in Colorado City, Colorado. He was quartermaster in the army for five years under General Miles. Maria is the widow of Samuel Paling and lives in Chicago; Margaret is the widow of Jerome P. Merrill, of Chicago.
Our subject went to the common schools and later educated himself. He and his brother Joseph went in the fall of 1864 to Chicago and followed the lakes for five years steamboating, and he was for three years in the wholesale house of J. W. Doane & Co., of Chicago. After this he went into the land office of the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago. During the great fire of October 8 and 9, 1871, he saved all the land records and books of this company. After the fire the office was moved to Centralia and the subject came here to look after the business. He continued in the land office and also traveled all over the country for this road as traveling land agent, selling land and collecting and looking after their interests in general. In 1882 he was appointed Deputy Revenue Collector of the Thirteenth United States District of Illinois for one term. After this he returned to the employ of the Illinois Central, with which he remained until 1884. He was regarded by this company as one of the most trusted and indispensable employes.
Mr. Meagher was united in marriage November 3, 1872, with Mary A. Lawler, who was born in Chicago, the daughter of Michael and Johanna (Phelan) Meagher, both natives of Tipperary county, Ireland. They came singly when young people to America and settled in Chicago when the country thereabout was a wilderness. He was a gardener by trade and also teamed extensively. He helped lay out the famous Lincoln park of that city, putting out trees, etc. He died in 1893 and his wife died in 1898. Their children were: Mary A., the subject's wife; John, who is with J. W. Reedy Elevator Company in Chicago; Edward is a street car conductor in Rochester, New York; William is shipping clerk for a candy manufacturing firm in Chicago; Margaret is single and living in Chicago; Theresa is single and operating a hair dressing establishment at 92 State street, Chicago; Sarah is the wife of J. W. Reedy, of Chicago.
Ten children have been born to the subject and wife, as follows: Frank J. is single and living at home, clerking in the offices of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Centralia; Margaret is saleslady at Marshall Field's & Co., Chicago.; Mary is saleslady at Hartman's Dry Goods Company, Centralia; Thomas T. is a machinist on the Big Four Railroad at Mattoon, Illinois; James W. is a cigarmaker in Naples, New York; Henry Edward is foreman of The Democrat office in Centralia; Charles A., who died at the age of twenty-one years, was clerk for the Illinois Central Railroad at Chicago, also in Centralia, having died February 25, 1905; Frederick D. is a machinist in Danville, Illinois, for the Illinois Central Railroad Company; Anastacia is bookkeeper at Marshall Field's & Co., Chicago; Richard T. is a boilermaker in the Illinois Central shops at Centralia.
In 1884 the subject was elected Circuit Clerk and County Recorder of Marion county, serving with much credit for a period of four years. He has always been active in politics and is a loyal Democrat. He is not a member of any church. He has made a success of his life work, for he has been a very industrious man and possesses rare business acumen.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 601-603.