Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18




WILLIAM DAVIS GALLAGHER, poet, editor, and public

official, was born in Philadelphia, August 21, 1808. His

father, Bernard Gallagher, familiarly called " Barney," was

an Irishman, a Roman Catholic, a participant in the rebel-

lion that, in 1803, cost Robert Emmett his life. "Barney"

Gallagher migrated to the United States, landing at the

city of brotherly love, where, by the aid of John Binns,

editor of the " Shamrock," he obtained work. Some time

afterward he became acquainted with Miss Abigail Davis,

of Bridgeport, New Jersey, who had been sent to Phila-

delphia by her widowed mother, to complete, at Quaker

school, an education begun at home. "Abbey" Davis was

the daughter of a Welsh farmer, who, volunteering in the

Revolutionary War, lost his life under Washington at

Valley Forge. The Irish refugee and the Welsh patriot's

daughter were so much attracted to each other that they

joined their lives in wedlock. Four sons, Edward, Francis,

William and John were the issue of this marriage. The

third was a child not eight years old when the father died.

On his death-bed Bernard Gallagher refused to confess to

his ministering priest the secrets of Free Masonry, which

order he had joined, and the church not only refused him

burial in consecrated grounds, but also condemned his

body to be exposed to public derision in front of his own

door; and the execution of this sentence was prevented

by application for police interference. This was in 1814.

Two years after her husband's death, Mrs. Gallagher

and her four sons, joining a small "Jersey Colony,"

removed west, crossing the mountains in a four-horsed

and four-belled wagon of the old time, and floating

down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati in