Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Luck of the Irishman

     Standing in the Old Catholic Cemetery on Broadway in Galveston is the lovely white tombstone of Jeremiah Buckley, who was born across the ocean.

     An immigrant from Larka, County Cork, Ireland, Buckley was a resourceful merchant whose obituary tells the story of a respected man who worked hard for his success.

Galveston Daily News, March 13, 1881, page 4

Death of Jeremiah Buckley

     "On March 1, 1881, at Fort Bend. In this State, Jeremiah Buckley breathed his last, aged fifty-five years. He was born in Cork, Ireland, in the year 1826 and came to the United States in 1849. After a residence of five years in Mobile, Alabama he removed to Galveston, were he laid the basis for a career of prosperity, which was only checked by the war of the States. Prior to its breaking out, Mr. Buckley had sailed for Europe to lay in a stock of foreign goods, suitable for the Southern market, intending on his return to supplement this stock with selections from Northern and Eastern marts of trade. But the cloud of war, at first no bigger than a man’s hand, spread over the whole country; ports were blockaded; commerce crushed; and Mr. Buckley’s assets were buried in the general ruin. 
With the recuperative faculties natural to his countrymen, he emerged from these financial misfortunes and re-established his business in Galveston, which he conducted successfully until 1873, when he became attracted by the pastoral life, and purchased a large farm in fort Bend County, where, as stated, his eventful life ended in the presence of his wife and other friends on the 1st instant. He had no children. His brother, to which he was much devoted, resides at Corpus Christi and is known as one of the largest wool-buyers in Western Texas, being also a large owner of sheep and lands in that section of the Empire State. Deceased, though right and exacting in business, had a warm, generous nature. His friendships, slowly made, were lasting. If the tide of adversity swept over any one to whom he felt kindly, his purse-strings at once flew open and material help was ungrudgingly and freely given, without solicitation. He was a many of marked individuality, and won his position in the battle of life by a fair but ferocious fight. His death is deeply regretted by the community in which he was so widely known and his remains were laid away by gentle hands and sorrowing hearts, which throbbed in unison with his during life. He has passed from earth to put on a purer, finer mold."

     It's a thoughtfully written, beautiful obituary.

     I haven't found the name of his widow, and with no children I wonder how long his name was remembered in the community. At least his beautiful marker certainly keeps his name alive to whomever wanders the rows of the Broadway cemeteries.

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