James Reilly was born in 1865 in Carrickleck, Kingscourt, County Meath to Owen Reilly and Bridget McMahon. Newspapers variably report his home as County Meath and County Cavan. He arrived in the United States around 1881 and lived in the midwest while learning his trade as blacksmith. He moved to North Pelham, Westchester County, New York in 1892 and opened his own blacksmith shop in 1893. He was elected president of the Village of North Pelham 12 times, the first being in 1906. In his political career he was known as "Honest Jim," but he had a flair for the dramatic and was well-known for his big personality. He was also fire commissioner and deputy sheriff. His friend and the Police Chief Philip Gargan was from the same area in Ireland and the two of them visited at the same time occasionally. His wife Annie Smith Reilly was also from County Meath. He passed away in 1937.
Three of James's siblings emigrated to the U.S.: Margaret (Sister Anthony) Reilly (1876-1949) became a nun in Philadelphia; Patrick Reilly (1870-1930) lived in New York City and died at a hospital in Hawthorne, NY; and Mary Margaret Reilly (1863-1933) married Patrick Ryan and had two sons in the U.S.
Two of his siblings remained in Ireland and I have been unable to find much about them or any descendants: John Reilly (born 1871) and Philip Reilly (born 1874).
I believe that James Reilly lived with cousins in Dubuque, Iowa when he first arrived in the U.S. and he visited them at least once in 1906, which was reported in the paper as visiting "Mrs. McMann." I wonder if this was someone related on his mother's side, Mrs McMahon?
James Reilly was buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in New Rochelle, NY, but no marker remains today. There are numerous articles about him in local newspapers that can be found online at Fulton History.
|Date of Birth||12th May 1865||VIEW SOURCE|
|Date of Death||22nd Dec 1937||VIEW SOURCE|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Bridget McMahon|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Owen Reilly|
|Townland born||Carrickleck, Kingscourt, County Meath|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Annie Smith|