"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Gahan, Benjamin J. a prominent citizen of Tomahawk, engaged in the furniture and undertaking business, was born in the town of Springfield, Adams County, Aug. 3, 1865, on the farm of his parents, Benjamin and Nora (JAMES) GAHAN. The parents were of Canadian birth, the father born on Prince Edward Island in 1811 and the mother in Ontario in 1843. Their families came to Wisconsin in 1855, the two families settling in the same neighborhood. After their marriage at Mauston, Wis., the parents of our subject settled on the farm in Adams County on which the latter was subsequently born. There they made their home for some 30 years, or until 1895, when they came to Tomahawk to live. Here Benjamin GAHAN, the father, died in 1902; his wife, surviving him twelve years, passed away in 1914. Their own family numbered in all ten children, namely: Margaret, now deceased, who was the wife of C. B. DEWING of Tomahawk; Thomas residing in Gilbert, Minn.; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Frank ERICKSON of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Benjamin J. and John W., (twins) of Tomahawk; Mary, deceased, who was the wife of John MINN of Milwaukee; Isabella, also deceased, who was Mrs. Dana BILLINGS of Mapes. N. Dak.; Mae, deceased; George, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Leo of Milwaukee. Benjamin J. GAHAN remained on the home farm until about 16 years of age, at which time he began working as a farm hand for others. For nine years, or until his marriage, he was employed in the lumber industry, working in the woods in winter and log driving in spring. Then on June 30, 1891, at Mauston, Wis., he was married to Mary L. NOONAN, daughter of Patrick and Anne (FOX) NOONAN. She was born Sept. 8, 1865, on a farm near Elroy, Wis. There her father, who was a native of Ireland, subsequently died, and his wife Anne reamained on the farm until 1894, when she came to Tomahawk; here she passed away in 1909. It was in this city that Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin J. GAHAN began their home life, and for the first two years they conducted the Tomahawk Hotel on Tomahawk Avenue. In the spring of 1893 he bought the Lakeside hotel, which he conducted with the assistance of his wife until 1900. He then rented and subsequently followed the carpenter's trade in and about Tomahawk until the spring of 1909, when he laid the foundation of his present business by going to Chicago and taking a course in embalming and undertaking. In September, the same year, in partnership with his brother, John W., he opened his present furniture and undertaking business at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Third Street, under the firm name of Gahan Bros. The business proved successful and the partnership was continued up to May, 1921, when Benjamin bought his brother's interest and is now the sole proprietor. He owns and occupies a good house at 123 Somo Avenue. In politics he is more or less independent, voting for hte man rather than for the party, and he was alderman four terms from the Third Ward. Mr. and Mrs. GAHAN have had six children, Joseph, Benjamin P., William A., Genevieve M., M. Collette and Andrew J. Of these children, the first, Joseph, born Dec. 2, 1897, died in May, 1905. William A., born Feb. 19, 1901, was graduated from the Tomahawk High School, and is now employed in his father's store. Genevieve M., born Jan. 15, 1903, was also graduated from the Tomahawk High School, and in 1920 from the Merrill Business College and is now bookkeeper in her father's store. M. Collette, born in February, 1906, is a graduate of the Tomahawk High School, and Andrew J., born May 16, 1910, is a student in the same school. Benjamin P., born March 1, 1899, has a longer record including service in the World War. He entered the army on May 10, 1917, as a member of the Wisconsin National Guards, and was assigned to Company A., 119th Machine Gun Battery. After training at Camp Douglas, Wis., he went from there with his company to Waco, Texas, where he was transferred to the 32d Division, and in February, 1918 he went over seas, being landed at Brest March 4, and sent to a hospital, as, while on the vessel he was attacked with scarlet fever. On his recovery two or three weeks later he rejoined his division and was soon engaged in actual fighting. He saw service in Alsace-Lorraine, in the Argonne forest, on the Meuse and at Chateau Thierry. During the battle at the last mentioned place he and a comrade were sent back to headquarters for reinforcements and on their return were cut off by the enemy and reported missing, but in three days he rejoined his company. After the armistice he served with his company with the army of occupation on the Rhine until May 1919, when he embarked at Brest for home, being landed at Hoboken, N. J. After resting there a few days the company came west to Camp Grant, at Rockford, Ill., where they were discharged May 28, 1919. On the same day Benjamine P. GAHAN enlisted in the regular army and was assigned to the aviation department. He served at Camp Bragg till Oct. 14, 1920, and was then transferred to Fayetteville, N. C. In the middle of December, 1921 he came home and remained until June, 1922, when he return to North Carolina. At present he is in a hospital at Camp Grant. The Gahan family are members of the Catholic church and of St. Mary's congregation in Tomahawk, which Benjamin J. served as trustee for twelve years. He is a member of Tomahawk Council No. 2066, K.C., and of Lodge No. 216, C. O. F.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 515-516; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co, 1924

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