John Phillip Gagen

There is much incentive in studying the life history of such a man as John P. Gagen, who by his own indomitable courage and energy, finally rose above early environments that were none too favorable, surmounting every obstacle he encountered in his pathway until he attained a position of eminence in the business circles of the city of Lafayette, Indiana, second to on of his contemporaries. He belonged in the large class of industrious American-born citizens of foreign parentage, his parents Patrick and Mary Gagen, having emigrated to America from Ireland, where they were born and where their childhood were spent. They were the parents of ten children, but the mother was called to rest ere they grew to maturity and the father married a second time, adding eight more children to his already large family, the combined number of children being eighteen. However, he was a hard worker and a good manager and provided well for them, giving them common school educations and living to see them fairly well started in the battle of life. He was a man of honorable character and inculcated in his children those principles that make for true manhood and womanhood, the glory of our strong American citizenship, which we are justly, went to boast.
John P. Gagen was born in Sandusky, Ohio December 13, 1848, He received his early mental training in common schools of his native city, laying a good foundation for the broad knowledge he in after years acquired by habits of observation and promiscuous reading. He started to do for himself early in life, and soon gave evidence of a successful future, one not only replete with success, but honor also.
Upon reaching maturity, John P. Gagen chose a life partner in the person of a very amiable and worthy representative of an old and well-established family, Adaline Greene, a native of Lafayette, Indiana, having been born there in November 1846. The wedding which marked the beginning of a mutually happy domestic life was solemnized on April 18, 1869*. Mrs. Gagen’s father came from Ohio and her mother from Wisconsin in an early day, settling in Tippecanoe county, where they established a good home amid primitive conditions, Joshua D. Greene, the father, was by occupation a carpenter, and his services were in great demand in his vicinity for many years, for he was a very skilled builder. Later in life he became a grocer, finally a general business man in Lafayette, where he met with success at whatever he turned his attention to, becoming well-known here in his day as a progressive, and public-spirited man of affairs, taking a prominent part
In the affairs of the city in which he manifested a deep and abiding interest for many years, and in no small measure augmented its general development.

To John P. and Adaline Gagen eight children were born, of whom only two daughters are now living, namely: Emma F., who was born in Tippecanoe County January 31, 1878, married Patrick Joseph Keefe, who is engaged with his father in the manufacturing business in Anderson, Indiana, where he resides. Mr. and Mrs. Keefe have no children. Esther Gagen, who was born February 5, 1883, married John Joseph Greenen, a resident of Indianapolis, where Mr. Greenen is engaged in the coal, lime, and cement business. No children have been born to them. Both Mr. Greenen and Mr. Keefe are energetic businessmen.
Mrs. Gagen is the only surviving member of her parents’ family, which consisted of four daughters. Her life has been singularly happy with the exception of the irreparable loss, occasioned by the death of her lamented husband John P. Gagen some four years ago. But he left her well provided for, her home at No. 1123 South Street, Lafayette, being one of the handsomest and most attractive in the city. It is modern in every respect, elegantly furnished and tastily kept. Mrs. Gagen is also the owner of the very fine landed estate consisting of three hundred and twenty acres near Dayton, Tippecanoe County.

Personally Mrs. Gagen is a well-preserved woman, vivacious in manner, affable and kind-hearted, always hospitable and she is beloved by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

An excellent portrait adorns her cozy home the likeness of her well-remembered husband, than whom a more popular and whole-souled man never lived in this city. He was a man who, while looking to his own interests, never lost sight of his duty to his fellowmen, fine natural traits, he was popular with all classes, and when his death occurred the entire city and community felt a personal loss.

Transcribed June 8, 2000 by Andy Sauer

Excerpts from the book: Past And Present Of Tippecanoe County, Indiana;  Volume Two: pp. 815-816
Published by B. F. Bowen Company Indianapolis, Indiana 1909

Footnote: John P. Gagen family owned their own private railroad car. Esther Loretta Gagen visited her sister Emma Frances Gagen in San Francisco, California in 1906 during the great earthquake there. She described what she saw to me when I was around 8 years old in 1949. She was unhurt in the hotel that she was staying. You could see streets torn open, bursting pipes, dead people and vast destruction for a great distance. Recorded by grandson Andy Sauer June 8, 2000.

Footnote: Aunt Peggy (Yates) Greenen Drew told me that the manufacturing business Patrick Joseph Keefe was engaged with his father was the Anderson Stove Manufacturing Company, Anderson, Indiana. They made coal and wood burning stoves Recorded by Andy Sauer June 8, 2000.

*Note on marriage date: John Phillip Gagen married Adaline Green (also spelled Greene) on April 17, 1870 at St. Mary Catholic Church Lafayette, Indiana Tippecanoe County as recorded in the State of Indiana Marriage Book 13 Page 25.  Andy Sauer.

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