James (Jimmy) Walter Gallagher was born on December 2, 1898, in Somerset Township, Belmont County, Temperanceville, Ohio. He was the son of John Thomas and Mary A. (Mosburg) Gallagher. His ancestor, Edmund Gallagher, married Anna Dorsey and came from County Meath, Ireland, to America in about 1799. Edmund aided Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmett, Irish citizens, in the stormy days of 1798. He had to flee his native Ireland for fear of religious persecution by the Protestant English.
Edmund settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, first in about 1799, married and had children. When he was about 50 years old, in 1818, he moved to Beaver Township, Guernsey County, Ohio, which later became a part of Noble County. He later relocated in Somerset Township, Belmont County, Temperanceville, Ohio, of which his son Robert Gallagher was the founder. Robert and his daughter disappeared when they traveled with a wagon train to become 49ers in the gold rush. His son Edmund Gallagher, Jr. married Nancy Hughes and they resided in Monroe County, Calais, Ohio, where John Thomas Gallagher, the father of our subject Jimmy Gallagher, was born in about 1850. Jimmy's great grandfather, Edmund, is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery near Temperanceville, as are many other family members. Jimmy's brother, evangelist Wellington Napoleon Boniphas Gallagher, is buried in Quaker City, Ohio. It was his brother who asked him to fill in for him and preach a Sunday evening service at the church of Christ in Fairview, Ohio on September 19, 1925, at the age of 26.
Jimmy was reared on a 40-acre farm and, at the age of seven years old his father died, leaving Jimmy's mother with a child not yet born. Jimmy's parents had twelve children. He was brought up in the Catholic Church as a youngster. Several of his ancestors and relatives were priests or nuns.
After the death of his father, Jimmy's mother, Mary Gallagher married Clem Carpenter of nearby Boston Church of Christ. They had one child together, Hila Carpenter, of Barnesville, a member of the Pisgah Church of Christ, west of Fairview and a half brother to Jimmy Gallagher. Jimmy accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior as a teenager and obeyed the gospel.
On December 23, 1922, Jimmy married Lucille L. Harper (February 26, 1904July 21, 1965), the daughter of Ollie H. and Nell (Long) Harper. She passed away of a heart attack. Two children were born to them; they were Oleta Nola Gallagher (September 25, 1923) and James J. Gallagher (June 15, 1925). Both are members of the church of Christ. Oleta was married to Clarence Garrett and resides in Ashland, Ohio and James lives in San Antonio, Texas. Jimmy then married Leona Irene McCollum (September 17, 1917) on January 23, 1971, the daughter of Alonzo Isaac and Lily Margaret (Kinney) McCollum. She is still living in Jerusalem, Ohio, and attends the church of Christ there.
Jimmy preached more than 14,000 sermons and officiated at more than 1,000 funerals during his lifetime. He had traveled over the entire United States preaching the gospel message. He said, "A preacher is bound to preach as long as he can and it is his duty." Jimmy was located at East Main Street Church of Christ in Barnesville, Ohio, at Belmont, Quaker City, Somerton, Bates Hill, Bellaire, McConnelsville, and Jerusalem, Ohio. Jimmy did not believe in taking a vacation; he said that his Bible was his life. Gallagher said, "There is no time for a preacher to loaf." He once preached 104 straight evenings in the pulpit. He had the thrill of preaching at Mt. Zion, where Peter preached the first gospel sermon ever preached to man, near Jerusalem in the Bible lands. Gallagher said that he was happiest when he saw people obeying the gospel.
Jimmy was called upon many times to perform marriages and conduct funerals for those who lost loved ones. He was loved by many and is sadly missed as a servant to many. His 70 years of preaching the truth touched many lives and he will not be forgotten soon. He married the writer's mother and father-in-law and his sister and brother-in-law, and his wife's cousin, and many others. He was a God-fearing Christian preacher who would do anything he could for the cause of Christ.
Bret Gallagher, evangelist of the Oakwood Road Church of Christ in Fairmont, WV, is a cousin to Jimmy. Henry Gallagher, a recent mayor of Barnesville, OH., is also his cousin.
Jimmy was a member of the East Main Street Church of Christ in Barnesville at the time of his death. He resided in Jerusalem, Ohio. He passed away on June 22, 1997 at the Barnesville Hospital in Belmont County, Warren Township, Barnesville, Ohio, at the age of 98 1/2. His funeral services were held at 1 P.M. on June 25th with evangelists Claude Davis and Jack Turner officiating. Burial followed at Crestview Cemetery in Barnesville. 307 West South St., Barnesville, OH 43713.
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