James Theodore Harahan

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James Theodore Harahan
James T. Harahan portrait and signature.jpg
Born January 12, 1841
Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 22, 1912
Kinmundy, Illinois, U.S.
Resting place Forest Hill Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Mary Kehoe
Mary N. Mallory
Children 4

James Theodore Harahan (1841–1912) was an American businessman. He was the president of the Illinois Central Railroad from 1906 to 1911.

Early life[edit]

Harahan was born on January 12, 1841 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Harahan and Ann née McCuen of Scotch-Irish ancestry, both immigrants from Ireland.[1]


Harahan worked for railroad companies as a young man, including as a brakeman, eventually becoming president of the Illinois Central Railroad from November 7, 1906 to 1911 succeeding Stuyvesant Fish.[2][3]

Harahan served as a captain in the Union Army during the American Civil War.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Harahan married to Mary Kehoe of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1866.[4][5] Four children were born of this marriage including his son, William Johnson Harahan, who was born in Nashville, Tennessee on December 22, 1867, and was twice president of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad; he died of natural causes in 1937 in Clifton Forge, Virginia.

Harahan's second marriage was to Mary N. Mallory of Montgomery County, Tennessee on April 14, 1899.[2][5]

Death and legacy[edit]

James Harahan was killed in a train accident, in his own private railroad car, on January 22, 1912, in Kinmundy, Illinois, while en route to Memphis, Tennessee, with three other railroad executives. They were traveling to a meeting to discuss the building of a railroad bridge across the Mississippi River at Memphis. The bridge was later named Harahan Bridge when it opened in 1914. The four men were sleeping in the private car which was at the end of the train. They were struck from behind by the engine of Train No. 3, The Panama Limited. The locomotive pulling Harahan's car was previously driven by legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones during the fatal collision of April 30, 1900, in Vaughn, Mississippi, in which Jones was killed. The city of Harahan, Louisiana is also named after him.[5][6]

Harahan is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.


  1. ^ Frederick Converse Beach, editor, The Americana, New York (1911), page 49
  2. ^ a b The Americana, ibid.
  3. ^ New York Times article, November, 1906
  4. ^ William Henry Perrin, editor, "History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky", Chicago, 1882. p. 751. (Nicholas County, Carlisle City and Precinct, Thomas Kehoe biographical sketch)
  5. ^ a b c Ned Hémard, New Orleans Nostalgia, Harahan History, New Orleans Bar Association, 2009
  6. ^ New York Times article, January 23, 1912