John Darragh

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For the Irish priest in South Africa, see John Darragh (priest). For the Canadian ice hockey player, see Jack Darragh.
John Darragh
2nd Mayor of Pittsburgh
In office
Preceded by Ebenezer Denny
Succeeded by John M. Snowden
Personal details
Born 1772
Died May 14, 1828 (aged 55/56)
Resting place Allegheny Cemetery
Spouse(s) Margaret "Peggy" Calhoun
Children Six (including Cornelius)

John Darragh (1772 – May 14, 1828) was a U.S. politician. He served as the Mayor of Pittsburgh from 1817 to 1825.

Early life[edit]

Darragh was born in Ireland, the son of John Darragh and Margaret Oliver. In 1774, the Darragh family, including young John, his older brother Daniel, and at least one sister, emigrated to Nottingham Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, in the Pittsburgh area. Two more brothers, Neal and Archibald, would be born there.[1][2]

Darragh began his career as a merchant on Fourth Avenue between Wood Street and Smithfield Street in the city. Darragh eventually parlayed his success as merchant into becoming the president of the Bank of Pittsburgh.

He married Margaret "Peggy" Calhoun. They had six children,[1] one of whom, Cornelius, would also be prominent in local politics.

Pittsburgh politics[edit]

Darragh served terms as Justice of the Peace and Burgess of the Borough.[1]

John Darragh became mayor of Pittsburgh on January 14, 1817 on the sudden retirement of Ebenezer Denny because of health concerns. His tenure as mayor saw the construction of sidewalks and street drainage systems. The start of a city wide water system also took root during his service.

John Darragh also hosted world leaders for the first time in Pittsburgh's history. U.S. President James Monroe visited Pittsburgh on September 5, 1817; he toured military installations around the area, including the Allegheny Arsenal.

French statesmen and general Marquis de Lafayette also visited Pittsburgh with John Darragh as host on May 30, 1825.

Later life[edit]

On Wednesday May 14, 1828,[3][4] Darragh died after a long fight with consumption. Originally interred in the churchyard of Pittsburgh's First Presbyterian Church,[5] his remains were reburied in 1861 at Allegheny Cemetery.[3]


Darragh Street near the University of Pittsburgh is named for John and/or Cornelius Darragh.


  1. ^ a b c B. Marvin (2001). Parents, collaterals & descendants of Isabella (Darragh) Liggett, 1759-1845, of Washington County, Pennsylvania. 
  2. ^ Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania. J. H. Beers & Co. 1893. p. 1012. 
  3. ^ a b "Cemetery Records". Allegheny Cemetery. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Died". The Adams Sentinel. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. May 21, 1828. p. 3. 
  5. ^ Dahlinger, Charles W. (October 1919). "A Place of Great Historic Interest Pittsburgh's First Burying-ground". Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine. 2 (4): 228, 230. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Ebenezer Denny
Mayor of Pittsburgh
Succeeded by
John M. Snowden