The record of a
man who started out to win a place for himself in the world, when a poor
boy. almost alone and without friends, in a foreign land, and who, in spite
of great obstacles and discouragements, persevered in the task he had set
out before him, until he became wealthy and influential, is one which cannot
fail to be of interest, and should spur the young to greater bravery and
more steadfast principles of conduct. Such, in brief, is the summary of the
career of the late John Kangley, who was a highly esteemed citizen of
Streator, LaSalle county.
The birth of the subject of this memoir occurred in county Meath, Ireland, in 1843. His parents were John and Mary Kangley, both of whom died when their son John was a mere child. The father was a man of more than ordinary attainments and education, and was successfully engaged in teaching at the time of his death. At eleven years of age John Kangley, Jr., left his native land to seek a new home in America, the land of promise. He accompanied a friend and came direct to Illinois, locating at first in Grundy county. He attended school to some extent after coming here, and obtained employment in the coal mines when quite young. He was industrious and economical, earnestly watching every opportunity for advancement, and the result was that ere many years had passed he had become a coal operator upon his own account. In 1869 he came to Streator, where he continued to make his home until his death. When the Star Coal Company was organized, in 1880, he was made general manager of what is better known as the Kangley & Carbon Hill Mine. Many years later he retired from the active management of the mines, but continued to be one of the largest stockholders in the concern. For several years prior to his death he devoted his time to dealing in railroad stocks in Chicago and New York city and met with marked success in his speculations.
In 1877 Mr. Kangley married Miss Mary Lunney, of Ottawa, and of the eight children born to this worthy couple seven survive, Zita having died August 13, 1898. Minnie is a student in a Chicago college, and J. Arthur, the elder son, at present is attending Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Helen and Charles Vincent are in the Streator high school, and Louise, Gertrude and Lucy complete the family. Mrs. Kangley was born and reared in Ottawa, her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Lunney, being early settlers of that place, their residence there dating from 1852.
In 1882 Mr. Kangiey erected his commodious and comfortable brick residence in Streator. Fraternally he belonged to Streator Lodge, No. 607, F. & A. M., and in political faith was a Republican. He enjoyed the sincere respect of those who had been associated with him in business or social relations, and his long and honorable commercial career justly entitled him to the love and admiration of our citizens. His death occurred June 8, 1899, resulting from an attack of pneumonia. His final illness was of short duration and the community mourned the loss of one who had occupied a prominent position in business and social life, and whose high character had gained for him unreserved regard, while to his immediate family the bereavement came as the greatest of all possible, for in his home his many sterling qualities and his true kindliness and nobility had ever cast their beneficent light with never varying power.
Extracted 13 May 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 610-611.