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MacGahan, Januarius

New Lexington

Born: June 12, 1844

Ohio connection: Birth

Januarius MacGahan, son of James and Ester (Dempsey) MacGahan, was born in 1844 near New Lexington, Ohio. His father was a native of Ireland, and his mother was of Irish and German stock. When he was only six years of age, his father died, leaving the family in very difficult circumstances. MacGahan was an extraordinarily bright student who loved to read. However at age fourteen he began working on farms in Hocking, Fairfield, and Fayette counties. He later traveled to Huntington, Indiana, where he became a teacher. In 1863, he moved to St. Louis, where he worked for four years as a bookkeeper and newspaper writer. In 1868, he went to Europe to study Latin, German, and French, with the goal of eventually returning to the United States to practice law. While he was in Europe, the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and he was signed by the New York Herald to join the French army as a war correspondent. He became renowned in this field, also procuring an engagement with the London News to investigate Turkish massacres in Bulgaria. His dispatches were collected in a volume called The Turkish Atrocities in Bulgaria. He was considered a hero in Bulgaria, becoming known as "Bulgaria`s Deliverer." He experienced numerous adventures during this time period, as he took a virtually fearless approach to the dangers surrounding him. MacGahan was married to Barbara D'Elaguine. They had one son who was born in Spain in 1874. MacGahan's other writings were Campaigning on the Oxus, and the Fall of Khiva and Under the Northern Lights. Januarius MacGahan died June 9, 1878, just short of his thirty-fourth birthday, after being infected with a malignant fever.