There is particular satisfaction in reverting to the life history of the honored and venerable gentleman whose name initiates this review, since his mind bears the impress of the historic annals of the state of Ohio from the early pioneer days, and from the fact that he has been a loyal son of the republic and has attained to a position of distinctive prominence in the thriving little city where he was born and where he has maintained his residence during the greater part of his life, being one of the revered patriarchs of the community. He, however, spent a qaurter of a century upon the Pacific coast during the most interesting epoch in its history,—that following the discovery of gold in California. No family has been more closely or honorably connected with Greene county than the Galloway family, which, through more than a century, has l)een identified with the improvement, progress and upbuilding of this portion of the state.
James E. Galloway was born in what is now the very heart of Xenia, January 3, 1825. His father, James Galloway, came to this county in 1797, being one of the first settlers to establish a home here. Ohio then formed a part of the Northwestern Territory and had not yet been admitted to the union of the new republic. The grandfather was norn in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, and was of Scotch-Irish descent, his ancestors having come to this country from the north of tlie Emerald Isle. He loyally served as a soldier under General Washington in the Revolutionary war. He was an expert shot and was designated to engage in hunting in order to supply the regiment with meat. He served for several years, participating in many battles, yet was never wounded. Emigrating westward to establish a home upon what was then the frontier, he first took up his abode in Kentucky and participated in the battle at Blue Lick. In 1797 he came to Greene county, and was probably the most influential resident of the county at an early date. He served as the first county treasurer, and his influence was most marked in laying the foundation for the future development and prosperity of this portion of Ohio. He became a prosperous agriculturist and remained a resident of Xenia township until his death, which occurred in 1838, when he was eighty-eight years of age.
The father of our subject also bore the name of James Galloway. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and after arriving at years of maturity married Martha Townsley, a native of Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. They became the parents of ten children, but our subject is now the only surviving member of the family. Further mention is made of the parents in the historical section of this volume.
James E. Galloway, whose name introduces this record, acquired his early education in Xenia in a private school taught by Thomas Steele. He afterward pursued a classical course in a school taught by the Rev. Hugh McMillan. a miinster of the Covenanter church, who was very thorough in his methods of instruction, and in addition to the common branches of learning taught the languages. Later Mr. Galloway entered Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, where he was graduated in 1844, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. On completing his education he went to St. Louis, Missouri, where he secured a clerkship in a wholesale dry-goods house, serving in that capacitv for five years, but the discovery of gold in Califronia changed his plans and in the spring of 1849 he started for the El Dorado of the west, going up the Missouri river to St. Joseph, whence he drove a six-mule team across the plains. At first there were five wagons and seven men in the train, but later the strength of the party was augmented until there were eighteen men, who traveled together for protection. The original party of seven had purchased a stock of goods which they intended to take to California, but at Salt Lake City their mules gave out and so they auctioned off their goods until they had but a small remnant left. That they sold to Bishop Hyde, taking notes payable in three or four months. Mr. Galloway and another man called on Brigham Young with the notes and sold them to him with a thirty per cent discount. At that time most of the Mormons were living in wagons, for they had not yet built homes in the city afterward to become famous as a Mormon stronghold. At this place Mr. Gallowav saw California gold for the first ime. He took in payment a five dollar gold piece which the Mormons had minted, worth about four dollars and a quarter. After four months of travel across the hot sandy stretches and through mountain passes he and his party arrived in California on the 14th of September, 1849. While en route they had seen Indians several times, but were not molested save at Grand Island, where the red men stole a mule from the party. There were over a thousand Sioux Indians who passed their camp on their way back from a fight with the Pawnees.
After arriving in California Mr. Galloway and another man opened an auction house in Sacramento, there comducting business for two years, selling sometimes in twenty or thirty minutes several thousand dollars' worth of horses, mules and oxen. They did a general auction business at Sacramento, which place was then called Suter's Fort. After two years Mr. Galloway went to Marysville, where he remained for ten years, establishing a wholesale grocery and general mercantile business, selling to the mountain merchants who had their places of business on the streams, where mining camps had been established. In 1860, however, our subject sold his store and went to San Francisco, where for a number of years he engaged in the brokerage business, handling mining stocks of all kinds. He continued this until 1866. when, after seventeen years' residence in California, he went to Montana, making his way in June of that year by steamship to Portland, Oregon, whence he proceeded up the Columbia river to Walla Walla, Washington, and from there proceeded across the mountains with three others on pack horses and mules, carrying provisions, and crossing two spurs of the Rocky Mountains. After about a month's travel he arrived in Montana. Landing at Bear Town, then a mining camp. When he had been in the territory about three months he was nominated for the legislature and although not eligible to run, a lawyer there told him to go ahead, as the only copy of the organic act in the territory was in the pocket of a judge one hundred and fifty miles away. Mr. Galloway was nominated by the "self-risers," as the old Californians were known, and his opponent was a "tenderfoot." Mr. Galloway ran far ahead of his ticket and was elected. While traveling to the convention, fifty miles away, he stopped at a house for supper and was told that he might stay all night, but for two years he had not slept in a bed and, instead of accepting the offer, he and his companion went out doors and slept on a straw stack.
After being elected Mr. Galloway removed to Helena, for he was prospecting in that locality at the time. The legislature met at Virginia City and to that place he went by stage coach. There were twenty-five members of the house and thirteen members of the council and it was to the latter bodv—corresponding to the state senate of to-day—that Mr. Galloway was elected. His district covered a trritory about forty miles wiile and one hundred and forty miles long. When the members of the legislature reached Virginia City there were no boarding places and with several others he had to sleep on the floor of the bar-room covered up with his blanket. Later he and others slept on the floor of the council chamber, and in the morning they would slip their blankets under the benches occupied by the spectators. Mr. Galloway remained in Montana for about four years, prospecting part of the time. He afterward went into a wholesale commission house at Helena as a clerk, and during that time drew the largest salary of anv man in the state, having full charge of live business. He was offered a partnership, but declined as he desired to return home. Prices were very high in those days. Brooms sold for twenty-four dollars a dozen; nails at fifty dollars a keg; sirup at five dollars a gallon, and sugar at forty cents a pound, and all these were the wholesale rates.
After twenty-five year' residence on the Pacific coast Mr. Galloway returned to Xenia and has since lived a retired life, although he was at one time a director in the First National Bank of this city. He has made several trips to California, .going at different times by way of Nicaragua, the Panama route and Mexico, and in other parts of the country he has also traveled extensively. He is connected with the Beta Theta Pi, a Greek letter fraternity. In politics he was originally a Whig, and afterward became a Republican, and although he was very active in political circles at an early day, he always refused to hold office, save that of state senator. His life history, if written in detail, would furnish many a chapter of thrilling interest. His has been an eventful career in which many experiences have relieved his history from monotony. Reared amid the scenes of frontier life in Ohio, connected with the early development of the Pacific coast, he is now enjoying a well merited rest and is accounted one of the honored and respected residents of Greene county.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)