HISTORY OF THE PUB & THE MCGARRY ANCESTRY
McGarry’s Pub was born from a lineage of adventure, mischief and (not surprisingly) a good healthy dose of blarney. You see, McGarry’s come from a long line of adventurers, frontiersmen (and women), mischief-makers and some good Irishmen who could throw the blarney around with the best of ’em.
Among one of the most revered McGarry ancestors was Captain Jim McGarry – a great, great uncle, born in County Leitrim, Ireland, and transported to Canada along with the rest of his family. Jim eventually became a well-known and respected steamboat captain, mostly working on the Upper Missouri River.
He was a master and stockholder of the Benton Line, which ran from Bismarck, Dakota Territory, to Fort Benton in Montana Territory. Legend has it that McGarry was on the Benton at the mouth of the Little Big Horn River on the very day General Custer and his unit went down.
And then there was Fred McGarry who circumnavigated the globe with a wanderlust that saw him fighting in the Spanish-American war in the Philippine Islands, then onto Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, South America and finally, all the way up to Alaska, where he spent the remainder of his days panning for gold in the wilderness that he loved.
Pictured on the left, Papa Bill and sister Katie. Katie still frequents McGarry’s. The photo on the right is of Fred McGarry and unknown companion.
You can also see a picture of Ada and John Henry McGarry on their wedding day when viewing our photo gallery.
Ada McMenamy and John Henry McGarry met on the high dusty plains of Alexander, North Dakota, where she was the town’s first postmistress after having laid claim to her very own homestead in Antelope Township, at the age of 20 (one year younger than the legal age to homestead. Oh yes, she had the gift of blarney.) John Henry had moved into town after laying claim to his own homestead.
The patriarch of the McGarry family, Bill McGarry, Sr., carried on the family lineage of adventure, mischief and (as always) the blarney. Bill’s first foray into the world of the Irish love of drink was at the tender age of 11 when an unattended bottle of communion wine proved too great a temptation. Despite those dubious beginnings, Bill grew into a highly respectable and respected printer and newspaperman (like his father before him). And if raising a family of eight isn’t adventurous, we don’t know what is!