James Gagan was born July 13, 1854, in West Missouri, near the old town of Pattonsburg. He left home at the age of twenty with brother John, age eighteen. They zigzagged through Missouri, and Kansas, but could find no work. The whole west was full of grasshoppers. They wandered on till they arrived on the line of the Indian territory, now Oklahoma. There were no roads, only Indian trails, but they kept to the south determined to get ahead of those grasshoppers. They went through thirteen tribes of half civilized Indians, emerging at Gainsville, Texas. They went west to Wichita City, where they got a job at a saw mill, very low wages. They had walked nearly a thousand miles.
Later James intended to go to Montana, but a bad snow storm was on. He went to Salt Lake City, got a job at the Old Telegraph Smelter and became assistant furnace man at three dollars and fifty cents per day.
This is where he met and married Julie Keller. In the fall of 1879 they left Utah and landed in Nebraska, where they farmed and ranched for thirty two years.
In 1909 he took land south of Magrath and in 1911 in April moved to Canada with his wife and two youngest children, Ben and Alice. Their eldest daughter, May, died with diphtheria, and Grace Josie, and Fred were married in Nebraska.
After building up the farm south of Magrath, he had the opportunity to get a homestead at Del Bonita, where being a sheep man at heart, he started a successful sheep ranch.
He spent most of his time hauling supplies and hay during the hard winter of 1918-19.
He sold the ranch to the Gibb Brothers and it became the property of Fred Gibb. He retired to Magrath, where his wife lived.
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