John D. Gallagher, O.S.A.


1812 – 1894 (February 8)

Dennis Gallagher was born in 1812 in Tuloughbegley, County Donegal, Ireland, the son of Joseph Gallagher and Bridget Fary. He immigrated to Scotland to seek work and was employed in a pottery factory in Delfware. After a time he left Glasgow for New York where he arrived on June 4, 1840, with an introductory letter for Mr. Dennis Kelly of Cobb’s Creek, Pennsylvania. He worked there in Mr. Kelly’s mills, then at Haverford College and on the railroad.

In the Spring of 1843, together with Brother Jeremiah Ryan, he was sent from Philadelphia to the newly acquired Belle Aire Estate to open a new house there. At Villanova he was vested, together with Thomas McDonnell, and was given the name Brother John, on November 1, 1843. The following year he helped to build the old study hall chapel on campus. Brother John was transferred to Saint Augustine’s in February, 1846, but returned to Villanova in October of the same year. 

Brother John was received into the novitiate on November 9, 1848, and was professed on November 10, 1849 before Father John P. O’Dwyer. He worked at Villanova until May, 1859 when he was transferred to Lansingburgh, New York, to replace Brother Kieran who, in turn, went to Villanova. By February 1860 he was back at Villanova, working on the farm.

In early February 1894 he complained of a sore throat and stomach trouble. He died four days later, on Thursday, February 8, 1894. He was buried on February 12 in the community cemetery at Villanova, the last of the early Villanova lay brothers who formed the first community at Villanova in 1843. He was 81 years old.