Michael Sughrue Obituary

Clark County Clipper, January 10, 1901


Michael Sughrue, born February the 17th., 1844, in County Carey, Ireland:  Died at his home in Ashland, Clark county, Kansas at 12:55 o'clock p.m. Wednesday, January the 2nd, 1901.  Aged 56 years, 10 months and 15 days.

Deceased was one of a family of three children of Humphrey and Mary Sughrue, his twin brother, Patrick and his sister, Mrs. Mary Riley surviving.  His mother departed this life in Ireland 54 years ago on January the 6th - the date of the burial of her son.  His father died in the Court House in Dodge City on the 10th day of April 1886, honored and respected for his sterling worth.

Mr. Sughrue came over from Ireland with his children in 1854, locating in Washington, where they lived for three years, when in 1857 they removed to Harvard, Illinois.  In 1853 (1858?) they moved to Kansas where they have lived since.

Michael Sughrue and Miss Anna Walters were married at Ashton, Kansas, on the 3rd day of June 1875, at St. Benedicts Church.  Of this union ten children were born, all of whom survive him, except one.  Mr. Sughrue was a Deputy Sheriff under his brother Pat, of Ford county, in 1884, and when Clark county was organized in 1885 was its first Sheriff.  He was elected Sheriff five times and was serving his ninth year at the time of his death; he was also the only republican sheriff ever elected.  He was the first marshall of the city of Ashland and was Marshall at the time of his death.

His army service, as shown by the records of the G. A. R. Post, was as follows:

Michael Sughrue (when mustered into G. A. R. ) age 42, E. Co., Reg. 7th Kans., Cav., Private, enlisted Aug., 1861.  Dis., July 1865; E. Co., 7th Kans., Rank Private.  Term of service 47 months.  Reason of discharge, close of war.  Mustered in G. A. R. April 22, 1887; charter member; first name on enrollment.

Mike Sughrue was one of the most widely known "old timers" in western Kansas, and was universally respected.  He had shared his blanket with "Buffalo Bill" when borean (sic) blasts swept prairies like the simoon of the desert, and had followed the courageous Jamison thru trials to daring achievements that won applause from a nation.  He had associated with Col. Inman on "The Old Santa Fe Trail," now famous, and had swapped yarns with the gallant Custer in his palmy (sic) days, in view of the light of the redman's campfire.  No state ever had a more courageous officer than Mike Sughrue.  The western outlaw, even before discovered, trembled as with a chill at the sight of sheriff Sughrue with a white handled pistol in his belt.

As a sheriff, the most serious charge brought against him was, that his treatment of prisoners, robbed the jail sentence of any punishment, and some have even refused to leave when discharged.  As an officer of the court he was uniformly courteous and obliging and nothing will be missed more when court convenes than the "Hear ye! Hear ye! the Honorable District Court of Clark County is now in session!" called in the familiar jumbled English of Mike Sughrue, and the fragments of a once numerous bar will realize that there is a "bitch" somewhere in "the wheels of justice." 

As a citizen he was always on the side of progress and as long as he had a dollar in view he would subscribe to a progressive move more free heartedness than a millionaire, and his obligation was good at the bank always.  His benefactions have cheered the drooping spirits of more than one widow in need and relieved the anxiety of many a comrade in distress.  He dies poor in worldly chattels, but a billionaire in the affections of a confiding family and of the numerous beneficiaries of his self sacrificing liberality.

Mike Sughrue is no more.  Surrounded by a family whose devotion challenges the administration of Angels, the tie that bound his soul and body dissolved and his spirit passed the portals to we know not where.  Shall loved ones meet again?  Stubborn reason stands sphynx like and to the acceptor of only Truth the question is answered not.  He feared not the future, but with a manly courage he viewed with no alarm the approaching deluge of dissolution and heard without a tremor the roar of the waves.  As the mist of death in chilling blasts dimmed his vision, he viewed with satisfaction the panorama of his years and in remembrance of his many struggles and uniform successes he realized that at last in death alone he had met his Waterloo and as he fell at the gates of light faintly murmured, "I am whipped! I am whipped!"  But falling, he beheld as a beacon light above the world the Stars and Stripes he had so often staked his life to save, and in a voice full of loves devotion he asked that he might be wrapped in the simple fold of the flag of his country, that it now might keep sentinel watch while his body sleeps in peace.

I am sure the people will deeply sympathize with the bereaved ones of the family.



All day long Saturday people journeyed to the court house to take a last look at the remains of "Mike" Sughrue as the body lay in state.  A guard of the G. A. R. remained on duty all the time.

Sunday, the crowd began to arrive early, and by 1:30 o'clock the courtroom was packed full and many standing in every door.  The choir for the occasion, sang America by request of deceased, and the formal ceremonies of the G. A. R. Order were performed, after which Judge F. C. Price delivered a brief though touching and sincere tribute to the memory of deceased - as warm a friend as he ever had.  Many times during the address when the speaker recounted the tender solicitude of Mike Sughrue, for his country, his family and district humanity wherever met, the scenes over the room was touching; the voice of Judge Price would tremble with emotion and strong men wept with tender women and children.

The procession that followed the remains to the cemetery was the greatest that ever attended a funeral in this country.  People from all parts of the county were in attendance.

Submitted by ~Shirley Brier~ in September 29, 2005.


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