Biography of Dennis F. McGrath of Barnesville Minnesota

Dennis F. McGrath, the esteemed postmaster of Barnesville, Minnesota, has been an active participant in the town’s growth and development. Originally from Appleton, Wisconsin, McGrath moved to Clay County, Minnesota, in 1879 and worked on his own claim. He later partnered with Peter E. Thompson in the lumber trade and achieved considerable success. McGrath transitioned to the hardware business, shipping produce and handling fire insurance. He has served in various civic roles, including president of the village board and a member of the state legislature. Married to Anna McGuire, McGrath is a proud parent to their surviving children: Dennis Jr., Margaret, Arthur, Maud, Ethel, Paul, and Elizabeth.

Dennis F. McGrath, the present popular postmaster at Barnesville, Clay County, Minnesota, is a native of Appleton, Wisconsin, and was born in December 1858, the son of Dennis and Ellen (Cashman) McGrath.

He acquired his schooling in the public schools of Steele County, Minnesota, and on attaining his majority in 1879, moved onto a claim of 100 acres he had taken up in Section Eighteen, Barnesville Township, in Clay County, and worked it for about two years.

In 1881, Mr. McGrath associated himself as a partner with Hon. Peter E. Thompson, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work, in the lumber trade. The firm did a prosperous business, amounting in 1885 to $40,000, with shipments that year of 116 carloads of lumber, eight of lime, ten of brick, and two carloads of windows, doors, paints, oils, etc. Closing his interests in the lumber business in 1886, Mr. McGrath purchased from Mr. Frankiroz his hardware business with a $10,000 stock of goods. In connection with the hardware trade, he also bought and shipped produce such as oats, barley, potatoes, etc., and placed fire insurance, representing five companies. He has always been an active man of affairs and, settling at Barnesville when its site was little more than a swampy marsh, he has identified himself with the growth and development of the town. He has served as president of the village board, was town treasurer for two years, has held the office of justice of the peace, and during three terms, 1895-1897-1899, was a member of the state legislature. In 19–, he received his commission and entered on his duties as postmaster of the town. In politics, he is a Republican, and he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

In January 1885, Mr. McGrath married Miss Anna McGuire, of Owatonna, Minnesota, a woman of fine literary attainments and broad culture.

Of nine children born to them, Edward, the eldest, and Charles, the youngest, are deceased. The others, in order of their birth, are: Dennis F. Jr., Margaret, Arthur, Maud (assistant in the post office), Ethel, Paul, and Elizabeth.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past and Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages of the Valley from the Time of Their First Settlement and Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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