by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Dennis Patrick Costigan, from Ireland, married Martha Elizabeth Richardson O’Connell, a widow, in St. Louis in 1881. He came to Grain Valley around 1886 to work on the railroad. Soon after, his wife and their children joined him. The family included Alice, James and John T. O’Connell, children from her first marriage; and Charles, Patrick, Martha Katherine, and Michael Costigan. Ellen, William and Maggie Mae were born after they came to Grain Valley.
Joseph Patrick Costigan was born January 5, 1883 in St. Louis. On March 16, 1904 he married Mary Frances Taylor and they had seven children. Two sons, Charlie and Harold, received agricultural degrees from the University of Missouri. After graduation, Harold joined the Army and was an unfortunate participant of the Bataan Death March during World War II. (September 8, 2019 article in The Valley News)
Like his father, Patrick worked for the railroad, on a crew that repaired and replaced the Chicago & Alton tracks in western Missouri. The following article appeared on the Grain Valley News page of The Oak Grove Banner in April of 1921.
Costigan May Recover
“If Patrick J. Costigan of Grain Valley recovers from injuries received last Week, it will be a case of surgery which will find a place in the books. It seems now that Mr. Costigan will recover to a much greater extent than expected if not entirely.
Mr. Costigan is a railway worker at Grain Valley. He stepped to one side of the track to let a fast train pass when an iron pipe fell from the rapidly moving train and struck him in the side of the head. The skull was crushed and the brain protruded. He was brought to the Independence Sanitarium where a surgical operation was performed by the Doctors Twyman. A part of the skull was removed and a part raised so that it would no longer impinge on the brain.
For some time Mr. Costigan could not talk but could read written messages. One side was paralyzed. Now he is beginning to recover his speech and can move the paralyzed arm a little and seems to be getting better every day. Mr. Costigan has a wife and six children.”
He lived at home for some time after that, then in various institutions until his death in 1954. A seventh child, Dale, was born in 1923. Dale’s son, also named Patrick Costigan is currently president of the Oak Grove Historical Society. I sure Pat can tell you “the rest of the story.”
Railway works at Grain Valley. Far left is Dennis Costigan. Patrick Costigan is third from the left. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
Joseph Patrick Costigan, circa 1920. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society