One of the first great war correspondents in history was Ohioan and Irish-American, Januarius MacGahan, who is credited by some Bulgarians as the father of their country. MacGahan was born in the tiny farm town of Pigeon Roost Ridge, Ohio, on June 12, 1844.
Januarius MacGahan, right.
As Januarius grew to manhood he realized that farming was not for him. MacGahan ended up in St. Louis and took up newspaper reporting during the Civil War. A chance post-war meeting with Civil War General Phil Sheridan changed the course of his life. While many were advising America's youth, "Go West, young man," Sheridan advised MacGahan to do the opposite to find the adventure he sought. Go East, he said, far to the East, in fact, all the way to Europe. MacGahan decided to take this advice.
He was living in Paris when the Frano-Prussian War began, and became a war correspondent covering that war for The New York Herald. He would spend the last eight years of his short life traveling all over Europe reporting on their seemingly never ending conflicts. His reports on Turkish excesses in Bulgaria in 1876 so incensed people around the world that the British government was forced to withdraw their support for the Turks, eventually leading to their ouster from Bulgaria. It is that feat that earned MacGahan’s fame in that country.
Unfortunately Januarius MacGahan died in Constantinople of typhus on June 9, 1878, 3 days short of his 34th birthday. It is also unfortunate that he is little known by most of his countrymen here in the US. The man who has done more to try to alleviate that than anyone else is author Dale Walker. Walker is a four time winner of the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America and well known author on historical subjects.
He wrote the only full length biography of MacGahan in 1988, which has now been reissued: Januarius MacGahan: The Life and Campaigns of an American War Correspondent. You can buy Walker’s story of this remarkable man by clicking on the title above.
JANUARIUS A. MacGAHAN: DARING TO TELL THE TRUTH
Januarius MacGahan: The Life and Campaigns of an American War Correspondent by Dale Walker
Other Books by Dale Walker
An interview with Dale Walker
Short biography of Dale Walker
The MacGahan American-Bulgarian Foundation