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William P. Kavanaugh (1872-?)
Prominent capitalist in fishing industry.

Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Mar. 2008.

History of Michigan, Volume IV (1915)
By Charles Moore -- Lewis Publishing Company


William P. Kavanaugh. It is no inconsiderable attainment to start a poor boy of sixteen and by years of consecutive endeavor build up a large industry in the fish business, to become president of a bank, and officially connected with several other well known concerns. That is a concise account of Mr. Kavanaughís present position in the business life at Bay City. What he has he owes to the talents, the energies and the business qualities of his own character.

Born near Quelph, Ontario, Canada, December 25,1872, William P. Kavanaugh is a son of Peter and Mary (Kelly) Cavanaugh. His father was born in Ireland, came to Canada early in the fifties, followed the trade of saddler and died about 1877. The mother, who was born in Canada, and who had five children of whom William was the third, after her husbandís death moved to Bay City, where she died in 1889 at the age of forty. The son was five years of age, when he lost his father, and from the time he was sixteen he was out in the world on his own resources. In the meantime the public schools of Bay City had given him a fair foundation of learning , and after leaving school he found employment in the fishing industry, which is one of the large and important activities in this section. From this humble start, he developed a business in which a large force of men are now employed, and he has a trade which is the largest in live fish, and at the same time employs much capital and many hands in the freezing, salting and smoking of fish.

His success in one industry has naturally led him to connection with various other enterprises. His headquarters in the fish business are at Essexville, and he was one of the founders of the State Savings Bank of Essexville, and now its president. This bank is under State supervision and is owned by local people. In August, 1913, its resources were over sixty thousand dollars, the capital stock being twenty thousand, and its deposits over forty thousand. Mr. Kavanaugh is also director and treasurer of the Royal Coal Company.

A Democrat in politics, he is at this writing a member of the board of estimates, and for the past eight years has taken an active part in civic affairs. His fraternal affiliations are with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Columbus. He belongs to the Catholic church, is a member of the Country Club and the Board of Commerce. At Bay City on October 5,1904, occurred his marriage to Miss Nellie Callahan, who was born in Bay City, a daughter of Dennis Callahan, one of the old settlers of that locality. They have four children, Helen Kavanaugh, William Patrick, Jr., Margaret Kavanaugh, and John Virgil Kavanaugh.The Kavanaugh home is at 242 N. Madison Street in Bay City.

1920 news. - Added Feb., 2012.

Michigan Manufacturing and Financial Record, 1920.


William P. Kavanaugh has just purchased the property known as Aplin Beach, about five miles north of the city on Saginaw bay, comprising about 80 acres of land. The purchase will give Mr. Kavanaugh about half a mile more of shore rights for the fishng industry of which he is the head.

Additional Notes.

    1904 - Michigan Marriages: Bay City, Bay.

  • William Kavanaugh, son of Peter and Mary (Kelley) Kavanaugh, married Oct. 5, 1904, to Nellie Callahan, daughter of Dennis and Bridget (Ryan) Callahan.

    1920 - Census: Bay, Mich.

  • Kavanaugh, Wm. P. - b. 1873, Canada.
  • Helen, wife - b. 1880, Mich.
  • Wm., son - b. 1906, Mich.
  • Margaret, daughter - b. 1909, Mich.
  • John, son - b. 1912, Mich.
Related Note & Pages
Picture of Kavanaugh dock located at the foot of Scheurmann in Essexville, where many local fishermen kept their boats.
People Referenced
Callahan, Dennis (in-law)
Callahan, Dennis (f-inlaw)
Callahan, Nellie (wife)
Kavanaugh, Helen (dau.)
Kavanaugh, John J. (son)
Kavanaugh, Magaret (dau.)
Kavanaugh, Peter (father)
Kavanaugh, Wm. P. Jr. (son)
Kelly, Mary (mother)
Ryan, Bridget (m-inlaw)
Subjects Referenced
Aplin Beach, MI
Bay City, MI
Essexville, MI
Fishing industry
Quelph, Ont. Can.
Royal Coal Co.
Saginaw Bay, MI
State Savings Bank
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.