Ancestral homeplace of Mormon pioneer Major Howard Egan is on the market in Offaly
I hadn't heard of Tullamore poet Edward Egan or his colourful cousin, Major Howard Egan until last week, when I met Gordon Cobbe of GVM on an 83ac residential farm at a place called the Meelaghans on the outskirts of the Offaly county town.
The farm will be auctioned next month and has a guide price of €600,000.
A cottage on the farm was home to Edward, a poet and author who died in 1940. It is also the ancestral home of Major Howard Egan, an Irish American Mormon adventurer who lived the quintessential life of the frontiersman until his death in 1878.
The Egan family emigrated to Canada in 1825. While his surviving siblings settled and married in Canada, Howard moved to the USA. He became a Mormon in 1842 and entered Salt Lake Valley with the first of the Mormon pioneers.
He was a messenger with the Mormon Battalion set up to defend the emerging religious group from attack and was one of the early explorers of Utah and California.
He was also a pioneer with the Pony Express and developed a notorious reputation for taking the law into his own hands when dealing with attacks from the Native Americans and outlaws.
Instrumental in the establishment of the Mormon Church, he became a bodyguard to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Howard Egan died in 1878 at 63 years of age. A journal he kept detailing his extraordinary life, entitled Pioneering the West, was published by his estate in 1917.
At around the time Howard died Edward was born into the house where the adventuring Egan first saw the light of day. Edward's life may not have been quite as exciting as that of his colourful cousin but he left behind a body of poetry and writings about his locality.