Col. John W. Feighan, a prominent member of the Washington bar and a resident of Spokane, has been identified with the interests of the Northwest since 1888. Colonel Feighan was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1845, the fifth in a family of eleven children. His parents, Patrick and Catherine Feighan, were natives of county Mayo, Ireland, and his mother was a cousin of Archbishop John McHale. They emigrated to America in 1831 and located in Canada, his father being engaged in surveying for the British Government. From Dundas county, Upper Canada, they moved to Buffalo, New York, at which place the subject of this sketch first saw the light and spent his earliest years. In 1852 the family moved West and located just below Cincinnati, and from there, some time later, going to Boone county, Kentucky.
Young Feighan obtained a country-school education, and when the war broke out, his parents having died, he entered as a private in Company K of the Eighty-third Indiana Regiment, and was attached to the Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. He was so young when he sought military hardship and honor that it was with difficulty he obtained entrance into the regiment. To give an account of all the marches, skirmishes and battles in which he participated would be to outline the greater part of the war. Suffice it to say he was ever found at the post of duty acting the part of a brave soldier, that he marched with his regiment 4,700 miles, was under fire 213 days, and that the principal engagements in which he participated were the siege of Vicksburg, the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Jackson, Mississippi, Tuscumbia and Missionary Ridge, the Atlanta campaign, and the famous march with Sherman to the sea. He was honorably discharged in July, 1865, with the rank of Second Lieutenant, being then twenty years of age.
At the close of the war he entered Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, and graduated there in 1870. Two years later he graduated at the Cincinnati Law School. During this time he was obliged to teach school in order to defray his college expenses. He then practiced law in Owensboro, Kentucky, until 1880, and during that time was a candidate for Presidential elector, and also for member of Congress. From 1880 to 1888 he was a resident of Emporia,
Kansas, and while there was three times elected Prosecuting Attorney, served on the Governor’s staff as Judge Advocate General, N. G., and was Commander of the G. A. R. for the department of Kansas.
Since 1888 Colonel Feighan has been a resident of Spokane. Shortly after his arrival here he was elected City Attorney. He is a firm and conscientious Republican. He was a member of the first Legislature of the State of Washington, and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives without opposition, a position he filled to the entire satisfaction of his constituents. No man is better known through-out the State than he, and none has greater popularity. He is a most eloquent speaker, and during political campaigns his services are always in great demand. He is greatly in love with his profession and follows it closely, taking more pleasure in its pursuit than in all the honors and successes achieved in other fields.
Colonel Feighan was married, in 1872, to Miss Fannie T. Moore, a native of Kentucky, and has an interesting family of four children: Catherine M., Frank M., Susie L. and Mary Grace, ranging in age from fourteen to three years.
The Colonel is a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight of Pythias, and a member of the G. A. R.
Source: Illustrated History of the State of Washington, By Rev H K Hines, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1893.