Thomas J. (James) Walsh
1859 - 1933
 


Thomas Walsh

May 1, 1929 Walsh and Senate Judiciary Committee considered the deterioration of the nation's financial system. Walsh is 5th from left.

1874-75 Two Rivers Centennials Baseball Club

Walsh Field was dedicated to the memory of Thomas J. (James) Walsh in 1935, three years after it was built and two years after he died at age 73 while traveling to Washington, DC to become the U.S. Attorney General.

Born: June 12, 1859 Two Rivers Wisconsin
Died: March 12, 1933, near Wilson North Carolina

Thomas Walsh was the son & third of ten children of Felix & Bridget (Comer) Walsh, who were themselves Irish emigrants.   They owned a 30 acre farm on the east side of Mishicot River (East Twin River) approximately the area of Present 22nd and Jackson streets, in Two Rivers. In addition to farming, Felix worked at Tanneries and Log Rafts, then Two Rivers Manufacturing (makers of chairs & pails), and was also Two Rivers City Clerk. Bridget made fish nets at home with the help of the children. 

Thomas was self educated and attended local schools. At the time, Two Rivers did not have a high school. Eight of the Walsh children became teachers and three became lawyers. Thomas taught school and was Principal at Glenbueula and Sturgeon Bay. He then attended Law Department and graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison in 1884. He was admitted to the bar the same year. 

After 1884, Thomas Walsh and his brother Henry set up their law practice in Redfield, Spink County, South Dakota.  In 1889 he Married Elinor McClements, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They were introduced her sister Mary, who he had worked at the Sturgeon Bay School. In 1890 he and Elinor and their 4 month old daughter Genevieve, moved to Helena, Montana.   Their daughter later married and became Genevieve (Walsh) Gudger. 

Thomas was elected to the U. S. Senate from Montana in 1913.  He served until 1933.  During his senate years, in the Wilson Administration, he served as Committee Chairman for the Tea Pot Dome Scandal investigation (leasing of Naval Oil Resources including bribery of U. S. Cabinet Member). He was in the senate when the 18th and 19th amendments were added to the U. S. Constitution. 

Senator Walsh then became instrumental in Franklin D. Rooseveltís rise to the presidency. During this time period, Elinor Walsh passed away. Thomas married his second wife Senora Nieves Perez Chaumont DeFurrin in 1933.  While in route from Cuba, during their honeymoon, taking a train from Florida to Washington D.C. to accept the appointment as U. S. Attorney General from Franklin D. Roosevelt, he died from a heart attack near Wilson North Carolina.  

Thomas J. Walsh is buried at Resurrection Cemetery, Helena Montana. 

In his early years (around 1874) Thomas played second base for the Two Rivers Centennials. There is a nine-member photo of this team and a later reunion picture at Washington House History Museum. There is also a bronze bust statue of him at the museum. This bust used to be displayed in the J. E. Hamilton Community House Lobby for many years. 

In 1932 a large baseball field project was started at 22nd and Polk Streets at the base of Picnic Hill Park (established in 1928). In 1933, the PWA built the 2500-capacity concrete bleachers and dug outs. The Lilly pond at Neshotah Park was also built at this time. 

On June 27th, 1935, the field was dedicated as "Thomas J. Walsh Park".  The speaker for this event was Tomís younger brother John, an attorney from Washington D.C.

Information Collected by Paul Ruthmansdorfer
Thanks for help from:
Walter Vogel
Washington House Files
Lester Public Library
Dennis Grimm
Bill Glandt
William Ahearn
City of Two Rivers Inspections Department
City of Two Rivers Parks & Recreation Department
Manitowoc County Historical Society


 

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