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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Hugh B. Gara

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[This information is from pp. 144-146 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Hugh B. Gara, proprietor of the West End Hotel, Hunter, N. Y., was born in Mauch Chunk, Pa., April 15, 1855, son of John and Mary (McIntire) Gara. His father was born in Ireland, and here he learned the trade of a shoemaker, which he followed as long as he lived.

Emigrating to America in 1848, John Gara settled in Mauch Chunk, and in 1855 he removed to Hunter, where his death occurred in 1859, at the age of thirty-nine years. In politics he was a Democrat. His wife, Mary, also a native of Ireland, is now seventy years old. Her father, Hugh McIntire, was a shoemaker and tavern-keeper. He came to America on a visit, and after his return to Ireland he continued in business until his retirement, when he was succeeded by his brother. Hugh McIntire had a family of seven childen. Of these the four now living are: Mrs. Gara; Joseph, who is in a post-office in Ireland; Katy, widow of Thomas Haggerty, who died in Mauch Chunk, Pa.; and Patrick, who is a hotel proprietor in Ireland. John and Mary (McIntire) Gara were the parents of eight children, of whom two are living; namely, Mary and her brother, Hugh B., the subject of this sketch, with whom she resides. The others were: Patrick, who died March 7, 1889, aged thirty-nine; John F., who died November 4, 1888, at the age of twenty-nine; Hugh, first, who died in Ireland, at seven years of age; and three children who died young.

Hugh B. Gara was brought by his parents to Hunter when six months old. He was educated in the common schools, and at the age of twelve entered the chair factory, where he was employed until eighteen. He continued to follow his trade as a journeyman one year in a chair factory in Newburg, from which place he went to New York City, and a year later became a travelling salesman in the dry-goods business. Prior to this his brother, John F., had erected the present West End Hotel in Hunter, which was opened in 1887; and Mr. Gara left the road to assist him in this enterprise, in a general way. Upon the death of his brother, Hugh took control of the house, and has since conducted it.

The West End is pleasantly located near the terminus of the Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain Railroad. It is sixty by thirty feet, with a wing twenty-eight by seventy, four stories high, and has accommodations for one hundred and thirty guests. The rooms are large, well ventilated, well furnished, and lighted with gas. The bath accommodations are ample, and the sanitary arrangements are unexcelled. The house is within easy reach of Hotel Kaaterskill and Laurel House, and of Onteora, Elka, and Twilight Parks. There is a good livery stable in connection.

On October 12, 1898, Mr. Gara was united in marriage with Mary E. O'Carroll, daughter of David and Kate (O'Neil) O'Carroll, of Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland. Her paternal grandfather, Michael O'Carroll, a sea captain, was also a native of that town. Her father, who was reared to sea life, became master of a vessel plying between Ireland and France, and was also engaged in trade between Cork and Liverpool. Abandoning the sea, he opened a ship-broker's office in Cardiff, Wales, and conducted that business until his death, which occurred in 1884, at the age of fifty-seven. His wife, Kate, was a sister of the Rev. Hugh O'Neil, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in the Review. She died in 1877, at the age of forty-one. She was the mother of three children. The only survivor of these is Mary E., who was educated in the Mercy Convent, Dungarvan, and is now Mrs. Hugh B. Gara. She is a fine pianist, and also received special instruction in painting and the French language. She kept house for her father until his death, and with the aid of two assistants continued his business until coming to the United States in 1886. Previous to her marriage she resided with her uncle, the Rev. Father O'Neil. Mrs. Gara is a valuable assistant to her husband, being a woman of much executive ability.

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