As the oldest of the 13 children of Anthony Canavan, Sr. and Ann Hughes, James had been born in County Mayo in Ireland in 1841. As he came of age in Kankakee County, he was apprenticed to learn leather work: making reins, saddles, boots and shoes.
As soon as he learned his trade, he moved away from the Canavan farm south of Chicago and took a steamer across Lake Michigan to Saint Joseph, Michigan.
There he married Julia Kingsley in 1886. As you can see, they had 12 children before her untimely death at the age of 46 in 1892.Later in life, like his father, James became politically active and went on to become St. Joseph’s postmaster and later mayor.
Note that the fourth of their 12 children, born in 1869, was Mabel Canavan, shown here with the blue tag. Mabel is the source of our first Canavan double connection with the Lecour and Bowe families.