Biography of William J. Mooney, of Langdon, North Dakota

William J. Mooney, born on September 29, 1858, in Watertown, Wisconsin, was a prominent figure in Langdon, North Dakota. His parents, Irish immigrants, settled in America during their youth. Mooney graduated from the College of the Sacred Heart in 1875 and pursued a legal career, being admitted to the Wisconsin bar. In 1881, he moved to Bathgate, North Dakota, and co-founded the law firm Stack & Mooney. Mooney played a crucial role in organizing Cavalier County and developing Langdon, where he owned several townsites and banks. He had extensive business and real estate interests. Tragically, he died in 1908 during a European trip when his ship collided with another vessel.

William J. Mooney, a prominent figure in Langdon, was born on September 29, 1858, in Watertown, Wisconsin. His father, John Mooney, hailed from Queens County, Ireland, while his mother was also a native of Ireland. Both immigrated to America when they were young. William graduated from the College of the Sacred Heart in Watertown in 1875, at the age of seventeen. After two years of teaching, he pursued a legal career and was admitted to the Wisconsin bar. In 1881, he relocated to Bathgate, Pembina County, North Dakota, where he partnered with John D. Stack to practice law under the firm name Stack & Mooney. Their firm gained prominence within the Pembina County bar.

In 1884, Mr. Mooney played a significant role in organizing Cavalier County and, together with P. J. McHugh, facilitated the extension of the railroad from Park River to Langdon, leading to the county’s development. He actively contributed to the growth of the region, attracting settlers from other states to Cavalier County. Mr. Mooney owned the townsites of Langdon, Milton, Osnabrock, and Edinburg. He served as the president of the Cavalier County National Bank (formerly the W. J. Mooney State Bank of Langdon) and the Citizens’ State Bank of Wales, N.D. He held leadership positions in various corporations, such as the North Oak Land and Townsite Company and the Northern Insurance Association of Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, he had extensive farming interests in Cavalier County and owned large summer resort hotels in Michigan, along with other real estate investments.

Mr. Mooney was married twice and had a son named John B. Mooney, who became the assistant bank examiner of North Dakota. Throughout his life, he remained a devoted Democrat and actively participated in the affairs of his party. Although he was offered political positions multiple times, he declined them due to the demands of his extensive private interests. In recent years, Mr. Mooney had traveled extensively, exploring numerous important destinations worldwide. Unfortunately, during an extended European trip in the winter of 1908, he tragically lost his life in the collision of the steamship Florida. His body was among those that went down with the ill-fated Republic, the ship on which he was a passenger.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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