Jefferson County Historical Society

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Judge M. F. Byrne, proprietor and three fourths owner of the Byrnesville 
flouring-mill, is a native of New Orleans, born December 23, 1849
and the eldest of six children born to Patrick P. and Catherine (McGee)
Byrne.  The father was born in Ardee County, Ireland, and when fourteen
years of age left the parental roof and came to the United States, 
where he found employment with a gardener in New York City.  He soon
afterward shipped on board a man-of-war, with which he was connected 
for two years, cruising in different parts of the world.  He then settled
in New Orleans, where he was married, March 19, 1848.  In 1850 he
went to California, and spent about a year in successful mining, after
which he returned to New Orleans, and from there he removed to St. 
Louis, in 1851.  Two years later he removed to Washington County, Ill.,
where he farmed with his usual success until 1867, when he came to 
Jefferson County, and purchased what was formerly known as Yerk's Mill,
on Big River.  He rebuilt the mill, made other improvements and remained 
here until his death, which occurred in December, 1872.  The mother
was born at Dublin, Ireland, in January, 1829 and died November 6, 1880.
Both parents were members of the Catholic Church.  The subject of this
sketch received a common school education, and also graduated from
Jones Commercial College, at St. Louis.  On the death of his father, he
was appointed administrator of the estate.  For seven or eight years he
operated a general store in connection with his milling, and then leased 
the store but still continued in charge of the mill.  In 1875 a 
post office was established and he was made postmaster, which position 
he has since held.  In 1887 he improved the mill with a full roller
system, and is crowded with business.  In 1878 he was elected associate
judge of the county court from the First District, and served with
credit for one term of two years.  He was elected perhaps, by the 
largest majority ever given a candidate in the district.  He is a Democrat
in politics, casting his first presidential vote for Samuel J. Tilden, in 
1872, and is a member of the Catholic Church.  He is three-fourths owner 
of the old home farm, of 330 acres of the best land in the county, and also
has one-half interest in several other tracts. He was a member of the 
convention which nominated delegates to the National convention nominating 
Gen. Hancock, and has also served other State and congressional conventions.