Edward McGarry (July 5, 1817 – May 17, 1899) was an American politician who served the state of Wisconsin in the 1850s and 1860s as a Democratic state prison commissioner (at that time an elective position), and as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly and the Wisconsin State Senate from Milwaukee County.
McGarry was born in County Down, Ireland, on July 5, 1817. He received a good education and went into business in Liverpool as an inspector of cargo ships. He moved to the United States in 1841, coming to Milwaukee in 1847 where he worked with his brother in the housepainting business.
Legislative and other public service
McGarry served as a member of the Assembly in 1850 and 1853 and spent two years (1854-1855) in the Senate representing the Sixth District as successor to fellow Democrat Duncan Reed.
He served a year as deputy warden of the State Prison at Waupun, and was elected state prison commissioner, which was also warden of the State Prison (at that time a partisan elected position) in 1855 on the Democratic ticket, serving from January 7, 1856 to January 4, 1858 in that position. His Senate seat was taken by fellow Democrat Edward O'Neill.
He returned for a one-year Assembly term in 1864 from the 8th Milwaukee Assembly district (Wauwatosa and Greenfield), succeeding Edward Collins. He was not re-elected, and was succeeded by John Weiler, who (like Collins and McGarry) was a Democrat.
Milwaukee County House of Correction
Because of his experience gained in the prison he was called to organize the Milwaukee County House of Correction (he had been interested in getting the law passed that organized the institution, and was instrumental in framing the rules for its management) and served as its "Inspector" (chief jailer) for about a year and a half. He quoted Dr. Johnson as saying, "Knock a man down and reason with him afterwards."
He died May 17, 1899 in Milwaukee.