Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Eduardo Casey
by José Vian, 1939

Casey, Eduardo (1847-1906), businessman and land entrepreneur, was born on 20 April 1847 in estancia 'El Durazno' (Lobos, Buenos Aires). Son of Lawrence Casey (1803-1876) of Co. Westmeath, who arrived in Argentina circa 1830, and Mary O'Neill (1806-1910) of Co. Wicklow. Lawrence Casey was the first estanciero to pay one million pesos for a league of land in an auction in Buenos Aires city. A brother of Eduardo Casey, Guillermo Casey (b. 1855), was a well-known estanciero in the district of Las Heras, as well as its military commander and city mayor.

Eduardo Casey followed his father's work in the camp, as well as his passion for horses. In order to improve the breeding of his horses, he founded a stud farm. In 1878, at 30 years old, he owned a farming agent company. Casey was the first exporter of bovine cattle on the hoof to England, shipping five hundred head on the 'Nestorian' (Allan Lines). He was one of the founders of 'La Blanca' cold-storage plant, and he served as a member of the board in the Western Railway Company and the Buenos Aires Provincial Bank. 

However, his first business achievement was the purchase of 72 leagues of land (130,000 hectares) in 'Venado Tuerto' (Southern Santa Fe). These lands have been recently taken from Indian control, and they were considered very important by the Argentine public. In 1881, Casey also acquired 100 leagues of land in Curumalal, Coronel Suárez. Two years later, all this land was fenced and settled with 40,000 cows, 50,000 sheep, and 10,000 horses.  

On 25 May 1877, Eduardo Casey married María Inés, daughter of John Gahan of Ballynacarrigy, Co. Westmeath, and Mary Devitt. Eduardo and María Inés had five children: Angela, Arturo, Vicente, Elena, and Lily.

Eduardo Casey's business eagerness led him to risky speculation. As a member of the Sociedad de Elevadores y Depósitos de Granos del Riachuelo, he made investments in Uruguay, which weakened his finance position. In 1890, the crisis in Montevideo, Uruguay, seriously affected the company. He lost all his assets, and even his private properties were put on auction. After this, he went to London in order to recover economically. When he went back to Buenos Aires with £100,000 fresh from loans, he repaid in its entirety the debt incurred with small investors who have deposited in his firm. During 16 years, Casey tried to overcome the financial losses. However, on 16 June 1906, he died on the railway tracks, close to 'Mercado de Abasto.' Frequently, Eduardo Casey's biographers omit the fact that he committed suicide. He was 58 years old, impoverished, and ignored by the society which owed so much to his contributions.

Casey's life was an example of integrity and honest values. He was a passionate advocate of the settlement and modernisation of Argentina, particularly in Southern Santa Fe. Thanks to the government and the people of Venado Tuerto, as well as to his grandson Julián Duggan, on 26 April 1973, Casey's remains were buried in Venado Tuerto, together with those of his wife and two children. On these grounds, a vault was built in the city cemetery by architect Julio Gorlik. 

Local historian Roberto Landaburu, who published Irlandeses: Eduardo Casey, Vida y Obra remarks that 'from the time I began to study about Venado Tuerto's foundation, I don't know exactly why, Eduardo Casey was an amazing character for me. His life was getting more and more interesting to me, particularly when I heard that he committed suicide. After publishing Gringos in 1991, I decided to research the life of Casey. The result is Irlandeses, which is just the biography of this eccentric and passionate person. Even today,

many of our people in Venado Tuerto does not know that, thanks to the vision of Antonio Garnier, City Major in 1973, Casey's remain are buried in the local cemetery, at the end of the main entrance. [...] Certainly, Casey was one of the stars of the 1880s. He was involved in the turbulence of business and financial speculation. He reached the top, and he experienced the madness of accumulating a colossal wealth and of loosing it in a jiffy during the economic crash of the 1890s. He founded the Buenos Aires Jockey Club together with Carlos Pellegrini and others, he built the Mercado de Frutos in Avellaneda, the Customs House, the port and Reus quarter in Montevideo... and so many other things.

After publishing Irlandeses, Imelda Araujo (née Casey), who was a daughter of his elder brother Lorenzo, told me that when Eduardo and Lorenzo were young, they used to ride their horses in Lobos or Navarro (I don't remember). They rode through the open, still unwired camp, and Eduardo raved about the vastness of the Pampa. 'Let's go to that pool!' he would said to his brother, and they galloped there. 'Let's climb that hillock!' And then: 'Let's go to those chañares!' and so on. Lorenzo used to tell him: 'Come on Eduardo. It's lunch time and Mom doesn't like us to arrive late...,' but to no avail. He was always galloping far-off... and looking the huge grassland he exclaimed: 'Look this camp, look Lorenzo, it never ends.'

Casey brothers were accomplished riders, and like all Irish folks, they were passionate lovers of horses. Eduardo, who was always very smart and well-dressed with top hat and frock coat, was very gaucho. When he was in a cuadrera race, he observed the racing horses and then he would say: 'I will ride that horse and pay for it.' Unprepared to this, most people wouldn't take him seriously... But he took the top hat and the frock coat off, he got on the chosen horse, and he rode with centaur's strength and skill. When winning, he would pay his bet, and when losing he would pay anyway... This was the reason why gauchos loved Don Eduardo, and he was treated as a real criollo.

As horse-race fan and gambler, Casey was extremely generous. Just after the founding of Venado Tuerto, several Irish ladies asked him to help with the church. Being a zealous Catholic like all Irish settlers, he built the initial church (a beautiful construction already pulled down, with a splendid altar) with his own funds.

When Casey came with his friends to Venado Tuerto to go over his land, his people arranged baggage and camping gear in many coaches. But one of the wagons was reserved for wine and champagne, that were used generously during celebrations. When he heard the story of the one-eyed deer, and he decided to found the village with this name.

When his friends were visiting estancia Curumalal, in Buenos Aires, Casey used to arrange for a railway convoy for guests and victuals. He was a handsome man, a very good dancer and singer, and a skilled impersonator. He has knocked around a lot. He met Buffalo Bill, who asked him for gaucho horse-breakers for his circus. Ten gauchos (among them, Gorosito of Melincué) were selected by Casey and sent to England. In Europe, they were world-famous with their expertise.

But his life went on... They auctioned all his properties, even his personal furniture. His brother Santiago Casey bought them anonymously and gave them back to him. By the end, Eduardo was by his own. His wife abandoned him in 1902. By 1906 he was promoting new projects, but nobody wanted to hear about them. He wanted to build inexpensive houses for poor workers who were living in city tenements, like he did in Reus quarter of Montevideo. When he arrived at Barracas, in the city of Buenos Aires, he had plans and projects in his pockets. He saw the engine coming, he threw the papers away, he looked farther at the green Argentine pampas, and he went galloping, like a gaucho, with the last gallop that never ends.' (Landaburu 1995).


José Bernardo Wallace


- Landaburu, Roberto, Irlandeses: Eduardo Casey, Vida y Obra (Venado Tuerto: Fondo Editor Mutual de Venado Tuerto, 1995).

- Web site 'Lote' (, accessed 14 May 2003.

- Web site 'Sitio Oficial de la Ciudad de Venado Tuerto' (, accessed 14 May 2003.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 November 2005
Edited: 07 May 2009

Wallace, José Bernardo, '
Casey, Eduardo (1847-1906)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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