Monthly Archives: July 2010

Bruno J. Perrizo: Renaissance Man of Clontarf

Mr. Bruno J. Perrizo certainly was a busy man!  This excerpt is from the 100th Anniversary booklet:

Bruno J. Perrizo was born in Delavan, Minnesota in 1868. He was married to Miss Melinda Litterneau in Delavan in 1889 and came to Clontarf in 1903. After conducting a land office in Clontarf for two years, the family moved to Hancock where B. J. Perrizo operated a saloon for the next six years. In 1911 the Perrizo family returned to Clontarf where B. J. Perrizo entered the hay business and operated a saloon until 1917. In 1912 B. J. Perrizo and his nephew, Wm. J. Perrizo, organized the Farmers State Bank of Clontarf with B. J. Perrizo as President and Wm. J. Perrizo as Cashier. The bank was sold to the First State Bank Stock Corporation in 1931.

B. J. Perrizo operated a stock and dairy farm in the Clontarf area for a quarter of a century. He was also a livesock buyer for a number of years prior to the organizaiton of the Clontarf Shipping Association. In 1933 he opened a cafe and beer parlor in the Clontarf bank building. He was a great lover of horses and raised blooded stock for several years; he raced some of his horses in Canada.

There were six children in the Perrizo family: Della, Belle, Roy, Hazel, Archie, and Winifred. Belle Perrizo Fiala operated the cafe for several years after B. J. Perrizo’s death in 1938.

You were correct Jackie!  Mystery Photo #3 is the old Clontarf bank building.  Thanks for the history of the building after it was used for the bank.  You can read her comments here.

Anyone know when the bank was torn down?  Any memories of the building, in any of its incarnations?

Only a couple of days left to build your entries in the Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirt drawing!  Just leave a comment or a reply and you will be automatically entered.


Filed under Clontarf, Family Histories

Mystery Photo #3

It has been awhile since we’ve had a mystery photo.

Care to guess on the identity of this Clontarf building?

Mystery Photo #3

By the way, fifty pounds of salt cost 50 cents in 1884.  We will take another peek into Mr. McDermott’s ledger soon.  Nothing too interesting was showing up this week, mainly the staples – sugar, tea, and tobacco.

Remember…get in the running to win a great Clontarf Prairie Pub t-shirt by commenting on a post.  For every comment or reply you make through July 31st, you will be entered in the drawing.  To leave a comment (or a reply if comments have already been left), simply click on the link at the bottom right of each post, next to the ! mark.


Filed under Clontarf

What she doesn’t know…

Last week in Clontarf Lois Fennell told us the following story.  Lois had heard the story many times, and the woman’s name in the story had been lost to the years, but a couple of former residents agreed it was Mrs. Fleming.  I will say it was Mrs. Fleming, but who knows for certain? 

Mrs. Fleming brought a crock of butter to McDermott’s store. She didn’t intend to sell it, only make an exchange. The night before she had forgotten to cover the butter and a mouse tracked across the surface.

Mrs. Fleming explained to Mr. McDermott that the butter was perfectly fine, but she couldn’t bear to use it, knowing what had scurried over it the night before. She suggested Mr. McDermott smooth out the butter, put a piece of wax paper over it, give her a new crock of butter, and save her butter for the next customer. “After all,” Mrs. Fleming said, “what they don’t know, won’t hurt them a bit.”

Mr. McDermott nodded and brought the mousy butter back. He smoothed it out with a new piece of wax paper. He returned to the front with butter for Mrs. Fleming. She went on her way, relieved to have  untainted butter.

When Mr. McDermott recounted the story, he smiled and said, “Well, what she doesn’t know…”


Filed under Clontarf, McDermott's General Store

New Page!

We have a new feature on the blog – AROUND TOWN.

This is the place to learn the inside scoop on Clontarf happenings.  Anne will update us weekly on all the news – especially when people come to town looking for family history.

Just click on the AROUND TOWN link at the top of the page, below History of Clontarf, Minnesota.  Or click here.

By the way, we only received one guess on the price of 50 pounds of salt in 1884 and it was way off.  Any other guesses?  Add a reply at the bottom of the post.  I’ll give the correct answer next time.

1 Comment

Filed under Clontarf

July 19, 1884

Many Tara Township farmers made the trip into Clontarf on this mid-summer Saturday and picked up some necessities at McDermott’s General Store.

Martin McAndrew purchased oatmeal and nails, while his brother-in-law Timothy Cain picked up sugar, oil, apples, tea, tobacco, and 3 pans.

My great-great-grandfather John Regan rarely shows up on Mr. McDermott’s ledger in 1884, but he came in for buttons and 2-1/2 yards jean fabric, sugar, tea, vinegar, and a pail.  Regan’s neighbors Timothy Galvin and Jerry Lucy bought tobacco and oatmeal, respectively.

Mrs. Jane Kenna had the most interesting shopping list that day.  She purchased a pair of boots and a rake; 9-1/2 yards of muslin, 6 spools, and one roll batting; sugar, tea, and 50 pounds of salt.

Any guesses on how much 50 pounds of salt cost Mrs. Kenna?  What would she use that much salt for?


Filed under McDermott's General Store

A Visit From Bishop Ireland

On October 27, 1880, Bishop John Ireland paid a visit to Clontarf to officiate over the first Confirmation class of St. Malachy’s.

Settlers had begun coming to the area in earnest only a year or two prior to Confirmation day, but already there were forty-two young people ready to be confirmed.  It is likely everyone in the Clontarf area was excited for this visit from Bishop Ireland, and I bet they had a full house for the service.

There were twenty-one girls and twenty-one boys.  I wonder how that worked out?  Do you think Father Oster told William Bedard to bring along his little brother Albert so they would have equal numbers of boys and girls?  I picture them processing into St. Malachy’s in boy-girl pairs.

Most of the family names that appear on the list are of the French and Irish settlers in Clontarf and Tara townships.  A few of the young people came from surrounding areas that did not yet have a Catholic church.  For instance, there is James and Mary Boisvin. 

I recalled reading the story of a French-Canadian family who, shortly after settling in Marysland Township (south of Clontarf and Tara), changed their name to reflect the English translation of their French name.  The translation was DrinkwineBoisvin would translate to Drinkwine – the family from Marysland.  Maybe the family had not yet changed the name, or Father Oster wrote the correct name since he was French.

From the families that we have already mentioned here, Jane Kenna and Mary Ann Purcell were confirmed on October 27, 1880.  Also confirmed th day were William Shinnick, Matthew Ledwidge, Zelina and Albert Coti, and Theresa Fisher (among others).

Care to guess the most common confirmation name chosen by the young ladies of St. Malachy’s?  Add a comment with your answer.

I am starting a new contest (and this time I will actually declare a winner and send that winner a very special Clontarf prize!)  For the remainder of the month of July, for every comment you make on the blog you will be entered in a drawing for a Clontarf Prairie Pub t-shirt.  It does have to be an actual comment, but it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate…simply I grew up in Clontarf! or I like this post! or Where’s Clontarf?  will be enough to get your name in the drawing.  I will announce the winner by August 2nd.

Build your entries, leave a comment! Just click the Leave a Comment link at the bottom right of each post.

By the way, if you are curious as to whether or not an ancestor of yours was confirmed on October 27, 1880, just ask me and I will be happy to check!


Filed under Early Settlers, French, Irish

Thanks for coming!

It was great to see everyone who came out for the Swift County Historical Society Annual Meeting last night.  What a nice evening!  We saw many familiar faces and met some new ones, too. 

I have some work to do – the Reardon girls seem ready to do some family history!  I will be in touch with you all soon.  Over the next couple days I am going to try to sort out who’s who in the Reardon clan.

My mother and I received so much positive feedback after our talk last night. It sounds to me that many people in Clontarf are interested in looking into their family history.  Wouldn’t it be cool to start a family history group where people got together every few months or so to discuss their research?  Just an idea…

Thanks to everyone who made last night so special.  Anne – you did a fantastic job with everything.  Thanks, too, to Marlys and the Swift County Historical Society.

Meanwhile, I added the link to the Swift County GenWeb Project  website over on the sidebar under the Blogroll heading .  You can also get there by clicking here.  I haven’t spent too much time looking at the site, but I think there is some useful information.  Make sure you let me know if you find it useful.

One more note.  We have been talking to my grandpa’s cousins Donald and Gerald Regan for six years now and every time we see them, they seem to come up with another tidbit of information.  Last night we were talking and they mentioned that they thought the Kenna family was related to their grandmother’s family (Creden).  Donald and Gerald thought they all came from Ireland together.  I am going to look into this and see what I can discover.  Thanks Donald and Gerald, for another nugget of information.

Stay tuned for more history and sign up to receive new posts by email.  Look to the right of this post, under Email Subscriptions.


Filed under Clontarf