Shea-Kenna Connection

Thomas F. Shea & Jane I. Kenna - 8 Nov 1893 (from Jim Egeland)

Father Anatole Oster married Thomas Shea and Jane Kenna on November 8, 1893 at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Clontarf.  Witnesses of this union were James Shea and Margaret Callaghan.  Thomas and Jane were Jim Egeland’s great-grandparents, and he provided the following history:

Thomas Francis Shea married Jane Irene Kenna in Clontarf on 8 Nov 1893. Jane Irene Kenna was the daughter of John Edward Kenna Sr. and Jane Howard Kenna. Thomas and Jane had 5 children, Francis, Mary, John, Jane (my grandmother), and Dorothy. I know that Thomas Shea’s two oldest children, Francis and Mary, were born in Clontarf. Thomas, a farmer, moved his family to Columbia Falls, Montana around 1897 and then to Great Falls, Montana after a few years. When Jane Irene Kenna died in 1907,  Robert (her brother) came to Montana and he and Thomas took her body back to Clontarf  to be buried with her mother as was Jane’s wish. The (Shea) children were raised for a few years by his sisters (in Montana.)
The children of Thomas grew up, not knowing anything about the Kenna relatives until the early 1960′s when the Kennas who were doing genealogy found the family.

Taking a step backwards, I thought I would share some of the Kenna family history that Jim received many years ago from a Kenna family member:

John Edward Kenna, Sr was born in 1834 in County Cork, Ireland, and was married to Jane Howard, born March 21, 1835 in Ireland.  The date of marriage was May 9, 1858.  They emigrated to America and settled in Concord, New Hampshire where their children were born.  The children, Ellen, William, Jane, Robert, and John, Jr. who was born May 5, 1871.  When the youngest, John, was 9 or 10 they moved to Swift County, Minnesota and bought a farm at an Irish settlement, Clontarf, near Benson.  A year or so later, on August 7, 1882, John Sr. was killed while digging a well on the farm by suffocation with gas in the well.  Jane continued on the farm with the help of her children until her death Feb. 27, 1897.

Additional information passed along about the Kennas in the area at that time:
Ellen Kenna married Michael Conlogue of Clontarf.
William married Margaret Kent of Clontarf.
Robert married Anne Allen
Jane Irene Married Thomas F. Shea of Clontarf.
John Edward Jr. married Ursula McShane of Benson Nov 1900.

ca. 1900 Group of Guys

I may have previously posted this photograph, but I thought we could get some fresh eyes on it.  The man standing on the right is John Foley (brother of my great-grandmother Mary Foley McMahon) and seated on the right is John Kenna.  The other three men are unidentified…any ideas?

Both the Foley and Kenna families came to Tara Township from Concord/Fisherville, New Hampshire.  Perhaps these men represent other families who also came from New Hampshire?  Maybe a Duggan or a Kent?

I would love to learn more about the Shea family.  I know they were early settlers in Tara Township.  Tiffany shared some information on her Shea ancestors last week:

Parents: Michael and Alice Shea

Children: Thomas F Shea, Margaret (Maggie) Shea, John Shea, James Shea, Nancy Shea, Mary Shea, and Alice Shea.

In 1886, the Shea family occupied the southern 320 acres in Section 32 of Tara Township.  By the 1902, the only Shea that remains on the plat map is Margaret Shea Dailey who retains 80 acres.  Did the rest of the Sheas all move to Montana?

Through and this blog  several Shea descendants have made connections.  This is exciting, and I hope they continue to share their discoveries with us!


Filed under Family Histories, Tara Township

7 responses to “Shea-Kenna Connection

  1. Jim Egeland

    I have not seen this photo of men and did not recognize anyone but the John Kenna would then be John Edward Kenna Jr. b.1871 so he would have to be about 29 if the picture was taken in 1900. John married Ursula Mc Shane Nov. 14, 1900 in Benson. They were married by a Father Shea of the St. Francis Parish. Could the men be groomsmen? Not many other occasions that I can think of that a bunch of guys would get all fancied up and get a photo taken and together at that. John and Ursula moved to North Dakota in 1901.

    • Margo McGeary Ascheman

      I am interested in the SHEA name….
      lst This James Edward McGeary and Bridget Margaret McMahon married in Monches Wis April 4 l864 St. Johns C. church… Then they moved to the Tara ,,,, Marysland area and names have come up on Clontarf program… I am interested in a couple from this area by the name of

      Mathew & Catherine McGeary Shea.. Catherine and James Edward McGeary are brother and sister… When James and family moved to Swift Co. MN about l870 their son James Sabestion stayed with the Shea family. (someone says they were back and 4th SOME but he not stay in MN.
      Do you think there might be TIE with the Swift Co. SHEA.. I have not been able to find any McMahon family or cousins or etc in Swift Co. area. Hard to believe the McGearys come and not have any McMahon ties… Grandpa McGeary not live long but balance of family stayed for EVER so Gram had to have McMahon family here…… Thank you for a clue. Ha. Margo McGeary Ascheman

      • Tiffany

        Shea/McGreary Connection

        Not sure if this will help at all since I don’t have any hard connections but I will throw some things out in hopes that this will make sense to some one on the McGreary side and maybe fill in some of my blanks for me as well.

        When I was going through some records I found some odd names pop up. It seems that Thomas and Jane Shea had their five children (Francis, Mary, John, Jane, and Dorothy) but for a while they also took care of William, Frances, Nellie, Henry, Mabel, Alice, and Stella. Also a William Cunningham stayed with them I assume as a farm hand.

        I had earlier assumed that the extra Shea children possibly were Thomas’s brother’s, John Shea, kids. They were married in 1887 and she passed away in 1900. Maybe they were not? From what I have gathered on the Jane women they were all great, caring, giving women so it is very possible they took in children. I never found a James Sebastion but I will keep digging.

        Alice Shea has been my mystery woman… She is the mother of Thomas Shea. She was married to Michael Shea and immigrated to the US in 1860 I believe. Although I have found no real record. Maybe the Mcgrearys might have known Alice Shea or was Alice a McGreary child?

  2. Christine K. Fox

    I am looking for the family of Alice Shea who had a daughter Mary Shea. Mary was born in Houghton, Michigan. I believe Alice was married to John Shea. Mary married my uncle, Cornelius Tierney in 1907 and they all lived in Silverbow County, Butte, Montana for several years. I know Cornelius was a copper miner and I believe that John Shea was also a copper miner. I am looking for any relatives of Alice and Mary. I can be contacted by email on facebook. Please put a subject line or refer to Mary Shea family. I do have a picture of a couple that is connected with the Tierney family and I am wondering if it is Mary Shea Tierney and Cornelius. Hope to hear from someone in this family.

  3. Anne Schirmer

    There were 2 people in the cemetery at Clontarf looking for headstones…so I introduced myself and offered my assistance. There were looking for Sha/Shay/Shae & Lawler. They had been to the Courthouse and to the Museum in Benson and would continue their search in Stevens Co.

  4. Hello again. I am still working on my family tree and the farther I go; the more names we seem to have. I have the following people related to my family: Alice, Mary, and John Shea of Butte, Montana, and Houghton, Michigan; Cornelius Tierney married same Mary Shea. The Tierneys were from Washington State. My Tierneys were also related to my great uncle and godfather Michael William Mcmahon of Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin; the Faheys, Foleys and Doyles are also related..
    I am hoping others might know of these interconnected families.

  5. Christine K. Fox

    Mary Shea was my great aunt. She married my great uncle Cornelius Tierney who was born in Washington State .
    I am wondering if the McKennas were related to the William Michael Mcmahon family? I also have Faheys connected to the Sheas, and we are related to the Murphy family. A murphy is listed with Mary and Cornelius. I am trying to tie this all together. I believe I may have a picture of Cornelius and Mary Shea. My Aunt Patty Mcmahon gave it to my mother. It resembles your Kenna photo. May not be her, but the clothes were similar to the Kennas.

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