Category Archives: Clontarf

Views of St. Malachy’s

I recently found a few photos of St. Malachy Catholic Church in Clontarf.

 

The first one is mounted on cardboard, like the old studio photographs from around 1900. I don’t think this is that old. Any ideas? Maybe you can tell by how old the trees look?

St. Malachy Catholic Church – Clontarf, MN

 

The next photo is from the mid-1930s. It is a small snap-shot and is the same size and photo paper as other photos I have from that time. My mom thought it could have been taken from the old rectory yard. What do you think?

St. Malachy Catholic Church – Clontarf, MN – 1930s

 

And finally, this one was probably taken in the late 1940s or 1950s.

St. Malachy Catholic Church – Clontarf, MN – 1950s

 

 

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Beth’s Cakes in Clontarf

More history is coming soon, but in the meantime I want to tell you about the newest business in Clontarf, Minnesota…

Beth’s Cakes opened in February. She bakes cakes, pies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and muffins – all from scratch using only the freshest ingredients.

Check out the website…the cakes look fabulous, and Anne reports that Beth’s products taste just as good as they look (Beth generously brings samples over to the cafe for the locals to enjoy!)

Need a cake for a birthday, anniversary, or graduation? Give Beth a call at 320-226-7058 or send an email to sales@bethscakes.biz.

She also has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/retrotastemoderntwist.

We wish her the best of luck with the new venture and can’t wait to visit!

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A New Bank for Clontarf!

John Conroy submitted this clipping from the Hancock Recorder…

The new building was scheduled to be built “as soon as the weather permitted” in the Spring of 1912. The bank was Mystery Photo #3 back in July of 2010. Take a look at the post and the comments to learn more about the bank.

Bank - Clontarf, MN

Recently Gretchen, who lived in the bank building as a child, told us about when the nearby elevator burned down, the building grew so hot they were actually able to fry an egg on the floor! I would love to hear any other memories you have of living in the old bank, Gretchen…please feel free to leave another comment!

My last post Remembering Julia was very popular and that got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to feature residents of Clontarf, to remember them on their birthday, wedding, or the day they died? The problem is, I don’t know much about the personalities who have called Clontarf home (other than my relatives, and you may be tiring of reading about them!)

Here’s what I propose:

If your grandma, great-grandparent, aunt, or father (you get the picture) was born in or lived in the Clontarf/Tara area and has a special day coming up and you would like to remember her or him, let me know. You can either write a short essay telling us all about your family member from Clontarf, send it on to me, and I will publish it on the blog,  or if writing is not your thing, simply fill out the form below with the details and I will write the tribute. Of course, photographs always make the stories special.

Remembering a common relative is a great way of reaching out to family members scattered all over the country. Think about it…

If you would like me to write the essay, I will need a little bit of notice. But if you send me one ready for publication, I will post it right away.

I can’t wait to see learn more about the people who made Clontarf their home! Use the form below, add a comment to this post, or email me directly clontarfhistory@gmail.com.

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Excuses, excuses…

My apologies for the lack of new content on the blog over the past few weeks.  I will spare you any excuses and get right to some Clontarf history…

Anne has been learning a lot about the Clontarf Club and adding the new information in the comments of the Clontarf Club page.  Click here and scroll down to read the comments.  Hopefully we can compile all of these bits into a narrative telling the story of the Club.  Stay tuned!

Recently we have had some visitors to the blog with ties to the Fennell family of Clontarf.  Anne Schirmer shared the following photograph with me from her Clontarf genealogy collection:

Thomas and Catherine (Curtis) Fennell Family - 1922

Thomas Fennell was the son of Francis and Armeline Goulet, who were early settlers in the Clontarf area.  Thomas was the youngest of eight children born to Francis and Armeline in Glencoe, Minnesota.  Who are the members of this handsome family?  I am unable to identify them precisely in the photo, but I will share the information I have on the children.

In no particular order (but could be roughly by age)…

  • Eva “Evie” (1901-1976), married Clarence Ascheman.
  • Margaret, married Henry Peerboom.
  • Joseph, married Eleanor Bouta.
  • Agnes “Toots”, married William Wallace.
  • Martha, became Sister Marilyn, a Sister of Saint Joseph.
  • Edward.
  • William.
  • Louis “Buster”, (1909-1987), lived in Benson.
  • Thomas Anthony.
  • Edna.
  • Richard.
  • Mary.

Please let us know if you are able to fill in any of the blanks.  I will share the entire Fennell Family history from the Clontarf anniversary booklet in an upcoming post.

I wonder if the Dick Fennell who gave my grandpa John Regan the card pictured below is the same Richard Fennell, son of Thomas and Catherine?  It’s a cute Valentine…

I wonder what happened to Dick Fennell?  Share if you know!

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A Photograph from Clontarf – 1920

We have two winners for the latest drawing here at www.clontarfhistory.com.  They have been notified by email and will receive their t-shirts soon.  The remaining Prairie Pub t-shirts are going fast…any ideas for a new Clontarf t-shirt design?  Does anyone out there do screen printing?  Please leave a comment and let me know…I would love to have new Clontarf shirts printed!

Jim from Minneapolis sent in a photograph of his grandfather’s sister, Kate McDonough Reardon taken in Clontarf in 1920.  Here’s the photo:

Kate McDonough Reardon - Clontarf - 1920

Here’s what Jim wrote:

Hi Clontarf Historians,

In my grandpa’s photo collection was this picture of his sister, Kate/Catherine Reardon (nee McDonough) who lived for a time in Clontarf along with her brother George McDonough I believe.  They worked for some local family there.

Here’s an excerpt from a family history about her:

“She acquired a job as a hired girl for Kate Tuske.  It was at this job she met James Reardon. They were married 9-3-12.”

The photo is yours to keep for your archive.  If you happen to know the location in the background, feel free to let me know.  If you happen to spot any other photos regarding these folks, I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Jim

Minneapolis

Can we help Jim out?  I know there are lots of Reardons out there, but does anyone know who Kate Tuske was?  I don’t recognize that name.  Does the location of this picture look familiar to anyone?

Are James and Kate Reardon the ones who lived in the old jail building right after they were married?

Have a great weekend!

 

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Clontarf Tidbits and Galvin Family Genealogy

April 5, 1901 Swift County Monitor

Whenever I come across one of these Clontarf columns in a neighboring town’s newspaper, I am saddened by the fact that Clontarf never had a newspaper of its own.  I suppose I should be grateful for these sporadic reports of Clontarf events…at least it is something!

I obtained this clipping from the Swift County Historical Society when I requested an obituary for Tara resident Timothy Galvin.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the items mentioned in addition to the death notice (more about Timothy Galvin in a minute.)

A few things that stuck out in this clipping…”Sport” McDonald is one of my favorite Clontarf figures.  I like the nickname.  I wonder if he ever made it to Montana?  I know he made it back in time to woo and marry Michael Donovan’s daughter.  What were you doing in the woods all winter James O’Neil and W. Rutan?  And, the T. Foley mentioned here as delaying a trip to the coast with Ed. McCarthy is my great-grandmother’s brother.  I wonder if he ever made that trip?

Now back to Timothy Galvin.  A couple of weeks ago, Colleen left a comment seeking information on her Galvin and Fleming roots in Tara Township and Clontarf.  This is why I looked up this clipping in the first place.  I previously wrote a bit about her great-grandfather Timothy Galvin – click here to go to the post on Tara Township, section 10, Timothy Galvin’s home.

Unfortunately, the brief notice of Mr. Galvin’s passing does not provide many details about his life and family.  Several years ago when my mom and I were in Clontarf doing research, we came upon a typed genealogy (from the late 1960s?) of the Galvin-Fleming clan, completed by Robert F. Galvin of Saint Paul, Minnesota (I believe he would be Colleen’s uncle.)  The genealogy provides some data on Timothy Galvin, but there appears to be a couple of questionable dates – Timothy Galvin is said to have been born in 1860 and his wife Catherine Kelly in 1861.  I suspect this is incorrect since Colleen said the couple was married in 1872.  Both Timothy and Catherine were born in County Cork, Ireland.  Included are the names of Timothy and Catherine’s children, their spouses, and their children’s names.

The genealogy on the Fleming side is much more detailed and includes entertaining narratives of the lives of James P. Fleming and his wife Bridget (Delia) Fleming.  James fought in the Civil War and was one of the original settlers of Tara Township.  I will share more about the Fleming family in my next post.

In the meantime…does anyone have anything to say about the Clontarf column from above?  Any names or events stick out to you?  Anything you would like to know more about?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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New Sign & Mystery Photo

Clontarf, Minnesota (Anne Schirmer 2011)

Look at the great new sign welcoming residents and visitors to Clontarf!  The sign went up last month and is the Clontarf Haymakers 4H Club Community Pride project for 2011.  Great job!

I don’t remember where we left off with the Mystery Photo feature…let’s say #6.  What can you tell me about this one?  Anne shared this photo with me when we were in town last time…so she knows what it is!

Mystery Photo #6

What Clontarf building was home to this?  If you know, please leave a comment.  The first correct answer will receive one of the few remaining Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirts!

By the way…how did St. Malachy Church Summerfest go earlier this month?  I hope it was a success!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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She Liked Nice Things

Annie, ca. 1900

Until my mom and I began researching our family history in 2004, this was about all I knew of my great-grandmother Annie Hill Regan – she liked nice things.  And we wouldn’t have learned much more if it wasn’t for Donald and Gerald Regan.  Donald and Gerald are Clontarf natives who grew up across the railroad tracks from Annie, her husband Neil, and my grandpa John.  Over the past seven years, Donald and Gerald have shared their memories of life in Clontarf.  Working as a team, one brother fills in the blanks when the other can’t quite recall a name or detail.  They are really quite remarkable, and their memories are a treasure!

In the August/September 2011 issue of Irish America magazine, I wrote about how we learned about Annie, guided by our chats with Donald and Gerald.  Click here to read the article online.

Here are the two photos I mention in the piece:

Annie Hill and Cornelius Regan, wedding -- 1911

Neil, Annie, and John Regan -- 1915

Perhaps there is a mysterious figure in your family tree?  Sometimes it just takes a little bit of digging, but you can uncover the story behind the mystery.  In our case, talking to people who knew Annie along with researching census returns, church records, newspapers, and other public documents helped us answer questions we thought would remain unanswered forever.  A little luck never hurt, either!

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Wonder who the “dry” votes were?

Hancock Record (compliments of Anne Schirmer)

Judging from some of the stories I have heard about Clontarf, it comes as no surprise that a wet-dry vote would have this outcome!  Readers contributed comments to my post earlier this year on the Clontarf Club referencing the days of bootleg whiskey in Clontarf – click here to read the post and comments.  I am a little confused as to when Prohibition was repealed – I thought it was later in 1933.  This autumn there will be a new Ken Burns documentary on PBS, Prohibition.  I guess I will learn more about it then!

This clipping is from 1933, the year my grandpa John Regan graduated high school.  After graduation, he worked behind the bar at Bruno Perrizo’s in Clontarf.  This photo was taken some time during his tenure at Perrizo’s (the apron and the train in the background tipped my grandma off to the time-frame and place.)

Leo Molony and John Regan (1933-35)

Leo Molony (in the hat) and my grandpa grew up in Clontarf together.  When I met Kit Molony Doherty in 2004, one of the first things she told me was the story of how my grandpa saved her brother Leo’s life.

When the boys were about ten-years-old, they were playing “cowboys” with several other boys from town in McDermott’s pasture.  We can imagine them having a grand old time – riding the cattle and doing tricks.  The fun ended when Leo Molony was poked in the eye by a horn.  Scared of the blood and the prospect of being caught goofing around where they ought not be, the boys quickly scattered.  Leo and John were left alone in the pasture.

Kit said she remembers the howl let out by her mother when she saw John with one arm propping Leo up and his other hand pressed to Leo’s face.  There was blood everywhere, and my grandpa was holding Leo’s eye in place in the socket.

Leo lost vision in the eye, but a doctor was able to perform surgery so he didn’t lose the eye itself.  Kit said how grateful her family was to my grandpa for taking care of Leo that day.  She said his presence of mind not only saved Leo’s eye, but probably saved his life.

Somehow I don’t think John received a hero’s welcome when he returned home to his mother after his cowboy adventures!  I wonder if the boys learned their lesson about trespassing in McDermott’s pasture?

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A couple of notes…

  • The winner of the June drawing is…Mary D’Agati! I will send you an email to get your address for your Official Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirt.  Congratulations and thanks for the comments!
  • Speaking of t-shirts…any ideas about a design for a new Clontarf t-shirt?  Let me know what you think (leave a comment.)
  • St. Malachy Summerfest is this Sunday July 10th.  This is a fundraiser for the Church.  Anne Schirmer has donated some lovely photographs of area farm places that will be for sale.
  • Monday July 11th is the Annual Meeting for Swift County HIstorical Society.  This year’s meeting and dinner will be held in DeGraff, Minnesota, and museum director Marlys Gallagher will present a program on the Catholic Colonization Bureau settlements in Swift County.

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More on the Clontarf Play (plus…a few news items)

After reading my previous post about the Clontarf play (click here to see original post), cast member Tom Doherty sent me this email:

Hi,
I believe that the year of the play was 1956.  I know that it wasn’t the late ’50s.  All of the characters we played were still alive in 1956, such as Doc Apitz who died in 1958.
I broke my arm about 10 days to 2 weeks before the play and it looked like I wasn’t going to play my Dad (Joe) as scheduled.  Then Annie Ascheman, who worked on the play with all of us, came to me with a solution.  She got the Buck Eucker players to sit down and start dealing and then she had me go and sit down and join them.  Then they all started asking me about the arm – was it broke, etc., and how did I break it.   I said that I was patting myself on the back for playing good cards and I broke my arm.
The whole house just howled and I looked out in the audience and there sat my Dad glaring at me.  Annie was over by the stage and she was in convulsions laughing so hard.  I believe her husband was Fred and they lived out in Tara & Hegbert area.  They went to church in Clontarf, so she knew about all the characters inside and out.  She put in many hours with practicing and rehearsing on this play.

Tom Doherty

What a treat to have this first-hand account!  Thanks for sharing Tom!

Anyone else remember this play, or perhaps other performances put on my the residents of Clontarf?  Leave a comment or send me an email (clontarfhistory@gmail.com)

The big news in Clontarf this week is the new sign that went up on Thursday.  It is a great sign.  I forgot to take a picture, so if someone could email me a picture, I would like to post it.

In a couple of weeks, on Sunday, July 10th, St. Malachy will be holding their annual Summerfest.  This is a fundraiser, complete with Mass, a silent auction, games, and a pot-luck.

Eileen would like to thank everyone who came out Thursday to the Swift County Historical Society for her talk on, The Dutiful Son Louis W. Hill: Life in the Shadow of the Empire Builder James J. Hill.  If you missed it, the book is available from Ramsey County Historical Society…just click here for more information and to order a copy.

Have a good weekend!

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