Category Archives: Early Settlers

Father Oster in Action

My mom reminded me of a photo she found at the Archdiocese Archives in Saint Paul, Minnesota…

Oster on the Farm, no date (courtesy of Archdiocese Archives - Saint Paul, MN)

Oster is the one with the beard. Does anyone recognize the two gentlemen and the boy baling hay with Father?

Note to Jim: I forgot about Shannon’s book – I do have a copy.  I need to look at his bibliography again. I still would love to find some sort of advertisement for the settlement at Clontarf.

 

Happy New Year to everyone!

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Heading East: The Cadegan & Kelliher Families

While browsing through some St. Malachy Catholic Church records today I came across a rare item.

Click image to enlarge

The name – Mary Anatole Cadegan – caught my eye. Back in September, Sean Fitzpatrick posted a comment on one of the McDermott General Store ledger entries. Two of that day’s shoppers were his great-great-grandfathers – Cornelius Cadegan and Patrick Kelliher.

In a subsequent email exchange, Sean told me that his ancestors had settled in Clontarf in response to Bishop Ireland’s colonization efforts, but the families went back east in the late 1880s, resettling in Boston, Massachusetts. Sean says, “Family lore is that the Minnesota winters and the tornadoes were just too much for them.”

Michael Francis Cadegan married Margaret Kelliher on November 23, 1882. Sean says they settled in the Six Mile Grove area after marrying. Mary Anatole was born on March 11, 1884 and baptized at St. Malachy Catholic Church on April 16th.

The church records spell the last name Cardigan but Sean tells me it is Cadegan, but also seen as Cadigan or  Caddigan…I wonder if Father Oster was trying too hard with this name, since I have heard Irish people say “cardigan” and it sounds more like “cadegan”. When they say Cadegan, maybe it sounds like “cardigan”????

Father Anatole Oster must have been a very important figure in the lives of the Kellihers and the Cadegans since Mary was given his name as a middle name at baptism. Judging from the church records, it seems unusual for an infant to be given a middle name at all at baptism. Father Oster was a tremendous help to the pioneer settlers in Clontarf, both in a spiritual sense and on a more practical level.

Sean remarked that although it has been more than one hundred years since his family called Clontarf home, they still appreciate their ties to the town out on the prairie of Western Minnesota.

Here on the blog we have heard from a number of people who trace their roots to Clontarf. Sean mentions that his family is scattered throughout the United States – the same can be said for nearly all the pioneer families who established the Clontarf Community from the late 1870s through the early 1880s.

I would love to find some proof of the Catholic Colonization efforts, like a newspaper article or advertisement, specifically naming Clontarf and the names of the communities from which the settlers came. Any examples out there? Send me an email (clontarfhistory@gmail.com) or post a comment!

By the way…I would love to see a photograph of the Kellihers and the Cadegans. Do you have any old photos, Sean?

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

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Chevalier Family, Part I

First things first…in the next several days I will address the comments and emails that have come in over the past week or so.  Thank you so much for reading the blog and participating! 

 

Recently there has been a lot of interest on the Chevalier family.  I thought this would be a good time to post a family history of one of the branches of the Chevalier family tree.  This appeared in the 1978 Clontarf Anniversary booklet.

Joseph Chevalier Family History

Great Grandfather of Vernon and Richard Chevalier

The Joseph Chevaliers originated in the Quebec Province of Canada and joined the oxen-drawn covered wagon train leaving Montreal for the United States.  The Joseph-Odeil Chevaliers had three children: Joseph, Nazareth (grandfather of Vernon and Richard), and Israel.

The covered wagon train came through Stillwater, Minneapolis, and then the Chevaliers homesteaded in Pope County, Minnesota – the community of Clonarf.

In 1898 Joseph asked his eldest son Joseph II to come with his family from Bathgate, North Dakota, to take over the farm.  Joseph had eight children at the time, and was to have six more children in Pope County.  That same year Joseph and Odeil Chevalier moved into Clontarf and lived across the street from St. Malachy Church.  Joseph died in 1904 and his wife in 1910.

Nazareth Chevalier, the second son of Joseph and Odeil, married Cecilia DeMars in 1877 while living in Clontarf.  They had seven children: Hedwidge (Charles Perrault), Sylvia (Oliver Goulet), Louis (Ervilla Goulet), Ida (Thomas Houde), Leah (Fred Martin), Richard, and Cleddy (Evelyn Reardon).

Louis Chevalier married Ervilla Goulet in 1917 and they had five children: Richard (Genevieve Bouta), Gordon (Mary Butler), Arlene (Herb Bly), Vernon (Donna Ascheman), and Ardella (James Geyer).

Richard and Genevieve married in 1946 and had three children: Carol married Dale Emmert (Brian, Paul, Angie Marie), Colleen married James Ninneman (Carrie), and Marilyn married Dan Thole (Melissa).

Arlene married Herb Bly in 1974 and they live in Pope County where Herb is a county commissioner and farms.

Vernon married Donna Ascheman in1960 and they have three children: Dennis, David, and Jo Ann Marie.

Vernon, Richard, Arlene, and their families attend St. Malachy Church, Clontarf.

This is just one branch of the Chevalier family  who made Clontarf and the Clontarf area home.

Remember Louie’s Rascals?  I know I have seen pictures of the group.  Maybe someone can send me one?  clontarfhistory@gmail.com

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Let your fingers do the walking

City directories are a great tool for researching individuals who lived in larger towns and cities in the United States.  City directories are the city equivalent to the country atlas (plat map), and a precursor to the telephone book.

On my recent trip to New Hampshire, I found looking through the Concord city directories to be a highlight of our research.  I would like to share some of what I found, as it pertains to early settlers in the Clontarf area.  If you were to go to the Salem, Massachusetts Historical Society, there is no doubt you would find similar information on the Casey, O’Neill, Langan, and Freeman families.

 

1872 Concord City Directory Advertisements (click image to enlarge)

Concord City Directories

available at the New Hampshire Historical Society

1867

Kenna, John, blacksmith, Concord Railroad, house Jefferson

1872

Foley, Patrick, laborer, h. Crescent, Fisherville

Kenna, John, blacksmith, Concord Railroad, h. Main

Kent, James, stone-cutter, h. 227 State

Quigley, Matthew, dresser, A. Harris & Sons, h. Tremont (Boscawen)

1874

Donovan, Michael, stone-cutter, boards 225 State St.

Foley, Patrick, laborer, h. Spring, n. Centre, Fisherville

Kenna, John, blacksmith, Con. RR , h. Main, opp. Abbott Downing factory

Quigley, Matthew, woolen dresser (rest same as 1872)

Regan, John, laborer, h. Church, Fisherville

1876

Duggan, Wiilliam, stone-cutter, house Church

Foley, Patrick, laborer, D. Arthur Brown, h. Spring n. Center, Fisherville

Quigley, Matthew, woolen dresser (rest same as 1872)

Regan, John, laborer, h. Church, Fisherville

1878

Foley, Patrick. laborer, (rest same as 1876)

Quigley, Matthew, overseer, (rest same as 1872)

Regan, John, laborer, h. Church, Fisherville

In the 1880 Concord city directory, they are all gone.  “They” meaning the early settlers of Clontarf and Tara.  Michael Donovan had left a few years earlier – his obituary states that he came to Swift County in 1875.  Michael Donovan’s obituary also says that a brother living in Concord, NH survives him.  His name was Daniel Donovan and he appears consistently in the directories I studied.

In fact, most of “our guys” left brothers behind in Concord.  I only  know about men since women were not listed unless they were widowed.  I believe John Kenna had a brother Martin (who mysteriously changed the spelling of his last name to Kennar at some point), John Regan had a brother Jeremiah (Jerry), and Patrick Foley had a brothers Andrew and John.

So, this means I could still have some cousins in the Concord area.  Funny I didn’t come across any while I was in town.  And Leo, if you are reading this, you could have some more Kenna cousins as well!  Not to mention those of you who claim Michael Donovan as an ancestor.

Something I am curious about…those who are occupied as stone-cutters only show up once or twice during this period of time.  I know that William Duggan and James Kent had several children each who were born in Concord.  Do you suppose their work kept them away from home, so they didn’t always appear in the directory?  Would they have had to be “on the road”, traveling from quarry to quarry all over New Hampshire?  There was a lot of stone to be cut – New Hampshire is known as the Granite State, after all.

That’s all for our detour to New Hampshire.  We will come back to Minnesota this week, with another page from McDermott’s ledger and maybe something about a First Communion class at St. Malachy.

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A Path to Tara Township

 

State House - Concord, New Hampshire (1816)

 

The Patrick Foley family lived just a few blocks from the New Hampshire State House in the Fisherville neighborhood of Concord during the 1870s.  This was before the family settled in Tara Township.  The four Foley children – Timothy, Margaret, Mary, and John – were baptized at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Concord.  Patrick worked at the Concord Axle Works, as well as in a machine shop.

 

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Concord, NH

 

Patrick Foley was able to read and write English, which were unique skills among immigrants from County Cork, Ireland during this period (he immigrated in 1864.)  I knew that Patrick had served as a Tara Township clerk for many years, and I learned in Concord last week that Patrick served as secretary and president for both the St. Patrick’s Benevolent Society and the Catholic Temperance League.

By the 1886 Tara plat map, Patrick Foley owned 80 acres in section 16 and 240 more in section 21.  Matthew Quigley, who also came from Concord, was sandwiched  in between, owning 80 acres in the northeast quarter of section 21.

When Patrick Foley died in October 1913, his pallbearers were, according to his obituary, “Thomas O’Brien, James Flemming, D.F. McDermott, J.L. Doherty, John Gossen, and James O’Donnell.”  All men were either Tara neighbors or fellow pioneer settlers in Clontarf.

I will have more to say about other Tara pioneers who came from Concord once I sort through my research!

 

Photographs taken by Regan McCormack

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I say Bouta, you say Boutain

And I think we are both saying the same thing: boe-tay.  I am not clear on who is who in the Bouta/Boutain family.  I read up on the families in the anniversary booklet from 1978, and I quickly became more confused than ever over the spelling.  For example, there is an entry on Edward Boutain, Sr. and his wife Belsimire Mercier.  Then the next entry is for Thomas Bouta, “the son of Edward Bouta and Belsimire Mercier…”

But we are going to begin with another Bouta history from the Clontarf anniversary book…

Thomas Bouta – Jane Clint Family History

Thomas Bouta (sometimes spelled Boutin) arrived in the Clontarf area from the Province of Quebec, Canada in 1870.  His coming here coincided with the completion of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad as far as Benson in that year.

Thomas married Jane Clint whose father was at one time foreman and later roadmaster of the Benson division of the railroad.  Thomas was foreman of the grading crew of the railroad and also helped construct the first section house in Clontarf.  A Catholic service was held in this section house in 1871 by a Father McDermott (no relation to the Dominic McDermotts).  The first child born to Thomas and Jane Bouta on July 10, 1876 was the first “Clontarf” child baptized in the DeGraff Catholic Church on July 28, 1876.  The church was then named Our Lady of Kildare (later to be changed to St. Bridget’s).  Margaret and Mrs. Oscar (Florence) Arne are the two remaining members of the Thomas and Jane Bouta Family.

Rose Bouta (a child of Thomas and Jane Bouta) married Edmund Columbe in 1898 and they had twelve children of whom five are still living viz. Edward, Rosella, Florence, Margaret who became Sister Wilma of the Order of St. Joseph, and Emma.

I wasn’t aware that there would have been a section house in Clontarf as early as 1871 – that’s even before Randall Station, the precursor to Clontarf, was established.

Just what I need, this story throws another spelling into the mix: Boutin!

I would love to hear any comments, insights, or anecdotes about the Bouta(in) names and families.  Please leave a comment!

Tomorrow we will look at the hotelier Edward Boutain, Sr.

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Now this is an obituary!

I just ran across this obituary.  It is taken from the June 26, 1934 edition of the Swift County Monitor.

(from the Swift County Historical Society)

John H. Reardon, Pioneer of County, Dies Of Old Age

John H. Reardon of Clontarf, one of Swift county’s earliest settlers and a resident for nearly 60 years dies at the Swift County hospital here at 9 o’clock Friday evening, June 22, from the infirmities of old age.  He had been ill and confined to his bed during the last year.

Funeral services were held at St. Malachy’s church, Clontarf, at 9 o’clock yesterday morning (Monday, June 25).  Rev. Richard King officiated.  Internment was made in the Clontarf cemetery.

Mr. Reardon was born in Credit River, Minn., February 26, 1856, and was 78 years old at the time of his death.  When a young lad he was employed on the crew that built the first railroad running through St. Paul and he was a member of a posse that tried to capture the James brothers, famed Minnesota bank robbers.  He came to Clontarf by ox team in 1875.

Always fond of the carpentry trade, he followed that trade at the Industrial School then located north of Clontarf and during his lifetime built many of the better homes in the Clontarf locality.  He dug the first grave in the Clontarf cemetery.  Mr. Reardon started for Alaska during the gold rush, but became discouraged after reaching California and walked all the way back to Clontarf.

He married Catherine Hogan at Clontarf in the spring of 1882.  Mr. Reardon is survived by one son James Reardon of Clontarf; five grandchildren, Gertrude, Florence, Rose, Marge, and Elinor Reardon; three brothers Henry and Robert Reardon of Tara Township and Thomas of Clontarf; and two sisters, Mrs. H. Donovan of Tara and Mrs. Mary Long of Hazel Park, St. Paul.

Phew!

Judging from his obituary, Mr. Reardon could be looked at as a symbol of the “American Experience” – he helped build the railroad, was a pioneer settler, tried to nab Jesse James, and participated in the Gold Rush!

John Reardon built a house for his brother Thomas, and it is still there in Clontarf.  It is a pretty house.  Indeed one of the “better homes” of Clontarf.

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