Category Archives: McDermott’s General Store

Valentine’s Day…Clontarf Style

I don’t see a mad dash for chocolates and fancy cards at the McDermott General Store on the days building up to Valentine’s Day in 1884.

Typical of the winter months, business was relatively light, with only a few Clontarf residents picking up necessities like tobacco, tea, and sugar. The folks from Tara, or even the rest of Clontarf Township, didn’t seem to make it into town very often in January and February.

February @ McDermotts (click image to enlarge)

February @ McDermotts (click image to enlarge)

I don’t know how the pioneer settlers of the Clontarf area celebrated Valentine’s Day. Valentines were exchanged in the nineteenth century, but since mass-produced greeting cards were not yet widely available, we can speculate that homemade cards were the norm and exchanged among family and friends.

Here’s an example of the type of Valentine that would have been seen around Clontarf in the 1920s. This one was given to my grandpa, John Regan, from his Clontarf classmate Dick Fennell:

Dick Fennell to John Regan

By the late 1930s, my grandpa was “courting” a fellow Tara native Agnes McMahon. The two grandchildren of original Tara Township settlers had reconnected in Minneapolis and were married in 1941. I thought I would share a couple of the Valentines they exchanged in those early years:

Agnes to John

Agnes to John (inside)

John to Agnes

John to Agnes (inside)

Have you saved any special Valentines? If your answer is “yes”, today is the perfect day to pull them out and take a stroll down memory lane….

Were there any events or programs in Clontarf to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Maybe a special dinner or dance at the Clontarf Club? Leave a comment and share your memories!



Filed under McDermott's General Store, Valentine's Day

Thanksgiving Memories & Looking Forward to December

Let’s take a look back at¬†Thursday November 29, 1883 — Thanksgiving Day. Should have done this a couple of weeks ago…better late than never!

McDermott Store Ledger - November 29, 1883

Well, I suppose Thanksgiving Day is as good a day as any to buy a new pair of overalls, Patrick Langan.

I wonder what Thanksgiving was like for the pioneer settlers of Clontarf in 1883? Would they have killed a wild turkey for dinner? I don’t think I saw any turkeys being purchased at McDermott’s leading up to the big day. Maybe they had pheasant instead?

Alas, Thanksgiving is but a memory to us now. Time to look forward to December and the Christmas holiday. I wonder how soon the residents of Clontarf begin their Christmas shopping?

McDermott Store Ledger - December 1, 1883

Looks like Mr. McDermott is paying bills on this first day of the month. Rent is $5 per month. It could take him a few days to make that back in any given month!

What is the final entry for James Flynn all about? I can’t quite make it out.

On a sad note, Austin McGeary of Danvers passed away last Thursday, December 1st. I met Austin and his wife several years ago. My mom and I learned that Austin had boarded with my great-grandfather Neil Regan in Clontarf while he worked at Perrizo’s store in the late 1930s. Austin shared his memories of the time he spent at Neil’s as a young man, and for that we are very grateful.

Read Austin’s obituary here: Our thoughts are with the entire McGeary family.

Leave a comment

Filed under McDermott's General Store

November 19, 1883

Earlier today I posted a several days worth of McDermott’s ledger entries in an attempt to catch up, but it will take some time.¬† I wondered if the readers want to see every day of the ledger? Let me know what you think…

November 19, 1883 was a pretty busy day at McDermott’s store. I don’t know what it means when he records “by cash”. Are the customers being paid out for credits on their accounts? Or is it a cash advance? Does someone know the answer?

McDermott Store Ledger - November 19, 1883

Does that say “1 D Hog” that Patrick Langan sold to Mr. McDermott? I wonder if Mr. Langan was paid a good price?

November 19, 1883 continued

The second page of the day’s transactions shows the purchase of hog from Mr. Hilla, as well as the sale of many sewing items to various customers.

What is the most interesting item to you in the ledger for November 19, 1883?




Filed under McDermott's General Store

November 16 & 17, 1883

McDermott Store Ledger - November 16, 1883

McDermott Store Ledger - November 17, 1883

Leave a comment

Filed under McDermott's General Store

November 15, 1883

McDermott Store Ledger - November 15, 1883

1 Comment

Filed under McDermott's General Store

November 14, 1883

McDermott Store Ledger - November 14, 1883

Leave a comment

Filed under McDermott's General Store

November 13, 1883

McDermott Store Ledger - November 13, 1883

Leave a comment

Filed under McDermott's General Store