Category Archives: Tara Township

Tara Township Autographs

Best friends Nellie Regan and Minnie Foley

I am currently working on a project involving my great-grandmother Mary Foley McMahon’s autograph book from the early 1900s. Mary, or “Minnie” as she was known, grew up in Tara Township. The autograph book includes signatures and inscriptions from friends, relatives, and neighbors. Most are from the years 1903-1905, but there are a few entries from when her children got their hands on the book in the mid-1920s.

I recognize most of the names in the book – they are either relatives of mine or I have seen the names on the Tara plat maps. Fortunately I have many photographs to correspond with the signatures as well.

But, there are several people I don’t know anything about. If you can help me out, please leave a comment. Of course, if you have a photograph you would like to share, even better! I have listed the date and location of the autographs (if given) along with the name.

  • Teresa McAuley – Tara, Minn – Aug. 13, 1904
  • Lizzie D. – Tara, Minn – Jan. 3, 1904
  • Julia Connolly – Ettrick, Wisc – Jan. 3, 1904
  • Mary McCant (?) – Feb. 15, 1894
  • Thomas Doran
  • M.V.D. – Benson, Minn – Jan. 10, 1904
  • Katie Kane – Benson, Minn – Jan. 10, 1904
  • Mary Fleming – Tara, Minn – Jan. 21, 1904
  • Annie Doran – Tara – Jan. 5, 1905
  • Celia A. VanDervoort – Tara – Jan. 10, 1904
  • J.L. Gaul – Chicago, Ill.

Anyone ever heard of someone with the nickname “Woddle”? Or “Nibbs”?

Let me know if any of this catches your eye…I’d love to hear from you!

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104 Years Ago Today

Swift County Monitor

I don’t know anything about these families, other than seeing their names on plat maps or in Church records.  Does anyone have information on the Chenery or Murphy families of Tara Township?

Sometimes the “good old days” were a bit more complicated than we give them credit!

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Going, Going, Gone!

Conlogue Family (courtesy of Leo Holl)

Ellen Kenna married Michael Conlogue on February 16, 1886 at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Clontarf.  Ellen was born in Concord, New Hampshire on June 2, 1863 and moved to Tara Township with her family in the late 1870s.  Michael Conlogue was born in Ontario, Canada in 1856 and came to America in 1884.

Ellen and Michael met while Ellen was staying with an aunt in Lakeville, Minnesota, studying to be a teacher.  The couple purchased a farm in the northwest quarter of section 14 in Tara Township, and they farmed there until Michael’s death in 1922.  Ellen sold the farm in 1923.  The following auction notice appeared in the Swift County Monitor.  It is fascinating to see the items for sale at this auction – the notice serves as an inventory of the contents of the Conlogue farm, but we can assume many other farms in the area would have had similar components.

Conlogue Auction, Tara Township 1923 (courtesy of Leo Holl)

Click to enlarge

Thanks to Leo Holl, a descendant of Michael Conlogue and Ellen Kenna, for providing the photo and auction notice!

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

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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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This-n-That

Where did the month of September go?  I will announce the September drawing winner later this weekend.  Stay tuned!

Anne had some info on the Roll descendants, read her comment here.  She also had something to say about Jim Gosson here.  Make sure you read all of Anne’s comments…she has tons of great information!

I just received this obituary from Marlys at the Swift County Historical Society.  Mary (Owens) Gosson lived in Section 10 of Tara Township.

Swift County News June 16, 1921

Many of the pall bearers have been mentioned already as residents of section 10 and neighboring parts of Tara.  Neal Regan, James Duggan, William Kenna, David Kent, and John Green.  I am not sure if I mentioned this when I wrote previously about the Gosson family, but I remember Donald and Gerald Regan telling me that when their uncle Jim Duggan was a young man he had a crush on Margaret Gosson.  Jim Duggan never married.  I wonder if Margaret Gosson did?

I am headed to New Hampshire next week, and while there I plan to do a bit of research.  If your family came from Clontarf from New Hampshire and I have not mentioned them, please let me know.

Have a good weekend!

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The Duggan Family of Tara

I will begin with the Duggan history from the 1978 Clontarf Anniversary booklet, which includes a bit of Regan family history.

(Please note : I am a little sketchy on a couple of details in the Regan history, but like most of the family histories in this booklet, it is based on oral history, which is not always 100% accurate.)

Duggan, William – Regan, John Family History

William and Julia (Credan) Duggan came from Ireland in 1862 and lived for a short time in Concord, New Hampshire.  In 1876 they arrived in what is now Tara Township and homesteaded there on a 160 acre farm.  They had eight children viz. Margaret, William, James, Mary, Catherine, Cornelius, John and Julia.

Julia Duggan married Patrick Regan and lived on a farm one-half mile northeast of Clontarf.  Patrick Regan’s parents, John and Mary, came to the United States in 1865 and settled in Massachusetts.  In 1876 they homesteaded in the present Tara Township and had six children viz. Nell, Cornelius, Patrick, Jeremiah, John, and Mary.  Patrick Regan was in the hay business – farming nearly all of the land between Clontarf and Benson.

Originally, William Duggan owned the south 80 acres of the southeast quarter of section 10 and the north 80 acres of the northeast section of section 15.  On the 1886 plat map, William’s mother-in-law, Catherine Credan owned 80 acres in the northeast quarter of section 10. Mrs. Credan died in 1887.

Throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s, son James Duggan’s name appears on William Duggan’s original 160 acres as well as various other parcels in section 10.

William Duggan played an important role in early Clontarf history.  He might even be considered one of the “founding fathers” of Clontarf; his name shows up frequently in early township records.

Located on the eighty acres in section 15 is a schoolhouse – known as the Duggan school, of course.

Continue reading

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Go West

My mom just returned from a trip to Glacier National Park for the Park’s 100th anniversary.  It was a good opportunity to promote her book, recently published by Ramsey County Historical Society –  The Dutiful Son: Louis W. Hill.  Click here for a synopsis of the book and more information.  My mom, Eileen McCormack, did the research for the book.  She worked for a number of years as a curator at the James J. Hill Collection and is one of the most knowledgeable people around in the history of the Hill family. 

(Note: the Hills I mention in this post are not related to the Empire Builder; the name is purely coincidental.)

On her way back to Saint Paul, she stopped in Chinook, Montana and met her cousin Jack O’Brien for the first time.  Their grandmothers were sisters – my mother’s was Annie Hill Regan and Jack’s was Mary Hill O’Brien.

Early on, Mary Hill was one of the big surprises in our research.  We had no idea that Annie had an older sister in Clontarf who arrived from Ireland nearly ten years before Annie.  Below is the Kildare, Ireland church in which the Hill sisters were baptized.

St. Brigid Church Kill, Co. Kildare, Ireland (photo by Regan McCormack)

In 1889, Thomas O’Brien purchased the north eighty acres of the northwest quarter of section 10 in Tara Township.  Tom’s first wife Ann Owens passed away in 1892, and he married Mary Hill in 1894.  Although we have learned much about the O’Brien family, we still are unable to figure out what brought Mary Hill to Clontarf.  We suspect the Catholic Church had something to do with it – where else does a young widower with two small children go for a wife in the late 1800s in Clontarf?  If anyone has any ideas, or if an ancestor of yours followed a similar path to Clontarf, please share your stories and ideas.

By 1914, the O’Brien family moved to Chinook, Montana.  Tom died in 1917 and Mary  in 1924.  A couple of the O’Brien daughters visited Clontarf during the 1920s to spend time with their Aunt Annie, Uncle Neil, and cousin John Regan.  I have previously posted a couple of photographs from the album of one of the O’Brien girls here and here that were taken during such visits to Clontarf.

The eighty acres Thomas O’Brien owned was purchased by Neil Regan in March of 1914.  Neil, Annie, and John Regan lived there until the autumn of 1920 when they moved to a little house on Cashel Street in Clontarf, across the tracks from the Patrick and Julia Regan family.

What did eighty acres cost back then?  In 1889 Thomas O’Brien purchased the parcel for $664.  Neil and Annie Regan sold it for $12,000 in 1920.

In case you were wondering, Mystery Photo #5 could have been the house where the O’Brien family and then the Regan family lived.  It was located on the eighty acres in section 10.  You will have to take my word for it, because a couple of years ago the place burned down.  Good guess, Regan!  Indeed, there is a good chance your grandfather did live in that house.

Next time we will continue our historical jaunt through Tara section 10 by looking at the land owned by the Duggan family.

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Another Corner of Section 10 (plus Mystery Photo #5)

Section 10 in Tara Township figures prominently in my research of the Irish settlers in the Clontarf area.  Personally, I can make several connections to occupants of this single square-mile of land.

The southwest quarter of section 10 was owned by Timothy Galvin on the 1886 plat map.  Mr. Galvin came to Tara Township from County Cork, via Illinois.  A Timothy Galvin appears on the ship manifest on a 1864 sailing from Queenstown, Ireland, and his name appears right next to Patrick Foley and John Regan.  There is a very good chance this is the same Timothy Galvin and he went to Illinois while Foley and Regan headed to New Hampshire.  Coincidence or not, they then met up in Tara Township about fifteen years after arriving in America.

Timothy Galvin’s name appears until 1912 when it is replaced by D.H. Lawler.  But by March 1913, John Regan buys the 160 acres for his son Jerry.  By 1913, my great-great-grandfather John Regan was an old man and had sold his farm in section 7.  The house John had built on the land served as his home until his death in 1924.

Jerry Regan Home Tara Township

Jerry Regan died in 1933, leaving his wife Agnes and six children.  The family moved from the farm the following year.

Jerry wasn’t the only Regan to live in section 10.  Next time we will look at the history of 80 acres in the northwest quarter.

If you grew up in Tara, do you have any memories of this house?

I will leave you with a mystery photo.  If you get this one, you will deserve a special prize!  The real mystery might be…whose finger is that?

Mystery Photo #5

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From Gosson to Ollendick: Tara Section 10

Last week Anne mentioned her curiosity about the Gosson family who once owned the land her parents purchased in the late 1940s.  Read what Anne had to say here.

Her parents purchased two 80 acre parcels that formed a checkerboard pattern across the middle of section 10 in Tara Township.  Let’s take a closer look at the history of those 160 acres…

Looking back through the old plat maps we see that John Gosson was an early settler in Tara Township.  In 1886, he owned the south 80 acres of the northwest quarter of section 10 in Tara and by 1902 he had added the north 80 acres of the southeast quarter to his holdings.  By the time of the 1917 plat map, William Gosson’s name appears on the two 80 acre parcels.  The next map I have access to is 1931 when William Gosson “et al” are shown as owners.  The Gosson family held on to those 160 acres for at least fifty years.

On September 12, 1885 John Gosson called into McDermott General Store for 1 pound of yarn ($1), 10-cents worth of SM oil (is that oil for machinery?), and 4 yards of muslin (.40).  Mr. Gosson could have made the trip into Clontarf with his neighbor from section 8, Patrick Lawler who picked up a spade for $1.15.

There were a couple of other interesting purchases from that day.  A Mr. H.J. Maher bought a pen knife for 75-cents, and Frank McMahon (my great-great-grandfather) picked up a “first reader” for 10-cents and a “second reader” for 20-cents – one of those could have been for my great-grandfather Tom who was nearly seven-years-old in September of 1885.

I love the little peaks into the daily lives of the early settlers that the store ledger provides.

I wonder what ever happened to the Gosson family?

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