Tag Archives: Chevalier

The Clontarf Grace Avenue Theatre Proudly Presents…

Anne Schirmer shared this gem with me on my last visit to Clontarf in April:

A Jack Langan Production.

Anne had a chat with Mary Reardon Langan, wife of play producer Jack Langan, and Mary shared some of her memories of the play…

Mary said the action of the play centered around a game of Buck Euchre, which apparently was a big part of “a typical business day in Clontarf” during the 1920s and 1930s!  The actors are listed on the left and each portrayed a Clontarf resident from back in the day.  A couple of guys (Bob Perrizo and Jim Benoit) did double-duty playing two characters.  Jack based the play on his first-hand observations of these Clontarf businessmen and card players, according to Mary.

Mary also remembered some of the special guest celebrities: Brother Bones was played by Dick Perrizo, and The Dolly Sisters were Gretchen and Robbie Apitz.  This must have been quite a production!  I bet the people of Clontarf really enjoyed themselves.  I love the idea of an old-fashioned basket social.

A couple of other notes from Mary…

  • The first actor on the list should be Jerry Goulet, not aTerry.
  • “Gus’s” Place refers to Gus Heschke’s.
  • Sis Mikkelson was responsible for creating many plays in Clontarf over the years, especially St. Patrick’s Day productions.

Anyone out there remember this play, or events like this in Clontarf?  I am not sure if Mary and Anne came up with a year for this…maybe the late 1950s?  I must say that I am impressed by Mr. Langan’s production, and I would love to know about others he presented in Clontarf over the years.  Please share any memories you have by leaving a comment.  Let me know if you have any photos from this time (school photos, baseball team, etc.) or any other momentos…it would be great to see them.

Many thanks to Anne and Mary!

Have a great weekend!


Filed under Clontarf

Clontarf Valentine

Anne sent me this story that appeared in the January/February 1989 issue of the Swift County Historical Society Newsletter.  It might be mild now, but read what can happen…

A Valentine Snow Storm

It was a calm, mild beautiful morning with just a dusting of snow on the ground that Feb.. 13, 1923.  Sylvia Walsh, (later Sylvia Chevalier) teacher of rural school District #68 in Sec. 7, Clontarf Twp., was walking along the new road to school in high spirits.  The weather was great, she had a wonderful boarding place at the Peter Razink farm, and then too, she was eagerly looking forward to the Valentine dance in Clontarf the next evening.   School was called at 9:00 am.  Opening exercises were over, the children had settled down, and the day’s work had begun. “All of a sudden there was a thunderbolt or an explosion.  A storm had hit!  All at once, the snow came down in sheets, the wind blew with a tremendous force, and there was a blizzard so thick that no one could see anything.  Sylvia said, “Looking out the window, you couldn’t see anything except the window!”   The children immediately became alarmed.  There was no telephone at the school house.  Sylvia soothed her pupils saying, “Oh no! We are going to save our lunches and have a good time!”   “About half an hour later, in walked Oliver Goulet and his hired man.”  The Goulets lived just across the road from the school house.  The men had tied a clothesline rope to the door of the Goulet house, and then proceeded across the road to the school house.  Mr. Goulet calling out jovially, “You are all going to come with us, and you are going to stay with us.”   Not much more was said, the preparations were made to leave.  Sylvia banked the stove and then told the children, “We’ll make valentines.”  They got together all kinds of construction paper, colored crayons, pencils, scissors, and paste to take with them to the Goulet’s home.  Each one carried a lunch pail,  Sylvia and the hired man carried the valentine makings.  Sylvia locked the school house door.  The men tied the clothesline rope securely to the door knob and the procession started on the trek across the road with each person holding onto the line.  Mr. Goulet was first, then the older children, the younger children followed, with Sylvia and the hired man bringing up the rear.  The smaller children would stumble, and the others would help them up.  All of them kept their hands on the clothesline, moving slowly ahead, and not being able to see anything for the driving snow.   Finally they got to the house.  Mrs. Goulet, smiling reassuringly, opened the door and invited them in.  “And all the children trotted in with their overshoes on.”The first thing they did was to sit down and eat their lunches.  The fun started; they began making valentine.  “All the children were happy, I know that,” said Sylvia.   Mrs. Goulet made supper for everyone, and then made beds for them.  One girl said that there were six in her bed, all lying crosswise.  Everyone was thankful to be safe and warm, and besides that, they were enjoying themselves.   The storm kept on with no let up for three days.  Poor Mrs. Goulet cheerfully kept cooking.  Their newly married daughter happened to be there, so she was snowed in along with the rest.  She helped her mother take care of the 18 extra people.  Finally the groceries started to run out, but Mrs. Goulet made pancakes, and more pancakes, which everyone enjoyed.  There was no problem with the children.  They were having fun!  They played games including “Button, button. Who’s got the button?”  Mr. Goulet played the violin, and they sang songs they had learned in school.   The storm was over the morning after the third day.  The fathers came with horses and sleighs to get the children.  By that time, there was no wind at all and it was not so very cold.   Due to the graciousness of their hosts and the ingenuity of their teacher, the children had no anxiety at all.  “It was like they were on a three-day picnic.”    One little girl didn’t want to go home!   The snow was piled high and hard.  Sylvia climbed over a snow drift which was higher than the chicken coop, and started out walking to her boarding place.  No doubt she was reflecting on the experience of the past three days.   This was Sylvia’s first school and she taught there for six years.  She also taught several others schools in the county.  She was married to Oliver Chevalier and after their family was raised, she taught for twelve years in the Beaver Lake School in Maplewood, St. Paul before her retirement.   One this is certain,—neither she, her pupils,the Goulets, or the parents, every forgot the February blizzard of 1923.

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The Chevalier Expert

Genealogists amaze me.  I have a great deal of respect for people who display the kind of commitment necessary to painstakingly research every detail of a family tree and compile a comprehensive family history.  Successful genealogists manage to stay on task and persevere even after encountering countless obstacles and dead-ends along the way.

Donna from Benson, Minnesota is one of these dedicated genealogists.  Shortly after we started this blog, I realized that, while I knew a fair amount about the history of the Irish in Clontarf, I knew very little about the other residents of the town.  Donna has become my go-to resource for information on some of those families.  She has compiled a tremendous amount of genealogy research on her own family – the Aschemans, as well as her husband’s family – the Chevaliers.

There have been many inquiries about various branches of the Chevalier family over the past several months.  If you don’t read the comments on the various posts, you are missing some great feedback and stories about Clontarf.  Click here to read the post about the Chevalier family and make sure you scroll down and read Donna’s comment.

Anne’s comments are not to be missed, either.  She shares great stories and information all of the time.  At the bottom of each post, at the right, is a place you can click to read the comments.  It will have a balloon and say “comments” if any have been left.  Simply click on “comments” and you will learn even more about Clontarf.

And remember, if you are looking for something specific on the blog, use the Search function located at the top right, below the photograph of the train station.

Many thanks to Donna for sharing all of her hard work with us!  Have a great weekend!


Filed under Family Histories

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


Filed under Early Settlers, Family Histories, French

School Picture and Altar Boys

It’s been a few weeks and I haven’t received much input on the Clontarf class photo I posted (see post here.)

Here’s the photo again:

Clontarf Class Photo

Tressa Burns (whose grandparents Charles and Phoebe Chevalier lived in Clontarf) had a few identification ideas:

  • Back row – boy on the left with hair parted down the middle – Phious Chevalier
  • Back row – girl on right with curly hair – Dela Fredrickson
  • Middle row – girl in dark dress, left of center – Louise Chevalier; boy to her left – “Red” Regan
  • Front row – seated in the middle in white shirt – Raymond Burns

Several years ago, my mother and I identified several of the students with the help of some former Clontarf residents.  Here’s what they told us:

  • Back row – starting fourth from left, light-haired girl Marie Fredrick, Susanna Olson, Agnes Fennell (taller), Loretta Foley, Marie Boutain, unknown with face turned, Alice Chamberlain
  • Middle row – fourth from right, dark dress is Florence Johnson, to the right is Emeline Mikkelson
  • Front row – seated, third from left is Thomas McCarthy, fourth from left is a Chevalier or a Fennell, sixth from the left is Herman Fredrickson?

Nothing really matches up with the two attempts at identifying these students, but the only conflict is the boy Tressa said was her cousin Raymond Burns and our informants said could be a Chevalier or a Fennell.  But that is kind of close, anyway!  Tressa identified my grandfather “Red” Regan, and I don’t see him, but it is neat that she thought of him! JoAnn – does your mother have any memories of John “Red” Regan, or maybe even of his mother?  They lived right in Clontarf.

Take a look at the photo again and see if these identification suggestions jog your memory a bit.  If you need clarification, please leave a comment and I will do my best.

Another photo to ponder…

1920 St. Malachy Altar Boys

If the date is correct, that would be Father Kenny, and it looks like him.  I have some of the boys identified, but I would like to hear what you think.  I will share who I have identified in a couple of days.


Filed under Clontarf

New! Good times at the Clontarf Club!

I just added a page devoted to the Clontarf Club!  Just click on Clontarf Club, up near the top of the page, between the title and the photograph of the depot.

Anne had the fantastic idea of having a celebration to honor the legendary spot in Clontarf.  We want to hear your memories, so please reply on the Clontarf Club page or here or anywhere on the blog…we will get it in the right place!

Not much input on the school photo I posted last time.  JoAnn from Phoenix and her mother Tressa Burns (granddaughter of Charles and Phoebe Chevalier) had a few ideas.  I will share them over the weekend.

Speaking of Tressa Burns…JoAnn and her sister are putting together an album for their mom with photographs of her own personal history.  Let me know if you have any photos or memories to share.  Tressa spent a lot of time in Clontarf, since her grandparents Charles and Phoebe ran the hotel in town.

You can always email me: clontarfhistory@gmail.com if you have any questions or suggestions for the blog.  If you have photos or anecdotes you want to share, send them my way.  I will add them to the blog for all the world to see!


Filed under Clontarf, Clontarf Club


Eileen was the only one who ventured a guess on the price of a broom at McDermott’s Gerneral Store in 1885.  She guessed 19 cents.  The broom actually set Patrick Langan back 30 cents.  That means Eileen wins 5 bonus entries in the September drawing!

And the winner of the August drawing is…

Donna Chevalier

I sent you an email, Donna, but if you don’t get it, contact me at: clontarfhistory@wordpress.com.

Keep those comments coming and thanks for reading!

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