Tag Archives: Clontarf

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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Remembering Julia

Julia Duggan Regan passed away 35 years ago today, February 22nd.

Julia was born on the Duggan family farm in Tara Township on July 15, 1885. She was baptized on August 2nd at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Clontarf, with James Kenna and Margaret Duggan as sponsors.  Julia was the youngest child of William and Julia (Creedan) Duggan. The Duggans were among the pioneer Irish settlers of Tara Township who traveled west from Concord, New Hampshire in response to Bishop John Ireland’s Catholic colonization efforts.

Over the past eight years, I have had the pleasure to get to know two of Julia’s sons, Donald and Gerald Regan. Donald and Gerald have shared many stories of growing up in Clontarf. Individually, their memories are sharp, but when you get them together, the brothers play off of one another’s recollections, with amazing results. Without Donald and Gerald I never would have gotten to know my great-grandmother (and their aunt) Annie Hill Regan (click here to read what I learned about Annie.)

From what I have heard about Julia, she was practical, hardworking, and devoted to her children. For all intents and purposes, Julia raised her seven children on her own, and it was an ongoing struggle to provide for the family. But with determination and resourcefulness, Julia did just that…and more. Julia wanted the best for her children, and did what was necessary to provide them with every opportunity. Her children were educated, served in the military, became teachers, and a mayor. Gerald got his start in a railroad career in part on account of his beautiful penmanship – that surely is a sign of a good mother!

Julia was always trying to improve her home, make it more efficient and more comfortable. Apparently, Julia could not bear to see a good outbuilding go to waste and sent Donald and Gerald out to rescue countless unused structures from family and neighbors in the area. Julia had vision – her brother’s old chicken coop would make a perfect garage and that shed from her parent’s place in Tara would be the ideal addition to the hay barn. Like the good sons they were, Donald and Gerald carried out her plans, moving the buildings and setting them up for their new purpose at Julia’s.

Julia Duggan Regan

And to top it off, Julia made delicious doughnuts. I would say she was quite a woman!

Her grandson John Conroy of Hancock has shared a number of historical items with my mom and me over the years. Julia’s older sister Catherine had put together a fantastic postcard collection and a photo album. Most of the people in the album are unknown to me, but there are some great photographs I assume are of Catherine’s sisters and friends. Like this one…

Duggan Family Album, courtesy of John Conroy

The woman on the right resembles Nell Regan (Julia’s future sister-in-law) and the other two could be Margaret and Catherine Duggan. The only photo with anything written on the back is of my great-grandmother’s brother. It says, “To Kate”.

Tim Foley, courtesy of John Conroy

But of all the photographs in this collection, my favorite is a little snapshot that was tucked at the back of the album.

Donald and his sister Kathryn, courtesy of John Conroy

Take a minute today to remember Julia, and if you live in the Clontarf area, you might just run into someone who could tell you a thing or two about the woman who made Clontarf her home for over seventy years.

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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!

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What’s the gift for a 126th wedding anniversary?

We missed their special 125th wedding anniversary last year, so I am giving you a heads up for their 126th.

On February 16, 1886 Michael Conlogue married Ellen Kenna at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Clontarf, Minnesota. Sponsors were John Conlogue and Jane Kenna.

Ellen Kenna was born on June 2, 1863 in Concord, New Hampshire. The Kenna family moved to Tara Township in 1878. Michael Conlogue was born in August of 1858 in Ontario, Canada. He emigrated to the United States in 1884. The couple met in the Lakeville, Minnesota area where Ellen was attending school and boarding with her aunt Kathryn O’Leary, and Michael was working for local farmers. Ellen received her teaching certificate and taught at schools in Clontarf, Tara, and Hegbert townships.

Once married, the couple purchased a 200 acre farm in Tara Township, near the Kenna homestead. They raised eleven children – James, John, Mary, Ann, Jane, Gertrude, Florence, Winifred, Robert, Adeline, and Bernadette. John passed away at ten-days-old,  but the other Conlogue children all graduated high school.

Conlogue Family (photo courtesy of Leo Holl)

You can read more about the Conlogue family here http://clontarfhistory.com/2011/04/09/going-going-gone/ in a post from April 2011.

I would like to share the obituary for James Conlogue, eldest son of Michael and Ellen. It is a great tribute to a man from Tara. I wonder who the schoolmate was who wrote the obituary?

Swift County News - June 29, 1922

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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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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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July @ McDermott General Store

Come on…somebody’s got to have something to say about Mystery Photo #6!  Here is a hint: this tiled floor appeared in a much-beloved and sorely missed Clontarf establishment.  Leave a comment and let me know your answer!  The first correct answer wins a Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirt.  What are you waiting for?

It has been a while since we have taken a look at Mr. McDermott’s ledger.  I wonder what the folks of Clontarf were buying in the Summer of 1883?

On July 4th James Shea outfitted himself with a new pair of overalls for 90-cents, two pair socks for 35-cents, and a pair of suspenders for 40-cents.  John Schinnick was also in the market for new togs, picking up a linen shirt for $1.

A descendant of Timothy Galvin commented on the blog recently.  Her great-great-grandfather stopped in on July 13th for a few supplies: 1/2 gallon lard oil, yeast cakes, matches, and one fence board – all for 90-cents.

I hope that Mrs. James McGary (McGeary?) was O.K. with a 55-cent charge on her account July 30th.  One pound of chewing tobacco went “to her boy”.

We will check back with the ledger in August…

 

 

 

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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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