Tag Archives: Clontarf

Anne Says: An April Round-Up

I want to make certain everyone sees Anne’s great comments, so from time to time I will compile her thoughts in a new feature…”Anne Says”.

On April 8th, Anne checked in with some local news. I bet the cake was wonderful:

Beth with one of her fabulous creations - visit http://www.beth'scakes.biz

Mary (Reardon) Langan ordered a cake from Beth for her coffee party Tues. March 13, 2012, and Beth made it that morning and delivered it to Mary in Benson at noon, and it was cut and served by 3 pm. Red velvet cake with white frosting and a shamrock in green on it! Mary’s guests were Mary (Manney) Chamberlain, Geneva (Ascheman) Cameron, Donna (Ascheman) Chevalier, Gert (Collins) Bouta, Donna (Fennell) Gode, Cele (Becker) Kent, Clara (Bouta) Brandt, Bonnie (Benham) Smith, and “yours truely”…. Thanks Mary L. We all enjoyed the afternoon. See Pg 3 of the Swift County Monitor this week! (April 4, 2012)
P.S. Bonnie & Ray have a new grandson from their son Justin and wife Lindsay. Nolan Thomas Smith was born Sat. March 24 at RIce Hospital in Willmar. (Justin has an older brother, Thomas). Bonnie’s mother, Bernice (Fennell) Benham lives in Benson. Ray’s mother, Laverne Bouta Smith, passed away just a few years ago.

Also on April 8th, Anne shared a bit about the priests of Clontarf and promises more in the future:

Fr. King was priest at St. Malachy in Clontarf for 33 years. I’ll find his obit and photo for June, okay? Fr. Cooney had grandparents buried at Clontarf so when he was assigned here, he got into the genealogy aspect of things and started planning our 90th celebration (1968) and then the 100th anniversary celebration (1978). Both priests are buried here at Clontarf.

In response to my post on the Reardon family (click here for original entry):

Great idea! More people/families should have their photo taken with the church in the background! I love it! Even after a baptism!….Speaking of babies, Ryan James Beyer was born recently and his mommie’s dad is the son of Marge (Reardon) Klucas.

And lastly, Anne’s reply to a question as to the age of the Clontarf depot. (View the original post here):

Clontarf Depot

Good question! You will see a shadow of a tall structure cast onto the depot…that was another elevator just to the south of the depot! Wayne Klucas answered my question about the two elevators when he said Peavey Elevator (the shadow caster) bought out the other (Cargill or Northwestern by name) and had it moved closer and attached to the Peavey. When the Elevator had spontaneous combustion occur, and the Elevator burned to the ground Sept. 28, 1948, it was a huge fire since it was actually two structures on fire. It was never rebuilt… Marge (Reardon) Klucas, Mel’s wife, told me there was a third smaller elevator to the north of the crossing at Clontarf and it was called the Monarch Elevator. I’m hoping to come across some documentation somewhere sometime that validates this.. Wayne didn’t give me a year when the two elevators were joined, but he remembered watching it, I believe. Wayne just passed away 3 yrs. ago or so. I’ll ask around to see if someone can answer your question. When we were gathering pictures for the 125th celebration here in 2003, we found a picture of the two elevators from the opposite angle(!) in Anna Shinnick’s collection (loaned to us by Tom Connolly’s family).We also have an aerial shot of the town of Clontarf from an airplane(!) and we can see the cattle pen where cattle were held till the train came to take them to market.. May I ask who were your relatives?

Thanks Anne!

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Return to the Reardon Family

Jim from Minneapolis, a reader of the blog with a connection to the Reardon family, sent me a copy of a typed history of the Henry Reardon family. The history was written by Ada E. Johnson. At the end of the five-page document is this note:

Written by Ada E. Johnson, I am now 90 years old and wrote this history at the request of my Grandchildren and great Grandchildren and I have at this time 28 Great Grand Children, Eleven Grandchildren and Two Great great grandchildren and two more in a couple of months.

Ada’s history is valuable, especially for its details of Henry and Bridget Reardon’s early story prior to arriving in Tara Township. We have touched on their story in previous posts on the blog. Jim’s grandfather had a  sister who married into the Reardon family. This branch of the family is addressed in a later addition to the history made by E.B.:

John, born in 1856, was married to Catherine Hogan and they had a son James born in Tara township in 1883. James married Catherine McDonough in 1912 at St. Marys Catholic Church in St. Paul. They had 6 children. Their first, a son Raymond died of diphtheria at 15 mo. Five daughters followed: Gertrude, Florence, Rose, Marjorie, and Eleanor. All were born and raised in Clontarf.

John died in 1934–James died in 1963. Both are buried in the family plot in St. Malachy’s cemetery, Clontarf, Mn. John’s brother Robert and James’ son Raymond are buried beside them.

Catherine “Kate” McDonough Reardon doesn’t get much attention in those paragraphs, but that’s OK…Jim sent some pictures!

Catherine McDonough and James Reardon wedding - 1912

K

Kate and James were married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 3, 1912. The couple is seated in the center with the bride’s brother George McDonough on the left and Irene Reardon on the right.

Raymond Reardon - 1914

The couple’s first-born and only son, Raymond died of diphtheria at fifteen months. According to Jim, the family’s home was quarantined during the illness and James’ aunt Mary Donovan came to prepare the baby’s body for burial. Only Mary, Kate, and James were present at the burial.  Diphtheria was highly contagious, so people must have kept their distance until the incubation period was over.

Kate and James lived at the Jack Kent (also known as “Lockwood”, in Tara?) place before moving to the Hurley place (in Clontarf?). Apparently, James’ father John Reardon lived with the couple for a time – click here to read John Reardon’s obituary. I wonder where in Clontarf this photo of Kate was taken?

Kate Reardon - 1937 - Clontarf

When I get to the Swift County Museum in April, I will look up a few more Reardon obits, so I can find out some details on James and Kate’s lives.

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Clontarf Goes Green in 1899

These days it seems everyone celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. Target’s shelves are stocked with strings of  shamrock lights, pot of gold window decals, sparkly green headbands, and leprechaun costumes complete with a long red beard and top hat. Bars put up tents to accommodate the revelers, while the restaurants add corned beef and cabbage specials to their menus. The fountain at the White House is turning green, and I heard even Niagara Falls will be dyed green (is that even possible?)

Let’s put aside the more commercial side of St. Patrick’s Day for a moment and take a look at the March 17, 1899 celebration in Clontarf – the last St. Patrick’s Day of the nineteenth century. By 1899, the children of the original Irish settlers in Clontarf were beginning to marry and start families of their own. Most of this first generation of Clontarf Irish-Americans married fellow Irish-Americans, thus Clontarf’s Irish identity remained strong. A new Ancient Order of Hibernians hall had just been completed in 1899 and would be the venue for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

The March 10, 1899 edition of the Swift County Monitor outlined the events planned in Clontarf for Friday March 17th:

It is fitting the day began with High Mass, since the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, was a holy day in Ireland where attendance at Mass was obligatory. Dinner followed in the Hall. Corned beef and cabbage? Perhaps, or maybe roast turkey or chicken. I am sure there were plenty of potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables as well.

Outdoor sports and listening to a lecture by Father Cahill (anyone know who he was?) must have worked up an appetite. The ladies of Clontarf were back in the kitchen to put on a supper before the dramatic presentation hit the stage. I was interested in learning more about the play, “Shaun Aroon” and a Google search brought me to a newspaper article from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada from 1896. Click here to take a look – it provides a bit more background on the play. It seems “Shaun Aroon” was a popular play by American Charles Townsend. The article says it was considered a “new Irish play” in that it avoids perpetuating stereotypes of the Irish that prevailed in American culture (inebriation, forever fighting the British, etc.)

The cast features familiar names from Clontarf and Tara: Kent, Foley, Hurley, McDonald, Purcell, O’Neill, Maguire, and Donohue. When the play was over, “the floor will be cleared and a dance given.”

I imagine the people of Clontarf had a great time in 1899. How does this St. Patrick’s celebration compare to ones you remember in Clontarf? Any plans for this year?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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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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