Tag Archives: French-speaking

Just passing through…

At least one Frenchman other than Father Oster went to McDermott’s store…yesterday in 1885 (August 10th), Frank Goulet bought some tobacco and matches from Mr. McDermott.

I am sure I am just missing pages with other French shoppers since we were looking for Irish residents in our research and didn’t copy every page of the ledgers, however, Mr. Goulet is one of the first Frenchman I found.  My hunch is that the French-speaking residents of Clontarf may have done their regular business at another store.  Anyone have an idea where that might have been?

I wanted to include the Goulet family history here, but I couldn’t locate anything this far back, nor could I find a Frank Goulet.  Can anyone out there claim Frank Goulet as an ancestor?  I bet Anne can help us out with this one!  From what I can gather, the first Goulet to live in Clontarf was Ernest George (married Marie Boutain at St. Malachy’s in 1931), and he came from Hancock.

Later this week, maybe I will tackle the Boutain family…


Filed under French, McDermott's General Store

The Usual Suspects

Every time I look at a page in the McDermott General Store ledger, I recognize more of the customer names, and I could even tell you a little bit about them (at the very least I could tell you about their shopping habits!)

Saturday August 1, 1885 saw many of the regular customers at McDermott’s store: Frank McMahon, Timothy Cain, Richard McGraw, Martin McAndrew, Mrs. Jane Kenna, John Regan, and Michael Shea.  John Casey (we have heard from his descendant on the blog) spent $4.60 on a variety of items including four cups and saucers (.40) and a sack of flour (2.50).

While all other staples regularly appear in the ledger, flour is rarely purchased.  Does anyone have an idea why this is the case?  I wonder if there was a flour mill somewhere nearby where the residents of the Clontarf area bought their flour?

Two names in the ledger on this day that I know nothing about are Patrick Lynch and Patrick Daily.  Does anyone know about either of these two two families?

One more thing about the McDermott ledger…

Although I don’t have a complete copy of the ledger, I am curious where the French residents of Clontarf did their shopping, since their names very seldom appear.  It could very well be that I am missing those pages, but it seems curious to me that they never show up.  Any ideas on this topic?

I will announce the winner of the drawing tomorrow.


Filed under McDermott's General Store

Daniel Family: Pioneer Clontarf Settlers

The Daniel family is an example of the settlers who came to Clontarf before the railroad and before it was even Clontarf.  These families were truly pioneers.

This entry in the Swift County History book has an interesting bit at the end.  I wonder if the French-speaking residents of Clontarf would travel to Benson to hear these sermons on Sundays? 

Isadore and Celemia Daniel

Isadore Daniel and his wife, Celemia arrived in the Clontarf area by oxcart in 1870 having moved here from Waverly, Minnesota, where many French-Canadians had settled earlier.  Homesteading on a farm in Hoff Township, Isadore and his wife would trade farm commodities such as eggs and milk for moccasins and beadwork made by the Indian families living along the Chippewa River.  Isadore and Celemia Daniel had eight children: Joseph, Elisabeth, Rosalie, Helen, Delma, Eugene, John, and Mena.  John married Clara Chevalier.

John and Clara Daniel had a daughter Adrance, who married George Gilbertson.  George and Adrance farmed in Hoff Township and in 1950 they opened the Clontarf Club which they operated for ten years.  The Clontarf Club is still in existence (in 1979).

It might be mentioned that the original members of the family of Isadore and Celemia, along with the many French-Canadians who moved into this area in the 1870’s were French-speaking.  For that reason the first priest in Clontarf in 1878 was also French in background, Father Oster, and when the first church was built in Benson by Father Oster in 1881, the sermons were principally in French.

I  bet Anne might have a few things to add about the Daniel family history…

And if you have anything to contribute, please comment on this post!


Filed under Clontarf, Early Settlers, Family Histories, French