This obituary appeared in the January 17, 1919 edition of the Swift County Monitor. James Fleming’s homestead was the northwest 160 acres of section 22 in Tara Township. Among the Flemings immediate neighbors in 1902 were the Fentons, the Kennas, the McMahons, the Gallaghers, and the Foleys. The Galvins lived about a mile away.
In a Fleming family history, Robert Galvin writes about his grandfather’s heritage and life. James was the son of Irish immigrant parents in Syracuse, New York. At the age of nine he was orphaned when his parents and two siblings died of cholera after moving west to Ohio (1854). James was a drummer boy in the Civil War briefly until his true age was discovered and he was released. James worked for the railroad until the lure of free land brought him to Minnesota and Tara Township where he filed for homestead.
There is a great description of his first months in Tara Township and how he met his wife Delia Cooney. Let me know if you want to see more and I will share it…
James Fleming’s wife, Bridget “Delia” Cooney, came to Boston from County Galway, Ireland in 1872. Eventually, she made her way west arriving in Saint Paul in 1879. The story has her working for Henry Sibley and being friends with a girl named Mary who would marry James J. Hill.
Delia sounds like a great woman – self-reliant, tough, witty, and a great storyteller. Before I came across this history, full of information on the Flemings, Donald and Gerald Regan told me that a wake in Tara or Clontarf didn’t really get started until Mrs. Fleming arrived. Robert writes how she “loved to talk and tell Irish fairy tales…and ghost stories.” It all matched up.
Does anyone have photographs of the Flemings? I would love to see a picture of Delia, because she and my great-grandmother Annie Regan were reportedly friends, and I have some snapshots with LOTS of unidentified people who could be Flemings. Please let me know! Leave
a comment or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I still have a few XXL Clontarf Prairie Pub t-shirts to give away. I will do a drawing of the people who have subscribed to the blog – new subscribers and existing subscribers. The competition will close on Sunday night (8-21) at 10pm, so if you haven’t yet subscribed to clontarfhistory.com, do so now and be entered in the drawing. I will announce the lucky winner on Monday.