The Boutain Family & Clontarf’s “Hay Day”

This history appeared in the Clontarf anniversary booklet from 1978.  It contains a great story about when it was all about hay in Clontarf.

Edward Boutain, Sr. Family History

Edward Sr. was born in 1852 in Quebec Province, Canada.  He married Belsimire Mercier and came to Clontarf in 1900.  The family operated the Clontarf Hotel with their sons helping with the livery stable while the daughters worked in the restaurant.  The children born to Edward Boutain, Sr. and Belsimire were: Delvina, Georgiana, Thomas, Edward Jr. who married Mary O’Brien (Leona, William, Maire, Lucille, and Edward), Rosie, Leona, Clara, and Annie.

Edward Boutain, Jr. and his brother Thomas were engaged in the hay business at Clontarf during the early 1900s when Clontarf was the Hay Capital of the World.  Leona remembers how the farmers would squabble (fight) for the railroad cars as they came into Clontarf to pick up hay with many farmers running out to meet the train as it neared Clontarf – and climbing into the cars while on the move to claim them for their hay.

Everyone in Clontarf during this time was involved in the hay business.  If you weren’t growing hay, then you were buying and selling it.  I am sure my great-grandfather was not the only one in Clontarf to lose the “fortune” he made in hay nearly as quick as he made it.

I think I have mentioned before that we have quite a large collection of photographs which roughly date from 1900-1910.  Most of the photographs are formal and feature men and women who are well-groomed and in their Sunday best, bright-eyed and ready for the camera.  But there are a couple of the photos where the mood is much more relaxed – hats are askew, suits are  sloppy, and posture is slouched.  I have a hunch that it isn’t a coincidence that these are all-male group photos.  We have heard plenty of stories of farmers who went into town after a good harvest or market and didn’t come home for a week…maybe they stopped off at Brandmo’s for a photo so they would remember it when the week was up?

The man seated on the left is my great-grandmother’s brother Tim Foley, and the man standing on the right is my great-grandfather’s brother Jack Regan.  I am not sure about the other two guys.  Maybe they are Boutains?  Any guesses?

I’ve always kind of liked this one.

Four Guys from Clontarf



Filed under Clontarf, Family Histories

2 responses to “The Boutain Family & Clontarf’s “Hay Day”

  1. Anne Schirmer

    Simon Conaty was also from Quebec area…hmmmm

    Leona Boutain married Alec Benoit. They raised their family north of Clontarf 2 mi. maybe, where the St. Paul Industrial School for Boys had been, as I understand it. Correct me if I am wrong…
    Wm. Boutain married Gladys Swanson and raised their children a mi. or two w. of Benoits.
    Lucille married Vince Caron and raised their family north of Marshall.
    Ed (III) married Ileta Wagner and those children were raised, again, west of Benoit’s farm a couple miles.
    Marie married (____) Goulet (you say GooLAY, some say (GOOlet) and raised a family, but I’m not sure where…I need to ask MaryLu Minchow, her daughter… I saw her today. She stopped by the Nursing Home to greet a friend…
    I didn’t know these people were related when I was a youngster. It’s fun to learn the stories of these families and where are they now… One of my best friend in elementary school (Clontarf) was Jeanna Boutain, the youngest of Ed & Ileta’s. We’d take turns sleeping over at each other’s home. Good times!

  2. Anne Schirmer

    Marie Boutain married Ernest Goulet.

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