A Sad Day in Tara

The following story appeared in the August 8, 1882 edition of the Benson Times.  This obituary serves as an example of how fragile life was for the pioneer settlers of Clontarf and Tara.  Obituaries from the area tell the sad stories of children who succumbed to whooping-cough and scarlet fever, fathers who died in terrible farm accidents, and mothers who passed away in childbirth and left behind young families.  There are more dramatic deaths as well – a young man who was struck by a train, a little boy who ate poisoned plums, and a Clontarf woman who caught fire.

John Kenna was one of the pioneers in Tara Township, arriving with his family in 1878 from Concord, New Hampshire.  For more on the Kenna family click  here.

John Kenna Obituary 1882

Mr. Kent and Mr. Duggan were neighbors of the Kenna family in Tara as well as being old friends from New Hampshire.  I wonder if there is any further information about this incident in the Benson paper?  I am curious if the Kenna-descended readers had heard this story, and if here are any  family anecdotes surrounding  it?

(Thanks to the  Swift County Historical Society for the obituary!)



Filed under Tara Township

6 responses to “A Sad Day in Tara

  1. Pingback: And you thought pheasant was the only game in Clontarf… « History of Clontarf, Minnesota

  2. Anne Schirmer

    I had not heard that story. Thank you for bringing it to light. So many sad stories that get buried with time, especially if no family remains in the area to remember when……
    I copied a booklet from 1910 (yes, 100 yrs. old now) that was from the collection in Addie (Daniel) Gilbertson attic. It is from the country school she attended in SW Pope County – where most of the French located at that time. Mrs. Charley(Phebeanna) Chevalier and Mrs. Frank (Julia)Fennell were LeDuc sisters that had married in a double ceremony in 1894.
    Both couples were buried in the Clontarf cemetery.
    There had a grand party at the Hall in 1944 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversaries…
    Most of the children listed in the booklet of 1910, with Eva Blackmun as teacher, were the children of Charley & Phoebe and Frank & Julia…They all attended church at St. Malachy in Clontarf…Addie’s (adoptive) mother was Clara Mae Chevalier & Johnny Daniel…
    Addie’s sister was Lucille (also adopted).

  3. Anne Schirmer

    The Kents had a big reunion in 2009 at the Hall in Clontarf. Someone told me they had a large family tree on the wall! (I didn’t see it.) The Doherty girls had a lot to do with organizing the event since their mother was Mary Kent, married John Doherty. I’ll ask when I see one of them.

  4. Jim Egeland

    This story has been passed on down to the Thomas and Jane Irene Kenna Shea descendants family by genealogists in the Kenna family and the story is pretty close to what was in the death notice of John Kenna

  5. Anne Schirmer

    In July 1969, my mother’s brother-in-law died in the same manner on the farm just south of Adrian, MN…

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