Monthly Archives: July 2011

July @ McDermott General Store

Come on…somebody’s got to have something to say about Mystery Photo #6!  Here is a hint: this tiled floor appeared in a much-beloved and sorely missed Clontarf establishment.  Leave a comment and let me know your answer!  The first correct answer wins a Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirt.  What are you waiting for?

It has been a while since we have taken a look at Mr. McDermott’s ledger.  I wonder what the folks of Clontarf were buying in the Summer of 1883?

On July 4th James Shea outfitted himself with a new pair of overalls for 90-cents, two pair socks for 35-cents, and a pair of suspenders for 40-cents.  John Schinnick was also in the market for new togs, picking up a linen shirt for $1.

A descendant of Timothy Galvin commented on the blog recently.  Her great-great-grandfather stopped in on July 13th for a few supplies: 1/2 gallon lard oil, yeast cakes, matches, and one fence board – all for 90-cents.

I hope that Mrs. James McGary (McGeary?) was O.K. with a 55-cent charge on her account July 30th.  One pound of chewing tobacco went “to her boy”.

We will check back with the ledger in August…

 

 

 

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New Sign & Mystery Photo

Clontarf, Minnesota (Anne Schirmer 2011)

Look at the great new sign welcoming residents and visitors to Clontarf!  The sign went up last month and is the Clontarf Haymakers 4H Club Community Pride project for 2011.  Great job!

I don’t remember where we left off with the Mystery Photo feature…let’s say #6.  What can you tell me about this one?  Anne shared this photo with me when we were in town last time…so she knows what it is!

Mystery Photo #6

What Clontarf building was home to this?  If you know, please leave a comment.  The first correct answer will receive one of the few remaining Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirts!

By the way…how did St. Malachy Church Summerfest go earlier this month?  I hope it was a success!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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She Liked Nice Things

Annie, ca. 1900

Until my mom and I began researching our family history in 2004, this was about all I knew of my great-grandmother Annie Hill Regan – she liked nice things.  And we wouldn’t have learned much more if it wasn’t for Donald and Gerald Regan.  Donald and Gerald are Clontarf natives who grew up across the railroad tracks from Annie, her husband Neil, and my grandpa John.  Over the past seven years, Donald and Gerald have shared their memories of life in Clontarf.  Working as a team, one brother fills in the blanks when the other can’t quite recall a name or detail.  They are really quite remarkable, and their memories are a treasure!

In the August/September 2011 issue of Irish America magazine, I wrote about how we learned about Annie, guided by our chats with Donald and Gerald.  Click here to read the article online.

Here are the two photos I mention in the piece:

Annie Hill and Cornelius Regan, wedding -- 1911

Neil, Annie, and John Regan -- 1915

Perhaps there is a mysterious figure in your family tree?  Sometimes it just takes a little bit of digging, but you can uncover the story behind the mystery.  In our case, talking to people who knew Annie along with researching census returns, church records, newspapers, and other public documents helped us answer questions we thought would remain unanswered forever.  A little luck never hurt, either!

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Wonder who the “dry” votes were?

Hancock Record (compliments of Anne Schirmer)

Judging from some of the stories I have heard about Clontarf, it comes as no surprise that a wet-dry vote would have this outcome!  Readers contributed comments to my post earlier this year on the Clontarf Club referencing the days of bootleg whiskey in Clontarf – click here to read the post and comments.  I am a little confused as to when Prohibition was repealed – I thought it was later in 1933.  This autumn there will be a new Ken Burns documentary on PBS, Prohibition.  I guess I will learn more about it then!

This clipping is from 1933, the year my grandpa John Regan graduated high school.  After graduation, he worked behind the bar at Bruno Perrizo’s in Clontarf.  This photo was taken some time during his tenure at Perrizo’s (the apron and the train in the background tipped my grandma off to the time-frame and place.)

Leo Molony and John Regan (1933-35)

Leo Molony (in the hat) and my grandpa grew up in Clontarf together.  When I met Kit Molony Doherty in 2004, one of the first things she told me was the story of how my grandpa saved her brother Leo’s life.

When the boys were about ten-years-old, they were playing “cowboys” with several other boys from town in McDermott’s pasture.  We can imagine them having a grand old time – riding the cattle and doing tricks.  The fun ended when Leo Molony was poked in the eye by a horn.  Scared of the blood and the prospect of being caught goofing around where they ought not be, the boys quickly scattered.  Leo and John were left alone in the pasture.

Kit said she remembers the howl let out by her mother when she saw John with one arm propping Leo up and his other hand pressed to Leo’s face.  There was blood everywhere, and my grandpa was holding Leo’s eye in place in the socket.

Leo lost vision in the eye, but a doctor was able to perform surgery so he didn’t lose the eye itself.  Kit said how grateful her family was to my grandpa for taking care of Leo that day.  She said his presence of mind not only saved Leo’s eye, but probably saved his life.

Somehow I don’t think John received a hero’s welcome when he returned home to his mother after his cowboy adventures!  I wonder if the boys learned their lesson about trespassing in McDermott’s pasture?

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A couple of notes…

  • The winner of the June drawing is…Mary D’Agati! I will send you an email to get your address for your Official Clontarf Prairie Pub T-shirt.  Congratulations and thanks for the comments!
  • Speaking of t-shirts…any ideas about a design for a new Clontarf t-shirt?  Let me know what you think (leave a comment.)
  • St. Malachy Summerfest is this Sunday July 10th.  This is a fundraiser for the Church.  Anne Schirmer has donated some lovely photographs of area farm places that will be for sale.
  • Monday July 11th is the Annual Meeting for Swift County HIstorical Society.  This year’s meeting and dinner will be held in DeGraff, Minnesota, and museum director Marlys Gallagher will present a program on the Catholic Colonization Bureau settlements in Swift County.

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