Monthly Archives: March 2012

Oops…I didn’t mean to do that yet!

To Clontarf History Blog Subscribers:

I apologize for the typo-filled and incomplete post you received in your email. Only excuse is operator error! I just got a new computer and am still getting used to the keyboard.

Please go to the blog to read the complete post on the James Reardon family. 

http://www.clontarhistory.com

Thanks so much and I apologize!

 

Aine 

 

 

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Return to the Reardon Family

Jim from Minneapolis, a reader of the blog with a connection to the Reardon family, sent me a copy of a typed history of the Henry Reardon family. The history was written by Ada E. Johnson. At the end of the five-page document is this note:

Written by Ada E. Johnson, I am now 90 years old and wrote this history at the request of my Grandchildren and great Grandchildren and I have at this time 28 Great Grand Children, Eleven Grandchildren and Two Great great grandchildren and two more in a couple of months.

Ada’s history is valuable, especially for its details of Henry and Bridget Reardon’s early story prior to arriving in Tara Township. We have touched on their story in previous posts on the blog. Jim’s grandfather had a  sister who married into the Reardon family. This branch of the family is addressed in a later addition to the history made by E.B.:

John, born in 1856, was married to Catherine Hogan and they had a son James born in Tara township in 1883. James married Catherine McDonough in 1912 at St. Marys Catholic Church in St. Paul. They had 6 children. Their first, a son Raymond died of diphtheria at 15 mo. Five daughters followed: Gertrude, Florence, Rose, Marjorie, and Eleanor. All were born and raised in Clontarf.

John died in 1934–James died in 1963. Both are buried in the family plot in St. Malachy’s cemetery, Clontarf, Mn. John’s brother Robert and James’ son Raymond are buried beside them.

Catherine “Kate” McDonough Reardon doesn’t get much attention in those paragraphs, but that’s OK…Jim sent some pictures!

Catherine McDonough and James Reardon wedding - 1912

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Kate and James were married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 3, 1912. The couple is seated in the center with the bride’s brother George McDonough on the left and Irene Reardon on the right.

Raymond Reardon - 1914

The couple’s first-born and only son, Raymond died of diphtheria at fifteen months. According to Jim, the family’s home was quarantined during the illness and James’ aunt Mary Donovan came to prepare the baby’s body for burial. Only Mary, Kate, and James were present at the burial.  Diphtheria was highly contagious, so people must have kept their distance until the incubation period was over.

Kate and James lived at the Jack Kent (also known as “Lockwood”, in Tara?) place before moving to the Hurley place (in Clontarf?). Apparently, James’ father John Reardon lived with the couple for a time – click here to read John Reardon’s obituary. I wonder where in Clontarf this photo of Kate was taken?

Kate Reardon - 1937 - Clontarf

When I get to the Swift County Museum in April, I will look up a few more Reardon obits, so I can find out some details on James and Kate’s lives.

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Clontarf Goes Green in 1899

These days it seems everyone celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. Target’s shelves are stocked with strings of  shamrock lights, pot of gold window decals, sparkly green headbands, and leprechaun costumes complete with a long red beard and top hat. Bars put up tents to accommodate the revelers, while the restaurants add corned beef and cabbage specials to their menus. The fountain at the White House is turning green, and I heard even Niagara Falls will be dyed green (is that even possible?)

Let’s put aside the more commercial side of St. Patrick’s Day for a moment and take a look at the March 17, 1899 celebration in Clontarf – the last St. Patrick’s Day of the nineteenth century. By 1899, the children of the original Irish settlers in Clontarf were beginning to marry and start families of their own. Most of this first generation of Clontarf Irish-Americans married fellow Irish-Americans, thus Clontarf’s Irish identity remained strong. A new Ancient Order of Hibernians hall had just been completed in 1899 and would be the venue for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

The March 10, 1899 edition of the Swift County Monitor outlined the events planned in Clontarf for Friday March 17th:

It is fitting the day began with High Mass, since the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, was a holy day in Ireland where attendance at Mass was obligatory. Dinner followed in the Hall. Corned beef and cabbage? Perhaps, or maybe roast turkey or chicken. I am sure there were plenty of potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables as well.

Outdoor sports and listening to a lecture by Father Cahill (anyone know who he was?) must have worked up an appetite. The ladies of Clontarf were back in the kitchen to put on a supper before the dramatic presentation hit the stage. I was interested in learning more about the play, “Shaun Aroon” and a Google search brought me to a newspaper article from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada from 1896. Click here to take a look – it provides a bit more background on the play. It seems “Shaun Aroon” was a popular play by American Charles Townsend. The article says it was considered a “new Irish play” in that it avoids perpetuating stereotypes of the Irish that prevailed in American culture (inebriation, forever fighting the British, etc.)

The cast features familiar names from Clontarf and Tara: Kent, Foley, Hurley, McDonald, Purcell, O’Neill, Maguire, and Donohue. When the play was over, “the floor will be cleared and a dance given.”

I imagine the people of Clontarf had a great time in 1899. How does this St. Patrick’s celebration compare to ones you remember in Clontarf? Any plans for this year?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Beth’s Cakes in Clontarf

More history is coming soon, but in the meantime I want to tell you about the newest business in Clontarf, Minnesota…

Beth’s Cakes opened in February. She bakes cakes, pies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and muffins – all from scratch using only the freshest ingredients.

Check out the website…the cakes look fabulous, and Anne reports that Beth’s products taste just as good as they look (Beth generously brings samples over to the cafe for the locals to enjoy!)

Need a cake for a birthday, anniversary, or graduation? Give Beth a call at 320-226-7058 or send an email to sales@bethscakes.biz.

She also has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/retrotastemoderntwist.

We wish her the best of luck with the new venture and can’t wait to visit!

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