Tag Archives: Gosson

Noble Patriot and Irishman

Sandwiched between two legendary figures in Clontarf’s history, Father Anatole Oster and Father Patrick Kenny, was a young priest from Ireland who only served the parish for two years (1899-1901). Little attention is paid to Father McDonald in the history of Clontarf, but judging from letters written by Clontarf resident Stephen Owen, I think he deserves a closer look. (I typed the content of the letters just as it appears in the transcriptions…among other issues, Mr. Owens was not a fan of punctuation.)

Father McDonald

St. Malachy Catholic Church – Clontarf, MN

On December 4, 1899 Stephen Owens writes from Clontarf to his niece in Skerries, County Dublin, Ireland:

Dear Niece Celia I will let you know what this Parish of Ours is doing at Present Our Priest the Rev. Father McDonald is holding a three Days fair in the Town Hall. We have a nice one in the Town for the Benefit of Our Church it is a new one and there is Sixteen Hundred Dollars of a Debt on it so he expects to realize about 5 or 6 Hundred Dollars at this fair and then About two more years would wipe out the Debt on the Church. I think his fair will be a success there is great crowds here those last two nights and we expect a large attendance tonight. Our priest is a Kilkenny Man about 30 years of Age, a fine Man I like him very much he does come see us quite often I and him does have great times nights Playing Checkers he likes to get all the Games he don’t like me to Beat him at all…

This is our introduction to Father McDonald through Mr. Owens’ pen. Already we see that he was responsible for building the new church in Clontarf (the one standing today) and was working hard to pay for it by organizing events such as the fair Mr. Owens mentions. Plus, we learn that he was a competitive checkers player!

On March 19, 1900 Mr. Owens describes the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in town (I highlighted this in an earlier post – click here.) He writes that Father McDonald had been rehearsing the play since January with the young people. Mr. Owens writes, “Our Priest is a Noble Patriot and Irishman.”

On April 1, 1902 Mr. Owens has some sad news to share with his niece. He thanks her for the shamrock she sent him for St. Patrick’s Day and said he gave a sprig to the Priest, but it is a new Priest:

…his name is Rev. Patrick Kenny our beloved Father McDonnoll (sic) was Buried last friday in Calvary Cemetery in the City of Saint Paul. I am awfull sorry to have to tell you this news we will never get the like off him again he was so friendly and sociable I will miss him very much we use to Play so much Checkers in our House Lord have mercy on his soul He dies off Consumption he got a Cough and did not doctor for it until it was to Late he left here last September and went out to the State of Arizona the Doctors sent him there it is a fine climate and thought he would come Back Cured of his Complaint but failed to get his Health he was a fine strong healthy young man I never thought he could be taken away so quick…

I hope Mr. Owens gave Father Kenny a chance. By all accounts he was also a very sociable Priest – he was extremely popular with the Irish families in Tara and Clontarf. He visited folks frequently in their homes and was always ready for a game of cards. Not sure if he played checkers, however.

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Odds and Ends

I would like to share some feedback I have received on a couple of recent posts:

First Communion Photo

Jackie Byrne Doherty and Alice Molony Bird have been pondering the 1929 First Communion photo I posted on October 20th.  They have identified Alice’s father, Leo Molony, as the altar boy holding the cross, and they believe the other altar boy to be Leo Cameron.

Jackie and Alice don’t think this photo is of the 1929 First Communion, because they are unable to locate Kathryn Molony (name misspelled on Church listing) – they have a photo of Kit’s First Communion, so they know who they are looking for!

Please take another look at the photo (click on it to enlarge) and let me know if you recognize any of the children…maybe we can get the correct date.  I was wondering if this could this be a Confirmation group? That would make a bit more sense for the number of people in the group, since by the 1920s, the First Communion groups were becoming rather small.  In 1928, there were only eight: Donal Regan, Edward Daniel, Rose Reardon, Catherine Perrizo, Dorothy Langan, Anna Mae Mikkelson, Bernice Daniel, and Dorothy Hargreaves.  The next time there was a First Communion at St. Malachy’s was 1931 when 38 children were in the group.  Take a look and see if anyone looks familiar…

McDermott General Store Ledger

Margo Ascheman was doing exactly what I do when I look at the pages from the store ledger – trying to match people up to her family tree.

She was interested in the family of frequent shopper Francis McMahon.  He was my great-great-grandfather who came from County Fermanagh, Ireland in 1856.  He settled initially in the Red Wing, MN area, but married Catherine McAndrew from the Ellsworth, WI area.  There were some McMahons in Wisconsin.  Margo’s great-grandfather McGeary married Bridget McMaha(o)n in Monchas, Wisconsin.  Not sure if that is near Ellsworth…need to do a bit more digging on that…

Does anyone have any information on the Galvin family?  Margo, where did Maurice and his wife live?

Now for something new…

I was looking through some obituary clippings I had received from Marlys at the Swift County Historical Society, and I found this tidbit (sorry it is crooked):

Swift County News May 18, 1922

Maybe Margo can tell us how this McGeary is related to her?  Sad news from the Gossons as well.

No one guessed who bought the broom suspiciously close to Halloween in 1883.  You still have time to compile some entries in the September/October drawing.  Every comment is an entry in a drawing for an official Clontarf Prairie Pub T-Shirt!  There will be two winners announced early next week…

Happy Halloween everyone!  Oh, if you have any memories from Halloween in Clontarf, share them!  I bet you guys had  some tricks up your sleeves…

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A Path to Tara Township

 

State House - Concord, New Hampshire (1816)

 

The Patrick Foley family lived just a few blocks from the New Hampshire State House in the Fisherville neighborhood of Concord during the 1870s.  This was before the family settled in Tara Township.  The four Foley children – Timothy, Margaret, Mary, and John – were baptized at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Concord.  Patrick worked at the Concord Axle Works, as well as in a machine shop.

 

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Concord, NH

 

Patrick Foley was able to read and write English, which were unique skills among immigrants from County Cork, Ireland during this period (he immigrated in 1864.)  I knew that Patrick had served as a Tara Township clerk for many years, and I learned in Concord last week that Patrick served as secretary and president for both the St. Patrick’s Benevolent Society and the Catholic Temperance League.

By the 1886 Tara plat map, Patrick Foley owned 80 acres in section 16 and 240 more in section 21.  Matthew Quigley, who also came from Concord, was sandwiched  in between, owning 80 acres in the northeast quarter of section 21.

When Patrick Foley died in October 1913, his pallbearers were, according to his obituary, “Thomas O’Brien, James Flemming, D.F. McDermott, J.L. Doherty, John Gossen, and James O’Donnell.”  All men were either Tara neighbors or fellow pioneer settlers in Clontarf.

I will have more to say about other Tara pioneers who came from Concord once I sort through my research!

 

Photographs taken by Regan McCormack

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This-n-That

Where did the month of September go?  I will announce the September drawing winner later this weekend.  Stay tuned!

Anne had some info on the Roll descendants, read her comment here.  She also had something to say about Jim Gosson here.  Make sure you read all of Anne’s comments…she has tons of great information!

I just received this obituary from Marlys at the Swift County Historical Society.  Mary (Owens) Gosson lived in Section 10 of Tara Township.

Swift County News June 16, 1921

Many of the pall bearers have been mentioned already as residents of section 10 and neighboring parts of Tara.  Neal Regan, James Duggan, William Kenna, David Kent, and John Green.  I am not sure if I mentioned this when I wrote previously about the Gosson family, but I remember Donald and Gerald Regan telling me that when their uncle Jim Duggan was a young man he had a crush on Margaret Gosson.  Jim Duggan never married.  I wonder if Margaret Gosson did?

I am headed to New Hampshire next week, and while there I plan to do a bit of research.  If your family came from Clontarf from New Hampshire and I have not mentioned them, please let me know.

Have a good weekend!

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From Gosson to Ollendick: Tara Section 10

Last week Anne mentioned her curiosity about the Gosson family who once owned the land her parents purchased in the late 1940s.  Read what Anne had to say here.

Her parents purchased two 80 acre parcels that formed a checkerboard pattern across the middle of section 10 in Tara Township.  Let’s take a closer look at the history of those 160 acres…

Looking back through the old plat maps we see that John Gosson was an early settler in Tara Township.  In 1886, he owned the south 80 acres of the northwest quarter of section 10 in Tara and by 1902 he had added the north 80 acres of the southeast quarter to his holdings.  By the time of the 1917 plat map, William Gosson’s name appears on the two 80 acre parcels.  The next map I have access to is 1931 when William Gosson “et al” are shown as owners.  The Gosson family held on to those 160 acres for at least fifty years.

On September 12, 1885 John Gosson called into McDermott General Store for 1 pound of yarn ($1), 10-cents worth of SM oil (is that oil for machinery?), and 4 yards of muslin (.40).  Mr. Gosson could have made the trip into Clontarf with his neighbor from section 8, Patrick Lawler who picked up a spade for $1.15.

There were a couple of other interesting purchases from that day.  A Mr. H.J. Maher bought a pen knife for 75-cents, and Frank McMahon (my great-great-grandfather) picked up a “first reader” for 10-cents and a “second reader” for 20-cents – one of those could have been for my great-grandfather Tom who was nearly seven-years-old in September of 1885.

I love the little peaks into the daily lives of the early settlers that the store ledger provides.

I wonder what ever happened to the Gosson family?

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