What We Know About the Lane’s Trip to Iowa
Although Jane Lane’s obituary says the family spent time in Fulton, Illinois, it must not have been a very long time. I suspect they were in Fulton from 1853 to 1855, because the next documentation for the family is in 1855 when Daniel Lane and Ellen Connors Dailey buy land in the Dubuque land office in October of 1855.
Before that event, however, the Lanes were present at the sad death from cholera of their friend Patrick Dailey. In a letter to Will Dailey, Patrick’s son, written by Jane Lane Hyde in 1903, she describes the deathbed scene in beautiful and poignant detail. (I suspect that Will had been hoping to locate his father’s grave site in Dubuque and erect a tombstone for him.) Jane responds that his grave is probably no longer there, but reassures him that his father had been well taken care of at the time of his death.
For the sake of space, I’ll copy my transcription of Jane’s letter here. The photocopy of the original is hard to read, but I’d be happy to share the photocopy if anyone would like to see it.
Jane Lane Hyde’s letter to her uncle Will Dailey from 1903:
Sept, 23, 1903
My dear cousin Will & family,
Your letter received yesterday and so I will write awhile now. I am very glad that Minnie is better & that all is well with all of you. I had met the girls one day at the fair & they said she was sick and we have been considerably worried about her, but I trust now that she will soon be in her usual health. Crop conditions and weather are about the same here as with you. We had our frost Thurs night after yours of Tues and the potatoes are badly rotting, but it won’t take a great quantity for our family but it’s bad for all, but we have to take things as they come in this world of ours. We are all as well as usual & things are about the same.
I was surprised at your wishes in regard to your father that you never saw or knew. It is certainly very kind & good of you but it can’t be done. I will tell you of his sickness & burial & auntie says he was buried just as well & respectably as you or anyone else will be. We came into Dubuque May 1855. I don’t know the date. We rented a couple of rooms in a widow woman’s house that year. If you look it up the cholera was raging and it was a regular panic there and all along the river people were dieing[sic] every hour of the day. A few days after Beecher & wife & little boy & Jasn[sic]Tobin, your father, mother & Jim came on the boat towards evening & we we met them & went to our rooms. The men all slept upstairs & of course I was with my father. In the night your father was taken with diaherea[sic] & vomiting. He kept getting up & going out until he fell on the floor. Then they were all up & the the owner of the house came in the room & as soon as she saw him she said “he has the cholera” & told where to go for a good doctor which he had immediately but he steadily failed. The next day the priest was sent for & came & prayed & prepared your father for death which he said would soon come & the Priest came a couple of times during the day but towards evening we were all there. Your mother & auntie were on each side of the bed & I stood at the foot with Jim in my arms. I remember it well how wistfully your father when he was beyond speech would look from auntie & your mother at Jim & I leaned over him & he kissed Jim & he very soon passed over to the other shore where I trust he is safe & better off. With the panic there was, the landlord wanted him buried that night as was the custom there then, but they objected so strongly & made such a fuss that she dropped it. He was made ready and the next morn was taken to the Catholic church. There were two Priests there & said Mass & he was buried up on the hill in the catholic cemetery near a big tree. I don’t think there was any plot bought, as I never hear of it. Your mother paid the Priest for his services and that was all. Then we expected to get right away, but Beecher’s little boy died & I expect was buried near your father but I am not sure of that. but I will ask Beecher when I see him, which is very seldom & the poor man is losing his sight. Grace sees he & Mary Ann once in a while at the depot. I got the cholera then and died but they did not bury me, so here I am yet.
I have rambled from your question but you can give up any thought of a monument & your father is just as well off, as several years ago when Johnny Reegan was attending school as Dubuque he was in here & your mother was here and she & auntie were inquiring about the cemetery there & telling him what part your father was buried & he said “Bless you that cemetery is not there at all now as the city grew that way & the cemetery was moved father out & where it was are fine residences now.” I suppose that many that were there were never removed but they will rest just as well. So my dear cousin, give the thought of a monument up. Your father is just as well off as everything was done for him that could have been done. Your mother & auntie were satisfied as he had the attention & rites of the church from the Priest before & after his death. I hope this will be satisfactory to you. I may see Beecher some time & I will talk with him about it & if I learn anything new I will write & inform you.
With love from auntie & all to you all, I remain as always your loving cousin.
Jane L. Hyde
(in pencil written at the top of the letter: “Your aunt Mary Conners also came to Dubuque when your people & Beechers came.”)
Side note: The Beecher, Sheehan and Tobin families also came from Ireland and seemed to be part of the group which traveled together.
Daniel Lane Buys Land
According to this document, Daniel Lane bought 160 acres of land located in Mitchell County, Iowa on October 15, 1855 and his land patent is number #30.485. Ellen Dailey, widow of Patrick, also bought land on the same date. She bought 40 acres in Mitchell County and hers is #30.486. The fact that the numbers are sequential leads me to believe that they stood in line together at the Dubuque land office and bought their land at the same time. It must have been bittersweet for them—to have gotten this far in their plan without Patrick.
Lanes in Mitchell County, Iowa
The next time we find the Lane family is the 1856 census for Mitchell County, Iowa. Living with them are Ellen Dailey, her son James and son Patrick (William’s middle initial was P., so perhaps his middle name was Patrick and they were calling him that. That the families were living together in 1856 again confirms the Dailey family legend that Ellen and her children lived with the Lanes after Patrick died.
Here is a copy of the 1856 census:
The next time we find the Lane family is the 1860 census. By this time, Ellen Dailey has remarried and moved in with her new husband, Samuel Coon.
The Lanes in the 1860 census in Mitchell County, Iowa:
Daniel Lane in the Civil War
And finally, Daniel Lane, at age 44 enlisted as a soldier in the Civil War. I wonder why a man of his age did such a thing. Yet another question for which we may never have an answer.
Here is the information I have about his enlistment, service and death. I suspect his widow’s pension file would have more information, but I have yet to order that from NARA.
Daniel T. Lane (Union)
Biographical data and notes:
- Born in Ireland
- Residing in Mitchell County, IA at time of enlistment
- 44 years of age at time of enlistment
- Enlisted on Feb 25 1864 as Private
- Enlisted into A Company, 21st Infantry (Iowa) on Mar 23 1864
- Drowned while serving in 21st Infantry (Iowa) on Jun 16 1864 at New Orleans, LA
Sources for the above information:
- Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of Rebellion, (English, 1910)
Sadly, Daniel drowned in Louisiana, leaving Ellen a widow with a farm to maintain. More later about Ellen and her family after Daniel’s death.