Found: Our Connors’ Townland in Ireland

Ellen Dailey Coon nee ConnorNov. 23, 1834 - Sept. 25, 1897Osage, Iowa

Ellen Dailey Coon nee Connor Nov. 23, 1834 – Sept. 25, 1897 Osage, Iowa

We finally found out where Ellen Connors, wife of Patrick Dailey, mother of William and James Dailey was born in Ireland. I say ‘we’ because this search was started long before I even knew I was biologically connected to this family. I picked up this search in about 1999, following in the footsteps of Dorothy Dailey Anderson, Denis Dailey and Bill Phillips. I never met Dorothy but have some of her notes and know that she spent years trying to trace the origins of this family, including at least one trip to Ireland for research. Denis and Bill also spent years trying to sort out the various Connors in County Cork, which is all we knew then about Ellen Connor’s place of birth. Denis and I traveled to Osage, Iowa in our search in 2008 where he introduced me to Ellen’s  great granddaughter Mary Williams and we visited the cemetery where Ellen is buried. We also traveled to Flandreau SD to do research and visited the Dailey homestead. I promised Denis before he died that I would continue the search and would share what I learned.

Our 2006 visit to Flandreau

Bill Phillips, Ellen Jennings, Myrtle Shackleford and Denis Dailey, ca 2006

With their notes and encouragement, I continued their search for the Connors but I have had several advantages which they didn’t. I know they would have discovered what I’ve learned if they had had the benefits of DNA, the internet and all the Irish resources that have only become available online in the past decade or so. I also couldn’t have done this without the help of Mickey Cunningham, a genealogist in Warren County NY! I stand on the shoulders of giants. I miss Denis and Bill so much and wish they were here to share in my excitement.

Several years ago, Clark Dailey,  Ellen and Patrick’s 2G grandson also joined in the search for the Irish origins of Ellen and Patrick. He and his sister’s enthusiasm and tremendous collection of family pictures helped us finally get the answers we were looking for!

Quick backstory: Ellen, her younger sister Mary Connors and Patrick Dailey immigrated from Ireland on the Albert Gallain in 1852. dalypconnorsebeecherdpasslistalbertgallatin We knew from her obituary that Ellen had been born in County Cork. They lived and worked in Warren County NY for a couple of years before traveling to Osage, Iowa in Mitchell County in 1855. They had been married in Glens Falls NY in 1853 and had their first child, James Everett there in 1854. They traveled west with several other families, specifically Daniel and Ellen (nee Dailey) and their daughter Jane Lane,  Daniel and Bridget Sheehan,  and James and Cornelius Tobin. Later some other Irish families came to Mitchell County as well, including the Beechers and the Sweeneys. Many members of these same families remained in Warren County NY.  These Irish families remained close socially and there were several marriages between them over the years.

Patrick Dailey died the day after they arrived in Dubuque from cholera as did one of the Beecher children. After burying her 25 year-old husband,  pregnant with William, and carrying 1 year old James, Ellen continued to Mitchell County with the Lane and Beecher families where they all bought land and began their new lives. In May of 1855, Ellen bought 40 acres of unbroken prairie land and had to build some sort of shelter before winter set in. I have to believe that her strong faith and her good friends from Ireland got her through these most difficult times. Ellen married Samuel Coon in 1860 and they had several children together.

Ellen Connor Dailey Coon left no clues about her specific origins other than the fact that she’d been born in County Cork. Trust me, we searched everything she left. No clues. So I started chasing her sister Mary, who was in Osage in the 1856 census and then disappeared. It took several years and many dead ends to find out where she’d gone. I kept searching in Warren County NY since she’d lived there for a couple of years and had to know many of the Irish folks who’d stayed there. There was a Mary Connors who had married Edward Sheehan in Glens Falls, Warren Co. who was the right age, but she left very few clues either. Even her obituary listed her as Mrs. Edward Sheehan–no first name even! Thanks to the fact that the records from St. Mary’s Church in Glens Falls weren’t destroyed in the fire that burned down almost the entire town in 1864, and with the help of genealogist Mickey Cunningham, I know that Edward Sheehan married Mary Connors in 1861 at St. Mary’s Church.  But was she the right Mary Connors? There were so many Irish immigrants in those days and you’d be surprised how many were named Mary Connors! But the closeness of this group of Irish immigrants made me speculate that after her sister Ellen remarried in 1860, perhaps her younger sister went back East to get married.

Luckily for me, the Glens Falls newspapers starting from the 1880s have recently been added to the subscription site I started searching for Sheehans and Connors. I learned that there was also a Julia Connors who had married another lad from Ireland, David O’Keefe but she died in 1881 and her obituary cannot be found and neither can her death record. So far. I’m still looking.

Then I found a news article about a woman in Glens Falls named Miss Nancy O’Connor who had worked as a housekeeper for the local priest who left her his house upon his death. That was big news, but not as big as the fact that Miss Nancy O’Connor died suddenly several years later in 1916 on her way home from confession. That news made the front page of the Glens Falls newspaper. It also listed the name of her surviving sister, Mrs. Edward Sheehan. So now I knew that Nancy and Mary were sisters, but still couldn’t connect them to my Ellen back in Iowa.

Nancy O’Connor’s will was complicated and that, too, was news in Glens Falls. When it was finally probated, as was custom of the time, the newspaper printed an article listing who her heirs were and how they were related to her! EUREKA!! At this point, I’m dancing in the stacks of the library and would be shouting out loud except that it’s a library. They frown on these things for some reason…..

As listed in her will and printed in the newspaper, Nancy O’Connor’s kin, in addition to her sister Mary Sheehan, are nieces and nephews: James Dailey of Watonga OK, William Dailey, Pipestone MN., G. S. Coon, Louisville KY, Mary Coon Cole, Osage IA, some O’Connells from Ireland, David O’Keefe, Watertown, Mary B. O’Keefe, Pittsburgh MA, Mrs. William A. Sheehan, Glens Falls NY.

This single article told me that Nancy O’Connor and my Ellen Connors were sisters because James and William Dailey were her nephews. Julia O’Keefe and Mary Connors were also her sisters. With additional information from her probate files which were on the site (I LOVE the LDS!), I was able to definitely know who Ellen Connors’ sisters were.

In about 2008, baptism records for County Cork were digitized and indexed and put online for anyone to search for free at I spent a lot of time, putting together a spread sheet of all the Connors and Daileys I could find along with their parents, townland of origin and sponsors. I often wondered if it was a waste of time but it finally paid off!

Now that I knew that Nancy, Mary, Julia and Ellen were sisters I could guess that that all had the same parents. Nancy O’Connor’s death certificate indicated that her parents were Daniel O’Connor and Julia Herlihy and that she was born in County Cork. Checking my spreadsheets, I found this family in the Parish of Boherbue, the Diocese of Kerry and living in the townland of Glenreagh when these girls were born between 1836 and 1844 to Daniel O’Connor and Julia Herlihy.  (They also had brothers William and Cornelius, but like any genealogy project, one answer leads to five more questions!)

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I wish Denis Dailey and Bill Phillips were here to do the genealogy happy dance with me but I’m sure they’ve been with me throughout this long journey. I would appreciate any comments, questions, or suggestions from anyone who’s interested. I still want to trace Patrick Dailey but since he died so young, he left very few traces. We don’t even know for sure if he was born in County Cork. So as soon as I can, I’ll go back to the drawing board to look for him. But knowing where his wife came from is a good starting place.

Ellen Jennings







Posted in Connors family, family history, genealogy, Glens Falls NY, Immigration, Ireland, Irish_records | 4 Comments

Nancy O’Connor Helped Me Find Mary!

In the Glens Falls Times Union on April 26, 1916, I found the following article: oconnornancydies

In my research of the connected Irish folks from Co. Cork who were living in Glens Falls, I knew that Edward Sheehan had married a woman named Mary O’Connor in June of 1861. So when I found this article, I wondered if this Mary O’Connor Sheehan might be the long lost sister of my Ellen Connors Dailey Coon. But I needed proof.

From the NY Death Index, I knew that Mary O’Connor Sheehan had died in July of 1921 but I was unable to find an obituary, so I sent away for Mary O’Connor Sheehan’s official death certificate. After waiting nine months for the State of New York’s Vital Records office to respond, I got a copy of her death certificate but it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. In fact, it listed her parents incorrectly.  Rats!

I contacted St. Mary’s Church (again!) in Glens Falls, where Mary O’Connor married Edward Sheehan on June 2, 1861 and found out that the witnesses at their wedding were Jeremiah Foley and Ellen Singleton. Those weren’t names I recognized, however. Dead end.

So today, I decided to dig deeper into Nancy O’Connor and discovered that now has the Glens Falls, NY newspapers in their collection. I started digging into Nancy O’Connor and hit pay dirt!

Nancy O’Connor was the longtime housekeeper and cook for Father Dean McDermott and when he died, he gave his home to Nancy in his will. Nancy lived there for the rest of her life and upon her death, there were some complications with her will and therefore, several news article were written about the legal wranglings. When the wranglings were resolved, the newspaper printed the conclusions of the probate of her will. That article listed her surviving nieces and nephews which included Will Dailey, James Dailey, Samuel Coon, Daniel Coon and several others I haven’t sorted out yet. This article proves that Mary O’Connor Sheehan was the sister of Ellen O’Connor Dailey Coon!!!

There are more names of her relatives and other heirs listed who I will identify later to get a more complete picture of the O’Connor family, but today I’m doing the genealogy happy dance because I finally have answers to my questions about Mary Connors. Mary left Iowa after her sister Ellen was remarried and went back to Glens Falls NY where she married Edward Sheehan.

Here’s the article that completed the puzzle about Mary Connors. (Glens Falls Post Star; June 21, 1916, p. 1.




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Mary Connors Mahoney is NOT Mine

I had hoped that this Mary Connors, born in Ireland in about 1835, and who married Patrick Mahoney on January 26, 1857 in Rock Island, Illinois might be the Mary Connors I’ve been looking for. (for more background, read this: Alas, after finding Mary Mahoney’s obituary today, I know for certain that  this woman isn’t the one I’ve been searching for.

My Mary Connors came from County Cork on the ship Albert Gallatin and first went to Warren County, New York in July of 1852. She traveled with her sister Ellen and in 1855 they moved west to Iowa. In 1854, my Mary was living in Mitchell County, Iowa and working for a family. Her sister Ellen, who had been widowed upon arrival in Iowa, was living with her two young children in the same county.

According to her obituary, Mary Mahoney came first to Missouri with her family and later moved to Montana with ‘her people.’ A couple of her children were born and are buried in Missouri.

Here is Mary’s marriage record from St. Mary’s Church in Rock Island, Illinois from 1857:  connorsmahoneymarriage


Here is her obituary from the Butte Miner, March 14, 1921, p. 5:connorsmarymahoneyobit

So, it’s back to the drawing board in my search for my Mary Connors. My second most likely suspect is the Mary Connors who married Edward Sheehan in Warren County, New York in about 1861. My working theory is that Mary Connors  knew Edward Sheehan from back home in Ireland and probably got to know him better during the time she lived in Warren County, NY. Once her widowed sister, Ellen Connors Dailey, remarried in 1860 Mary might have moved back East to marry Edward Sheehan. There were a lot of people in both Mitchell County, Iowa and Warren County, New York from the same general area of County Cork and many of them intermarried with each other.

Hopefully, there will be some record out there which, like this obituary, will let me know definitively if Mary Connors Sheehan is MY Mary.

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Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

It’s been a while since I’ve written but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on the Dailey family mysteries. Quick background. In my ongoing attempt to determine where our Ellen Connors and Patrick Dailey originated from in Ireland, I’ve been working on Ellen’s sister, Mary Connors, who came over on the ship the Albert Gallatin with them and was listed in the 1856 census as living in Osage, Iowa and working for a family as young women often did in those days. I haven’t been able to find a mention of her again in Osage after 1856, however, she was mentioned in Jane Lane Hyde’s letter to Will Dailey in 1911 as your Auntie.

There are, I believe, two likely candidates for ‘our’ Mary Connors. Both of them were born in Ireland in about 1838 and were in Iowa in the mid 1850s. I have not yet been able to make a direct connection between either one of them and my Ellen Connors, however, I’ve been digging into them in hopes that there exists a record, an obituary, a person ‘out there’ to fit one of them into this puzzle.

The reasons I’ve narrowed my search down to these two Mary Connors as likely matches are because they were both Irish immigrants living in Iowa at about the correct dates and they married men whose families had close Iowa ties and are part of the group of families who were closely associated from Ireland to their settling in the US.

The first Mary Connors was born in Ireland on March 25, 1837 (according to her death certificate). She was close to her sister Nancy O’Connor (b. 1844) who lived in Glens Falls, never married and who worked as a housekeeper for the local priest.

In Co. Cork, there is one Connors family with children named Ellen b. 1835, Mary  b. 1837,  Anne (Nancy?) b. 1840. The dates match with my Ellen, Mary and Anne. (This family had other children as well, but for this already complicated post, I left them out.)

FACTS: Mary Connors married Edward Sheehan in Glens Falls at St. Mary’s Church on June 2, 1861. Mary and Edward had seven children. The family educated all their children and one daughter became a teacher and one son, a doctor and another the local postmaster. The family stayed in the Warren Co and neighboring Chittendon Co in Vermont. Mary lived to be 84 years old and died on July 11, 1921. image1-31-19at6.16pm

THEORY: I believe that after living and working for a couple of years in Warren Co NY, it is likely that Mary spent much of her social time with the other Irish families in that area. They surely went to church together and these families probably provided support for each other as they navigated life in a new country. There is some evidence from newspaper articles that the NY folks kept close contact with those who moved out west to Iowa. I believe that after her widowed sister Ellen Connors Dailey remarried Samuel Coon in 1860 that her younger sister Mary was free to marry and move wherever her husband was. Perhaps she moved back to Warren County to marry Edward Sheehan, a fellow native of Co Cork?

ACTION PLAN: Hoping to find her parent’s names and place of birth, in 2017, I requested Mary Sheehan’s death record from Warren co, NY and they said they couldn’t find it and sorry, they weren’t sure where it might be. In January of 2018, I sent a check and a request to the NY State Department of Health for Mary’s death certificate and it arrived yesterday, almost ten months later. (Their website warned that these requests might take up to nine months.)Here is Mary Sheehan’s death certificate

RESULTS: Needless to say, I was thrilled to see the envelope in the mailbox yesterday with the long-awaited death record for Mary Connors! Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when I realized that the record—the original record–was inaccurate. It did list correctly her date of birth in Ireland and date of death in Johnsburgh, NY, however they made a huge mistake in her parents’ names. Instead of listing her parents’ names, it listed her own name and her husband’s as her parents. The informant was her son Edward Sheehan and the only thing I can think that might have happened is that when the person filling out the form asked Edward Jr for the name of the father and mother, he listed his own. Grief? Confusion? Who knows. But I do know that Mary Connor’s father was NOT Edward Sheehan as is listed on the death certificate. Back to the drawing board for this Mary Connors. Sigh…..

Second possible Mary Connors:

FACTS: The second potential match is a Mary Connors who was born in Ireland in 1840 and who immigrated to the US in 1851, according to the 1910 census.  She married Patrick Mahoney in Rock Island IL on Jan 26, 1857. The interesting thing about this marriage record is that the same priest who married them that day, also married Denis Sheehan and Mary Callaghan that day.

marriage records_ Connors_Mahoney

Denis and Mary (Callaghan) Sheehan then moved to Waseca co MN where they farmed and raised their family.  There were many Callaghans, Sheehans, Mahoneys and Connors in the northern Iowa, southern Minnesota area from Co Cork who were all successful farmers, cattlemen and law men.

This second Mary Connors and her husband  Patrick Mahoney moved first to the St. Louis area, then to Louisville KY, then back to Iowa and eventually they ended up in Bend, Silver Bow Co., Montana area along with many others from Co. Cork and Kerry. Patrick was variously listed as a laborer, a miner and a boiler maker and he ultimately worked in the mining area of Montana. Mary and Patrick Mahoney had seven children and three of them died before the age of three. Mary died at the age of approximately 85 on March 13, 1921.

THEORY: The two couples knew each other from back in the old country and had traveled together from Ireland, New York, Illinois and finally to Iowa. They planned their wedding together so they could be each others’ witnesses before going on to their new lives.

ACTION PLAN: I have sent a request to the Diocese of Peoria for these marriage records and last week (October 17, 2018) I received a phone call from Sister Anne, the diocesan archivist, to let me know that she has located these records and will be sending me a copy of the original records as well as a transcription. I’m hoping that the names of their witnesses or something in those records might help me figure out if this Mary is ‘ours.’

Two Mary Connors. Two completely different lives in the US after immigrating from about the same area in Ireland.  This may yet be another one of those dead ends, but I choose to believe that some bit of evidence will help me know if one of these women is ‘ours’ or will eliminate them from contention. It’s a long game I’m playing here….

Posted in Connors family, Dailey | 2 Comments

A Few More Pieces of the Puzzle

When I started researching Patrick Daly over a decade ago, it became clear right away that because Daly is such a common Irish name that finding MY Patrick was going to be a real challenge. However, I had the advantage that he and his wife, Ellen Connors, ended up in Iowa in the mid-1850s with other families and friends from Ireland. Specifically, after Patrick’s death in the spring of 1855, young and widowed Ellen continued to Osage with Daniel Lane,  his wife Ellen (Daly) Lane and their daughter Jane. About six months later, on October 15, 1855 Ellen Daly, Daniel Lane and John Beecher all stood in line with at least one hundred others at the Dubuque Land office and paid cash for land in Mitchell County, Iowa. Ellen and John both bought 40 acres each and Daniel bought 160 acres. We know that they had to have stood  in line together because their land patent numbers are sequential. Having a third family associated with the Daly family will surely help me pinpoint their townlands of origin in County Cork, right?!

I had already done a little research on the Beecher family since they seem to show up in the same American towns where my Dalys and Lanes lived. Also, in her widow’s pension file after her husband Daniel Lane died in the Civil War, both John and Eliza Beecher testified that they had known the Lanes since before they were married back in Ireland. Here is an excerpt of John and Eliza Beecher in Jane (Daly) Lane’s widow’s pension request testifying that they’d know the Lanes since childhood back in Co. Cork:BeechersKnewLanesIreland Also, Daniel Beecher, John’s brother, lived in Glens Falls with his mother Mary and his sister Mary Roche and her family in the 1855 census. Later that year, John Beecher bought 40 acres of land in Mitchell Co, Iowa and eventually his mother joined him in there and is buried with her son John and his family.

So, today, as I was thinking about how close these families might have been, I decided to search the immigration records at the Castle Garden website for the name Beecher which is less common and I thought might be easier to find in the records. Eureka! I hit the jackpot!



The snip is taken from the passenger list of the packet ship Albert Gallatin which arrived in New York harbor on July 23rd, 1852 with 766 passengers on board. On this page of the passenger list are some familiar names: 21 year-old Patt Daly, 20 year-old Ellen Connors and 24 year-old Daniel Beichner and his 50 year-old mother Mary. (There is also a 21 year old John Connors on the same page.) We also know that James Tobin had traveled to Iowa with the Dalys and Beechers, which was mentioned in Jane Lane Hyde’s letter to her cousin Will Dailey. (The name Beecher is sometimes spelled Beechinor, so I believe that accounts for the misspelling of Daniel’s name on the passenger list.)

So, now I have proof that the Dalys, Lanes AND the Beecher families knew each other back in Ireland. Patrick Daly, Ellen Connors and Daniel Beecher and his mother came to America in July of 1852 on the packet ship Albert Gallatin. They all lived for a while in Glens Falls, New York and in the spring of 1855, the Dalys, Beechers and Tobins arrived in Dubuque where the Lanes had rented some rooms and where Patrick and one of the Beecher babies died of cholera. In October of that same year, Ellen Daly, Daniel Lane and John Beecher bought land in Mitchell County, Iowa. By the time the 1856 census was taken, the Dalys, Lanes, Beechers and Tobins are living in Mitchell Co, Iowa.

These people were tough. They survived the Irish potato famine of 1847, left their beautiful homeland because they had no real opportunities for employment and traveled to a foreign land which had no use for Irish immigrants. They worked hard to earn enough money to purchase land from the government and then the really hard work began. They lived through blizzards, locusts, sickness, death and economic hard times. Yet they owned their own land. They were no longer tenants who owed tithes or rent payments. They could educate their children. They participated in politics and made America a better place for their children.

As with any new genealogical discovery, I am left with more questions:

  1. Still do not know exactly which townlands my Daly or Connors came from, but I’m going to use the Beecher family to help narrow it down.
  2. What happened to Mary Connors who came over with her older sister Ellen?
  3. Was the 21 year-old John Connors related to Ellen and Mary?
Posted in Beecher family, Dailey, Immigration, Lane family | 1 Comment

My Yesterdays by Mary Burtch Hudson


My Yesterdays

by Mary Burtch Hudson

(an unpublished manuscript found at the Osage Public Library)


(I copied only the pages which mentioned the author’s neighbors, the Dailey/Coon family. The copy was poor, so I transcribed them for ease of reading.)


The farm joining our Waltham eighty on the north belonged to the Coons. In this home lived Mr. and Mrs. Coon and their six children. When Mr. Coon married Mrs. Coon, she was a widow with two little boys, Jim and Will Daly. Mr. Coon became a real father to these young lads, and being a fine cattleman himself, he early taught his stepsons the secrets of successful cattle management. As time passed, four children were born to the Coons, two girls and two boys.

This was a remarkable family. On a Sunday morning, the whole family rode into Osage to attend church. Mr. Coon drove the the Catholic church where he dropped Mrs. Coon and her two sons off to attend services at the church of their choice. Then with the Coon children, Mr. Coon drove on to the Methodist church, where he was a prominent member. This procedure continued over the years while the children remained at home.

I frequently spent a night at the Coons and as a young girl, I sensed that here was an unusual home. At mealtime, Mr. Coon asked the blessing while, with bowed head, Mrs. Coon made the sign of the cross. Always after breakfast, we listened as Mr. Coon read a portion of scripture from his Bible and then kneeling at our chairs, Mr. Coon would offer a short prayer and Mrs. Coon, kneeling at her chair, would count the beads of her rosary. Indeed, here was a genuinely Christian family. The father and mother had different creeds and different church affiliations, but each respected the others’religion and what was most important, they were at heart both earnest Christians. They practiced their religion, not only by attending church on Sunday, but by living it every day in their own home. No wonder I found here such an extraordinary family.

Long before I knew the Coons, the Daly boys had gone to South Dakota where, thanks to their early training, they both became fine cattlemen and well-to-do Dakota farmers.

The two girls, Mary and Julia, were at home when I visited there. Mary was a very efficient young woman and her business-like way of keeping the records and looking after the business connected with her father’s cattle raising and feeding was a great help to him over the years. The other daughter, Julie, as the family lovingly called her, was a high school principal when stricken with tuberculosis, and she died in her forties. Dan and George Coon left home to attend Cedar Valley Seminary and later college. At college, George studied medicine and Dan attended a theological seminary. George became a prominent physician. He and his wife lived in Kentucky. Since they had no children, he did much to aid others less fortunate than himself. Dan was ordained a Baptist minister and years later he was pastor of our Osage Baptist church. Here, under his pastorate, Mary Coon, then Mrs. Blake Cole, joined the Baptist church and was a faithful worker there during the rest of her life in Osage. If any more proof be needed as to the worth of this family, I might say than when the Coon estate was settled and the Daly boys were offered their share, they said, “No, this belongs to the Coon children.” But thanks to the fine training in their childhood home, the Coons replied, “You boys deserve your share as it was your hard work on our farm that helped our father to succeed in the early days.” This unusual behavior shows clearly that true Christianity had been taught and learned in the Coon home. (pp 79 – 80)

The Cedar Valley Seminary was a Baptist school and many of its board members were also members of the Baptist church which closely linked the church and school. In fact, the founder of the school, Prof. Alva Bush, was for a time the pastor of the Baptist church. During Reverend Wilcox’s pastorate in Osage, differences arose between him and some of the school board and of course the church was drawn into the trouble. Reverend Wilcox, a very opinionated and outspoken person, didn’t hesitate to speak his mind freely. Some in the church agreed with him; others though him wrong. After a period of much unpleasantness for all, the disagreeing members asked for their letters of dismissal and it was noised about that they were about to found a second Baptist Church. At that time, they were holding services in the Seminary Chapel. Then it was that Reverend Wilcox came to Pa and said his usefulness here was over and he must leave in order to save the church. Pa was loyal to his pastor and yet ever faithful to his church. He felt deeply grieved to see Mr. Wilcox leave and the church divided without a pastor. Reverend Wilcox quickly found another place and with his family, left Osage. Then it was that the remaining members in the church felt so alone and helpless. Many of the dissenting members were the more influential ones and had been the leaders. so those left in the church had to cast about for a new pastor.

Dan Coon, whom I’ve mentioned in previous chapters, had at this time finished theological school and was an ordained Baptist minsiter. It was to him that the pulpit committee appealed. I think Pa had much to do with getting the committee to consider Dan as pastor of the church at this critical time. Our farm joined the Coon farm and doubtless as Pa had worked in his fields and the Coon boys in theirs, he had often visited with them across the fences and as the years passed, he had many opportunities to admire them and realized their worth. At any rate, he was much pleased to have Dan chosen to come to Osage to try to bring about a reconciliation. Knowing the situation, Dan hesitated to assume such a difficult task, but he did come and worked with both sides, acting as a peacemaker. I doubt very much if there were many who could hav stepped into the situation and accomplished what he did. Many a night, rather late, after Pa had dropped off to sleep after a hard day’s work in the field, he’d be awakened by a light tap on the screen door and a hushed voice would call, “Deacon Burtch.” Going to the door, he’d find Dan waiting there for him and Pa, clad in his night shirt, would step out on the porch where for long hours they’d discuss how a reunion of all the members could be brought about and the church saved. I remember how sometimes Ma would scold in the morning because Pa had been kept up so late after a hard day’s work.


But after laboring in a kindly way with both sides, the time finally came when Dan Coon saw the fruition of his prayers and advice and the dissenting members were reading to return to membership in their old church and those who had remained were glad to have them once again in their old accustomed places. It had taken days and days of (?)ing quietly from one faction to the other, dropped suggestions to each. In his kind, loving way, he was able, through prayers and counseling, to bring about what had at first seemed impossible. This verse of scripture was proved true here. “The things that are possible with men are possible with God.” Dan, or Reverend Coon, as I suppose I should be calling him, was surely an instrument of God reuniting our divided church.

In a recent letter from Dan Coon, he mentioned Pa as “distinctly a church man and one deeply respected. His industry, his care of his stepmother, his interest in his young half brother, Chauncey, won a commendation in my early recollection.” Dan then went on to related an incident which occurred during his pastorate in Osage. At a meeting of the deacons to church over the membership list with Dan, they came to a certain name and someone remarked, “We might as well cross that name off as he never comes or takes any interest.” Hearing this Reverend Coon said, Pa responded, “I think we better help Guy save his brother. And Dan added that the name was not scratched off and additional effort was given to help the brother Guy save his younger brother.

Reverend Coon remained pastor of the Osage Baptist church as long as we lived on the farm. Right here I’d like to tell a story that demonstrates  the quiet, subtle way Dan proceeded on any venture. While Dan ws pastor at our church, there was always a half-hour service on Sunday evenings for the young people This was called the B. Y. P. U. and was followed by an evening church services. At the close of the church service, it was Dan’s custom to stand at the church door and bid each member of the congregation goodnight, accompanied by a hearty hand shake. As Kittie Bacon, the much loved Greek and Latin instructor at Cedar Valley Seminary came down the line, she received the same kindly greeting as did the others. But only one, or possible two (and those sworn to secrecy) knew that when the last person had left and the church doors were closed on another Sunday night’s service, Dan was soon on his way, ( ten or twelve blocks, to the home of his fiancee, named that same Kittie Bacon he had so recently bid goodnight at the church. These Sunday night calls continued over quite a period of time, but so clever and elusive were Dan’s movements that it was a big surprise to Osage people when their marriage was announced. After leaving Osage, Dan filled several other Iowa pulpits. Now. well past ninety, he and his good wife Kittie are enjoying life in sunny California. He often writes very interesting and newsy reports of the gatherings and picnics of Iowans who now live in California for the local paper, and we old timers greatly enjoy reading them.” (pp  204 – 207)

Posted in Coon family, Dailey, family history, genealogy | Leave a comment

Time to Get Serious About Finding Patrick Daly in Ireland

In all the years I’ve been looking for Patrick Daly’s origins in Ireland, I’ve been stymied by the lack of Irish records and any way to clearly separate ‘my’ Patrick from the hundreds of others born in Ireland in about 1830. Now I’ve got two seriously helpful tools in my toolkit and I’m going to use them to see if I can finally find him!

First tool: DNA tests. Before he died, Denis Dailey left us all with one lasting gift—he took a DNA test which identified his haplotype as I-P37, which really means nothing to me, except that Michael J. Daley, head of the Daly Family DNA Project via FamilyTreeDNA, tells me that this is a rare haplotype amongst the other Daly families in his project. Clark, another direct descendant of Patrick Daly’s just got his results from his DNA test, and he also shares the same unusual haplotype. That’s a clue, then, to others who are probably related and I’m going to use these folks’ histories to narrow down my search to more specific areas in Ireland. So far, Michael suggests that others with that same haplotype came from one of two places: one group lived in Kilsarcon in Co. Kerry and the other group seems to have lived in the Sheepshead Peninsula area near Kilcrohane, Co. Kerry.

Second tool: The Irish RC church has recently released all their records of baptisms for the counties of Cork and Kerry and made them available for free on this site: This has allowed me to create a spreadsheet of ALL the Patrick Dalys who were baptized in Counties Cork and Kerry between 1825 and 1835. I’ve also added families from the Kilsarcan and Kilcrohane areas even if they don’t have a Patrick born in that time frame.

Next step: I have blown up a copy of the OS map, Sheet 21 and tacked it to some foam board, so I can begin adding the various Daly families to it. After that, I will add the other families he and Ellen traveled with because I am assuming that they knew each other in Ireland before setting out for America. The main reason I’m assuming that is because their closest friends (as evidenced by their being witnesses at their 1853 wedding) were Daniel Lane and his wife Ellen (nee Daly). After Patrick’s death, his widow Ellen lived with the Lanes in Osage, Iowa for a time and had traveled to Dubuque to meet them when the young Dailey family arrived from New York.

So, once I have tagged my map with the families close to the Patrick Daly family, I should get a better idea of which Patrick from the church records was mine.

Next, I will use a couple of other tools useful in researching Ireland, whose 1841 and 1851 censuses were burned in a 1922 fire: First, Griffith’s Valuations, (1847 – 1864)  which was done by Richard Griffith in post-famine Ireland to determine who was living where and how much tax they owed their landlords. Second, the Tithe Applotments  which were “were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland (the main Protestant church and the church established by the State until its dis-establishment in 1871).” These tools should help me figure out who was left in the ‘old neighborhoods’ after the famine and subsequent mass migration. Step by step, inch by inch, I WILL find Patrick Daly’s origins. And then, I will take a field trip to that area.

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My Families

Here are the ‘main’ families whose histories I have researched extensively over the past 15 years or so. More details will follow on each family.


Byers–came from Scotland. First known immigrant: James Byers settled in Chester co., Pennsylvania in late 1600s.

Connors–came from Co. Cork Ireland in mid-1850s. Ellen Connors and her sister Mary first settled in Warren Co NY and then Mitchell co, Iowa. There Ellen was married to Patrick Dailey and they had two sons, James (b. 1854) and William (b. 1855)

Cramer–John Paul Ferdinand Cramer came from Dresden, Saxony, Germany in 1797 and settled in Pennsylvania.

Dailey–Patrick Dailey came from Ireland in about 1852 and originally settled in Warren County, NY before traveling west to Iowa where he died  upon arrival in 1855 from cholera leaving a pregnant wife and an infant son.

Glover–Robert Glover was born in Ayreshire, Scotland in about 1838. He immigrated to the US in 1857 and moved to Metamora, Lapeer Co, Michigan where there was a large group of others who had come from Ayreshire known as the Scottish Settlement.

Harnsberger—Hans Harnsberger and his wife Anna Purve were from Switzerland and arrived in Virginia in 1717 with their son Stephen. They were members of the Second Germanna Colony in Virginia.

Jenkins–Joel arrived from England at the seaport in Watertown or Charlestown, MA about 1639, then removed to Braintree MA. He married Sarah Gilbert in 1640 and became a freeman in 5/6/1646, then moved to Malden MA.

Maurer–Christian Maurer was born in Switzerland in 1798 and came to the US in 1850 with his wife Elizabeth Fuerst and their seven children. They settled first in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and some time after his death in 1863, the family moved to Fairfax County, Minnesota.

Mekkelson–Elmer Mekkelson was born in Hedmark, Norway in 1872. He came to the US in about 1900 and first went to a logging camp in Michigan and later moved to Wisconsin.

Reddish–John Reddish came from England in 1619 on the ship Bona Nova and settled near James City in Virginia.

Reinke–Herman Albert Reinke was born in about 1845, and in 1869, he and his wife Bertha Duenow immigrated from Prussia on the steamer Baltimore . They settled in  Renville, Fairfax Co., MN.

Riley–John Riley was born in about 1734 in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and settled in Berkley County, Virginia.

Rush–John Rush commanded a troop of horses in Cromwell’s Army. According to a letter from Dr. Benjamin Rush to John Adams: John, wife, six sons and three daughters moved from England to PA in 1683 with William Penn.

Snook–The earliest related Snook I could document was Mathias, who was living in Allegany County, Maryland in the late 1700s. He may have been part of the Palatines from Germany sent to England and then to the US. There is also a Mathias Snook living in Sussex County, New Jersey in the 1770s who may have been in a colonial militia in the Revolutionary war. There are several Snook families and lots of confusion about which line is which.

Thomson–Thomas Thomson was born in County Down, Ireland and records show he owned land in  Donegal Twp., Lancaster Co., PA by the mid 1730s.



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Letter from Vera Cole Williams (Granddaughter of Samuel Coon) to Dorothy Dailey

                            Osage, Iowa
September 3, 1964

Dear Dorothy,
It was so nice to have a long letter from you and to be brought up to date on some of your activities. I expected to answer it sooner but it did arrive during our busiest weekend of the summer. Keith and his family were here and Dorothy and her four children. When Keith’s went home they left their oldest boy and went Dorothy went her two oldest boys stayed—You know how three growing boys can disrupt a household of a grandma and a maiden aunt. We took Keith’s boy half way home on the 23rd and the Fagerberg  boys home on the 27th. We stayed until Sunday night and were present at the 75th anniversary observance of Frank’s church–All very nice. The first half of the summer we had Dean’s two boys, five and seven, while their mother was in summer school at Iowa City. With other company who came for shorter periods, Mary thinks we were by ourselves only one full week since the first of June. We do like it but it is a little wearing.

The weather was so oppressive much of the time, too. Think I minded that more than the children. We were weeks without rain and the corn and beans suffered, lawns were brown and pastures dried up. But now it’s raining again, it came too late to help some things but at least the lawns are green again and the cucumbers are bearing and I know we all feel better.

I did send your letter on to Uncle Dan, thinking he might be able to supply some of the information you asked for. But he seems to know even less than I do. I sent your addressed envelope to him and he returned it so I’m not sure if he planned to write you or not.

Of course Grandma Coon died before I was old enough to remember her. Believe I was less than 18 months old. People tell me she was a typical Irish lady with a real cute brogue. She was born in County Cork Ireland and her name was Ellen O’Connor. I don’t know where she married Mr. Dailey–whether over there or here–I don’t even know his first name. They were on their way west by covered wagon with a caravan of others, I think, when he died in Dubuque. I think my mother said he died of the cholera, but Uncle Dan is of the impression he was drowned.

Anyway, she came on with the group. She had a little boy–Uncle Jim, and was expecting your grandfather. She stayed at the home of friends by the name of Beecher–One time the daughter Mary Ann Beecher Bohach? told me that she and Uncle Will were born on the same bed–at the Beecher home and I think they were about the same age. Uncle Dan tells me he didn’t know that. She met my grandfather–Sam Coon and married him—and the Coon children were born. He had left Pennsylvania to make his fortune out west.

From a lady who is still living and 80 years old, I have a little information about the family for she visited there as a girl. She wrote a book about “My Yesterday” as yet unpublished and she pays the Coon family his tribute—says they were a remarkable family. Each Sunday they attended church—with horse and wagon—Mrs. Coon and her two boys going to the Catholic Church and Mr. Coon and his children going to the Methodist. I’ve often wondered if Catholics considered her a good Catholic but from old timers I’ve learned that they did. My mother once told me that she required only that the babies be baptized in the Catholic faith.

Back to the book, Mrs. Hudson also tells of visiting the Coon home and staying over night—Grandpa always said the table grace and during it Grandma crossed herself. After breakfast, Grandpa got his bible and read a selection, then all knelt as he prayed and she, using her rosary, prayed in the Catholic tradition.

She tells, too, how united the two families were, and how unselfish all were, each working for the common good of all—She ends by saying, “truly a remarkable family.”

(Might be missing a page. Doesn’t seem to follow.)
I’d find a rotten branch. Some folks here spend so much time researching, going east and touring cemeteries and taking pictures of tombstones, where they are buried. That I can’t see. I’d rather do something constructive.

Had a marvelous time at Uncle Dan’s birthday party. It was too short but it had to be that or nothing and so much better than nothing at all. he’s truly a remarkable man. Seems feeble & frail but mind is as keen as ever, it seems. His housekeeper takes wonderful care of him.

Is your mother with you? I thought perhaps from your letter, I haven’t heard from her for ages. We tried to get her to go to California with us but she thought she couldn’t.

Think I’ll quit and make a peach pie for dinner and finish up the crate I bought to eat raw.

Would love it it you’d write again and tell me more of your family.

Bye now—-

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The Lane Family in Iowa

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

Jane Lane Hyde’s letter to her uncle Will Dailey from 1903:

Mitchell Iowa
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

Mustering information:
– 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.

Posted in Dailey, family history, genealogy, Ireland, Lane family | 1 Comment