Back To Ireland Through The Killeen Family

Helena Killeen (1863-1950) married Peter Dolan (1863-1946) (picture left) in Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa on 15 Nov 1885. Their fifth child, was Gertrude Pearl (1894-1978), my grandmother.

Helena’s father, Dennis Benjamin Killeen (1829-1914) was married to Ellen O’Brien.

It’s through Dennis Benjamin that we’ve been able to trace the family back to Ireland.

His father Denis Killeen is mentioned in a history of Ottawa published in 1927  [A.H.D. Ross, Ottawa: Past and Present (Ottawa: Thorborn & Abbott, 1927), p. 39]:

“the first white child born in the Township of March was Patrick Killean, whose father, Denis Killean, was in Captain Monk’s employ, and the second was Benning Monk.”

An earlier mention of the same information came in a talk by Mrs. M.H. Ahearn,  “The Settlers of March Township,” which was first read before the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa on 10 March 1899, and later published by the Ontario Historical Society [Mrs. M.H. Ahearn, “The Settlers of March Township,” Ontario Historical Society, Papers and Records, vol. 3 (Toronto: 1901; reprint, Millwood, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1975), pp. 98-99].

Denis, born around 1786 in the parish of Meelick in East County Galway, Ireland, had served under Captain John Benning Monk in the 97th Regiment of Foot. He had apparently then followed Monk to March township as some sort of domestic (or “soldier servant,” in Mrs. Ahearn’s words). He later received a patent from the Crown, in 1828, for 100 acres at Concession 3, Lot 11, March township.

Thanks to Mary Catherine Moran for these details from her website Ottawa Valley Irish.

Msgr. J. S. O’Connor

My grandfather’s oldest brother was Jeremiah Stephen O’Connor, who for most of his life went by “J. S.” He was the first child of Matthew Patrick O’Connor and Mary Doyle. He was born 2 Dec 1868 in Osgoode, Ontario and baptized on 6 Dec at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa.
The details of his youth and travels are not known in any great detail .. for example, how did he end up in Dallas TX in the USA?
Family members have items from his life as a Catholic priest that indicate he was ordained at age 35, on 10 July 1904, by Dallas TX Bishop Edward Joseph Dunne, in the recently completed Cathedral church in Dallas.
His first assignment as a priest, in 1905, was to serve as an assistant in the Cathedral. In a few years, the Bishop appointed him (in 1909) as the Administrator of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was also the bishop’s secretary and the Chancellor (1909-1912).
When Bishop Dunne died unexpectedly in 1911, it was another priest in the Chancery offices, Joseph Patrick Lynch, the Vicar General, who was chosen as the next bishop of Dallas … and J.S. disappeared from the Chancery and Dallas.
The new bishop named J.S. pastor of Holy Name of Jesus parish, in Fort Worth, TX. He served there as pastor from 1912 to his death in 1942.
Eventually, Bishop Lynch named him to the Board of Diocesan Consultors, a sort of privy council, and he served as a member for 20 years — 1922-1942.
In 1929, age 61, on the 25th anniversary of his ordination, he was named a monsignor.
Throughout his priesthood, J.S. returned home often to Ottawa and performed family baptisms and weddings. In fact, he performed the marriage of my grandfather and grandmother, Daniel Patrick O’Connor and Gertrude Pearl Dolan.
J.S. died at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Ft. Worth, TX on 4 Nov 1942, succumbing to cancer of the intestine.

George Milton Young and Lila Cadieux Young

My grandmother’s sister, Lila, married George Milton Young in 1911. I heard the stories of their traveling out West to homestead. And I remember, sometime in my growing up, that we received a newspaper clipping of their Wedding Anniversary celebration (50th in 1961? 60th in 1971? Not sure.)

Photo: Horses outside Grande Prairie, Alberta, ca. 1920.

In my research, after their wedding, I lost track of their whereabouts. My sister Margo and I were talking about them, and between the two of us we came up with some small tidbits of information. Thanks to research by Natalie Edwards of the Alberta Genealogical Society’s Edmonton branch, the pieces started to fit together.

After living in Saskatchewan from 1914, George and Lila moved on to a homestead in the Peace River area of Alberta. After almost a decade (1919-1926) of a very rough life on their homestead, they moved into town. George took over the Bayhen Livery and Feed Barn.

Their departure in 1941 was chronicled in a newspaper article. The reasons are unclear: the economic times? the difficult lifestyle? “Their leaving is like the disappearance of a landmark,” the reporter wrote.

My Mom had simply remembered that Lila insisted they move into town. But in fact they left Grande Prairie for Ottawa: Lila by train, leaving Grande Prairie and stopping in Edmonton to visit friends; George taking a carload of horses to sell in Ottawa.

“It is not easy to leave a country where during twenty years we have made so many loyal friends. As far as I know at present, I expect to carry on in the horse business. It is quite possible that I will return in the Fall and pick up a carload of horses, ” George told the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune reporter.

It seems that they both did return (in that Fall? later?), and eventually stayed. On his marriage license, George had listed his occupation as “horse dealer” (as had his father Thomas) and that was how George made his living. His obituary explains that “Mr. Young was well known in the early years for his buying and selling of horses, and operating a livery stable in Grande Prairie.”

Lila died February 24, 1975, age 84, in Grande Prairie. George died the following year, April 24, 1976 in the Auxiliary Hospital, Grande Prairie, age 91. Both are buried in the Grande Prairie Cemetery.

Those O’Connor Boys!

Fergus Vincent O’Connor (1890-1915) married Harriet Ann (Hattie) Dolan (1889-1923). Joseph Emmett O’Connor (1889-1964) married Agnes Sevina Dolan (1890-1973 ). Daniel Patrick O’Connor (1881-1965, pictured left) married Gertrude Pearl Dolan (1894-1978). Fergus, Emmett and Daniel were brothers — all farmers in the area of Osgoode. Hattie, Agnes and Pearl were all farmers’ daughters in the Dunrobin area.

How did these O’Connor boys end up meeting the Dolans, as Osgoode and North and South Gower are a hefty distance from Renfrew South ?

Cousin Sharon suggests

It could have been in the days of logging down the river.

I remember my Dad saying that his Dad (Daniel P.) had gone by train to visit Pearl. Seems like he said it was the next stop along the train route. Then it was a bit of a ride by wagon.

Don’t know what there was there in the Renfrew area that they would be familiar with at that stop (besides the Dolan girls!), but I will be looking to see what was in Renfrew in those days, hunting down a town directory.

Did they maybe meet in church?

Sharon suggests

Apparently there were big dances at halls, not sure if church halls, or town halls. I suspect the 3 O’Connor boys met the 3 Dolan girls in that manner. It would be about 30 miles from North Gower to Dunrobin. The Rideau River runs close to Osgoode/North Gower and empties into the Ottawa River which travels up by Dunrobin/Fitzroy Harbour.
There was a train that went to Chalk River in those days, which is on the correct pathway. Not sure where they would have boarded .. possibly on a train to Ottawa, and then changed trains.

The Picture Up Top

Amongst her photos was this picture, which my mother had written on the back,
“This is my favorite picture of Mom and Dad. This is how I like to remember them.”
Maynard McEwan (far right) was home in Ottawa for a visit, with young daughter Elaine. Happy parents and grandparents Wesley McEwan (far left) and Mayburne (Mabel) Cadieux McEwan.