Report on the 2011 November Reunion

Well, look what I found among my drafts for posts …

Haha .. Never managed to post it! But as with most things genealogy .. “Better late than never!”

Our reunion was a great success! With all that has been going on since, I haven’t had a chance to talk about the day.

It was a great chance to meet relatives who didn’t know one another! And we did bring together quite a crew of descendants of Matthew O’Connor and Mary Doyle. And yes, we had a birthday cake in their honor, thanks to cousin Sharon!

My sister Margo (who was unable to come) was hoping that we could find some relatives from the Cadieux side. And we did! Our cousin Neal (his grandmother was Belle Cadieux) joined us and we were thrilled that he brought along some photos to share too.

I had been doing some research at the Arnprior & McNab Braeside archives and came upon a host of photos from our Frood ancestors. Maybe our 2012 reunion will have someone representing the Frood or Watt families.

Turns out that we still have some cousins from my father’s generation in the Ottawa area, which was a great and happy surpriseĀ  Matthew O’Connor and Mary Doyle’s next to last child was Emmett (my grandfather’s brother). His daughter Marion, who coincidentally lives not far from the site of the reunion, joined us! What a thrill to catch up with her and that part of the family. Her sister Rita lives in Oklahoma and brother Desmond in the Ottawa area. When I visited with her on the Sunday following, she showed me a letter to our grand uncle Msgr. O’Connor from FDR, asking his advice.

Family of another of my grandfather’s brothers, Stephen, were represented, too! Richard wasn’t able to join us, but his brother stopped by, and was interested in the details of the tree. He got to meet some new cousins, too!

Connie, representing the Delaney branch, was also with us. Her grandmother was Mary “Minnie” O’Connor (my grandfather’s sister; daughter of Matthew & Mary) who married George Delaney.

Gary Allen has been doing research on the Irish in the Ottawa Valley. He joined us for the family names, and discovered a connection to the family through Isidore Cadieux, brother of my great grandfather David!

Cousin John is very knowledgeable on the O’Connor tree, having done most of his research before we had internet sources, so he knows the original sources and details well. He was a great resource for those with questions about the O’Connor and Dolan lines.

Cousin Sharon is also well versed in the O’Connors and Dolans. She too was a go-to person for questions. …and she helped with the cake and refreshments.

We had a really great morning together. It was a great chance to connect to family we had only seen as names on the family tree, but have now had a chance to meet and enjoy. So many commented that it would be nice to do this each year, that we are working on the dates for 2012.

I’m hoping to find some representatives of the Wilson and McEwan lines who could join us.

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.

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.