A HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
DECATUR COUNTY, IOWA
BY REV. EDWARD J. HARKIN, PASTOR
l956 (No Copyright)
GRAND RIVER FAMILIES, CONTINUED.
JOHN HAGERTY, born in Ireland in l834, married ANN GALLAGHER, born in
Ireland in l844. Bought land in Decatur County, Richland Township,
Section 4, in l864.
Their family consisted of ANNIE, born in Illinois in l867; MICHAEL, born
in Decatur County in l869; JOHN, born in Decatur County in l872; MARY
ELLEN, born in Decatur County in l874; CHARLES, born in Decatur County
in l876; SIMON, born in Decatur County in l879; MARGARET and NORA, born
in Ringgold County, l88l. Their baptismal records are at Creston.
This family moved to Alliance, Nebraska, about l890.
FREDRICK W. BACKUS
FREDRICK BACKUS, his wife, SUSANNA, and five children were living in
Richland Township, north of Grand River, in l887.
FREDRICK was born in Germany in l84l. SUSANNA was born in Illinois in
PETER P., born in Decatur County in l875; FREDRICK, born in Decatur
County in l877; MARY A., born in Decatur County in l879; JOSEPH K., both
in Decatur County in l882; HENRY ED., born in Decatur County in l866.
WILLIAM (BILL) DUNN
It is reported that they came from Missouri and settled near Hopeville.
Some of their children were HOMER, KATE, MARY and several others. After
the death of MR. DUNN, the mother and children moved to Omaha, Nebraska.
It is told that the CURRAN family was related to the DUNN family. They
moved to Omaha, Nebraska, with their children. Baptismal records are at
Living west of Grand River in l895 was the KELLY family. THOMAS was
born in Ireland in l847, MARY was born in Ohio in l857.
Children: JOHN, born in Decatur County in l883; MARY, born in Ringgold
County in l888; CHARLES, born in Ringgold County in l89l; PATRICK, born
in Ringgold County in l892; FLORENCE, born in Ringgold County in l895.
MICHAEL O'GRADY was born in Ireland in l837, died in October, l9l3,
buried at Afton. Married CATHERINE GROGAN in June, l880, of Woodland
Township. They had six children in Ringgold County.
l. WILLIAM E., born June 24, l88l, married BERTHA GARLAND. They had
five children who reside in Mitchell, South Dakota.
2. JOHN S., born in l883, near Leon, married SUSIE TAGGART and had six
children. He died in December, l950, and was buried at Sturgis, South
3. JAMES P., born in l885, married JESSIE TAYLOR, died in September
l923, leaving one son, RAYMOND L.
4. MARGARET E., born in l887, married BERT WALTERS, live near Ellston.
They have two children: FRANCIS and SISTER JOSEPH MARY of the Sisters of
Humility of Ottumwa, Iowa.
5. EDWARD SAMUEL, died as an infant.
6. ROBERT M., born October 23, l892, near Ellston, married LUCIE BALL.
Five children. LUCIE died September 9, l955, at Ellston.
JAMES P. DAUGHTON
JAMES DAUGHTON, born in Ireland in l850, died in l938, married HANNAH
GRIFFIN, born in New Jersey in l850, died in l933. Lived in Woodland
Township, moved to near Grand River about l878. Both are buried in
Catholic Cemetery, Woodland Township.
Children: WILLIAM; AMY BUELL; JAMES P.; MARGARET TAPSCOTT; WALTER;
EMMETT; FREDERICK; RALPH; LEO.
PATRICK MCGRAW and wife, JOHANNA, both born in County Clare, Ireland,
came to the United States before l855 and worked on the railroad in
Pennsylvania until l865, when he moved to Sangamon County, Illinois,
where he farmed until he moved to Ringgold County, Iowa, north of
Beaconsfield. Both are buried at Afton. He died February 25, l888, age
80 years. She died September l7, l90l, age 82 years.
Children: JOHN; MICHAEL; PATRICK; BRIDGET, who became SISTER MARY
AMELIA, Sisters of Charity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; JAMES; THOMAS;
THE PATRICK WARD FAMILY
PATRICK WARD, born in Killybegs in County Donegal, Ireland, in l843,
married MARY ASKRIN, born in l846. Moved to Ringgold County near
Beaconsfield from Belvidere, Illinois, about l884. Mary died in l906.
Both are buried at Maloy.
Children: DANIEL; PATRICK; MARY; HANNAH; CATHERINE; JOHN; ANNA; JOSEPH;
EDWARD; CHARLES. ANNA married EDWARD DENNIS GRIFFIN of Leon. CATHERINE
married PATRICK CARR. The grandchildren of ANNA GRIFFIN are EDWARD J.
GRIFFIN and JAMES W. GRIFFIN and the LAFOLLETTE children: EDWARD L.,
RICHARD; JOYCE, JOSEPH and GENE C.
MICHAEL MCGRAW, born in Ireland in l853, married JANE GROGAN at
Chariton, Iowa, by Father Sheridan, February 23, l887. Children: EDWIN;
JESSIE; CLIFFORD; NELLIE.
THOMAS MORAN and wife, ANNA, were both born in County Kerry, Ireland.
They lived at Muscatine, Iowa, between l857 and l869. They moved to
Ringgold County about l884. He died August l2, l887, age 65. She died
February 4, l902, age 74. Both are buried at Afton. Children:
JOHN; MARY, married GEORGE CONWELL; DENNIS; ANNA; JERRY.
JAMES CASHEN, born in l852, married SARAH FRANCES POISETT. They came
from Avon, Illinois, to Maloy, Iowa, on March l, l890, to Osceola, Iowa,
in l904, and later moved to near Grand River, west of Beaconsfield,
Iowa. Children: FREDERICK LEO; JAMES A.; MARY J.; LOUIS E.
WILLIAM M. CRONIN
WILLIAM CRONIN was born near Iowa City in l867, married CATHERINE
REILLY, born in l870, near Iowa City. Moved to Kellerton in l9l3.
Children: ARTHUR WILLIAM; GENEVIEVE AGNES; CLARENCE; WILLIAM; RALPH;
NAOMI; PAUL. WILLIAM died in l95l. MRS. CRONIN resides at Kellerton,
JAMES CONNELLY, born in Ireland in April, l848, married ANNA MCCARTHY,
born in County Waterford-Lismore in l855. They lived in Des Moines
until l896 when they moved to Ellston in Ringgold County. Both are
buried at Afton.
Children: JAMES, JOHN; MARY; WILLIAM and MARTIN. MARY married JOHN
BRESNAHAN and are the parents of Reverend WILLIAM BRESNAHAN O.S.B.
Conception Abbey. MARY made her First Holy Communion at St. Mary's
Church, Grand River, in l900. WILLIAM CONNELLY of Afton, the father of
Reverent PAUL CONNELLY, made his First Holy Communion also at the old
St. Mary's Church, Grand River, in l900. The pastor at that time was
Father J.J. CONDON of Maloy.
JAMES MCGRAW, son of PATRICK AND JOHANNA (GENAN) MCGRAW, was born in
Ireland in l854. He came with his parents when a small boy to this
country, settling in Pittsburgh, Pa., for a short time. Later the
family migrated west and settled on a farm near Beaconsfield in Ringgold
September l0, l889, he was married to MATTIE GROGAN before the Reverend
Father T.J. MULLEN. They became the parents of three children: MARIE
(MRS. L.E. O'HAIR), Osceola; RAYMOND, of Grand River, and GLADYS (MRS.
DENNIS GROGAN), now deceased.
MR. MCGRAW died June l6, l928, and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery,
Woodland Township. He has four granddaughters: KATHLEEN BURCHETT,
RAMADEAN SHIELDS, MARILYN and FRANCES MCGRAW.
CORYDON, WAYNE COUNTY, IOWA
CHARLES SWEENEY of Maxwell, Iowa, January 25, l953, sent me a letter
through Doctor W.C. SCHOLTY, Vet., telling of some of the Catholic
families near Corydon. CHARLES came to Wayne County in November, l876,
with his mother and two sisters, by train to Harvard, a country cross
road south of Corydon. It was the first time a train stopped at
His father and brother drove through from Des Moines County in a wagon
and four horses. It took them a week to make the trip from Burlington.
The weather was bad and there were no bridges over rivers in many
As time passed there were some ten Catholic families who settled around
south of Corydon such as the SWEENEY family, the HENRY SCHOLTY family,
JOHN and JAMES FENNELL, the ENRIGHTS, the BROWNS, the MURPHYS, the
BOYLES, the MCCANNS and others.
The priest, Father O'BRIEN at first, was located at Moulton, Iowa. He
came once a month to one of the Catholic homes to offer Mass. After
Father O'BRIEN came Father KING and Father DAILY who came from
Centerville. Another priest was Father LOFTUS. They seemed to come to
the SWEENEY home more often. The priest would come Saturday night and
stay until Monday as there was no train on Sunday.
"People would come from a long way in wagons even as far as Lewisburg,
three miles east of the Decatur County line on Highway 2. They came
fasting and many times there would be as many as forty people for my
mother to get dinner for."
A church was built in Corydon about l882, however, it was really never
finished. A non-Catholic man by the name of J.A. HARPER donated to
Bishop JOHN MCMULLEN of Davenport a lot in the northeast corner of town
on which to build a church. After it was put up a wind storm did it
serious damage. It set several years unused and the lot was sold back
to MR. J.A. HARPER.
Many of the young people moved away from Wayne County after marriage and
the Catholic population never grew.
Doctor WILLIAM C. SCHOLTY, son of HENRY B. SCHOLTY and BESSIE E.
SWEENEY, was born July 30, l880, in Wayne County.
Doctor WILL was graduated from Iowa State College as a Veterinarian in
l902 and resides at Leon, a member of St. Brendan's parish. He was a
member of the l898 football team of Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa.
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