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Monday, June 18, 2018

Family Gatherings 1995 - Duluth

In 1995 Maura, Cath, Tim and Pat joined Jean and Jim Madden for a tour of their youth in Minnesota.  There were two main parts of the tour, Saint Paul, which included a Walsh Family Reunion explored places in the life of Jean Ann English, and Duluth which explored the youth of James Howard Madden.

These are pictures from the Duluth part of the trip.
Holy Rosary Basilica

1418 Vermillion Rd - 1st House

Condor Park

Two Harbors Docks Lake Superior. 
Dad had many tales about being dropped into
forests on unoccupied shores and racing cars on frozen shores.

The Duluth Aerial Bridge constructed in 1929.  Mom
remembers being able to ride up when it rose with
Uncle Elter.  That must have been quite a thrill
for a four year old.

St. Paul 1995
More Pictures

Monday, June 4, 2018

John James Haffey

sketch by Lucas O'Brien, 1st president of the Royal Canadian
Academy, showing judicial business at the Eighth Division
Court at Mono Mills in 1855. 
#4 (3rd from left) is John J. Haffey acting as baliff
tendering the oath to a witness.

John James Haffey was born in Ireland about 1819. Birth information is taken from the 1861 census. His daughter Camilla indicated that he came from Northern Ireland (Ulster).  Family tradition says he was born in Armagh, but there is no corroboration of that fact.  Other researchers claim he was related to some of the other Haffey's in the area, this seems likely but again is uncorroborated.

He settled in Adjala about 1840 and on `5 Feb 1844 he married Margaret Keenan the daughter of John and Eleanor in Toronto.
John married Margaret Keenan (daughter of  John and Eleanor) on 15 Feb 1844 in Toronto.

On the 11 Jun 1853, John bought W1/2 of Lot 14 Concession 5 in the township of Adjala from Michael Harvey for $400. The Mortgage was divided with $215 payable to Michael Harvey and $165 to James Mitchel. Michael Harvey was the patentee of the land. The Simcoe county book pt2 pg 51gives his name as Michael Haffey. "As early as the year 1828 some settlers had begun to take up lots in the gook lands juxt north of Bailey Creek. Among these families of Connors, Kelly and Keenan:" ....."Michael Haffey settled on the west half of lot 14 concession 5 at this early period."  It seems most likely that the book was mistaken as the deed seems very clear.

The 1861 census reported that John (40) and Margaret (40) were farmers living in a log house with their children Allice (16), James (15), Joseph (13), Ellen (11), John (9), Thomas (7), Elizabeth (4), and Peter (2).  Also living in the house is John Keenan (88) a gentleman bn in Ireland. (1861 Population, Canada,, District 1 page 10 line 16)  

The agricultural census of the same year adds that he is living on 100 acres on the W 1/2 of Lot 16 Concession 6, twelve acres were under cultivation, 48 acres were under crops, four were pasture and 36 were either wooded or wild. The farm was worth $2500 and the farming implements worth $150.  He had 7 acres of fall wheat which produced 250 bushels and 24 acres of spring wheat which produced 400 bushels.  There were 80 bushels of peas on 4 acres and 350 bushels of oats on 8 acres.  Three-quarters of an acre produced 200 bushels of potatoes.  He also grew 2 tons of hay.   John's produce totals were about average for the area.

John served in various community capacities over the years, including JP, baliff and more.  By 1881 it appears that he is no longer farming.  He is living with what seems to be an unrelated family, while Margaret and her son Francis are in another household and Allice, who never married, in a third. Although no explanation is given it seems likely that John needed more care than Margaret was able to give.

John died 20 Oct 1884 in Toronto.  The death certificate states he was a retired farmer age 65 born in Ireland.  The  informant was Dr. E Kennedy.  

John James Haffey - Dropbox

Monday, May 21, 2018


On 12 Jul 1691 the Jacobite Irish Army and the forces of William III met in battle near the town of Aughrim in County Galway.  Over 7000 people were killed and Jacobitism was virtually crushed, although the city of Limerick held out for a few more months.

There are many websites devoted to the history of the battle and the events leading up to them, it is not my intention to try to recreate them.  How many of our ancestors were at this battle is unknown at this time.  There were definitely Maguires connected to Greg's family and Kelly's connected to ours.  But to date no others have been identified.

The Battle of Aughrim Interpretive center was not opened when we visited in September, however, it is possible to drive around the entire battlefield. Signs in various positions describe the battle from that angle.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Family Gatherings - 2014

Sun River (2)

Maura takes over as Matriarch of the family!! Alexis travels alone with Grammy and Grandpa as Mom and Dad stay home anticipating the arrival of Nicholas.  Dani, Remele and Lexi have great fun running around together as all the big kids and adults take off for fun stuff such as rafting.  

More Pictures

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cath's Tales: Almonds, Almonds and More Almonds

Can one wish oneself ill?  For many years I’ve wondered about that day.  The task was given, everyone must hull ALMONDS until they were done and then we would all go out to dinner.  Now going “out” to dinner was a rarity in our family of eight, so no one took the thought of the treat lightly.

But what a hated task this was.  Knocking and picking up nuts on our 100 tree property could be tedious enough but hulling was misery itself.  The stickies had hard green covers that had to be pried from the shells and even the “non-stickies” would leave a person with sore, green stained hands.  

About an hour into the job, my face started swelling, my eyes were watering ferociously.  Allergies, you say.  But I had not been prone to allergies and prided myself on the fact I was never sick, at least not since I had my tonsils out (but that’s a different story) After another half hour my eyes were sticking shut and as no one could ignore the swelling I was sent off to rest.

Certain that I was destined to stay home alone while the family went off to dinner unless I managed to get out and help more, I worried myself into a deep sleep.  When I woke the swelling was gone.  I rushed out determined to get back to work and earn that dinner, only to find hours had passed.  Dusk was falling and everyone was coming in to clean up for dinner.  Sure I was out of luck, I slunk back to my bed and lay there in despair.

Although most of my life crisises culminated in help from Dad, this time it was Mom I remember sitting quietly down on the bed and asking if I felt good enough to go to dinner.  Well, my silent sobs had caused some new swelling and red eyes, but I instantly replied, "Yes, but how can I?  I didn’t help."

It turned out that my Never Being Sick, was a good thing, it wasn’t likely I was pretending.  I’m not sure my siblings bought it though, I remember a few dark looks.  I don’t even remember where we went to dinner (was it the Nut Tree? Most likely.) or what I had, but I surely remember the day.


  • We did not hull all the almonds, usually there were one or two gunny sacks full that were held back for our own use and for christmas gifts for relatives.  The rest of the nuts were either sold unhulled or taken to hullers and sold after.  I remember trips to Chico and other places with a trailer load of almonds.
  • Although the family seldom went to dinner and I'm sure there were good restaurants in Sacramento, the Nut Tree which was about an hour drive away was a family favorite. Besides the Sacramento Inn, where we went for special occasion breakfasts (first communion, etc) and Sambos where we went on many Sunday mornings after church (each of us usually responsible for our own breakfast with money saved from allowance, special chores, and outside jobs) I don't remember going out.  
  • Growing up on a small almond orchard had advantages, land to run around on, trees to hide behind or climb, the beauty of the trees in bloom, the coolness of the canopy even on hot Sacramento County summer days, and the interesting treat of not quite ripe nuts to munch on.  There was also the disadvantage, the months of nut related chores.  Given a choice, something young children of course don't have, I would pick the chores and the freedom of that land any day.  Even at the time it seemed such a special place that the chores, though worth complaining about on occasion, were not enough to dampen the advantages.
  • This is the first of Cath's Tales.  I realized I will never write my memoirs.  I'm much better at telling the tales of ancestors than telling my own.  Yet, I also realize that I wish with all my soul that my ancestors had told their tales themselves.  So for my grandchildren and their descendants I will leave these occasional tales of the wonderful life I have lived.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Wedding Story

Jim and Jean met at a Eucharistic Congress in 1941. They hit it off right away because neither one was into the silliness that often accompanied meetings of teenagers.  

That first meeting was on the banks of the Mississippi.  Four years later, on 27 Oct 1945, they were engaged again on the banks of the Mississippi.  The engagement was announced on November 8.  At the time the Maddens had moved from Duluth to St. Paul and were living on Cretin Street. There were a number of luncheons and a shower was hosted by Jim's Aunt Helen.


The Bridal Dinner was held at the Minneapolis Auto Club.  

The reception after the wedding which was officiated by Rev. Joseph A Corrigan at St. Mark's Church was held at the Dehn's house.

Jim and Jean honeymooned  at Trout Lake, MI. The owner of the lodge was Phil DeGraph. None of the guests at the lodge knew, or at least they never let on if they guessed, that Mom and Dad were on their honeymoon. While there the guests made a model of the lodge for Phil, whom both Dad and Mom remember fondly.

After the wedding they returned to Notre Dame, where Jim was pursuing his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  

The Wedding & Honeymoon Photos

Monday, March 26, 2018

Family Gatherings - 1987

40th Anniversary

I know I went famililess to this surprise party for Mom and Dad's 40th anniversary in Gig Harbor.  I don't remember who all was there but I'm guessing Maura was also on her own...and Sean and Pat were still single.  

Memories or pictures anyone??

More Pictures