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Monday, May 30, 2016

Joseph Phillip Haffey

Joseph was born, not in 1853 although he used that date later in life, but in 1847 or 1848 which is corroborated by the 1851 and 1871 census which lists him as a 22 year old college student. That would agree with a 24 Aug 1848 birthdate, the day itself never being in question.

Joseph was the only one of his family to attend college, and although it is never quite stated in any record it seems likely from the path he took that he was intended to be the family priest.  He attended St. Michael's College in Toronto (now a part of the University of Toronto) and after graduation stayed an additional year as a tutor. He then taught at the public schools for two years.

About 1879 he emigrated to Michigan, settling in Ann Arbor where he attended the University of Michigan School of Law.  Graduating in 1882 he joined the law firm Linchner & Porter, eventually becoming a partner in the firm.

He appears to have been aptly named, Joseph coming from the Hebrew Ioseph meaning to give in abundance.  Known for his honesty and integrity,  he gave of himself and did not let the pursuit of power or money take over his practice of the law.

While this earned him the respect of his colleagues, it did not always cushion him from the realities of the practice of law.  He was quick to tell his sons not to follow him into the practice.

Mary was not as respectful of his decision to stay low key and not pursue power and riches.  Perhaps the childhood of hearing stories of the mill that should have been in the family, or the poverty she had endured that caused her to always want more.  Discontent did not lead to a happy life and it seems that there was a sad aura over the family.

Joseph was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  In the 1894 Bay City Directory he is listed as Vice President of the Bay City chapter

Joseph married Mary Murphy in Port Huron, MI 26 Jan 1888. They had five children, Joseph, Marie, Grace, Thomas and Isabel.

Joseph died on 8 Nov 1917 and is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Bay City.

A memorial in his honor was presented to the Circuit Court of Bay City on 30 Nov 1917 with the request that it be presented to the State Supreme Court.

Link to Haffey Documents, News items and Pictures

Monday, May 16, 2016


The website The History of St. James Church: Colgan notes "The settling of Adjala (note: named for the wife of Chief Tecumseth) by Catholic homesteaders can be traced back to the vision and experiences of Bishop Alexander Macdonell. In 1826, he became the first bishop of the newly created diocese of Kingston. It stretched from the Ottawa River in the east, to the Detroit River in the west. As part of a series of missionary visits Bishop Macdonell had the opportunity to learn first hand how fared the lives of the earliest pioneers. He travelled through Adjala and being impressed by the land and its fertile resources, he counselled new immigrants to settle there." (1)

Hoog's Map- County of Simcoe, Ont.  1871
The year 1826 is interesting here, however, as James Keenan first received land in the county in 1824 and other family members were not much later.

The History of Simcoe County notes.... " As in the the other parts of this county, settlement in what people formerly called the wilds of Adjala began at the south end of the township."
       In 1993 Adjala was merged with Tosorontio township and today it is known as Adjala-Tosorontio township.

Loretto  (44°03′00″N 79°53′25″W) is one of the oldest communities in Adjala–Tosorontio, and has one of the oldest and most famous taverns in Simcoe County,

Monday, May 2, 2016

Keenans to Adjala

On 2 Jul 1825 John Keenan, his wife and eight of his children were on the St. Lawrence Steamboat Company's 8th trip up river from Quebec.

According to his petition for land, dated 25 Oct 1825, he and his family had arrived in Quebec in June of that year.  The petition states he was from County Tyrone, Ireland and his wife and ten children had accompanied him. He had taken an oath of allegiance and had not applied for land previously.

Over the next year and a half life was not easy for John and family.  On the 9 of Jun 1827 a further communication with the Lt. Governor of Upper Canada indicates that he has not yet improved the land but begs to be allowed to take it up.  Just one month later there is yet another petition.  In this document he explains that he and his family have been sick and had not been able to leave York to settle on the land.

These documents tell us a lot about John.  He came from Tyrone, he has ten children.  He has a brother, a brother-in-law and a son-in-law who have also settled in Adjala, Upper Canada. Of the ten children nine are known including Ann who married James McKenna, the son-in-law who was living in Adjala in 1827.  The other known children are James, Rose, Sarah, Mary, John, Margaret, Robert and Ellen.

John's brother James settled in Adjala in 1824.  Denis Keenan was also granted land in 1824, but did not take it up until after his regiment (the 68th regiment of foot) left Canada in 1828.  It is not known at this point whether he was another brother, but it seems likely.

We do not know who the brother-in-law was at this point, but it seems likely it might have been John Haydon, who's wife Ann Keenan was born in 1798 and died in Adjala in 1887.  More research is indicated.

John Keenan Land Documents

Monday, April 25, 2016


In 1825 Lt. C. Bailey wrote the following memoir of the Parish of Aghalow & Carnteel (Aghaloo) in Co Tyrone to go with the Ordnance Survey Maps that were being drawn.

"The surface of this parish is very undulating.  It consists principally of small hills separated by valleys or plains.  The hills are generally of the greatest altitude in the north west and become gradually of less elevation towards the south east.  The following are the names of the townlands containing the principal elevations, with their altitudes in feet above the level of the sea:  Rahaghy, 635 feet, Carricklongfield, 608 feet, Bohard, 479 feet, Glendarragh, 412 feet.  The forgoing ar in the north western portion and in the south eastern are Knockaginy, 251 feet Drumess, 298 feet and Mulynaveagh, 258 feet.

"There are several lakes, within and bordering on this parish, the total area of which amounts to 140 acres 26 perches.  Creeve lough is about 1,00 yards long and 330 feet broad and estends over 60 acres, 9 acres of which are in Aghaloo parish.  Mullycarnan lake is 440 yards by 286, area 48 acres.  Rahaghy lake contains 22 acres 2 roods.

"The Blackwater forms the boundary of the parish for 18 miles.  for 12 miles its course is to the south east, to the southern extremity of the parish.  At this point its direction changes to the south west towards Lough Neagh.  there are various nameless watercourses, which serve as feeders to the lakes and are useful to small mills.

"The bog is principally confined to small patches in the valleys or low grounds.  The largest tract is on the north western boundary in Carricklongfield, Rahaghy and Cronghill townlands.

" Calledon is situated in the south eastern portion of the parish, on the high road from Monaghan to Dungannon.  It is 89 miles from Dublin, [blank] from Monaaghan and [blank] from Dungannon.  the ancient name of the town was Kinnard.  It was the site of a castle belonging to Sir Phelim O'Neill.  the town consists of 1 street which presents a remarkably neat appearance.  the public buildings are a church, a Presbyterian meeting house a schoolhouse and an inn.  there is a general market every Saturday, a grain market every Tuesday and a fair on the second Saturday in each month.  A day coach from Belfast to Enniskillen passes through it every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and returns every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"Public buildings: Roman Catholic chapel in Derrygooly......

"The flour mills at Caledon rank among the most extensive of the class in the kingdom.  The water power is [supplied] by a weir across the Blackwater at right angles with the river.  The height of the weir is [blank] feet and the length of the mill-race [blank] yards, giving a fall of [blank] feet.  There is also a subsidiary low pressure steam engine of 25 horsepower.  The average consumption of coal is 4 cwt per hour.  It is procured at [blank] for [blank] per ton and the cost of carriage is [blank].

"The seeds or refuse of the grain is also used as fuel and it is found that 1 ton of seeds is equal to 4 cwt of coal.

"Corn mill in Dyan, corn mill in Drummond.

"The principal road is that from Monaghan to Dungannon through Caledon.  It traverses the parish on the eastern side from north to south for 6 and a half miles.

"Another main road traverses the parish from the south east to north west, leading from Armagh to Omagh through Aughnacloy.  Its length within Aghaloo parish is 9 miles."

This is the land that our Keenans  left in 1825.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sarah Lonergans Legacy

Sarah Lonergan was lace curtain Irish.  She could have been the owner of the Mills of Golden, Co. Tipperary, but instead married poor farmer, John Dunn and had her life disrupted by emigration to Canada.  The poor lady never recovered from the poverty and sadness .... or so my grandmother told me.

Some fifteen years ago I encountered a fourth cousin and sharing notes, the story told by her great grandmother was the same.

As we delved into the story of John and Sarah, reality set in.  There is absolutely NO evidence that Sarah had any claim at any time to any mills in the town of Golden.  At no time did anyone with the name of Lonergan own the mills.  And even more telling, there was no eligible bachelor owner or son of an owner at any time that Sarah might have married. 

Ah, a tradition broken.  But then this is not the story of John and Sarah, but rather the story of the legacy that Sarah left to her family.  A legacy of discontent.  As Ruth and I compared notes a pattern emerged, a pattern of unhappy unsatisfied women, disrupting lives of husbands and children with cries of woe as the world mistreated them.

Bridget Dunn Murphy
Sarah=s daughter Bridget was born in Ireland and accompanied her parents and older sister Mary to Brant County Ontario about 1840.  Little is known of her life there until she married Michael Murphy.  Michael, the son of James Murphy and Mary Brien was born in Ireland about 1838-.  Bridget and Michael emigrated to Michigan early in their married life, settling in Port Huron.  There Michael worked as a chauffeur until suddenly the family pulled up stakes and moved to Bay City.  Word is that Michael was in trouble.  Perhaps with the law, perhaps with the family he worked for, perhaps with Bridget.  

Mary Murphy Haffey
It was not too long before Bridget kicked Michael out of the house in Bay City. In the early days Michael sent money home to Bridget, but she would send it back.  And so Michael disappeared into the streets of Chicago, final destination still undiscovered.   Bridget lived on to age of ninety eight.  

According to Ruth=s grandmother, Bridget was always unsatisfied with her life and always creating turmoil in the family...Ruth laughed in the telling and said that so she remembered was her grandmother.

Bridget=s daughter Mary Murphy was born in Ontario in 1868.  While living in Port Huron, Michigan she met a promising young law student.  

Joseph Phillip Haffey was born in Adjala, Ontario in 1854,  the son of Irish immigrants John Haffey and Margaret Keenan. Joseph attended St. Michael=s College in Toronto and then remained as a tutor for another five years.  In 1880, he pulled up stakes and emigrated to the US, to attend the University of Michigan School of Law in Ann Arbor. 
Isabel Haffey Madden

Joseph was an honest and ethical man.  Much as he loved the law, he grew to hate the legal scene, it was a time of corruption at every level and he refused to he corrupt.  Thus the family was comfortable but did not reach the ranks of the wealthy.  Mary lived the life of leisure but longed for the life of the rich, poor Joseph never met her expectations as a provider.

Mary had five children, both sons and one daughter never married.  But the legacy lived on. The eldest and the youngest daughters both carried the germ.  

Isabel, the youngest,  was my grandmother.  Though I loved her dearly,  I can honestly say she was always unsatisfied with the cards life dealt her and she created major turmoil in my family ......

Will the legacy continue..... or will the telling of the tale allow it to be finally at an end.

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Family Artist

The family artistic talent has hit the next generation.  Saige Marie Madden, a fourteen year old freshman at Santa Catalina High School in Monterey had her pen and ink drawing, Melanie Martinez, chosen for inclusion at a showing in a Carmel gallery.

 but my favorite is the bird........

Keep an eye out.....if she doesn't wow you with her impressive art she'll wow you with her volleyball game!!!!!