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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 it was 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