Saturday, June 30, 2012


     Just typing the name "Sullivan" in relation to St. Thomas gives me a headache.  I once tried to figure out all the Sullivans and I'm not sure it is possible for an outsider!!
     The following information is from the Le Sueur News Herald of May 8th, 1940.  It is from a column called "Our Neighbors--" by J. H. Sellie.
When I began looking up material for this paper one of my Irish friends suggested that I drive over to St. Thomas and have a talk with Mr. and Mrs. Jim Sullivan.  I did so and found them a most interesting and delightful old couple, whose memories were apparently good and whose minds were full of old stories about the early days in the settlement.  Mr. Sullivan is 82 and his wife 78.  They live in a little cottage on the edge of the cemetery.  The outside of their house is most unpretentious but the inside is cozy and comfortable. 
Mrs. Sullivan was cutting up seed potatoes and her husband was out making the rows into which the potatoes were to be planted. When I began my interview Mrs. Sullivan offered to call her husband saying with wifely pride and loyalty, "He knows so much more than I do."  She looked out and said, "He is only resting and might as well do it in the house". He came and we had a delightful hour.  Information? Well yes, enough for the start of a book.  Book-writer, there is a gold mine for you.
Like so many of the St. Thomas pioneers, Mr. Sullivan's father lived in Pennsylvania for awhile before he, in 1857, came to Minnesota.  The mother of my new-found friend, before marriage was Ellen Hennesey.  James Sullivan Sr. was the first to be buried in the St. Thomas Cemetery.  Mrs. Sullivan's maiden name was Catherine Regan, the daughter of another old settler. They were the parents of seven children three of whom died and the four living had long since left the parental domicile to set up homes of their own. 
 There was a picture of a fine looking man on the wall and, thinking that it perhaps this was the picture of one of their children, I asked who he was and was told that it was Father John C. Abbott who has a parish near Minneapolis.  They said that this young man was born in Le Sueur and was the son of John C. Abbott who used to live in Le Sueur.  Father Abbott is a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Sullivan of St. Thomas.  They were proud of relating this fact. 
 On one side of the cottage was the cemetery and on the other, a little way back, were the stores, the school house and the filling stations. I could not but reflect that in a short time these old people would be carried a few feet into the cemetery there to rest beside their old friends and neighbors, but other people would come to buy gas for cars in which to carry their children to church and the school house and few would ever think of Jim Sullivan and Catherine Regan and many others who had made these blessings a reality. 
Some people in America have claimed, with how much truth I cannot say, that the Irish women would rather dance than darn the socks of their menfolks and that the Irishmen would rather drive a fast horse or car, on the road than plow their fields and that sometimes, when they had had a little too strong drink, or too much of some that was not so strong, they were quick to fight. Maybe so they had their faults, of course and so had the other nationalities too.  We all have them, but not the same ones.  The Irish have made their contribution to the life in Le Sueur  county.  But for the Irish songs, stories and wit we would all be the poorer. 


U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 websites

Here are some links to websites commemorating the Conflict:
Minnesota History Center site
Mankato & the US-Dakota War of 1862
Le Sueur Tigers Dedication
Le Sueur Tigers 1862-2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Death of Hugh Doherty

The following obituary appeared in the Le Sueur Sentinel:


In the death of Hugh Doherty which occurred at noon on Thursday last, at the residence of his son James, in Tyrone Township, another old settler has been taken to rest. Mr. Doherty was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, in September 1802, and was therefore in his 83d year when he died. He came to America in 1846-just escaping the terrible hard times of 1847 in his native country-and located in Manyunk, a suburb of Philadelphia, where he remained until 1856, when he came to Minnesota, and took a government claim of 160 acres in Tyrone, where he had lived ever since and where he died. His family came the following year. The deceased was chairman of the first board of supervisors of Tyrone township and named the town after his native county in Ireland. (The other two members were Louis Winterfeld and David Jones, the first named of whom is living yet.) He was also one of the earliest members of the board of county commissioners in the county. During the earlier years in Tyrone he also taught school a number of terms. In his public as in his private life, Mr. Doherty was a model of conscientious and honest citizen, and no kinder hearted, upright or agreeable neighbor ever lived. He was a christian in the highest and truest sense-and one who carried his notion of christian duty into all walks of life and when Death came at last, he was shorn of his terror for the venerable and venerated man of faith and works, who welcomed his departure from earth as one who had done the best he could and was ready to lay down the burden of life. The world is better that such men have lived. The deceased leaves a wife, aged 80 years, in feeble health, four sons, James, Samuel, (in Stevens County,) Patrick and Hugh and one daughter, the wife of Patrick Cantwell. The funeral took place at St. Thomas on Saturday and was one of the largest ever known in the county.

Le Sueur Sentinel, Nov. 27, 1884

The Doherty Families

This was published in the Le Sueur News Herald, May 8th, 1940 in a column titled:  "Our Neighbors":

The Doherty Families
    Hugh Doherty was the oldest of this family to live in Le Sueur county. He came as a young man from Ireland, living in Philadelphia for a while and finally coming to Minnesota he procured a home for himself in Tyrone township.  He helped organize the township and it was he who gave it its Irish name.  This farm is now the home of one of his great-grandchildren.
     Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Doherty had seven children.  One of the daughters, by marriage became Mrs. Ferrell and lived in the East.  The other daughter was married to Pat Cantwell Sr. one of the pioneers of Le Sueur. The sons were Sam, James, Pat, Hugh and Frank.
     James Doherty, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Doherty, served in the Union army in the Civil War, first as one of the defenders of New Ulm in the Indian Uprising and after that in the regular army until the close of the war. His wife, before marriage, was Ann Heatherstone.  They had nine children: 1. Sarah, Mrs. Martin Spence, 2. Richard who died in his childhood. 3. Rose, Mrs. D. J. Coleman. 4. Margaret, Mrs. David O'Connell. 5. Hugh who died in Le Sueur about a dozen years ago.  6. Mary, Mrs. H. C. O'Connell.  7. Matthew of St. Thomas. 8. Sam who lived on the farm for some years, then became the manager of the Farmer's elevator, which position he held for many years. In 1919 he bought the W. H. Tomlinson home on North Main Street where he and his family now live. Mr. Doherty has been married twice. He is the father of seven children:  James, Francis, Mary, Margaret, Paul, Michael and Richard. Margaret married Ashley Schlegel who died some years ago.  She has two children:  The oldest being born on St. Patrick's Day was named Patricia and the son born after his father's death was named Robert Ashley.  Paul Doherty is the manager of the Le Sueur Recreation hall.... Michael Doherty, the youngest of the children of Mr. and Mrs. James Doherty, is an attorney and is now the senior member of the law firm of Doherty, Rumble and Butler in St. Paul.  Many of the people of Le Sueur will remember that Michael Doherty was one of the three members of the Le Sueur team that many years ago won the State championship in debate.  The other two members of that famous team were Henry and Alice Currer, the children of the Reverend and Mrs. Currer.  Mr. Curre (sic) was at that time the pastor of the local Presbyterian church in Le Sueur.

James Doherty, New Ulm and Civil War Service

From the Le Sueur Sentinel, July 13, 1899:

          James Doherty was born in County Tyrone, Ireland and came to Le Sueur county Minnesota settling in Tyrone township prior to the civil war.  When the awful Sioux outbreak came in the summer of 1862, he joined the company of settlers known as the Le Sueur tigers No. 2, on August 20th, and with them took part in the heroic defense of New Ulm, being discharged with the rest of that body, when the defense of that city was completed and the Indians driven off, on August 27th. On September 28th, 1862, he enlisted in Co. G. 10th, Minnesota Infantry and was at once made a corporal afterward being promoted to the rank of sergeant. His company was commanded at the start by Capt. Edwin C. Sanders under whom himself and others had served at New Ulm. During the winter of 1863, his regiment remained in Minnesota on account of the Sioux outbreak which had not been entirely settled and Co. G. was one of the six companies which took part in the execution of the Indians at Mankato.  During the summer of 1863 the regiment participated in the great Indian expidition (sic) under General Sibley and on July 28th, being in the advance, were attacked by 5000 Indians, the largest number of red men ever engaging an American army, and after a short fight routed them entirely. The Indians having been driven out of the state and across the Missouri, the 10th, having marched 585 miles from Fort Snelling to a point near Bismarck, N. D. On August 20th, the long countermarch was begun and Ft. Snelling was again reached about September 10th. On October 7th, the regiment took boats for St. Louis, Mo., where Col. J. H. Baker was placed in command of the post and the regiment assigned to provost guard duty.  In April 1864 the 10th left for Columbus, Ky., and later went to Memphis and took part in the battle of Tupelo.  Next they were sent into Missouri and took part in the “Price” raid and later went to Nashville where they took a conspicuous part in the famous encounter where they assaulted and carried the strongest part of “Hood’s” works.  The regiment then went into winter quarters at Eastpoint, Miss., in the spring went to Mobile where they took part in the capture of a Spanish fort.  The war having ended the regiment returned home and were mustered out August 18th, 1865.
James and Ann Heatherston Doherty Family
          After participating in a military service more varied meritorious and gallant perhaps than that of any other body of men that served in the civil war, Sergt. James Doherty returned to his home and farm life in Tyrone where has since remained and where he now lives. Hard labor and economy has caused him to thrive and he is now in comfortable circumstances and has as fine a farm as this section can boast.  A large family of children has come to make his home pleasant, some of whom are married and settled in life.  Comrade Doherty is a valued member of Oliver B. Smith Post No. 183 G. A. R. of this city.  A cut of his home appears in this issue.