The History of Our Cradle Land
by Thomas H. Kinsella

Transcribed by Sean Furniss

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Mrs. John Sheehy died Saturday morning, October 20, 1917, shortly after 11:00 o'clock, at her home, 404 East Miami street, Paola, Kansas. Eighty-six years' contact with a world that is not always kind, had worn out the frail body. But the end came peacefully and she died content with her children gathered around her and the consolation of the last prayers of her church.

Born in the County Tyrone, Ireland, about the year 1831, Mary Colton grew to womanhood there under the care of her parents, James and Sarah Colton. It was in 1857 that her brother, Father James Colton, a parish priest in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, went back to Ireland for a visit with the old folks. On his return to America his sister, Mary, accompanied him. He placed her under the care of the good Sisters of the Dominican convent, at Benton, Wisconsin, where she remained three years. Her education completed, she was married in the year 1860 at Shullsburg, Wisconsin, to John Sheehy, and for nineteen years the couple lived at Monroe in the same state. Six children were born to them. Two died in infancy, the four surviving being: Mrs. Sarah Williams, Katherine, wife of J. D. Bogle, and James F. Sheehy of Paola, and Allie, wife of Walter Nalty of Omaha, Nebraska. Thirteen grandchildren also survive.

Mr. and Mrs. Sheehy came to Kansas in 1879. For a year they lived on a farm just east of Paola, then located on the place in Middle Creek that was the Sheehy homestead many years. Mr. Sheehy died twenty-two years ago, and the next spring the widow came back to Paola, where she has since resided. A gentle, homeloving woman, all her thoughts were for her family and church, and no mother was ever more richly rewarded in the love and care of her children.

Mary Colton Sheehy was a woman of simple virtues that prompted her to deeds of love everlasting. She came of a family of high name and good blood. She read deeply and gathered sermons from running brooks and stones. The kitchen and the parlor, the cradle and the altar were the places of her labors and her devotion. She was domestic and religious, her industry never flagged and her charity never waned. Children and grandchildren have risen to call her blessed. Well may the mound in Holy Cross cemetery, above her consecrated dust, be a shrine where they will often pray, for she was saintly as well as human. Her noble examples of conduct like the sunbeams, will continue to perpetuate and purify all earthly life. "Good name in man and woman is the immediate jewel of their souls," said the bard, whose thoughts live on and on, and Mrs. Sheehy's immortal spirit left this earth reflecting the light of "full many a gem of purest ray serene."

Every pew of Holy Trinity church was filled Monday morning when she was borne there for the last blessing of her church. A solemn Requiem Mass was chanted by the Reverend Father O'Farrell, assisted by Father McNamara, of Louisburg, and Father Bollweg, and the last tribute was paid to this good woman by Father Kinsella. Interment was in Holy Cross cemetery, east of town.


A gentle soul went to a rich reward last Sunday evening, October 12, 1913, when Mrs. Marcella Clark of this city died at her home. Had she lived until the last day of this month she would have been 83 years old.

Born in Wexford, Ireland, October 31, 1830, she was married to John Keenan in 1854. Immediately after their marriage, the young couple set sail for America and landed in New York. Remaining there for a short while, they moved west and settled at Freeport, Illinois. From Freeport they moved to Dublin, Illinois. Here Mr. Keenan died and, in 1865, Mrs. Keenan and Richard Clark were married. Three years later the family moved to Miami county, Kansas, and made their home south of Paola on the north bank of the river. Mr. Clark died there in 1877.

In 1880 Mrs. Clark moved to Paola and here lived from that time on. She was a very devout and industrious person, who gave heed to the welfare of everybody with whom she came in contact. Many is the person that she has helped and many is the prayer she has offered up for those in want and those in distress.

Mrs. Clark was a woman of bright mind. She was saving and invested her surplus money to good advantage. To her sons she extended all opportunities for education that the country afforded, and, besides this, gave them wholesome moral example in her conduct.

The three living sons are: Thomas C. Keenan, a resident of Williamsburg, Franklin county, Kansas; Joseph F. Keenan, whose home is near Cleveland, Mo., and Peter J. Keenan, who lives upon the old homestead, south of town. Joe will move to Paola in a short time, as he has already purchased ground and expects, to make this his permanent home.

Burial services were conducted last Wednesday, Mass being sung at the Holy Trinity church by Reverend Father Burk. The body was borne to the Catholic cemetery, east of the city, and there interred with the last rites of the Church. Thus lived and died the unselfish, hard-working charitable Marcella Clark. May her soul rest in Peace!


Death came peacefully on Saturday morning, May 17, 1919, at 6:30 o'clock to Mrs. Johanna Dalton, widow of the late Joseph Dalton, at the family home, near Fontana. Mother Dalton was in her 82nd year and had been in declining health for months. After a serious sick spell a month ago, she rallied and her death at this time was unexpected. She breathed her last, sitting in a rocking chair, after only an hour's illness.

Johanna Cunningham was born in County Kerry, Ireland, in April, 1839, and came to this country when 14 years of age. She joined her brothers, Michael and Maurice, in Richmond, Indiana, and lived there until her marriage to Joseph Dalton, four years later. Shortly afterward the young couple went to Canada, where Mr. Dalton followed contract mining about fifteen years. Then they moved to Michigan, coming to Kansas almost fifty years ago. They located on the homestead in the Irish settlement near Fontana, which has been the family home ever since. It was the center of hospitality in the neighborhood, and it was the warm Irish heart and cheerfulness of Mrs. Dalton that made it such a popular spot. She was truly the queen in the household, and sixteen jewels were the royal decorations in the sacred crown of motherhood she wore so proudly. One of the sixteen children died in infancy, four others in youth, but eleven have grown to useful manhood and womanhood. In their children and children's children this noble father and mother built a living monument that is a constant exemplification of the reward earned by clean, wholesome living. Mr. Dalton died eight years ago last October, and the good wife was laid beside him in Holy Cross cemetery, Monday morning, following service at Holy Trinity church. Rev. Father Francis Fitzgerald sang the Requiem Mass, and in his matchless way, Rev. Father Kinsella gave the funeral address, dwelling on the worth, goodness and living faith of this pioneer mother.

The surviving children are Mrs. Maggie Wolfe, Miss Mary Dalton, James and Charles, all of whom live on farms near the home place; Jack, in Cordova, Alaska; Annie, wife of Lawrence Moran, of Fulton, Kansas; Jennie and Michael, Miles City, Mont., and Dan, Sarah and Kittie, at home. She also leaves twenty-two grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and one brother, Michael Cunningham, in Rosedale, Kansas. Mr. Cunningham is 96 years old.


Four score and five was the run of years that decreed the body of Mr. Patrick Hogan, of Paola, Kansas, to the grave, earth to earth and dust to dust. At his home here, surrounded by wife, sons and daughters, he died Wednesday morning, March 31, 1920, and today will be the burial in Holy Cross cemetery, east of town. Services will be at the Catholic church at 10 o'clock this morning (Friday).

Born on Saint Patrick's Day, 1835, in the County Clare, Ireland, the boy struck out for America in 1847, and landed in Canada, where he went to work. Later he crossed the line into Michigan and lived there many years. On the 12th day of September, 1863, he was married to Miss Mary Ann Ryan, at Hancock, Michigan, and in 1878, the family moved to Miami county, Kansas. The first home was in Osage township, and afterward in Paola township. In 1903, Mr. and Mrs. Hogan moved to this city, and here they made their home ever since.

Besides Mrs. Hogan, the wife and mother, there are four sons and three daughters surviving, John Edward Hogan lives in Kansas City, Kansas; Michael James Hogan, Pueblo, Colo.; Patrick Henry Hogan, in Humboldt, Kansas; William Dennis Hogan, at Augusta, Kansas; Mrs. Minnie Allen, wife of Richard Allen, Hutchinson, Kansas; Mrs. Hannah Cunningham, wife of George Cunningham, and Lillie Fitzgerald, wife of Michael J. Fitzgerald, in Paola. All were at the bedside when the father died.

Here was a plain man of the common mold who made his living by his hands, reared a large family and added to the world's wealth, not alone in goods, but in happiness. Early in life, he learned to labor and, through the long run of years, made his bread by the sweat of his brow. By his side in every trial and through all toil, was his faithful wife, who survives him. She was the light of home, the ever industrious one who laid up store for rainy day and led in family prayer. This couple's example is worth more than gold, and today the husband and father is mourned by the household, by the city and by the whole community.


Michael Cunningham, died on Thursday, May 6, 1920, at his home at No. 32 South Ninth Street, Kansas City, Kansas, in his ninety-sixth year, and the body was buried in Holy Cross cemetery, east of Paola, on Saturday, May 8th, after Requiem Mass had been sung in the Catholic Church of this city. Rev. Father Kinsella spoke briefly of the old pioneer whose eventful life was closed. No history of Miami county would be complete without reference to Michael Cunningham, who came here in 1857. In that year there was a settlement formed in Osage township by an Irish colony from Indiana. Besides Mr. Cunningham, there were his brother, Morris Cunningham; Michael Allen, Michael Moran and Richard Collins. Also there was Katherine Sheehan, a widow, the mother of John Sheehan, who now resides upon the edge of the old settlement. The Cunningham, Allen, Moran, Collins and Sheehan families all were directly or indirectly related. Mrs. Michael Cunningham was the sister of Michael Allen. She died in 1864 and about two years later Mr. Cunningham and Miss Mary Poland were married. She was the daughter of Patrick Poland, one of the first settlers of Osawatomie township. The surviving child of the first union is Sarah Cunningham, and the other sons and daughters are as follows: William Cunningham, who lives in Rosedale; John Cunningham, 832 Homer Street, Kansas City, Kansas; Bert and Tom Cunningham, who live in Miami county; Mrs. John Sheehan, of Osage township; Mrs. Wm. Baxter, Healy, Kansas; Mrs. John Marks, Sixth Street and Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, and Mrs. Maurice Wolfe, who lives at the Cunningham home.

From 1857 until 1910, Mr. Cunningham resided upon the land which he homesteaded, then he turned the place over to the sons and moved to Kansas City, Kansas, taking a home in the Rosedale section. Through the long period of over fifty years of the building of Osage township and of Miami county, Mr. Cunningham was a potential factor. He helped to build the first school house, to build the first bridge and hauled part of the stone to erect the first little Catholic Church in the city of Paola, upon a plat of ground given by Mother Baptiste. In the war he helped to guard the border and, through it all he was a cheerful, vigorous worker. He not only kept the faith of his fathers, but so ordered his conduct that he was respected on every hand.

Born in the County Kerry, Ireland, in the year 1825, the brief period of his youth was spent in the unhappy island where hard times prevailed, and the energetic boy seized the first opportunity to strike for America. He landed with nothing to help him but his hands and he went to work. It was at an early day that he settled with those whom he had helped to bring from Ireland, near Indiana. Like those associated with him, he lived upon public works and gladly embraced the opportunity that came with the opening of Kansas for settlement to get some land of his own. Although not schooled in books, he was well informed upon the happenings of the age around him, and became an intelligent citizen. Especially did he become a patriotic American, loving liberty and hating tyranny. His soul was filled with the spirit of American freedom, "Great flag, me boy, and a great country," he would remark every time he saw the Stars and Stripes. His honesty was of the plain old sort, his other virtues were in keeping with all that is set forth in the Ten Commandments, and he lived to be the last of the grand colony of Irish, who helped to make Miami county and the state of Kansas. His younger brother, Morris Cunningham, died several years ago, and Mike Moran fell early in the fighting. Mike Allen, Richard Collins, Katie Sheehan and all the rest have gone the way of earth. In his ninety-sixth year he lay down peacefully and breathed his last. His memory will live as long as our language is spoken.

Besides Mrs. Cunningham, the widow, and all the living children, the following persons accompanied the body from Kansas City to the burial ground: John Sheehan, James, Sarah and Charles Dalton, Paola; Maurice Wolfe, John Marks, W. H. Poland and wife, Mrs. McLain, Mrs.Dunlavy, Henry Allen, Harry McGowan, Will Wolfe, Kansas City; Michael Mulvihill and wife, James McRoberts and wife, Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Hess and James Mulvihill, Topeka; Thomas, Will, Mary and Thomas Mulvihill, Jr.; Harry, Anna and Allen Cunningham, Rosedale, and Mary Sheehan, Leavenworth.


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