|By Pat and Mary McQuillan
the mary mcquillan family
|This is the story of Mary
McQuillan of County Fermanagh and her children and grandchildren as told
by Pat and Mary McQuillan in the McQuillans of County Fermanagh: descendents
of Mary McQuillan, 1790-1876 © 1973-2000. Used with permission.
The book, available at the
Historical Society, describes Mary McQuillan and eight generations of
her descendents in the United States. For more information on this
family, e-mail Pat
Mary and I began tracing the McQuillan family tree in about 1971. During
that time, our search has brought us into contact with hundreds of relatives
who have enriched our lives. Our original quest was to trace our family back
to Ireland. This has met with limited success. Our second objective was to
trace all of the descendents of the original family that came from
General Overview Of The Mary Mcquillan Family Tree
Mary McQuillan came to America from County
Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in approximately 1840. She supposedly
came with her husband whose name we assume was James. We have found
no records of any kind on him. Mary brought with her 6 known children,
five sons and one daughter. She was 50 years old at the time of her
arrival in America and her children's ages ranged from 6 to 22 years.
It is possible that, by the time she arrived, some of her children could
have preceded her to America. The earliest record we found was the
naturalization record dated July 1844 when her son, John, made application
for citizenship. From 1845 to 1850 there are several land transactions
recorded by members of the family. In the 1850 census, all members
of the family, except the eldest son James were living in or around
It appears that this family came directly to the Galena area from Ireland
rather than stopping on the east coast for a period of time like
many of the early immigrants did. Living in the Galena area, at this
time, was another family of McQuillan's who were also from County Fermanagh
which intimates a possible relationship. There were many other families
from County Fermanagh living in and around the Galena area at that time.
The chief occupations were working in the lead mines and farming.
By the year 1850, when the census was taken, Mary age 60, was living with
her second eldest son, John age 25, and his wife, Margaret McAloon, age 24,
and Mary's only daughter, Jane, age 18. All lived in Vinegar Hills
Township, just north of the town of Galena. The third eldest son, Patrick,
was living in Council Hills Township at this time. He was 25 in 1850
and was living with his young wife, Margaret McGuire, age 17. The other
two children, Bernard, age 21 and Philip F., age 16, were living in the town
of Galena. James the eldest, was missing from the census. This
Census was taken on November 18, 1850.
All the first family were born in Northern Ireland and presumably in County
Our Irish Connection
One of our primary reasons for getting into genealogy was to find out where
in Ireland our ancestors came from. Our search started twenty years
ago and as of today it continues. We know as much now as we did after our
first six months of searching. We know our came from County Fermanaugh
in Northern Ireland. County Fermanaugh is located in what is called
the lake area of Ireland. It is not a good farming area as the land is very
wet and marshy and must be drained in order to farm.
the county capital and the county has the smallest population in Ireland,
about 49,000. When Ireland had 8 million people in 1840, County Fermanaugh
then had only 60,000 people.
We did find that in 1840, when our ancestors left Ireland, there were only
three families of McQuillans living in Fermanaugh.
One family lived up near Enniskillen and the other two lived near the town
of Newtownbutler. In 1975 we started to correspond with a Father Patrick
McQuillan in the city of Derry, who was from Newtownbutler. After a
considerable amount of research, which led nowhere, we adopted each other
as cousins. Chances are about 30% that we really are related.
We have been to Ireland seven times and some of his family has visited us
here in St. Paul.
There are only two McQuillan families still living in Fermanaugh now, as
many left the poor farms after World War II and went to southern Ireland,
Belfast, England, Australia, and to the U.S.. Also, after the troubles
started in 1969, Catholic s have not had much economic success in Northern
Ireland. Only Father Pat's sister and cousin, Fergus McQuillan live in
Fergus is a retired teacher and runs a pub called "McQuillan's bar" and is
also a county councilman. Father Pat (in Ireland he is known as father
Ignatius, his second name, or Iggy by his relatives) is now the retired president
of St. Columns college in the city of Derry. It is a school of 1500
students from ages 10 to 19. One of the McQuillans from Newtownbutler
via London visited St. Paul in May of 1991. Alphonse (Alphie) and his
wife, Anne, who now live in London spend ten days with the writer.
"Alphie spells his last name McQuillen, even though his first cousin,
Fergus, spells it McQuillan.
The origin of the McQuillan name
The origin of the McQuillan name is like every
thing else that's Irish. It is very confusing and difficult to pin
down even the correct spelling. Let's start first with the
spelling. The most common spelling is McQuillan. But in 1850,
our ancestors spelled it McQuillin and also McQuillen. We
have studied several lines of other McQuillans who spelled it McQuillen or
McQuillin changing every generation to a different spelling. When we
were in Ireland, we talked to a very learned McQuillan (one of the few),
Mr. Sean McQuillen, of Newbliss in County Monaghan, who has studied the McQuillan
name. He said the multiple spellings were due to the suppression of the Catholics
during Cromwell's time, 1690 to 1780, when the penal laws were in effect.
These laws prohibited the Catholics from attending schools and this resulted
In general illiteracy among the Catholics. The result was that most
names were misspelled. Before 1690, when much of Irish history was
written by the four masters, the McQuillan clan of Antrim is mentioned many
times and most always spelled Mac Quillin. Sean also said that many
McQuillans ended up with the Mc dropped and just shortened to Quillan. He
also said the McCullins and Cullins could also have been
Irish history books tell us the Mac Quillin name goes back to 1315 a.d.
when the Mac Quillin clan lived and controlled over 1700 acres of land
in the northwest corner of County Antrim between the towns of Coleraine and
Ballycastle. They were referred to as the "lords of the route," referring
to the route to Scotland. These original Mac Qullins were usually in
a lot of trouble. They were, like other Irish clans, in a constant
state of conflict with their neighbors. Most of the time the
MacQuillans were on the losing side. By 1520 their fortunes had
gone from bad to worse. They had control over the castle at Dunluce
but soon lost that to the Mac Donnells and Mac Sweeneys. By 1634, Roderick
dhu Mac Quillin died and he was the last "lord of the route." Dunluce
castle is a national monument in Ireland and sits right on the cliffs on
the northern coast of Ireland, a place, not to be missed by any McQuillan
descendents traveling in
After 1634, the clan had fallen apart and many drifted to the south near
Belfast and Armagh. Many retained the Catholic faith and after
the defeat 1690, the Catholics were stripped of all their land and many of
Mac Quillins left the counties of Antrim and Armagh and went south to counties
Tyrone, Fermanaugh, and Monaghan and down. These were the penal times,
when the spelling of the name became more corrupted and this was probably
when our ancestor went to County Fermanaugh, about 1750.
What the history books say
about the origin of McQuillan:
"Mac Williams was corrupted into Mac Quillan which finally settled
the family name of the adventurous sept of de Borgo." ("An
Irish Legend; or Mac Donnell and the Norman de Burgos" by Alexander
M'sparrran, 1829 from the Ulster Journal of Archaeology,
volume v, page 57)
"Fitzhowlyn, Lord of Tuscare, which was the original Anglo-Norman
name of the Mac Quillins" (vol.1 page 42, 1853, Ulster Journal
"the Welshmen, know here as the MacQuillins, were brought her
by the Byssets from Scotland. (Ulster Journal of
Archaeology, vol, 1 page 146, 1853.)
"the Mac Quillans came originally from Wales in the twelfth century
and the name was Mac Lewillyns. (Connellan's Annals
of the Four Masters)
"that the Mac Quillins came from the native Irish 'niall' of the
nine hostages. And later from the Princes of Ulidia and
Dalriada in the twelfth to sixteenth century. Ulster Journal
of Archaeology, vol. viii, Robert S. Young, Culdaff
So there are many theories that Mac Quillins were
English, Scottish, Welsh or Celts. You can take your
*More on the origin of McQuillan:
CLAN OF THE MACQUILLINS OF ANTRIM excerpted from The Quillen
Family and their Kith and Kin by Adam Fitch Quillen.
Other American McQuillans
By and large, nearly all the McQuillans in the
United States are the offspring of the McQuillans of Northern Ireland. Most
of the McQuillans who came from Ireland before 1840 were not Catholic and
most of the those McQuillans who came after 1840 were Catholic . This applies
to most all Northern Irish coming to America. There are approximately
900 families of McQuillans living in the United States, or between 2000 to
The earliest family of McQuillans that we have found was one living in
Pennsylvania as early as 1779. By 1830, there were many McQuillans in Maine,
Massachusetts, New York and out as far as Ohio and Illinois. By 1850, they
had spread all across the U.S. as far as California. In 1985, there
were 115 families living in the state of New York; in California 62 families;
Pennsylvania 60; Massachusetts had 55, Michigan 45 and so on down the
list. Minnesota had 32, and Wisconsin 29 families. Remember
these McQuillans are not all Mary McQuillan descendents. So the name
is neither common nor uncommon.
Mobility of the Mary McQuillan Family in
Our research goes back to the register of deed books in Galena, Illinois
with the earliest entries that contained the McQuillan names dating back
to 1848. These were for Patrick and John who purchased land in Jo Daviess
County. In the 1850 census, all the family members were enumerated except
James. We have not been able to trace anything further back than
that. As to how they got to Galena, we havent found a clue.
The movement of the family from their original roots in Galena, Illinois
deserves some attention.
Philip F. (1834) was the first one of the family to leave.
In 1857, he came to St. Paul and built a very successful business in the
wholesale groceries. Only his daughter, Mollie, and son,
Philip F. Jr. had children. Mollie's descendents, the Fitzgeralds,
moved to the east and west coasts and their descendents still
live on the east coast and in California and Oregon.
John (1821) was the next to leave Galena. In May of 1865, he moved
to a farm that is now in Apple Valley, a suburb of the Twin Cities.
James F. (1854), whose descendents are, for the most part, still in the Twin
Cities area. A few now reside in Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado,
Washington D.C., and Oregon.
John (1855), like his brother James F.'s descendents, almost all live
in the Twin Cities area. A few have moved to Washington, California,
Wisconsin, Chicago, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida.
Philip (1860), moved to Chippewa Falls, WI in 1893. His
descendents are scattered to the Chicago area, Helena,
MT and in Georgia, Washington, Oregon and California,
with only one left in Chippewa Falls.
Peter (1863), moved to Ladysmith, WI in 1903 and has
many, many descendents. As a whole, most of them have moved to
eastern Wisconsin in the Green Bay, Appleton, Menasha, Shawano
areas. Some have drifted east to Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Patrick (1824) was the last family to leave Galena as a family
group. His daughter Anne left after her marriage in about 1887-8 to
settle near Gilmore City Iowa. Her descendents now live in the Fort
Dodge and central Iowa area, with a few going to California and the Twin
Cities and Chicago, Texas and South Carolina. Patrick brought the rest
of his family to St. Paul in 1889, after selling his farm. His descendents
are almost all in the Twin Cities area.
Jane (1829), the only girl of the family, married Michael Callaghan
and lived on the farm near Galena. Her descendents still live on the
farm and in Galena, and Dubuque, Iowa. One of this family lives in
We do not have all the addresses of all the descendents, especially those
of the "baby boomers, who are much more mobile than us older folks.
But we do have about 80 %. Of those 80%, we have 275 living in the
Twin Cities area and another 10 in out-state Minnesota. Second
is the state of Wisconsin with 192 descendents residing there, mostly in
the Green Bay and Appleton areas. Other states in order are CA. 50,
IL. 36, VA. 21, IA. 19. OR. 12, MI 11, FL. 11, PA. 10, WA. 10, less
than ten in CO., DC, GA., OH., OK, KS., MD., MT., NE., NC, NM, NY, SC, TX.,
VT. - a total of 27 states. Now we know we may have missed some people
and some states, we apologize.
Demography of our McQuillans and Descendents
There are some interesting numerical facts about the Mary McQuillan
descendents. There have been 9 generations here in America, that is,
counting Mary and her husband as the first generation and her children as
the second generation, although they were all born in
There has been a total of 1,065 descendents of which 510 have been males
and 555 have been females (52.%) and 1920 descendents were
living as of Jan. 1, 1999, which is 87.1%:
Mary Mcquillan 1870
||James McQuillan 1818
||P. F. McQuillan 1834
||James McQuillan 1851
||Lois McQuillan Schweitzer 1878
||Anna C. McQuillan 1879
||David McQuillan 1907
||Cecile McQuillan 1906
||[Female] McQuillan 1946
||[Male] Zabrowski 1932
||[Female] Callahan 1982
||[Female] Busse 1955
||[Male] Busse 1974
||[Male] Busse 1996
The longest lived descendent is Lucille Mary McQuillan Kelly who is 100.1
as of 6/20/2000.
Odds and Ends
Religion. When our McQuillans came from Ireland, the whole clan
was Catholic and through the eight generations the majority of the
descendents still remain Catholic. The strange phenomenon is, out of
1063 descendents, there has been only one descendent who has gone into any
religious order, and that is Father Dennis Patrick McNeilly, a Jesuit
War: The only descendent who has been killed while serving in
the military forces was Lawrence Norbert Stangel killed in Viet Nam 1968.
Twins: There have been 12 sets of twins born to McQuillan
two McQuillan brothers married Murphy sisters
two McQuillan sisters married Kelly brothers
two McQuillan first cousins married Strom brothers
Special thanks to all of you who helped us put this book together.
Some who helped a little extra, we would like to
|Anna McQuillan Soucheray
||Betty McQuillan Schpak
|John Ralph McQuillan
||Eleanor Lochray Mcneilly
|Josephine Mary McQuillan
||Sandra Johnson Callahan
||Courtney Sprague Vaughan
|Loretta Kehl Lochray
||Patricia Sprague Reneau
|Dorothy McQuillan Juaire
||Gretchen Verhyen Wangerin
|Frances Rayfield Callahan
||Colleen McQuillan Noffke
|Eileen Donohue Delong
||Joan Callahan Washburn
|Mary Kloman Landeen
||Kathleen Cowley Pendroy
|Catherine Cruise McQuillan
||Mary True Dillenburg
first generation of
the mary mcquillan family
#1. Mary McQuillan (Neason ? )
Born: in 1790 in County Fermanagh,
Died: on February 5,
1876, at the age of 86,
at the farm
of her son, John in Apple Valley, Minnesota
(?) McQuillan born possibly ca 1790
Died: some time before
The first generation consists of Mary and her husband who brought the family
from Ireland. Mary is obviously the hero, who braved the terror of
crossing the ocean to America and coming inland to Illinois. She endured
the long cold winters and hot summers of the Minnesota plains. She
could neither read nor write, but she lived to the remarkable age of 86
years. She instilled in her family the moral value of the Roman Catholic
Church. She is buried at the Highland Cemetery in Lakeville, Minnesota,
which is located on Pilot Knob Road about one-quarter of a mile south of
160th Street West. The grave has a three foot marker and is located
in the middle of the cemetery at the top of the hill. We assume her
maiden name was Neason, because there was a John Neason living with
her and her son, John, in 1850. John Neason also lived with her son
Patrick in 1860 and he is mentioned in James' will as "uncle.
This means he is either Mary's brother, (although he is 22 years younger)
or was married to Mary's husband's sister. He Is listed as a bachelor
in the 1860 federal census.
Mary's six children were:
#2. James McQuillan 1818-1863,
#3. John McQuillan
#4. Patrick Edward
McQuillan 1824-1897, Ireland
#5. Jane McQuillan May 17,
McQuillan 1829-1859, Ireland
#7. Philip Francis McQuillan
Sr. April 4, 1834-1877, Ireland
second generation of
the mary mcquillan family
#2. James McQuillan
Born: 1818 In County Fermanagh,
Died: October 13 1863,
At Age 45, Jo Daviess County, IL.
James was the son of Mary Neason? McQuillan and ?James
McQuillan. He was living with his brother Patrick, at the time
of his death. James is one we know little of except that he lived most
of the time with his brother Patrick on the farm in Elizabeth Township eight
miles from Galena. It is possible that James came from Ireland after
the rest of the family, or that he was out west before coming to Galena.
James' will was the most important document we found in our research.
In James' will, he names all his brothers and sister by name which allowed
us to put the entire family together. James was evidently very sick
at the time he wrote the will. We assume James was never married.
Born: 1821 County Fermanagh, Northern
Died: October 31, 1889,
St. Paul, Minnesota, at age 67.
in Highland Cemetery Lakeville, MN
McAloon In 1850 In Galena, Illinois.
Died: October 31, 1881 in Apple
Valley, Minnesota at age 57 years.
John , the son of Mary Neason? McQuillan and ?James McQuillan,
came to this country sometime before 1844. On July 23 of that year,
he made application for citizenship. John lived in Vinegar Hills Township,
northwest of Galena, when he first arrived In America. In 1856, he
and his brother, Patrick bought adjacent farms in Elizabeth Township eight
miles east of Galena. He lived there until May, 1865 when he sold his
farm to his brother, Patrick, and moved with his family and mother to Apple
Valley, Minnesota. His youngest brother Philip. F. was already living
in St. Paul which could have been the reason he Decided to move to Minnesota.
He owned 80 acres and the farm was quite hilly and much of it was wooded
with a small pond near the farm house. John raised eight children on
a farm which provided them a very scant living. John sold his farm
to his son, John, in 1881 and continued to lived with him. His son,
John, sold the farm in 1887 and both John and his son moved to St. Paul.
John then lived with his sons, Phillip and Peter, until his death in
1889. John is interred next to his wife and mother in Highland
Cemetery in Lakeville, Minnesota. There were 8 children from this
#8. Mary Jane
McQuillan 1852-1914, Illinois
#9. James Francis
McQuillan April 12, 1854-1927, Illinois
McQuillan September 15, 1855-1926,
#11. Alice A.
McQuillan April, 1859-1915, Illinois
#12. Phillip Lewis
McQuillan December 25, 1861-1915, Illinois
#13. Peter Marcus
McQuillan November 25, 1863-1947, Illinois
McQuillan 1864-1877, Minnesota
McQuillan 1866-1876, Minnesota
4. Patrick McQuillan.
In 1824 in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
On the 18th Of April, 1897 In St. Paul, MN.
He was 73 years old when he died.
Margaret McGuire In 1850.
Was 17 years old at the time of her marriage.
1833, County Fermanagh, Ireland
On March 5 1881 at age 47 in Galena.
Buried In St. Michael's Cemetery In Galena.
Patrick is the son of Mary Neason? McQuillan and ?James
McQuillan.Patrick worked in the lead mines as a smelter when he first
came to America and lived in Council Hills Township north of
Galena. In 1856 he bought a farm in Elizabeth Township, next to his
brother John. When John went to Minnesota in 1865, Patrick purchased
John's farm and raised 10 children on it, plus he raised a boy named John
Dineen who was very much part of Patrick's family. In 1889, after his
wife's death, Patrick sold the farm and moved with six of his children to
St. Paul, MN. He continued to work as a salesman until the age of
73. He lived with his three daughters, Mary, Augusta and Lois, until
he died. When Patrick died, his remains were returned to Galena, Illinois
and he was buried with his wife in St. Michael's cemetery in
Patrick and Margaret's children:
McQuillan 1851-1905 Illinois
#17. Mary Ellen
McQuillan August 18, 1855-1919 Illinois
#18. Anne Elizabeth
McQuillan November, 1858-1925
Dineen (Foster Son) 1860-1934
#19. Phillip Francis
McQuillan February 3, 1860-1925 Illinois
McQuillan April 16, 1862-1868 Illinois
McQuillan 1865-1902 Illinois
#22. Augusta Jennie
McQuillan December, 1867-1953 Illinois
McQuillan December 25, 1869-1872
#24. Alphonso Emmett
McQuillan March, 1872-1920 Illinois
#25. Lois Margaret
McQuillan September 6, 1875-1940
#5. Jane McQuillan
On May 17, 1829 In County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
(May have been Bernards twin.)
Died: On April 30, 1874 In Elizabeth Township, Jo Daviess
at the age of 45.
Michael Callaghan on November 20, 1852 at the age of
Born: May 12, 1829 In County Fermanagh, Northern
March 28, 1912 in Galena, Illinois at age 82
Jane was the only daughter of Mary McQuillan and lived with
her mother and brothers until she got married. She and her husband
lived in Galena for several years until they purchased a farm in Elizabeth
Township, just a few miles from her two brothers farms. The marriage
produced nine children. Six of the girls died between the ages of 19 and
28. Jane contracted t.b. and died relatively young. Michael lived
a long life and retired in Galena. Jane is buried in St. Michael's
Cemetery in Galena next to her husband.
Jane And Michael's Children.
#26. Ellen Josephine
August 24, 1853-1876 Illinois
#27. Mary Jennie Raymond
Dec. 28, 1856-1875 Illinois
#28. Sarah Ann
March 18, 1858-1879 Illinois
#29. Laura Genevive
June 16, 1859-1887 Illinois
#30. Emma Sylvester
March 5, 1861-1883 Illinois
#31. John Hart
June 13, 1863-1939 Illinois
#32. Frank Phillip
January 2, 1865-1934 Illinois
#33. Elizabeth Laurette
April 19, 1868-1896 Illinois
#34. Agnes Adelle
February 10, 1869-1924 Illinois
#6. Bernard McQuillan.
Born: 1829 County Fermanagh,
Northern Ireland. From
what sketchy information we have, it appears
that Jane and Bernard may have been twins.
Died: June 6, 1859 Hastings,
Minnesota at age 30. From
the newspaper report which makes him born in 1829.
Bernard, a son of Mary Neason? McQuillan and ?James McQuillan,
spent his early youth working in a grocery store in Galena and he lived with
his sister Jane and her husband in the early1850s. He also lived with
a Patrick McQuillan from the Apple River, Illinois McQuillan family.
He went to Minnesota in 1858 with Felix or William Mieghan and homesteaded
a 160 acres of land in Carmimona Township, Fillmore County. This was
next to the Mieghan homestead. When he died, there were some conflicting
newspaper accounts. One report said he committed suicide in a fit of
delirium tremors. The other report said that he fell off a boat and
died in the arms of a friend and relative. It could be that he was
coming or going to his younger brother, Philips wedding. Bernard
#7. Philip Francis McQuillan Sr.
Born: April 4, 1834, County Fermanagh,
Died: April 11, 1877
In St. Paul, MN. At Age 44.
Married: Louisa E.
Allen about 1859 In Galena, Illinois
Born: January 13, 1841, In
Died: June 15, 1913 In
St. Paul, Minn. At Age 74
Philip F., the youngest son of Mary Neason? McQuillan and ?James
McQuillan, was the most successful of the first immigrant
family. He was on his own when he was 16 years old working in a clothing
store in Galena from 1850 till 1857. He then came to St. Paul, Minnesota,
and started to work in a wholesale grocery firm. In two years, he opened
up his own wholesale firm and married his Galena sweetheart. They raised
eight children. His business grew to be the largest grocery business
in St. Paul. He became ill and died at the early age of 44. He
was well respected for his honesty and integrity, and a strong supporter
of the Catholic church. His wife, Louisa lived for 36 years after Philips
death and raised her family of eight children. Louisa was the daughter
of Joseph and Catherine (Mahoney) Allen of Galena. Her parents moved
to St. Paul in 1866 and spent the rest of their lives here. Philip
and Louisa are buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Paul.
Philip And Louisa's Children.
#35. Mary "Mollie"
1860-1936 St. Paul, MN.
1863-1940 St. Paul, MN.
#37. Agnes Frances
Sept.16, 1865-1866 St. Paul, MN.
1866-1963 St. Paul, MN.
1868-1911 St. Paul, MN.
June 30, 1871-1872 St. Paul, MN.
#41. John F.
September 30, 1872-1874 St. Paul, MN.
#42. Philip Francis McQuillan
Jr. May 30,
1877-1938 St. Paul, MN.
Next: the third generation of the
mary mcquillan family
McQuillan surname list, 9 generations,