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Genealogy of the Cooney and Associated Families

 

In-Laws of Michael Cooney

Patrick Murnan and Mary Whaton/Whelan/Whalan

 

    Patrick Murnan (17 March 1800 – 18 May 1873) was born at an unknown location in Ireland in the spring of 1800. Since his oldest child, Bridget, is believed to have been born in County Tipperary in 1832, and his second child, Catherine appears to have been born in County Limerick in 1836, it seems quite likely that he was from southern Ireland (Figure 1). Patrick Murnan was educated in Ireland, and around 1823 married Mary Whaton1/Whelan/Whalan (? - 1841), who may be the daughter of Sir Thomas Whelan. Mary and Patrick Murnan had three children together, but Mary passed away in 1841 about three weeks after the birth of her third child.1,2,3,12,13,41,43,46
 

     A biographic sketch (below) of Patrick Murnan, written about 1882, presumably, by one of the children of his second marriage, gives some additional background information, although some of the dates are suspect.43

 

Patrick Murnan, deceased, was born March 17, 1800, in Ireland; moved to Pennsylvania in 1840 and worked at gardening there until 1850, after which he served five years in the regular army. In 1855, he migrated to Minnesota, and in the spring of 1857 located in West Newton. In 1842 he married Miss Mary Flanigan, also a native of Ireland. Five children were born to them, two are deceased; John resides in Renville County; the mother and two younger sons, William and Patrick, lived at the old farm. Mr. Murnan died May 18, 1873.

 

     This article places Patrick’s move from Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1840, although 1850 is probably the actual date. A biographical sketch of Patrick’s son, James Murnan, (from Patrick’s first marriage), indicates that James was born in Ireland in 1841, and that his father emigrated to America in 1850. In addition, in the 1900 census, Bridget (Murnan) Stanage noted that she had emigrated in 1849. If Patrick came to America with his children, it seems more likely that he emigrated during the height of the Irish potato famine, in 1848 or possibly as late as 1850.1,4,12,20,43

 

     There is some secondary documentation of Patrick Murnan’s presence in Pennsylvania in the early 1850’s, probably Philadelphia, so it is quite possible that he first arrived in America through the port of Philadelphia. Bridget supposedly first met her husband, John Stanage, while he was serving as an army recruiter in that city. In 1852, Patrick married Mary Flanigan/Flannigan, although one source has her name as Mary F. Strange, and the 1882 article places the marriage date as 1842. Since their first child was born in Pennsylvania, it can probably be safely assumed that Pennsylvania is where this marriage took place with a likely date of 1852 instead of 1842. Both of these dates seem to be off by ten years in the 1882 article. Patrick Murnan had five additional children with his second wife. From the birth dates and places of their children, as determined from the 1860 census records, the Murnans moved to Nicollet County, Minnesota sometime between 1854 and 1859. The 1882 article places the move to Minnesota in 1855 with a later moved to West Newton Township in 1857, while the biography of Patrick’s eldest son places the move to Minnesota in 1854. The closeness of these dates is probably an indicator that the actual event occurred very close to these dates. Patrick’s oldest daughter, Bridget, is believed to have been married about 1856 in Nicollet County, Minnesota. After arriving in Minnesota, Patrick Murnan acquired 88 13/100 acres of land in lots 11 and 12 of Section 18, Township 111, North Range 31 West in Nicollet County (see Figure 2) under the authority of the Homestead Act. The paperwork, however, was not completed until the fall of 1873, when it was noted that Patrick had already passed away (Appendix A).1,2,13,20,43,44

 

     Patrick Murnan and family were enumerated in the 1860 census. While his daughters, Bridget and Catherine, were married by this time, and, are thus, not present in the household, there are still three children present - James, from his first marriage along with John and William from his second marriage. There is also a 58 year old Michael Murnan. Since he is about the same age as Patrick, he is probably either Patrick’s brother or a cousin. This may indicate that Patrick Murnan emigrated with other family members, as well. Michael Cooney, who married Patrick’s daughter Catherine, is also listed as living in the household in this enumeration.1

 

     The 1860 federal census in Minnesota also records the presence of three other Murnan/Murnane families in Minnesota. Two in Ramsey County in the city of St. Paul, and the other in the southeastern corner of the state in Houston County. While all of these families were from Ireland, the heads of household were much younger than Patrick Murnan. John Murnane from Houston County was born in 1821, while the two Ramsey County Murnanes (Patrick and James) were born in 1830 and 1834. An analysis of the birth dates and places of the Houston County Murnane family yields a generally similar migration pattern to that of the Patrick Murnan family. The oldest child of this couple (John and Ann Murnane) was born in Ireland in 1846. Their next child was born in Illinois in 1855, and the next child was born in Minnesota (presumably Houston County) in 1856. If there is any family connection at all of these Murnans/Murnanes to the Patrick Murnan of Nicollet County, it would probably be cousin or nephew.
 

1860 Census Nicollet County, Minnesota
West Newton Township

Dwelling Number: 597
Family Number: 612

Name

Age

Occupation

Value of RE/PE

POB

Patrick Murnan

56

Farmer

$1500/$300

Ireland

Mary Murnan

38

   

Ireland

James Murnan

22

Teamster

/$75

Ireland

John Murnan

6

   

PA

William Murnan

1

   

MN

Michael Murnan

58

Farm Laborer

 

Ireland

Michael Cooney

40

Farm Laborer

 

Ireland

 

Historical Background

The Sioux Uprising of 1862 and the New Ulm Massacre

 

     The Sioux uprising of 1862, which resulted in the New Ulm Massacre, most likely affected Patrick Murnan. Although it is certain he was living in the vicinity at this time, there is no documentation of his activities. It is known, however, that his daughter, Catherine (Murnan) Cooney, saved her young child, William John Cooney, by putting the boy in her apron and running to the fort during one of the attacks. Since Patrick Murnan is known to have been 56 years old at this time, it is quite likely that he was one of the refugees seeking shelter at nearby Fort Ridgely.4

 

1870 Census Nicollet County, Minnesota
West Newton Township

Dwelling Number: 44
Family Number: 44

Name

Age

Occupation

Place of Birth

Patrick Murnan

70

Farmer

Ireland

Mary Murnan

46

Keeping House

Ireland

John Murnan

15

Attending School

PA

William Murnan

10

Attending School

MN

Patrick Murnan

6

At Home

MN

 

     In the 1870 census, which was recorded on 16 August in this area, all of the older children from the first marriage have left the house. The ages for Patrick and Mary are not quite right, which suggests someone other than themselves supplied the information, and since the ages of John and Will are correct, it may have been the boys that answered the census questions. It was also noted that Mary cannot read and write.

 

1880 Census Nicollet County, Minnesota
West Newton Township

 

Dwelling Number: 157
Family Number: 163

Name Age Rel. to HOH Occupation POB POB Father/Mother
Mary Murnan 60 HOH Farmer Ireland Ireland/Ireland
William Murnan 20 Son Farmer MN Ireland/Ireland
Patrick Murnan 16 Son Farmer MN Ireland/Ireland

 

     By the time of the 1880 census, which was recorded on 20 June, Patrick Murnan has passed away, and only the two youngest boys are still living at home. While the date of Mary Murnan’s death is not known, the census records clearly indicate that she was still alive in mid 1880. Patrick Murnan passed away, probably on his farm in Nicollet County, Minnesota, in the spring of 1873. While one source gives the date of his death as 1879, census records combined with General Land Office Records from Patrick Murnan’s Homestead Act land purchase and the 1882 biographic sketch indicate that he had passed away sometime between 16 August 1870 and 1 October 1873, and specifically on 18 May 1873. Both Patrick and Mary are buried in the St. George Catholic Cemetery in West Newton Township, near Fort Ridgely, Nicollet County, Minnesota.1,2,12,14,43,46

 

Michael Cooney and Catherine Murnan

Entry Page

Report

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Appendices

Sources


Last Revised: 10/11/2006

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Last Revised: 10/11/2006