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O'Rourke and Fagan Families from County Down Ireland

William O'Rourke and Rose Fitzsimons
Married September 16, 1813 at Killowen Catholic Chapel, Ballyedmond townland, Kilbroney Parish, Co. Down.
Notes: All the known children of William and Rose appear in the baptism and marriage records of Kilbroney Parish in County Down. It is likely they were all born in the area of Ballintur (Ballintier) townland, and were married at Killowen Chapel. All members of the family, perhaps with the exception of the wife and child of William Jr., immigrated to the U.S. in the 1840s.
William and Rose are both said to be buried at old St. Joseph's Cemetery in Dubuque County, Iowa.
Children:
1.  William, born August 15, 1814; married Rose Brennan (alias Sloan) on June 9, 1846 in Kilbroney Parish.
2.  Eleanor, born February 27, 1817; married Arthur Magennis on August 17, 1835 in Kilbroney Parish. Arthur was an an apparent son of Hugh Magennis.
3.  Mary, born May 23, 1819; married Edward Fagan on October 01, 1843 in Kilbroney Parish. Edward was a son of Patrick and Sarah Fegan.
4.  John, born April 29, 1822; married Bridget Sloan April 24, 1845 in Kilbroney Parish. Bridget was a daughter of Charles Sloan and Jane Doran.

The O'Rourkes lived southeast of the town of Rostrevor, County Down, Ireland for an unknown number of years. This was located in Kilbroney parish in the southwest of County Down on Carlingford Lough (see below). The Catholic parish of Kilbroney is equivalent to the Civil parish of Kilbroney, and the parish contains smaller units of measure called townlands. The Tithe Applotment records for 1834 indicate that a William Rourke held a small acreage in Ballintier (aka Ballintur) townland. The townland of Ballindoalty is possibly the place the Sloans were farming, a Charles Sloan indicated there in the 1834 Tithe Applotment.
Killowen Catholic Chapel, in Ballyedmond townland, was originally built in 1779 at a cost of 180 which was raised by subscription and rebuilt in 1826 at a cost of 220. This was also defrayed by subscription. It was described in 1836 as a plain, slated, rectangular building. There was a school house adjacent to it. The parish priest in 1836 was Rev. Patrick McEvoy who resided in Rostrevor. [reference: V3 p 28, 34 OSM; CM; GIC ; DDPP p118;GV]
The
Ordnance Survey Map from the 1830s places a Roman Catholic Chapel in Ballyedmond townland, with a school house adjacent, near to where the O'Rourke and Fagan families lived. It is said the original site of Killowen Chapel now has an elementary school, located a mile or so east of the present Sacred Heart Church, about 2km southeast of Rostrevor on the road to Kilkeel.



The O'Rourke, Fagan, and McGinnis families in Iowa

The O'Rourke, Fagan and McGinnis families emigrated from Ireland in the 1840s. Mary O'Rourke and her new husband Edward Fagan as well the family of Arthur and Eleanor (O'Rourke) McGuiness [with their children Hugh, Patrick and Rose] appear to have made the trip together aboard the ship "Argyleshire" which arrived from Liverpool to New York on Jun 1, 1844. John O'Rourke and his new wife, Bridget Sloan, appear to have sailed over on the ship "Reliance" which sailed from Liverpool and landed in New York on December 21, 1847.
Somewhere in between their parents must have also made the trip, since among the original land entries for Dubuque County, Iowa, the name William Rourke appears. William purchased the following property according to these records:
* June 22, 1847, purchase of 80 acres on the W1/2 of NE1/4 of Section 36, Township 88, Range 2E (Table Mound township)
* June 26 1847, purchase of 80 acres on the S1/2 of SE1/4 of Section 29, Township 88, Range 3E (Mosalem township)
* June 19 1848, purchase of 40 acres on the NW1/4 of SE1/4 of Section 29, Township 88, Range 3E (Mosalem township)
* Nov 17, 1849, purchase of 40 acres on the SW1/4 of SE1/4 of Section 30, Township 88, Range 3E (Mosalem township)

The 1850 Iowa census for Dubuque County enumerated the families in three households. First was the household of William Roake (age 78?), with wife Rose (age 73), William (age 33), and then John's family in the same household, listed as: John Roake (age 24), Bridget (age 24), Charles (age 2) and Ellen (7 mo.). Also in the same census was the household of Edward Fagan (age 40, listed as a miner), wife Mary (age 30), and children William (4), Patrick (3) and John (1/12). Also on the same census page as William Roake was the HH of Arthur McGinnis, apparently widowed, with children Hugh (13), Patrick (11), Rose (7, born in Ireland) and John (5, born in Iowa). Arthur's wife (Eleanor O'Rourke) passed away in August 1849 according to the 1850 mortality census for Dubuque Co., Iowa, which indicates the the death of Mrs. Ellen McGinnis, age 33.
By the 1854 Iowa State census, the O'Rourke, Fagan and McGinnis families were enumerated together farming in the Table Mound township, likely in the very southeast corner where the original land purchase was made. The 1856 Iowa State census indicates the same location, and also shows that Arthur McGinnis had remarried, his new wife Ann (Anna Dolan, born about 1829).

The families continued to prosper and raise their families in this area, the 1860 census showing the O'Rourke, McGinnis and Fagan families enumerated next to one another.
Prior to July 1869, the elder Rose O'Rourke apparently passed away, for in that month the death of a widowed, 91 year old, William O'Rourke is noted in the 1870 census mortality schedule.
The 1870 census lists the family of John O'Rourke in Table Mound township as: John O Rouke (age 49, born in Ireland), Bridget (48,Ire), Charles (22,IA), Ellen (22), William (18), John (18). Mary P (16), James (12). Enumerated immediately after is the family of Arthur McGinnis (60), his 2nd wife Ann (40), John (24), and younger children Catherine (17), Mary (3), and Lena (1). The Fagans are enumerated next, and are listed as Edward Fagan (age 58, born in Ireland), Mary (51, Ire), William (23, IA), Patrick (23), John (23), Edward (17), Mary (13), Peter (9). All of the children were born in this part of Iowa.

After 25 years in Dubuque County, the family of John and Bridget O'Rourke made the move to western Iowa by 1873. They purchased 320 acres of land in Lagrange township, Harrison County, Iowa, on the Beebeetown road. The town of Missouri Valley had just been platted about six years before, and the family farm was just a few miles southeast. Some of the Fagan children soon joined the march to western Iowa, although the elder Edward and Mary (O'Rourke) Fagan continued to live on the homestead in Dubuque County into the early 1880s before they made the move to western Iowa. An 1874 plat map for section 36 of Table Mound township (at right) indicate the Fagan and McGinnis families were living on the the same lands purchased earlier by elder William O'Rourke. That map shows the families each sharing about half of the northeast quarter of section 36.

The trip and arrival to western Iowa is related in this family story on the O'Rourkes. "They left in a covered wagon, driving cattle for several weeks until they completed their journey. Upon arrival they first built a dug-out, in effect a cave sheltered by cut timber to keep out the weather. It was not too long when they built their first frame house, a good two story building of 18 x 24 feet. A barn was built in 1890. A stream ran through the farm and in the winter the men would dam it up. After it froze they would cut the ice and store it in a ice house using saw dust to keep it for the summer. In 1904, son James built a house right across the road from the old family place" About the same timeframe, other members of the families migrated west, a number of them settling in the Broken Bow area of Custer, Sherman and Lincoln counties in Nebraska.

* * 2nd and 3rd Generations * *
Edward Fagan and Mary O'Rourke
Edward, a son of Patrick and Sarah Fegan (Fagan) of County Down, Ireland.
Mary, a daughter of William O'Rourke and Rose Fitzsimons of County Down, Ireland.
Note: The O'Rourkes and Fagans were near neighbors in County Down.
Edward and Mary came to the U.S. (via Liverpool to New York) in June, 1844, aboard the ship "Argyleshire".
Married October 01, 1843 at Killowen Catholic Chapel, Ballyedmond townland, Kilbroney Parish, Co. Down.
All children, except perhaps the eldest, born on the farm in or near Table Mound township, Dubuque Co., Iowa.
Children:
1.  Sarah, born about 1844-45, and died before the 1850 census was taken
2.  William, about 1846; married Mary Ann McCune => children to Harrison Co., IA; Omaha, NE, Custer Co., NE, SD, WA...
3.  Patrick A., born March 13, 1848; died August 30, 1901 in Harrison County, Iowa
4.  John J., born March 17, 1850; married Bridget McCune => children to Sherman Co., NE; Custer Co., NE; Valley Co., NE, ... (Fagen)
5.  Edward T., born April 03, 1852; married Mary McDowell => children to Sherman Co., NE; Dodge Co., NE; Valley Co., NE;... (Fagen)
6.  Susan (Ann), born about 1854 and died between 1856-1860 in Dubuque Co., Iowa
7.  Mary Ellen., born about August 1856; died July 22, 1937 in Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa
8.  infant, born between 1858-1860; died in infancy.
9.  Peter J., born November 25, 1862; died December 23, 1932 in Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa

* * 2nd and 3rd Generations * *
John O'Rourke and Bridget Sloan
John, a son of William O'Rourke and Rose Fitzsimons of County Down, Ireland.
Bridget, a daughter of Charles Sloan and Jane Doran of County Down, Ireland.
Note: The O'Rourke, Fitzsimons, Sloan and Doran families were near neighbors in County Down.
John and Bridget came to the U.S. (via Liverpool to New York) in December, 1847, aboard the ship "Reliant".
Married April 24, 1845 at Killowen Catholic Chapel, Ballyedmond townland, Kilbroney Parish, Co. Down.
All children but the eldest son born on the farm in Table Mound township, Dubuque Co., Iowa.
Children:
1.  Michael, born June 17, 1847 => died at less than 6 months old on trip to America
2.  Charles Edward, born June 30, 1848; married Catherine Bridget Martin => children to Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties, Iowa...   (below)
3.  Ellen Margaret, born January 08, 1850; married Peter Richard Mullen => children to Custer Co., NE; Cedar Rapids, IA, CA...
4.  William B., born October 26, 1852; married May Jane Deur and then Elizabeth Clarke => back to Dubuque, IA...
5.  Infant daughter, born and died about 1854.
6.  John Francis, born July 23, 1855; married Alice Mohatt => children to Custer Co., NE, WY, ID,... (Rourke)
7.  Mary Jane, born May 03, 1857; married Xavier Mohatt => children to Custer Co., NE...
8.  James Patrick, born October 15, 1861; married Catherine Mullen => children to Harrison Co., IA; Dubuque Co., IA; and Carroll, IA... (Rourke)

* * 2nd and 3rd Generations * *
Arthur McGinnis and Eleanor (Ellen) O'Rourke
Arthur, an apparent son of Hugh McGinnis (born about 1780) who is listed with the family in 1850 and 1856, was likely born in County Down, Ireland between 1808 and 1812.
Eleanor, a daughter of William O'Rourke and Rose Fitzsimons of County Down, Ireland. She died in August 1849 Dubuque Co., Iowa.
Arthur and Eleanor came to the U.S. (via Liverpool to New York) in June, 1844, aboard the ship "Argyleshire" (with the Fagans)
Married August 17, 1835, perhaps at Killowen Catholic Chapel, Ballyedmond townland, Kilbroney Parish, Co. Down.
All children except the youngest son John were born in Kilbroney Parish, County Down, Ireland.
Children:
1.  Hugh, born abt 1836 => last noted at age 19 in the 1856 Dubuque County HH of his father
2.  Patrick, born abt 1839 => noted at age 11 in the 1850 Dubuque County HH of his father
3.  Anne, born abt 1841 => noted in the Kilbroney parish baptism records, Co. Down, Ireland
4.  Rose, born abt 1843 => noted at age 7 in the 1850 Dubuque County HH of her father
5.  John F, born abt June 1845; married Catherine Kane June 15, 1881 => both buried at Holy Family Cemetery in Dubuque Co., Iowa

Following Eleanor's death, Arthur McGinnis married Anna Dolan September 27, 1851 in Dubuque County. Arthur and Anna had the following children born in Dubuque County. Arthur died in Dubuque County between 1880 and 1885.
Children:
1.  Catherine, born July 7, 1853 => married Patrick J Duggan February 15, 1879 in Dubuque County
2.  Thomas, born abt 1859 => noted at age 7 months in the 1860 Dubuque County HH of his parents
3.  Mary, born abt 1867 => noted at age 3 in the 1870 Dubuque County HH of her parents
6.  Helena (Lena), born abt Jul 1869 => married Joseph McCann June 21, 1905 in Dubuque County
4.  Anna L, born abt Dec 1871; married Daniel J Duggan June 25, 1902 => both buried at Mt Olivet in Dubuque Co., Iowa


The Rourkes, Fagens, Mullens, Mohatts, etc. in Nebraska

After the turn of the 20th century, a number of families struck out on their own for new farm and ranch lands in Nebraska, while others remained closer to home. In Custer County, Nebraska, near Broken Bow, this included some of the some of the Mullens and Ryans (descended from some of Peter & Ellen Mullen's children); and some of the Rourkes (from John & Alice Rourke's family) and the Mohatts (from Xavier & Mary Jane Mohatt's family).
Also settling in Custer County were the Juels (from William & Mary Fagan's oldest daughter); and in neighboring Sherman County, Nebraska, settled some of the Fagens (from John J. and Edward T. Fagan/Fagen's families).
In addition, some members of the Sweeney family also made the trip to Nebraska and had connections with Custer county. These included three uncles of Catherine Bridget Martin, the wife of Charles Edward O'Rourke. This included the family of Daniel Sweeney and Lavina Kratzer of Custer County (Sweeney, Edwards, Welsh, Martin, McMurty); also of James and Catherine Sweeney of Sherman and Blaine counties; as well as members of the family of Michael and Mary Sweeney of Cherry county (Sweeney, Mullen).


The O'Rourkes and Fagans back in Harrison County, Iowa

* * 3rd and 4th Generations * *
Charles Edward O'Rourke and Catherine Bridget Martin
Charles Edward O'Rourke, a son of John and Bridget O'Rourke (above)
Catherine Bridget Martin, born September 1858, a daughter of John Martin and Catherine Bridget Sweeney, of St. John twp, Harrison Co., IA.
Married October 30, 1877 in or near Missouri Valley, Harrison Co., Iowa
All children born on the farm in Lagrange township, Harrison Co., Iowa

Children:
1.  Mary Elizabeth (May) married Albert Tamisiea => children remained in Harrison Co., Iowa.
2.  Catherine Bridget married Edward John Walsh => children to Omaha, NE (Walsh); California (Walsh, Kerwin)...
3.  Margaret Eleanor => died at age 12.
4.  Frances Loretto => died at 4 months.
5.  John Miles married Mary Pearl Steele => children remained in Harrison Co., Iowa (Walsh, Neill).
6.  Charles William => died at 6 months.
7.  Charles Edward married Mary Isadore Walsh => children to Council Bluffs and Omaha vicinities,... (O'Rourke, Shea, Green, Gubbels).
8.  James Clement married Cleta Marie McKinney => children to CA, MD, GA, etc. (Davis, Osborne, O'Rourke).
9.  Ellen Claire married James Vincent Walsh => children in Harrison and Mills Counties, Iowa. (Tierney, Cleaver, Walsh, McDonald).
10. Edna Frances married Thomas Walsh => lived in Missouri Valley, Harrison Co., Iowa.

* * 3rd and 4th Generations * *
William Fagan and Mary Ann McCune
William Fagan, a son of Edward and Mary (O'Rourke) Fagan (above)
Mary Ann McCune, born October 17, 1849, a daughter of Michael and Margaret McCune, of Dubuque and then Harrison Co., IA.
Married about 1872 in Dubuque County, Iowa
Two oldest children born in Dubuque county, the remainder on the farm in Lagrange township, Harrison Co., Iowa

Children:
1.  Mary Margaret married Christian Juul (Juel) => they moved to Custer Co., NE
2.  Teresa => died about age 25 in Council Bluffs, IA
3.  Nellie Cecelia married Charles Coffman => live in Council Bluffs, IA and Omaha, NE.
4.  Sarah (Sadie) Mary married James Olsen => she died before her 30th birthday.
5.  Sylvester W married Mary Cecelia Olsen => moved to South Dakota where she died in 1924.
6.  Winifred Rita married Thomas Dixon => lived in Omaha, NE for a time.
7.  Michael Edward married Agnes Ryan => remained in Harrison County, IA
8.  John Patrick married Ellen Teahon => married in Custer Co., NE
9.  Francis E. died as an infant.
10. Gertrude Francis died at age 16.


Article researched and written by Dennis Walsh, May 2004.