Ellen Kavanaugh 1863-1921 (2nd Oldest Child of Edward Kavanaugh & Ann Devine) by Suzanne Kavanaugh Dinusson Grandniece

Ellen Kavanaugh was born March 14, 1863, Packenham, Canada, the second of 12 children of Edward Kavanaugh and Ann Devine. March 9, 1883, she and her sister, Mary, traveled to Odessa Township, Ramsey County, Dakota Territory joining their father Edward Kavanaugh, who left his family in 1881 for Dakota Territory. James J Hill’s railroad went as for west as Larimore, Dakota Territory.  Ellen was 20. Mary was 21. Memories by Edward James Mullen states, “Mr Kavanaugh found work for Mary and Ellen with a Major at Fort Totten. Mary and Ellen came to Devils Lake, ND, which was a new town on the Great Northern. They took a boat from Devils Lake across the lake to Fort Totten. That is where father met Ellen Kavanaugh who later became his wife and my mother. As a girl, mother was carefree, happy, and quite pretty but the years on the prairie soon took their toll.”

John Mullen Ellen Kavanaugh Wedding 1884 Fort Totten Dakota Territory

John Mullen Ellen Kavanaugh Wedding 1884 Fort Totten Dakota Territory

Ellen Kavanaugh married John Mullen on November 26, 1884 in a Catholic church at Fort Totten. They had four children: Mary, Micheal J, Edward James and Ann. According to Memories by Edward James Mullen, “father had built a little house, a little straw covered barn and dug a well, so there he brought his bride. He had broken up quite a few acres with oxen. In 1885, father built on to the house so we children had a sleeping room. We were a happy family and real close although we didn’t have much we never went hungry.” John Mullen homestead was  a 1/4 mile from Edward Kavanaugh’s. In 1890, all 12 Kavanaugh children were in Ramsey County.

Who was Ellen Kavanaugh? In Memories Edward James Mullen writes the following stories about his mother. “A bad storm was coming up and mother was deathly afraid of storms. She took the dish pan, tied a rope to the handle and put Mary, who was six months old, pulling her to the Orchards two miles north-west of our farm. Mother was deathly afraid of Indians and they weren’t very friendly to the whites in those days. I can remember one day when father was gone a big drunken Indian came to our door yelling and chanting an Indian war hoop. Mother grabbed us children taking us out the back door running all the way to grandpa Kavanaugh’s. We would hurry home from school and mother always had a slice of fresh bread for us. We said the rosary every night and on Sundays Mother would read from the Life of the Saints or from the big red catechism. Once in a while, we would drive to Devils Lake to mass with the horses and wagon. Father would have hay and oats for the horses and Mother would have lunch. Father and Mother would have to fast from midnight, not even a drink of water. Mother would always have a headache after the long fast.

Fr. James Kavanaugh1878-1948-uncle, his twin Elizabeth Jeannie Kavanaugh-aunt, Sr Myra Mahoney, Sr Mary Mullen. Nuns mothers were Kavanaugh sisters Ellen Mullen and Bridget Mahoney

Fr. James Kavanaugh1878-1948-uncle, his twin Elizabeth Jeannie Kavanaugh-aunt, Sr Myra Mahoney, Sr Mary Mullen. Nuns mothers were Kavanaugh sisters Ellen Mullen and Bridget Mahoney

Mary finished eight grade taking the teachers exam and she taught in the home school. In 1905, Mary decided to become a Dominican Sister. We were all pretty lonesome. Mother took it pretty hard as she had been in rather poor health for a few years. Micheal decided to take up law. He went to Michigan City to high school and in 1917 Law School at University of North Dakota. In 1912, Aunt Kate Kavanaugh, Mrs Will Lamb, died in childbirth and mother offered to take the baby to raise. His name was Pat. Mother lost many nights sleep caring for him as he was a sickly baby. We raised him until he was six years old. We became very attached to him. When Pat was six, his father, Will Lamb, took Pat and we were not to see him for two months. His heartless way of weaning him away from us. Mother took this very hard. She became very depressed and nervous. In August 1921, mother took real sick. We had two doctors, but it just seemed they couldn’t save her. In the afternoon of August 26th she passed away. After that it seemed their home was broken. That Fall, Father, Anne and I moved to Crary and Laurence Brown, mother’s brother-in-law, took care of the stock.

A glimpse into one families life on the prairie in the Dakota Territory, as North Dakota became a state in 1889 and into the early 1900’s. Could we have survived the brutal and lonely life. What choice did they have.

John Mullen & Ellen Kavanaugh

John Mullen & Ellen Kavanaugh

Six Kavanaugh Sisters From Kavanaugh Family of Twelve

Six Kavanaugh Sisters from Kavanaugh Family of Twelve

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Mary Kavanaugh 1862-1918 (Oldest Child of Edward Kavanaugh & Ann Devine)

Six Kavanaugh Sisters of Kavanaugh Family's Twelve Children

Six Kavanaugh Sisters of Kavanaugh Family’s Twelve Children

Mary Kavanaugh was born June, 1862 in Pakenham, Ontario, Canada, the first of  12 children of Edward Kavanaugh and Ann Devine. March 9, 1883, she and her sister, Ellen, traveled to Ramsey County, North Dakota, joining their father, Edward Kavanaugh, who left his family in 1881 for North Dakota. Mary was 21. Ellen was 20. Memories by Edward James Mullen states, “Mr. Kavanaugh found work for Mary and Ellen with a Major at Fort Totten. Mary and Ellen came to Devils Lake, ND, which was a new town on the Great Northern. They took a boat from Devils Lake across the lake to Fort Totten.”

Mary married D’Arcy W Brown living a mile SW of  the Edward Kavanaugh homestead.  They had three children Mary A (Mamie), Lawrence and Edward.

Mary Kavanaugh's (1862-1918) Husband

Mary Kavanaugh’s(1862-1918) Husband

In Memories by Edward James Mullen, the author, describes Mamie Brown’s drowning in Devils Lake south of the Brown and Mullen farmsteads. “Aunt Mary Brown, whose husband, D’Arcy, had died in 1900, carried on the farm with the children. On this fatal day, Aunt Mary and Eddie drove to Devils Lake in the buggy. Lawrence was cultivating corn a half mile south of the buildings toward the lake. Lawrence called asking if we had seen Mamie. When he came in from the field, he couldn’t find her. The last he saw Mamie was the middle of the afternoon when she brought him lunch. Word spread with most of the neighbors gathering to start a search. Mamie had curvature of the spine wearing a thick heel on one shoe which made it easy to find her tracks. We followed her tracks south down a wagon road through a grove of trees and down to the lake. It was getting dark. My brother searched along the shore. He found her hat that had washed up on the shore and we knew she was in the lake. Fifty of us took hands and started wading back and forth hoping we would stumble on her. We kept going back and forth going out farther each time. We were in cold water in the dark. A blacksmith from Crary made some grab hooks and they got a boat. We dragged until day break when the hook struck something and pulled up Mamie.

Mary A (Mamie) Brown 1893-1912

Mary A (Mamie) Brown (1893-1912) Daughter of Mary Kavanaugh (1862-1918)

She was so disfigured from rolling back and forth by the waves you would hardly know her. You can imagine the grief and sorrow of Aunt Mary when she saw her. It is still a mystery what happened. Did she deliberately drown herself or did she have a loss of memory and didn’t know where she was.

Aunt Mary was never well after that and died of cancer in a few years.”

Mary Kavanaugh (1862-1918) Oldest Child of Edward Kavanaugh and Ann Devine

Mary Kavanaugh (1862-1918) Oldest Child of Edward Kavanaugh and Ann Devine

Lawrence became the farmer following the death of his mother, Mary Kavanaugh. He married Margaret Brinkley having three children Bernadette, Buzzie and Marjorie. They lived in the Brown-Kavanaugh farm home. The Brown-Kavanaugh farm home was last occupied by James Gerald Kavanaugh and Tillie Hagen with their sons from the mid 1940’s until 1951 when Jimmy drowned in Woodlake, North Dakota.

Upon the death of Lawrence, his family moved to the West Coast. Through the years, the Brown children, grandchildren of Mary Kavanaugh, were frequent visitors to the Matthew Kavanaugh farmstead. Irene Kavanaugh recalls numerous fond memories of the Brown family visits. As a child in the 1950’s, I remember waiting with anticipation for Bernadette Brown’s visit to the Kavanaugh farm.

Lawrence B Brown (1894-1935) Son of Mary Kavanaugh

Lawrence B Brown (1894-1935) Son of Mary Kavanaugh (1862-1918)

D'Arcy Brown/Mary Kavanaugh mid 1880's Farmstead in 2013

D’Arcy Brown/Mary Kavanaugh mid 1880’s Farmstead in 2013

Edward Kavanaugh 1839-1905 (Father)

Edward Kavanaugh FatherThe father, Edward Kavanaugh, was born in County Wexford, Ireland, October 18, 1831. He emigrated to Packenham, Ontario, Canada, April, 1853, at 22 years of age. He married Ann Devine June 28, 1861 in County Lanerick, Canada. Ann was born in County Longford, Ireland in 1839.  They had 12 children, including twins James and Jeannie, all born in Packenham, Canada.

Edward traveled to Grand Forks, North Dakota October 27, 1881. June, 1882 he drove a wagon to Ramsey County, North Dakota settling in Odessa Township. My father, Patrick Joseph Kavanaugh, related a story about his grandfather leaving Grand Forks because the wagon sunk in mud up to the axle. Did he realize he was leaving the fertile land of the Red River Valley? March 9, 1883 two daughters, Mary and Ellen came to North Dakota. April 28, 1888 Patrick, Bridget and Mother Ann arrive following the famously severe blizzard of January 1888. In 1890, the remainder of the children: Michael, Matthew, Kate, Annie, Jeannie, Eddie, James and Charlie arrive at Crary, North Dakota.

Edward Kavanaugh Declaration Statement Land

Edward Kavanaugh filed a Declaratory Statement, November 12, 1884 for 160 acres. The house, bunk house, barn and additional farm buildings were built on seven of the 160 acres. The farm was homestead in 1883 receiving  Centennial Farm recognition in 1993.

Who was Edward Kavanaugh? Certainly ambitious, adventuresome, willing to take a risk and hard-working. Had he and the Kavanaugh family farmed in Canada? In Ireland? Did the family leave Canada for a better life in the United States? Edward must have been intellectual and knowledgeable about agriculture and finance.

Edward Kavanaugh Citizenship Paper

Edward Kavanaugh Citizenship Paper

Edward Kavanaugh History

Edward Kavanaugh History

Edward Kavanaugh became a citizen of the United States November 30th, 1889. When did Ann and the children become citizens? Only Edward’s document was discovered at the Kavanaugh farmstead.

The Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota published in 1990 lists Edward Kavanaugh. The document describes numerous accomplishments of Edward’s including his commitment to the community and ownership of 800 acres “engaging in diversified farming with most pleasant results”.

Edward died at age 64, November 3, 1905, Crary, North Dakota. He is buried in the Devils Lake Cemetery, Devils Lake, North Dakota with the marker, Father, next to his wife Ann Devine with the marker, Mother. A large Kavanaugh Family monument is near their markers and appears to have been erected years later.

The question remains who was Edward Kavanaugh? If you know stories or have some thoughts, please reply.

Ann Devine 1839-1908 (Mother)

The mother, Ann Devine, was born in County Longford, Ireland in 1839. When she was four years old, she came with her family, to County of Lanerick, Packenham, Canada, where she married Edward Kavanaugh on January 28, 1861. Ann and Edward had 12 children, including twins James and Jeanne, all born in Packenham, Canada. Edward, her husband, arrived in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1881. June of 1882 he drove a wagon to Ramsey County, North Dakota settling in Odessa Township. March 9, 1883 two daughters, Mary and Ellen, came to North Dakota. April 28, 1888 Patrick, Bridget and Mother Ann arrived following the famously severe blizzard of January, 1888. In 1890 the remainder of the children; Michael, Matthew, Kate, Annie, Jeannie, Eddie, James and Charlie arrive in North Dakota. Who was taking care of the youngest eight children who remained in Canada after both parents had immigrated to North Dakota?  Charlie the youngest was eight when he arrived and his mother had been gone for two years. Perhaps, the older children were left in charge as they were teenagers.

Did they live in a squatters shanty, then the bunk house and finally the Kavanaugh family home. The family home must have been built by 1890 when the eight remaining children arrived.  Both the bunk house and the house remain at the Kavanaugh farmstead, Crary, ND. The Kavanaugh home was built with a bathroom which had a cistern, a fireplace and two screened porches one of which wrapped around two sides of the house. How hard did Ann work to provide food and clean clothes for all of the family? Did she take care of the garden, chickens, bake and can as there was a root cellar for many years? Was there hired help for Ann with so many children or did they all do the work? The older children were beginning to marry which would lessen the household tasks.

There is no documented historical information about Edward or Ann’s families. We do not even know their middle names. Their tombstones in the Devils Lake, ND cemetery simply state Mother and Father.

Who was Ann? Was she musical, as many of the children were. Was she smart? Did she like to cook, write poetry or read? Was she happy, sad, emotional, a good mother? Tall, short, what color was her hair and eyes? She must have been healthy to have had 12 children. She died at age 69, July 5th 1908.

The question remains who was Ann Devine? If you know some stories, please share.

 

Ann Devine Edward Kavanaugh & Ann Devine Family2

Kavanaugh Family Matriarch