Sunday, September 29, 2013

Michael McDonald Obituary

Michael McDonald is my 3rd great grandfather. His obituary was published in the Clarion Democrat on October 11, 1923. Virginia McDonald Geary gave me a copy of this obituary copied from microfilm.

Michael McDonald

Last Monday evening, October 8, 1923, at 5 o'clock P.M. Michael McDonald, one of the most notable citizens of Farmington township, as well as one of the oldest, departed this life, after a brief illness.

Born June 19, 1834, at McDonald's Corners, now Vowinckel station and post office, the son of David and Bridget McDonald, the deceased has passed through a most interesting period of activity in this section. He has seen the rise, development and the end of the lumber business which wiped out our forests; he had seen the oil and gas come and practically go, and he has seen the development of the county along many lines.

Mr. McDonald always lived at McDonald's Corners, and spent his long and useful life as a citizen in helping to develop his section of the county. He was married in 1862 to Miss Anna Haggerty, of the same township (Farmington) who now survives after a union extending over sixty-one years. He is also survived by the following children: John of Crown, Robt. A., Clarion [my 2nd great grandfather]; Jerome, Sheffield; A. A., of Pittsburgh; Benjamin and Bert, Jamestown, N.Y.; Patrick, Mrs. Clara Fitzgerald, and Mrs. Mary Dodson, Vowinckel; Sister Alfrieda, Erie and Mrs. Peter Brisley, Cincinnati, O. There also survive 31 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren and one brother, Peter McDonald of Vowinckel.

Mr. McDonald was a man of great physical strength, developed in the lumber woods and on the farm. For about twenty years he was prominently engaged in lumbering and was one of the best pilots of the Clarion River. On one occasion he was swept from his raft on the river by the slush ice and for two hours battled with the current before reaching shore. His clothing froze on him but his rugged constitution carried him thru. He was always an active and leading business man of his section and had the confidence of the entire community in his integrity.

He was a lifelong member of the St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church at Crown where his funeral was held Thursday morning at 9:30, Requiem High Mass being celebrated by Rev. Fr. M. Fitzgerald, and the body was laid to rest in the Crown Cemetery.

Michelle M. Murosky: The McDonald Collection &emdash; Michael McDonald & Anna Haggerty - Golden Wedding Celebration

Sunday, September 22, 2013

1877 - Farmington Township, Clarion, Pennsylvania

Farmington township plays an important role in my family history as two of my direct ancestors David McDonald and  Robert Haggerty, both my 4th great grandfathers, were among the founding families who came to this area in 1831.

"In 1831 the solitude of the wilderness in the northeastern portion of the township was broken by James Black, who came from Sugar Creek, Armstrong county, and settled on the homestead near North Pine Grove. The country abounded in game of all sorts, deer, bears, wolves[,] panthers, wild cats, wild turkeys, and pigeons, besides the smaller species. The streams were alive with trout. Within a year or two came his brothers, John and Patrick Black; Thomas Meagher, Charles and Dennis Boyle, David McDonald, Thomas Walley, Robert and Archibald Haggerty, David Griffin, Henry McNairney; soon after these, William Wilkinson and Arthur McCloskey; the latter, with his family, came from Philadelphia in 1835. These settlers were all Catholics, the majority of them from Butler and lower Armstrong counties" (See Reference 1)

The Caldwell's Illustrated Combination Atlas of Clarion County, Pennsylvania was produced in 1877 from actual surveys by and under the direction of Henry Cring. The Atlas identifies both the towns, main roads and landowners at the time. Today the information is helpful to understand the relationships between founding families and to assist the researcher when attempting to locate the original family homesteads.

Vowinckel is in the upper right hand corner. Vowinckel over a century later has many similarities to the map below. Wild game including bears and mountain lions have been witnessed by those who reside in this area today. The upper portion of the original map is shown below - key sites have been colored in red.

Farmington Township - 1883

Reference 3323

Farmington Township - 3323

  • McDonald farmland is highlighted
  • The McAvoy land is noted. Peter McDonald's first wife was Mary Ann McAvoy. Peter was the son of David McDonald and Bridget Lynam  my 3rd great grand uncle.
  • The McAvoy school house is noted and the red brick building still stands today. Many of the McDonald and Haggerty children would have attended the school house in their youth

Reference 3324

Farmington Township - 3324

  • At the four corners of Blood Road (today State Route 66 and McDonald Drive) is the homestead of two McDonald's. The Vowinckel Hotel originally operated by Michael McDonald and Anne Haggerty still stands at this intersection.
  • The James Haggerty farm is shown - the land originally settled by Robert Haggerty and Rebecca Easly (my 4th great grand parents). The land is still farmed today although it was sold over time the boundaries of the farm match the original land parcel.

Reference 3325

Farmington Township - 3325

  • The local Catholic Church - St. Mary's Crown is shown on the map. This was once the main route between Tylersburg and North Pine Grove.

Reference 3337

Farmington Township - 3327

  • The land of Thomas Haggerty, son of Robert Haggerty and Rebecca Easly (my 4th great grand parents), is noted. Thomas is the brother of James Haggerty and Anne HaggertyThomas married Bridget McDonald, daughter of David McDonald and Bridget Lynam (my 4th great grand parents). Bridget is the sister of Michael McDonald. Michael McDonald married Anne Haggerty (my 3rd great grandparents) - thus a McDonald brother and sister married a Haggerty brother and sister.

Reference 3686

Farmington Township - 3686

  • The McCloskey land is shown. David McDonald and Bridget Lynam's  (my 4th great grand parents) son David married Hannah E. McCloskey, daughter of Bernard McCloskey.

  1. A. J. Davis, History of Clarion County, Pennsylvania with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers (Clarion County Historical Society, 1887), Clarion County Historical Society, Chapter 35 History of Farmington Township.
  2. Joseph A. Caldwell, Caldwell's Illustrated historical combination atlas of Clarion County, Pennsylvania / from actual surveys by & under the directions of Henry Cring ; assisted by C.T. Arms ... [et al.]. (Condit, Ohio, J.A. Caldwell, 1877), Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA, 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Antonine Loll: German Cavalryman

While this entry  in the Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania is about George Lauer, founder of the Lauer family in Clarion, Pennsylvania it also includes information about Antonine Loll, my 4th great grandfather, his ancestors and his children. Antoine married Mary Ann. Mary Ann has been recorded as Many Ann Teal and Mary Ann Keal. Despite searches with these surnames, Mary Ann's ancestors have never been located. This entry provide another variation of her maiden name - Elle.

Two of Antonine's children married two of George Lauer's children - entwining the two families.

1. Francis Loll married John Loll, son of George Lauer. [my 3rd great grand aunt]
2. George Loll married Priscilla Lauer [my 3rd great grand uncle]

The Entry in  the Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania.
Page  798-799 Lauer

George Lauer, the founder of the family in this country, was born in Germany in 1815, and died in 1877, in Knox township, Clarion county, Pennsylvania. He emigrated to America in 1846 and settled first at St. Mary's, Elk county, Pennsylvania, removing later to Knox town ship, where he cultivated a farm until his death. He married, in Germany, Ursula Bendorfer, born in 1820, died in Knox township in 1901.

1. John, mentioned below.
2. George, married Jane Hoffmarts, had issue.
3. Joseph, married (first) May Fassemyer, (second) Mary Seidletz; had issue.
4. William, married Catharine Bauer, had issue.
5. Ursula, deceased; married George Loll, deceased ; had issue.
6. Mary, deceased ; married Henry Harriefberger, had issue.
7. Daughter, died in infancy.

(II) John, son of George and Ursula (Bendorfer) Lauer, was born in Germany in 1841, and died in Clarion county, Pennsylvania, April 28, 191 1. He emigrated to America with his parents and received his early education in the public schools, after which he worked on his father's farm. In 1861 he enlisted in the Federal army as a member of Company H, One Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and served throughout the civil war. He served in the peninsular campaign, and was at York- town, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, and then back to Harrison's Landing, and was then transferred to the department of North Carolina and took part in the battles of Suffolk, New Berne and Plymouth. He was taken prisoner on April 25, 1864, confined at Andersonville from May 4 to September 10, 1864, when he was transferred to Charleston, later to Florence, and exchanged December 16, 1864, and rejoined his regiment. After the war he returned to Clarion county, where he cultivated a farm until his death. He was a Republican in politics, and a Roman Catholic in religion.

He married Frances, born in Knox township, Clarion county, Pennsylvania, in November, 1848, and still living there, daughter of Anthony and Mary (Elle) Loll. Her father was born in Germany in 1798, served in a cavalry regiment in the German army, later emigrated to America and settled on a farm near Callensburg, Clarion county, Pennsylvania, removing later to Knox township, where he died; her mother was born in Germany in 1804, and died in Knox township in 1895  their children were:

1 . Anthony, deceased ; married ; died in Pitts burgh, Pennsylvania.
2. Joseph, deceased; married Helen Eisman.
3. John, died in army hospital, from wounds received in battle in civil war.
4. George.
5. Catharine.
6. Theresa. 
7. Anna. These last four are also deceased.
8. Frances, married John Lauer.

Children of John and Frances (Loll) Lauer :
1. Joseph H., mentioned below.
2. Annie, died in infancy.
3. Frederick, married Gertrude ; no issue.
4. George, unmarried.
5. Augustus, married Lena Felker [Note this is Philomena Selker my 1st cousin 3x removed] ; one child.
6. Louisa, deceased; unmarried.
7. Francis, died young.
8. Mary, married Ralph Weaver.
9. Kate, unmarried.

(lll) Joseph H., son of John and Frances (Loll) Lauer, was born on his father's farm in Knox township, Clarion county, Pennsylvania, February 23, 1867, and is now living in Marble, Pennsylvania. He received his early education in the public schools, and then learned the trade of a carpenter which he fol lowed for some years. In 1893 he settled in Marble, Pennsylvania, where he purchased a hotel which he enlarged and improved and which he still conducts. He is also a stock holder in the Farmers Mercantile Company of which he is the treasurer. He is a Democrat in politics, and now holds the office of supervisor of the township. In religion he is a Roman Catholic. Mr. Lauer married, January 31, 1893, Theresa, daughter of John and Cressence (Hoover) Ginkle, born in Farming- |on township, Clarion county, Pennsylvania, in 1868, now living in Marble (see Ginkle).

Mabel, born January 31, 1894;
Hattie, May 22, 1895;
John, June 12, 1897;
Otta, July 14, 1899;
Leopold, January 2, 1901 ;
Charles, March 16, 1902 ;
Grace, October 20, 1904;
Joseph, September 7, 1906;
Albinus, March 20, 1908;
Earl, October 9, 1910;
Helen, June 25, 1911.

  1. John Woolf Jordan, LL.D., Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania, III vols. (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913), Page 798-799. View the book here:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Selker Family: Hermann George and his son Joseph William, cigarmaker

Hermann George Selker, my 3rd great grandfather, and his family are included in the Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania. The excerpts featuring the family faced are included below. We know now that Hermann George Selker was the son of Hermann Selker and Marianne Overhuis, my 4th great grandparents.

Page 839

George Selker, the first member SELKER of this family of whom we have any definite information, was born November 15, 1814, in Bentheim, in the province of Hanover, Germany, where he died April 30, 1906. His father had been a soldier in Napoleon's army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812, and was later warden of the government prison in Bentheim. George Selker was a carpenter and bricklayer. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Wilhelm Hofhaus, of Fuerstenau, Hanover, Germany. Her sister Lotta married George Daldrup, of Lingin, Germany.

Children of George and Elizabeth (Hofhaus) Selker:

  • Anna, married Emil Altenbeck, a surveyor and later a railroad division inspector in Germany; 
  • Gerhardt, died January, 1912, married Mary Rakers; 
  • Gertrude, died aged thirty-two years, married John Breggenkamp; 
  • Karl, now living in Germany; 
  • Joseph W., referred to below. 
(II) Joseph W., son of George and Elizabeth (Hofhaus) Selker, was born in Fuerstenau, in the province of Hanover, Germany, October 8, 1865. He received his early education in the local schools, and when sixteen years of age was apprenticed for three years to learn the trade of a cigarmaker, at which he worked for one year in Germany after finishing his apprenticeship. In 1885 he emigrated to the United States and worked at his trade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until March 15, 1887, when he settled in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and entered the employ of Michael Zacherl as a cigarmaker. In April, 1889, he entered the cigar manufacturing business on his own account with a capital of three hundred dollars, in which trade he still continues, having by his industry and ability enlarged the capacity of his business until his establishment manufactures over five millions two hundred thousand cigars annually, for which he finds a ready market in Pittsburgh and the neighboring country. He is also a wholesale dealer in tobacco and cigarettes, having in 1893 bought a large warehouse at 248 Main street, Clarion, Pennsylvania, adjoining which he built in 1895 the commodious dwelling in which he now resides. He served for several years as a member of the city council of Clarion. He is a Democrat in politics, and a Roman Catholic in religion. He married, November 4, 1890, Frances Philomena, daughter of Leopold and Theresa (Loll) Gutts, born in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Children:
  • Leopold
  • William, deceased ; 
  • Edward
  • Frances
  • Frederick
  • Ambrose
  • Vincent
  • Mary
  • Celia
  • Anna.
Joseph W. Selker Home
248 Main Street, Clarion, PA

Left: Joseph W. Selker Cigar Right: Joseph W. Selker Home
248 Main Street, Clarion, PA

Plate on the front door of the Joseph W. Selker Home
248 Main Street, Clarion, PA


  1. John Woolf Jordan, LL.D., Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania, III vols. (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913), Page 839. View the book here:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thomas Haggerty: A perspective of the early 1800's in Butler, County

Thomas Haggerty, my 5th great grandfather, and his family are included in the History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. The excerpts featuring the many challenges the family faced are included below. 

Chapter XXXIII: Donegal, Page 309

Some of the first settlers had no sheep, hogs or stock, other than their horses, and their poverty was painful. Mr. Haggerty became the possessor of two sheep, in which he took great pride, and in order to protect them from the bears and wolves they were securely penned up each night. One day he saw a wolf stealthily approach his sheep, and made all due haste to save them, but too late, for the crafty wolf killed one of them before he could get to it, and this loss, trivial as it may now appear, was then severely felt.

Chapter XXXIII: Donegal, Page 311

Daniel Slater settled in Donegal in quite an early day. His wife, Mary, now lives with her son Frank on the old homestead. Peter McKeever (now deceased) located on the farm in this township now occupied by his son John. Thomas Haggerty came from Donegal, Ireland, with his wife and three children and lived in Delaware. He afterward moved to Westmoreland County, and his wife having died, he married Anna McNealy. John, one of the sons of the first wife, lived in this county. About 1798, Thomas Haggerty and his family came to this township. He carried a bucket of dishes in his hand and walked, leading behind him an old horse, which carried his two small boys, John and James, in a bag, one on each side of the horse, and their heads protruding from the bags. Mrs. Haggerty walked, driving a cow and carrying in her arms her baby and the rim of her spinning wheel. The child thus brought here is still living. She is now Mrs. Rebecca Mehan, and is in the eighty-fifth year of her age. After coming here, Mr. Haggerty worked at Mason's furnace in winter to support his family, and the wife and small children were left alone in the woods. Panthers often cried about their lonely dwelling, and Mrs. Haggerty kept them off by waving fire brands. Mrs. Mehan, when a small child, was bitten by a rattlesnake and came near dying. She was unconscious for several days and sick for a month. Another time, she and her brother were chased by wolves, which they kept off with clubs. Two of the boys, Thomas and Archie, were in the woods one day, and Thomas, who was standing on a hollow log, felt the motion of something in the log. He went to the end of the log and discharged the contents of his gun into it. A fierce she-wolf came out and made for his throat, and would have killed him had not Archie came up and cut the beast open with his knife. At another time, the boys caught a cub, which they tamed and kept until it became so cross it had to be killed. Thomas Haggerty was the father of thirteen children by his second wife. Ten of them reached mature years. One of the sons, Thomas, married Catharine Higgins and reared a large family. He kept hotel in Pittsburgh and Lawrenceburg. In 1852, he moved back to the old farm in this township, where he died in 1877.

It was only by exercising the greatest diligence that Mr. Haggerty procured enough to sustain his family. Only one of his children, Mrs. John Mehan, now resides in the county, her home being with her daughter Nancy (Broomfield), and there now live in this house the representatives of four generations. The mind of Mrs. Mehan appears perfectly clear, especially on things pertaining to pioneer days. She in common with other women of her time, reaped wheat with a sickle, split rails and in fact performed all manual labor on her father’s farm. She distinctly recalls the time when such a thing as a fanning mill was unknown, and the process of cleaning wheat was called "riddling." The riddle or sieve, was made of deer skin, or tough bark cut in suitable slips for this purpose. It required the services of two persons to "riddle" wheat, one to shake it through the "riddle" while another fanned away the chaff with a sheet. The cloth manufactured by women was colored with plum, cherry, and other bark. It was no uncommon thing for people to attend church barefooted. Moccasins were much used. One pair of shoes per year, costing $1.25, was all that many could afford; still "frolics" and dances were frequent. Among the old fiddlers was John Wortman.

Chapter XXXIII: Donegal, Page 323

In 1867, he married Mrs. Ellen J. Griffin, widow of John Griffin, who died in 1863. By her first marriage she had four children—Frances A.. Mary L., Elizabeth A. and Catherine E., all living. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Brownfield are William A. who died when eighteen months old, Martha E., Margaret C. Olive M. .James H. and John E. Mrs. Brownfield is a daughter of Thomas Haggerty, whose father. Thomas Haggerty, was one of the first settlers of Donegal Township, and had his full share of the difficult experiences of those who began life in the woods of Butler County previous to the year 1800.

  1. Waterman, Watkins & Co. (1883). History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins & Co. Available here to download:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two Common Ancestors: Richard McDonald & Robert Haggerty

Three Common Ancestors: Lynam, Richard McDonald Robert & Haggerty
[June 27, 2014 Update] Two Common Ancestors:  Richard McDonald & Robert Haggerty

This is a great example of how these connections started with family stories. The release of the Pennsylvania Death certificates was extremely valuable. The certificates showed one connection was false, verified a second and located a potential third.

Over the last year I had the opportunity to connect with Benjamin Patrick Norris my 3rd cousin 2x removed.

What makes the connection with Benjamin so unique is that we share three two common ancestors which are discussed below. Over the last several months Benjamin has been able to provide additional details about the Lynam, McDonald and Haggerty families.

Common Ancestor 1: Unknown Lynam 

Benjamin and I both descend from the children of an unknown Lynam who was born in Ireland.
  • Bejamin descends from Edward Lynam, his 2nd great grandfather. 
  • I descend from Bridget Lynam, my 4th great grandmother
[June 27, 2014 Update]
The release of the Pennsylvania death certificates has disproved the my connection. My 4th great grandmother is Bridget Dunn. Her name was recorded on the death certificate for her son Michael McDonald.

A new research connection Cary Christopher had also researched the McDonald family. He discovered David McDonald and Bridget Dunn's marriage record in Dunbyrne, Kildare, Ireland:

"David McDonald to Brit (Bridget) Dunn on 7 May 1825 at village of Dunbyrn, witnesses Michael and Margaret Dunn"

Cary also located the baptism records for two of David and Bridget's children in Kildare, Ireland:

Richard McDonal, parents Davy and Biddy, sponsors John Kene(sic) and Nel McDonald, residence (of parents) Grange
Baptism: 29 January 1826

August 6, 1827:  James McDonald, parents David and Biddy, sponsors William & Nelly Dunn, residence (of parents) Grange

Common Ancestor 1: Richard McDonald

Benjamin and I both descend from Richard McDonald born in Ireland.
  • Benjamin descends from Ellen McDonald, his 2nd great grandmother.
  • I descend from David McDonald (1803-1880), my 4th great grandfather. 
[June 27, 2014 Update]
Benjamin's 2nd great grandfather Edward Lynam married Ellen McDonald. Family tradition has it that the Lynam and McDonald families may have traveled together from Ireland. Richard McDonald settled in Farmington, Clarion County, Pennsylvania with his son and David. The release of the Pennsylvania death certificates verified this link. Ellen is recorded as Ellen McDonald on the death certificate of her son Edward Lynam.

Common Ancestor 2: Robert Haggerty

Our second common ancestor and our closest ancestor is Robert H. Haggerty (1805-1880).  Robert was born in Sugar Creek, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas H. Haggerty and Anna McElroy. Robert married Rebecca M. Easly (1801-1881)

  • Benjamin descends from Robert Haggerty's son James, (1842-1843) his great grand father who was born in Farmington, Clarion, Pennsylvania 
  • I descend from Robert's daughter Anna (1845-1927) who married Michael McDonald (1839-1923) (my 3rd great grandparents), son of Bridget Lynam and David McDonald.
[June 27, 2014 Update]
MB Boutiques: Blog Images &emdash; Lynam, McDonald & Haggerty Connections

Common Ancestor 3:  Dunn????

The story that Benjamin had was that two siblings from one family married two siblings of another family - making him a descendant of both families. This connection was originally thought to be Lynam and McDonald. As explained above Lynam is no longer plausible. However the Pennsylvania Death Certificates provided another clue - Richard's great grandmother was Anna Rafferty. She married Richard Lynam. Anna's mother is recorded as Elizabeth Dunn born in Ireland. Perhaps with more research we will be able to determine if Elizabeth Dunn is a sister of Bridget Dunn.

  1. Benjamin Patrick Norris
  2. Cary Christopher
  3. Ireland, Select Catholic Birth and Baptism Registers, 1763-1912 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
  4. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1944 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.