Sunday, March 30, 2014

The History of Butler County Pennsylvania - R.C. Brown & Co. Publishers

Thomas Haggerty, my 5th great grandfather, and his family are included in the The History of Butler County Pennsylvania by R.C. Brown & Co. Publishers published in 1895. The excerpts featuring the family faced are included below.

Chapter IV: The Pioneers, Page 48

Taxables of 1803 Butler Township:
Thomas Haggerty
300 acres, 1 cow, 2 horses,  $171 Valuation, $52 Tax

Chapter V: Pioneer Reminiscences, Page 71

From the beginning of 1800 to December 2, 1803, the sum of $494.03 was paid out on wolf orders. From April 5, 1825, to May 10, 1831, there were only $412.97 paid out on warrants for wolf scalps. The names of the recipients of this money are given as follows: Philip Ililliard, David Say, John Ekas, John Pollock, Elisha Baker and John Woods, in 1825; Neal Strawick and William Thompson in 1826; David Cypher in 1827; Robert Sloan in 1828; Jacob Ekas and Elisha Milliard in 1829 : George W. Smith, William Thompson and William McQuistion in 1830, and Thomas Hagerty, Jr., in 1831.

Thomas Hagerty, Jr. is the son of Thomas Haggerty.

Chapter XLIL: Donegal Township, Page 506

Most of the pioneers, as the names given indicate, were either natives of Ireland, or the descendants of Irishmen, the majority of them coming from Donegal county, Ireland. They embraced, besides those already named, such well-known families as the Dugans, McCues, O'Donnells, Boyles, McFaddens, Blacks, Haggertys, Stewarts. Malonevs, McClungs, Breadens and Hunters.

Chapter XLIL: Donegal Township, Page 509

The following roll shows the heads of families belonging to St. Patrick's congregation, all residents of Butler county in 1803: Patrick Bovle, Archibald Black, Eleanor Coyle, John Coyle, Matthias Cypher, Mary Ann Cypher, Michael Carvan, Peter Croosiks, James Denny, Hugh Dugan, Michael Dugan, Thomas Dugan, Denis Dugan, Neil Dugan, Andrew Dugan, John Durneigh or Durney, George Dougherty, John Duffv, John Empich, Edward Ferry, John Forquer, John Gillespie, Hugh Gillespie. John Gallagher, Peter Gallagher, Hugh Gallagher, Robert Hanlen, William Hanlen, Sr., Moses Hanlen (buried in the old city cemetery at Butler) , Robert Harkins, William Hanlen. Jr., Charles Hunter, Jacob Harshman, Thomas Hagerty, Xoble Hunter, Patrick Lafferty, John McGinley, Patrick McBride, Charles McCue, Patrick McLaughlin, Neil Murray, Daniel McCue, Hugh McElroy (a friend of Washington). Neil McLafferty. Manus McFadden, John McGee, Dominick O'Cull, Patrick O'Farren, Connell and Dennis O'Donnell, Arthur O'Donnell, Connell Rogers, Charles Sweeney, Jeremiah Callahan, Patrick Fitzsimmons, John O'Hara. David Boyle, Francis Boyle, Edward Burns, James Burns, Charles Duffy (who lived on the Donegal-Clearrield line), Daniel Dougherty, John Green, Philip Hartman (a soldier of the Revolution), Bernard Hagen, Bernard McGee, Hugh McGee, Jr.. Edward Quinn, John Quinn, Joseph Bleakney. William Collins. John Conley, James Hagerty, Patrick McAnally, Daniel McDade, Hugh Murrin, James Murrin, William McLaughlin, and, it is said. John Slator, a soldier of the Revolution.

The great majority of these pioneers resided within the original township of Donegal ; but, as its territory was reduced by the establishment of new townships, so was the number of the resident Catholics in Donegal—the two churches of Butler, the three of Oakland, St. John's of Clearfield, St. Mary's of Summit, the church at Millerstown, that at Petrolia and that at Murrinsville. with other churches in adjoining counties, claiming many of the grand-children of the pioneers.

James Hagerty is the son of Thomas Hagerty.

Chapter LXXIL: Biographical Sketches, Page 961

Mr. Brownfield was married November 20, 1868, to Mrs. Ellen Jane Griffin, a daughter of Thomas and Catherine Haggerty.

Thomas Hagerty, Jr. is the son of Thomas Haggerty.

  1. Brown, R. C. & Co. Publishers (1805). History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. Link:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

November 1881 Diphtheria Outbreak Farmington Pennsylvania

November 29, 2015. The children of Thomas Haggerty have been updated. Daughter Ann L. was previously included in the deaths. 

This article was prepared by guest author Benjamin Patrick Norris a great grandson of James Hagerty.

By the time of late autumn 1881, Farmington Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania the land that had been the Wilderness was becoming tamed by the constant labor of the earlier settlers including the Haggerty and McDonald families. Successful crops had been planted, horses and cattle were surviving, a permanent church building had been built, and most important children were born and surviving.

James Hagerty had married Mary Kerr and they now had four children. His brother Thomas C. Hagerty and wife Bridget McDonald had seven, with three healthy teen age sons who could help their father with clearing the first growth timber which still dominated the landscape, planting and harvesting the crops. James’ sister Anna Haggerty and her husband Michael McDonald had numerous children and were successfully running newly cut timber down the Clarion River.

Tragedy struck this extended family in the late autumn of 1881in the form of diphtheria. None knew what was the cause of this malady. The previously healthy children would develop symptom of sore throat, nasal congestion and fever. Within a few hours a membrane would develop that prevented the patient from breathing, causing a slow and painful strangulation. In addition, toxin developed in the sufferer’s system that caused organ failure.

In that era nothing could be done to aid the sufferer.  The diphtheria bacterium was first identified in the 1880’s around the time of this outbreak. Medicine had no idea what caused the spread of the disease. In France Louis Pasteur advance the “germ” theory of communicable disease, But this was largely dismissed by the medical establishment.

Thomas Haggerty’s family suffered the worse. Of his seven children, four died - John B. Haggerty died at age 15, Rebecca died at age 9, Mary E. age 6 and Thomas C. Haggerty died at age 5. Only three children survived. His wife Bridget McDonald went into a state of despair, spending her days sitting on a box in the cemetery, mourning her lost children who had been buried in mass grave at St. Mary’s cemetery.

Anna Haggerty and Michael McDonald lost two sons. Their oldest son Andrew McDonald age 19 and James Augustine McDonald age 10.

Jeremiah Haggerty’s family was also devastated. Several children - Jane C. died at age 8, Thomas L. died at age 2, and tragically Fredrick died as an infant in 1882. Jeremiah died as well leaving behind his wife Magdalena "Lena" Bostaph and four young children. Jeremiah lived in Farmington Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania. It is plausible that Jeremiah Haggerty may be related to Robert Haggerty (the father of James, Anna and Thomas C.) but at this point a family connection has not been identified.

Between the Haggerty and McDonald a total of ten family members died.

Only James Haggerty's family was spared. Why?? James tended the sick, buried the dead, and took care of the farm animals. He isolated his family from all contact with the community. He alone went out. When he returned home he would go to the barn, strip and place his clothing in boiling water and bathe himself before returning to the house.

How did James know to do this when the medical establishment did not understand the simple rules of decontamination which we practice today. We have no idea. Did he have an understanding of disease that was ahead of his time? Was he following a ritualistic purification procedure whose origin we do not understand? Or was it just pre common sense. Unfortunately, we will never know. Nevertheless, his whole family was spared the ravages of diphtheria.


1. James Hagerty opted to spell the name Hagerty and opposed to Haggerty using one “G”. All other descents of Robert Haggerty spelled the name with two "G's".
2. For more information about Jeremiah Haggerty and his descendants:
  1. Hagerty Family Stories passed down to Benjamin Norris

Wedding Portraits: Anthony Harry Murosky, Jr. & Helen Tillie Bukowski

My great grandparents, Anthony Harry Murosky, Jr. and Helen Tillie Bukowski on their wedding day September 3, 1917. The couple was married at St. Stanislaus Church in Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Helen was 16 and Anthony was 22.

Michelle M. Murosky: The Murosky Collection &emdash; Helen Tillie Bukowski & Anthony Harry Murosky Jr. Wedding Photo

Michelle M. Murosky: The Murosky Collection &emdash; Helen Tillie Bukowski & Anthony Harry Murosky Jr. Wedding Photo 

  Michelle M. Murosky: The Murosky Collection &emdash; Helen Tillie Bukowski

Anthony the son of a Lithuanian immigrant father was born October 11, 1895 in Forest City, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. He traveled to Erie, Pennsylvania in search of work where he met Helen, the daughter of Polish immigrants.

For their honeymoon the couple traveled to Forest City by train to spend time with Anthony's family. The young couple lived in the attic of Helen's parents house when they were first married.