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Special Collections
A History of McCrohan(James McCrohan of Texas, U.S.A.)

World-wide home of McCrohan Genealogy

A McCrehin Family History
My Family TreeWith many apologies to Carol Sundquist (née McCrehin) for the very late publication of her family history.

The "McCrehin" name is America was more commonly known  as "McCrohan" in Ireland in the 1800s.  In Gaelic, the name was "MacCriomhthainn" and/or "MacCrimthainn" and means "fox".

The names of McCrohan, MacCrahon, and McCrehan, are all names from the same Clan, in Ireland.  A branch of the O'Sullivan Mor of County Kerry.  The original Castle of the MacCrohan's was located at Leiter, a small area near Cahirciveen in County Kerry and their lands ran all along the south shore of Valencia Harbour, from Cahirciveen to
Reencarragh Point.(1)

"...About 1000 A.D., a small peaceful clan acquired land in Kilcolman, Milltown, through purchase. They were the MacCrohans from Rignard near Valencia."

The land they acquired was heavy, wet, rush-covered territory, but it suited their needs for they were flax growers and linen manufacturers.  There are stepping stones across a little stream just below the modern village of Milltown. This crossing was known to the MacCrohans as Ath Solais, meaning the Ford of Clear Water. In that stream, the MacCrohans steeped their flax. Round about Ath Solais, they had buildings where carding, spinning, weaving, and dyeing of linen was  carried on.  They made fine linen which they exported to Spain on their own ships in Valencia. They grew woad and madder locally, which produced red and blue dyes for their cloths. It is pleasing to learn that some of these linens graced continental altars and was valued highly by the senoritas in Spain.
The weaving sheds of the MacCrohans at Ath Solais, were to grow and develop and to give the future township of Milltown a location, a purpose, and a name. The Cromwellian confiscations (1650) swept the McCrohans into poverty and obscurity. But some of them escaped to Spain and founded McCrohan families there. Thirty families of that name, high in commercial positions, existed in Spain twenty years ago."(2)  In "County Kerry Past and Present" by Jeremiah King: A Handbook to the Local and Family History of the County, based upon the 1901 Census. There were only 28 MacCrohan families in all of Kerry."

James emigrated in 1863, aboard the Barque, "City of Baltimore" leaving Liverpool for New York. It arrived in New York on May 16, 1863. James was passenger #50, listed as, "James McCrhean, age 19, male, laborer, from Ireland to United States."  He cleared Customs at Castle Garden, emigration clearing depot before Ellis Island.

Ellen emigrated in 1865. Family tradition said she arrived in New York, in time to see Abraham Lincoln's funeral train procession. < which leaves some of the family traditions to be questioned.  Ellen very well could have seen this train and, maybe, the body of Abraham Lincoln; but it was most likely after she had been in America for a while.>
Abe Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865. The train began in Washington, D.C., bound for Springfield, Illinois, a 16 day trek.  Lincoln was buried in Springfield, Illinois, on May 4, 1865. Ellen has not been found on Passenger Lists for this period of time. The actual ship Ellen came on is yet to be found.(3)  She also cleared Customs at
Castle Garden, as did James and her brothers before her.  Ellen's  brothers found a job for her, washing dishes in a restaurant, before she arrived. Ellen also worked on two farms and James was a Mule Boy on the Erie Canal.  James and Ellen were married at St.
Peters Church, Rome, New York with witnesses: Michael Sullivan  (Ellen's brother), and Bridget Barry. (12).  Ellen and James lived at Rome, New York for about seven years, after they were married.

(note ed: A picture of James and Ellen can be found in the McCrehin's album at this link)

James was granted Naturalization, in Rome, New York, September 23, 1868.(4)  James and Ellen, along with their young family are found in the New York State Census, for 1875.  James' occupation was listed as "laborer". They went to Northern Iowa for a short time, then to Southern Minnesota, Fillmore County and rented a farm, before they settled in Northern Minnesota. James, Ellen, Wm, Henry, Mary, Catherine and Margaret are found in the 1880, Fillmore County, Harmony Township, Minnesota, Census.(5)  James McCrehin homesteaded 158.35 acres of land on January 8, 1904.  The land was in Dudley Twp., Clearwater County, Minnesota and had been Chippawa Indian Land. The patent was filed in the Crookston, Polk Co., MN, Land Office.(6)  James birth, death, and parent's names are from his death certificate and the McCrehin Family Bible. Ellen's parents
names and place of birth are from her death certificate. (7)
 "...Mrs. McCrehin (Ellen Sullivan); was a very kind person. She would walk the mile to our house everyday to check on us, and if any were sick, she would bring her home remedies and they all seemed to help". (8)
Jean Hachfield, great-granddaughter of Ellen Sullivan, said:
"...Ellen, came in the bottom of the boat (steerage). She could not read or write and memorized all her recipes. She thought Ellen was from County Cork. Jean remembers meeting her great-grandmother, shortly before her death. Jean was 5 years old. She said, "Ellen was a very small lady and very kind".(9)
Evelyn Wildish, a  granddaughter remembers that Ellen said prayers about three times a day. She was a very religious  and a very kind person.  But, she would pace the floor and say, "Poor James, poor James!" Because she felt sure he was in purgatory because
of his temper. He once hit a bull in the face.  James was known to get into scrapes and one descendant remembers that either Lloyd or Loren McCrehin came running into the store saying, "Ma!  Grandpa's fighting again."(10) 

James left his farm to his son, Michael McCrehin, and everyone else received $1.00.  That may indicate, that James had given the other children their fair-share earlier.)(11)
(Note: The belief she was from County Cork has been proven to be erroneous by documentation of Ellen's death certificate, both brothers; John and Michael's obituaries and naturalization papers, which all state "County Kerry".)
(1)  Research by Anna Fulham/Foley,
contributed by Steve McCrohan.
(2)  The Milltown Local History, of County Kerry.
(3) Telephone conversation to Evelyn Monson by Carol (McCrehin)
Sundquist, Gonvick, MN, June 2000. This same information was confirmed
by a conversation with Ellen Blair's daughter, Jean (Zaske) Hachfeld
with Mary (Sullivan) Settles. Jean Hachfeld adds, this information was
directly from Ellen through her mother, Ellen Blair. Ellen Blair
stayed with Ellen (Sullivan) McCrehin while she attended high school
and college, as did Edna and Bessie Flynn.
(4)  Copies of Naturalization Papers, James McCrehin, provided by
Carol (McCrehin) Sundquist, Gonvick, MN.
(5) Fillmore Co., Harmony Twp., MN, Federal Census, 1880; household
#159, Dwelling #160, pg. 326.
(6)  Bureau of Land Management, Minnesota. Doc. #-732, Base Line,-
5th; Range 36 W; Twp, 148 N; Section 4. (Information about the
Clearwater County, was from the Clearwater County Recorder, who said
that prior to 1905, land was filed in the Crookston Land Office, as
Clearwater wasn't made a County until then.)
(7)  Death certificate states Ellen was born in "Tralle, Ireland" and
parents were: "Mike Sullivan and Bridget O'Callaghan".
(8)  A local history, Dudley Township Book. Quoted from a neighbor.
(9)  Phone conversation with Jean Hachfeld, June 13, 2000, by Mary
(Sullivan) Settles, Napa, California.
(10)  Memories by Evelyn (Monson) Wildish, Eugene, Oregon, 2000.
(11) Either a will or papers involved with the leaving of the
property, found by Carol (McCrehin) Sundquist in the Clearwater Co.,
MN, Courthouse.
(12) Information from Marriage record at St. Peter's Church, Rome, New York.
The marriage date written in the McCrehin family Bible was April
12, 1868.
Posted on Sunday, 19 August 2007 @ 08:23:48 EDT by admin

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