According to her 1916 obituary (written by her daughter), Margaret Donelon (or Donlan) was born Christmas Day, 1832, in Cloonacath, Clonbern parish, Glenamaddy, county Galway, Ireland. Note that the name of the town was misspelled in the obituary as Clooncatt, but that was likely due to its being a name passed down over many years to her daughter, who did not know how to spell it. There were three Donelon families, headed by Edwin, Martin, and Patrick, listed in the Griffith Valuation Records in Cloonacat in 1855. I have learned from a great-granddaughter of Margaret’s brother Patrick that their father was Edward (perhaps this Edwin in the 1855 Griffith Valuation was her father).
Death_of_Margaret_Donlan_Cain is a copy of her obituary as it appeared in the Mead, Kansas, newspaper in February 1916. According to the obituary, Margaret Donelon married Daniel Cain on September 30, 1852, and together they had five children, two of whom died in infancy. I have not yet located their wedding record nor the birth records for their children. Deaths of young children would have not been unusual during this time just after the great famine in Ireland.
Daniel apparently died sometime in 1862, because their fifth child, Michael Daniel Cain, was born September 15, 1862, and the obituary says that Margaret left for America with her three children a few years after Daniel died, in 1864. She was likely pregnant when her husband died, and left for America as a 30-year-old widow with three young children. I have not yet located Daniel’s death record nor the immigration record for the young family.
We know from the obituary that Margaret had two living children when she died: my great great grandfather Michael Daniel Cain and a daughter Anna Cain Wehrle. Margaret was living with Anna and her husband Frank Wehrle in Mead, Kansas, at the time of her death. The obituary also mentions that she had another son who had died in 1893. I believe his name was John. I have found Anna in a census in Madison, Indiana, in 1870, where she was a “nurse” for a large family. Separately, I found Margaret, John, and Michael living together in Madison, Indiana in 1870.
In 1875, Anna married the son of German Catholics born in Madison, Indiana, Frank Wehrle. Together they had seven children. Frank owned a business in Madison, for a little while in Indianapolis, and then in Mead, Kansas, where they moved in 1885 according to Anna’s obituary, a copy of which can be found here: Cain Wehrle Anna 1943 obituary . Margaret joined them there around the turn of the century and was living there with them when she died in 1916. Frank died there in 1917, and Anna died there in 1933. Their sons moved to Boulder, St. Louis, and Chicago, and daughter Agnes remained in Meade, most of them publishing or editing newspapers. I am currently tracking down their descendants to see whether I might find any living cousins from this Cain/Donlan branch of my family. This is Frank’s obituary: Wehrle Frank 1917 obituary
Above is a photo of Michael Daniel Cain that appeared with the story of his death after being hit by a car. The story, which appeared in the Indianapolis Star is shown below. Note that the article says he came to the US with his parents (plural), which apparently wasn’t true as his father died in Ireland and his mother came alone. Also, the article refers to his nieces Aleda and Viola Cain, but they were actually Frank Cain’s daughters, and therefore, Michael’s granddaughters, :
Michael grew up in Madison, in Jefferson county, Indiana, on the Ohio River. There he met and married Mina Caroline Hagedorn, the daughter of German immigrants, who had met and married in New Orleans and then went northward on the Mississippi and then the Ohio River to get to Madison, Indiana. I can only imagine what their families thought of this marriage — a German Lutheran girl marrying an Irish Catholic boy would have been unthinkable in a town where those lines were rarely crossed. My great-grandfather was their son, Frank Michael Cain.
An interesting note about Michael Daniel Cain is that he filed his papers for naturalization in 1941. Cain Mike Naturalization Petition 1941 He wrote in those papers that he was born on September 15, 1862, in “Glan, Ireland.” I learned today on the Galway Genealogy Facebook page from a resident of the Cloonacat area that Glenamaddy, the area that Cloonacat is part of, that “Glan” is a local shortened version of Glenamaddy. Michael had cast his first vote for Garland in the 1884 presidential race. A politician at that time had told him that, since he’d been in the US since he was 3, he must be a citizen and eligible to vote. But in 1940, he wasn’t allowed to vote and found out then that he wasn’t a citizen, so he applied and got his citizenship in 1941, only a few years before he died.
Do we have more family still in Ireland? Margaret’s obituary also mentioned that she had a brother, P. Donlan, living still in Cloonacat, Ireland, in 1916. In the 1911 census in Ireland, a Patrick Donelon is listed in Cloonacat. Donlan Patrick 1911 Ireland census He was 76 years old, meaning he was born in 1835, only a couple years younger than Margaret. In 1911, he was living with a few of his children and a grandchild. So I will begin the process of determining whether any of his descendants are still in that area.