Sunday, September 28, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Tucker's birthday is coming up, and I was telling him about Grandpa's list of birthday wishes. Does anyone else remember these? He'd say he was giving us X spankings for how many years old, then a pinch to grow an inch, a knock to grow a block... and on and on, but I can't remember them anymore. Does anyone?


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Name Game

I have noticed that John, Papa's twin,
is listed with 2 different middle names...
In his entry for the History of O'Brien Co.
Papa listed him as John Zansen.
In the family tree he is listed as John O'Kane.
Which is correct?

Monday, April 7, 2008

I've been trying to come up with a (simple) way to share the tons of information that Mom has regarding the family tree. I've started a free family tree at, and have invited people I think would want to see it. If I've left someone out (or if you've changed your email address recently and I can't find your new one), please let me know and I'll extend an invitation. I'm sure there are tons of typos, and there are many stories and pictures yet to be added, but it's a start!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

School picture

The original picture is torn through Lyle's face, but he looks like a cutie. He would have been six, and Vivian about seven.

Joe's Christmas cards

Here's one of Uncle Joe's Christmas cards. Apparently he sent such nice ones all the time. The writing on the back reads "Memorial in Sheldon City Park. The World War I list has Sylvester Michael Mulhern's name. He died in France of pneumonia."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Money poor

From Grandpa's tapes:

James says he doesn’t think he could sleep nights if he was so poor now as he and Cecelia were for years. He was completely happy but tells how he scraped up $80 and bought her an engagement ring with that. He didn’t have another penny, but by the time they got married he had rounded up $88 and that was enough for a ten day honeymoon. They stayed in the best hotels, ate well, went to the Minnesota fair, and did whatever they wanted. Money went far but when they got home they did not have a dollar in the house and there were hardly any groceries in James’ bachelor house. They rounded up some wedding money to buy staples. Then for the first couple of years they sold Ann Chase some chickens every Saturday for $1.50 and they bought their week’s groceries with that. Of course, they had their own meat, eggs and milk.

James says the world has changed and some of it has rubbed off on him. We have to have so many things and when he looks back on how many things they did without as children and when they were first married, and for several years after, it would bother him today. It did not at the time.

To explain just how money poor he was he told about the spring after Pat was born. Matt and Vete were helping James put up hay. He was using their hay loader which had a rope running between the bars to bring the hay up so it would not fall off. It broke and since he was using their outfit he had to replace the rope. It was going to cost
55c. He went up to the house and told Cecelia that they had to buy the rope and he did not want to tell them he did not have 55c in the bank, a purse or anywhere. Cecelia remember that Fr. McCormick had put 50c in a piggy bank for Pat and someone else had put in a dime. They broke open the bank, got the 60c and went to town and bought 55c worth of rope.

A snowstorm in 1888

Another story written by Uncle Joe in 1972 for the Sheldon Centennial:

Laura, Winnie, Eugene, James, Tressie and Molly Mulhern attended Grant Township School #1, one fourth of a mile north of the home place. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm winter day on January 12, 1888. There was a couple of feet of light fluffy snow on the ground. As they came home from school, they ran and jumped in the snow and it flew out from them like duck feathers. While Michael Mulhern carried hay in to a hay shed for the cattle, James and Eugene tried to drive the cattle into the shed for the night, but the cattle had their heads and tails up in the air and kept running by the door. Then all at once they headed for the door, pushing and bellowing to get in. The wind came rearing in from the Northwest and all of the light snow flew up in the air, making visibility zero. Mr. Mulhern thought they better spend the night in the hay shed rather than try to make it to the house, but with the strong northwest wind came a severe drop in temperature, so sleeping in the shed would be too cold. Mr. Mulhern put his one arm around the waist of James and the other around Eugene. They got down on their hands and knees and headed in the direction of the house. All went well until they got out into where the hay shed wasn’t breaking the wind. The wind was blowing the snow between their legs into their faces so they had to fight the snow away to breathe and see. There were no fence rows, no cornstalk fields, no large set of farm buildings, no large grove to slow down the wind or snow in those days. They had to stand up and fear struck them that they’d get lost out in the snowstorm. They opened their eyes and looked toward the house. They could see a light in the north window of the house. So they headed for the light and made it safely into the house. Mrs. Mulhern figured the way the wind was blowing, it must be terrible outside. She had heard somewhere if you place a lamp next to the window, it will penetrate out into a storm a lot better. So they left the light in the window all night in case someone was wandering in the snowstorm near the house. A few days later, they learned a neighbor, Calvin Hurd, didn’t make it home from school in Sheldon that evening. He perished in the storm a couple miles southeast of their home.