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Letters from the Lagan family of County Tyrone
To the Finigan Family of North Bluff Twp, Lancaster Co., Nebraska

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Letters from the Lagan Family of County Tyrone
To the Finigan Family of North Bluff Twp, Lancaster Co., Nebraska

Transcribed and Donated by
Jennifer David
View Multiple Family Letters On This Page
Can you put a name to her photo, here?

Jennifer's Notes:
I was given these letters by a newly-discovered cousin in 2012. After many years of fruitless research, and two trips to Co. Tyrone, the letters proved key to the confirmation that my LAGAN ancestors were indeed those of Knockaleery townland, parish Kildress. The Finigan family farmed in Lancaster County, Nebraska, on land adjacent to that of my 2X great-grandmother, Sarah Lagan (1827-1908) and her husband, John R. Taylor. I had long considered the Finigans to have been simply neighbors to the Taylors. It took a several-year hiatus from my research, and a return to the task with a fresh eye, to allow me to recognize that they were family.

Introduction from Jennifer: She had, "two old family letters I have, which I'd transcribed for easier reading several years ago:

1922 letter from Mary (Lagan) Lagan of Knockaleery, Kildress, Tyrone to her cousin Annie (Duffy) Finigan in Nebraska

1939 letter from Margaret Greer of Co. Armagh to James S. Finigan (son of Annie above) in Nebraska, RE her search for the whereabouts of the grave of Michael James Lagan of Knockaleery, Kildress"
Webmaster Notes:
Jennifer has contributed more then just the letters. In the interest of keeping her content together, all her items are recorded on this page. With links to the corresponding Table of Contents:

Patrick Lagen obituary and photo

Letter from Mary Ann nee Lagan (wife of John Lagan)
to Annie Duffy Finigan (Mrs. Robert Finigan of North Bluff Twp, Lancaster Co., Nebraska)

April 3rd 1922

Dear cusin Annie [nee Duffy - Mrs. Robert Finigan]

I received your every welcome letter some time ago we were delighted to hear from you and to know that yous are all well hopping yous are still enjoying good health we are pretty well thank god we are preparing the ground for crops now the have a good deal of Duffys land ploughed it looks so nice now as when we got it it was all whins and beoo [?]. The people here is pulling in there early potatoes every article of farm produce here is very cheap but imported goods is very high and all food stufs is high and stock is so low a cow that would fetch 36 pounds too years ago would barly draw 6 pounds now fouls is kept in great numbers here now there is a great demand for Irish eggs and butter by the way we are getting a creamery put up by shares according to the number of cattle on the farm it is at traceys Bridge if you remember the shin finners burned Doons creamery on the 11th of July religion is very high handed here in ulster all parties is putting up there own way to get allong it is very hard to think to live in Ulster this good while but it getting no better there is numbers of crown [?] _?_ _?_ called B. _?_ [men?)] and are out all night the[y] beat and kill every catholic the[y] get ther hands on there is many a hous burned an looteed one here is afeard Jane and I thank you so much for your nice Hand _?_ we all join in sending you an you husband _?_ family our kindest _?_ you _?_ excuse bad witting

from yours truly Mary

[In left margin]: Jane is a man hater now
[In right margin]: Thanks for your little pictures
Photos of the Letter:
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

[From] Margaret Greer
Ballyshielmore [Ballysheil More townland, parish of Ballymore]
Tandragee [a village on the River Cusher in Portadown [city], Co. Armagh; parish Ballymore
Clare [townland two miles WSW of Tandragee]
Co. Armagh, N. Ireland

[Addressed to]
Mr. James S. Finigan, Route 9, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States America
Postmarked from "Clare" [townland 2 mi WSW of Tandragee townland]. 1 L stamp
Penciled note in another hand on the front of the envelope, presumably written by the addressee, James Finigan: "ans. [answered] July 21-1939".

Co. Armagh Ireland
July 4th 1939

Dear Mr. Finegan,

I have tried to find your people that are buried in the Co. Tyrone. I have finally located a Parish Priest that used to live at this place. I wrote to Knockeleary, but my letter came back. Then through the advice of friends I wrote to Cannon McNellis at Portadown, He came to see me last week and told me he knew the place that he was Parish Priest there for three years that he knew where the graves were that there used to be a house there that it was now fallen down that there was a man by the name of Michael James Lagan who lived on a mountainside about three miles from this cemetery. That there was no use in me going there it is sort of a wild country and he promised to do whatever you wanted him to do. I told him you were willing and glad to pay for whatever you thought best to erect as a marker for the graves. I promised to write to you and send you his address. He said he was going there the day after he came to see me and would find out more if he could. Now this is all I can tell you now. I told the Priest I would send you his address so here it is:

Rev Canon McNellis
Co. Armagh
North Ireland

From Margaret Greer
Co. Armagh
N. Ireland

(over) sic

I hope you can read this and I have tried to find out this for you. I seen by the paper your mother passed away. I'm sorry she couldn't have know[n] something that I know she wanted to know so badly. I am having a good rest here, but I'm somewhat worried about the talk of war. I think I will be informed if there is danger of a war soon. Any-way I am trying to find out yet no one knows much about it. I will hurry Home of course if there is great danger of war.

Yours very Sincerely
Margaret Greer
Photos of the Letter:
Page 1
Page 2

The Courier, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, June 24, 1913, page 4.
Selected portions of a much longer obituary: (click the picture for a larger view.)

Patrick LAGEN Photo Obituary 1913-sm Obituary -- Patrick Lagen. Died at his home on Michigan street, Sunday, June 14, 1913. Mr. Patrick Lagen, aged 97 years, 3 mos., and 7 days ... was born March 7, 1816, near Cookstown in the county of Tyrone, Ireland, and grew to manhood in the land of shamrocks, and at the age of twenty-four (24) he crossed the sea landing in New York in the year 1840. He saw opportunities opened before him in the mercantile trade and under the firm name of Crown & Lagen, he established himself at 17 Anthony Street in the fifth (5th) ward opening and conducting a general store. In the year of 1849 he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Toner an old schoolmate and in the spring of that year he with his young bride decided to seek their fortune in the west, came to Wisconsin, first settling in Elba, Dodge county on a farm. After seven (7) years as a resident of Dodge county, he moved to Crawford county in 1856 and settled in Mt. Sterling becoming the owner of a fine 400-acre farm and devoted the active years of his later life to raising stock and conducting one of the best farms in that vicinity. . in 1877 at the age of 61 years he moved to the city of Prairie du Chien with his wife and two daughters, Millie and Mary, purchasing the present home on Michigan street where he spent many years in comfort. . During his residence upon American soil, his heart was ever cherishing the hope that he might live to see the land of his birth, free from the toils of the British, and that "Home Rule for Ireland" would dawn in his time. He made six [6] trips to the land of shamrocks and on one trip was six [6] weeks on the ocean, and during the great famine in Ireland he sat foot upon the soil to relieve the distress of relatives and friends. ..

Click photo for larger view

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