The Richard Donovan Family

From Rita Donovan McCarthy’s research done in the 1980s:

“Four brothers and two sisters came from County Cork, Ireland
in the early 1840s and settled in the Garryowen, Iowa area.
They were Cornelius, Jeremiah, Richard, Dennis, Mrs. Henry Mahoney, and Mrs. Jack Culligan.”

RICHARD was our grandfather. We are searching for other family members who have been lost along the way. It is speculation but it is not known if they all traveled together or one at a time. Richard did settle in Iowa, but we don’t know about his siblings’ whereabouts. Some hints are suggesting a tie to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, also Connecticut, Maine, and Colorado.


RICHARD DONOVAN was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1815.  On August 13, 1848, he married Honora O’Brien Flanigan, a widow with two children.

Honora was born in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1809.  The children from her first marriage were James Flanigan and Mary Flanigan.

James Flanagan married Catherine Brennen in 1865 in Garryowen, Iowa. By 1871, the couple had moved to South Dakota (Dakota Territory) to stake a land claim. James and Catherine had ten children:

  • Honora “Anna” married Peter Gard. They had four children: Marie Agnes, Peter, Catherine, and Alma.
  • Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” was born on October 5, 1868. She never married. She served as housekeeper for Reverend Daniel Desmond of St. Martin’s Church in Huron South Dakota for 42 years.
  • John Thomas married Alice McClain. They had ten children: James, Joseph, John Joseph, Alice, Anna, Genevieve Veronica, William, Raymond Cornelius, Rita Carmelita (love that name), and Daniel.
  • James was born about 1873 in South Dakota and died in Iowa on February 18, 1941. His WWI draft card lists him living in Sioux City, Iowa in 1917–1918 and his closest relative as “Charlott Loretta Flannigan.” No other information is known at this time.
  • Margaret Agnes married James Jacobson. They had one daughter: Genevieve.
  • William married Mary Ann Fitzgerald. They had five children: Edward, Margaret, Agnes, William “Billy,” and Juliana.
  • Catherine “Kate” Euphrasia married James Patrick Fitzgerald. They had seven children: John Francis, Marcella Marie, Gerald William, Bertram, Catherine Julia, Agnes, and Monica Ann.
  • Mattie died at seven years old in 1893.
  • Joseph died at five days old in 1889.

Mary Ann Flanigan married Mose McDonnell. They also had ten children:

  • John McDonnell married Mary Ann “Mollie” Byrnes. They had no children.
  • Hannah McDonnell married Jerry Anglin. They had seven children: Jerry, Chris, Frank, Lee, Vince, Loretta, and Jenny.
  • Margaret McDonnell married John McCarthy. They had nine children: Celestine, Isadore, Leo, Gertrude, John, Catherine, Mary Ellen, James, and Gerald.
  • Ellen “Nell” McDonnell married Martin Crane. They had two children: Martin and Mary.
  • Mose McDonnell never married.
  • James McDonnell never married.

Richard and Honora had six children :

Richard died in 1873. Honora died in 1891. They are buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Garryowen, Iowa.

richard-honora-flanigan-memorial-stone

Richard and Honora Donovan gravesite
St. Patrick’s Cemetery
Garryowen, Iowa

2 thoughts on “The Richard Donovan Family

  1. James Flanagan’s daughter Mary Elizabeth Flanagan never married. The family always called her aunt Minnie. She was the housekeeper for Reverend Daniel Desmond of St. Martin’s Church in Huron South Dakota for 42 years. She was well loved by her many nieces and nephews. After her retirement she lived with various relatives.

    At the time of the 1940 US Federal Census she was living with my mom’s family, Gerald William Fitzgerald, in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota. She was Age 71, Single, 6th grade education. I have not been able to find a death record for her.

  2. Angie, I am reasonably sure that Cornelius and Maurice Donovan (sons of Richard Donovan and Honora O’Brien) were twins. In the 1860 U.S. Federal census they are both listed as age 11. The census date is 28 Sep 1860. They would have turned 11 years old on July 4 of that year. Maurice’s obituary states that he was born 4 July 1849. Cornelius’ monument does not state his birth date,

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