The Richard Donovan Family

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

“Four brothers and two sisters came from County Cork, Ireland in the early 1840’s 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 that has 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, IA. By 1871 the couple had moved to South Dakota (Dakota Territory) to stake a land claim. James and Catherine had ten children: Honora “Anna”, Mary, John Thomas, James, Margaret Agnes, William, Catherine “Kate” Euprasia, Anna Marie, Mattie, and Joseph.
    • Honora “Anna” married Peter Gard. They had four children: Marie Agnes, Peter, Catherine, and Alma.
    • No information known on Mary other than her birth date of October 5, 1868.
    • 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 February 18, 1941 in Iowa. No other information is know at this time.
    • Margaret Agnes married James Jacobson. The had one daughter: Genevieve.
    • William married Mary Ann Fitzgerald. They had five children: Edward, Margaret, Agnes, William “Billy”, and Juliana.
    • Katherine “Kate” married James Patrick Fitzgerald. They had seven children: John Francis, Marcella Marie, Gerald William, Bertram, Catherine Julia, Agnes, and Monica Ann.
    • Anna Marie died at nine years old in 1893.
    • Mattie died at seven years old in 1893.
    • Joseph died at five days old in 1889.
  • Mary Flanigan married Mose McDonnell and they had ten children: Mose, Jeremiah, Mary Ann, Catherine, James, Patrick (these six never married), Honora, Ellen, Margaret, and John.
    • Honora McDonnell married Jerry Anglin. They had seven children: Jerry, Chris, Frank, Lee, Vince, Loretta, and Jenny.
    • Ellen McDonnell married Martin Crane. They had two children: Martin and Mary.
    • Margaret McDonnell married John McCarthy. They had nine children: Celestine, Isadore, Leo, Gertrude, John, Catherine, Mary Ellen, James, and Gerald.
    • John McDonnell married Mary Ann”Mollie” Byrnes. They had no children.

Richard and Honora had six children :

Richard died in 1873. Honora died in 1891.

Their grave site is in 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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