Francis “Frank” Degnan is the son of Catherine Donovan and Francis Degnan. He and his twin sister, Katie, were born on March 29, 1889, in Bernard, Iowa. Tragically, their mother, Catherine, did not survive their childbirths and passed away the same day the babies were born. She and their father had been married only nine months.
Twins Frank and Katie Degnan. Photo on the left was taken about 1894.
Frank Jr. lived with his uncle and aunt, Maurice and Mary Ellen Shanahan Donovan, until he was 11 years old; then his father, Frank Sr., took him to live in Chicago where other Degnan family lived. Frank Sr. had moved to the Chicago area shortly after Catherine’s death.
Not much is known about this time in Chicago. Some federal records from 1890 for Illinois were destroyed by fire. In 1900, Frank Sr. was living with his sister, Mary Ann, and her husband, John Kane, so Frank Jr. would have been living as a boarder in the Kane household with his father.
Frank Jr.’s stay in Chicago was short-lived. In 1905, at the age of 16, he was living in Dyersville, Iowa, possibly with his aunt Maria Degnan.
Frank Jr. with his aunt, Maria Degnan in photo on the left.
Right photo shows documentation of Frank’s attendance in 1905 at school in Dyersville, Iowa.
Sometime between 1906 and 1913, Frank Jr. returned to Chicago. Frank Degnan Jr. died on May 9, 1913, at the age of 24. He was interred at St. Patrick’s Cemetery (Section 3 Lot 18 grave 1), in Garryowen, Iowa.
More information and photos of Frank’s family can be found here.