Michael at the age of 40 married Johanna Long (1834) at the age of 30 in 1863. First born child was Mary, born in Ireland in 1864, and died in 1865. James was born in 1865, Cloyne District, Ireland. Immigrated to the United States by boat and landed on the East Coast. From there they went by train to Huntley, Illinois in 1866. Michael got work on the railroad and stayed for many years. Michael and Johanna's daughter, Mary, was born in 1866 and another son, John was born in 1869, both in Huntley, Illinois. In about 1886, they moved to South Dakota. They packed up all they had and left by train for South Dakota. They came to Miller, South Dakota in 1886. From Miller they took the stagecoach north to Howell, which was a small town at that time Then Michael hired a man and team to take them 5-1/2 miles northeast until they came to the homestead place -- Michael, Johanna and children, James and Mary, and Michael's brother, Pat. They left John in Huntley, Illinois with Don Donohue to finish his schooling. One year later (1887), John at the age of 17 came by train and stagecoach to Howell and then walked the 5-1/2 miles northeast until he came to the Creagh homestead. There was a family that lived in the house so they sold it to Michael and that family went back to Huntley, Illinois. The house was small so Pat and Mike built two rooms on it with sod and boards that lasted for years. On this farm was a team of oxen that they used for years, then they got some horses, cows, pigs, chickens and ducks. They raised wheat, oats and hay, lots of potatoes and had big gardens.
Michael had one brother, Pat, and two sisters. They lived in Indiana. They never did visit Michael. When Pat died, he left a $1,000. The sister got it. So John got mad and wrote to the sister and they sent Mike's share -- $335. That was a lot of money in those days.
John homesteaded on 80 acres north of his father, Michael's, homestead. To homestead his land, John had to build a little shack north of Michael's place. He lived there for a year. The winters were cold and lots of snow so he moved in with his folks in 1888. In later years, the little shack was moved down to the home place and used for a coal shed and tool shop. They all worked together and farmed. The crops were good.
In the year of 1888 [January 12] they had a terrible blizzard. Many lives were lost. The blizzard of 1888 struck from Manitoba Canada through the Dakotas, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Well over 200 people died and the storm lasted over a day. This was talked about for years. John never forgot it. It started at 9 o'clock in the morning. Our family was home safe but Jim and John, concerned for the livestock, went to the barn. When they were gone a long time, Mike became worried so he had his blind brother, Pat, send a whistle signal out so they could hear what direction the house was and follow the whistle. John's arm brushed against the house and they got to the house okay.
Johanna was a quiet woman. Her brother, Johnston (John Long 1847-1864), fought in the Civil War. He was taken prisoner and held in prison until he died. [Records indicate he was a prisoner of war in Pulaski, Tennessee since 5/7/1864.] Johanna never did get over the loss of her brother. His picture was on the wall for many years at the farm, then at the Creagh brothers' house in Miller, South Dakota, and is now at Patty May Vlcek home in Rapid City, South Dakota. Johanna's other brother, Edward, married Nellie. They had one daughter, who married Ernest Snieder.
Michael died on 12/25/1919 and Johanna 3/18/1920. They are both buried at St. Joseph's Catholic Church Cemetery, Orient, Faulk County, South Dakota.
|Date of Birth||1st Jan 1825 (circa)|
|Date of Death||1st Dec 1919|
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