Michael Curran 1828


Michael Curran was probably born in the Carna area of Connemara in around 1828. The only indication of his birth date comes from his death record. Michael and Ann Flaherty Curran had at least four children. In January 1862, Stephen was baptized in the Moyrus parish church which still stands today close by the sea inlet in the heart of Carna. His brother Patrick was born 12 March 1866 in Carna and baptized in the parish church there. No birth or baptism records have been found for their brother Matthew and sister Bridget. Their years of birth are thought to be around 1860 and 1863 respectively.

Michael and family arrived in Boston on 22 June 1880, having left Galway on the steamship SS Austrian with over 30 other families adversely affected by the 1879-1880 famine. From there they traveled by train to their new home near Graceville, Minnesota. They spent less than a year farming land made available to them by Bishop John Ireland and the Irish Catholic Colonization Association. After the experiment failed in the spring of 1881, due to weather and a lack of farming expertise, the family moved to St Paul.

Michael and family settled into a small enclave on the east side of St Paul, off Phalen Creek, near the railroad tracks. The community came to be known as the Connemara Patch from the many newly arrived Irish immigrants living there. In May of 1883 the family lived in a small shanty a few yards from the railroad tracks. On the morning of the 24th, Michael went out to gather pieces of wood around the tracks for the morning fire. While standing on a switch track, he failed to hear a freight train coming towards him, despite the warning cries of onlookers. The train struck Michael pulling him under the two lead cars. According to a newspaper report, “...he was horribly mangled and must have been killed instantly.” The tragedy devastated his family. A week later, undoubtedly still upset over the tragic death of his father, Stephen was arrested with two of his cousins, Patrick and Margaret Curran, and another man, for creating a disturbance in the Patch. When the municipal court pronounced his sentence of $100 or 100 days in prison, Stephen, probably unable to pay $100 protested:

...it was only Thursday last his father was run down by the cars and killed, and that by his imprisonment his old mother, whose sole supporter he had become, would be rendered houseless and homeless. 

Ann died of natural causes a mere three years later in November or December 1886 (the exact date is unknown). Their four children all married in St Paul, Minnesota. In around 1889, they moved to Tacoma, Washington, became United States citizens, and with the exception of Matthew, who eventually returned to Minnesota, raised families and spent the rest of their lives in Tacoma.

Read more about Michael Curran and the experience of the Curran family from Carna

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1828 (circa)  
Date of Death 24th May 1883 VIEW SOURCE
Associated Building (s) Carna Emigrants Centre  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Ann Flaherty  
Place & Date of Marriage 2 Dec 1855, Moyrus parish church in Carna, County Galway VIEW SOURCE
Number of Children At least four children: Matthew Curran, abt 1860-1924; Stephen Curran, 1862-1939; Bridget Curran, abt 1863-1930; Patrick Curran, abt 1866-1946  
Occupation Farmer and laborer  
Place of Death St Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA  
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