Friday, May 6, 2011

Daniel David Harrigan 1792 - 1885

Relationship to me:

1. Daniel David Harrigan & Christianna O'Hearn
     2. Daniel David Harrigan Jr. & Mary Dolan
          3. David Paul Harrigan & Catherine Mary Kennedy
               4. Daniel Peter Harrigan & Florence Mary Dowd
                     5. Dorothy Madeleine Harrigan & Russell Mackie Bragg
                           6. Me

Harrigan Family Crest
Daniel Harrigan was born in 1792 near the town of Schull in County Cork, Ireland.  Although we don't know much about his upbringing, life for the poor Catholic farmer in those years was pretty difficult.  Large families shared their tiny dwellings with the farm animals and the inhabitants survived on potatoes and porridge. We do know that Daniel had at least 2 brothers, Dennis and William and doubtless several other siblings.

In 1818, he married Christianna O'Hearn from a nearby village and they set out to establish a family of their own.  Their known children, Daniel Jr., David,  Eleanor, Catherine and William were all born in Ireland.

In the early 1830's, the British Government were making an effort to reduce the population of Catholics in the West of Ireland.  They were assisting many to travel to Canada and the United States in order to be rid of them.  Daniel and Christianna took advantage of this scheme and in 1832, along with their children set sail for Canada.  Great Uncle William described the voyage aboard the "coffin ship" as a "journey into hell" but eventually they all arrived at Grosse Isle in the St. Lawrence River.  After passing the quarantine, they travelled by cattle boat up to Caledon, a small town northeast of Toronto.

Harrigan Farm at Kinkora
The area around Caledon, although picturesque is hardly ideal farming country but they eked out a living there until around 1850 when most of the family moved to a more prosperous area at Kinkora, west of Stratford.  Here their prospects improved and the family enjoyed the rich land and the solid community around St. Patrick's Church.  Daniel and Christianna, however stayed at Caledon.  Christianna died on July 14th 1850 and was buried at St. John the Evangelist churchyard.  In 1852, Daniel married Jane Mahoney.  Jane was born in Ireland in 1814 and came to Canada with her family.  It was most likely this marriage which kept Daniel from joining his family in Kinkora.  Jane died on the 22nd of December 1879 and was buried at St. Cornelius Church is Silver Creek.

Bing Crosby
Daniel's brother, Dennis and his wife Catherine Driscoll came to Canada in 1832 as well and settled in the Miramichi area of New Brunswick.  They raised 10 children and prospered in the logging business.  One of their great granddaughters, Katherine, was the mother of Bing Crosby and family legend says that, on a visit to Kinkora in the early 1900's she played the organ at St. Patricks Church in Kinkora, while my grandmother,  Florence sang at Mass.

Daniel David Harrigan died on April 1, 1885 in Caledon and was buried beside Christianna at St. John the Evangelist Church.  Remarkably, their tombstones are in amazing condition.

Graves of Daniel David Harrigan &
Christianna O'Hearn
Caledon, Ontario
Daniel and Christianna began a family which eventually spread from Ontario to Michigan and Western Canada and number in the thousands.  We are all grateful to them.

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