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Donegal Irish in Butler Co., PA

By Linda Merle

I briefly researched a group of Irish of mixed religions who migrated to the Butler County area of Western Pennsylvania quite early.  My Andersons intermarried with several ladies that have VERY Irish names that do not appear in the Covenantor families, specifically - HAGERTY and KANE.  Also McGARY, my direct ancestress, but I believe she did not come out of this group of Irish.

I found a book in the Butler Co. Library on the history of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese that had much about this group. Some information was also published by the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society in an article entitled: 100 YEARS of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843 - 1943." WPGS Q 17 no. 1 (Summer 1990).

The community was named Sugar Creek or originally the 'Buffalo Mission.' It is the oldest Catholic community in western Pennsylvania.

It began with the emigration of a group of Catholics and Presbyterians from the banks of Loch Erne in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1790. Some first settled for a time in "the Neck" in the northwestern section of Fayette County. Later, they came in groups to the western part of Armstrong and the northern part of Butler County. The Donegal colony gave its name to Donegal Township in Butler County in 1795.  It was the focal point of a Catholic settlement extending over 20 square miles numbering approx. 90 families.

For more information on this group see the History of Butler County.

In 1806, Rev. Father WHELAN, who had known some of the pioneers before their removal from former homes, arrived, and meeting his old friends, all joined in the purchase of land on Sugar creek, in Armstrong County, adjoining the line of Butler, and in building a church and residence thereon near the present building dedicated to St. Patrick.

Here are some surnames:

Black, Boyle, Callahan, Coyle, Craven, Croosicks, Cypher, Denny, Dougherty, Duffy, Dugan, Durneigh, Easly, Enepich, Ferry, Forquer, Gallagher, Gillespie, Hanlin, Hartman, Hunter, McCue, McElroy, McQueen, Meehan, Murray,  O'Connell, Reed, Rodgers, Sheridan, Sweeny.

They were visited by a Fr. Helbron of Sportsman's Hall in 1803. He baptized some who had waited ten years for baptism. He made subsequent visits, but he did not speak English. (Father Helbron's baptisms in the area are available at LDS and possibly elsewhere)

The Donegal settlers sent a petition to Bishop Carroll asking for a priest they could under stand. This petition was signed by:

Thos. Dugan   John Farquer John Dugan
John Gilespie   Chas. Duffy  Robt. Harkins
Neal Dugan Pat. McLaughlin Dom'k. Coll
Michael Dugan Denis Donnel  Pat'k. Boyle
Owen Quinn   Michael Read   Neal Sweeney

Mich. Price  

Hugh McElroy   Blarney Kelly
Archibald Black K. Hegarty Pat'k. Ferran
Thos. Dugan   John Farquer John Dugan
John Gilespie       Chas. Duffy     Robt. Harkins
Neal Dugan  Pat. McLaughlin  Dom'k. Coll
Michael Dugan     Denis Donnel  Pat'k. Boyle

Pat'k. Lafferty

   Dennis McFaddin  John Boner
Dan'l. Reed Neal Dougherty   And'w. Dugan
John Megee Dennis Dugan Arthur Donnel

Jas Daugherty

John Duffy, Junr Jas. Sheridan
Jacob McGinnelly Michael Kerrivan Eneas McBride
Casper Easly  Andw. Easly Pat'k. McCue
Columbus McGinnely Wm. Shields John Coyle
John  Smith Edw'd. Cole Pat'k. McAnally
John GaIr  John McGinnelly  A. Christy
Patr'k. McBride, Junr George Dougherty Frans. Duff
Edward McFaddin   Maj. John Welsh Michael Lynch
Pat'k. Bahen    Hugh Morran  Michael Kelly
And'w. Haggins Peter Truxler Hugh Sharkey
Philip Hartman John Griffin Hugh Gillespie
John McLaughlin John Collins John McClafferty
Neal McFaddin  Marty O'Bryan Jas. Benson
Nicholas Walhey Thos. Connor Chas. McCoy
John Gillespie, Junr Joseph Bleakley Peter Cole
Edward McFaddln Jr.    Jas. Green  Philip McKray
John Rogers  

(The petition list was taken from Edmond J. Adams and Barbara Brady O'Keefe's Catholic Trails West Volume 2, Gateway Press 1989 )

All of these people above are not Catholic. A number of Protestants lent their support for the petition.

I believe the Blarney Kelly is a typo for Barney Kelly, because the latter name appears in various tax lists.

We are also told there was considerable intermarriage with the surrounding Protestant population as well as conversions in both directions. One other Hagerty converted to Catholicism from Methodism, for instance.

There is a graveyard or so, but the earliest graves are in the early 1800's.

Known Surnames

Surname

Original List

Petition

1803 Census of Butler Co.

http://www.rootsweb.com/~pabutler/1803buff.htm

Bahen

 

Pat'k

 

Benson

 

Jas

 

Black

x

Archibald

BLACK, Archibald        400

Bleakley

 

Joseph

 

Boner

 

John

BONNER, John            200

Boyle   

x

Pat'k

BOYLE, Patrick          400

Callahan           

x

   

Christy

 

A

CHRISTY, Archibald      400

Cole

 

Edward, Peter

 

Coll

 

Dom'k

O'CULL, Dominick        400

Connor

 

Thos

 

Coyle

x

John

COYLE, Elenor           400

Craven 

     

Croosicks

   

CROOSIKS, Peter         400     (weaver)

Cypher

   

CYPHER, Mary Ann        400

CYPHER, Matthias        400     (weaver)

Daugherty

 

Jas.

 

Denny  

x

 

DENNY, James            ---

Donnel

 

Denis, Arthur

O'DONNELL, Arthur       400

O'DONNELL, Connell      ---

O'DONNELL, Dennis       ---     (single man)

Dougherty

x

Neal, George

DOUGHERTY, George       400

DOUGHERTY, Neil         400

Duff

 

Frans

 

Duffy

x

Chas, John Jr.

DUFFY, John             400

Dugan  

x

John

Andrew

Dennis

Michael

Neal

Thomas

DUGAN, Andrew           266

DUGAN, Dennis           400

DUGAN, Hugh             400     (single man)

DUGAN, Michael          400

DUGAN, Neil             400

DUGAN, Thomas           400

Durneigh

   

DURNEIGH, John          200

Easly

x

Casper, Andrew

 

Enepich

   

EMPISH, John            400

Ferran

 

Pat'k

O'FARREN, Patrick       400

Ferry    

   

FERRY, Edward           400

Forquer

x

John

FORQUER, John           400

Gallagher           

   

GALLAGHER, Hugh         400

GALLAGHER, John         400

GALLAGHER, Peter        400

Gillespie                       

x

John, Hugh, John Jr

GILLESPIE, Hugh         600

GILLESPIE, John         400

Galr

 

John

 

Green

 

Jas

 

Griffin

 

John

 

Haggins

 

Andrew

 

Hanlin              

x

   

Harkins

 

Robt

 

Hartman           

 

Philip

 

Hegarty

 

K

HAGGERTY, Thomas 200

Hunter              

x

 

HUNTER, Charles         400

HUNTER, Noble           600

Kelly

 

Blarney, Michael

 

Kerrivan

 

Michael

 

Lafferty

 

Pat'k

MCLAFFERTY, Neil        100

Lynch

 

Michael

 

McAlly

 

Patr'k

 

McBride

 

Eneas, Patr'k, jr

MCBRIDE, Patrick        400

McCoy

 

Chas

 

McCue             

x

Patr'k

MCCUE, Charles          400

MCCUE, Daniel           200

McElroy           

x

Hugh

MCELROY, Hugh           400

McFaddin

 

Dennis, Edward, Neal, Edward jr

MCFADDEN, Manus         200

McGinnelly

 

Jacob, Columbus, John

MCGINLEY, John          300

McKray

 

Philip

 

McLaughlin

 

Pat

MCLAUGHLIN, Patrick     300

McQueen

x

   

Meehan

x

   

Megee

 

John

MCGEE, John             400

Morran

 

Hugh

MOORE, William          400

Murray             

   

MURRAY, Neil            200

O'Bryan

 

Marty

 

O'Connell

X

   

Price

 

Mich.

 

Quinn

 

Owen

 

Read

 

Michael

 

Reed    

X

Dan'l

 

Rodgers

X

John

ROGERS, CONNEL          400     (tailor)

Sharkey

 

Hugh

 

Shields

 

Wm

 

Sheridan           

X

Jas

 

Smith

 

John

SMITH, Arthur           400     (single man)

SMITH, Henry            100

SMITH, Hugh             400     (single man)

SMITH, Jeremiah         ---     (single man, carpenter)

SMITH, Jeremiah         400

SMITH, Matthew          400

SMITH, Robert           ---     (single man)

Sweeny

X

Neal

SWEENEY, Charles        400

Truxler

 

Peter

 

Walhey

 

Nicholas

 

Welsh

 

Maj John

 
Google
 

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