Peter CASSIDY and Margaret (FARRELLY?)
County Cavan, Ireland to Carleton County, Canada and to Illinois, USA

October 12, 2002:
Greetings,
I found your site doing an Internet search on the history 
of Bureau County, Illinois.  The connection was the name 
SKEFFINGTON. I recognized the name although it wasn't 
what I was looking for. I searched the Bytown site and 
found my ggg-grandfather Peter CASSIDY and some of his 
children, although not his daughter Catharine, who was my 
gg-grandmother.

Peter, his wife Margaret, sons Patrick and Philip, and 
some of their children, Margaret and Terrence were listed 
in the birth register of  St. Phillip's Church in 
Richmond. None show up in the marriage index.  Is it 
possible to get the spreadsheet from which the birth 
register list came?  I would like to get the details. 
Besides being parents, several of the family members are 
shown as godparents.  Here is a rundown on the Cassidy 
family.

From the "History of Bureau County, Illinois" edited by 
H.C. Bradsby, 1885; "Peter J. Cassidy, Westfield, was 
born August 4, 1845, in North Gower, Canada West, to which 
place his grandparents, Peter and Margaret Cassidy, came 
at an early day.  They were natives of Ireland and soon 
became successful farmers in Canada. In the fall of 1847 
they came to Bureau County, Ill., where they bought and 
entered thirteen eighties of land..They became quite 
well-to-do farmers, and eventually removed to Ottawa, La 
Salle County [Illinois], where both died."
"They reared a family of nine children: Philip, Patrick, 
Margaret, Peter, Ann, Mary, James, Catharine and 
Terrence.  Of these, Patrick Cassidy was born 1819, in 
County Cavan, Ireland..He was married in Canada to Joanna 
Cochlin / Coughlin, born September 29, 1823, in County Cork, 
Ireland.  She is yet living and is the mother of five 
children, now living: Peter J., our subject.."

Here is the Canadian generation of the family as we had 
it prior to finding your site:

Peter Cassidy, Sr., born abt. 1790 in Ireland
+ Margaret (unknown, possibly Farrelly), born abt. 1795 
in Ireland
---- Philip Cassidy, born abt. 1813 in County Cavan, 
Ireland
-------+ Margaret PHELAN
---- Patrick Cassidy, born abt. 1819 in County Cavan, 
Ireland
------- + Joanna COCHLIN/COUGHLIN 
---- Margaret Cassidy, born abt. 1826 in Canada
-------- + Owen COOK
---- Peter Cassidy Jr., born abt. 1828 in Canada
---- Ann Cassidy, born abt. 1831 in Canada
--------- + Patrick CORRIGAN
----  Mary Cassidy, born abt. 1832 in Canada
---------- + Lawrence WYLER
---- James Cassidy, born abt. 1834 in Canada
---------- + Joanna WHITE
---- Catharine Cassidy, born abt. 1834 to 1836 in Canada
---------- + Patrick McDONALD
----- Terrence Cassidy born abt. 1838 in Canada

Before the family left for Illinois, two of Philip's 
children were born in Canada: Margaret A., abt. 1844, and 
Peter, abt. 1845; and one of Patrick's: Peter J., in 
1845.

The rest of the Cassidys were born in the USA.  Other 
"Bytown" families found with the Cassidys in Illinois and 
Nebraska are: SKEFFINGTON, McEVOY, 
COUGHLIN / CONKLIN / CONKLING, LAWLER / LAWLOR, RYAN, COAKLEY, 
MULVIHILL.  There are probably others.

Philip was one of the early settlers of the Nebraska 
Territory, showing up in the 1855 census, the year after 
the Territory was opened for settlement. Eventually 
sisters Ann and Catharine also went to Nebraska.  All but 
Catharine settled in what became South Omaha, owning land 
that became part of the city and the Union Stockyards.  
The Cassidy children who didn't move to Nebraska remained 
in Bureau and adjacent La Salle counties in Illinois.

When Philip's wife Margaret (Phelan) died in Omaha in 
1887, the "Omaha Bee" newspaper reported that her funeral 
was "one of the largest ever held in the city."  The next 
year Philip died, and both the "Bee" and the "Daily 
Stockman" reported that his funeral procession was over a 
mile long.  Philip and Margaret were buried in what was 
originally Cassidy Cemetery, but became St. Mary's 
Catholic cemetery after the Catholic Church forbade 
Catholics from being buried in non-Catholic cemeteries.  
St. Mary Magdalene and Graceland Park cemeteries are also 
on land originally owned by the Cassidy's.  All three 
cemeteries are still in use today.

Catharine and Patrick McDonald settled in Lancaster 
County, Nebraska.  For the most part, this branch of the 
family remained farmers or worked on the railroad. When 
Catharine died in 1914 in Omaha, her only sibling listed 
as a surviving relative was her sister Ann (Corrigan).  
Catharine, Patrick, most of their children and several 
grandchildren are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln, 
Lancaster County, Nebraska. 

I'd like to share information with other researchers on 
the families, and am particularly interested in finding 
out more about the Cassidys in Canada.

Mike McDonald
mgmcd@attbi.com
January 27, 2005: See also the Thomas Cassidy page and the James McEvoy page. August 5, 2005: (Jim Rosse is researching the McEvoy and Cassidy connections in Gloucester Township and in Nebraska, USA). His correspondence is on the James McEvoy page.
February 18, 2006: Hi Al, I was at your Bytown site and found that my last posting needs updating. My email has also changed. My email is mgmcd@comcast.net (incorporated in the list below ... Al) Mike McDonald Here is a long overdue update to the Peter Cassidy information I posted in 2002. Peter, wife Margaret and sons Phillip and Patrick are listed in the 1821 Irish census in the Townland of Keenagh, Parish of Crosserlough, Barony of Castlerahan, County Cavan; page 69, house #27 (LDS film # 0597155). On his US naturalization papers filed in Bureau Co., Illinois in 1847, Peter listed his age as 57 and birthplace as Parish Munterconnaught, County Cavan (LDS film #1688508). Peter signed many documents himself, usually spelling his name Cassady. In his will, the name is spelled several different ways. With time, and among his children, Cassidy became the most common spelling. Marilyn Cottrell's transcripts from St. Philip's Church in Richmond provided a wealth of information. The records include a translation from "Le dioc├Ęse d'Ottawa, 1847-1948", by Rev. Hector Legros, that says records weren't kept at the church until 1836, though it was established in 1818. Both sources transcribe Peter's wife Margaret's maiden name as some variation of Heery or Hiary. Their daughter Anne's marriage record, from Illinois in 1854, clearly shows her mother's name as Margaret Heery. My original message had her surname as possibly Farrelly. Of Peter and Margaret's nine children, only the birth of the last, Terrence, is recorded in St. Philip's, on December 24, 1837. Census records, biographies and other written histories (all from the US) list six of their other children as being born in Canada, some specifically in North Gower. The first of these six was born about 1825-26. Given that the family was in the 1821 Irish census, we can put the family's arrival in Canada in the early to mid 1820s. Eldest son Phillip Cassidy married Margaret Phelan in St. Philip's in 1843. There are other Phelans (Whelan) and McEvoys in the church records. Whether these connect to Jim Rosse's family I don't know, but these same surnames show up on the westward migration from UC to Illinois to Nebraska. We know the McEvoys in Illinois and Nebraska are the same family. Patrick Cassidy was also married in St. Philip's, to Joanna Coughlin in 1842. Their first two children, as well as the first two children of Phillip and Margaret were baptized in St. Philip's. In what had to be confusing, all four children were named after their grandparents. So there were 3 Peters and 4 Margarets in the family by 1846. The tradition continued with other children being named after Peter and Margaret. In his will, Peter (the elder) left extra land and/or money to all his Peter descendants. All Cassidy references in St. Philip's records from the beginning in 1836 to the baptism of Peter, son of Phillip and Margaret on March 12, 1846, refer to members of Peter's and his sons' families. This baptism is the last Cassidy entry in the church records until October 15, 1848, when the abjuration and baptism of Elinor Cassidy, daughter of Michael Cassidy and Ann Keys was recorded. The arrival of Peter's ever growing family in Bureau County, Illinois in the spring of 1847 is well documented, so we know they were gone by 1848. No connection has been made between Michael and Peter Cassidy. Additional Cassidy references are found into the 1900s when the transcribed records end. The Patrick and Nora Stackpole Skeffington family mentioned elsewhere on the site also moved to Bureau County and became associated with the Cassidys. In 1857 their daughter Maria was listed as the female witness to the marriage of Patrick McDonald and Peter's daughter Catherine Cassidy. Peter Cassidy is one of the witnesses who signed the citizenship affidavit of Patrick Skeffington in 1858. In 1862 their son Patrick Skeffington married Margaret Cassidy, daughter of Patrick and Joanna Cassidy. Margaret's gravestone notes that she was born in North Gore (sic) Canada. There are two references to Skeffingtons in St. Phillip's records, but I don't know their connection to the others. John Skeffington is listed as a member of the Total Abstinence Society of Richmond in 1842. There are 478 people on the list including all the Cassidys. The other is Mary Skeffington, who is listed, along with James Dacy / Darcy, as a sponsor at the baptism of Hugh, son of James Johnston and Mary Dewan, on February 19, 1854. ... Mike McDonald
January 16, 2007: Hello, Mike, I just happened to be on the Bytown site and saw your update from Feb 2006, which mentioned Patrick & Nora (Stackpole) Skeffington. My email address has changed since my postings on that site. It is now hskeffington@comcast.net, if you'd like to note that somewhere. Regards, Howard (e-mail address updated in the list below ... Al)
November 12, 2008: Hello, my name is Jeffery Cassidy. I've been researching my family history and have reached Peter Cassidy, Sr. The article I read on bytown.net had the most detailed information I've ever found on my family. I hope I'm e-mailing the right people, but I'm wondering if any further information has been discovered on the family. Thanks in advance for your help, and I'm more than happy to share any information I have. ... Jeff Cassidy

E-mail Mike McDonald, Taylor Kennedy, Howard Skeffington, Jim Rosse, Jeff Cassidy and Al Lewis

Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa area