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This is a sketch of the Mansfield Family based on several sources I have found to date. It attempts to put together a beginning history of the Richard Mansfield family from 1795 In Ireland to their arrival in Kansas City about 1860.



Irish Records: Clonmel, County Waterford


Richard Mansfield was baptized on March 1, 1795 at St. Marys Church in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland. He was the son of Catherine Longergan and Thomas Mansfield. His sponsors were John Ryan and Margaret Kearvick and Fr. Maurice Coleman was the priest. (WHS, 1996. See References below). There is no marriage record of Richard, but several baptismal records confirm a family source that Richard Mansfield, Jr. was born in 1822 (MC, 1943. See references below). Starting in 1820 there are three baptismal records showing Richard Mansfield and Ellen Mahony as parents of Thomas (July 12, 1820), Richard (February 15, 1822) and Martin (June 10, 1834).  There are several discrepancies but none that would suggest a contradiction between the sources. For instance, Anne Cahill says Richard, Jr. married Ellen McMahan, not Mahony (AMC). But the consultant at the Waterford Heritage Survey indicated that Mahony is a version of McMahon.  Also, the birth date of Richard is given as May 6, 1822. MC adds that Richard had a brother Thomas who emigrated with the family, matching up with the WHS Thomas Mansfield.


The other puzzle is which Ellen Mahon(e)y baptized at St. Marys is Richards wife.  Of the three choices, the Ellen Mahony born in 1806 seems the preferred one. The other two are born in 1790 (five years older than her husband) or 1794. This latter may be a possibility since the mother of that Ellen Mahoney was Catherine Ryan and a John Ryan was sponsor for Richard, Sr.s baptism. There is a fourth Ellen McMahon, but she is born in 1820, making her illegible for Richard, Jr.s 1822 birth.  Ellen Mahony was baptized on October 8, 1806 and was the daughter of James Mahony and Margaret Mahony(sic).  (WHS, 1996).


The family source says that Richard, Jr. was born in Waterford.  This is less of a puzzle since Clonmel, though technically in County Tipperary today is (and was) in the Waterford diocese. St. Marys parish of Clonmel goes about fifteen or twenty miles north into what is today Tipperary (see Diocese of Waterford & Lismore Map. See References below).



The family source also indicates that Richard, Jr. went to school at Mount Mellerick Monastery. This was an obvious misspelling for Mt. Mellary Monastery, located about fifty miles SW of Clonmel in the Knockmeal Down Mountains of Waterford near the town of Cappoquin. We stayed at the Monastery over night on July 15/16, 1996. I was able to read a thorough history of the Monastery, published on its centenary in 1932. It indicated that a school for local children was begun about 1838 by a couple from Kilkenny. The Cisterians were concerned that the boys and girls were in the same school, so they began an all boys school in the early 1840s. This would make Richard, Jr. about  16-18 when he attended. The curriculum was classical in format.  At this point I was unsuccessful in finding documentation of enrollment at Mt. Mellary, though Fr. Bonaventure indicated that there might be records somewhere.


The name Mansfield is uncommon today and largely confined to landed gentry in Ireland. It was of Norman-French origin and was common from the 13-17th centuries. It has several forms in transition from the French Maunsel: Mandeville, Mandefill, Monfield, Monsfield. I was reminded of the current name usage when our B&B host, Mr. Gorman, asked whether the Mansfields were Catholic or other. When I told him Catholic he seemed surprised. The baptismal records indicate a long Catholic lineage, though the 1790s were the beginning of a more enlightened acceptance of Catholicism in Ireland and the Mansfields may have been Protestant Anglo Irish prior to that.  In any event, sending ones son to a secondary boarding school in the 1840s indicates some financial capability. I was unable to find much in the Clonmel library by way of records.



Immigration to the United States and Illinois Experience


The Mansfield Chronicle written in 1943 by Elizabeth Dolan (MC) from which I have gotten much information indicates that she is quoting Anne Mansfield Cahill from an earlier date. It indicates that the Richard Mansfield family (Richard, Sr., Mother, Ellen, Brothers Thomas, Richard, Jr., and John all immigrated to the United States in about 1847 and settled in Madison, NJ. An (unnamed) sister went to Australia. Richard, Jr. married Mary Jane Clooney (or Clowery) on February 12, 1849 in the Chamber Street Chapel in New York City. Richard and wife went immediately to the midwest with brother Thomas, his wife, Eliza, and son Richard (sic). Richard and Mary Jane settled on a farm at Blackberry Ridge in Kane County near the Fox River, owned by a Deacon Robinson.


I have not confirmed arrival in New York of either the Mansfields or the Clowrys, although Anne Cahill gives an exact date for the latter. I was able to confirm that a William H. Robinson moved to Kane County in 1838 and took up residence near Elburn, Illinois in Kane County.  I found out that he was a deacon in the Baptist church and that he lived in Virgil Township just NW of Elburn. An old house stands on the probable site on Beith Road just west of Hwy #47, dating back to the Civil War or before. This appears to be the site where the Mansfields lived and worked until they migrated to Kansas City in 1859.


The Mansfields had five children, four of whom were born in Illinois, presumable at Blackberry Ridge in Kane County: Helen Winifred (12/22/50), James (11/27/52), Mary (3/4/55), Jane (3/__/57), George (7/4/59). The daughter Anne was born in Kansas City in 1868.


Helen Mansfield (1850-1937), Richard Mansfield, Jr's Daughter



Kansas City: 1860-1900


The family story says that the Mansfields pulled up stakes in Kane County, Illinois about the time of the Civil War and migrated to Kansas City, Missouri in a covered wagon. Helen, the oldest, sat on a barrel (in one version, a children's chest) containing family gold and looked innocent. No robbers appeared, it seems. The Kansas City records tend to confirm the time of arrival about 1860, as Richard appears in the city directory in 1861. But he was not the first Mansfield to show up in Kansas City, a village of about 7,500 in 1858. About that time a James Mansfield appears in the city directories and stays present in the growing city over the next four decades. One may presume that he was a brother or cousin on Richard's and may had induced him to come to the newly thriving city.


Richard is identified as a "teamster" in 1861 in the City Directory, He next appears in the Kansas City Directory in 1866-67 as a farmer in the west bottoms near the train depot close to state line. By 1872 he is a partner with Patrick McAnany, his new son-in-law, in the lime, plaster and cement business.  It was at the Mansfield's boarding house at 12th & Hickory that Patrick met and married Helen Mansfield on October 18, 1869. Another of the Mansfield sister, Mary, also met her husband at the boarding house, Tom Sweeney. Obviously, this was a nice arrangement of commerce and romance! 


The presence of politics in the family is early attested to by James Mansfield who served as 1st Ward Councilman in 1865-66 under Mayor Patrick P. Shannon, president of the Shamrock Benevolent Society√Ďan early Irish showing of political strength. The power shifted to the 4th Ward after the construction of the Union Pacific Depot in the west bottoms in 1865. It was from this ward that Patrick McAnany was councilman three times in the 1870s. One has to think that the Mansfields were (some of) the power behind the throne here. James Mansfield's grocery business remains a constant in this saga. But Richard Mansfield's sand business for the ft. Scott railroad may also reflect political power.


Richard and Jane Mansfield lived at 12th& Hickory for a number of years and then moved to 591 Madison in the mid 1880s. Richard died on May 20, 1895, much honored as one of the City's pioneers and is buried in St. Mary's cemetery from the Cathedral. Jane later moved to Shawnee to be close to her two daughters, Helen McAnany and Anne who had married William Cahill of Shawnee. She died on June 27, 1905 and was buried with her husband in St. Mary's, Kansas City, Missouri.



Last Updated November 18, 2005


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