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by Patrick D. McAnany, grandson


The life and times of Patrick McAnany covered many life-changing events over his eighty-one years. Born in Ulster, Ireland during the struggle for political self-rule by the Irish, living through the Great Hunger that drove millions out of his native country, brought to the frontier where the plow was breaking up the prairie in Illinois, living with the fast fading Native Americans, fighting the Civil War on the firing line and with military telegraphers, serving as an elected Councilman in the vibrant commercial center of the new West, Kansas City, farming the land the Shawnee Indians recently forsook for their final resting place in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, and watching his children enter as the new Americans into the Twentieth Century: these were events enough to write a whole shelf of adventure novels. Yet he was an ordinary man living life as it came his way.


Ireland as the Home He'd Barely Know: 1839-1849


Patrick was the seventh child of Philip McAnany (c.1795-1843) and Mary Anne Jennings (1802-1894), born in Inniskeen Parish, County Monaghan on February 15, 1839. Monaghan lies on the southern border of the Province of Ulster and Inniskeen at its southeastern borders with Armagh and Louth in Leinster. Dundalk is its largest neighbor to the east on the Irish Sea, about eight miles distance.


While we don't at this writing know much about the McEnaeneys (current Irish spelling), we know something of the Jennings, as their descendants still live in Inniskeen. Anne had three sisters and several brothers. Her sister Jane (Jenny) married Edward McMahon and her grandchildren, Paddy and Molly Shevlin, have died only recently. Molly's son, Tom Lennon, was my source of contact with the Inniskeen relatives over four visits (1986, 1991, 1996, 1999). The Jennings were farmers, like most of Inniskeen of the day (and today). The McEnaeneys were traders of cattle and horses and were said (Paddy Shevlin 1999) to have had an export business in Dundalk of that day.


The McEnaeney's home place was in the townland (subdivision of the parish) of Keenoge, lying along the Fane River dividing Monaghan from Armagh. The ruins were pointed out to Ed and Louise McAnany when they visited in 1928. According to the Tithe Applotment Book for 1824, a Widow McEnaeney lived on twenty acres in Keenoge. She may have been the wife of a Nicholas McEnaeney who shows up in the Linen Board records for 1796 for Inniskeen (both found at the Monaghan Ancestral Research Group in Monaghan Town).


The McEnaeney family history has been researched back to the fourteenth century in Clones in northwest Monaghan. During an indefinite time of the medieval period, the McEnaeneys were an ecclesiastical family associated with St. Tigernach (Tierney in English) whose monastery was founded in the sixth century. After the breakup of the monasteries in the sixteenth century by the English Crown, the McEnaeneys scattered across Monaghan and, indeed, the world. 


Patrick had four older sisters, Catherine (1830), Anne (1834), Mary (1835) and Rose (1838), an older brother, Nicholas (1832) and younger brother Philip (1842). The family ended seemingly abruptly about 1843 when Philip died and Anne remarried to John Murphy (1808-1886). Two Murphy sons were born in Ireland, half-brothers of the McEnaeneys: Michael (1845) and Dennis (1847). John Murphy could have been a relative of the Jennings, as there is a Murphy house in Drumcatton Townland where the Jennings lived and a certain Patrick Murphy was said to be the maternal grandfather of Anne Jennings.


The ten years Patrick McAnany lived in Inniskeen (1839-1849) were fraught with politics, such as the granting of the franchise to the Irish in 1824. This was the first of many political quests championed by Daniel O'Connell in that day. O'Connell created an organization of Catholics through the parish networks and was able to call "monster meetings" at which up to 100,000 native Irish showed up. Several of these monster meetings were held in Monaghan of the day.


Removing the tithe from local taxation was the political cause of the 1830-40s, as Catholics resented their money supporting the (Protestant) Church of Ireland. Collecting the tithes was dangerous business for the government agents around Inniskeen as they were subject to attacks from angry Catholics. Secret societies, such as the Ribbonmen (Catholic), fought with the Orangemen (Protestant) of the area. Of course the Ascendancy out of Dublin Castle controlled life in Monaghan as elsewhere in Ireland. Police, the courts, the army, and the political system laid a heavy hand on the native Irish day to day.


The culture of Inniskeen was strongly Gaelic, not only in religion, but in language as well. Despite the decline of Irish speaking in the country as a whole during the nineteenth century, Monaghan and Inniskeen remained a Gaeltach area and no doubt Irish was the first language in the McEnaeney home. English was the second language, primary both for commerce and government. A national Irish school system was being set up at the time. The concern of  the Catholics was that Protestants would dominate it as a governmental sponsored body. In fact the system tended to fall under the control of Catholics where they were the majority, such as Inniskeen. These schools tended to replace the "hedge schools" run by priests of the penal days during the early decades of the nineteenth century. It is unclear where the McEnaeneys went to school.


Over this vibrant if contentious society, one event cast an ominous and deep shadow: the Potato Failure of 1845-50. Whether one calls it a famine or genocide (favored by Irish Republican historians), it cut down over a million people through starvation and disease and displaced two million more. The workhouse was the alternative to starvation but difficult to get into as overcrowding made bed space scarce. There are stories that confound the imagination of skeletal figures eating grass, children clinging to dead parents and the like.


Whatever the McEnaeney-Murphy family saw during the Great Hunger, it could only invite pity, outrage and despair. A boy of 6-10 would be particularly vulnerable to these emotions, especially because he had lost his own father to a sudden death so recently. It is not clear whether the McEneaney/Murphys were "at the edge" during these famine years, but they were clearly not prospering. The decision to leave was difficult but almost inevitable for those with the means to do so.

 The story of the family's departure from Ireland during the Great Hunger comes in three waves.

In early Spring 1849, Anne and John divided the family into the main emigrating party of the young Murphy sons (Michael and Dennis), the oldest three McEnaeneys (Catherine, Nicholas and Mary) and Patrick. The other three McEnaeneys they left with relatives: Rose and Philip probably  stayed with the Jennings/McMahon families; Anne moved in with the McEnaeney side.


The emigration boats for this part of Ireland always sailed from Liverpool, it seems. Thus, the McEnaeney/Murphys must have taken a packet boat from the port of Dundalk at Blackrock to Liverpool 150 miles across the Irish Sea. Once there, they had to choose passage to either the United States, or a commonwealth country, such as Canada or Australia. These latter destinations offered better fares because subsidized by the Crown. Family tradition (according to Edwin McAnany, 1980) is that the family chose Australia but could not book passage, so they boarded an American ship, the Silas Grimshaw, bound for New York early in March, 1849.


I have wondered whether the family did not find their own subsidy from American firms recruiting Irish to work on the several railroad projects in Illinois. If they paid full fare, it suggests the family had means that other Famine Irish lacked, taking four adults and four children at a fare of thirty pounds overall. However they decided on or financed the voyage, the records show that they arrived in New York harbor on May 2, 1849.


The other family members followed. Rose and Philip arrived from Liverpool on the "Liverpool" on November 1, 1850, a year and a half after the Murphys. Anne arrived about seven months later,  on June 6, 1851 on the "Defense" from Liverpool with two other McAnanys (first cousins, presumably), Patrick and another Anne.


Patrick McAnany ceased being Irish the day he stepped on the pier at the Battery and into the maelstrom of the Five Corners neighborhood in Manhattan, made famous (and distorted) by the film, "Gangs of New York." Not that anyone allowed him to forget he was of that despised race that the Know Nothing politics of the time were intent on keeping out ofÑ-or at very least down in-- the WASP United States. But for him, the new land gave him a new identity  which he would develop over the next seventy-one years.


The Interlude in Illinois:  On the Prairie, 1850-54


We are not sure if the family traveled together after landing in New York. What we know from records is that the Murphys, John, Anne and the two Murphy boys, arrived in Amboy, Illinois in time for another son, John, to be born there before the June, 1850 census. The McAnany children do no show up on that record. One conjecture is that Catherine, Nicholas, Mary and Patrick stayed on in New York with relatives or friends until Rose and Philip arrived a year and a half later. Since Rose would have been twelve at the time, it seems implausible that she would have traveled with her eight year old brother over a thousand miles by themselves to Amboy. But a McMahon cousin may have been on a sister ship docking the next day and she could have taken the young McAnanys west. Anne, on the other hand, was seventeen and arrived with two older McAnany cousins, so she could have forged her own way west in summer of 1851. Who these relatives (or friends) in New York were is unknown. There are no census records of the McAnanys for 1850 in New York City that I have found.


The Murphys by June 1850 had bought a farmÑ-again a sign of some affluence-- west of Amboy among other Irish settlers. Amboy was not formally incorporated until 1854, but already it was preparing to become a cross roads for two railroad  systems, the Illinois Central from the south and the Chicago and Galena from the east. The farmland was rich and plentiful, but railroad jobs were a clear alternative to plowing and planting. By the time Patrick  gets to the farm in 1850 or 1851 he is eleven or twelve, a good age to begin the hard work of farming. However much farming he did in Ireland with John Murphy, he clearly gets a knack for its time-tested rhythms on the Illinois prairie.


The families, both McAnanys and Murphys, were united no later than 1851 or very likely earlier. We do know that Catherine married Owen Kirk on May 6, 1852. This presupposes, I think, that she had been in Amboy for at least a year, maybe two years. The arrival of all the McAnanys from the East put twelve people on the farm and in one house by 1851. This meant that the older ones, Catherine (21), Nicholas (19), Anne (17), Mary (16) and Rose (13) would have been expected to work with Anne in household and light farm duties, or to help John do the plowing, planting and harvesting. Patrick (12) and even Philip (9) might have helped their father and brother Nicholas in the fields, but Michael (6), Dennis (4) and John (2) were too young to do much but get in the way.


Amboy as a town was being organized as the Murphys arrived in 1850. It lay at the projected crossroads of the Central Illinois and Chicago & Galena railroads. But it was more a speculative village site than a real one-- it had erected its very first house only in 1845. Other villages had sprung up nearby in the 1840s, but were sparsely populated as well. The advent of the Illinois Central was based on the Illinois Land Grant Act of 1850, passed at the urging of the new Illinois Senator, Stephen A. Douglas, which gave 2.6 million acres to railroads to lay tracks. There were crews of 8-10,000 on the Illinois Central pushing the tracks through the prairies headed toward what would become the town of Amboy. Most of these laborers were Irish and most would pass on to other transient labor sites, though some would join the Irish already settled in the "Patch" west of town. Amboy became incorporated in 1854 as the trains came to town.


Rose Hollaran's House in Amboy, IL c. 1910


The presence of Catholics meant the creation of a parish where they could worship. The early (1840) site was St. Michael's at Sandy Hill, about eight miles away. But with the rapid growth of Amboy (by 1854 there was a population of 2,000), a need for a Catholic church there was evident. St. Patrick's grew out of the first mass said in town at the house of Michael Egan in 1853. It was built and burnt to the ground in 1856 and then immediately rebuilt.


What sort of education the younger McAnany/Murphy children got in Amboy is uncertain. Did Patrick and the older McAnanys have some grounding in the three R's, even if learned in Irish? From the later careers of the three McAnany men, perhaps so. By the 1860 census the younger Murphy boys are shown as being in school in Amboy.


When did Patrick strike out on his own? We are not certain on this, but family tradition seems to indicate that it was as early as 1854, making him fifteen at the time.


Life in the West: Kansas and Beyond,  1854-1861  


When Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, it opened the Indian Territory in eastern Kansas to white settlement. That could have been the lure that drew Patrick McAnany away from the family farm in Amboy. Family tradition suggests that he went to Kansas in that year before moving on to other places in his search for a new life. Working from the four accounts of his life of that period (History of Jackson County 1881; History of Johnson County 1915; The McAnanys of Johnson County 1961; Edwin McAnany 1980), I come up with following sequence of events.


Patrick arrived in what now is Johnson County, just west of the Missouri line in 1854. He worked for the Shawnee Indian family of David Daugherty, a mixed blood Shawnee from the Ohio or Eastern Shawnees, where he accumulated about $200 over a period of maybe a year and a half at $16 per month. He tells the story of how Mrs. Daugherty would put the $16 in a small sack at the end of each month to hold for him. When she dies, he is given his accumulated wages of $200, which, sad to say, he loses in some misadventure. At that point he moves on to other places and then spends a year in Louisiana before returning to Kansas in 1857.


If this sequence is right, when Patrick returned in 1857 he went to work for a general store in Shawnee called Wilkerson & Knapp. This ended when Wilkerson was killed by an Indian in a saloon brawl. What he did after that is unclear. One sure date is Patrick's enlistment in the Kansas Infantry, First Regiment, Company F on May 25, 1861. This ended his first venture into Kansas.


The seven years between the farm and family in Amboy and his enlistment in the Civil War are no doubt full of adventure for a man maturing out of adolescence. He says he traveled to almost every state in the Union. This would reflect tours in the east, as well as the south and the west as mentioned above. But he clearly identifies Kansas and Louisiana as places where he stayed on for a time. Family tradition says he was employed as a foreman on a plantation in Louisiana and came away disgusted with the system he would soon be fighting to dismantle.


Swirling around these years are many life-changing events. The obvious one is the advent of the Civil War as played out in "Bleeding Kansas."  The other is the final displacement of Native Americans to Oklahoma from Kansas. Patrick McAnany was in the middle of these two momentous and intertwined events.


The town of Gum Springs which morphed into Shawnee by 1858 is where Patrick spent his time in Kansas. The Daugherty place is indicated as lying just west of Lachman Road and both north and south of today's 75th Street on the 1860 Shawnee tribal allotment map which I saw at the Johnson County Museum. While Edwin McAnany says Patrick worked in the Daugherty store, my guess is that he worked on the farm which the Daughertys owned. But it is possible that the Daughertys were part of the power structure the Ohio Shawnees built up in the 1850s and had a store in town.


Shawnee Methodist Mission


The Shawnee Council House where tribal business was conducted was located in the 1840s and early 1850s at the Shawnee Methodist Mission in Fairway, but then moved to a place just north of Shawnee and next door to the Bluejacket place on the Military Road. This is the land Patrick McAnany would buy in 1877 in anticipation of his move back to Kansas in 1882.


What was life like in Shawnee during Patrick's time there, we might ask. The politics were highly complicated on both the Native American side, as well over the slavery vs. free state side of things. And the two crossed over by force of circumstance.


As a participant in the Shawnee tribal life through the Daughtery family,  Patrick experienced the tension in the struggle for power between mixed race Ohio (or Eastern) Shawnee and the earlier arriving Missouri Shawnee. Living with the Daughertys placed him in the camp of the Ohio group which tended to dominate affairs. Several Daughertys served on the national Council during the 1850s and pushed for the distribution of land to individual households which eventually formed the basis of the treaty of 1854.


This treaty served as the poison pill for the destruction of Indians in Kansas over the next two decades because white speculators bought up the individual allotments of 200 acres at bargain prices. Since Patrick lived with a powerful Shawnee family and learned their language, he would have been conversant with the issues involved and probably was a frequent visitor to the Council House. According to his accounts of 1881 and 1915, he hunted with the Tribe, learned their customs and served as an interpreter for them on occasions.


Because the Shawnee were non-citizens and could not vote, they tended to be left out of the fight developing between free and slave state folks. But not entirely. The Shawnee Methodist Mission to which many of the Ohio Shawnee leaders belonged became a haven of Southern sympathizers, while the Quakers and Baptists missions moved toward the abolition side.But the Shawnee for the most part were spared the type of violence represented by John Brown's massacre and many other killings among "civilized" white men.


But another kind of violence was commonÑ- assaults related to alcohol. The sale of liquor was certainly common on the frontier, at Westport for instance. But its effect on Native Americans was notorious and devastating. The Shawnee Council tried to control its sale and use, somewhat unsuccessfully. Two liquor related deaths directly impacted Patrick during his Kansas years.


The death of his employer, Wilkerson, sometime in the last years of the decade, was caused by a drunken Indian in one of the ten or twelve saloons in Shawnee. This suggests that white settlers were already common and the saloons were owned and run by them, but no doubt welcoming native partakers.


The other death is more speculative but it is suggestive of the problem and may have impacted Patrick. A recent author on the Shawnees in Kansas (Warren 2005) reports that the Council acted on a murder case against one of the tribe in 1856. The offender was a Shawnee man named David Dougherty and he was later hanged. I wondered how many David Da(o)ughertys there were among the  Shawnee at the time and whether he was the man who hired Patrick to work his farm land. In any event, violence there was among the Shawnee tribe where fire-arms and firewater made a deadly pair.


There are lots of holes in this account but we probably will never know too much more as the records for the transition from Indian Territory to Kansas Territory are sparse and single individuals without real property are even harder to pin down. But by the time Patrick left Kansas as an Army recruit in May 1861, he knew that he would never be able to return to his Tribe because they were doomed to disappear or move to Oklahoma. As to the issue of slave vs. free state, he knew he would be living that issue for some time to come.


Civil War: The Battle Field and High Wire, 1861-1865


The raw recruits for the First Kansas Regiment collected in Johnson County were organized and trained at Camp Lincoln near Leavenworth before being marched off toward Springfield, Missouri. A Confederate threat under General Sterling Price was shaping up there. It was just outside of Springfield at Wilson Creek that the Union forces, including the two Kansas Regiments, under General Nathaniel Lyon, met a superior force of rebels on August 7. The official word is that the Union forces lost the battle after General Nathaniel Lyon was killed, but both sides withdrew from the battle site at the end of four exhausting hours of firing into each others lines. Twenty four hundred men lost their lives, evenly divided between the Blue and the Gray.


Battle of Wilson's Creek, August 7, 1861


The First Kansas Regiment took the greatest hits as they were squarely at the center of the hottest fighting. Statistically, 51% of officers and men of the First Kansas were either killed or wounded, making it the hardest hit of the Union troops in the "First Battle of the West " (Official Military History of Kansas Regiments, 1870).


Patrick's own two accounts (1881 and 1915) describe the battle and the fact that he saw General Lyon fall mortally wounded among soldiers of the Second Kansas Regiment. Both the First and Second Kansas Volunteers were placed at the center of the Confederate onslaught. Patrick tells of how he and his comrades were firing from the ground, hiding behind rocks, reloading on their backs and returning to fire another round. Patrick was among the 51% of the First who went down with wounds, both lethal and otherwise. He must have lost many friends that day, but he himself survived.


As he later recalls that day, he says that a bullet struck him in the left cheek and embedded itself thereÑin fact it was never removed. Another spent ball hit him in the earlobe and also remained there to the end of his days. A final hit fortunately struck the buckle of his cartridge belt and was deflected, sparing him what could have been a fatal wound. With his jaw broken, Patrick was left on the battle field with many other dead, dying and wounded. Later a Confederate patrol took him prisoner, but he was shortly exchanged back to the Union side.


There is a discrepancy in this release story, as Edwin McAnany (1980) says the Confederates simply turned him loose because he couldn't eat with his jaw wired up and felt he was only a burden. This unofficial release may explain why an official record at the Wilson Creek battle site indicates that Patrick McAnany, a corporal, had deserted. Patrick tells the story differently. He says he was exchanged and went on to a military hospital at Leavenworth where he was later discharged from the Army for disability. Patrick tells a story that seems to describe his travel from Springfield to Leavenworth. 


According to his account, he and several companions went west to Ft. Scott on their way to Kansas City and then on Leavenworth. The Union man who ran the hotel warned them that they were subject to an assassination by Bushwackers (Southern sympathizers) next day so they departed at night and made their way north to the city.  The story itself suggested the guerrilla nature of fighting in Kansas during the Civil War.


After Patrick had been discharged in Leavenworth from the Army on disability, he joined the newly created Military Telegraph Service and probably served the Army of the West with Sherman and Sheridan. He says he saw action at the battles of Chicamagua (Georgia, September 19-20, 1863) and Mission Ridge (Tennessee, November 23-25, 1863). Family history says he served as an engineer in the Telegraph Service, probably suggesting that he was responsible for setting up and maintaining telegraph lines out to the battle fields and connected with the federal system back to Washington. He was discharged from service in the Spring of 1865 in Chattanooga.


Patrick McAnany was twenty-six years old when he was discharged, without a job or even a calling. His work experience had been varied. He certainly knew farm work. He had worked in a general store; he had strung telegraph lines and done other construction work in service. But he had always moved on. So he decided to return home to Amboy after an absence of ten to eleven years to just figure things out.



Amboy Once Again, 1865-66


By the time Patrick got back home after discharge in May, 1865 it would have been full Summer. When he left in 1854, there were still eleven McAnanys and Murphys living on the farm west of Amboy. Now there were only Anne and John Murphy and their son Dennis. During his absence young John Murphy died (1862) and all his McAnany sisters had married and moved off the home place. His older brother, Nicholas, had married in 1858 and served in some (civilian?) capacity in Missouri during the war. His younger brother, Philip, had fought with the Illinois Volunteers and may or may not have returned home, but he, too, like Patrick was still single. Michael Murphy had just married and had moved down the road to his own place.


What Patrick did over that year or so is undocumented, but we may suppose he sloughed off the horrors of war and got used to sleeping in a bed and having breakfast in his Mother's kitchen and helping on the farm. John Murphy must have appreciated that help as he was fifty-seven by now, hardly a young man. Patrick must have reveled in working the soil as he later showed this predilection by going back to being a farmer in his later years.


In any event, industrialization and migration pulled Patrick west again, this time to the Missouri side of Kansas City. It was something in the papers that caught his eye: the first bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas City was being built. Patrick felt he had just found a new job. He said goodbye (again) and left his parents at the farmyard gate, wondering whether they would ever see their son again.



Kansas City, Missouri:  Business and Politics, 1866-1881


The next fifteen years turned the traveler and jack-of-all-trades into a man with a wife, children, a home and a businessÑ-stability that he had been searching for since he left Amboy twenty-two years before.


The Hannibal Bridge was a marvel of engineering and created a crucial link between Chicago and the East for the growing Gateway to the West, Kansas City, Missouri. The City grew from 4,400 in 1865 to 32,260 in 1870, a boomtown by any definition. Patrick says he was engaged as a foreman on the bridge during its construction. This would make sense because he brought a world of experience, both with a variety of men in his travels, as well as with construction work during his military service. The bridge was completed in 1869 and probably provided Patrick with up to three years of work. In fact the dedication of the Hannibal Bridge on July 3 of that year was not only the end of a good job, but was also almost the end of a good relationship.


Hannibal Bridge Dedication, July 3, 1869


Patrick had boarded with an Irish family at the top of the bluff overlooking the construction site. The Mansfields were from Ireland, with a stopover of a dozen years in Kane County, Illinois. Richard Mansfield was born Clonmel, Tipperary and Mary was from Dublin. They had a family of four girls (Helen, Mary, Jane and Annie) and two boys (James and George) and had moved to Kansas City in 1860, just prior to the War. It was Helen (1850-1937) who had caught his eye and they were engaged as the bridge work came to an end.


The tiff between the lovers came on the day of dedication when Patrick insisted on wearing his overalls in solidarity with his working mates. This was unacceptable to the classy Helen who wore her finery and wanted to show off her fiancŽe to her friends. How they settled that matter isn't told, but settle it they did, for they were married on October 18, 1869 at  Annunciation Church, also on the bluff at Twelfth and Pennsylvania. They moved into a house just a short block from the Mansfields. The first child, Edwin, was born on February 17, 1871. He was followed by five other children born in Kansas City from 1871 to 1881: Philip 1872; James Paul 1875; Mary Louise 1877; May 1880; and Rose 1881.


After his work on the Hannibal Bridge, Patrick joined his Father-in-Law, Richard Mansfield in the building materials business in the West Bottoms. This stretch of low  lying land at the juncture of the Missouri and Kansas (Kaw) Rivers was the heart of the Irish community. The newly built Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroad depot was there, as well as the new meat packing plants that came with the trains.


It was in the West Bottoms where the Irish gathered their strength and developed political muscle. In the Fourth Ward a man named James Pendergast put in an appearance in the 1870s who would later lend his name to a Democratic machine of awesome power. He was not the first Irishman to gain political status, however. That honor belonged to Patrick Shannon who was elected mayor in 1865-66, along with a Councilman from the First Ward, James Mansfield. How this Mansfield was related to the Richard Mansfield family is not certain, but I suspect that he may have been the person behind the rise of Patrick McAnany to political prominence in the mid 1870s.


How and why Patrick got into politics is not certain. But starting in 1873 and then again in 1875-76, he was elected to three one year terms on the City Council from the Fifth Ward which covered the top of the bluffs west to Stateline and south to City line. This was a time when the job of councilman was growing in importance to the Irish community because the city was spending big dollars on public works. The Irish tended to dominate the building trades and no doubt many of these contracts went to Irish companies.


As Patrick prospered in Kansas City, others of his family joined him there. The first to arrive was his younger brother, Philip McAnany, who had served in the Illinois Volunteers during the Civil War. But Philip did not tarry very long and soon found himself out in the real West at Salt Lake City in 1867 and finally Los Angeles by 1871. Their sister, Catherine Kirk and her husband, Owen, arrived in 1871 and lived on the east side near the newly founded church of St. Patrick's. His older brother, Nicholas McAnany, arrived about 1877 and his family joined Patrick on the west side. In fact they lived even further west near Stateline on Genessee and Wyoming streets.


Both the Kirks and Nicholas McAnanys stayed on in Kansas City long after Patrick and Helen moved to Kansas in 1882. The Mansfields also made Kansas City their home for many years, with their address at 591 Forest Avenue on the east side where Richard died on May 20, 1895. Mary and several of the Mansfield children eventually moved to Shawnee where Patrick and Helen settled.


Was Patrick looking for a change or was it just chance that the old Bluejacket-Choteau place came on the market in 1877? Frederick Choteau, the old French fur trader married to a Shawnee wife (in fact he sent three wives to the grave and married a fourth), had bought the George Bluejacket house on the ridge above Shawnee in 1855. It sat next to the Shawnee Council House and was a prime spot to be in on the business of the Tribe. Quantrill had burned it down in 1862, but Choteau rebuilt it and lived there until he decided to move to Kansas City with his wife and family.


Patrick McAnany and his partner, James Finucane, purchased the Choteau house and 160 acres in 1877. Maybe it started out as an investment as neither of them lived there. It was rented to people who may have farmed the ground as well as live in the house. In 1879, Patrick bought out his partner and wife. Still he remained on in Kansas City, Missouri until 1882 when he moved his family to Shawnee and the landscape of his youth.


Why and how he made the move is not clear. My conjecture is that he first moved his business from the Missouri side to the up and coming Kansas City, Kansas about 1882. He went from a partnership with his brother-in-law, James Mansfield, in the grocery business to a similar business relationship with Michael McLean in Kansas City, Kansas. The partners built a store at 9th Street and Kansas Avenue. Edwin McAnany (1980) recounts a story of deadbeat tenants at the Bluejacket-Choteau house and frustrations of trying to collect the rent that induced Patrick to move in himself about this time. Either way, once the business was in Kansas City, Kansas, the commute by buggy was much closer to the house than from Hickory Street  on the Missouri side.


How the family felt about leaving the Kansas City for the country is untold. But it was said that Helen McAnany always took the first and longest opportunity to return to the cultural privileges of Kansas City, Missouri. Family there had been almost next door and neighbors were across the street. But up on the hill in Shawnee the McAnanys sat alone and "downtown" Shawnee --what there was of itÑ-was a mile away. I suspect there was no vote taken on the move.


Shawnee and "The Groves":  A House that Became a Home,1882-1931


The Bluejacket-Choteau House, renamed by the McAnanys "The Groves," was built in 1840 by George Bluejacket on a rise of land to the north of Gum Springs. Close by  the tribal Council House was relocated in the 1850s, a move by the Eastern Shawnees to move away from the domination of Rev. Thomas Johnson and his Methodist Mission. The Council Springs was set in a thick hardwood forest to the east.


The Groves 1882 with Patrick, Phil and Paul above, Rose (held), Mabel Sweeney, Mary Sweeney, Eleanor Sweeny, Helen and Ed (on horse)


The house was originally built of logs, framed with boards,  done in a French style with the length of the rectangle faced with a double porch and chimneys at either end. (See picture). Additions to the back accommodated a kitchen and dining room. It is uncertain whether Frederick Choteau rebuilt the place in 1862 after Quantrill's raid following the same lines, but that was its look when the McAnanys moved in. It would remain home for over fifty years for the Patrick McAnany clan.


Patrick was forty-three when he moved back to Shawnee. He was a businessman with a dozen years of experience. He was a former politician who had held a crucial job when city government was expending large sums of money on public projects. He was a Civil War veteran who had served through four years of combat. Further, he knew the ground he was now standing on with its richÑ-if sadÑ-history of the Shawnees' last stand. But he was also a farmer, at least by aspiration, and he indicated that he bought the land surrounding the Bluejacket-Choteau place to farm. With seven boys, he had the (un)hired hands he needed to make it work


The house sat on the Military Road built in 1826 to provide transport to and from the newly designated Ft. Leavenworth to the north. Beside the house there were a two-storey carriage house, an ice-house, a tool house, a chicken house and a log barn. There was a tenant's house on the corner of the military road to the east. The interior of the main house was divided into two sleeping rooms upstairs, separated by a two- story atrium and a living room and parlor below. There is a question of whether the house was built by Choteau, or merely added onto a previously existing structure..


The bulk of the land (about 150 acres) lay across what is now Neiman Road to the east. The woods took up maybe thirty acres, leaving about 120 acres of arable land. The relics of Native American history like the Council House still stood in 1882. The Council Springs in the woods was still flowing off to the east. But much had changed and farms, not woodlands, were the order of the day.


How much the McAnany boys (Edwin, Philip, Paul, Richard, Patrick, George, and Robert) helped out farming is largely undocumented, but letters to and from the Groves indicate an ongoing enterprise. Among the boys Robert clearly inherited the love of farming that his Father showed. And Richard (1882-1901) was killed in a typical farming accident when he died from being kicked by a horse. The older boys, Edwin, Philip and Paul,  had been born in the city and each of them left the farm as promptly as possibleÑ-to avoid farm work, perhaps? The one who stayed the longest seems least likely to have handled the plow, Patrick (1884-1943). He was the shortest of the very tall male line and suffered from rheumatic fever as an adolescent.  It probably meant that truly hired hands did much of the farming instead of the McAnany males.


After settling in to Shawnee, Helen McAnany looked around for educational possibilities for her growing family. Four of her children (Edwin, Philip, Paul and May) had all gotten some start on schooling in the City. She herself was a graduate of St. Theresa's Academy in Kansas City, Missouri and prized education highly all of her life. Her Father, Richard Mansfield, had been educated at the Cisterian school of Mt. Mellary in Waterford, Ireland, an unusual privilege in early nineteenth century Ireland, very especially  for a Catholic.


The local parish was St. Joseph's (founded in 1868) and it ran an elementary school which had been built in 1873. But its lessons were no doubt on the rudimentary side and Helen aspired to more for her family. The search for most of the children did not lead back to Kansas City, Missouri but to Atchison, Kansas where the (German) Benedictine Fathers and Sisters ran both  boys and girls schools, St. Benedict's and Mt. St. Scholastica's. So began a long history of boarding school for the McAnany children. There is evidence that at least two of the boys (Philip and Paul) went back to Kansas City, Missouri to continue their education in the 1880s.


The bills at the Benedictines were not cheap for this educational venture. I saw one bill for Edwin in the 1880s that ran to $100 for half a year. When you have three or four in school at one time, Patrick had to work both ends of his commercial and farming enterprise efficiently. There are indications that Patrick left the grocery business after the panic of 1893 and went to full time farming. If that is accurate, it suggests either a very efficient farm, or other assets used to continue educating his children at boarding school. This same account (1961) says that Patrick did not accept any pension from his Civil War service.


The family stayed together until about 1890 when Edwin began reading law in Kansas City, Kansas and Philip and Paul moved to Kansas City, Missouri, staying with the Mansfields in the beginning. There is a story that Paul was supposed to be going to school but was actually working in the rail yards downtown and got a finger cut off at the second knuckle. He was forced to explain the missing digit on returning home and was then allowed to continue work in the city. Philip starts work in the early 1890s in Kansas City and then spends a year wandering before getting a  job in Chicago in 1893 with a Hearst paper. Edwin hired his sister, May, when he began practicing law. That would leave Rose, Richard, Pat, George and Robert at home or away at school in Atchison by 1893, the year, supposedly, that Patrick McAnany gave up his business and turned to fulltime farming.


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  GAR Picnic in Shawnee, 1908, with Patrick in front on steps


Patrick may have renounced his Civil War pensions but he remained strongly attached to the war experience. This is evident in his two interviews, already quoted above, where he documents his service at some length. It is further sustained by his activity in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) organization. A picture of a GAR gathering in Shawnee in 1908 shows him front and center. A book written in 1907 by a member of an Iowa unit that fought at Wilson Creek was inscribed by the author, Eugene F. Ware, to Patrick McAnany as a fellow survivor at time of publication.


Marriage began to break up family life at the Groves. The two McAnany women who celebrated their weddings at the house were May who married Carl Dehoney November 19, 1910 and Nell who married Wood Marshall on September 14, 1912. Paul married in 1903 but tragically lost his wife in childbirth in Canada where he was a railroad engineer. Philip married in 1905 in Boston, followed by Edwin in 1907. There is a gap of several years between Nell's 1912 marriage and that of George to Alice Ward in Atchison in 1916. Robert followed in 1917. That departure left the household of Rose, Patrick and a boarder, Chris Nieman, together with Helen and Patrick, then seventy-eight years old and declining.


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Golden Wedding at Groves, October 1919



The last hurrah for Patrick came in October 1919 when the family celebrated the Golden Anniversary of his marriage to Helen. It was a festive occasion when all the family gathered to have one last party under the trees so generously shading the old Choteau place. This was followed all too shortly by Patrick's death on June 5, 1920 at age eighty-one. His death certificate says that septicemia was the cause, developed from an operation for an abscess on his right leg. The family gathered one more time, but this time in sadness, at the Groves to follow his body to St. Joseph's Church and to the Catholic Cemetery in Shawnee. Every Decoration Day an American flag waved above a metal Civil War marker, in my own recollection.


In an account from Rose and Robert in 1961, it was said of Patrick that he loved beauty and music and loved the still wild nature around the Council Springs. That sounds like a pretty good description of the Irish nature that never left the man despite seventy exciting years of his American experience.


Aftermath or Postscript  


The next year Helen, Rose and Pat moved off the farm and sold the home place to Nell and Wood Marshall. It remained in the family until 1932 when the Marshalls moved into Kansas City, Missouri. In 1939 the old part of the house was torn down because of termite infestation and only the rock part attached to the back, added by the McAnanys in 1913, is still standing on the old military road, now called McAnany Drive. The farm and the woods were developed in the 1970s by the family for homes, now called McAnany Estates.




These references are meant to guide the reader to the general sources that I used in writing the biography of my GrandfatherÑ-no need to bore the reader with too many details.




Most of this history is based on earlier research contained on my web site at under the title of McAnany Clan History and The History of Richard Mansfield Family.


There is a long tradition in the family that Patrick was born on February 15, 1838. But the parish records of Inniskeen dispute that by showing that his older Rose was born in 1838. Because Patrick's record has not been preserved, I am content to say that family tradition is mistaken and Patrick was indeed born on February 15, but in 1839 instead.




Again, the website is the best place for references. The Lee County Genealogical Society in Dixon, Illinois is the best place to get census and other documents.




For the Shawnee Indians, there are many histories. The better ones I have used here are the following:


Henry Harvey, History of the Shawnee Indians 1681-1854. Cincinnati, OH: Morgan & Sons, 1855 [Valuable because contemporary with Patrick's arrival in the Territory, though biased against the Methodist Mission and clearly anti-government, but solid history of the Shawnee exploitation by U.S.]


Martha Caldwell, Annals of the Methodist Mission. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1939 [History of Shawnee's arrival in Kansas and the start of the Christian missions, especially the Methodist Mission in Fairway].


H. Craig Miner and William E. Unrau, The End of Indian Kansas: A Study of Cultural Revolution, 1854-1871. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1990 paperback edition [Powerful story of how all the Native Americans, and certainly the Shawnee, in Kansas lost their land to the U.S. Government and speculators of various sorts].


Stephen Warren, The Shawnee and Their Neighbors, 1795-1870. Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2005 [Tells an important story of how leaders of the traditional vs. assimilation approach within the Shawnee struggled for control of tribal affairs, with assimilation, and the Ohio Shawnee, prevailing in the Treaty of 1854 and after].


Grant Harrington, The Shawnees in Kansas. Kansas City, KS: Western Pioneer Press, 1937 [This is a curious little book with a racist cover piece, but it does contain a physical description of the Council House and quotes Helen McAnany (grandmother) telling how the Council Springs got silted in over the years].


History of Shawneetown      


I have used various articles appearing in the local papers that I collected from 1961-2000.


The four basic sources for Patrick McAnany's personal history I have used, beside my own work on the web site, are:


"Patrick McAnany" in The History of Jackson County, Missouri. Kansas City, MO: Union Historical/Birdsall, Williams & Co., 1881 [A shorter but earlier account of his life while still living in Kansas City].


"Patrick McAnany" in Ed Blair, ed., A History of Johnson County, Kansas. Lawrence, KS: Standard Publishing Company, 1915 [Longer account that covers more on the Shawnee Indians and a listing of his living children].


"The McAnanys of Johnson County" by Elizabeth Barnes, Johnson County Herald, May 18, 1961, p. 7 Sec. B [An account based on interviews with Rose and Robert McAnany that adds a great deal of detail to daily life at the Groves].


Edwin J. McAnany, Patrick McAnany: American Pioneer and His Family. Privately published, 1980 [Edwin draws a great deal on the above sources and adds family stories and his own conjectures in his own colloquial manner; numerous letters are quoted at length; and there is a listing of all descendants of Patrick and Helen McAnany though mid 1980].



Civil War


Burke, Official Military History of Kansas Regiments. Leavenworth, KS, 1870, pp.3-15 on First Regiment of Kansas Volunteers Infantry [Details of the enlistment, march into Missouri, the battle and aftermath].


Eugene F. Ware, The Lyon Campaign and the History of the First Iowa Infantry, 1861. Topeka, KS: Crane Publishing Co., 1907 [A very lively and detailed account of the beginning of recruitment in Iowa, the march into Missouri, how people reacted to them, the battle and the aftermath from the point of view of a raw recruit].


I have tried on several occasions to find the Army records for Patrick McAnany, as well as his Military Telegraphy Service records and on each occasion I have been told they can not be found. The many variants of spelling of the name "McAnany" is no doubt the cause, but also bureaucratic indifference. My only success was at the Wilson Creek Battlefield Center, quoted in the text.


Kansas City, Missouri


I have found many references to the McAnanys and Mansfields in the City Directories for the years from 1868-1895. There are also census records in Edwin McAnany 1980 for the Kansas City years.


I have used various newspaper articles on Kansas City  which I collected over the years, as well as several books of this period of history.


Pat O'Neil, From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City. Kansas City, MO: Seat O' The Pants Publishing, 2000 [A lively account of the Irish presence in Kansas City, covering especially the Catholic churches, as well as the politics the Irish excelled at, up to the present].


Shawnee 1882-1931


Again, I depended on local newspaper articles, as well as on those accounts mentioned above, either given by Patrick McAnany or reporting on him in Shawnee.


Mindi C. Love, Johnson County, Kansas: A Pictorial History, 1825-2005. Shawnee, KS: Johnson County Museum, 2006 [An excellent review of Johnson County history with many pictures and an interesting interpretation of Shawnee's role as an "Edge City"].


Mrs. Henry J. Le Cluyse, History of St. Joseph Church, 1868-1968

Privately published, 1968 [Contains a somewhat sketchy history of the parish during the years the McAnanys and Marshalls lived at the Groves, 1882-1931, with some important historical pictures of both pastors and the several churches erected during that period].


Patrick McAnany's death certificate was kindly provided me by Judge Patrick D. McAnany, showing the details listed. This is contrary to a family tradition I heard that Patrick had wandered off in a winter storm and gotten pneumonia from which he died early in the year 1920.


Updated July 9, 2007