Jeremiah Lucey

born: 12 Dec 1800, Macroom,Co. Cork,Ireland
died: 26 Oct 1897, Boone,Boone Co.,Iowa, at his daughter Margaret Deegan's home
bur.: 27 Oct 1897, De Witt,Clinton Co.,Iowa, at St. Joseph's Cemetery
occu: farmer
spouse: Bridget DOYLE
marr: 1834, London,England
born: 13 Dec 1815, Rosstrevor,Co. Down,Ireland
died: 5 Oct 1885, Boone,Boone Co.,Iowa
bur.: De Witt,Clinton Co.,Iowa, at St. Joseph's Cemetery
Michael LUCEY
Margaret LUCEY
Denis F. LUCEY
Jeremiah N. LUCEY
Edward J. LUCEY
Bridget Ellen LUCEY
Catherine R. LUCEY

According to a reading taken by Lyman Morrison in 1993, when he noted that the stone was in good shape and easily legible, Jeremiah's tombstone in De Witt Cemetery reads:
Jeremiah Lucey
Born in
Co. Cork, Ireland
Dec 12, 1800
Oct 25 1897
96 yrs, 10 mo's
18 days.

Even this simple amount of information has conflicts with other sources. According to all his obituaries, the death date should be Oct. 26, he having died at about 3:00 a.m. (The fact that it happened in the middle of the night might account for it mistakenly being identified as Oct. 25 on the stone.) For his birthdate, there is no consensus at all. As you can tell by doing the subtraction, even the tombstone is inconsistent. But I've used the tombstone date of Dec. 12, 1800 for lack of a better one. One obituary says he was Age 97 years, 10 months, 12 days, but also says he was born Dec. 14, 1799. One Boone County obituary says he was 99 and was born Dec. 12, 1798. A third, published in Clinton, gives Dec. 12, 1800 as a birthdate, aged nearly 98, died Oct. 26, which is pretty consistent with the tombstone info. Another Boone obituary (which maybe got its information from the other Boone Co. paper) says age 99, born in 1798. His age varies widely in the different censuses, so they don't help establish his birthyear at all. For instance, he is age 47 in 1856, age 89 in 1895.

Irish Origins

Macroom is also listed above as Jeremiah's birthplace. One obituary says he was born in Carrigmond, Co. Cork and another obituary and his tombstone say Macroom. But there is no ``Carrigmond'' in Co. Cork. It seems likely that this is a misinterpretation of a Irish placename unfamiliar to the Iowans. We've identified three good guesses as to the actual place meant: There is a townland named Carrignine just out of town, up a hill from Macroom. Another possibility is a hill named Carrigbawn a couple miles east of Macroom.

Another Macroom Lucey researcher, Denis Lucey of the Ireland Museum of Transport in Killarney, thought that it might be Carriganimma, a district about 7 miles north west of Macroom, which was thickly populated in pre-famine times. He noted that Carriganimma was well known as the home of the ``Whiteboys'' gangs (that Jeremiah was associated with). Denis thought Carriganimma might be the ancestral home of many Luceys.

The Lucey surname is very common in Macroom and Co. Cork. This map contains a map of part of County Cork, Ireland showing Macroom and nearby towns, including the city of Cork, which ought to be easily found on any good-sized map of Ireland.

In Ireland, Jeremiah was a member of the White Boys, sort of a small anti-English uprising. The White Boys did things like tear down fences which divided formerly communal grazing lands and not allow new buyers to move onto the land taken from a former Irish tenant who was evicted or foreclosed upon.

To England and America

After some time in England, where he married and had his first daughter, Jeremiah came to the US in 1836. He remained in New York for two years and then settled in St. Joseph County, Michigan, near White Pigeon, in the very southern part of the state. He next moved to Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana, which is roughly 75 miles from White Pigeon, Michigan and lived there 1842--1846. From 1846 to 1850 the Lucey family farmed in Stephenson county, Illinois, which is about 25 miles west of Rockford.

There is record of a Bridgett Lucey , buying the NE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Section 30, twp 27N, range 7E in Stephenson County,Illinois on May 8, 1846, and then Bridgett Lucy , buying the NE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Section 30, twp 29N, range 7E on May 8, 1847. These two records are similar enough (the 'e' in the last name, the township number, and the year are the only differences) that I almost believe one is a correction or duplicate of the other, although no correction is noted. I also have no idea why these would be in Bridgett's name instead of Jeremiah's.

``Bridgett Lucey of Stephenson County'' was issued a patent by the US Land Office for the NE quarter of SE quarter of Sec. 30, Twp 27N, R. 7E, 40 acres, in Stephenson Co. The patent was signed July 1, 1848. You can find an image of this land patent on the WWW at

Also, Jeremiah Lucey purchased land in Cook Co., Illinois on Jan. 28, 1849. This was 40 acres, SW q. of NE q. of Section 31, Twp 37N, Range 15E of 3rd Principal Meridian. I had thought this might be a different Jeremiah Lucey, but it appears to be the same person as our Jeremiah because the US Land office in Chicago issued a patent to ``Jeremiah Lucey of Stephenson County, Illinois'' for that same 40 acres in Cook County. The US land patent was signed on March 1, 1850. You can find an image of this land patent on the WWW at

This Cook County land is in the Hyde Park area of Chicago (Hyde Park Township), near the Lake Michigan shore around where there is now a golf course.


The family appears to be listed in two places in the 1850 census: Wayne Twp. of Stephenson Co., Illinois, and in Clinton County, Iowa. Furthermore, his son Michael is buried at De Witt and died in 1849 according to his tombstone, but his son Edward was born in December of 1849 in Illinois according to later census records.

According to Jeremiah's son John, Jeremiah moved to Clinton County, Iowa in July of 1850. As far as the tombstone record of Michael, it is possible the tombstone wasn't placed until much later, when either Bridget or Jeremiah died, and they had the inscriptions put on in memory of Michael and Rosa at that point, also.

In 1850, the Lucey family moved to a farm about 6 miles north of De Witt, Clinton County, Iowa The earliest land record for Jeremiah Lucey found in Clinton Co. was for 160 acres (the SW quarter) in Section 26 of Welton Twp., obtained from the US land patent office June 3, 1851. I believe this must have been his main home farm as he adds to it in 1854 by buying the next 80 acres east (still in Section 26). His son-in-law, Jeremiah Donegan, had a farm just a quarter mile north, consisting of 160 acres across Sections 26 and 23.

Jeremiah Lucey stayed in Clinton County until March of 1865 when they moved to a farm near Mineral Ridge, Dodge township, Boone county, Iowa.

Jeremiah and Bridget still live on the farm in the 1880 census and the ``bedridden'' box is checked for Bridget. According to one obituary, they moved to town about 15 years before Jeremiah died.

On May 16, 1877 Jeremiah filed a Claim of homestead for Lot 9, Block 52 in the city of Boone and swears it is a homestead. After Bridget died in 1885, Jeremiah lived with his daughter, Mrs. Margaret Deegan, in Boone.

This map shows the places Jeremiah Lucey and family lived as he made is way west across the United States.

Jeremiah had a hand in building some early churches in the communities where he lived. His son John wrote an early history of St. Joseph's parish in De Witt for a small news flyer for a fund drive to build a new school for the parish. John sent it to his niece Mary (Shannon) McDermott in 1900. This history was later reprinted in a Clinton Co. newspaper in 1954.

Jeremiah's great-granddaughter Eleanor (Farrell) O'Connell also wrote a synopsis of that article and I received her synopsis through Alberta Lucey of Denver, Colorado in 1996. Eleanor in turn added some of her own memories from her grandmother Julia and some more research.

This church history states that Jeremiah Lucey came to Clinton County from Freeport, Illinois in July of 1850. In September of that year, Thomas Reed wrote Bishop Loras (first Bishop of Iowa), asking him to come and see the Catholics of the De Witt area in regard to sending them a priest occasionally. Bishop Loras came in September, said Mass, and promised to send a priest a few times a year. In November, the Bishop returned, and the congregation bought a log house to use as the first church. Jeremiah Lucey was part of a group of twelve men who made several needed repairs to the house, as well as building an altar and cross.

The congregation grew over time and needed more space, so in 1853 they began to build another church.

John Lucey, the author of the church history states that he was in the first ever confirmation class at the parish in 1859. Julia (Lucey) Shannon was one of the sponsors for the first baptisms in the church, which occured in November of 1850 when they first purchased the original building. She was a sponsor for Hugh Winters.

The original author, John Lucey included the following additional information in a note added to the original manuscript and sent to John's niece, Mary (Shannon) McDermott (also reprinted in the same paper):

\hspace{1.5in} Sutherland, Nebraska

\hspace{1.5in} December 17, 1910
Dear Niece,

After a long delay I now send you a short sketch of the history you requested. Although 60 years a long time the circumstances and dates I have given I am positive are correct. It was my father's --- for a time to help raise a log church on the grounds near where the College of Notre Dame, Indiana, was soon after built. We lived in Mishawaka but attended church at Notre Dame, it being the first built in St. Joseph's County, Indiana, the date being 1842. Then again in 1860 \footnote{According to his obituaries, Jeremiah moved to Boone County in 1865.} he helped build the first church in Boone County, Iowa.

Eleanor (Farrell) O'Connell did some further investigation and found a small book entitled Historic Background of South Bend and St. Joseph County in Northern Indiana. On pages 44--45, she found the following two passages:

The log cabin Chapel standing on the Campus at Notre Dame was built in 1906 as a replica of the Chapel built in 1830 by Father Theodore Badin, and which was burned in 1856.

The first building of the Notre Dame College was built by Father Sorin in 1843. It is now used as a House of Studies for the teaching Brothers of Holy Cross

From these facts, Eleanor concluded that it was probably this 1843 building which Jeremiah Lucey worked on.

Eleanor (Farrell) O'Connell also wrote:

I can remember stories told by my grandmother, Julia Shannon, about her life near Notre Dame. She recalled Father Sorin's work among the pioneers and Indians. She remembered Indians camped near the church to attend services.

In June, 1946, we attended Graduation and Commissioning Exercises at Notre Dame when our eldest son, Gene, received his his Ensign's Commission in the U.S. Navy and I visited the log Chapel and laid my hands on that first building which was no doubt worked on by my great-grandfather Lucey.

My grandmother told us that her father had driven a freight wagon between Freeport and Galena, Illinois. Used to be gone for days at a time, --- a distance of about fifty miles.

Other Relatives

There are a few people associated with Jeremiah Lucey in Iowa who might eventually provide a clue to Jeremiah's ancestry. One such person is an Edward Wiseman , born about 1855-59 in Massachusetts to Irish parents. He is listed as Jeremiah's nephew in the 1880 census but Edward's obituary says he was a second cousin to Jeremiah.

Edward is buried at St. Joseph's cemetery in De Witt with his parents Haleert Wiseman (d. Jan 18, 1882, age 62) and Johannah Wiseman, d. July 30, 1872, age 41, natives of County Cork, Ireland (it says all this on the tombstone). Edward's tombstone says he was age 27, whereas he was age 21 in the 1880 census. The Wiseman's tombstone is near to that of Margaret Lucey (1825-1900) (see below).

According to Wiseman family records, and the 1880 census, Haleert Wiseman (from the tombstone) was the same as Raleert or Robert Wiseman. These Wiseman family records also give the mother's name as Johanna Lucey .

In the 1880 census in Welton Township of Clinton County, listed adjacent to each other are two farms: one headed by John Lucy , age 53, farming with his sister Margaret Lucy , 55 both born in Ireland. The adjacent farm is headed by Robert Wiseman , 68, also born in Ireland. Robert has children Margaret, 20; John, 18; George, 15; William, 13; and Johannah, 10; all born in Iowa. No wife is listed --- recall Johannah died in 1872.

The 1870 Welton Twp census has Robert Wiseman, 55, a farmer born in Ireland, Johanna, 40, Edward, 18, Margaret, 11, John, 6, George, 5, William, 3, Johanna, 9/12 (born Sept.). Edward was born in Mass., but the rest of the children were born in Iowa. Next door to the Wisemans is the household of John Lucy, 45, and Margaret Lucy, 48, both born Ireland with Mary Wiseman, age 12, b. Mass.

The 1860 Welton Twp census has Robert Wiseman, 35, a farmer born in Ireland; with Johanna, 25, b. Ireland; Edmond, 5, b. Massachusetts; Mary, 3, b. Mass.; and Margarett, 1, born in Iowa.

John and Margaret Lucy aren't Jeremiah's children since they are too old and were born in Ireland. But since they show up in Welton Twp, it seems very likely they are some relation, such as nephew and niece to Jeremiah. In the summer of 1997, Brenda (Nicklaus) Swailes uncovered the tombstone of ``Margaret Lucey, born Feb. 1, 1825, died Aug. 13, 1900'' in St. Joseph's Cemetery in De Witt, which appears to be this same Margaret.

The Wiseman family records mentioned above name the following children of Raleert (Robert) Wiseman and Johanna Lucey: John, Edward (1885-1882), George (d. 1905), Mary Harkins Kelly (1857-1925), Margaret Murphy (1859-1929), Hannah (d. 1922), and William (1867-1954).

There are other Wiseman-Lucey connections in Iowa: In September 1858, John Lucey and Robert Wiseman sold land in Clinton County (section 33, twp 82, range 3) to Thomas Reed and Jeremiah Donegan. In 1874, a John Lucey and Robert Wiseman have 80 acres each side by side in Section 33 of Welton Township.

My guess is that John, Margaret, and Johannah were siblings to each other, and maybe nephew and nieces of Jeremiah. But there isn't much evidence yet.

Two other people were associated with Jeremiah Lucey, and were apparently partially raised by him. Edward and Annie Daley , ages 12 and 16 lived with the Lucey's in 1870, and Edward's obituary notes that he lived with the Lucey family for years. One of Jeremiah's obituaries called Ed Daley an adopted son living in Carroll.

The key, huge reference for genealogical research in Co. Cork is the 15 volume set titled O'Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland compiled by Dr. Albert Casey. (It is named after rivers in that part of Ireland). The UW library has Volumes 1-8 and I have checked them without finding any mention of our Jeremiah Lucey. I did find one Wiseman-Lucey connection, the marriage of a Margaret Wiseman, b. Ballinagree about 1812, married in 1831 to Michael Lucey, son of John Lucey and Ellen Lyunch of Ballyvourney. (Ballinagree is part of Macroom parish).

A list of wills in this work includes a Jeremiah Lucey, d. 1808 in Killgobunett. (I don't know that this is any relation to our Jeremiah, I'm just pointing it as a possibility.)

Edward MacLysaght's history of the Lucey family name notes that southwest Munster (including Counties Cork and Kerry) is almost exclusively the domain of the Luceys. In 1865, 39 of 43 birth registrations for the name Lucey were in Co. Cork. Lucey is still very common in that part of Ireland. He notes that the Luceys of Ireland ``are all Gaelic in origin, their surname being O'Luasaigh in Irish.''

During my Lucey investigations, I was also put in contact with an Macroom Lucey family researcher, Mr. Denis Lucey, who lives in Macroom and manages the Irish Museum of Transport in Killarney. (Denis was age 68 in 1996.) Coincidentally, Denis' father was named Jeremiah and Denis' brother married a Margaret Wiseman. Denis notes that Wiseman is a rare surname confined to that part of Co. Cork, also, and that Jeremiah is relatively rare as a given name anywhere in Ireland.

My wife Sherry, daughter Liana and I had the great pleasure of visiting Macroom (see also here ) in 1994. It's a pleasant little town mostly built along the main road going through it. Macroom is about 24 miles NW of Cork. There is an old castle in the center of town which traces to sometime before the year 1500 ``in the reign of John''. A small river (the Sullane) runs through town near the castle. Sir William Penn, a distinguished admiral, and father of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania in America, was born at Macroom castle.


Sources for this individual: @S130@ @S131@ @S132@ @S133@ @S134@ @S119@ @S121@ @S135@ @S136@ @S137@ @S138@ @S120@ @S139@ @S140@ @S141@

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