The Coughlins Of North DakotaUpdated December 5, 2006
|I am writing this foreword in order to explain how I came to the conclusions I did about the information presented in this book. Little was known by one single member of the Coughlin Family, beyond Richard James Coughlin Sr. This was always interesting to me. I began by asking Thomas Coughlin about the information he had gathered, Tom too was doing his own research,. Tom informed me that Richard James Coughlin Sr. was born near Austin, Minnesota. He also knew that Richards father was named Dennis.
I started by contacting the Austin, Minnesota Public Library. The library did have information on a Coughlan family that had resided in Rose Creek, Minnesota. They provided me with an entire set of obituaries of the individuals buried in this family plot.
One of these obituaries was for a Leo Coughlan. Leo died at the age of 14 in May of 1910. Leo was survived by a brother (Richard) and three sisters May, Agnes and Marion (Sister Immaculate in a Chicago Convent). His fathers name was Dennis and his mother was Ellen Leahy Coughlan. It was also mentioned in this news paper article that Dennis had a brother named Dr. C.B. Coughlan who was superintendent of the Deaf and Dumb Institute at Bellville Ontario, Canada.
Two of Ellen’s sisters where in an Ontario Convent (Kate and Mary). This was interesting to me because Dennis was born in Asphodel, Ontario, Canada on November 8, 1846.
I also received copies of land grants that showed a D. Coughlin and R. J. Coughlin both owned land in Windom Township, near Rose Creek, Minnesota in 1911.
Richard James Coughlin Sr. first homesteaded in Scobey, Montana shortly after this in 1911. I also learned from Virginia Coughlin (Richards daughter-in-law) that she remembered a piece of paper signed by both Richard and Dennis agreeing to spell their last names differently. Virginia said she had the impression that they had a strained relationship. I did find it interesting that Virginias husband was named John Dennis (Jack) Coughlin.
I decided to try and get some more information from the Asphodel, Ontario area. I made a contact through the internet to the “Trent Valley Heritage Center”. They put me in contact with Emmett Coughlan. Emmett had been working on the Coughlan Family History. He sent me a well written book on everything he had found to that point. This proved to be an awesome tool to use!
According to what Emmett was able to find, Richard Coughlan immigrated to Canada from Ireland in 1831. He had up to 14 children. The names that stuck out to me were Dennis, born in Asphodel, Ontario and Charles Coughlan MD (School for the Deaf) Belleview. As I stated previously, it was mentioned in Leo’s obituary that Dennis had a brother named C.B. Coughlan MD, that was at the very same school! This proved to me that I had the right family.
I also received a prayer book that my father had. It contained a card from Reverend Mother (Leahy) dated 1874-1934 and the words (Dear Dick pray for me). I believe this would have been sent to Richard James Coughlin, by his Aunt (Kate or Mary). This would fit within the dates to have been Ellen and Michael’s sister.
I also found it interesting that all of the Leahys where born in Ontario, Canada and that Ellen’s brother Michael moved to Rose Creek the same year she married Dennis 1885. This would appear to suggest that they may have all traveled together from Canada and settled together in Minnesota.
There has been a large amount of confusion surrounding the spelling of the Coughlan/Coughlin name. I do not know why Dennis returned to the “lan” spelling after his father began spelling it “lin”. I already mentioned the story on Dennis and Richards falling out on this issue. This issue is compounded further by the fact that both Leo and Dennis had two separate obituaries written by the same newspaper. Each one was split, spelling one “COUGHLAN” and the other “COUGHLIN”.
Timothy Paul Coughlin Jr.
5755 Prairiewood Drive
Bismarck, ND 58504
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