John Mulvany1,2

(1848 - circa 1 September 1897)

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John Mulvany
1848 - 1897
Relationship2nd great-grandfather of The 3 Tracys
Family Group:Ohlheiser
Trees14 Generations of Our Ancestors
Our Ohlheiser Family Pedigree

Some Background

John Mulvany was also known as John Mulvaney.
     John's surname sometimes is spelled with an "ey," i.e. Mulvaney. According to his son's (John Martin Mulvaney's) "delayed issue" birth certification which was filed in South Dakota on 1 April 1941, John may also have used the middle initial "K." - for “Keren.”
     That delayed birth certificate uses the spelling “Mulvany” for everyone involved. Presumably the application for the delayed birth certificate incorporated information gleaned from John Martin's mother, i.e. John's wife, Mary K. (Whelan) Mulvany. But this is the only reference seen to a middle initial "K.", or to a middle name.
     SPECULATION: If he did have a “K” middle name, it was more likely "Kiernan" - a common Irish name - than "Keren."
     Further SPECULATION: Mary K. had a brother named John Kiernan, and it is possible that she may have been confused when, at an advanced age and shortly before her death, the name she mistakenly gave her son to use on the form was her brother's name instead of her husband's.
     In 1892, Mary K.'s sister, Julia (Whelan) Blume, sent a postcard addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Mulvaney." This is the only instance found of a middle initial of "A."
          So, "K" - "A", either could have been misheard or misremembered.3,2

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildJohn Mulvany was born in 1848 in New York.
     John Mulvany entered into our family history bringing little information about his background. His marriage record in Albert Lea, Freeborn Co., Minnesota, indicates he was born in New York in 1848. No other verifiable record specific to him has appeared indicating his birth date. SO... Without more information on his background, the John Mulvany who married Mary K. Whelan remains a mystery.4
GroomHe, 32, married Mary Katherine Whelan, 25, daughter of Daniel Whelan and Mary Ryan, on 7 July 1880 in Freeborn Co., Minnesota. The ceremony probably took place in St. Aiden's Catholic Church in Bath. The church, located just south of Bancroft seems to have been the one Mary K.'s family most often attended... and her parents, some of her brothers and sisters, and a few nieces and nephews, are buried in the churchyard there.
Mary K.'s wedding dress was brown satin... a top with with long sleeves, a tight bodice overlaid with lace... and a narrow waist. The dress probably included a “bustle” of some sort as these were quite fashionable at the time.5,6,7
DeceasedHe died circa 1 September 1897 in Grand Island, Hall Co., Nebraska. An exact date is difficult to determine with the minimal information given in this newspaper article:
A Sudden Death
     Mrs. John Mulvany, of Dalzell, was in the city Monday on a sad mission. It seems that her husband who is the postmaster at Dazell (sic), has been suffering for some time with rheumatism and not long ago went to the Springs to take the baths and from there went to Grand Island, Neb. for treatment. Just a short time ago Mrs. Mulvany received a letter from her husband stating that he was afflicted with a blood tumor in his neck; but that he was feeling very well and would soon come out all right. Judge of the surprise and anguish that were hers when she received a telegram Tuesday enclosed in a letter from Rapid City stating that her husband was dead and asking for instructions concerning the disposition of the body.
     Realizing that the telegram had been delayed for several days she came immediately to town and telegraphed for further news only to find when the answer came that receiving no answer from her they had buried the body there. This is a particularly sad affair and calls for the sympathy of all. It seems very strange that such an improtant message could not have been gotten to its destination sooner.     - Black Hills Weekly Journal, 10 September 1897.1,8

InterredHe was buried in Poor Farm Cemetery, Grand Island, Hall Co., Nebraska;
     According to Family Lore, because the nuns at St. Francis Hospital didn't receive a timely reply to their inquiries regarding the disposition of John's body, he was buried in a Pauper's Grave, either in the City Cemetery's section for Inmates of St. Francis, or, and more likely given there were no funds paid for anything else, in the city's poor farm cemetery.8

Children with Mary Katherine Whelan:

  • Daniel Mulvany (c. 1881 - c. 1881); Daniel's mother Mary was single at the 8 June 1880 census and his sister, Catherine, was born 1 Sep 1882; according to Family Lore, before her daughter Catherine was born, Mary gave birth to a son who died within weeks of thrush. It is reasonable to assume that son was this Daniel and he was born between 1880 and 18828
  • Catherine Mulvany+15 (1 Sep 1882 - 13 Oct 1957)
  • John Martin Mulvaney16 (20 May 1884 - 30 Aug 1944)
  • Child Mulvany17 (c. 1885 - c. 1885)

Some Life Events of Interest

The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890 at Wounded Knee on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, located just south of Pennington Co.


Over the years John was a Hotel Keeper, a Store Keeper, and a Cattleman9

Land and Property

Property AcquisitionOn 28 April 1887, John Mulvany bought a 160 acre piece of land in Pennington Co., Dakota Territory, from the Federal Government for $200 - $1.25 per acre. (a total of about $5000 in 2012 dollars)
     This was an outright purchase so he could take title immediately rather than have to wait five years as required under the Homestead Act (though he would then have received the land for free). The 160 acres was actually three abutting pieces, all were in Meridian 7 (Black Hills), Township 2N, Range 9E, with 40 acres in Section 26, and a 40 acre piece and an 80 acre piece in Section 27. The Patent (the actual deed for the land) wasn't issued until 9 October 1889.
     The property was located southeast of Rapid City with Box Elder Creek running across the southwest corner of it. (in 2006.)10

Residences and Censuses

On 24 November 1881, John Mulvany and Mary Mulvaney lived in Livermore, Humboldt Co., Iowa.
     On a souvenir ticket for 'Thanksgiving Party at the Russell House, Livermore, Iowa, Nov 24, 1881: Good Music in Attendence. Oyster Supper at the usual hour. Bill $2.00 per couple. J. Malvany, Prop.11'
On 1 September 1882, John Mulvany and Mary Mulvaney lived in Waterville Village, Le Sueur Co., Minnesota, where their daughter Catherine was born.9
In 1883, John Mulvany and Mary Mulvaney were living Upper Rapid Valley, Pennington Co., Dakota Territory.
     Mary and daughter Kate, in answering the question on the 1905 S.D. State Census as to length of time in S.D., stated 23 years and 22 years respectively... which would mean since 1882 or 1883.
     Since Kate was born in Minnesota in Sept of 1882, and John and Mary probably would not have made the trip to Dakota Territory until the following Spring at the earliest, it could be reasonably assumed that they arrived in the Summer or Fall of 1883.12
On 10 March 1892, John Mulvany and Mary Katherine Mulvany received their mail in Smithville, Meade Co., South Dakota.
     Mary's sister, Julia (Whelan) Blume, sent a Photo inscribed on the back, "Presented to Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Mulvany, Smithville, South Dak." (note the middle initial)
     Smithville was a country post office in Meade County, the closest mail service for their ranch, located at the crossing of the Pierre and Deadwood roads, 10 miles northwest of Wasta. A stage line from Pierre to Deadwood had a stop at Smithville. At the turn of the 20th century, Wasta would have been the most convenient railroad point for the family.
     Some supplies were available at Smithville... food, clothing and other commodities were mostly freighted into there by wagon from Pierre and Rapid City.
     (Dalzell, the postoffice where Mary was postmistress in 1897 was 28 miles north of Wasta - Dalzell's population in 1909 was 10.)2


On 27 February 1877, John “Took The Pledge,” joining the Roman Catholic Total Abstinence Association:
“I promise to Abstain from all Intoxicating Drinks, except used Medicinally and by order of a Medical Man, and to discountenance the cause and practice of Intemperance.”

     According to Family Lore, John took the pledge at the insistence of his fiancée Mary who said she would not marry him unless/until he did... she must have wanted to be sure that he meant it as they weren't married for another 3 1/2 years!13,14

Sources - Citations

  1. [S628] "A Sudden Death", Black Hills Weekly Journal, Rapid City, South Dakota, 10 September 1897.
  2. [S606] Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Mulvany Cabinet Card Photograph - Inscription on Reverse side; Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  3. [S228] South Dakota Department of Health, South Dakota Birth Records With Birth Dates Over 100 Years, 1856-1903 (Pierre, South Dakota: South Dakota Department of Health, unknown publish date). Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2003., gives name information for father of John Martin Mulvany.
  4. [S583] John Mulvany and Mary K. Whalen marriage registration, 6 July 1880, in Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860-1949: Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office, Date of Issue, Names and Ages.
  5. [S583] Minnesota Marriages, 1860-1949: Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, names, events, dates, relationships, locations.
  6. [S566] Recollections of Sean C. Tracy; information entered directly into database on 1989 - 1999, by the compiler of OUR TRACY TREE OF ANCESTRY. . Recollections based on conversations over the years CMO1 was living at the home of SCT2., Recollections based on conversations over the years CMO1 was living at the home of SCT2., Bodice of the wedding gown in care of M. E. Tracy.
  7. [S601] Mary Mulvaney, Certificate of Death District No. 1901; Registrar's No. 4895 (4 April 1941), Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office, Dates of Birth and Death, Locations, Parents' names (mother's name shown as Boyan) and Husband's Name.
  8. [S586] Recollections of Sean C Tracy ( Conversation. Family stories passed from generation to generation and absorbed into one's conciousness in the process of living... no specific date can be established. This is information that is "just known" within one's family.
  9. [S626] Catherine Mulvaney, Photocopy of Birth Registration Book Pg. 85, No. 11, gives birthdate of dtr: September 1, 1882; Name: Catherine Mulvaney; Parents: John & Mary; Both Born in New York; Father's Occupation: Hotel Keeper (5 January 1883), Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  10. [S605] John Mulvany, Certificate of Registration of Baptism, Land Purchase Receipt, Page 120; unknown location (dated 30 April 1887).
  11. [S607] Thanksgiving Party, Invitation Card/Ticket, 24 November 1881, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  12. [S302] "1905 State Census for South Dakota," (MS, 1905; Lead, South Dakota); #302 MKW1 1905 CEN, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy; Tracy Home Office.
  13. [S608] John Mulvaney, Certificate of Registration of Baptism, Total Abstinence Assoc. Pledge Certificate; unknown location (dated 27 February 1877).
  14. [S586] Recollections, Sean C Tracy, "The Pledge."
  15. [S626] Catherine Mulvaney, Photocopy of Birth Registration Book Pg. 85, No. 11, gives birthdate of September 1, 1882; Name: Catherine Mulvaney; Parents: John & Mary; Both Born in New York; Father's Occupation: Hotel Keeper (5 January 1883).
  16. [S228] South Dakota Department of Health, South Dakota Birth Records With Birth Dates Over 100 Years, 1856-1903.
  17. [S596] Mary Mulvaney household, 1910 U.S. Census, Lawrence Co., South Dakota, population schedule, 15 Parkdale Ave., Lead, Enumeration District 44, Page No. 9551, Sheet No. 4 B, line 98, dwelling 70, family 91; Washington: National Archives. , Indicates Mary had given birth to four children.
Last Edited8 Dec 2017

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