Owen & Harriet Kiernan Family

The child of Felix Kiernan (ca. 1796-1882) and Martha Rose Sheridan (ca. 1797-?) that concerns the ancestry of William G. Kernan (LIVING), my paternal grandfather, is their fifth child, Owen Francis Kiernan (1836-1901). What is presently known about the life and family of Owen Kiernan will be discussed below. It should be noted, moreover, that although the “Kiernan” spelling of Owen’s surname is used throughout the following, he often used the “Kernan” spelling as well. For more about the usage of different spellings of the surname, please see “The Kernan Surname.”

Early Life and Marriage

Although some details are known about the early life of Owen Francis Kiernan (1836-1901), a slight discrepancy does exists among sources regarding a couple of them, namely the year and location of his birth. According to oral family history and family documents, Owen was born in about “1839” in “North Ireland.” Historical records, however, paint a different picture. According to these sources, Owen was born between 1836 and 1843 in Canada to parents who were born in Ireland. Table 1 below presents a survey of available historical records for Owen Kiernan showing his birth place as Canada, along with his parents’ birth place as Ireland.

Table 1: Owen Kiernan & His Parent’s Birth Location
Historical Records Owen’s Birth Place Parent’s Birth Place
Birth/Baptismal Record Nicolet, Quebec, Canada Ireland
1851 Canadian Census Canada Ireland
1857 Minnesota Census Canada Ireland
1860 U.S. Federal Census Canada Ireland
1870 U.S. Federal Census Canada Ireland
1880 U.S. Federal Census Canada Ireland
1885 Minnesota Census Canada Ireland
1895 Minnesota Census Canada Ireland
Oregon Death Certificate Canada Ireland

The most detailed of those records regarding Owen’s birth year and location is his Canadian birth and baptismal record. According to this record, Owen (shown “Owen Connon”) was born on the 20 February 1836 the son of Irish emigres Felix Kiernan (shown as both “Felix Connon” and “Felix Kernan”) and Martha Rose Sheridan (shown “Rose Sheridan) in Nicolet, Québec, Canada. Other records suggest that his parents had immigrated to Nicolet from Ireland between 1830 and 1832. Owen’s birth and baptismal record, also show that he was baptized in the Catholic faith on the 28 February 1836 at Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral in Nicolet, and that his godparents are identified on the record as Patrice “Patt” Cassidy (godfather) and Hermine Beauchemin (godmother).

Owen Kiernan's 1836 handwritten baptismal record
Owen Kiernan’s 1836 handwritten baptismal record. (Click to Enlarge)

Table 2 below is a transcription of Owen’s handwritten baptismal record in French and an English translation of the same. (Note: some portions of the document are difficult or impossible to make out, and are indicated by “{…}” or the likely word in  brackets.)

Table 2: Text & Transcription of Owen Kiernan’s Baptismal Record
French Transcription English Translation
“B. Owen Connon. Le vingt huit février mil huit cent trente six {par année de notre seigneur} a eté baptême Owen né {de} vingt février-{examiné}. de légitime mariage de felix Connon {natif de Irlande}, {de} {…} {cette} {an} {culte} {…} {de} {cette} {Paroisse}, et de Rose Sheridan, {la parins} a eté {Patrice Cassidy} et la maraine Hermine {Beauchemin} qui {tout} {ont} {signa} {…} {noms}.” “B. Owen Connon. This twenty-eight of February 1836 {in the year of our Lord} was baptized, Owen born {the} twenty of February-{examined}, to legitimate marriage of Felix Connon {native of Ireland}, {of} {…} {this} {in} {worship} {…} {of} {this} {Parish}, and of Rose Sheridan, {the godfather} is {Patrice Cassidy}, and the godmother Hermine {Beauchemin} who {all} {have} {signed} {…} {names}.”

Following his baptism, Owen spent about the first eight years of his life in Nicolet, which was (and is) a rural area of mostly farms, and where his father undoubtedly was employed as a farmer. By 1844, Owen’s parents moved the family to nearby Sainte-Monique, Quebec, Canada. It was in Sainte-Monique that Owen is found enumerated on the 1851 Canadian Census. According to this record, Owen was fourteen years old and living in the household of his parents. Additionally, this record also states that Owen was of the Catholic faith and that he was employed, like his father and siblings, as a “cultivateur” (French for farmer) in Sainte-Monique. As with Nicolet, Sainte-Monique was (and still is) a rural area of mostly farms and other agricultural pursuits.

1851-canadian-census
The 1851 Canadian Census showing Owen Kiernan (line 32) in his parents’ household in Sainte-Monique, Quebec, Canada. (Click to Enlarge)

Although born in raised in Québec, Canada, Owen and his family did not remain there long after their enumeration on the 1851 Canadian Census. About five years later, Owen’s parents decided to once again immigrate to a new country, and this time it was to the United States. According to his father’s 1857 “Declaration of Intention,” Owen and his family arrived in the United States on the 19 September 1856. Additional records show that following their arrival, they settled in Sibley County, Minnesota. It is on the 1857 Minnesota Census that Owen and his family are enumerated as living in Sibley County. According to this record, Owen was about 16 years old and living in his parent’s household. This record also shows that Owen’s father was a farmer. Although no additional information is provided on this census, Owen undoubtedly worked on his father’s farm, as he had done in Sainte-Monique.

1857 Minnesota Census of the Kiernan family (shown Connon) living in Sibley Co., Minnesota. Record also shows birth locations as being Ireland and Canada.
The 1857 Minnesota Census showing Owen Kiernan (line 14) as “Owen Connon” in his parents household in Sibley County, Minnesota. (Click to Enlarge)

Following his enumeration on the 1857 Minnesota Census, Owen is found still living in Sibley County in 1860. According to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Owen was living in Dryden, Sibley County, Minnesota, and is enumerated as the head of his own household, which includes his siblings Rosa, Catherine, and Felix. Owen’s siblings Matthew, Bridget, Mary, and Marie Anne are shown living in the neighboring household, and his parents, Felix and Martha, are living in another neighboring household. It is unclear from this record whether these households were merely separate dwellings on the same property, or separate properties. The 1860 U.S. Federal Census also states that Owen was employed as a farm laborer, like his brother Matthew. His father, Felix, is enumerated as being employed as a farmer. Unlike for the entries for his father and brother Matthew, Owen’s entry does not specify a value for his “personal estate.” It also does not specify a value for the “real estate” for Owen, his brother Matthew, or his father Felix, which may indicate that they were renting the properties. Additionally, this census record also suggests that Owen was able to read and write, unlike his parents and sister Bridget.

1860 U.S. Federal Census showing the Kiernan family living in Sibley Co., Minnesota. Also shows birth locations of family members as being Ireland and Canada.
The 1860 U.S. Federal Census showing Owen Kiernan (line 12) living in Dryden, Sibley Co., Minnesota. (Click to Enlarge)

Although he was enumerated as living with and near his family in 1860, it was not long after this that Owen started out on his own and began his own family. Despite the fact that no marriage record has been found, oral family history and family records claim that Owen married a “Harriet Beecraft” in May 1863 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. Available historical records, however, show that Owen’s wife was not named “Harriet Beecraft,” but rather “Harriet Dunton.” It is presently unclear why there is a discrepancy, though perhaps the Beecraft name was from a prior marriage. As with details about Owen’s birth, oral family history and family records state that she was born in Ireland. However, historical records state that she was born in New York. Specifically, Harriet “Hattie” Dunton (1836-1928) was born on the 17 June 1836 in Howard, Steuben County, New York the daughter of James Cyrus Dunton (1800-1845) and Mary Comfort Knowles (1801-1845). (To learn more about the Dunton family, please see “Dunton Family History.”)

The Kernan Family Group Sheet for Owen Kiernan showing his birthplace as being
The Kernan Family Group Sheet for Owen and Harriet Kiernan. (Click to Enlarge)

The Family of Owen and Harriet Kiernan

Following their marriage, Owen and Harriet had twelve children between 1865 and 1886, seven of which died in infancy. Although every detail has not been found for each of their children, what is presently known is discussed below.

Owen and Harriet’s first child was William H. Kernan (1865-1866), who was born on the 31 May 1865 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died in infancy on the 24 June 1866 in St. Paul Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Charles E. Kernan (1866-1916), Owen and Harriet’s second child, was born on the 02 February 1866 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died on the 16 February 1916 in Oregon. On the 8 August 1888, Charles married Louisa E. Hohenadel (1867-1940) in Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa. Louisa was born on the 18 January 1867 the daughter of Peter Hohenadel (ca 1829-1900) and Elizabeth Martin (1832-1891) in Lansing, Allamakee County, Iowa; and died on the 2 August 1940 in Julien, Dubuque County, Iowa. Following their marriage, Charles and Louisa had one child together, Harry Elliet Kernan (1889-1978), who was born in Minnesota. At some point before 1895, their marriage ended in divorce. Charles appears to have left Minnesota and moved to Montana. He is enumerated on the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as living in Glendive, Dawson County, Montana in the household of his barber shop business partner. By his enumeration on the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Charles was living in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, where he was employed as a barber and was living as a lodger. It does not appear that Charles ever remarried. Additionally, where he was buried is not presently known. Following their divorce, Louisa returned to Iowa, where she later married Peter Paul Schrafl (1875-1951). She was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa.

Owen and Harriet’s third child was Harriet E. Kernan (1867-1868), who was born on the 03 July 1867 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died in infancy on the 19 April 1868 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Owen Francis Kernan (1869-1888), Owen and Harriet’s fourth child, was born on the 19 February 1869 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died on the 21 September 1888 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. Before his death, Owen was employed as a driver in St. Paul area.

Owen and Harriet’s fifth child was Mary E. Kernan (1870), who was born on the 10 September 1870 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died in infancy on the 12 September 1870 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Julie A. Kernan (1872), Owen and Harriet’s sixth child, was born on the 20 August 1872 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died on the 20 September 1872 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Owen and Harriet’s seventh child was Rose Amelia Kernan (1873-1942), who was born on the 18 July 1873 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died on the 07 July 1942 in Lake County, California. On the 28 November 1893, Rose married Thomas Theodore Wise (1870-1946), the son of Thomas Harvey Wise (1848-1919) and Bridget Delia Leahy (1850-1923), in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. Following their marriage, Rose and Thomas had at least five children between 1893 and 1901, which were named Thomas, Oliver, Harry, Mary, and Melvin. In 1900, Rose and her family left Minnesota for Oregon, before moving to Kelso, Cowlitz County, Washington, where they are found enumerated on the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. By 1920, Rose and her family moved to California, settling first in Humboldt County and then Lake County. Rose’s husband, Thomas, worked in the shipbuilding industry.

Mary A. Kernan (1875), Owen and Harriet’s eighth child, was born on the 07 February 1875 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died in infancy on the 13 July 1875 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Owen and Harriet’s ninth child was Oliver Lawrence Kernan (1876-1937), who was born on the 04 June 1876 in Nebraska, and died on the 30 January 1937 in Alameda County, California. In about 1900, Oliver married Grace Bell Bentz (ca. 1881-1931) in Multnomah County, Oregon. Grace was born in about 1881 in Kansas the daughter of Johann “John” Heinrich Bentz (1847-1920) and Nancy A. Smith (1860-1908); and died in about August 1931 in Alameda County, California. Following their marriage, Oliver and Grace had at least ten children between 1898 and 1923, which were named Russell, Percy, Oliver, Dorothy, Harriet, Marian, Wilbur, Jeanette, Thomas, and James. By 1930, Oliver moved his family to Oakland, Alameda County, California. Throughout his life, Oliver worked in a number of different jobs, including candy maker, shipbuilding, and carpentry. Where Oliver and Grace were buried is not presently known.

Owen and Harriet’s tenth child was an unnamed child that was born at some point between 1877 and 1883, most likely in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died soon after birth in St. Paul.

George Edward Kernan (1884-1960), Owen and Harriet’s eleventh child, was born on the 31 August 1884 in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, and died on the 20 October 1960 in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. On the 01 June 1903, George married Maudena Elizabeth “Lizzie” Stearns (1885-1936), the daughter of Theodore Frelinghuysen Stearns (1844-1930) and Anna Eliza Backer (1854-1919), in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. Following their marriage, George and Maudena had twelve children born between 1905 and 1925, which were named Curtis, Ernest, Delmar, Owen, Florence, Walter, Vernon, Francis, Earl, Lloyd, an unnamed baby boy, and Gloria. Throughout the majority of his working life, George was employed as a pipefitter in the shipbuilding industry.

Owen and Harriet’s twelfth child was Lillian Kernan (1886-1887), who was born on the 13 June 1886 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, and died in infancy on the 22 June 1887 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Table 3: The Children of Owen & Harriet Kiernan
# Name Birth Death Marriage
i. William H. 31 May 1865 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 24 June 1866 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy
ii. Charles E. 02 February 1866 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 16 February 1916 in Oregon 08 August 1888 to Louisa Hohenadel in Dubuque, Dubuque Co., Iowa.
iii. Harriet E. 03 July 1867 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 19 April 1868 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy
iv. Owen Francis 19 February 1869 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 21 September 1888 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Unmarried
v. Mary E. 10 September 1870 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 12 September 1870 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy
vi. Julie A. 20 August 1872 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 20 September 1872 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy
vii. Rose Amelia 18 July 1873 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 07 July 1942 in Lake Co., California 28 November 1893 to Thomas Wise in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
viii. Mary A. 07 February 1875 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 13 July 1875 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy
ix. Oliver Lawrence 04 June 1876 in Nebraska 30 January 1937 in Alameda Co., California About 1901 to Grace Bell Bentz in Oregon
x. Unnamed About 1877-1880 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota About 1877-1880 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy
xi. George Edward 31 August 1884 in Maryville, Nodaway Co., Missouri 20 October 1960 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon 01 June 1903 to Maudena Stearns in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon
xii. Lillian 13 June 1886 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota 22 June 1887 in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota Died in infancy

Life in the Midwest

Throughout the majority of his life, Owen lived and raised his family in the Midwestern region of the United States, particularly Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska. Following their marriage, Owen and Harriet lived primarily in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, where they are found enumerated on the 1865 Minnesota Census. Although this census provides little information beyond a list of household members, it does show that Owen and Harriet were living in St. Paul in the household next to Owen’s father, Felix.

kernan-1865-minnesotacensus
1865 Minnesota Census showing Owen as head of his own household neighboring his father and siblings in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Click to Enlarge)

In addition to the names of household members, the 1865 Minnesota Census also identifies whether any male of a given household was serving in the military at the time the census was enumerated (on June 1, 1865). This is important because between 1861 and 1865 the United States was embroiled in a devastating Civil War with the Confederate States. According to Owen’s entry on this census, he was not serving in the military, nor was his father or his brothers. Although this may suggest he did not serve during the Civil War, it does not necessarily mean he did not, as the Civil War was essentially coming to an end by the enumeration of this census. Nevertheless, no definite record of military service for Owen has been found. Databases for Civil War soldiers show no soldiers named “Owen Kiernan” or “Owen Kernan” serving in Midwestern states, particularly Minnesota. The closest match is for an “Owens Kernan” found on the U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865. This record states that this “Owens Kernan” was living in Portage, St. Charles County, Missouri in 1863, was born in about 1840 in Missouri, was unmarried, and was employed as a farmer.  Another entry is for an “Owen Kearney,” who was registered in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, was living in Carver County, Minnesota, was born in about 1833 in Ireland, and was employed as a laborer. Another record for this “Owen Kearney” adds that he was married. Additional Civil War records are unclear if either of these individuals served during the Civil War, or if either of them are an actual match for our Owen Kiernan. Furthermore, when asked on later state and federal census records about military service, no indication was made that Owen had served.

Although the 1865 Minnesota Census does not provide details about Owen’s occupation, moreover, other sources provide some details. According to a biography about his brother-in-law, Thomas Berrisford (1840-1894), that was published in the Proceedings and Report of the Annual Meetings of the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers (1899), Owen entered into a partnership with said brother-in-law in about 1867, forming a small bakery together on Fifth Street in St. Paul. Exactly when and by what means Owen first entered and learned the baking trade is not known, though he likely learned it from or in association with his brother-in-law. Thomas, a native of England who immigrated to the United States with his parents and siblings to seek their fortune, settled in Minnesota by 1857 at which time he learned the baking trade. In about 1862, Thomas relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked in some of the largest bakeries before returning to St. Paul in 1866. Although Owen and Thomas’s partnership began well in 1867, it came to an end before the end of the year with Owen “withdrawing,” and Thomas’s younger brother, Enoch, taking his place. It was after Owen’s departure that the company grew to become Berrisfords’ Cracker & Confectionery Company, which in 1890 was one of the forty bakeries that Adolphus Green purchased to form the American Biscuit & Manufacturing Company. Eight years later, Green’s company merged with William Moore’s New York Biscuit Company to form the National Biscuit Company, which changed its name to Nabisco in 1971.

thomas-berrisford-bio1
Page from the biographical entry for Thomas Berrisford referencing Owen, highlighted in yellow. (Click to Enlarge)

Two entries for Owen in the St. Paul City Directory provide further proof of this. According to both an 1866 entry and an 1867 entry in this directory, Owen was employed in St. Paul as a baker. Although it does not state where he worked, it is highly likely that he was working in the bakery he formed with his brother-in-law. The only detail these two records provide is where Owen and his family were living. According to the 1866 entry, they lived on the corner of 7th and John street in St. Paul. According to the 1867 entry, they were living on 7th between Olive and John in St. Paul. Table 4 below summarizes Owen’s entries on the St. Paul City Directory, images of which can be viewed by clicking the year.

Table 4: Entries for Owen Kiernan in the St Paul City Directory, 1866-1867
Year Occupation Employer Residence
1866 Baker Not Stated Corner of 7th and John, St. Paul
1867 Baker Not Stated 7th between Olive and John, St. Paul

Although Owen’s bakery partnership with his brother-in-law ended, his employment in the bakery trade did not. According to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Owen and his family were living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, where Owen was employed as a baker. In addition to his occupation, this historical record shows that Owen, his wife Harriet, and their two children (Owen and Charles) are living in the same household as lumber dealer and German immigrant Adolph Shirte and his family. It is unclear if this household was Owen’s or Adolph’s, though the 1870 U.S. Federal Census states that Adolph had a real estate value of $1,000 and a personal estate of 11,000, while it leaves these details blank for Owen. This may suggest that Owen and his family were borders in the Shirte household. It is also possible that this is an error on the part of the census taker, who may have failed to indicate that the Shirte family was in fact in a separate household.

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census showing Owen Kiernan (line 12) and his family living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.
The 1870 U.S. Federal Census showing Owen Kiernan (line 12) and his family living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. (Click to Enlarge)

In 1873, Owen was still living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, as he is recorded as living there in the St. Paul City Directory for that year. Two different entries for an “Owen Kernan” are found in this directory, both of which may be for Owen. The first shows an “Owen Kernan” that was born in Canada and that was employed as a “hose driver” in Minnehaha and living at 24 East Seventh street in St. Paul. The second shows an “Owen Kernan” that was living at Sixth between Sibley and Wakouta. It is unclear why there are two entries or if they are indeed Owen. However, it seems clear that the first one is for Owen, as it references his being born in Canada. It is equally clear that the second entry is not for Owen’s son Owen, as he was only four years old at the time.

ofkiernan-stpaulcitydirectory-1873
Entry for Owen Kernan in the 1873 St. Paul City Directory. (Click to Enlarge)

Although enumerated on the 1870 U.S. Federal Census and recorded in the 1873 St. Paul City Directory as living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, Owen and his family have not been found on the 1875 Minnesota Census. At some point after 1873 and before 1876, Owen moved his family to Nebraska, where his and Harriet’s ninth child (Oliver) was born in 1876. The reason for their move to Nebraska is unknown. However, it is highly likely they were drawn to Nebraska, which became a state in 1867, because of the large amount of available land that could be obtained for farming or ranching under the Homestead Act (1862). Additionally, the westward expansion of the railroad, which was significant in Nebraska at the time, brought new opportunities. The fact that Owen is later record as having worked for the railroad may indicate that such work is what brought them to the newly formed state. Whatever the reason for their move, it is clear their stay was not too long. By 1880, Owen and his family had moved to Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, where they are enumerated as living on the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. According to this historical record, Owen was not employed as a baker, but rather as a railroad worker. This record also adds that Owen had been unemployed during the census year for what appears to be twelve months.

The 1880 U.S. Census showing Owen Kiernan and his family living in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri.
The 1880 U.S. Census showing Owen Kiernan and his family living in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri. (Click to Enlarge)

Although it is not clear how long Owen and his family remained in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, records show it was at least until 1884, as their eleventh child, George, was born in Maryville in that year. By the following year, Owen and his family had moved back to St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, where Owen, Harriet, and five of their children are enumerated as living on the 1885 Minnesota Census.

The 1885 Minnesota Census showing Owen Kiernan and his family living in St. Paul.
The 1885 Minnesota Census showing Owen Kiernan and his family living in St. Paul. (Click to Enlarge)

Following his enumeration on the 1885 Minnesota Census, more about Owen’s life in Minnesota comes from entries for him in the St. Paul City Directory. An 1885 entry for Owen shows him employed as a baker for his brother-in-law’s company, Berrisfords’ Biscuit & Confectionery Company. This record adds that they were living at 154 Water street in St. Paul. According to his entry in the 1886 St. Paul City Directory, Owen was still employed at Berrisfords’ Biscuit & Confectionery Company, but not as a baker; rather, he was employed as a clerk. As in 1885, they were, according to this entry, living at 154 Water street in St. Paul. The 1887 entry for Owen shows him once again employed as a baker, but does not state where he was employed. Perhaps it was at Berrisfords’ or some other bakery. This record also shows that the family had moved to 587 Forest, St. Paul, where they appear to have lived for their rest of their stay in Minnesota. According to an 1888 entry for Owen, he was not employed as a baker, but as a porter, with who his employer was being not stated. An 1889 entry on this record shows Owen once again employed at Berrisfords’ Biscuit & Confectionery Company, but not as a baker; rather he is employed as an elevator operator. Entries for Owen in the St. Paul City Directory from 1890 to 1894 also show him employed as an elevator operator for Berrisfords’, the they name of the company is record slightly differently. Table 5 below summarizes Owen’s entries on the St. Paul City Directory, images of which can be viewed by clicking the year.

Table 5: Entries for Owen Kiernan in the St Paul City Directory, 1885-1894
Year Occupation Employer Residence
1885 Baker Berrisford B & C Co. 154 Water, St. Paul
1886 Clerk Berrisford B & C Co. 154 Water, St. Paul
1887 Baker Not Stated 587 Forest, St. Paul
1888 Porter Not Stated 587 Forest, St. Paul
1889 Elevator Operator Berrisford B & C Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul
1890 Elevator Operator Berrisford B & C Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul
1891 Elevator Operator Berrisford B & C Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul
1893 Elevator Operator E F Berrisford 587 Forest, St. Paul
1894 Elevator Operator Berrisford Factory 587 Forest, St. Paul

In 1895, Owen and his family are found enumerated on the 1895 Minnesota Census as still living at 587 Forest Street in St. Paul. As he had been since about 1889, Owen was, according to this census record, employed as an “elevator man.” Although this census record provides little additional information, it does show that Owen had been unemployed in his usual occupation for twelve months during the census year. Whether this suggest that Owen was unemployed at the time this census was enumerated or had been over the past twelve months but was now employed is unclear. It is also unclear whether “usual occupation” refers to his being employed as an elevator operator or a baker. Given the fact that records appear to show that Owen had been employed as an elevator operator  continuously since 1889, it seems likely that the period of unemployment and “usual occupation” refer to his employment as a baker, which had been his usual occupation before becoming an elevator operator.

The 1895 Minnesota Census showing Owen Kiernan and his family living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.
The 1895 Minnesota Census showing Owen Kiernan and his family living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. (Click to Enlarge)

Following the enumeration of Owen and his family on the 1895 Minnesota Census, additional details about Owen’s life in Minnesota come from entries for him in the St. Paul City Directory between 1895 and 1899. Each of these entries show Owen still living at 587 Forest Street in St. Paul and being employed as an elevator operator. Although the name of his employer appears differently during these years, they are in fact the same employer. During this time Berrisfords’ merged with other companies, which is reflected in the name changes for Owen’s employer in these entries. Berrisfords’ Biscuit and Confectionery Company was bought by American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company, as seen in the 1896 and 1897 entries. This company eventually merged with National Biscuit Company, as seen in the 1898 and 1899 entries. Table 6 below summarizes Owen’s entries on the St. Paul City Directory, images of which can be viewed by clicking the year.

Table 6: Entries for Owen Kiernan in the St Paul City Directory, 1895-1899
Year Occupation Employer Residence
1895 Elevator Operator Berrisford Factory 587 Forest, St. Paul
1896 Elevator Operator Am Bs & Mnfg Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul
1897 Elevator Operator Am Bs & Mnfg Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul
1898 Elevator Operator Nat’l Biscuit Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul
1899 Elevator Operator Nat’l Biscuit Co. 587 Forest, St. Paul

The Move to Oregon, Later Years, and Death

At some point following Owen’s entry on the 1899 St. Paul City Directory, moreover, he and his family left Minnesota for Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. An exact date or year for the move is not presently known, though oral family history passed down by Owen and Harriet’s daughter Rose (Kernan) Wise indicates that they may have moved to Oregon in 1900. The fact that Owen and his family have not been found enumerated on the 1900 U.S. Federal Census may indicate that they were still in route at the time this census was being enumerated, which began on the 1 June 1900. Nevertheless, Owen is recorded in the 1900 Portland City Directory, which was compiled on the 22 September 1900. Thus, it seems highly likely that they moved to Oregon between 1 June and 22 September 1900. The exact reason for their move, moreover, is not known, though oral family history from Rose (Kernan) Wise suggests that they may have left Minnesota because they disliked the extreme cold weather typical of the state of Minnesota.

In addition to establishing a likely time frame of their arrival, the 1900 Portland City Directory also provides some details. According to his entry in this directory, Owen was employed as a laborer and was living at 1003 Maryland Avenue in Portland. Owen’s son Oliver is also recorded in this directory as living at this address. Owen, moreover, is also recorded in the 1901 Portland City Directory, along with his sons George and Oliver. According to this entry, Owen was still employed as a laborer and as living at 1030 Maryland Avenue in Portland. (Table 7 below summarizes Owen’s entries on the Portland City Directory, images of which can be viewed by clicking the year.)

Table 7: Entries for Owen Kiernan in the Portland City Directory, 1900-1901
Year Occupation Employer Residence
1900 Laborer Not Stated 1003 Maryland Avenue, Portland
1901 Laborer Not Stated 1030 Maryland Avenue, Portland

It was not long after their arrival and Owen being recorded in the 1901 Portland City Directory that tragedy struck the family. On the 11 December 1901 Owen Francis Kiernan died. According to his death certificate, Owen died from tuberculosis. Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death prior to the 1940s, particularly for diabetics like Owen. Although it is not known how long Owen had tuberculosis, his death certificate adds that he had been attended to by a physician since about January of 1901. His death certificate also adds that the illness may have started in Minnesota.

The Death Certificate of Owen Francis Kiernan.
The Death Certificate of Owen Francis Kiernan.

According to his death certificate, moreover, Owen was buried on the 12 December 1901 in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. His metal headstone reads “Owen Kernan, Died Dec. 11, 1901, Aged 62 Years. Weep Not, He is at Rest.”

The Headstone of Owen Francis Kiernan in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland
The Headstone of Owen Francis Kiernan in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. (Click to Enlarge)

Following Owen’s death, Harriet lived with her children. In 1905 she was enumerated as living in Wayzata, Hennepin County, Minnesota in the household of her daughter Rose (Kernan) Wise and her family on the 1905 Minnesota Census.

The 1905 Minnesota Census showing Harriet Kiernan living in her daughter Rose's household in Wayzata, Hennepin Co., Minnesota
The 1905 Minnesota Census showing Harriet Kiernan living in her daughter Rose’s household in Wayzata, Hennepin Co., Minnesota. (Click to Enlarge)

Although it is unclear why Harriet and her daughter’s family moved back to Minnesota, they were not there long. By 1909, they were living back in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, where Harriet is recorded as living in the Portland City Directory for that year. According to this record, she was living with her her daughter Rose and her family at 1419 Omaha Avenue, while her son George was living at 1418 Boston Avenue and her son Oliver was living at 1419 Boston Avenue in Portland.

harriet-kiernan-citydirectory-1909
Entry for Harriet on the 1909 Portland City Directory. (Click to Enlarge)

By 1910 Harriet was no longer living in Portland, but had moved, along with several of her children to Kelso, Cowlitz County, Washington, where she is enumerated as living on the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. According to this record, Harriet was once again living in the household of her daughter, Rose (Kernan) Wise, and her family.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census showing Harriet Kiernan living her daughter Rose's household in Kelso, Cowlitz Co., Washington
The 1910 U.S. Federal Census showing Harriet Kiernan living her daughter Rose’s household in Kelso, Cowlitz Co., Washington. (Click to Enlarge)

By 1915 Harriet is found listed in the Portland City Directory as living at 1020 Kerby street in Portland. Her son George is also shown as living at the same address, indicating that Harriet was living with him and his family at that time. In 1920, she was still living in Portland, but in the household of her son Oliver and his family.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census showing Harriet Kiernan living in the household of her son Oliver in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon.
The 1920 U.S. Federal Census showing Harriet Kiernan living in the household of her son Oliver in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. (Click to Enlarge)

Although the reason is unclear, within the same year (1920), Harriet, along with her son Oliver and his family, left Portland and moved to Astoria, Clatsop County, Oregon, where she is recorded as living in the 1920 Astoria City Directory. By 1924, Harriet was living in Oakland, Alameda County, California, where she is listed as living in the 1924 Oakland City Directory. Although this does not show her living in the same household as any of her children, her son Oliver and his family were also living in Oakland at this time. Thus, it seems likely she moved there when they did.  Nevertheless, by 1925 Harriet had returned to Astoria, Clatsop County, Oregon, where she is recorded as living in the same household as her son Oliver and his family in the 1925 Astoria City Directory. By 1928, Harriet was once again living in Oakland, Alameda County, California, where she is recorded as living in the same household as her son Oliver and his family in the 1928 Oakland City Directory. (Table 8 below summarizes Harriet’s entries on these various city directories, images of which can be viewed by clicking the year.)

Table 8: Entries for Harriet Kiernan in Various City Directories, 1920-1928
Year Location Residence Living With
1920 Astoria, Oregon 1014 Section Line Ave Son, Oliver
1924 Oakland, California 1622 21st Ave Unknown
1925 Astoria, Oregon 10th Ave E and Roosevelt Dr Son, Oliver
1928 Oakland, California 1016 98th Ave Son, Oliver

Harriet’s entry in the 1928 Oakland City Directory is the last record found for her while she was still living. According to an entry in the California Death Index, Harriet died in Oakland, Alameda County, California on the 16 February 1928 at the age of 83. Although it is clear that this record is for Harriet, it is inconsistent with what is recorded in family records. According to a family group sheet detailing information from the Family Bible of Delmar Clair Kernan, Harriet died on the 16 February 1927 in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. However, no match for Harriet has been found on the Oregon Death Index. Given the fact that Harriet was living in Oakland in 1928 in the same household as her son, Oliver, it is clear that this earlier date and Portland location are an error in family records. Additionally, the California Death Index provides a further proof that this is indeed Harriet’s death record. Although this record does not provide his full name, it does indicate that her husband’s first name began with an “O,” as in Owen. Where, moreover, Harriet was buried is not presently known.

harriet-kernan-oregondeathindx
Harriet’s Entry on the California Death Index. (Click to Enlarge)

Owen & Harriet Kiernan Timeline

The following summarizes the major events in the lives of Owen and Harriet Kiernan.

Table 9: Timeline of Owen & Harriet Kiernan Family
Date Event
Feb 1836 Owen Kiernan was born in Nicolet, Quebec, Canada
Jun 1836 Harriet Dunton was born in Howard, Steuben County, New York
1840-1845 Harriet moved to Illinois with her parents
1850 Harriet was living in Eden, Schuyler Co., Illinois
1851 Owen was living in Sainte-Monique, Quebec, Canada with parents
1856 Owen immigrated to the United States with parents and siblings
1857 Owen was living in Sibley Co., Minnesota with his parents and siblings
1860 Owen was living in Dryden, Sibley Co., Minnesota, were Owen was employed as a farm laborer
1863 Owen married Harriet Dunton in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1865 Owen and Harriet’s first child, William H. Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1866 Owen and Harriet’s second child, William H. Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1867 Owen entered bakery partnership with brother-in-law Thomas Berrisford, which dissolved within the year; Owen and Harriet’s third child, Harriet E. Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1869 Owen and Harriet’s fourth child, Owen Francis Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1870 Owen and Harriet were living in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota, were Owen was employed as a baker; Owen and Harriet’s fifth child, Mary E. Kernan, was born and died in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1872 Owen and Harriet’s sixth child, Julie A. Kernan, was born and died in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1873 Owen and Harriet’s seventh child, Rose Amelia Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1875 Owen and Harriet’s eighth child, Mary A. Kernan, was born and died in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1876 Owen and Harriet move their family to Nebraska, where their nineth child, Oliver Lawrence Kernan, was born
1877-1880 Owen and Harriet leave Nebraska, returning to Minnesota before moving to Missouri; their tenth child, who is unnamed, was born and died in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1880 Owen and Harriet were living in Maryville, Nodaway Co., Missouri, where Owen was employed as a worker for the railroad
1884 Owen and Harriet’s eleventh child, George Edward Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
Oct 1884-Jan 1885 Owen and Harriet moved their family from Missouri back to St. Paul Ramsey Co., California
1885 Owen and Harriet were living in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1884 Owen and Harriet’s eleventh child, George Edward Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1886 Owen and Harriet’s twelfth child, Lillian Kernan, was born in St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota
1886-1887 Owen was employed at Berrisfords’ Cracker & Confectionery Company as a baker and clerk in St. Paul, Minnesota
1889-1899 Owen was employed as an Elevator Operator for Berrisfords’ Cracker & Confectionery Company in St. Paul
1899-1900 Owen and Harriet moved to Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon with their children and their families
1901 Owen died in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon
1905 Harriet was living in Wayzata, Hennepin Co., Minnesota with her daughter Rose and her family
1910 Harriet was living in Kelso, Cowlitz Co., Washington with her daughter Rose and her family
1920 Harriet was living in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon with her son Oliver and his family
1928 Harriet died in Alameda County, California

Disclaimer: Please view the “Disclaimer” page to learn important information you should keep in mind as you read through the content of this website.

Published 07/13/2012. Last Updated 04/13/2018.

Advertisements