The Egan Family From Woodford To The Wild West


Welcome to my place among the stones. . .

". . .But when you've come if all the flow'rs are dying.
And if I am dead, and dead I well may be,
You'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an "Ave" over me."

ince my own story began in the United States, I thought it fitting to begin this website in loving memory of my great-grandparents, Daniel Thomas EGAN and Lizzie FAHY, who are our family's bridge between the United States and The Emerald Isle.

Daniel Thomas EGAN was one of 15 children born to Thomas EGAN and Mary LYNCH, Woodford, Co. Galway, Ireland. He was born on New Year's Day, 1857, and led an exciting life.

At age 19, in 1876, he came to America and made his way to Chicago, Illinois to meet up with relatives, and from there he made his way to Lincoln, Nebraska where he worked on the railroad for a time, faithfully sending money home to his family to help ease their burdens back in Ireland. After leaving the railroad, he partnered up with his uncle, Tommy LYNCH. Dan and Tommy ranged cattle together through the late 1870s and early 1880s.

A big day for Daniel was when his citizenship papers were issued. This is the same year that he arrived in Grant County, Nebraska, with Tommy LYNCH. His pride in being a United States citizen ran deep. According to the Grant County Tribune (1893):

One of our imported citizens remarked in the presence of Dan Egan that "America and American citizens are nothing but humbug." Dan's coat came off the quickest it ever did, and thus prepared, Dan made an emphatic declaration of war, accompanied by a notice that the hostilities would begin at once. The imputation was immediately retracted and peace resumed her pedestal.

After living the life of a bachelor for nearly 17 years after his arrival in America, Dan traveled to Chicago in 1893 for the World's Fair. It was there that he met, fell in love with, and married Lizzie FAHY (a/k/a Elizabeth Agnes Fahey).

Dan and Lizzie's marriage certificate. Click for larger view.

izzie was the daughter of Lawrence and Catherine (nee MURRAY) FAHY. She was born 12 DEC 1870 at Coolfin, Abbey, Loughrea, Co. Galway, Ireland.

One of 15 children, and never one to be left behind, Lizzie set off on 23 JUNE 1891, for Chicago, Illinois, USA to join several of her sisters who resided there.

Dan and Lizzie were married in the Holy Angels Church at Chicago, Illinois on 18 JULY 1894.

Dan took his lovely, and much younger bride to begin their lives together as early pioneers in Grant County, Nebraska where they began their marriage in a soddie, or sod house about 16 miles south of Hyannis, Nebraska. Together they faced the trials and tribulations of settler life and held true to the Egan motto of "Fortitude and Prudence."

In 1909, Dan's younger brother, Thomas Francis Egan, came to Hyannis from Woodford, Ireland to work the ranch with Dan and Lizzie.

Life in the Egan household was never dull, as evidenced by these excerpts from Grant County It's Neighbors and Friends, (1980):

Their home was always open with food and shelter for any and all, and there were always others there to share. The early day priests found the hospitality generous and unfailing, as did the parishioners who came to stay overnight with the Egans.

. . .There was always music at the Egan home . . .In about 1905 the Egans had the "first request broadcast station" in Hyannis. Dan had [traded a cow and calf for a Victor phonograph] and . . .people would call on the phone, a record would be put on, the machine wound, the telephone receiver set down on the table, and they had their music!

. . .Dan liked a spirited horse, and he had a race horse, "Lady," a pretty, dark bay and fast. . . Dan's spirited horses weren't limited to race horses. There are stories of run-a-ways with the team and wagon, groceries spilled on the prairie, and Lizzie refusing to go to town with him. So he bought a gentle team - Old Jim and Dandy, and they had them a long time.

Christmases were special. Long, black stockings were hung, and endless letters written to Santa. One year there was the first tree, a complete surprise, which was lighted briefly by candles in little holders that snapped onto the branches, a wondrous sight in the dark of early morning. Always at Christmas there were great sacks of oranges, a real treat and a welcome addition to the dried fruits, barrels of apples and the big bin of potatoes stored in the cellar.

Dan and Lizzie had eight children the eldest of whom is my paternal grandmother:

Mary Philomenia b. 9 May 1895 d. 1981
Winifred Theresa b. 2 Nov 1896 d. Christmas Eve 1923
Daniel Frances b. 13 Aug 1898 d. scarlet fever 10 May 1900
Elizabeth Ann b. 21 June 1900 d. 1986
Thomas Joseph b. 18 April 1902 d. 18 July 1967
Kathryn b. 23 March 1904 d. 1988
Leo Patrick b 12 April 1906 d. 15 Nov 1976
Margaret b. 17 July 1913 d. 17 July 1913

Sources Used In Composing This Website:
Personal Communication with and family records of Anne G. Rock, daughter of Mary P. Egan
Family records and recollections of Martin and Bridget Egan, Woodford, Galway, IRE
Recollections of Thomas Geraghty of Coolfin, Step-grandson of Catherine Murray Egan
Recollections of James Murray, Adrahan, Nephew of Catherine Murray Egan
Family records of Madeline Rock, daughter of Mary Philomenia Egan

Family records of Betty Jane Bunner, daughter of Kathryn A. Egan

Superintendent Resgistrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Ireland
Woodford/Looscaune Parish, Co. Galway, IRE, Register of Births and Baptisms
Materials from the East Galway Family History Society at Woodford
State of Nebraska Dept. Of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics
State of Illinois, Cook County, Records of Clerk Of Court
Grant County It's Neighbors and Friends, (1980, out of print)

Grant County Tribune (1893, 1923, 1955)

Special thanks to Liz Lee of the Grant County, Nebraska GenWeb project
Special thanks to the Torrington, Wyoming, USA, LDS Family History Center

Special thanks to Rachael Conroy Chiaramida for sharing resources

A most heartfelt thanks to my Aunt Anne G. Rock who has for years carefully tended family records and memorabilia; who has kept the link between the Egans of Woodford and the Egans of the US alive and strong; who spent countless years and hours compiling lineages and family stories; whose love of family and enthusiasm for family history have been imparted to me; and without whom this site would not be possible. And to Betty Jane Bunner, my 1st cousin once removed, for contributing her research and assistance in ensuring the accuracy of the information provided here.


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