John Henry McDermott

John Henry McDermott, my father, was a son of Farrel McDermott and his wife, Catherine (Burns) McDermott.  Their other children were:

1.     Margaret (Maggie), Daniel and Marie.

In about 1850 Farrel with his younger brother, Daniel, farmers from Londonderry, North Ireland, emigrated to the New World.  Farrel met, and shortly married Catherine Burns in New York.  She had emigrated from Sligo County, Ireland, at about the same year Farrel emigrated.

Farrel and Catherine lived for a time in Boston and New York, where their first child Margaret (Maggie) was born, then moved west to the area of Cleveland, Ohio, where their oldest son John was born.  They moved again, this time to the area of Madison, Wisconsin.  Still later, toward the end of the Civil War, they moved to Pawnee County, Nebraska.

Near the close of the Civil War, Farrel filed as a homesteader on 160 acres near Burchard, Pawnee County, Nebraska.

Though Farrel may well have had a limited education, their children: 

1.     John

2.     Margaret

3.     Daniel and Marie seemed to have had some elementary education.

For some years before moving to Dakota in 1881 John had operated a harness shop in Pawnee, Nebraska.  Part of the time his sister Marie (later Mrs. Wahlmeier) kept house for him.  In 1881, John moved from Pawnee to Valley City, North Dakota.  There he was a proprietor of the N. P. Hotel and the Sherman Hotel.  He sold out his interest in both and came to Cooperstown in 1884.

Some comments on John's early days in Dakota appear in The Courier for December 26, 1884:

"HARNESS SHOP.  Nebraska sends, to swell the population of the garden of the Northwest, John McDermott, the proprietor of the Pioneer Harness Shop.  Mr. McDermott is, by birth, an Ohioan and how, with his popularity, he has escaped holding a federal office, is a problem that might puzzle a politician.  His first venture in the harness and leather business was in Pawnee City, Nebraska.  His business was successful and Mr. McDermott acquired a fair capital and removed to Dakota in 1881 with the idea of increasing it rather than improving his health.  He worked for some time with Henry Wold of Valley City and, as a compositor remarks, "You can't say too much about how he understands his business."  He was afterward one of the proprietors of the N. P. Hotel and the Sherman Hotel, in Valley City.  He made good.  In the spring of 1884 he sold out his hotel business, removed to Cooperstown, and started the first harness shop.  He has done a first class business, turned out the best work and is in a fair way to prosper.€

John participated in the activities and interests of the Cooperstown community.

In 1884 he served on the nominating committee of the Republican legislative caucus.

The Courier of August 1, 1884, tells of an interesting Sunday trip to the mounds by a party of ten under the guidance of John McDermott.

In the decade or two after his arrival in Cooperstown, John McDermott's business affairs seem to have prospered reasonably well.  He acquired an interest in Thompson- McDermott Company, a mercantile firm.  In addition to the harness shop he continued his interest in farm properties.  He built a substantial home.  At one time he was interested, with others, in cattle feeding.

Near the end of the first decade he married Anna Arneson, daughter of John Arneson, one of the early pioneers.  They were married January 1, 1894, by Reverend Oscar D. Purinton, a Baptist minister.

Five children were born to John and Anna. 

1.     Della Josephine, born February 10, 1895, died about a year later and is buried in the Cooperstown cemetery. 

2.     Edward Henry, born August 17, 1896, lives with his family in Chicago. 

3.     Willard, was born April 1, 1898, and died in Denver, Colorado, March 9, 1971. 

4.     Avelyn (Avaleen), who was born March 30, 1900, married E. Vernon Ladd, lived in Cleveland, Ohio, and died May 2, 1953. 

5.     Myrtle was born June 12, 1903, married Roger Clark, now deceased, and lives in Sun City, California.

John H. McDermott died July 5, 1908.  Anna, his widow, died April 21, 1966.  Both are buried with Della Josephine in the Cooperstown cemetery.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 72

 
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