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Kinney, Thomas P. / Irish settlers of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, 1840-1860

Stoner Prairie settlement,   pp. 56-61 PDF (2.8 MB)

Page 59

The old cheese factory on the left side of the barn originally stood at the Semi-
nole Highway and Lacy Road intersection, a few hundred feet from where it is
today. When the turn-of-the-century cheese factory closed it was moved to
serve as an extension to the O'Brien barn. Photo taken in 1990.
In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century,
the O'Brien and Dunn families bought a number of farms on
Seminole Highway Today, Irish Americans still own most of
Stoner Prairie.
Michael and Catherine O'Brien emigrated from County
Cork, Ireland, in the late 1820's. The O'Briens had an infant son
with them, but a law restricted taking babies under one year
of age out of the country. The family wanted to leave together,
so the father put baby John in a potato sack, slung it over his
shoulder, and walked out past the customs officials onto the
ship! Since few vessels were available for carrying immigrants
to the New World at that time, the O'Briens bought passage
on what was at hand-a cattle boat. In the following years, the
O'Briens operated businesses in Caracas, Venezuela, New York
City, and Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The parents eventually
died, and when John was in his twenties he brought his
younger siblings including Cornelius from a Pennsylvania
orphanage to an Oregon township farm in 1853. Members of
the family bought land on Stoner Prairie by 1890.124
Similar to the O'Briens, the Dunn family of Stoner Prairie
originated in County Cork and left Ireland before the Famine.
The Dunns immigrated in 1837 and settled in Pennsylvania
before moving to the Town of Middleton around 1843.
Descendants bought land near Stoner Prairie in 1919,

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