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

Stoner Prairie settlement,   pp. 56-61 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 60

The Martin and Janett McKenna family built this stone barn on their
Seminole Highway farm which they purchased in 1856. Note the twen-
tieth century addition of the gambrel roof, which added space to the
hayloft. The barn is now owned by Gerald and Ruth Dunn. Photo taken
in 1990.
although relatives had lived by Dunn's Marsh in Fitchburg
since the 1850's.125
The Irish family of Martin and Janett McKenna established
a homestead in 1856 on the east side of Seminole Highway
north of Lacy Road. In the 1860's and early 1870's, the McKen-
nas developed a substantial stock farm by purchasing neighbor-
ing Yankee homesteads where the soil had become exhausted
from years of intensive wheat farming. They built a large stone
barn on the original land. (The only other Fitchburg Irish
family known to have built substantial stone buildings before
1860 was the Fox family.) The stone for the McKenna barn was
probably quarried to the east of the intersection of Lacy and
Fitchrona roads. Also in the area was the Yankee John Mann's
stone barn and house (now Quivey's Grove Restaurant) on
Nesbitt Road, northwest of Stoner Prairie.26
In the years following 1860, a few Irish families moved to
western Fitchburg and lived in areas other than Stoner Prairie.
The David and Rosa Byrne family moved shortly after 1860 to
the Waterman farm on County M in southwestern Fitchburg,
having worked as tenant farmers on Matthew Fox's Irish Lane
property. This Byrne family emigrated from County Wicklow,
Ireland, before 1830. They lived in Vermont until 1854, and
then went west to Milwaukee and rode on the first passenger
train from Milwaukee to Madison.121

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