Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Dolan Family

by David Parmer

Patrick Dolan and Elizabeth Farrell were a son and a daughter of Roscommon County, Ireland who came to America with their respective parents during the great Irish migration in the mid-1800s. Patrick was the son of Thomas and Honora Dolan who settled in the southwestern part of Collins Settlement District of Lewis County on Sand Fork in 1857. He was six years old when he arrived in America with his parents. Elizabeth was the daughter of Patrick and Mary Farrell who settled on Grass Lick, near Orlando. She also was six years of age when her parents came to America.

To the left is a copy of a tintype of Patrick and Elizabeth (Farrell) Dolan.
Click on the map of County Roscommon, Ireland to the right to enlarge it.
Sometime between 1860 and 1870, Patrick Dolan hired on as a farm laborer for Patrick Farrell on Grass Lick. Farrell's daughter Elizabeth was the same age as Patrick and it wasn’t long before they were married. In the 1870 census of Lewis County, Patrick Dolan and Elizabeth (Farrell) Dolan are listed as living with her parents on Grass Lick with their six month old child, James T.
The map at the right shows Grass Lick flows into Three Lick, just before it joins Oil Creek. It is about a mile from downtown Orlando.

"Newt" (Patrick Newton) Blake remembered Patrick and Elizabeth's home. In his May 22, 1930 Buzzardtown News column, Newt's alte-ego Uncle Zeke reminisced about working in their hay field and staying in their home.
“Some years ago, back in the 80’s, people did most of their mowing with mowing scythes, there being but few mowing machines in existence at that time. It was the custom of Patrick Dolan, during hay-harvest, to hire a number of hands to help put up his hay, the job sometimes lasting for a couple of weeks. I, being handy with a scythe, was always called upon to assist in the harvest. One day a number of us were mowing in a hill meadow, when W. L. Blake ran onto a rattlesnake in his swath, and just as it had crawled half way into a rock pile, Reuben Blake grabbed it by the tail, and, with a quick jerk, jerked it from the rock pile and threw it so quickly there was no time for biting. As soon as it hit the ground, W. L. Blake struck it with the heel of his scythe and held it until it was killed.

Mr. Dolan, who was son of Erin, and with his good wife and family lived in a rather small hewed log house, but which for that day and time was of the average. It was only a story and a half high, the upper part being partitioned off in small bed rooms. The ceiling was so low that it would not admit of a whole window, so half windows were used to give light in each room. The windows were so constructed that they had to be removed during hot weather to give ventilation. In those days people would go to work about 6 o’clock a.m., eat dinner at 11 o’clock, then again at 4 o’clock (which we called a four-o’clock piece), then work until dark, eat a hot supper and go to bed almost red hot. I remember one night, after I had gone to bed, it seemed hotter than usual; in fact, I could not go to sleep, tired and sleepy as I was. The porch roof, being very flat and of the clapboard variety, I crawled out at my window and stretched myself out on the roof, thinking in this way I might cool off and snatch a few moments of sleep. After fighting the gnats and ‘skeeters’ for a spell, I fell asleep. Some time during the night, my sleep was disturbed by a hard down pour of rain, and before I could get back through the window into my bedroom, I was as wet as a drowned rat.

“Often during hay and wheat harvest, I would break out with heat until my back was perfectly raw. I remember one night, my back became so raw with heat that Mrs. Dolan bathed it with a weak solution of soda water, then applied some kind of salve, and on top of that an application of flour. Next morning I felt fine, but the heat was in my back, or something, caused the flour to bake fast to my back, and every time I would bend, it seemed like what little hide that was left, was breaking in pieces. After I got warmed up a little my heat was gone and did not bother me any more that summer. Mr. and Mrs. Dolan have long since passed to their reward, and permit me to say that no better people then existed. Some of the family still lives in and about Orlando. The Dolan Hotel at Orlando is conducted by two of the girls, Mary and Josephine, and no where is the hungry traveler, better cared for, and fed.”

The Children
Patrick and Elizabeth (Farrell) Dolan became the parents of thirteen children, five of whom did not survive to adulthood. The eight Dolan children who lived to adulthood were
. . Margaret Abalene "Maggie", born in 1872;
. . Mary, born in 1876;
. . John C., born in 1880;
. . Elizabeth Ellen “Nellie”, born in 1882;
. . Joseph Bernard “ Bern ”, born in 1884;
. . Bridget "Biddie", born in 1887;
. . Rose, born in 1889; and
. . Elizabeth JosephineJo”, born in 1892.

Three Sisters Owned the Hotel
Three of the Dolan sisters, Elizabeth Ellen, Elizabeth Josephine and Mary, bought the Peck house and converted it to a hotel. These three sisters never married.

1. Elizabeth Ellen “Nell” Dolan
Nell Dolan was born in 1882. Niece Betty (Francis) Rainer recalls that her Aunt Nell taught school at Grass Lick and did some of the cooking at the hotel. She remembers, “(Nelle) was my favorite aunt. Aunt Nelle Dolan contracted typhoid fever. She had beautiful auburn hair. As the result of her sickness her hair started to come out. My other aunts would catch the hair on newspapers and dispose of it and did not tell Aunt Nelle of the calamity for fear it would upset her." Nell recovered from Typhid Fever. She died in 1934 at the age of 52, from heart disease.

Nell's grave marker is to the right.
2. Mary Dolan
Mary was born in 1876. “Aunt Mary was of average height, and had blondish brown hair, but was turning gray”, said her niece Betty (Francis) Rainer, ”and she loved to work crossword puzzles.” Mary also was the primary gardener, according to Betty, although Jo also helped in the garden. Betty remembers that her Aunt Mary, as did her Aunt Nell, died in her sleep in 1945.
To the left, Mary Dolan's grave at St. Bridget's, Roanoke.

3. Elizabeth Josephine Dolan
Jo Dolan was the youngest of the Dolan girls. She has been described as a “tall, slightly heavy woman who was friendly and hardworking.” Her niece, Betty (Francis) Rainer, remembers her Aunt Jo’s dark red hair. Some say that Jo seemed to have been the “public face” of the hotel. Everyone seemed to recall Jo in particular when mention is made of the Dolan Hotel. Jo was the last surviving of the sisters who operated the Dolan Hotel. After she closed the hotel she went to work as housekeeper for St. Patrick's rectory in Weston.

Three Sisters Married
Maggie, Rose and Biddie married in their 30s. (ages 37, 31 and 34, respectively)

1. Margaret Abalene (Dolan) Dolan
Maggie Dolan, born in 1871, married Eugene V. "Owen" Dolan, the son of Michael and Elizabeth (Mullooly) Dolan in 1908. Maggie and Owen lived in Weston. Maggie raised her niece Bernadette, the daughter of her brother Bern and his wife, Grace, after Grace died of typhoid fever. Bernadette went to school in Weston but spent weekends and summers at the hotel or with her father on Grass Lick.
2. Rose (Dolan) Dyer
Rose married Frank Dyer when she was thirty one years of age. Frank was a native of Sand Fork and worked in the oil fields. Frank and Rose followed his occupation to the state of Oklahoma where they lived the remainder of their lives. Frank’s brother, Laurence Dyer, married Irene Hyre from Burnsville, sister of Ernestine (Hyre) Tulley, wife of Charlie Tulley of Tulley Ridge. Betty Rainer recalls that Rose worked at the hotel until she married.

3. Bridget (Dolan) Francis
Bridget, known to her sisters as “Biddie,” was the second youngest of the Dolan children. Bridget worked at the hotel until she met Perry Francis whom she married at age 34 in 1920. Perry was a widower and an oil field driller who worked in the Orlando area during the early part of the 20th century when the oil and gas business was booming. Bridget and Perry had two children, Sarah Elizabeth, known as “Betty”, and Mary Margaret. Perry, Bridget and their family lived at the Dolan farm on Grass Lick. Although Perry’s oil field work later took him to other places such as Kentucky, Bridget and her daughters remained at the Grass Lick farm during his absences. In 1939, while her daughters were still teenagers Bridget passed away. With the passing of Bridget, her sisters, Mary and Jo, took charge of her daughters and they lived at the Dolan Hotel until they finished school.
Above, right, Perry and Biddie.

Perry & Biddy's two daughters: left, Mary Margaret Francis as May Queen at St Patrick's High School in Weston, right, Betty Francis, from a school photo.
And Two Brothers
1. Joseph Bernard "Bern" Dolan
married Grace Shepherd. Grace died of typhoid fever at the age of twenty eight. Their daughter Bernadette went to school in Weston but spent weekends and summers at the hotel or with her father on Grass Lick.

Left: Bern and Grace (Shepherd) Dolan and little Bernadette.
Right: Bernadette as a young woman

2. John C. Dolan
In 1921 John and Agnes "Addie" McCauley were married by Fr. Quirk. They lived on Three Lick. John always seemed to have a cud of tobacco in his jaw and drove a Model T Ford with a rumble seat. He worked at a natural gas pumping station on Three Lick and when it was closed, he went to Burnsville and worked at that pumping station. John and Addie raised their nephew Richard Strader and niece Glenna Lipps.

To right is John's nephew, cousin Betty's chaufer Richard Strader.

. . . . .

Bernedette was Bern and Grace (Shepherd) Dolan's girl who spent summers at the hotel after her mother died. The caption on the news photo to the left reads: "Receives Cash Award For Employee Suggestion Bernadette Dolan receiving a certificate of appreciation from R. G. Ellyson, state director, in recognition of the adopted employee suggestion for which she also received a $10 cash award. -Dominion News Photo
Comment by Janet Everman
The Orlando web page looks great and it’s heart-warming to hear such nice things about the Dolan Family. I only knew my Aunt Josephine and my Grandfather Perry who both lived with us for sometime when I was a child. I have very fond memories of them both. I am sorry I did know Aunt Josephine’s sisters and my Great Grandparents as it seems they were very kind, hard-working Christian people.

Comment by Betty (Francis) Rainer
When I started to school at Burnsville High School, I walked from Orlando to Burnsville and back each day because there were no school buses then. Later my cousin, Richard Strader, who lived with my Uncle John and Aunt Maggie Dolan, started to school at Burnsville and drove, so I caught a ride with him to school.
Comment by Laurence Dyer, Jr of Jensen Beach, Florida
Rose Dolan was married to my uncle Frank Dyer. He and Rose lived in Ada, Oklahoma. They were both pleasant and likeable people.
Comment by Ethel Doyle When Bern Dolan’s daughter, Bernadette, would come from Weston to Orlando on the weekends, I was working in Weston at the State Hospital. I would give her a ride to my home on Three Lick. Her Aunt Jo Dolan would pick her up and take her on down to Orlando.

Left Patrick & Elizabeth Dolan's, Shepherds' grave markers

Left: Jo and unidentified friend

Right: Rose, unidentifed and Jo Dolan

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