Quick Links

Banner Photo Info



WPA Interview

Rooney, Michael

Michael Rooney was born in Ireland on January 25, 1835 a son of Thomas and Ellen (Ward) Rooney.

His mother died in Ireland while Michael was an infant. When he was three years of age his father and an Aunt, Katherine Rooney, brought him to Wakefield Township, Ontario, Canada. Thomas Rooney was employed in the woods near Ottawa, Canada for about seventeen years. He decided to take up farming and heard there was much land being given away in the United States and in 1855 he removed to New York City and a few years later to St. Anthony, Minnesota where he was employed until about 1863 when they came to Stearns county and settled on a homestead in Raymond township.

Thomas Rooney and his son Michael Rooney took adjoining claims and during the winter Thomas Rooney went to live at the home of his son. A claim jumper came through the country and finding the log cabin un-occupied moved his family in and laid claim to the property.

In 1872 the grasshoppers came and destroyed all the crops and Michael Rooney left his father on his homestead and went to Montana to hunt buffalo. The hides were worth $30 each and the government granted them permission to shoot a certain number.

On April 14, 1896 Michael Rooney and Margaret Murphy were united in marriage at the Assumption Church in Eden Valley. Margaret Murphy was born in Ottawa, Canada, on April 13, 1861, and of a family of eight children born to Bernard and Hanore (Kane) Murphy.

To Michael and Margaret (Murphy) Rooney were born four children who are: Frances Rooney who married Josephine Jaskin; Mary; Ambrose; Helene, who married Edwin Felling. All the children live on farms in Raymond township near Padua.

The Rooney families were the first to settle in Raymond township. They erected a church and a school building in Padua. The original church structure was sold to Michael Rooney and the present building erected in 1886. Father Burns was the first priest to serve the parish, (about 1870).

Michael Rooney served on the school board and as assessor for several years. He died December 12, 1918 and is buried in St. Anthony's Cemetery at Padua.

Interviewed: Margaret (Murphy) Rooney
Date: June 7, 1937
By: Dorothy Hansmann

Click on the links below to view the complete original version of the WPA interview:

    WPA Rooney, Michael (pg. 1)
    WPA Rooney, Michael (pg. 2)
    WPA Rooney, Michael (pg. 3)

*Note: Some of the information in the original WPA interview appears to be inconsistent with subsequent research, so the following corrections are suggested:

    1. Pg 1, 1st paragraph; Michael Rooney was born on January 25, 1844.
    2. Pg 1, 2nd paragraph; Wakefield Township is located in Quebec, Canada.
    3. Pg 1, 6th paragraph; The first child of Michael and Margaret was Francis.
    4. Pg 3, 1st child should be Francis Joseph Rooney.