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WPA Interview

Rooney, Will

Will Rooney was born October 29, 1863 at Ottawa, Canada. His parents were John Rooney and Mary (McCoo) Rooney. John and Mary (McCoo) Rooney were born in Ireland. They were the parents of the following children: Michael; James; John; Hugh; Patrick; Tom; Will; Mary Anna; Catherine; Sarah; and Liza.

John and Mary (McCoo) Rooney came to Minnesota in 1865 and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Raymond township, which is now occupied by Will Rooney. His farm machinery consisted of a breaking plow and a cradle.

Will Rooney was married to Helene Riedel on April 5, 1889. Her parents were Peter and Mathilda (Shultz) Riedel. Helene Riedel was born in Germany June 7, 1877. They were married in St. Antony's Catholic Church at Padua by Father Welp.

To this union were born twelve children who are: Edmund J., born March 4, 1900; Joseph D., born October 12, 1901; Felix J. born October 16, 1902; Walter E., born July 29, 1904; Mary Helena, born May 3, 1906; Agnes Mathilda, born September 2, 1908; Emmet W., born June 18, 1910; Leo A., born May 10, 1912; Robert G., born August 22, 1914; Howard A., born August 13, 1916; Leonard J., born March 19, 1918; Catherine Marvel, born April 29, 1920. There are thirteen grandchildren. The boys are all farming in Raymond township except Emmett who is a bookkeeper.

Will Rooney has been a member of the school board for forty-five years.

From a wilderness of hazel brush and oak trees the Rooneys, in two generations, have built one of the nicest and most modern farm homes in the township. During the first years Will Rooney walked from his home to St. Cloud, a distance of at least fifty miles, for supplies such as flour, sugar, coffee, and salt.

The Rooney family is of the Catholic faith.

Interviewed: Will Rooney
Date: September 15, 1936
By: Dorothy Hansmann

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

    WPA Rooney, Will (pg. 1)
    WPA Rooney, Will (pg. 2)
    WPA Rooney, Will (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, Para 1; Will Rooney was born October 29, 1862 at Quebec, Canada.
    2. Pg 1, Para 1&2; The correct spelling is Mary (McCool) Rooney.
    3. Pg 1, Para 3; The correct spelling is Helena Riedel.
    4. Pg 1, Para 3; Will Rooney was married on April 5, 1899.
    5. Pg 1, Para 3; They were married in St. Anthony's Catholic Church at Padua by Father Welp.
    6. Pg 2; Correct spelling of child one is Edmund Rooney.
    7. Pg 2; Correct spelling of child four is Walter E Rooney and correct birth date is July 29, 1904, as correctly stated in the biography.
    8. Pg 2; Correct spelling of child seven is Emmet Rooney.
    9. Pg 2; Correct spelling of child ten is Howard A Rooney.
    10. Pg 2; Correct spelling of child eleven is Leonard J Rooney.