I sat down for a few hours to gather more information on the children of Johanna Cussen Connell. Four days later, I'm posting some articles about these families. As usual, dates and places only tell me where they lived. If you are related to any of these families and can share stories or more information, please contact me (find my e-mail in my "profile" link) or post a comment.
Cussen was born in Galbally, Ireland in 1836, travelling with her family to
Newfoundland, Boston, and Fort Winnebago by about 1848. In about 1858
she married George Connell/O'Connell, I believe a recent immigrant from New
Brunswick, Canada, and they settled in Lodi, about 25 miles south of
Fort Winnebago. They were farmers. From 1860 to 1876 they had thirteen
children in Lodi. George died in 1877, leaving Johanna with 11 children between the ages of 1 and 18. Information is sparse, but I assume that life was difficult. Usually, someone stays with the elderly parent and works the farm, but by 1895 Johanna had moved to Portage, presumably having sold the farm, where she remained until her death in 1923. She is buried in the Catholic cemetery there with her husband, George, the three kids who died as children (Frances, age 2, William, age 1 month, Daniel, age 14), Mary, the lone daughter who remained in Lodi as an in-home servant and nurse her entire life, and Nellie, the only child to be returned to Lodi for burial.
I initially thought this family name was O'Connell. Indeed, I stumbled across Johanna on FindAGrave.com, where volunteers post inventories of cemeteries, usually with photographs. Johanna Cushing O'Connell's grave marker is shown there, in St. Patrick's cemetery in Lodi, Wisconsin, as are five other members of the O'Connell family. Having just extensively searched for George and Johanna's descendants, however, I now know that the cemetery is the only place where the name O'Connell was used. All appearances in the census, newspapers, birth, marriage and death records, etc., use the name Connell. The use of O'Connell in the cemetery is a mystery to me. I would suspect that a well-meaning descendant just got it wrong when they replaced headstones, but the stone for George appears to be an original (at least it looks very old), and it does say O'Connell.
I'll trace their descendants in the following posts.