Thanks for the thoughts.
As to #1, They were difficult to get in touch with due to no email contact info & having to keep calling hoping to catch someone. And once I finally did catch someone there, I was disappointed to learn from the person I finally spoke with that they didn't have the volunteer staffing to be able to assist out of state researchers.
And I still haven't heard from either of the 2 volunteers I was told by the person I'd spoke with, had local history interest s & might be able to help. I'd left all my contact info w/the volunteer I spoke with & crossed my fingers.
#2 birth really isn't the problem. Sure, I'd like to find a baptism but the Catholic parish registers for baptisms at the National Library of Ireland site, for the parish he was from don't begin until 9 May 1845 & there's no entry for my John. FHL films start a smidge earlier so at some point when I know I'll have the time, I'll borrow the film & have a look.
And it wouldn't be until 1864 that civil registration of BMD began in Ireland for Catholics. Much too late for the birth but just in time for his marriage.
I was happy enough to find the baptisms of his children & finally learn the name of the family townland from the parish registers at NLI.
#3 1850 is a bit too early for my John. He'd have been abt. 5 yrs old & still living w/his parents in Ireland. But I did wonder if maybe there had been some expansion of the railroads during the last years of the 1870's that might have meant a need for some imported labor.
#4 He was just getting married in 1865 in Ireland & didn't arrive in the US w/his wife & children until abt. 1873
#5 I've no way of ever knowing if the eventual plan had been for his wife & children to join him in La Salle at some later point or not. There were few family stories that handed down & none mentioned plans for a westward move that was cut short by John's death.
He was out in LaSalle Twp for some reason but his wife & children were back east in Providence, RI where he was buried.
So, what I'm trying to discover if it's even possible to do so, is a reason for him to have left his family behind & have gone out to LaSalle. Someday, maybe.
Newspapers for 1879 for LaSalle might help if I had access to them but I don't so that's out :(