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1st Half of 1879: What Was Happening in LaSalle Twp? Why was John KEEGAN of Providence, RI There May -Jun 1879?

Replies: 4

1st Half of 1879: What Was Happening in LaSalle Twp? Why was John KEEGAN of Providence, RI There May -Jun 1879?

Posted: 1435588781000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1439328382000
Surnames: KEEGAN
Update: I received a suggestion to try the LaSalle County Historical Society & Museum. They have no email contact but after a few tries, I did finally catch someone there to answer my phone call. I learned it's an all volunteer effort. They do have a library but they've no volunteers who can help out of state researchers or other researchers/genealogists who can't get to their location.

There are 2 volunteers who are interested in local history & I left my contact info but have not heard from anyone so.....
My post & request below remain active:

Back in May 2015 when I discovered that my John Keegan had died in "Laselle" IL, I posted here looking for help w/his death.

Since then I've learned abt. death records in IL & discovered that there is no death record for my John Keegan.

According to an entry in the 1880 City of Providence, RI directory, John Keegan died "May 1879." This is the only record I have for John Keegan's possible DOD.

And from the records of the St. Patrick's Cemetery in Providence, Providence Co, RI I've learned that John Keegan died in "Laselle, IL" & was buried in St. Patrick's on 2 Jul 1879. This leads me to think John's death might have been towards the end of Jun 1879 rather than May 1879 as reported in the city directory.

My John Keegan was just a common laborer & would ordinarily would have had no reason to travel far from home.

But something prompted him to leave his wife & children in Providence, RI & travel to LaSalle, IL where he died sometime in the period May - very end of Jun 1879. I'd speculated perhaps some large construction project such as building a railroad or other major construction may have been going on that would have attacted individual laborers or organized work gangs from out of state & might have been what brought John Keegan to LaSalle.

Since my May 2015 post in an effort to try & learn what the reason was for my John Keegan to travel to LaSalle, I've also looked at a number of late 19th century history books for LaSalle Co & the Township of LaSalle in an attempt to find out what may have been happening of significance in LaSalle Township that would attract laborers from a great distance away to travel to La Salle in pursuit of work.

I've found nothing of import mentioned that would necessarily attract a laborer to leave home & travel 1000+ miles for work elsewhere.

I need help finding out what was happening in LaSalle in the first part of 1879 that might have attracted a laborer from Providence, RI to travel to LaSalle, presumably for work.

Is there anyone here on this message board who is well versed in the local history of LaSalle Township &/or LaSalle County who might be able to give me some insight as to a reason why out of state labor might have been attracted to LaSalle in the first half of 1879?

Or perhaps has access thru a newspaper archive subscription site & can look at the local paper for the area to see if there are any clues there or mention in May-Jun 1879 of an accident on a work site that may have claimed lives of some of the workers?

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
mindfoggs2 1435588781000 
pampearson1 1489854923000 
mindfoggs2 1489937133000 
KaneNL 1490659622000 
mindfoggs2 1491082988000 
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