Michael Patrick Donlin

County Clare

Patrick Donnellan and his wife Alice Mealy lived in or near Lahinch, County Clare, Ireland. They had four children as far as we know; two sons and two daughters.

Patrick and Alice named one son Michael Patrick. He was probably born in September 1837 in Milltown Malbay, perhaps because his parents had family there to support his mother. As mentioned above, they lived in the Lahinch area, just up the coast from Milltown Malbay. These were the years of the Great Famine, and they have left us no indication so far of the existence of any of Michael's family after 1849.

A story has been passed down that Mike would collect eagle eggs as a young man in Ireland. It turns out that men used to hang off the Cliffs of Moher to collect sea birds and their eggs. So it appears that the word "seagull" must have somehow changed to "eagle" as the story was passed down. [1] This story may indicate that the Donnellans lived northwest of Lahich, toward the cliffs.



Michael Patrick Donlin is said to have left for Boston in the Autumn of 1857, but 1861 is more likely. He married Bridget Carmody in Springfield, Massachusetts the following January. He worked at the Springfield Armory during the Civil War, then he and Bridget moved with their son James to Grant County, Wisconsin soon after the war was over.

Michael and Bridget raised their family in the Lancaster, Wisconsin area for over ten years, until Bridget died at age 37. They had seven children that we know of, all but one of whom survived Bridget, but their two remaining daughters died of diphtheria as children.


Delia Powers

Michael remarried eight months after Bridget died to Delia H. Powers, who was age 18 at the time, a few years older than Michael's son Jim.

Delia was born in Troy, New York, probably on 19 June 1859, to Irish immigrants Michael and Elizabeth Alice Powers.




The first child of Michael and Delia, named Bessie, was born in Lancaster. After Bessie was born, they moved westward to Northwest Iowa. Accounts vary with regard to exactly where and when the moved, but it is likely they moved to Le Mars first in late 1879. Another account maintains they moved to Marcus first in the early 1880s.

Not long after arriving in Iowa, the Donlins moved on to South Dakota, but flooding in the Mississippi Valley sent them retreating back to Iowa.

In the Spring of 1882, tragedy struck again. Three of the four girls died of diphtheria.


South Dakota

The Donlins moved to Hand County, South Dakota in 1906, and settled just southwest of the town of Orient. Michael's sons from his previous marriage did not join them.

The following photo, taken around 1915 in Hand County, South Dakota, includes all of the children of Michael's second marriage who survived infancy:

Family of Michael Patrick Donlin and Delia Powers Donlin

From left to right back row:

Eugene Michael, Francis Arthur, Bessie, George, Michael Thomas, Rose,

Front row:

Leo Aloysius, Michael Patrick, Helen Veronica, Delia Powers Donlin, Glen Marie


Looking south toward [what once was] Mike and Delia's farm

(in the trees to the left) from Gene and Tilly's farm.


Carolyn Donlin and daughter Brenna at the site of Mike and Delia's farm, June 2001.


The southern edge of [what once was] Gene and Tilly's farm (upper left).


Return to [Donlin Roots]




[1] Interview with Ray Donlin (son of Mike T. Donlin), August 2001.