Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Foleys of Quincy Illinois

Just as I reported in my last post, branches of the tree take you on travels that you never expected.
Our written family history relates a Foley who fought in the Spanish-American War. He was awarded, according to Daniel E. Foley, my great grandfather, a land grant of 320 acres in the Quincy Illinois area.
My daughter goes to college 75 miles from Quincy. When I took her back to school the Monday after Thanksgiving, I traveled on to Quincy. I stopped at the City Library and at the Adams County Courthouse. I checked both land records and vital statistics.
In the County Recorders Office I reviewed hundreds of land grants issued by the federal government in the early to mid 1800s. The land grants for the Spanish American War vets were created by the Act of 1846. I reviewed them all and found no one named Foley.
I had a little better luck in vital statistics finding at least one gem in the rough to look further into. On October 5, 1856, John Foley married Ellen Kelly in Adams County. On June 1910, John J. Foley married Julia Dunbar. Perhaps a father and son?
In the death records I found a John Foley who died on February 25, 1892. He died in Galesburg Illinois while under the influence of chloroform which was being administered while his thumb was being amputated. He was a brakesman for the rail road and had mashed his thumb. This John Foley had once lived at Camp Point, near Quincy and in Adams County.
Our history also relates a Foley who became a priest in the Quincy area. I found one death record for a Monsignor M. J. Foley from February 17, 1941. This would fit within our family history as it was written in the 1930s. The Msgr was a chaplain at the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home. He was living in Quincy at the time that he died but he was buried in Jersey City, New Jersey. This may have been at a cemetery for a particular religious order. His death certificate lists his father as Martin Foley which probably rules the Msgr out.
The land grant can be requested from the federal government but in order to do so, we need to find the Foley who received it first. My trip to Quincy was interesting but inconclusive.


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