Biography of Gerald Dempsey
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, MN Biographies

While the late Gerald Dempsey carried on a special line of work in such a manner as to gain a comfortable livelihood, ranking for many years among the leading farmers of Great Bend township, Cottonwood county, he also belonged to that class of representative citizens who promote the public welfare while advancing individual success.

Mr. Dempsey was born in County Carlow, Ireland, August 29, 1845. He was a son of Charles and Lizzie (Kelly) Dempsey, both natives of the same locality in which Gerald was born, and there they grew up and were married. Both father and son were born on the same farm, which had been in the Dempsey family for several generations. Charles Dempsey and wife had two children, Louis, who still resides on the old homestead in Ireland, and Gerald, of this memoir. The great grandfather was a captain in the British army. The family has still in their possession a valuable ring which was given the captain by his troops in recognition of the esteem in which they held him.

Gerald Dempsey grew up on the homestead in his native land, and there he received his education, attending the monastery. He was twenty years of age when he immigrated to America. After spending a short time in Boston he went to Rochester, New York, then west to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1871, and there he was married on Thanksgiving Day, 1873, to Mary Ann Moore, who was born in Maryboro, Queens County, Ireland. She was a daughter of John and Ann (Fitzpatrick) Moore, both natives of Maryboro, Ireland, where they grew up, married and established their home, removing to America in 1861, arriving at Frankford, Pennsylvania, June 4, that year. Remaining there until after the Civil War, they came to Iowa, where they Went the rest of their lives, the father dying in March, 1908, and the mother in August, 1910. Mr. Moore was a carpenter by trade, but he always owned and lived on a farm.

After their marriage, Mr. Dempsey and wife moved to a farm in Greene county, Iowa, where they spent twenty years, then came to the place on which the widow still resides in Cottonwood county, Minnesota. It formerly belonged to Allen Gardner, and it now contains six hundred and thirtyf our acres, having originally contained four hundred and twenty acres. Mr. Dempsey added many improvements here, including the erection of a commodious dwelling house and other buildings. He was very successful as a general farmer and stock raiser, and was a breeder of Hereford cattle. He always kept large numbers of cattle. He was a man of sound judgment and executive ability and was very successful in his chosen life work. He was independent in politics, but usually supported the Republican party.

When Mr. Dempsey left Ireland he was given a letter of recommendation by Lord Woiseley, who owned an estate adjoining that of Mr. Dempsey's father. The brother of the subject of this sketch now owns both the homestead and the Lord Wolseley estate.

To Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Dempsey ten children were born, namely: Anna V. is the wife of Hugh Hammel; Elizabeth, Margaret and Mamie. Alice G. is a milliner by trade, but is now managing the home farm; Jane was next in order of birth; Sadie V. and Winnifred B. are teaching school; Catherine, who is now the wife of Walter Berger of Comfrey, Minnesota; was formerly a teacher; Martha A., the youngest child, is also a teacher. The late Mr. Dempsey was a Catholic and his family are members of that church.

The death of Gerald Dempsey occurred on June 29, 1914. There were in him sterling traits which commanded uniform confidence and regard, and his memory is today honored by all who knew him.

From:
History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties
Minnesota
Their People, Industries and Institutions
John A. Brown, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen and Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana
1916.


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