Jonas Jackson Irish

submitted by Lisa Slaski

Source: The Oakdale Sentinel, Oakdale, Nebraska, 26 Jan 1906

Death of an Antelope County Pioneer

        Jonas Jackson Irish, son of Jesse and Clarissa Irish, was born in Dickinson township, Franklin county, New York (about 13 miles from Malone), on January 30th, 1820. Both his father and mother were natives of Vermont, and settled on a farm in Franklin county, New York, at an early day. Here Mr. Irish was reared - working on his father's farm in the summer and attending the common school in the winter; in this way getting but a meagre education. While still a young man he left home and went to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and engaged in driving a milk wagon. After a couple of years' absence he returned home, and again engaged in farming pursuits. In the fall of 1857 he was united in marriage to Miss Martha A. Baker, who was born at Bangor, Franklin county, August 28th, 1833. To this union were born two children while living in Franklin county. Ida, born September 14th, 1864, and Rubert[sic], born May 5th, 1867. This young man contracted consumption while living in Grant township, this county, and went to Texas seeking the benefit of her saulbrious climate, but to no avail. On the recommentdation of Texas physicians he went to New Mexico, where he died and was buried.

        In the spring of 1870, Mr. Irish sold his Franklin county farm, and with his family moved to Dennison, crawford county, Iowa. Here his wife had a sister living who had urged them for several years to come to Iowa. Here he again engaged in farming but stayed only one year, having decided to remove to Nebraska. In the spring of 1871 he again started westward, and while at Sioux City was told of the Elkhorn country in Nebraska, the fertility of the soil, the timber, and so forth. From the description given him, he thought the country would suit him as a place of settlement. He immediately started for Decatur, where he crosed the fiver by ferry, and from there came to Norfolk. After resting a day or two, he followed up the river to the western part of Madison count, near where Tilden is now located. Here on May 4, 1871, he met Captain Giles, who located him on his claim in Grant township, Antelope county, made out his preemption papers, etc., charging him $25 for his services. On May 5th he moved on his claim, and for a time lived under his wagon cover having his stove, cooking utensils, and boxes of household goods on the outside. He decided immediately on locating that he would not live in a sod house, owing to Mrs. Irish and the children being so opposed to it. On May 6th he started with his team for Columbus after a load of lumber to be used in building a frame house, and continued hauling until he had the needed amount on the ground. His was the first frame house built in Antelope county. Owing to his house-building, he did not succeed in getting as much breaking done in the season of 1871 as he had anticipated. His claim was the N.W. 1/4 of Sec. 3, T. 23, N., R 5 W. of 6th P. M. His first filing was D. S. No. 8774, dating settlement May 8, 1871, (the day he unloaded his first load of lumber on it), and was placed on record in the Dakota City Land Office May 17th. About a month later he decided to make a homestead entry on it. He therefore on June 7th, 1871, made homestead entry No. 4439 on the same land; and made final proof No. 3145 on the same April 3rd, 1878. Before the advent of the railroad, when the labors of the farm would admit, he did considerable hauling of freight for the merchants of Oakdale, and flour to Columbus for bother R. G. King and O. P. Hurford when they ran the Oakdale Mill. While still living on the farm in Grant township Mrs. Irish died, and was buried in the Oakdalecemeter, over whose remains he erected a handsome monument. Sometime after her death eh became financially involved and lost the farm. He then with his only living child (Ida) removed to Tilden where they lived for several years. In the summer of 1903 they removed to Neligh which continued to be his residence up to the date of his death. For nearly all his life he had been subject to chronic epileptic fits which came on him periodically, and caused him great suffering. About three weeks ago he was again taken ill, suffering with a slight paralytic stroke, this with other ailments culminating in his eath at 11:30 o'clock Monday nighter, January 22, 1906, aged 75 years, 11 months and 22 days.

- Wm. B. Lambert.



Jesse and Clarissa Irish had the following children per the 1850 census:

  • Loretta Irish, b. about 1826
  • Jonas Irish, b. about 1830
  • Fletcher Irish, b. about 1832
  • Clarissa Irish, b. about 1834
  • Jesse W. Irish, b. about 1836
  • Henry Irish, b. about 1839
  • Sidney Irish, b. about 1840
  • Abel J. Irish, b. 20 Jun 1842
  • Lydia Irish, b. about 1846

In addition, it is likely that they had at least one other daughter, as Abel J. Irish's obituary stated 5 brothers and 4 sisters survived him at the time of his death in 1901.

Source: Oakdale Journal, Oakdale, NE, 8 Oct 1886

Irish. - At Cerrillas, New Mexico, Rupert Irish, of consumption, on Oct. 5th, 1886, at the age of 19 years and five months.

        Rupert was born in Franklin county New York, May 5th, 1867, and came to Antelope county, Neb., with his parents in 1871. Although raised a western boy, Rupert possessed an education that qualified and fitted him for most any position in life. He began his studies under the tutorship of Mr. F. L. Putney, and was rapidly climbing the ladder of fame when consumption fastened upon him. For nearly a year and a half the disease preyed upon his system when death claimed its own. Rupert was beloved by all his associates and neighbors who feel the sorrow that death alone can cause. He leaves a father, mother and sister to mourn his untimely death.

-B. F. Dibble