Patrick Madigan

Patrick Madigan
Sketch made of Patrick Madigan c1890

About Patrick Madigan and Bridget Thompson

About Patrick Madigan and Bridget Thompson

Patrick Madigan and his wife were both born in Ireland. Patrick was born April 1, 1850 in Coonagh, Killeely Civil Parish, County Limerick, Ireland, the son of Patrick Madigan (c1809-1884) and Margaret Fitzgerald (c1806-1886). Bridget, known for most of her life as Bessie, was born October 8, 1852 most likely in or near Limerick City, County Limerick, Ireland, the daughter of John (Thompson) Thomas (1831-1904) and Bridget Reidy (1831-1900). They both immigrated with their families to Chicago, Patrick in 1872 and Bridget in 1866. They married at Old St. John Church in Chicago on February 24, 1878. Together, they had seven children: Mary (Mayme) (1879-1955); Ellen [Sullivan/Madigan Blog] (1880-1966); Nanette (1881-1963); Thomas (1883-1898); Patrick (Harry) (1885-1956), John (1887-1983); and, James (1890-1909). Patrick was a laborer who died January 15, 1890 when he was only 39 and just a few months before the birth of his last child. Bessie ran a grocery store while raising the seven children as a single parent. She managed to own her own home on the west side of Chicago. She died from myocarditis on December 31, 1935.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Patrick and Margaret (Fitzgerald) Madigan Gravestones

Another birthday and another gravestone.  This year I decided to order a gravestone for the parents of Patrick Madigan (c1850-1890).  Patrick (c1850-1890) was my first gravestone order.  His parents, Patrick Madigan (1809-1884) and Margaret Fitzgerald (1806-1886) are buried with another son, Thomas (b1853-1875), also in Calvary Cemetery, Evanston, Illinois. Thomas is buried in the same grave as his mother.

When I went to Calvary Cemetery's Sexton's office they told me there was no marker for these graves. When I walked the area, I couldn't find a marker either. So off we went to Gast Memorials. We were told that Calvary Cemetery will not allow a single, long gravestone to cover the two graves but we can order a smaller marker at the head of each of the graves.

Since Thomas and his mother were buried in the same grave, I thought I'd do that marker first and then next year install the companion marker for Patrick Madigan (Sr.). Gast helped design the two stones so this could happen.

In late August, the new stone was installed.


You can see from the design above, it is intended to have a stone to the right which would have Patrick (Sr.) carved on it with his death date and a Celtic cross on the right side of the stone.

I went to the cemetery, so excited to see the stone. I cleared it off the new dirt and as I was photographing it, I noticed another stone in area, but not very close to the above stone. It read simply "Madigan."



I went back to the cemetery office to find out who this was. Of course, I thought it was yet another Madigan relative I didn't know about.

I learned it was the stone for the Madigan grave that I just purchased the new stone for!!!

I asked why the stones, if intended for the same gravesite were placed so far apart, actually in a different row. They didn't have an answer. They sent a person out to make sure the new stone was correct.  And, I am told it was.

So, I decided to have the original Madigan head stone moved to sit to the right of the new stone. The original Madigan stone now sits over the grave of Patrick Madigan (1809-1884).  I'm sure future genealogists checking out the cemetery will be confused by why the stones read the way they do. Perhaps they will find this blog site and get their answer.



As of October, 2014, the two stones are now in place.

Photography: Elaine Beaudoin

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hanging Prosecutor


The story behind the night Billy McSwiggin was killed in front of The Pony Inn:

"Back in Chicago at the beginning of 1926, Capone was in excellent spirits. Not only had he made his mark in New York, but his whiskey deal would change the face of interstate transportation. Young men with a thirst for adventure and the need for money made a good living working as one of Capone's truckers.

Klondike O'Donnell
"In the spring of 1926, Capone's run of good luck hit a snag. On April 27, Billy McSwiggin, the young "hanging prosecutor" who had tried to pin the 1924 death of Joe Howard on Capone, met with an accident. He left the home of his father, a veteran Chicago police detective, and went with "Red" Duffy to play cards at one of Capone's gambling joints. A bootlegger named Jim Doherty picked them up in his car.

"Doherty's car broke down and they hitched a ride with bootlegger "Klondike" O'Donnell, a bitter enemy of Capone. The four Irish lads went on a drinking binge in Cicero with O'Donnell and his brother Myles and ended up at a bar [this would be The Pony Inn operated by Harry Madigan] close to the Hawthorne Inn where Capone was having dinner. O'Donnell's cruising around in Cicero was a territorial insult.

"Capone and his henchmen, not realizing that McSwiggin was in the bar with Myles O'Donnell, waited outside in a convoy of cars until the drunken men staggered out. Then out came the machine guns and McSwiggin and Doherty were dead.

"Capone was blamed. Despite the blot on McSwiggin's integrity for keeping company with bootleggers, sympathy was with the dead young prosecutor. There was a big outcry against gangster violence and public sentiment went against Capone.

"While everyone in Chicago just knew that Al Capone was responsible, there was not a shred of proof and the failure of this high-profile investigation to return an indictment was an embarrassment to local officials. Police took out their frustrations on Capone's whorehouses and speakeasies which endured a series of raids and fires."

Source: Al Capone: Chicago's Most Infamous Mob Boss, by Marilyn Bardsley, Criminal Minds and Methods. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/capone/hang_13.html

Photo Source: AP

Monday, September 30, 2013

Patrick Madigan, Gravesite, Calvary Cemetery

When I started genealogy more than 20 years ago I knew nothing more than my great grandparents' names - Patrick and Bridget Madigan.  I remember the day I learned the parents of my Mother's Mother were buried a little over a mile from where I live.  It was a Saturday and I was all alone in the house without a car.  So, I called a taxi and took it to Calvary Cemetery in Evanston. (This is how genealogists respond when they NEED to follow up on information.) It was probably the late 1990s.

I arrived at the Sexton's office and asked for the grave location of Patrick and Bridget Madigan.  I was surprised to learn that my great grandmother, Bridget Thompson Madigan, was buried with three of her sons, Thomas, James and Harry, but not her husband, Patrick. A separate location was given for him.  I thought it strange but assumed when I took off on foot to find the graves they would be close to each other. They were not!

After finding Bridget Thompson Madigan's grave, I nearly walked across the entire cemetery to an area that had very few markers.  With much traipsing back and forth over bumpy ground I still was unable to locate his grave so I went back to the Sexton's office.  He provided me with the name of an individual who was also buried in the same large plot and who had a military grave marker. Back I went and found the plot of land with the military stone but no other markers.  However, the Sexton had now provided me with was a copy of all the individuals who were buried with my great grandfather. Nine additional names. I thought "Wow" these must all be cousins or some other relations I don't know about. 

Over time I researched these individuals, many of whom were infants or very young children.  I found little information beyond date of death and no link to my Patrick Madigan.

I always felt sad my great grandfather had no marker on his grave. This past summer when my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday I said, "a gravestone for Patrick Madigan."  He had heard me speak of my great grandfather and the absence of a marker so it wasn't that much of a surprise.  He also does family genealogy and he truly understood why I even asked for such a gift.

On my birthday we went to Gast Monuments and picked out and designed the stone.  It was installed last week.  When I went to visit the grave this weekend it gave me such a warm feeling to know, after 123 years, Patrick Madigan's gravesite was now identified, but even more importantly, he was not forgotten.

And, what about all those others who were buried with him?  Well, while working with the cemetery and the monument company to install the marker, I was told Patrick's grave was a charity grave and  all the individuals buried with Patrick Madigan, like him, were individuals whose families could not afford to purchase a grave for their loved ones.  At the time of Patrick's death of pneumonia he was 39 with six children and one on the way. I'm sure his family had no money either.

At least now I know why Patrick is buried in a different location than his wife and children. I wish we had the money, I would have bought a huge monument and had all ten names inscribed.  But, I am happy my great grandfather has his stone.  Perhaps family members of the other interred individuals will someday put a stone on their relative's grave.  I know it would make them feel "real good" inside.



Calvary Cemetery, Evanston, Illinois, Gravecard, Front and Back


Photo and images: Elaine M. Beaudoin

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Harry and John Madigan Remembered

How exciting. I was recently contacted by someone whose family knew Harry and John Madigan, two sons of Patrick Madigan and Bessie Thompson.  She told me her mother used to pack up her and her siblings and take them over to Harry Madigan's Restaurant and Saloon at Madison and Crawford in the evening.  The kids would sleep in the booths.

She also told me her mother loved to play "26," a dice game. When Harry closed the restaurant, since her mother had been such a good patron, he gave the dice game to her.  She remembers the dice had Harry's initials engraved in them.  Although Harry and John died decades ago, it is really terrific that the memory of them lives on.

She has promised to write up a few stories.   When she does, I'll post them on this blog.


A little bit about the game of "26" from the Chicago Tribune, March 16, 1986.

The dice game of ``26`` was Chicago-born, Chicago-bred and eventually Chicago-banned. It never caught on much in the rest of the country, but it was a familiar sport all the way from elegant Gold Coast and Loop spas (the Palmer House had its ``26`` tables) to family taverns on the farthest reaches of the West Side. 

And as integral to the game as the dice were the estimated 5,000 ``26 girls`` or ``dice girls`` who kept score. According to a 1962 story in The Tribune, "The game is played on small tables behind which the `26` girl stands, smiling and cooing, with a cup of 10 dice in her hand and a score pad by her elbow. The customer engages her in small talk and rolls out the dice 13 times." The high-rollers could risk anything from 25 cents to $1 on the game of chance that paid off in merchandise--drinks, to be precise.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Madigan Baptismal Records, Parteen and Meelick, Co. Limerick

I was in Limerick City at the Limerick Regional Archives in 1998 with the hope of discovering information on my great grandfather Patrick Madigan's (1850-1890) family.  However, when I spoke with the Archivist, I realized there were MANY Patrick Madigans born in the area and I needed to know who his parents were to trace down the rest of the family.  The Archivist provided me with a list of all the Patrick Madigans born in Limerick for the estimated time period and who the parents of each Patrick Madigan were.

After additional research in Chicago and Salt Lake City, learning who the siblings of my Patrick Madigan were, I was able to determine from the death certificate of Michael Madigan (my great grandfather's brother) that their parents were Patrick Madigan and Margaret Fitzgerald.

I then wrote to the Limerick Regional Archives with this information and the following is the reply I received on September 10, 1999.





Click on each page of the image of the letter to enlarge.

Images courtesy: Elaine M. Beaudoin

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Murder at 5615 W. Roosevelt - 1929

SLAIN IN CICERO SALOON

"William J. Vercoe, 51 years old, a credit expert who recently ventured into business for himself and met reverses, was shot to death last night at the bar of the Pony Inn cafe, 5615 Roosevelt road, Cicero.  Machine gunners killed Assistant State's Attorney William H. McSwiggin three years ago in front of the same resort, which was operated then, as it is now, by Harry Madigan and Michael Wendel.

"Hours after Vercoe died, when the county highway police had found no clues in the victim's apparently respectable past nor obtained enlightening statements from various witnesses, they declared there was only one credible theory in the murder.

"'What probably happened was that Vercoe strayed into a tough spot and spoke out of turn,' said Chief William Collins of the highway police.

Policemen Hear Shot

"Two highway policemen, James Howe and Eugene Majors, heard a single shot from the saloon as they rode past at 6:30 p.m.  Finding front and rear doors locked and observing a number of persons clambering out of the windows, they pursued two of the fugitives, who identified themselves as Wendel, one of the owners, and George McNally, the bartender.

"Inside they found the Negro porter, William Johnson. Bloodstains led from the bar to a stairway, where Vercoe's body, with a bullet wound behind his left ear, lay.

"McNally said Vercoe and two companions came in fifteen minutes before the shooting.  He served them a round of beer and busied himself at the bar until he was called to the women's parlor in the rear when he heard the shot, McNally said.

Attempt to Hide Body

"Wendel, who claimed he was in his office adjacent to the barroom at the moment of the shooting, joined him in attempting to remove the body, McNally said.  They dragged it to concealment, cleared the place of customers, locked the doors from the inside, and fled through windows.  Both men professed they had never seen Vercoe's companions before last night.

"In the slain man's pockets were cards naming him as president of the Vercoe Fuel Oil corporation, 711 (3?)1 South California avenue, and listing one Paul Freeland, 808 East 49th street, as vice president.  Freeland is Vercoe's son-in-law.

"Freeland said Vercoe purchased the oil company, an $80,000 concern, last February, and was lately attempting to obtain capital to rehabilitate it.  Mrs. Vercoe, he said, had been sent to Kankakee Insane asylum fourteen months ago, and Vercoe had frequented Cicero saloons since then, playing cards and endeavoring to interest his barroom acquaintances in the oil company.

"At the Rybski home it was said that for two weeks Reichel had been importuning Rybski daily to go with him to look at an automobile, but Rybski could not find time from his work to do so.  Yesterday morning about 10 o'clock, Miss Rybski said Reichel called for her brother and they left together 'to see that machine.'  He was not seen alive by the family after that.

"At the detective bureau, Reichel was grilled until late this morning.  He steadfastly denied that he had written the extortion notes."

Saloon in Front of which McSwiggin was killed again murder scene
"Madigan's Pony inn at 5615 West Roosevelt road, in which William J. Vercoe was found shot to death behind bar.  William H. McSwiggin, assistant state's attorney, was killed in front of the saloon, where the crowd is gathered."


Source: Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); March 20, 1929; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1890-1984), page 2.  Photo back page of newspaper.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is a most peculiar report in the Chicago Tribune.  In the last sentence of the article "what" extortion notes are they talking about?  The whole story just sounds rather bizarre.

Overview of McSwiggin and Capone Relationship

The following Blog post from The Chicago Crime Scenes Project gives a "sanitized" version of the events of the night of April 27, 1927.

"William McSwiggin was Assistant States' Attorney in Chicago, and had vigorously pursued an indictment against Al Capone in 1924 for killing Joe Howard in a South side bar.  While unable to successfully prosecute Capone (despite the presence of several eye-witnesses), McSwiggin became known as a "hanging" prosecutor.  But there was more to him than met the eye.

"McSwiggin was also a card player, gambler, and drinker, and that naturally brought him into close contact with Capone and his associates on a regular basis.  In fact, with the passage of time, Capone began to consider McSwiggin a friend.  One night in late Spring, 1926, after dinner at his parents' house, McSwiggin and a few close friends went out for a night of gambling and drinks.  Shortly after leaving the house, their car broke down and they ended up joining a couple of other friends in their car. These friends were the O'Donnell brothers, rival bootleggers who had a growing feud with Capone.

"The O'Donnells' shiny new Lincoln went cruising through Cicero with McSwiggin and friends, hitting bar after bar, until they ended up here, at the Pony Inn, not far from Capone's Cicero headquarters.  When word came to Capone that his rivals were encroaching on his territory, he sent a convoy of Lieutenants, armed with machine guns, to make his displeasure known. No one told him his friend McSwiggin was with the group.

"As the drinking party left the Pony Inn, bursts of gunfire sent fifty rounds into the group, killing three, including McSwiggin (the O'Donnells, the targets of the attack, escaped unharmed).
Public outcry at the gangland death of a state prosecutor pushed the police into action.  Chicago police invaded Cicero, arresting Ralph Capone and raiding several Capone-owned joints.  Al fled the city, spending the summer of 1926 among friends in the Italian community in Lansing, Michigan, until the heat died down enough for him to return to the Chicago area.

"Never again, however, was Capone completely unmolested by the police.  Though he had never intended to hurt McSwiggin, he had lost his standing with the public, who began to put increasing pressure on the police to shut down gang operations."

Posted by Kendall, The Chicago Crime Scenes Project: Photographs of locations associated with infamous criminal incidents in Chicago. Thursday, September 30, 2008.