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.

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.

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