The Tribune's Daily Magazine
(Des Moines Tribune)
26 Feb. 1952
A Bit o' Ireland -- and they Named it Dougherty
Submitted by John D. McLaughlin
By any other name - well, it just wouldn't be! This town
is Dougherty, in Dougherty township, at the southeast corner
of Cerro Gordo county. The first white settler was Daniel
Dougherty, an Irish immigrant from County Donegal, who filed
on the land in 1856 and settled in a log cabin here in 1863.
The first white child born here was the late Jack Dougherty
(it's pronounced "Dowerty") who arrived on July 1, 1863, a month
after his mother came here by covered wagon from Monona.
The township was organized in 1870 and named Prairie - but
this was changed to Dougherty within a year. The first township
trustees were Daniel and son, Hugh. First mayor of the town was
Daniel Dougherty; first constable, Hugh.
The first schoolhouse was built in 1864 - and was filled with
Dougherty children and Humphreys, the latter a family who had
followed Daniel from Monona. In fact, one Matthew Hunphreys was
frozen to death, while trying to unhitch his team, at Marble Rock
while en route to Dougherty.
The town's first lawyer was P.J. Dougherty, son of Dan. The
newspaper here, called "The Dougherty World," (how true!) was
by E.M. Wilson - in Jim Dougherty's barn. (Jim was another of Dan's
Even today, you walk into the Dougherty post office for your mail -
and it's handed to you by Miss Marle Dougherty, postmaster since
1940, or her clerk and sister, Miss Anne Dougherty.
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dougherty, both Irish-born, lived in
Penn., before the trek to Iowa. In Norristown, Dan had worked in a lime
kiln a year, saving his money to send to Mary Gallagher, his bride, for
the six-week sail-boat trip to America to join him.
Dan first came to the midwest with two other immigrants. His
was Minneapolis. But at Dubuque he became ill. The two companions
trekked on - to be massacred by Indians in Minnesota.
After farming a few years at Monona, Dan brought his family - the
start of it - to Cerro Gordo County. In all, the Doughertys had 16
children. Today, five survive.
In a large yellow farmhouse east of town, across the road from
St. Patrick's Catholic church - "the Dougherty church," three
of old Daniel are living.
They are Mrs. John Wade, 90; Miss Margaret, 85; and Miss Theresa,
Sons are Barney, father of the postmistress, who lives on the old home
farm, and Joe, of Butte, Mont.
Miss Theresa was a twin to the late Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edward
who served the church for more than a half century in northeastern
Iowa, including Cresco, Waverly, Dubbuque, and Waterloo. He died about
a year ago.
Miss Theresa, who with a gleam in her eye calls herself "the
girl in the house," was born in old Dan's log cabin, down beside the creek
south of town.
"An Indian squaw who lived south a bit used to come to the log cabin
to help mother when the babies came," she said.
"All of the children born here were hauled in a lumber wagin
40 miles to Waverly to be baptized."
"Margaret and I were the girls who stayed at home to help
My only regret, now, is that I didn't have a chance to spend much time
with Ed, the monsignor. Once, for a short while, I was housekeeper
for him - when he got his first church."
The town of Dougherty, on the North Western railroad, which came
in 1900, is about 11 miles northeast of Ebelfield.
St. Patrick's Cemetery
Dougherty, Daniel Sr. born: 18 Feb. 1829 in Clooncarney, Co.
(note: this is now spelled Cloncarney)
died: 26 Mar. 1911
Dougherty, Mary Gallagher born: 1 Mar. 1829 County Donegal,
died: 7 Jan. 1916
(note: this was Daniel's wife)
Dougherty, Mary Malloy born: 15 Aug. 1795
died: 21 Apr. 1895
(note: this was Daniel's mother)