Palo Alto Co, Iowa USGenWeb Project

Crime does not pay

The Story of Patrick Griffin, His crime and punishment

Patrick Griffin was my first cousin twice removed. Or he was the son of my great grandmother's (Jennie Jane Griffin) brother, John Griffin. Either way, he was a criminal who had to pay for his crime. Family stories abounded about a Griffin who had gone bad. Never could tell which one. Some had that there was a Griffin who was a horse thief and some had a Griffin as a bank robber or getaway care driver at a bank robbery. No one knew which Griffin, which crime, where the crime took place or what year. All stories just said, in the end, he was hung. That part is true. I went hunting for "the Griffin" that was hung and didn't really like what I found, but I laid all those other stories to rest and found what crime, when and where... And as Paul Harvey says..."here's the rest of the story"...

Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, December 22, 1932

Pat Griffin Is In Trouble At Waterloo

He and Companion Are Charged With Murdering Sheriff And Wounding Another Deputy.
The Crime Committed in Shack Near That Place

Tracked in Cornfield Where, Nearly Frozen, They Surrendered to Special Detectives.
Griffin a Former Graettinger Young Man.
Had Been in Trouble Before.

Patrick Griffin, formerly of Graettinger, and his companion, Elmer Brewer, have been arrested at Waterloo, charged with the murder of Deputy Sheriff W. Fay Dilworth. Both men are said to have admitted the shooting. Deputy H.M. Mitchell was also wounded in the melee. According to news stories relative to the crime, Dilworth and Mitchell went to the small Graves shack a half mile east of Waterloo to question Griffin and Brewer in connection with alleged misconduct of Brewer with juvenile girls at the Graves home. Thinking that the officers were coming to arrest them for robbing Bertrand Hill, a meat packer and rodeo show man at Topeka, Kansas, the two men decided that they would shoot it out with the officers.

Brewer and Griffin said that they fled to Chicago after the Kansas robbery, bought a car and drove to Waterloo. They were staying at the home of Mrs. E.F.Graves east of Waterloo. Brewer's German Luger automatic pistol was found about 20 feet from the scene of the crime. Griffin had his .38 automatic in his possession when the two men were tracked in the snow and captured five miles from the scene of the shooting by City Detective Crumrine and P.V. Stealy, a rabbit hunter. Detective Crumrine had followed the fugitives footprints in the snow for a mile when he met Stealy. Together they followed the tracks and overtook Brewer and Griffin five miles east of where the slaying had occurred. The fugitives had no guns in their hands and surrendered without resistance. They were almost frozen when caught. The death penalty will be sought for the two men, according to county authorities. The information against the two does not specify the degree. However, conviction on a first degree count will be asked.

Patrick Griffin is well known in Palo Alto county. He is a son of Mrs. John Griffin, formerly of Graettinger who moved some time ago to Waterloo. A brother, Ray Griffin, also lives at Waterloo. The suspected murderer was born, we believe, in Missouri. The family moved to this city about 25 years ago. Young Griffin attended our local schools for a short time. Later Mr and Mrs Griffin moved to Graettinger. Mr. Griffin, Sr., passed away at that place eight or ten years ago. Patrick was seen in Emmetsburg about six weeks ago. At that time he was riding a horse and leading two others.

For many years Griffin was a well known character around Graettinger. He always took a prominent part in rodeo shows and activities of like nature. He was an excellent horseman. We are told, however, that whenever he was under the influence of liquor he was very troublesome. In March, 1924, he was arrested on the charge of assaulting Joe Gagrielson, a town assessor at that place. Griffin was having an argument with another party when Gabrielson interfered. Without warning Griffin was said to have struck the old gentleman several times, cutting a deep gash over his eyes and rendering him unconscious. The charge as filed against Griffin was "assault with intent to do great bodily injury." He was tried before Judge Davidson in this city and on March 20, 1924, was sentenced to  one year in the State Reformatory at Anamosa. However, he was later released after serving about eight months of his sentence because of good behavior.

Since his release he has continued to associate himself more or less with show people. Two years ago he was a member of the rodeo company which presented an exhibition at the Palo Alto County Fair. Little has been heard of him since until the Waterloo tragedy. He is said to be about 33 years of age.

Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, January 12, 1933

Griffin Is Found Guilty of Slaying
Graettinger Man Will Be Sentenced Monday for Death of Waterloo Officer.
Brewer, His Co-defendant, Must Hang January 26, 1934

Pat Griffin of Graettinger has been convicted by a Waterloo district court jury of first degree murder in connection with the death of Deputy Sheriff F.W. Dilworth near Waterloo last year, and the death penalty was asked by the jury. Griffin will be sentenced Monday.

Elmer Brewer of Waterloo, Griffin's co-defendant in the murder charge which arose when the officer was shot and killed as he tried to arrest Brewer on a statuary charge at the latter's home, Monday was sentenced to death. January 26, 1934, was set as the execution date. If Griffin is sentenced to hang his execution probably will be scheduled for about a week after Brewer's. A year must elapse between sentence and execution, according to Iowa law.

Defense attorney McCartney has announced he will appeal the cases to the supreme court.


Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, January 19, 1933

"Pat" Griffin To Hang in Jan. '34
Graettinger Man's Execution Date Fixed by Trial Judge, Who Heard Charge of Slaying Deputy Sheriff. Motion for New Hearing is Over-ruled.

Patrick Griffin of Graettinger must hang.

The sentence was said Monday in a Waterloo court by Judge George Wood. The execution date was fixed for January 26, 1934, the day set for the hanging of Elmer Brewer, Griffin's convicted co-defendant in the murder of Deputy Sheriff Dilworth of Waterloo last year.

"I'm sorry it happened," Griffin told the court before hearing the sentence. "I had no intention of killing anyone." Dilworth was shot to death when he tried to arrest Brewer at the latter's home, where Griffin was staying.

Monday morning Griffin's attorney pleaded for a new trial, which was refused by the court. It was not stated that an appeal will be taken.

Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, June 4, 1934

Brewer-Griffin Hangings Delayed
By Appeal for Rehearing in Their Convictions of First Degree Murder.
Cases Set for Last Week in February.

 Chief Clerk Garrett of the Iowa supreme court announced that the appeals of Pat Griffin and Elmer Brewer from their murder conviction will automatically delay their hanging set for January 26. Issuance of formal stays will not be necessary. It will be remembered that the Graettinger boy and Brewer were convicted of killing Deputy Sheriff W.F. Dilworth of Black Hawk county, as he was attempting to arrest the two men in a small shack near Waterloo a year ago. Supreme court hearings in the two cases are scheduled for the last week in February. Attorney James Fay of this city is representing Griffin in the appeal.

Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, February 7, 1935

Gov. Herring Refuses To Change Original Sentence
Date is Set at April 5. To the Gallows at 7:30 a.m. Brewer Must Hang Fifteen Minutes Earlier. Griffin a Former Graettinger Young Man. Convicted of Murder.

Patrick Griffin and Elmer Brewer, slayers of Deputy Sheriff W. Fay Dilworth of Waterloo, must hang! Brewer will step upon the gallows at 7:15 a.m. Friday, April 5, and Griffin will follow him fifteen minutes later-at 7:30. This information came Wednesday morning to the Democrat from Governor Herring's office at Des Moines and also from Fort Madison where Griffin and Brewer have been in the death row for some time. Inquiry of Attorney James Fay of Emmetsburg, who has been handling Mr. Griffin's appeal for a review of the case by the state supreme court, which was fruitless, and also in a personal appeal to Governor Herring to commute the sentence to life imprisonment, reveals that he is not yet through fighting for Griffin's life. He has not, however, announced his next move.

History of Case

Most of our readers are thoroughly familiar with the Waterloo shooting affair which snuffed out the life of Deputy Sheriff W. Fay Dilworth near Waterloo in December, 1932. Deputy H.M. Mitchell was also wounded in the affair. According to the news stories relative to the crime, Dilworth and Mitchell went to the small Graves shack a half mile east of Waterloo to question Griffin and Brewer in connection with alleged misconduct of Brewer with juvenile girls at the Graves home. It was alleged that Brewer and Griffin, thinking that the officers were coming to arrest them for the robbery of Bertrand Hill, a meat packer and rodeo man at Topeka, Kansas, the two men decided they would shoot it out with the officers. As Dilworth and Mitchell entered the shack, Brewer opened fire, followed by Griffin who did likewise. Several shots were fired. It was not proven whose gun killed Dilworth. After the tragedy both Brewer and Griffin fled through the snow and were finally located about five miles from the scene of the crime. The pair were tried for murder at Waterloo the following January found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. The date for the hanging was set for January, 1934.

Later Attorney James Fay of Emmetsburg entered the case in defense of Griffin. An appeal for a new trial was made and the date of the scheduled hanging was temporarily set back. Finally an effort was made to have the state supreme court reverse the verdict but the attempt was unsuccessful. The matter finally rested in the governor's hands and he announced that he would set a new date for the execution. During the past couple of weeks Attorney Fay appeared personally before Governor Herring and made a plea that the executive commute the sentence to life imprisonment. We understand that Mr. Fay charged that Griffin did not have the advantage during the original trial, of competent legal advice and that the passion and prejudice at Waterloo was such as to have affected the verdict. No hint was given out as to the effect of the plea until Wednesday forenoon when Governor Herring definitely announced that he would stand by the verdict of the Waterloo jury and the supreme court. He, thereupon, proceeded to set April 5, 1935, as the date for the hanging of the two men.

Facts Regarding Griffin

Griffin is, of course, well known in Palo Alto County. He is a son of Mrs. John Griffin, formerly of Graettinger, who moved some time ago to Waterloo. A brother, Ray Griffin, also lives at Waterloo. Mr. Griffin was born in Missouri. The family moved to Emmetsburg about 28 years ago. Pat Griffin attended the Emmetsburg schools for a short time. Later Mr. and Mrs. Griffin and their family moved to Graettinger where they resided until a couple of years ago. Mr. Griffin, Sr. died about twelve years ago. For many years Patrick Griffin was a well known young man in the Graettinger neighborhood. He always took a prominent part in rodeos and like events as he was an expert horseman. In march, 1924, he was arrested for assaulting Jos. Gabrielson, an elderly Graettinger man. he was tried before Judge Davidson in Emmetsburg and received a sentence of one year in the state reformatory at Anamosa. He was released eight months later. After his release he spent little of his time at Graettinger, having joined up with a rodeo company. At one time he appeared with a rodeo show at the Palo Alto county fair. Little was heard about him from that time until he was arrested on the murder charge.

Rev. McEvoy to Assist

The condemned man, we understand, had offered to turn all of his earnings, if he was successful in his plea for a change of sentence, from his prison labors over to the family of the dead sheriff. He had expressed regret over the affair in which he appeared so prominently. An unusual angle of the affair, as far as Palo Alto people are concerned, is the announcement that the Rev. Leo McEvoy, Catholic priest at Ruthven, has promised Mr. Griffin that he will attend him in his death cell on the day of the execution. Father McEvoy and Patrick Griffin were classmates when they were grade school children. On one of his visits to Fort Madison, Mr. Griffin requested of Father McEvoy that he attend him during his last hours and the good pastor gladly volunteered his services. Father McEvoy accompanied Attorney Fay to Des Moines when the local lawyer made his appeal for clemency.

Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, April 4, 1935

Pat Griffin Given Stay of Execution
Governor Herring Sets New Date for Hanging as June 5.
Fay Given Time to Present Matter to United States Supreme Court.
A Long Drawn Out Legal Battle.

Patrick Griffin of Graettinger and Elmer Brewer, who were sentenced to hang Friday, April 5, for the murder of Deputy Sheriff William Dilworth of Waterloo, were granted a sixty-day stay of execution by Governor Herring in response to pleas of Attorney James A. Fay of Emmetsburg and John L. McCartney of Waterloo, and, acting on the advice of Attorney General O'Connor, Governor Herring signed the reprieve at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. Copies of the order were immediately sent to H.T. Wagner, sheriff of Black Hawk county, and Warden G.C. Haynes of the Fort Madison penitentiary. The stay order was granted after Attorney Fay had been closeted with the governor for more than two hours.

Mr. Fay informs the press that he intends to carry the case to the United States supreme court on an original habeas corpus action. In making his plea for a stay of execution before the Governor, Attorney Fay pleaded for enough time to go to Washington, D.C. to ask for permission of the U.S. supreme court to file a petition in which he will charge that Griffin and Brewer were deprived of their constitutional rights through an "unfair and hasty trial."

The stay order sets forth that Griffin and Brewer are to be hanged June 5th.

On Monday the Iowa supreme court denied Attorney Fay's request for a review of a district court denial of a habeas corpus writ, exhausting all avenues for appeals in Iowa courts. Mr. Fay then announced his decision to carry the fight to the U.S. supreme court.

Our readers will remember that some time ago an appeal to the Iowa supreme court was denied and that later Governor Herring refused to extend executive clemency.

The crime for which Griffin and Brewer were convicted was the murder of Deputy Sheriff Dilworth on December 16, 1932, while he was attempting to arrest them in a shack near Waterloo. The deputy sheriff was authorized to arrest Brewer on a statutory charge when the tragedy occurred. Griffin spent most of his life in the vicinity of Graettinger. During the past few years he took an active part in rodeo work where he appeared with rodeo companies in various sections of the country. At an early age he attended school in Emmetsburg.

Emmetsburg Democrat, Thursday, June 6, 1935

Pat Griffin Elmer Brewer Are Hanged
Executed in Fort Madison Penitentiary on Wednesday Morning for Murder of Deputy Sheriff Dilworth of Waterloo in 1932

Made by Attorneys Fay and McCartney to Save Their Lives, But to No Avail

Patrick Griffin, a former Graettinger young man and Elmer Brewer were hung at the Fort Madison penitentiary at 5:26 a.m. Wednesday for the murder of Deputy Sheriff H.T. Wagner of Waterloo. Within fourteen minutes Griffin was dead. Mr .Brewer's life was extinct two minutes later. Nearly fifty, including two women, witnessed the double execution, the first of its kind in Iowa.

Thus closes a case which has been more or less in the courts since December 16, 1932. Attorney James Fay of Emmetsburg and Attorney John McCartney of Waterloo made valiant efforts to save the lives of the two men, but to no avail. Following their conviction of the murder in the district court in Waterloo on January 5, 1933, they were sentenced to be hanged on January 26, 1934. In May, 1933, an appeal was filed with the state supreme court, thus automatically staying the execution. The supreme court denied the appeal. On June 24, 1934, Attorneys Fay and McCartney petitioned the supreme court for a rehearing. This was denied January 10, 1935. A plea for commutation of the sentences to life imprisonment was denied by Governor Clyde Herring on February 1 and the chief executive set April 5, 1935, as the execution date. Continuing farther with their efforts the attorneys sought a writ of habeas corpus from District Judge John Craig of Fort Madison, but their request was denied. The refusal opened another loophole for the attorneys to ask a review of Judge Craig's action. Again refused, the lawyers announced that they would go to the United States supreme court where they would ask the court for a writ of habeas corpus. In order to allow time for this step Governor Herring granted the convicted slayers a 60-day stay of execution but at the same time he announced that it was the last reprieve that could be expected from him. Illness of defense attorneys, it was said, prevented them from prosecuting their appeal to the supreme court. Monday Mr. Fay appealed to Federal District Court Judge Charles A. Dewey for a stay order and a writ of habeas corpus, but Judge Dewey refused to interfere. In Des Moines Tuesday a last minute effort to save the men was made in an appeal to Governor Herring, but the appeal for a commutation of sentence was denied.

Rev. E.L. McEvoy of Ruthven, accompanied by the prison chaplain, Father W.E. Lawler, attended Griffin and Brewer before and during their march to the gallows, where they also administered the last rites of the church to the condemned men. Attorney Fay also spent some time with Griffin before he was called to enter upon the death march. He also witnessed the execution.

Notes: Rumor has it that my great grandfather, Ed McNally, uncle of Patrick Griffin, went to Fort Madison to bring the body back for burial.

While researching the story of Patrick Griffin, I found that he is buried at St. Jacob's Cemetery, in Graettinger, Palo Alto, Iowa. There is no tombstone to mark his grave, I noticed,  upon paying a visit to the cemetery. My uncle says he is buried next to his father, John Griffin and his mother, Susie Lyons Griffin. I don't know what happened to Patrick's brother, Ray Griffin who was probably born c. 1901. A newspaper article of 1915 mentioned Ray was still living in Graettinger.

I am looking for any descendants or anyone who knows more of this family.--Cathy Joynt Labath

Descendants of Maurice Griffin
Maurice Griffin was the grandfather of Patrick Griffin. My grandmother Jennie Jane Griffin McNally was his aunt. Jennie's brother, John Griffin and Susie Lyons were Patrick's Parents. Maurice Griffin was my great, great grandfather.

Generation No. 1


1. MAURICE1 GRIFFIN was born Abt. 1830 in County Mayo, Ireland, and died Abt. 1912 in Caledonia, Minnesota. He married ELIZABETH CUNNINGHAM in County Mayo, Ireland. She was born in County Mayo, Ireland, and died 01/30/1872 in Caledonia, Minnesota.


Census Place: Sheldon, Houston, Minnesota 1880
Source: FHL Film 1254623 National Archives Film T9-0623 Page 343B
Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Kate GRIFFIN Dau F S W 24 MI
Occ: Keeps House Fa: IRELAND Mo: IRELAND
Michael GRIFFIN Son M S W 16 MN
Occ: At School Fa: IRELAND Mo: IRELAND
Jane GRIFFIN Dau F S W 14 MN
Occ: At School Fa: IRELAND Mo: IRELAND
Lizzie GRIFFIN Dau F S W 12 MN
Occ: At School Fa: IRELAND Mo: IRELAND
Mary GRIFFIN Dau F S W 10 MN
Occ: At School Fa: IRELAND Mo: IRELAND


Occupation: 1880, Farmer
Residence: 1880, Sheldon, Houston, Minnesota



i. JOHN2 GRIFFIN, b. 09/13/1853, Michigan; d. 01/18/1914, Walnut Township, Palo Alto Co, Iowa; m. SUSIE LYONS, 09/19/1890, Minnesota (Source: Emmetsburg Democrat, 21 Jan 1914, John Griffin Passes Away.); d. 10/02/1934 (Source: St. Jacob's Cemetery Records.).


From the Palo Alto Tribune, Wed. Jan. 21, 1914 page 5:

John Griffin Dead

John Griffin died at this home in Walnut township at 6:30 Sunday morning after a week's illness with acute pleurisy. The funeral was held at Graettinger Tuesday morning, the services conducted by Rev. J. Kelly at the Catholic church here.

John Griffin was born in Michigan in 1853. When a year old his parents moved to Minnesota where he grew to manhood. He went south and remained there until twelve years ago he came to this county. Part of the time since has been spent in Emmetsburg and part in Graettinger. A year ago the family moved on to the D.M. Leek farm in Walnut where they have since resided. In 1891 Mr. Griffin was united in marriage to Miss Susie Lyons. She and two sons, Patrick, aged 16, and Raymond, aged 13 survive him. Up to a weeks or so before his death Mr. Griffin was in good health. He took a severe cold from exposure which developed acute pleurisy. His death is untimely and unexpected and hence a severe blow to his wife and family. Besides them he leaves one brother, Michael Griffin of Seattle, and three sisters, Mrs. Kate Walsh and Mrs. Mary Search of Redwing, Minn., and Mrs. Nellie McCormick of Houston, Minn.; to all of whom we extend sincere sympathy.

From the Emmetsburg Democrat, 21 Jan 1914:

John Griffin Passes Away

Funeral Was Held at Graettinger Yesterday.

Sunday our citizens were pained to learn of the death of John Griffin, brother of the late Mrs. Edward McNally, at his home on the old D.M. Leek farm a couple of miles northwest of Osgood. A week ago Monday evening he was taken with a severe pain in the upper part of his chest. Dr. O'Brien was summoned and pronounced the ailment acute pleurisy. Soon after his condition became serious and all efforts to save his life proved fruitless. The funeral was held yesterday. Services were conducted at the church of the Immaculate Conception at Graettinger, Rev. J Kelly officiating. The interment was in the parochial cemetery. A number of relatives and friends from this locality were in attendance.

Mr. Griffin was born in the state of Michigan, September 13, 1852. Hence he was 61 years of age. His parents moved to Minnesota in 1853. He was married to Miss Susie Lyon September 19, 1890. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin became residents of Emmetsburg in 1900. Some time later they located in the vicinity of Graettinger. Mr. Griffin is survived by his wife and two sons-Patrick, aged 13 and Roy, aged 12. One brother, Michael, lives at Seattle, Washington. Two sisters, Catherine and Mary, live at Red Wing, Minnesota, and a sister, Nellie, resides at Houston, Minnesota.

Mr. Griffin was a modest, quiet, deserving man. He was not, in a social or in a business way, very widely known, but he was frugal and industrious and he led a most exemplary and useful life. He was a home man. He always looked carefully and dutifully after the needs of his wife and smal lfamily and he made every sacrifice necessary for their comfort and their happiness. His employers soon learned to have confidence in him. Ordinary judges of human nature are not, as a rule, slow in recognizing merit in individuals. He was thoughtful and practical in religious affairs, believing that all men will be held accountable by Providence for their deeds as well as for their professions. The sympathy of many friends is extended to Mrs. Griffin and her two sons in their sorrow.


St. Jacob's Cemetery:

: Griffins listed:: Sec. 27, Lot 2

: 1. John Griffin birthdate - 9/13/1853 death date - 1/18/1914 burial : date - 1/20/1914



Burial: 01/20/1914, St. Jacob's Cemetery, Graettinger, Palo Alto, Iowa (Source: St. Jacob's Cemetery Records.)

Cause of Death: acute pleurisy


Burial: 10/05/1934, St. Jacob's Cemetery, Graettinger, Palo Alto, Iowa (Source: St. Jacob's Cemetery Records.)

ii. KATE GRIFFIN, b. Bet. 1855 - 1856, Michigan (Source: 1880 Sheldon, Houston, MN Federal Census.); m. RICHARD WALSH.


Residence: 1914, Redwing, Minnesota (Source: Obit of John Griffin, Jan 21, 1914.)

iii. MICHAEL GRIFFIN, b. Bet. 1863 - 1864, Minnesota (Source: 1880 Sheldon, Houston, MN Federal Census.).


Residence: 1914, Seattle, Washington (Source: Obit of John Griffin, Jan 21, 1914.)

iv. JANE JENNIE GRIFFIN, b. 03/01/1865, Minnesota; d. 04/28/1912, Emmetsburg, Palo Alto, Iowa; m. EDWARD MCNALLY, 07/23/1888, Emmetsburg Iowa; b. 06/11/1864, Ixonia, Wisconsin; d. 12/11/1950, Emmetsburg, Palo Alto, Iowa (Source: Assumption Death Records, Palo Alto Co, IA 1927-1948, age 86nearest relative Mrs. Paul Kerber, Emmetsburg.).




Died Early Sunday Morning After a Long Illness

Sunday morning Mrs. Edward McNally passed away at her home in this city. She was taken ill during the latter part of January. She was given the best of medical attention and she had the assistance of a trained nurse during her long and most trying illness, but it seems that death had claimed her. She retained her courage to the last, ardently hoping that she might be spared to give for a few years longer the loving, motherly attention that her family required; but such, it is evident, was not the will of Providence. She died fully fortified by all of the spiritual advantages that the fervant, confiding Christian could possess in passing from time to eternity.

The funeral was held Tuesday. There was a requiem high mass at Assumption church. Father Conway was the celebrant. The interment was in St. Johnís cemetery. There was a large attendance. The W.O.O.F. and the L.A. of the A.O.H. were present. The pall bearers were Bert Hughes, E.J. McEvoy, W.I.Branagan, J.R. Martin, P.F. McMahon and Peter Bough. There were a number of beautiful floral offerings, the gifts of friends and societies to which Mrs. McNally belonged.

Jane Griffin was born at Caledonia, Houston county, Minnesota, March 1, 1865. She came to Palo Alto county about thirty years ago. July 23, 1888 she was united in marriage to Edward McNally at Assumption church in this city, Rev. Daniel Murphy officiating. Mr. and Mrs. McNally subsequently made their home in Emmetsburg. The surviving members of the family are the husband, three sons and four daughters. The sons are Raymond R., Clement J., and Maurice Edward. The daughters are Elizabeth Genevieve, Mary Bernette, Veronica Kathlene and Mildred Irene. One daughter died in infancy. Her father, Maurice Griffin, who is quite aged, lives at Red Wing, Minnesota, as do also two sisters, Mrs. Richard Walsh and Mrs. Wm. Search. Another sister, Mrs. C.P. McCormick, resides at Houston, Minnesota. There are two brothers, John Griffin of Graettinger and Michael of Seattle, Washington. Mrs. McNally was a member of the W.O.O.F. the L.A. of the A.O.H., the Living Rosary Society and the Purgatorial Society.

The death of Mrs. McNally is not only an irrepable loss to her devoted husband and seven sons and daughters, but it is keenly felt by our entire community, of which she was an acitve, worthy, and helpful member for nearly a quarter of a century. She was a lady of more than average intelligence, of keen discernment, and of true zeal for the attainment of all that is elevating and edifying in the lives of individuals as well as in the organized efforts of communities. Those who knew her intimately were fully convinced of this predominating purpose in her character. No woman in Emmetsburg understood better her responsibilities in her home and none, we are sure, gave to them closer, more far seeing or more self-sacrificing attention. That her love, care, devotion and maternal ambition had more than ordinary influence on the members her household was unmistakably manifested by them during the uncertain, slowly passing, painful hours of her last illness. To their spiritual and temporal welfare she had given the best years of her pious, thoughful, industrious, helpful life and they, in return, did everything that affection could suggest to assist her, to comfort her and to cheer her. Mrs. McNally was not only one of the most anxious, prudent, and provident of mothers, but she was a warm-hearted friend, an obliging neighbor, a practical social planner, and an exceptionally willing worker in church affairs. In fact she was never indifferent if any local activity in which she felt it her duty to make herself useful. She was always willing to undertake her part and to do it as well as her ability and time would permit. Her confidences in Godís goodness, her readiness to do his holy will as best she could, and her disposition to make any sacrifice that he might require of her earned for her the high regard of those who appreciate sincere motives and enobling Christian deeds, and they did much to make her laudable efforts successful. She was called at a comparatively early age from those whom she so fondly loved and for whom she had so anxiously and helpfully toiled. May Providence comfort and guide them, during the coming years, and lighten the burden of anguish that now weighs heavily on their tender hearts. The sympathy of all is extended to Mr. McNally, to the sons and daughters, and to the other relatives in their bereavement.




1900 census lists him as deputy sheriff. Owns own home in city of Emmetsburg.

1907-listed as constable in Emmetsburg.From the Emmetsburg Democrat Wednesday, January 9, 1907:

-Emmetsburg Democrat
Emmetsburg, Palo Alto Co, Iowa
June 1950

Edward (E) McNally, one of Emmetsburg's oldest active businessmen, marked his 86th birthday Sunday, June 11.

One of the real old timers in this vicinity he came here with his parents via the covered wagon trails 75 years ago.

The McNally family upon arrival in town settled just west of the Des Moines river and began farming operations. Ed worked with his parents on the farm. Schools were few and far between and formal education ended with the third grade. Not being one to quit he built on this education until he was quite versed in buiness and financial matters. He is head of the McNally real estate and abstract business here.

Mr. McNally was 23 when he met Miss Jennie Griffen in Emmetsburg and after a year of courtship the couple married. They had eight children, three boys and five girls, six of whom are living. All of the children live in or near Emmetsburg with the exception of one daughter Sister Mary Edwardetta who is teaching at Holy Angels convent in Milwaukee, Wis. Mrs. McNally passed away 28 years ago and the children describe their father as having been both mother and father to them.

A long career of business and public service is pleasant to look back on. He has not only been prominent in the real estate and loan business but also served as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, school board member, deputy sheriff, and has held other responsible posts. He still actively supervises his office in Emmetsburg.

In addition to Sister Mary Edwardetta, his children are Ray and Maurice McNally, Mrs. Floyd McCain, Mrs. Paul Kerber and Mrs. D.W. Joynt all of the Emmetsburg vicinity.


From the Emmetsburg Reporter September 12, 1950

Prominent Local Man Served in Many Civic Jobs

Edward McNally, 86, prominent and longtime resident of Emmetsburg, died in the local hospital Monday morning at 9 o'clock after a lingering illness.

Mr. McNally had been ill for many months and not infrequently critically ill but his great vitality and "will to live" had always carried him through. Since August he had been at the home of his daughter, Mr. and Mrs. D.W. Joynt, near Emmetsburg and the last week he was treated at the hospital.


Even in his last days he retained his cheerful attitude and sense of humor. When asked one morning recently if a crying child had kept him awake during the night, his eyes twinkled and he said, "No, I probably kept the baby awake."


Funeral services will be held at Assumption church Thursday morning at 9:30 o'clock with the Very W.F. Mason, his pastor and longtime friend, officiating. Burial will be in St. John's cemetery. The body will be at the McNally home at 2108 Fourteenth street, until the time of the funeral. The Martin Funeral Home is in charge.

Few residents of Emmetsburg had lived here so long or been so active in building up the community as Mr. McNally. One of the real "old timers", he came to Palo Alto county with his parents in a covered wagon 75 years ago.

The family settled just west of the Des Moines reiver and began farming operations, the boy, "Ed", putting in some hard licks and long days on the farm. Schools were few and far between and formal education ended with the third grade, but Mr. McNally, with a hunger for learning, "made out" his own education and became one of Palo Alto county's best versed men in business and financial matters.

He was 23 when he met Miss Jenny Griffen in Emmetsburg and a year later they were married. They had eight children, three boys and five girls, six of whom are living. Mrs. McNally passed away 28 years ago and Mr. McNally became both a father and "mother" to the growing family of children. Never shirking this care, he showered attention and devotion on his youngsters through the years he alone bore this responsibility.


He was one of Emmetsburg's best known businessmen, for years serving as head of the McNally Real Estate and Abstract firm. But he alwasy spared time for communitly service and has probably contributed as much as any other person to civic affairs. He served on the draft boards of both World War I and World War II capably, and fairly.


He is a former secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, a former deputy sheriff and a former of the Board of Education. In all of these duties he gave his best efforts.

Mr. McNally had a wide understanding of human nature and helped ocuntless persons when they were in need. His sympathy for the trials of others won him many friends.

He had a big store of "common sense" and contempt for what he felt wer foolish worries. Till well toward the last, he defied hsi doctor's orders and reported for duty at his office, climbing a flight of stairs to reach them.

The community will regret his death and extends sympathy to the family. The six surviving children are Ray and Maurice McNally, Mrs. Floyd McCain, Mrs. Paul Kerber and Mrs. D.W. Joynt, all of Emmetsburg, and Sister Mary Edwardetta of Holy Angels convent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Burial: 12/14/1950, St. John's Cemetery/Palo Alto County, Iowa (Source: Assumption Death Records, Palo Alto Co, IA 1927-1948.)

Cause of Death: arteriosclerosis

Residence: 1922, Colorado Springs, Colorado

v. MARY A GRIFFIN, b. Bet. 1869 - 1870, Minnesota (Source: 1880 Sheldon, Houston, MN Federal Census.); m. WILL SEARCH.


Residence: 1914, Redwing, Minnesota (Source: Obit of John Griffin, Jan 21, 1914.)

vi. NELLIE GRIFFIN, b. 01/1872, Minnesota (Source: 1900 Pleasant Hill, Winona, Minnesota Census.); m. CHRISTOPHER P MCCORMICK, Bet. 1887 - 1888 (Source: 1900 Pleasant Hill, Winona, Minnesota Census.); b. 08/1870, Minnesota (Source: 1900 Pleasant Hill, Winona, Minnesota Census.).


Residence: 1914, Houston, Minnesota (Source: Obit of John Griffin, Jan 21, 1914.)


Occupation: 1900, Farmer/Pleasant Hill Twp, Winona Co, Minnesota


Palo Alto County, Iowa USGenWeb Project Scott County, Iowa Genealogy Celtic Cousins A Little Bit of Ireland The Irish in Iowa Joynt/Joint Family Chronicles Other Family Ties