Friends of Old St. Michael's


Please, take a minute to let us know you stopped by.


On December 3rd, 2018, William Donahue wrote

I knew Urban Griffin, as he and my Dad were good friends, and visited a lot. I believe he was married to an Iowa City, IA attorney, Cora Unash Griffin. Her law office was just south of the IC railroad depot on Dubuque St. (bldg. just torn down in the last few months). Urban and she had a farm where they lived, just west of Hills, IA, up until he past away (early to mid 1970's).
If I am not mistaken, Urban may have been my grandmother's (Julia Griffin Donohoe)younger brother. Julia was married to T.F. Donohoe.

On November 30th, 2018, Donald Griffin wrote

My great grandparents Daniel and Mabel Griffin lost their farm directly south of St Michaels during depression but my Uncle Urban Griffin bought it back in the early 1960's I wrote a history of Holbrook for an Iowa History class I took at Univ of Iowa in 1970's. My sister Mary Jean Goodnow is President of Delta College in Bay City Michigan. We are all interested in our Irish heritage ie Donohoes.Spratts, Hannon and Gallagher families.

On June 25th, 2018, William (Bill) wrote

My dad was Clement Donahue, Uncles: Lyle Donohoe, Jimmy Donohoe and Aunt Mina (Gaffey). Grandparents: TF and Julia Griffin Donohoe. I have no idea how the spelling of our last name changed, although my dad always blamed it on the U.S. Army.My dad was a WWII vet, landed in North Africa and ended up in Germany, but made it home to Holbrook when the war ended. My mom was Kathleen McCabe from Cosgrove. Sadly everyone just mentioned is now deceased, including mom and dad. My first cousins include Dorothyjean Jensen, Jeanne Malichky, Arkie Donohoe, etc., etc.
I never met my Grandfather, T.F., but would be interested in any information about him. He and Julia are buried a little north and east of the Church bldg. There are many names in this guestbook that I recognize as relatives. Happy to hear from any or all. Go IRISH!
Bill Donahue-Iowa City (brother Steve in Iowa City as well)

On May 18th, 2018, Michele Burke Droessler wrote

On June 4th, 2015, Mary Flynn wrote

I stopped by because ancestors were parishioners (Fitzgeralds and Cunninghams) who were married here.

On August 26th, 2014, Terry Murrin wrote

When is the 2014 Irish Heritage Day?

On February 13th, 2014, Jackie Shepherd wrote

I am the 3x great-grand-daughter of Thomas and Bridget Hanson. It makes me very proud to find out what a big part they played in establishing St. Michael's. It must have been a very difficult and slow journey in those days to take a lumber wagon powered by oxen all the way to Iowa City to get the priest and bring him all the way back to Holbrook. Thanks for all the information. I will be able to make a very complete Hanson family tree.

On November 25th, 2013, silver wrote

“Well what happened to me is I was dating a guy for almost two years. Then I found out his ex girlfriend moved back to our town and started talking to him. She was a really bad influence on him and was reuniting such a good relationship that we had. I didn't know what to do and I had tried a few spells in the past from psychics, but none worked to bring him back. When I finally tried Dr. samba the other girl got out of the picture and he came back to me within a 3days. There are definitely some powerful forces out there that can be a true blessing! The email is contact him and your relationship shall flourish

On April 17th, 2013, Tim Donohoe wrote

We are planning a bus trip to Holbrook, Iowa, on June 27, 2013, Thursday, as part of our “Donohoe” Family Reunion being held in Davenport, Iowa, the week of June 23, 2013.

This Donohoe Family is a direct descendant of Anthony Patrick (AP) Donohoe (born in Holbrook Oct 4, 1875; died in Davenport 1953). AP was one of 12 children born to James and Ellen (Bolton) Donohoe who emigrated from Ireland and settled in Holbrook, Iowa, sometime around the mid 1800’s (listed in the 1860 census).

James was from county Cavan and Ellen was from county Tipperary in Ireland.

AP married Catherine McCormack while residing in Davenport, Iowa, and they had 5 children - Carmela, Leo, Kathryn Linore (Tiffany), Richard Lourdes (“Doc”) and Charles Dick. The lone living descendant is my uncle Dick in West Long Branch, NJ.

We would like to “expand” our visit to Holbrook by inviting other “Donohoe” relatives and friends that live in the Holbrook area to come over and meet with us from 11 AM to 3 PM. We’ll be providing beverages and snacks.

In addition, our bus trip will include dinner and drinks at the Ox Yoke Inn in the Amana Colonies at 5 PM before returning to Davenport, and all would be welcome to join us.

On July 10th, 2012, Bernadette wrote

Thank you for this wonderful website. I am the grandaughter of Frank & Mina Gaffey. I have been researching my family and find that I am related to Gaffey, Kelley, Gray, Gillin, Donohoe, McCabe & Griffin families. I lived near Holbrook from 1970-1973 and went to school in Parnell. I was able to visit St. Michaels again in 2011 and felt an amazing "sense of belonging". If anyone has stories or photos that you would be willing to share about my ancestors I would love to hear from you. Thank you again for this website.

On May 31st, 2012, Tom Spratt wrote

I am a grandson (son of Raymond) of William & Julia Spratt who are buried directly behind the old church. I recently moved back to Iowa from CA and we really enjoyed visiting there once more Mem Day 2012. My sister Allison and Mom Ida joined me in walking the grounds that meant so much to all our long depared ancestors...the Murphy's, Spratt's, Dunn's, Quinns,and Duffy clan. You could just feel the years and history in the gentle aura escourting you with every single step.

On March 4th, 2012, Mary Russell wrote

Daughter of Thomas F Carney searching for ancestors.So many names listed brought back memories of my parents and farm neighbors

On February 16th, 2012, Diane Nelson wrote

Thanks for a great website. My Great Great Grandparents Peter and Margaret Morrin were buried at Holbrook Cemetery. Their children were Mary Morrin Dunn, Bridget Morrin Hanson, Peter Jr., Joseph Patrick, Michael, Catherine Morrin, John, James. Joseph Patrick moved to Palo Alto County, Iowa. JP had nine children. The spelling was changed from Morrin to Moran and the pronunciation was changed as well. It would be interesting to learn how to connect to my distant cousins who still live in the Holbrook area. Thanks again,
Diane Moran Nelson

On December 4th, 2011, Mark Hanson wrote

It's good to see someone is taking care of this web site. Holbrook is a magical place.

On November 17th, 2011, bobby jett wrote

My great great grandparents, Michael Murphy and Emma Claffey were married in 1878 in the Holbrook Church. He is buried with his first wife at the Windham Cemetery, there site of the first church. Does anyone know where i might find the marriage listing or the early church records? I would like a copy of their marriage.
thanks so much

On October 3rd, 2011, Mike Lorenz wrote

I am the great grandson of John and Rose Donahue who are buried in the cemetery. I appreciate the great job you have done with the website and the cemetery records included herein. I hope to visit the area in the near future just to see the area they called "home" for most of their lives. Thanks!

On September 23rd, 2011, Michael Sheridan wrote

I am the greatgrandson of Bernard and Catherine Butler sheridan. I believe they were married in the original church because they were married 2/25/1865. There is one of the stained glass windows in the existing church donated by them. I would like very much to get a photo of the interior of the church and the window. I will be in Iowa City the 20th of Oct. for Homecoming, Any chance to get into the church. Thanks very much
Mike Sheridan

On September 5th, 2011, RoseAnne Donohoe Russell wrote

Re: Fr. Mannings death. Our family attended his ordination.Fr. John, his brother was parish priest at the time. Fr.John spent many winter evenings with my folks playing cards- -favorite
game was 500.

On September 3rd, 2011, Kay McWhinney wrote

I look forward to attending the Frnak Ward Irish Heritage Day on Sept. 5, 2011. I am particularly interested learning more about my father Frank Regan who was born in Holbrook in 1895. I am the last of his surviving children.

On August 23rd, 2011, Sandy Grady McPeak wrote

I am the granddaughter of Rita Ann Grady.

On June 21st, 2011, PATRICIA DUNN HEFFERON wrote

Glad to have found this website. I visited Old St. Michaels several years ago and have just heard about a reunion planned by the Hanson Family and they've invited any of the James H. Dunn Family or the Morrin families to participate as well. I look forward to seeing some of you there. Please feel free to contact me.

Pat, Great Granddaughter of William T. and Mary Morrin Dunn

On June 5th, 2011, James M Manning wrote

Rev. Martin B Manning, a retired priest of the Davenport Diocese, died peacefully at approximately 4:00 AM Central Daylight Time on Tuesday May 24, 2011 at the Clarissa C Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf, Iowa. He was 93 years old.  He was ordained on January 31, 1943 by Bishop Henry P. Rohlman.  His first Mass was in St Michaels in Holbrook.

On May 31st, 2011, Allison Harkness wrote

We were there yesterday for the luncheon in the church hall. I try to go every Memorial day. My grandparents on my dad's side are buried there, William and Julia Spratt. I always love visiting a little piece of Ireland when we go! :)

On April 23rd, 2011, Shanna Seigel wrote

Dear Loretta,
Thank you for allowing me to place a geocache on this beautiful and historically significant property!

On April 16th, 2011, Patricia Lynch wrote

Being a descendent of the Hanson family, I see many names from our family tree buried here. My grandmother, Rose M. Morrin and her brothers and sisters grew up in Williamsburg and we have many fond memories of this part of Iowa.

On April 16th, 2011, Patricia Lynch wrote

Being a descendent of the Hanson family, I see many names from our family tree buried here. My grandmother, Rose M. Morrin and her brothers and sisters grew up in Williamsburg and we have many fond memories of this part of Iowa.

On April 9th, 2011, RoseAnne Donohoe Russell wrote

Having lived in Holbrook my first 18 years, across lack Diamond from thr church, I am overwhelmed b y the Holbrook web page abd seeing the occasional names of people I once knew. It is amazing to live 2000 miles from St. Micheals and sit in my office to casually bring back memories that meant so much to me. Our family, G. and Laura Donohoe, P.J. and Kate Donohoe had deep roots in the community. Thank you for your labors...

On April 9th, 2011, RoseAnne Donohoe Russell wrote

Having lived in Holbrook my first 18 years, across lack Diamond from thr church, I am overwhelmed b y the Holbrook web page abd seeing the occasional names of people I once knew. It is amazing to live 2000 miles from St. Micheals and sit in my office to c

On December 18th, 2010, Dan Daly wrote

Especially interested in Cash family records and connections between Old St. Michael's and St. Patrick Church in Iowa City. - Thanks, - Dan

On October 10th, 2010, Christine Cash, daughter of George Cash wrote

Doing research on Cash family.

On August 14th, 2010, Dan Cash wrote

Great historical presentation of some of my ancestors. I remember being in Holbrook at about age five for a celebration or a funeral in the early 1940s. I've been through there a number of times over the years. Many of my relatives were from Williamsburg, and I taught HS science and math in North English in 1960-61.

On March 19th, 2010, Pegi Wheeler wrote

This is a beutiful church. My dad was raised in Holbrook. My grandfather is buried in their cemetery. The picture of the church brings back fond memories

On January 19th, 2010, Kay McWhinney wrote

Thanks for all the hard work on the St. Michaels book.My did, Frank Regan, was born in Holbrook and a liutenant in WW1. Am doing some geneology and found the book most interesting.

On November 9th, 2009, Susan McNeley wrote

Thank you for your rich history. I have found information for my Family Tree. The Hanson Clan from Troy, IA, came from Ireland in 1845. Stephen and Thomas Hanson. Its helped my research.

On July 22nd, 2009, Patrick Hansen wrote

As a descendant of Michael Hanson (Hugh, John, Leo J. and Leo C.) I can only say thank you for reuniting me with my heritage. I hope to make a visit soon. I would be very interested in purchasing a printed copy of the St. Michael's Church Book.

On May 1st, 2009, Sandra K. Cooney wrote

It is my opinion that St Michael's is the most beautiful and peaceful church. Of course, I have lots of relatives who are in the cemetary.

On February 17th, 2009, Toby Naughton wrote

I have visited St. Michael's several times for my grandmother and grandfather. Mother and great grandmother are all buried there. It is a very peaceful place and I feel glad whenever I go to visit them. Iam the son of Tom Naughton who grew up in Holbrook and went to school right across the road many years ago. I was wondering I just got engaged to the love of my life and can anyone tell me can you still have weddings at the church? It is our first choice and would be very meaningful to me but Im not sure if it is allowed. Can anyone help me out? If so contact me at Thank you.

On February 7th, 2009, Carol Clark wrote

St. Michael's is such a wonderful, spiritual place to visit. The cemetery is full of our ancestors. The care given to the church and cemetery is very appreciated. Can't wait to be there again this year to hear Anthony and Patrick sing again and to see all you 'cousins'! Hugs to all. Larry & Carol in Colorado

On June 20th, 2007, Margo Mucci Lekin wrote

I am the daughter of Thomas H. Lekin, we came to Holbrook to see the Lekin Family stone my father had purchased for the cemetary. Seeing the graves of my departed relatives, great grandmother and father sent chills up my spine. I had never been to Holbrook before as an adult, only once as a small child, I almost missed it, no zipcode and not many people know of Holbrook until U get into the area.

On May 21st, 2007, Patrick Smith wrote

Stopped at the church during Ragbrai 2006. Something very special about this place. Hard to put into words, but I was filled with emotion as I relaxed in the grass, listening to music, taking in the view. Maybe it was my Ragbrai "moment", but when I think back on all the events of that week, the morning in Holbrook was the most special.

On March 6th, 2007, Kevin J. Fitzgerald wrote

Hi! I visited your church during RAGBRAI XXXIV, in July 2006. That was very refreshing, and I enjoyed my visit very much. The food was great! Also, two little kids played tourguide for me, as they showed me around the inside of the church. What hospitality!

I'm glad the church is still used for special events. Also, it would be cool for someone to make postcards for St. Patrick's Day from a picture of the rose window in front of the church. I've never seen St. Patrick in a church rose window before.

I'm glad St. Michael's has a website. Good work!

Best wishes,


St. John the Evangelist Parish,
Hapeville, Georgia, near Atlanta

On September 12th, 2006, Christine Cash Gilroy wrote

I have visited St. Michael's several times. My father was George Cash (1911-1986), son of James Cash. James was the youngest son of the Cash children, whose mother died birthing the 17th child. He was sent to University of Iowa by his older brothers, and became a lawyer. The family eventually settled in Omaha. James and his wife Adelaide had four children: Adelaide, James, George and John. All four ended up moving east in the 1930s: Adelaide to Michigan and Ohio, and the three brothers to western New York state, which they always said reminded them of Ireland. (How would they have known??) There are 21 of us cousins all over the U.S. If anyone has information to share about the Cash family, I would love to hear it. There are several stories, one that James and his wife, Briget, married on the ship on the way to America from Tipperary, Rock of Cashel (castle) area. They spent time in Orange County, New York, before traveling to Iowa.
I wish they had kept a journal.

On August 24th, 2006, Larry & Carol Clark wrote

Descendants of Maher, Hoy, O'Neill, Noone, Bolton etc. with many, many connections. We love the church, community, newsletter and the many folks we've met there. Until we see you again, The Clarks in Colorado

On July 21st, 2006, Joshua O'Brien wrote

Glad to still be a part of it

On July 21st, 2006, Joshua O'Brien wrote

Glad to still be a part of it

On July 9th, 2006, Sherry Petersen wrote

This is so nice! I am a descendant of the Lekin Family buried at St. Michaels. Does anyone out there know of a family tree or other info on the family?

On June 5th, 2006, Gale Dunn Kaufmann wrote

Good work! I'm a descendant of James P. Dunn who is buried in the cemetery. His children were christened in the church.

On May 24th, 2006, Leola "Lee" Curry Meraz wrote

I heard from a friend that Parnell School has been sold. Can anybody tell me who it was sold to and what plans they have for it. I was in it in 2002 and it was in excellent condition then. Thanks, Lee

On May 22nd, 2006, Leola "Lee" Curry Meraz wrote

Great website. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I graduated from Parnell in 1946. My brother, Keith,attended the little country school at Holbrook and graduated from Parnell. My Curry relatives came over from County Antrim in 1762. Thanks for the web site. Lee

On May 19th, 2006, Robin Meister wrote

I haven't looked at this site in a while and was thrilled to find the message from Graham below.
Catherine Quinn was married to Hugh Quinn and they were my Greatgreat grandparents. I am still searching for Hugh and where they came from in Ireland. I would be happy to hear from you

On February 5th, 2006, Graham F. Quinn wrote

I am seeking any information available on a Catherine Quinn who apparently owned a grocery store in Holbrook when the community was founded in the 1850s. I'm guessing she was the mother of one John Quinn who married Mary Rock in 1868. He was my great great grandfather. I would like to know Catherine Quinn's husbands name. I believe he imigrated from Ireland but I don't know when or from what county in Ireland. I've been told it was Cork, but I have no data to support that contention. If anyone has any information on this individual I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Thank you.
Graham F. Quinn
Albia, Iowa

On October 11th, 2005, Mary Lee Johnston DeWald wrote

I too am delighted with your website. The cemetery directory has been most helpful. I am a second cousin to Dan Daly who has written a previous e-mail on this site. We share great grandparents, Michael Cash and Bridget Delaney Cash. As far as I can tell, most of the Cashes in your cemetery are descendents of John Cash (b 1829, d 1906) and his wife, Briget Bolton (Balton?). She died on Jan 4, 1875, the day her daugher, Margaret, was born. I think Margaret was the 14th child. It is thought that John Cash and Michael Cash may have been brothers. Both came from Tipperary and first lived in Illinois before coming to Iowa. John's first two sons, PAtrick and Daniel, were born in Illinois (Kane Cty?) and Michael\'s first two daughters, Margaret and Winifred, were born in Jacksonville. Any record entry that may indicate a relationship between these two families or location of their Irish origin would be greatly appreciated. Michael and Bridget lived in Iowa City most of their married life but apparently lived either in Holbrook or Oxford for a short period of time according to the 1880 Census. (Interesting to learn they were among the founding members of the St Patrick's Parish in Iowa City, r.e. Dan Daly)

Thank you for preserving the history so rich in your area. It will be appreciated by many for years to come.

Mary Lee Johnstone DeWald

On September 28th, 2005, Dan Daly wrote

Thank you for making this site so handsome and user friendly. I went to the Cemetary Directory and found it very informative. I'm looking for information on Michale and Bridget (Delaney) Cash who may have baptized a few childrent at St. Michael's before joining St. Patrick's of Iowa City as founding parishoners. Looks like there are a few leads here. Charlie Duffy is going to help me track down some more. Looks like I might have a few more gravesites in the area to decorate come next Memorial Day. Thanks again.
-Dan Daly

On June 12th, 2005, Robinqm wrote

I was thrilled to find your web page!
My Great great grandmother attended St Michaels in the late 1800s. It is wonderful to be able to see pictures and find information on what looks to be a wonderful place.
Thank you for your hard work and I look forward to seeing more in the future.
Robin in Michigan

On March 5th, 2005, Harold Gaffey wrote

Mr. Curry,

What a beautiful job you've done with the St. Michael's web page. THANK YOU for all your effort!!!

Harold Gaffey