Marrin, Alice

Alice Marrin

Miss Alice Marrin celebrated her 90th birthday on February 1, 1974 at the Addolorata Villa in Wheeling where he has lived since 1968. She was born on a farm to which her father came during the Civil War, less than six months after Lee was incorporated.

Dominic Marrin was born in County May, Ireland on July 15, 1823. He settled in Clinton, Iowa, homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres in Minnesota, and came to Illinois to work for a farmer named McGary. When McGary could not pay Dominic his wage, he gave him forty acres of land to which Dominic added until he owned one hundred sixty acres. Forty acres were obtained by loaning John Dyas money to start a business in Lee.

In 1866, Dominic married Bridget Keleher (born in County Mayo, on January 16, 1845) in Clinton, Iowa. They had seven daughters, Mary, Ellen, Louise, Beesie, Alice, Katie, and Eliza. Their only son, John, died when he was three years old.

Mary married John McConekey in 1889. His father and two brothers were killed in the tornado that passed south of Lee in 1860. John and his sister were unhurt; his mother had a broken arm. The McConekeys settled near Manson, Iowa. Mary’s sister, Katie, married and settled in Iowa, also.

Ellen (Mrs. Mike O’Donnell) died in 1906 and Beesie (Mrs. Will McCormick) in 1914.

Louise married Dan McCormick and lived on a farm near Shabbona Grove until 1906, when her infant son and her husband died. She then moved to Lee with her three small girls and lived there until her death in 1951.

Alice and Eliza lived with their parents until their death. Dominic had sold his Minnesota land in the 1890’s and bought the Stevens farm north of Shabbona. He gave up farming in 1901 but did not move into a newly built house on Main Street, Lee, until 1905. Robert Cutts built the house for a member of the Cutts family who was crushed between two cattle cars while he was helping load. His widow refused to move into the house.

Dominic died August 30, 1906 and Bridget, his wife, on February 22, 1910.

Miss Marrin reminices that although she is unmarried, she raised two boys. Her mother’s grand-nephew, Dan Keleher, came to them as a four year old and stayed until he was eighteen. He then moved to Denver on account of his

health in 1907. When Alice’s sister, Ellen O’Donnell, died leaving five small children, five year old Edmund came to the Marrin house remaining there until he went to high school Davenport, Iowa.

Active in the Red Cross, she recalls rolling bandages upstairs in Eide’s store during the first World War. Her hobby was gardening with special success with gladioli. She was a member of the Shabbona Garden Club and of the Shabbona Women’s Club. On her 97th birthday, she was awarded a 50 year pin by the Women’s Catholic Order of Forester’s, Court 817. She is also a member of the Milan Catholic Ladies, started in 1927.

Alice is the last living member of her immediate family. As far as she knows, only one classmate from District 7 school is now alive, Charlie Cofield of

Moose Jaw, Canada.

She has vivid memories of seven teachers, Mary Streeter, Mr. Bean, Mrs. Andrews, Mr. Hallett, Emma Henderson, Mary Dolly (Mrs. Andrew Michaels), and Lois Wormley.

She can repeat without a bit of fumbling the entire poem she recited at a program when Miss Wormley was teacher, but she can also discuss the gasoline shortage and farm problem of today.

Source: Lee Centennial Book