California Widows: The Story of Felix Mulgrew


















Felix Mulgrew of Ballygawley who came to R.I. About 1845

Felix left for the Calif. gold rush about 1852; his wife and 3 children followed about a year later. The Goodwins (including the other families), Farrells, and Hughes all seemed to be closely aligned.

Felix arrived in San Francisco, having traveled without his wife and children, but probably with his brother Patrick. About the time/or when wife, Susannah McNamee, and 3 children arrived, they went to Healdsburg, driven by Ransom Powell in ox-drawn wagon. Felix set up a blacksmithing shop in Healdsburg, and really lived there most of his life. For a short time, in the 1870s, they moved back to San Francisco. Felix died there; his wife and one or two unmarried children returned to Healdsburg. All buried, Oak Mound Cemetery, outskirts of Healdsburg. I will send (separately) a photo of Felix’ gravestone. Have not sent from this “preview” view before, so I hope it works.  

I’ve looked at many land records in North Providence. He was involved in several, mortgages, or witnessing others, with men who married Mulgrew women.  Owen McAvoy, m. Ellen Mulgrew.  Charles Lagan m. Mary Mulgrew.  At first glance you might think Ellen and Mary were his sisters, but actually they are sisters to my gr-grandmother Margaret Mulgrew McGuigan/Goodwin. Felix is not Margaret’s relative (as far as known.)  He was the baptismal sponsor for a child of Catherine Mulgrew Goodwin/McGuigan. But he is more age-contemporary with the elder siblings of Margaret.  Also according to Catherine’s death record, her father was a Felix Mulgrew.  Of course anything on the death record can be suspect.  

Felix and Patrick perhaps nephews of Catherine. Cousins of Ellen and Mary. Who knows? 

Catherine Mulgrew (1807–1888) 

Felix Mulgrew (1821—1876)

Patrick Mulgrew (1824–1866) Felix’ brother, d. in San Francisco

Ellen Mulgrew McAvoy (1816–1885)

Mary Mulgrew Lagan 1825-1897)

Margaret Mulgrew McGuigan (1839–1924)   

The only other thing I really know is that he and Susannah raised successful children. Three daughters became school teachers. One somehow got into the theatre. The sons, Felix B. and John F. were jacks of many trades. They founded the Healdsburg newspaper, Healdsburg Enterprise. Felix then got into realty. And later was involved with (wheeling and dealing actually I think) during the rush in Alaska. John as a Sheriff of Sonoma County for a while. Also owned a well-known resort, Skagg Springs in Sonoma, close to Santa Rosa where John lived.

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