Jeremiah Sweeney

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Reprint from Burnsville 1976 Some additions/changes).
Detail from 1860 Census
Elizabeth Sweeney Ryan

One of the Earliest Settlers

Jeremiah Sweeney, born in 1812, in County Cork, Ireland, came to the United States about the year 1850. He worked his way westward along the Great Lakes to Chicago, west to the Mississippi River and arrived in Dakota County in late 1854, with his wife, Johanna Toomey.


Land Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota Territory, October 17, 1855:

"In the matter of the application of Jeremiah Sweeney of Dacotah Co Min Ter to preempt the Northwest quarter of Section Thirty five Township 27 of range 24 in the district of land subject to sale at this office, the said applicant offered proof in support of his said application.

Patrick McMahon a witness of lawful age being duly sworn deposes and says I reside in Dakota Min Ter, I know applicant he is a married man with a wife and two children. I know the land he is trying to preempt. Applicant first made a settlement in person on these lands on the 23rd day of August 1855, by beginning to build a log house, which he got completed the first of this month & moved into with his family immediately after it was finished. This house is a log house chinked up & plastered 14 feet square with a single pitch roof double boarded & water tight. A board floor nailed down on sleepers.

S/Peter McMahon
Subscribed & sworn before me this 17th day of October 1855.
S/R. P. Russell

This article concerns property description for legal purposes. Wikipedia has a fine article if you'd like to know more about this topic and the Homestead Act which figured so prominently in our history.
Accompanying this affidavit was a receipt for the sum of two hundred dollars for the purchase of 160 acres "at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre."

In the summer of 1860 a census was taken of agricultural products in Burnsville Township which reported that Jeremiah Sweeney had improved 30 of his 160 acres. The cash value of his farm was $800.00 and the value of his farm implements, $15. He had five milch cows, four "working" oxen, one other "cattle" and 13 swine. The value of his livestock being $275. During that year he had harvested 150 bushels of wheat, 80 bushels of oats, 240 bushels of "Irish" potatoes, 15 tons of hay and he made 500 pounds of butter. The value of animals slaughtered during the year was $80. Sweeney's neighbors included James Connelly, Timothy McNamara, Thomas Hogan, James O'Hare, Terrence McGovern, and other familiar names as Burns, Dillon, Dowdon, O'Regan and Foley.

The farm was sold to James Connelly in January of 1881. After leaving the farm, Jeremiah lived with the Ryans in St. Paul until his death on November 3, 1885.