[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

Michael Cronin & Nellie Lamphieare


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 2/22/2019 at 16:20:20

The following newspaper items, census & other notes are the result of my curiosity. I am NOT related to any of the people. As a transcriber of obituaries for Clayton co. IA, I came across this report of the death of Michael Cronin and wanted to see the connection Michael and his mother Mrs. N. W. Lamphieare/Lamphere/Lamphiear/Lamphiert, had to Clayton county. Because the article appeared in such detail in the Elkader Register & Argus, it seemed that there was a connection of some type.

Hopefully the following will be useful to someone in their research.


The death of Michael Cronin, eighteen years old, of Woodburn, at the Cottage hospital, in Creston, Saturday evening, will always be shrouded in mystery, as he never told how the bulet (sic)which caused his death came to strike him.

The boy had gone down to the pasture with some men who were repairing a large signboard, and after the men had left, his brother found him lying near the signboard in a dazed condition. He said he had fallen off the signboard and explained the blood on his face by saying he had hit his head on something. His brother wanted to send for a doctor at once but he objected, saying he would be all right in a little while and even accompanied his brother that evening to an ice cream party altho he was unable to take part in the pleasures of the evening. He was restless all night and the next day the brother insisted on sending for a doctor. Dr. Bowen, of Woodburn, was called and finally got the admission out of him that he had been struck by a bullet but got no explanation about how it occurred.

The boy's mother, Mrs. N. W. Lamphieare, of Volga, was summoned at once and as the boy grew steadily worse it was found necessary to take him to Creston, where an X-ray examination Saturday, revealed the fact that the bullet had entered the brain almost to the center and about two inches back of the forehead. To remove it was impossible and at 4:30 the boy died from the complications caused by the wound. The body was brought back to Woodburn, where funeral services were held Sunday.

Some over excited citizens called for the coroner and Mr. Webster and County Attorney Hedrick went down but on learning the facts, held that no inquest was needed.

It will not be known whether the boy accidentally discharged the .22 caliber revolver or whether he did it intentionally in a fit of despondency. The total absence of any known reason precludes the theory of suicide, and it is further evident that if he had desired to end his life he had ample opportunity after the shooting. That it was an accident is the general opinion and doubtless the correct one.

~source: Elkader Register & Argus, Thur., 29 June 1911, Volga City Views column.

(Notes: There were numerous one paragraph news blurbs noting this event in several Iowa newspapers of the time, but none as detailed as the one above. One such news blurb, in the Hamburg Reporter, Fri., 23 June 1911, states: "Michael Cronin, son of Mrs. Nellie Cronin, Woodburn, is dead in the hospital from the effects of a .22 caliber gun shot wound. He was found in a dying condition in a field by his brother and it is supposed shot himself accidentally.")


1920 Federal Census of Woodburn Town, Clarke Co., Iowa.
Nellie L. Cronin, Head, 47, Divorced, Born Ill., Parents born Ire.

John J. Cronin, Son, 28, Married, Born Iowa, Parents born Ill.

Hazel A. Cronin, Daughter-in-law, 25, Married,

Kathyrn C. Cronin, Granddaughter, 6

Nellie T. Cronin, Granddaughter, 3 yrs. 11 months

Mike B. Cronin, Grandson, 1 yr. 5 months


1910 Federal Census of Jackson Twp., Clarke Co., Iowa.

Nellie Cronin, Head, 35, Widowed, 3 Born, 3 Living, Born Ill., Parents born Ire.

John J. Cronin, Son, 20, Born Iowa

Thomas M. Cronin, Son, 17, Born Iowa

James L. Cronin, Son, 15, Born Iowa


1900 Federal Census of Woodburn Town, Clarke Co., Iowa.

Ellie Cronin, Head, 28, Widowed, 4 Born, 3 Living, Born Ill., Parents born Ire.

John Cronin, Son, 10, Born 3 - 1890, in Iowa, Parents born Ill.

Michael Cronin, Son, 7, Born 4 - 1893, in Iowa, Parents born Ill.

James Cronin, Son, 6, Born 10 - 1894, in Iowa, Parents born Ill.


The story may have gotten so much press in Clayton county because the Lamphiear's (and various other spellings) were fairly prominent families in that county.

Nellie Cronin (nee James) was briefly married to Norman Walter (aka N.W.) Lamphiear and they lived in Volga. He went mostly by Walter or N.W. From what I found Nellie had no other ties to Clayton county other than that marriage.

Iowa Select Marriages Index (ancestry):
Bride: Nellie Cronin, born 1875 in IL
Bride's previous husband's name: Cronin
Bride's parents: Wm James & ? Butler
Groom: Walter N. Lamphiear
Marriage date: 12/30/1910 in Elkader, Clayton county, IA

N.W. had a very brief marriage to Minerva (forgot to record her surname) in 1906 and they divorced in 1909.
http://iagenweb.org/clayton/marriage/CCdivorce_1.htm (see pg 2 no. 4004). I couldn't find any reference to the 1910 marriage of N.W. to Nellie in the newspapers, nor could I find reference to their divorce but it must have occurred before the 1920 census where she's shown as divorced.


Register & Argus, 4/6/1911; Volga City column:
Mrs. Walter Lamphier returned from a pleasant visit at Woodburne, Ia., Monday


The 1925 Iowa State Census Woodburn, Jackson twp., Clarke co. Iowa:
Cronin, Nellie, age 54, widow - parents Billie James & (best guess is Gehanah Brettler or Buttler) both born in Ireland.

Living with her are:
John Cronin, son, age 33, widow - his parents were Will Cronin & Nellie James
Catherine Cronin, daughter, age 11 - her parents were John Cronin & Hazel Wilson
Hetlen Cronin, daughter, age 9 - her parents were John Cronin & Hazel Wilson
Mike Cronin, son, age 6 - his parents were not given
Mary Cronin, daughter, age 4 - her parents were not give


More than likely Nellie took back her original married name of Cronin after she and N.W. Lamphier were divorced. I believe that Catherine, Hetlen, Mike & Mary in the 1925 census are not sons and daughter of Nellie. They are her grandchildren and John's children.

William Cronin's Find a Grave memorial w/gravestone photo & brief obit:

Nellie (James) Cronin Lamphier's Find a Grave memorial:


William Cronin and Nellie James' marriage took place in Clarke co. Iowa 6/21/1892. The image is on Ancestry, indexed under William Crouin. It was Nellie's first marriage.


Clarke Documents maintained by Brenda White.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]