Margaret (O'Donnell) Carpenter, Bruckness, Donegal, and Detroit, Michigan

Bruckless, Donegal

In 1915, Mrs Charles Carpenter of 693 Meldrum Ave, Detroit, Michigan, received a postcard from her sister Cassie in Bruckless, County Donegal, Ireland.The image of the postcard once appeared at the Jim Forte Postal History website. The card has since been sold, and the image is no longer there. I am not connected with Mr. Forte's website or company in any way. Here is a transcription of the text:

Dear Sister
Glad to get your letter and to know all are well.
Thank God we are all well at home. My thoughts were all about poor Jane these past few days, 2 years passed so quickly. I hope she is happy in heaven. Con's wife was in a great hurry.
Fr. Brennan asked me a week ago did you write lately. He is expect- soon to hear from all the Yankees.
The Bradys have not written yet + I wrote to Pat himself to send something in memory of Jane, but he has not answered. We miss the dear old church so much now in Lent especially.
Best love from all,

Working from this information, let's see if we can find a family to match with this county of origin in Ireland.

The 1915 Detroit City Directory at has a listing for a Charles M Carpenter, watchman, living at 693 Meldrum Ave in Detroit.City Directories at

In 1920 Charles was still at that address. He was 45, born in Michigan and working as a tower man for the railroad. His wife Margaret, the recipient of the postcard, was 46 and born in Ireland. They had a son William J. who was 11.1920 Census of the 15th ward of Detroit, Michigan; series T625, Roll 814, Page 158, at

In 1930 the family is at 2917 Meldrum, and with them is a niece, Mary O'Donnell, age 17, who had arrived in the US in 1926."United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Sep 2013), Charles M Carpenter, 1930. In 1940 Charles, his son William, and William's family are all still there, but Charles is a widower"United States Census, 1940," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Sep 2013), Charles Carpenter, 1940. . Looking for a death record for Margaret, we find that she died 27 Oct 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. Her father's name, John O'Donnell, is on that record."Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Sep 2013), Margaret Carpenter, 1934.

Finally, the 1901 Census of Bruckless, (Dunkinelly, Donegal), Ireland, lists this family in house 2:

John O'Donnell, 65, head, postmaster
Mary O'Donnell, 62, wife, postmaster's wife
Cassie O'Donnell, 30, daughter, dressmaker
Lizzie O'Donnell, 27, daughter, dressmaker
Ellen O'Donnell, 25, daughter, dressmaker
Henry James O'Donnell, 23, son, station master

All were Catholic and could read and write. All could speak English, and all but Ellen could also speak Irish.National Archives of Ireland,


So I think it is safe to say that Margaret (O'Donnell) Carpenter of Detroit, Michigan, was from Bruckless Townland, Dunkinelly, County Donegal, Ireland. I hope this helps her descendants find their Irish roots.