Francis O'Rourke

Birth Name Francis O'Rourke
Gender male
Age at Death 80 years, 9 months, 3 days


From the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902.
Chapter XXII Personal Sketches, page 613

[paragraphing mine]

“Frank H. O'Rourke, Horseshoer; born at Killowen, County Down, Ireland, in 1845, is a son of Michael and Alice (Cunningham) O'Rourke. His paternal grandparents, John and Mary (Sloane) O'Rourke, and his maternal grandparents, James and Ellen (Colgan) Cunningham, were natives of Killowen. His father and grandfather were both horseshoers. The latter died at the age of eighty-six, his wife at the age of seventy-three. Michael O'Rourke was born in 1818, his wife in 1820; he died in his seventy-third year, she at the age of seventy- four. They had three sons and five daughters. Mr. O'Rourke's maternal grandparents lived to old age on their farm in Ireland.

“Frank H. O'Rourke learned horseshoeing in his father's shop. He landed in New York May 12, 1866, and went thence direct to Peoria, where some of his cousins had located. There at the age of twenty-one years he began life in America as a journeyman horseshoer. About ten years later he opened a shop for himself, and for more than a quarter of a century he has been one of the best-known horseshoers in Illinois. Mr. O'Rourke is a Democrat, and as such he was in 1888 elected Alderman for the then First Ward of the city of Peoria, and in 1893 Alderman for the Sixth Ward, serving two full terms of two years each. In 1900 he visited Ireland, England. Scotland and Wales and renewed his old acquaintance in the place of his birth.

“He and his family are members of the Roman Catholic Church. He was married at Peoria February 1, 1877, to Margaret McDonough, daughter of James and Ellen (Day) McDonough, and they have four children: Frank H.. William L., James P. and Mary E. Mrs. O'Rourke, whose father was a farmer, was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1853, and came to America in 1868.”

The biography says Frank went to Peoria, "where some of his cousins had located." There is a James Cunningham in Peoria in that era, but he was born in Pennsylvania. There is a Daniel Cunningham born 1839 in Ireland in Peoria in 1870. I don't know yet where he was from.
Also, there is Edward Colgan (1818-1910) from Kilkeel who live in Stark County, Illinois. Edward's father was Francis Colgan and his grandfather was named Edward, so he wouldn't be Frank O'Rourke's first cousin, but might have been a second cousin. I don't know if Frank war referring to him or not when he mentioned having cousins in Peoria.



Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth August 4, 1843 County Down, Ireland   1a
Baptism August 5, 1843 Kilbroney Civil Parish, County Down, Ireland    

Kilbroney Church Register, Baptisms
August 5, 1843
Francis son to Michael Rorke and Alice Cunningham was baptized.
Sponsors were: William Rorke and Ann Cunningham.

Immigration May 10, 1866 New York, New York, United States   2a
Event Note

Arrived May 10, 1866, New York, Star of the West, from Liverpool

John Rourke, 45, blacksmith
Ann Rourke, 40, wife
Francis Rourke, 18, no occupation listed
Mary Rourke, 20, servant

All born in Ireland, traveling in steerage, and hope to settle in the United States.

Who are John and Ann?

Residence 1867 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, United States 46 South Washington 3a
Event Note

1867 Peoria City Directory
Francis Rourke, horse shoer, 46 South Washington, boards Adams bluff side 3 below Chestnut

Census (Head) June 4, 1880 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, United States 904 First Street 4a
Event Note

1880 Census Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois
June 4, 1880
at 904 First Street

Francis O'Rourke, 34, blacksmith, born in Ireland
Maggie O'Rourke, 26, born in Ireland
Frank O'Rourke, 5m, born in December, born in Illinois
John O'Rourke, 48, boarder, laborer, born in Ireland

who is this John O'Rourke?

Residence from 1881 to 1924 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, United States res: 904 First, work: 206 Liberty  
Event Note


Peoria City Directory
Francis O'Rourke, horseshoer at Thomas Kirkpatrick, r 904 First

Daniel Cunningham, horseshoer at 122 N Washington, r 129 Gay [who is he?]
Frank O'Rourke horseshoer at 212 Liberty, r 904 First
John at 904 First
Patrick at 1017 N Madison

1882, 1883 and 1885
Frank H O'Rorke, horseshoer, at 206 Liberty, r 904 First

Frank O'Rourke, horseshoer at 206 Liberty, r 904 First
John at 904 Hurlburt

1900 same
Frank H Jr, helper at Frank O's, r 904 First

Henry Burns, saloon, 206 Liberty, r 249 E Armstrong
O'Rourke F H & Son (Frank H and Frank H Jr) horseshoers, rear 206 Liberty
Frank H Sr lived at 904 First
Frank H Jr lived at 514 Seventh
James P, asst pharmacist at Sutliff & Case, r 904 First
Miss Mary E at 904 First
Mrs Ida O'Rourke, at 309 Monson

O'Rourke F H & Son (Frank H and Frank H Jr) horseshoers, rear 206 Liberty
Frank H and Margaret at 904 First
Frank H Jr and Barbara at 514 7th
James, pharmacist, at 904 First

O'Rourke F H & Son (Frank H and Frank H Jr) blacksmiths, rear 206 Liberty
Frank H and Margaret at 904 First
Frank H Jr and Barbara at 514 7th
James, pharmacist, at 904 First

Frank H (Barbara) (1) horseshoer rear 206 Liberty, home at 514 7th
James P, pharmacist, at 904 First
Margaret, widow of Frank at 904 First


Census June 1, 1900 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, United States 904 First Street 5a

1900 Census Ward 6 Peoria, Illinois
ED 111, page 11B, family 236
at 904 First St
O'Rourke, Frank, Apr 1846, 54, married 22 years, born IRE, arr 1870, naturalized, horse shoer
Maggie, Oct 1852, 47, 4 children, 4 alive, born IRE, arr 1872
Frank, Dec 1879, 20, all children born in Illinois, horse shoer
William, Sep 1882, 17,
Mary, May 1885, 15,
James, Nov 1888, 11,
McDonough, John, May 1860, 40, single, boarder, born IRE, arr 1872, papers pending, laborer, city


Death May 7, 1924 Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, United States   1a

Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947"
Name: Francis Henry O'Rourke
Event Date: 07 May 1924
Event Place: Peoria, Peoria, Illinois
Gender: Male
Age: 80
Birth Date: 04 Aug 1843
Birthplace: County of Down, Ireland
Father's Name: Micheal O'Rourke
Father's Birthplace: County of Down, Ireland
Mother's Name: Alice Cunningham
Mother's Birthplace: County of Down, Ireland
Occupation: Retired Horse Shoer
Spouse's Name: Margaret M. Mcdonough
Burial Date: 09 May 1924

"Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Nov 2013), Francis Henry O'Rourke, 07 May 1924.

Burial May 9, 1924     1a


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Michael Rourkeabout August 27, 1815February 9, 1888
Mother Alice Cunninghamabout 1814November 29, 1888
         Francis O'Rourke August 4, 1843 May 7, 1924
    Brother     John Rourke about December 4, 1844
    Sister     Mary Rourke about November 1845 July 1, 1870
    Brother     William O'Rourke about September 1847 August 6, 1889
    Sister     Ann O'Rourke about October 1849 November 23, 1910
    Sister     Elizabeth “Bessie” O'Rourke about October 30, 1851 January 27, 1924
    Sister     Margaret O'Rourke about 1862 April 27, 1927


Family of Francis O'Rourke and Margaret McDonough

Married Wife Margaret McDonough ( b. d. August 1, 1934 )

Source References

  1. Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths
      • Page: Dudley Or Bobbie Anderson Or Carroll, 19 Mar 1932, Chicago
  2. New York Passenger Lists
      • Page: May 10, 1866, Star of the West, from Liverpool
      • Citation:

        "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 March 2018), Francis Rourke, 1866; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm .

  3. City Directories
      • Page: 1867 Peoria
  4. National Archives and Records Administration: 1880 United States Census
      • Page: Peoria IL, ED 204, sheet 46B
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 August 2017), Francis Ororke, 1880; citing enumeration district ED 204, sheet 46B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d), roll 0240; FHL microfilm 1,254,240.

  5. 1900 United States Federal Census
      • Page: Cleveland, Ward 18, ED 70, sheet 6, family 133
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Feb 2014), Jas Mcaney in household of Lizzie Welch, Precinct D Cleveland City Ward 18, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States; citing sheet , family 133, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241254.