Fox Irish Cemetery
Winnebago County
Fox Irish Cemetery

Information collected
from various sources

Information recently obtained from Sylvia S. Martin

My husband and I owned the Fitzgibbon Farm on Clayton Road that you refer to in the section on the Fox Irish Cemetery. I suggest that if folks have difficulty finding any state of Wisconsin markers, they request information from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. I always found this group supportive of any efforts as is the archivist of the Diocese of Green Bay.

'With Carol Mason (deceased), of the regional archeologist office at the time, I researched the area of the Fox Irish cemetery. I would like to make a couple suggestions. Please clarify that "St. Patrick's Church" is the St. Patrick's located on Doty Island in Menasha, Wisconsin. There a many churches named St. Patrick's. The Irishman granted the land was named John Fitzgibbon, last name was not Fitzgibbons. The stone house/farm is on both the Wisconsin State list of Historical Places and the National Historic Landmark listings.

Voyageur the historical journal of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Green Bay Historical Society, has published two articles authored by me on the Irish in the Town of Menasha, also called West Menasha. The articles give an account based on a careful review of historical documents and records, not of stories passed down. The first article co-authored with Carol Mason is about the stone house and farm; the second article is called "Saving Souls" and is about the early missionaries of the area. Back copies of Voyageur are available in most Wiconsin libraries and current issues are available in most bookstores.

There is also a pamphlet available called a "Century Farmstead tour" In it I tried to do a geneology of the farmsteads in West Menasha (Town of Menasha) that includes all owners of the farmsteads. I don't believe this was published, but it is copyrighted. St. Patrick's may have a copy available.

Although Wisconsin is not my home, it will forever remain in my heart. I applaud you for your work with making available the Winnebago cemetery listings.

The book mentioned for sale at St. Patrick's presents a short history of St. Patrick's cemetery also referred to as the "old Irish cemetery" although many Germans are also buried there. The history is based on research of records and writings of the time. The book gives a listing of those buried there with as much additional information as possible from what records existed. The early were destroyed by fire. With Ed Coumb, I collected the information from each plot area and stone where they existed. I believe this information is invaluable to those doing genealogical research. The price is low to discourage violations of copyright law so people purchase the book and the money received from the book, goes to assist in the upkeep of the St. Patrick's cemetery.

My husband Don and I have recently moved from Texas to New Jersey. I will for the rest of my life miss the Fitzgibbon Farm and the Irish of West Menasha. Thank you again for your hard work in putting this website together.

Janet Eiler
On the border of the town of Clayton and the Town of Menasha lines. Located somewhere at intersection of State Hwy 150 and Clayton Ave. I found this info out from St Patrick's Church today. I went looking for this but didn't find the Historical Marker that is pictured in a small pamplet the church had put together in about 1998.

[Additional info from Jean Spiegelberg - The cemetery marker you're referring to is located 1/2 mile north of Hyw 150 on Clayton Avenue, Neenah. Take Hwy II, west, to Clayton Avenue (corner where the old Valley Brook school is located (now a house) on the left. Turn right onto Clayton Avenue, cross the railroad tracks and continue until you go under new Hyw 441. The marker will be on your right in front of the next house. The house where it is located is a very old stone house that has been remodeled. There is also a barn and some outbuildings.] This is what the entrance sign says according to the pic: Wisconsin Historical Marker, FOX - IRISH CEMETERY. Near here is the "lost cemetery" of Saint Malachy Catholic Church (1849-1857), a mission church of log construction that served the local Irish community and Catholic Indians. Irish immigrants had come to Menasha to build dams, locks, and canals on the Fox - Wisconsin Waterway, later settling on land-grant farms west of Menasha.

The farmer who owned this land when the cemetery was founded was a Fitzgibbons. This Fitzgibbon man was buried in Oakhill Cemetery, Neenah. (With permission) here is the exert of the article: St. Malachy Mission - As early as 1836, Irish immigrants came to work on the Fox River dams, locks, and canals. These Irish Catholics received land grants for their labors and many settled on land three miles west of the Village of Menasha in what became known as the "Irish Colony". In this colony 25 Catholic families came together as a congregation and Mass was said in their homes by priests passing through the area. By 1848, Father Theodore Van den Broek, O.P., established a regular mission there. Soon after Rev Paul Farinacci O.P., took charge. Farinacci and four representatives from the congregation met with Governor James Doty to discuss the inconvenience of having no place to worship. Doty contributed a sum of two hundred dollars. Farinacci inaugurated the erection of a log church in the "Irish Colony" which was dedicated to St. Malachy.

Return to Home Page