James, Annie Dugan (Doogan) and Family, Tonatanvalley, Achill Island, County Mayo

by ionaddeirbhile

Annie McManamon Dugan (Doogan)

Annie McManamon Dugan (Doogan)

James and Annie Dugan (Doogan) with their infant son Patrick, together with Annie’s children by her first husband, Anne and Mary Dugan and Bridget Gallagher, as well as John Gallagher, a relative of Annie’s first husband, left from Tonatanvalley, Achill, and sailed from Blacksod Bay on the SS Scandinavian, 22nd April 1883 and arrived in Quebec May 3rd

James, Annie and family made their way to the Cleveland area via Detroit. They were headed to a neighborhood called Newburgh, but soon settled instead in a neighborhood near the Cuyahoga River called the Angle. The Dugans ran a bar in the Angle, and when they moved out of the Angle they continued to run a bar near West 58th Street and Detroit. Annie’s daughter May Dugan Reynolds continued to run the family bar after Prohibition. Today there is a neighbourhood centre in the vicinity that is called the May Dugan Center in honor of May’s generosity and stature in the neighbourhood. (Kindly sent from Cleveland by Margaret Lynch to remember the Dugan Family, Tonatanvalley)

May Dugan Center, Cleveland.

Her compassion is legendary. At one time, 25 penniless and homeless people were housed and fed in May’s attic, basement and garage. Countless other times, when neighbors needed food for their children, they came to May; she always provided assistance, even if it had to come from her own meager resources. In addition when someone was charged justly, or unjustly, May knew where to go downtown and who should be seen. The late Abe Dudnick, one of Cleveland’s most eminent attorneys, described May Dugan as having “a combination of intelligence, tenacity, and charity, unmatched in her fight for the down and out and the forgotten.” In 1932 May opened the first of a series of Irish neighborhood taverns, with the last one established in 1940 on W.58th and Detroit, and known as Dugan’s. Under May’s proprietorship, they offered a venue for May to help her neighbors find jobs, food and clothing, and legal advice.

May Dugan’s mother and father came to Cleveland in 1882 [1883] arriving in a horse-drawn wagon from Detroit, and part of the Irish migration from Achill Island on the northwest coast of Ireland. May, born in 1892, married William Reynolds in 1910 at St. Malachi’s Church. They had six children: James, Hazel, Francis, Rita, Hubert and Mary Jane.

Her memory is still honoured by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people she helped many years ago; they still remember their parents talking about hard times and the “generous warm hearted Irish lady who put food on their table when no one else cared.” (Based on the article, May Dugan: Honored for a Life-Time of Caring, by Joe Finan.)

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