Introduction

 

A lifelong resident of Wyandotte, Michigan, John C. Cahalan Sr. (1859 - 1939), the son of James and Mary Mulfahy Cahalan, immigrants from Ireland, rose from humble circumstances to local prominence, raising a family in one of Wyandotte’s grandest private homes, which he built at 100 Orange Street.  Notable in local business, his activities included the co-proprietorship of Cahalan Drugs, which operated from several locations (and still survives as a business, though in different form, after more than a century), as well as numerous municipal projects, including the Wyandotte Electric Company, the Wyandotte Water Company, the former Wyandotte Savings Bank, the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, the West Shore Golf and Country Club in nearby Grosse Ile, Michigan, and many business and charitable enterprises. He was a well-known Democratic politician at the local and state levels.

 

Among the founders of Wyandotte’s early industries, including its electric streetcar line, he is buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, in a family plot marked by the largest funerary monument in the city. His surviving family, many of whom still reside in the immediate area, descend from three of his six children, John C. Cahalan, Jr.; Evelyn Cahalan Schroeder; and William Leo Cahalan. 

 

The Cahalan family is notable in the greater Detroit area, with members active over the course of the last hundred and fifty years in medicine, law, politics and public service. This site seeks to compile and present a history of the Cahalan family during the lifetime of John C. Cahalan Sr. It contains genealogical information, photographs, newspaper articles and other print media, a site blog and links to relevant outside sources.

John C. Cahalan, Sr.

This material comes from several sources. Nearly a thousand images--family snapshots and formal photographs, as well as legal documents, memorabilia and ephemera such as diaries, daybooks and scrapbooks--have accumulated over the years, and have found their way to me, Gregory Loselle, John C. Cahalan Sr.’s great-great-grandson. The major parts of the collection can be described as follows:

 

  • A large cache of photographs and other material, including genealogical information (and even antique baby clothes!), preserved by Sarah Knapp, the sister of John C. Cahalan’s daughter-in-law. The Knapp family is well-represented in the history of Wyandotte, and Aunt Sarah took an active interest in genealogy, patronizing the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library, and even tracing her own roots back to the 1200's in England! From her we know much about the Knapp family and our relatives, the Merciers.

  • Several boxes and a wicker suitcase of photographs and personal memorabilia among the affects of Catherine Cahalan, John C. Cahalan Sr.’s last surviving child. These include The Grey Velvet Album, the household photo album of the Cahalan family on Orange Street.  

  • A group of photographs and legal documents, including the land-sale deeds for Wyandotte property and the receipts for expenses incurred from the construction of the Cahalan Building on Biddle Avenue in Wyandotte, as well as a thick envelope containing the correspondence and other personal papers of John C. Cahalan Jr., found among my grandfather’s (his son's) personal affects after his death in 2006.

  • A large plastic bin found in my grandfather’s attic at about the same time, containing the scrapbooks of John C. Cahalan Sr., as well as a trove of old newspapers. Some of these latter had been collected by John C. Cahalan Sr., while others were added subsequent to his death, perhaps by Aunt Catherine or her siblings, Richard and Marion.

  • Finally, some material, almost exclusively photographs, among my grandfather’s family pictures. During his last illness we made an attempt to identify and organize these pictures. While we did so, I recorded our conversations on my iPod. These sound files, many of which contain reminiscences and bits of family history, will eventually be edited and added to the site.

 

Other family members also have material which I am very interested in scanning and adding to the site! (And yes, that's a hint!)

 

This site is intended to function as a dynamic record of my attempts to organize and publish the material on the Internet. Interested visitors are requested to check back often, and subscribe to the site blog, The Cahalan Reunion, which will recount new discoveries as they occur.

 

All written comments here--and any errors they might contain--are solely mine, and corrections, suggestions and additional information are always welcome.

 

Greg

©2019 by Gregory Loselle