Genealogy – Catholic colonization in Swift County

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By Jannet Walsh
Murdock, Minnesota

Here is my latest stumble. I just found an online book from Google Books you can read online about the colonization in Swift County.

“On January 22, 1876, (Bishop John) Ireland announced the establishment of the Catholic Colonization Bureau of St. Paul. . . .” (see page 54)

I looked quickly at the book yesterday and found a reference about the Swift County land for the farmers was set aside for the poor and homeless, not for Minnesota farmers that already had land. They were talking about my family and the other Europeans during that period that needed land and place to call home. My family has been here since that time.

In the years 1875 and 1876 the late Archbishop John Ireland started a Catholic colony adjacent to Murdock and DeGraff, the very location my family still has a farm. A church was first built in DeGraff, St. Bridget parish. The people in Murdock did not have a way to travel to DeGraff, so a second parish was started as a mission church of DeGraff in 1894 in Murdock, now know as Sacred Heart.
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My family's farm in Dublin Township, Murdock, Minnesota. Photo by Jannet Walsh

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Native Minnesotan Jannet Walsh is a blogger, columnist, journalist, photojournalist, terrier owner, hula hooper and more! Contact her at Click here to view full biography. View her other blog at
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