MICHAEL SULLIVAN 5/12/1842 – 8/ 8/1919

Michael, Bob Sullivan's grandfather, grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York.  He later moved to Marshall, Minnesota and opened a lumber business that was very successful.  Other European immigrants would give him letters of recommendation/reference from Bishop John Ireland (also a Famine immigrant and said to have been the same age as Michael).  With this reference, Michael would lend them lumber, nails, shingles, windows, doors etc. for them to get started with a house and barn.  He did this for the good of the community.  He also set up pharmacists and other small businesses. 
The pharmacist told Emmet  (Michael's son and Bob Sullivan's father) during a visit that Michael said "Doctors will move to stay in a town where they can get prescriptions filled.  Can you do this?"  The pharmacist said, "Yes!" Michael then set him up as the druggist.
Picture of Michael in his later years and a Sullivan heirloom rocker brought by relatives to Saratoga Springs in the 1820's.

Emmett Had a little rocker that his father carried with him from Saratoga and for which Elizabeth made that petit-point cover including on the design the legend "I came from Ireland in 1820" (Margaret Harrington, Oct 12 1956)

Third picture is of Michael taken in Little Rock, Arkansan, possibly when in his mid-thirties.  "I remember hearing my dad tell of how Michael liked to go to Arkansas for the horse races." Grandson Robert Emmett Sullivan

Marshall, Minnesota, December 1900

M. Sullivan, lumber and building materials of all kinds, sash, doors, blinds, moldings, paper, brick, lime, cement and tiling. A large and complete line in every respect is carried and sold at right prices.  Estimates furnished on application.


M. Sullivan was born in New York State, and came West in 1868, and settled in Winona, of this state where he was engaged in the lumber business for 11 years, and in 1879 came to Marshall and purchased a half interest in the firm of Youmans Bros. & Hodges.  In July of the present year he bought out his partners’ interest, thus controlled the whole plant.  Since coming to Marshall he has been identified with everything pertaining to the welfare of the village, and was its president for eight successive years.  He received the appointment as Postmaster under the first term of the Cleveland administration, serving acceptably for four years, and for the past twenty years has been a member of the of the Board of Education, and is now serving as it’s president.  In financial circles he is a member of the board of directors of the Lyon County National Bank.  In politics he is a Democrat and with his varied and manifold duties is never too busy to say a good word for Marshall and Lyon county.


Article sent to Bob Sullivan by the by the Lyon County Historical Society. 

Published by

Wall & Haines

16, 18, 20, N. Fourth Street

Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Sullivan Lumber Yard

Michael in 1910 with sons Emmet and Earle

Reverend W. J. Stewart
Bishop John Ireland

Michael in his office

1900 Federal Census


NY State Census - Michael living with sister Margaret Sullivan Moran (Helen Culyer Sullivan to Edward Sweeney, dated Aug 9th, 1983)


Sullivan Lumber Yard........................................................................
Michael Sullivan with sons Emmet and Earle in Saratoga Springs, New York circa 1910


Reverend W. J. Stewart Father William Joseph Stewart (1905), pastor of St. Edward's Catholic Church of Minnesota since September 10, 1905, is a native of Ireland.  He was born in Cashel, County Tipperary, July 14, 1875, and is the eldest son of Jamieson and Mary (Maloughney) Stewart, the former of which is deceased, and the later still residing at the old home in Ireland. .................................................................................
Father W. J. Stewart gave Michael the book "Bantry, Berehaven and the O'Sullivan Sept" by T.D. Sullivan with the following inscription:

With admiration for a name (O’Sullivan) which has figured largely in the history of my church and native land.


With respect for the memory of a dear dead friend who bore it; and With Best Wishes to you, dear Mr. O’Sullivan.


I send you and beg you to accept this little history of your distinguished and inextinguishable ancestry.

Your friend in Christ,   Fr. W. J. Stewart   Holy Week 1909


Michael Sullivan in his office  You can see the picture of Bishop John Ireland in the background.

Bishop John Ireland -Contemporary and friend of Michael's, was third bishop and first archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota Click here for a more personal history of Bishop Ireland that connects Ireland's work in Minnesota to Michael's generousity in supporting the hundreds of Irish immigrants that Bishop Ireland sent to him for building materials.  Bishop Ireland was said to have immigrated with his parents to the U.S. in 1849 which would place the event during the famine years which struck his native Kilkenney, County Kerry, very hard.  Having emigrated in 1849, Bishop Ireland and Michael  (who emigrated in 1849 as well) shared common experiences of the famine years and resettlement in the United States.


His Naturalization records are most likely one of these three:

  • February 22, 1852   Michael Sullivan    Witnessed by: Joseph Baucos (?),  David Hunter.
  • February 22, 1859    Michael O'Sullivan  Witnessed by:  Patrick Carroll,  James Burns

(I think these first two must be OUR Michael Sullivan.  He was gone from the New York by that time.)

  • September 26, 1872  Michael Sullivan   Witnessed by:  John Foley, John Connor


1855 census, living with sister Margaret Sullivan Moran, age 18 yrs, says he was born in Ire, 3 yrs in town.  (Helen Culyer Sullivan to Edward Sweeney, dated Aug 9th, 1983)

1855 New York State Census
Town of Saratoga Springs, E. D.#1

1860 census, working in Greenfield

Was alter boy at St. Peters.  He told me so himself.  He made a fortune in lumber in Minnesota and went to live in California and invested in Long Beach Real Estate.   (Margaret Harrington, Oct 12 1956)

Uncle Michael was the youngest.  He always stayed with his sister,  Mary Sweeney, when he visited here.  She was tiny and very witty.  (Margaret Harrington to Helen Culyer, July 20 1953)

Mom always was but Dad never talked about his Dads (Michael Emmett Sullivan) early years as I found out in the 10th or 11th grade when I was assigned to do a report on an ancestor and I picked Grandfather Sullivan who was an orphaned farm hand to a Buck President Lumberman as the west was opening up.  I think those must have been exciting times. (Terrance Sullivan to brother Bob, Wed. 11, 14, 19xx)

Incidently, the Sullivan cousin in Saratoga named after your Grandfather, Michael E., is the Honorable Michael E. Sweeney, the State Supreme Court Judge of Upper New York State.  His mother Mary Sweeney, was the really loved "Aunt Mary" of mine own Father's generation.  They were all very special people." (Helen Culyer to Bob Sullivan; May 28, 1980






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