Heffernan and Dwine Family History

I’ve always been thankful to the person who put forth the effort to figure out the family history for my paternal grandpa. However, I knew so little about my paternal grandma’s side of the family. As I became more and more interested in genealogy, I started looking into her side of the family. Based on what I have found so far, most of her ancestors immigrated to the USA from Ireland and all eventually ended up in Western Iowa by the late 1870s, early 1880s.

Her great-great grandmother, on her mother’s side, was Mary Houlihan. She was born in Clare County, Ireland on November 11, 1824, and her parents were Patrick Houlihan and Bridget Hoogan/Hogan. I’m not sure when Mary immigrated to the United States, but since her daughter Anna was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1867, it had to be before then. She had at least 8 brothers and sisters. I do not know the order they were born, but their names are –







Micheal (1839-1923)

Cornelius (1846-1915)


At least two of her brothers, Michael and Cornelius, also immigrated to the United States and the three of them eventually ended up in Crawford County. Cornelius eventually moved to Kansas City, Missouri, sometime after 1900 and passed away there in 1915. A third brother, or at least his children, lived in the Niagara Falls, NY, area by the early 1900s. There were several mentions in the Denison Review of his children visiting the Denison area starting in 1912.

In the 1880 census Mary and her daughter Anna Conlin are living with Mary’s brother Michael Houlihan and his family just east of Denison. In her later years, she lived with John and Anna Conlin Heffernan and their family. She passed away on November 11, 1919. Mary’s record of death. Mary’s obituary can be found in the November 19, 1919,  issue of the Denison Review. It’s at the top of the first column. I have a few issues with the info in her obituary. There are several biography type things on Mary’s brother Michael Houlihan. In all of them, they say his parents stayed in Ireland. Mary’s obituary says she came to the United States with her parents. Another issue is with her spending 44 years in Crawford County with her husband. By the 1880 census, Mary is listed as widowed and is in every census afterwards. So while I agree that she has lived in Crawford County, Iowa, for 44 years, I don’t believe that David Conlin lived in Crawford County for that many years.

I do not know when Mary Houlihan married David Conlin. I also know know much info about David Conlin other than he was born in Ireland and is buried in Denison, Iowa.

Mary Houlihan and David Conlin had at least two daughters –

Margaret “Maggie” Conlin was born in 1856. It’s unclear if she was born in Ireland, Canada or New York – all of her records that I have found are pretty equal between the three in where they say her place of birth took place. She met James Butler near Niagara Falls, NY, and they married sometime around 1877. I’m pretty sure they married in New York and then moved to  Crawford County, Iowa, and in 1878/1879 this is where their oldest daughter was born. Maggie Conlin Butler died in 1899 and is buried in the Charter Oak, Iowa, area.

Anna Conlin was born in Buffalo, New York, on March 11, 1867. By the 1880 census she was living in Iowa with her mother. I have not found Anna, her mother or her father in the 1870 census, but I assume they were still living in New York at the point. Anna married John J. Heffernan on February 17, 1887, in Denison. Their marriage info. They had 13 children and all but one seems to have stayed in the Dow City/Dunlap/Denison, Iowa area –

Timothy Joseph – 1888-1954. Married Marie Benedickt (?). Marriage record.
Mary – 1889-1961. Married James Earl Dwine
Johanna (she went by Hannah) – 1893-1976. I don’t think she ever married.
Daniel Leo (twin to Johanna)- 1893-1962. Married Margaret Gaughan. Marriage record.
Maurice – 1895-1955. I’m not sure he ever married.
John – 1898-1959. Married Alvina
Austin – 1900-1960. I’m not sure he married, but I don’t know for sure.
Margaret Catherine – 1903-1982. Married John Dryden. Marriage record.
Raymond James – 1904 – I haven’t found when he died. He married Mary Conway. Marriage record.
Julia Henrietta – 1907-1972. Married Merle Binnall. They moved to Washington State and stayed there until their deaths. Marriage record.
Inez Gertrude – 1910-1990. Married Emmett Wolfe.
Bernice Elizabeth “Bub” – 1913-1998. Married Frank Dryden.
Sometime before 1900 John and Anna had another child. Unfortunately he or she passed away either soon after birth or while very young.

Anna died on July 22, 1927, and is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Denison, Iowa. Anna’s record of death.

John J. Heffernan was born on June 22, 1865, in Kerry County, Ireland. He immigrated to the United States around 1882 and by 1885 he was living in Crawford County, Iowa. His info on the 1915 Iowa Census says that he had spent 32 years in the USA and 30 years in Iowa. I’m not sure where he spent those two years before coming to Iowa. His parents are Timothy Johanna Heffernan. I haven’t found Johanna’s maiden name yet. There were a couple of Heffernan families living in the Crawford County area. I’m still trying to figure out if they were related. John died July 14, 1945, and is buried in Denison, Iowa, by his wife Anna.

John and Anna’s daughter Mary was my grandma’s mother. Mary Heffernan was born December 4, 1889, near Vail, Iowa. She married James Earl Dwine on February 4, 1913, at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Charter Oak. She died on October 22, 1961, and is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Denison, Iowa. Mary and Earl’s marriage announcement can be found in the February 5, 1913 edition of the Denison Review. It is towards the bottom of the 2nd column. Their marriage record is here.

James Earl Dwine (he went by his middle name, Earl) was born April 3, 1887, near Dow City. His parents were William Dwine and Catherine “Kate” Wingrove. Earl had 5 siblings –

William Nelson – 1888-1958. He married Christina Vollersen. Marriage record.
Jay Allen – 1890 – 1961. He married Lois Goddard. Marriage certificate.
Stephen Asa – 1892-1980. He married Katherine Etler.
Ward Beatty – 1898-1898. He died when he was 6 months old.
Anna K. “Annie” – 1901-1968. She married Thomas Homer Johnson. Marriage certificate.

Earl died August 26, 1940, and is buried by his wife Mary.

William Dwine, James Earl’s father, was born September 1861 in Cedar County, Iowa. His parents were Martin Dwine and Mary Neville (I think that is the correct spelling for her maiden name). They were both born in Ireland and immigrated to Iowa sometime in the late 1850s. William married Catherine “Kate” Wingrove on February 10, 1886, in Denison (marriage record). He died on June 27, 1926, and is buried in Dow City. His death certificate. I am still trying to figure out how many brothers or sisters William had.

Catherine Dorcas “Kate” Wingrove, William Dwine’s wife, was born in Scott County, Iowa, on December 25, 1866. Her parents were William Wingrove and Anna Marie Gilliland. William was born in Ireland in 1824 and died July 12, 1891, in Crawford County, Iowa. Anna Marie Gilliland was born in New York on August 16, 1831. She died June 20, 1914, in Arion and is buried in Dow City, Iowa, next to her husband. Kate had at least 6 brothers and sisters. Most (all?) of her siblings lived around the Dow City area. Kate’s obituary can be found in the June 23, 1920 issue of the Denison Review. It’s towards the bottom of the 4th column. Her obituary states that she died on June 28th, however, that is a typo and she passed away on June 20th.

Other links –

A brief biography about Kate Wingrove Dwine’s father can be found on Page 250 of the book Biographical History of Crawford, Ida and Sac Counties, Iowa – Text only link

A brief biography about Michael Houlihan, brother to Mary Houlihan Conlin can be found on page 130 of A History of Crawford County, Iowa – Link

Michael and Bridget Houilan celebrate 50 years of marriage – Link



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About The Photographer

Cindy Gullett

Cindy Gullett

I’m Cindy Gullett, the owner and photographer of Cynthia Gullett Photography. For the past several years, I have been a natural light photographer located in the Platte City/Kansas City. In 2022 we sold our house, bought a 5th wheel, left Missouri, and now travel full time. This site is now dedicated to our tra