Catherine Langdon (Thomas)

Birth: 01-01-1821
Death: 01-06-1904

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Catherine Thomas married Patrick L. Langdon in 1840. Their two sons were born in Ireland: Martin (1841) and Michael (1844). Patrick L. Langdon was born July 16, 1810 in County Mayo, Ireland. Patrick and Catherine (Thomas) Langdon first settled in Springfield, Sangamon County where another son, Anthony, was born in 1847. Daughter, Mary, was born in 1850, but it is not known in what county. Another son,John, was born near Chicago in 1851 in what must have been Will or Cook County. Daughter, Bridget, was born in Joliet, Will County in 1853. 

The Illinois & Michigan Canal employed many Irish immigrants when being built.  The canal went from Ottawa, LaSalle County east through Grundy and Will Counties to Chicago. This would seem to account for Patrick L. and his brother William settling in Will and Grundy Counties but why their other brother Michael settled in Danville is a mystery. Work on the canal was completed by 1848 and many of the Irish workers had bought land and went to farming. Patrick and William Langdon bought land in 1856 but later the next year sold out and headed west in a covered wagon train to the Nebraska Territory. 

It is not known why the Langdon families decided to pull up stakes in Illinois and go west. It is not known if Nebraska was their destination or when they reached the Platte Valley in Sarpy County they stayed because they liked what they saw--water, timber, game and a chance to obtain virgin land. In Ireland land had been at a premium and most of them were tenants, but here in Nebraska they had the opportunity to accumulate land that was their own. What they stood on would belong to them and they would not have to answer to any landlord. 

Two more children were born in Nebraska: Thomas W. in July of 1860 and Ellen A. in January of 1866. 

On March 1, 1867 Nebraska was admitted to the Union. On September 10, 1867 Patrick L. Langdon took the oath and became a citizen of the United States in Nebraska. 

Catherine (Thomas) Langdon had saved for some years to buy a shawl.  One day her husband mentioned that there was a good 40 acres of farmland for sale, but that he was short the purchase price. Catherine immediately took her savings and gave it to her husband so he could buy the 40 acres. By 1867, Patrick L. and had acquired 520 acres of farmland. 

Regarding the early days, Catherine told the following story: One night in the dead of winter two Indians came to the door and asked to spend the night. They slept on the floor in a corner of a room with a blanket over them. Catherine had a tray of doughnuts out that she had baked the day before. The next morning one of the Indians took an old burlap bag and scooped all the doughnuts into it and the two left without saying a word. 

In 1873 Patrick attended a funeral in the rain and caught pneumonia. He died on May 21st at the age of 62 and was buried in the Thomas Calvary Cemetery, Forest City, Sarpy County, Nebraska. His headstone shows his life span: 62 years, 10 months and 5 days. In 1884, their son, John J., moved to Pueblo, Colorado and in 1891 their son, Anthony J., also moved to Pueblo, Colorado. 

In 1891 Catherine moved to Oakland, CA, where she remained until 1897. She then moved to Gretna, Sarpy County, Nebraska and moved into the house that is adjacent to the Catholic church on Angus Street. As she got older, it was told that she chose a bedroom facing the church so she could say her rosary looking at the church. 

Catherine died in the house on January 18, 1904 a the age of 84 and was buried beside her husband in the Thomas Calvary Cemetery. She out-lived her husband by some 31 years. Six children survived her: Martin of Omaha, Anthony J. and John J. of Pueblo, Colorado, Thomas W. and Ellen A. of Gretna, Nebraska and Bridget Davis of Primrose, Boone County, Nebraska.