Quick Links

Banner Photo Info



The Rooney Story - Montana


Not all of the Rooney families that homesteaded land in the Padua area remained there. Some relocated to adjacent Pope County, MN and others headed west and resettled in Montana.

Michael Ward Rooney and Michael J Rooney frequently traveled to Montana to hunt buffalo or to trap animals for the hides and furs, which they sold back in Minnesota. Michael J Rooney was referred to as "Sheep Mountain Mike", by his Minnesota family, because of his frequent trips to Montana. Ironically, he was called "Gray Mike", by his Montana relatives, to distinguish him from Michael T. Rooney who was known as "Black Mike".

It was primarily the three sons of Patrick Rooney Sr, who were Michael T. (M.T.), John, and Patrick (Little Pat), plus their brother-in-law, John Darcy, who moved to Montana. However, Hugh Rooney lived in the Miles City, MT., area for a while as well.

It is unclear exactly when they sold their homesteaded farms in Minnesota and went to Montana. It may have been during the grasshopper plague years of 1873-1876 when they and many other pioneers decided to uproot and head west. Most other people stayed in Minnesota, at this time, while some only left temporarily to earn money for their families.

In 1996, because of genealogy research by Evie (Rooney) Kukowski, contact was made between the Minnesota Rooney and the Montana Rooney branches. Six couples from Minnesota were fortunate to meet some of them, in 1997, at a Rooney family reunion in Great Falls, Montana. This was the first contact between the Minnesota and Montana Rooney family branches in over one hundred years.