The Nativity Window
The Nativity stained glass window is inscribed, “Donated by the O’Connor Bros. In Memory of Michael Meehan & Wife”. Michael and Bridget Meehan’s are credited to be the first white settlers of the area. Michael was born in County Meath, Ireland in 1808. In 1832 he and his wife (Bridget) emigrated from Ireland to Salina NY, then to Michigan Territory, and then in 1835 moved to Lake County, Illinois.
It is said in 1852, Michael, 44, left his farm to seek a fortune in the gold fields of California. He and his fellow gold-hunters crossed the plain with horse teams. Michael did not like the rough life, so he returned home in 1853. Michael Meehan farmed his settlement until 1876, at the age of 68, when he felt he could no longer keep up with the physical demands required.
On May 2, 1890, after his wife died, he made his home with Mrs. Mary O'Connor, his nephew's widow. Since he had no children, he made the O'Connor children his heirs. It has been said that days after he moved in with the O'Connor’s, Michael Meehan sent James, the oldest of the O’Connor brothers, over to his old homestead to dig up crocks of gold, a total of $4,000 in various denominations of gold pieces from $2.50 to $20 coins. He had little trust in banks and subsequently trusted a close friend to invest it.
Michael Meehan was one of the first County Commissioners of McHenry (now Lake) County, and was Road Commissioner of Deerfield Township for many years. James (1861 – 1940), the oldest of the surviving O’Connor brothers, was a farmer and beginning in 1917 was the Supervisor of West Deerfield township. James O’Connor was responsible for developing an extensive concrete road building campaign in the area.
Michael Meehan, at the age of 84, passed away in 1892. It was said that Michael “was a genial, whole-souled man, whose heart was always true to his home and friends, and by acts of kindness and deeds of mercy he won the warm regard of his neighbors and fellow countrymen, while all who knew him respected and esteemed him as an honest, upright man”. Michael and Bridget Meehan and the O’Connor brothers are all interred at St. Patrick Cemetery. James, John, Richard and Lawrence O’Connor donated the window to honor Michael Meehan who was likely their father figure since their natural father, James O’Connor passed away years earlier in 1871 when they were all young children.