John B. Mooney

1885 Dakota Territory census records show John B. Mooney (age 27, boilermaker, born in Michigan) married to Katie (age 24, born in Wisconsin).  The couple had a daughter Gertrude (age 3, born in Wisconsin) and a daughter Katie (age 1, born in Wisconsin).  The Mooney family resided in Grand Forks, Dakota Territory.

BOILER MAKERS.  Mooney & Markey, 122 DeMers Ave.  (Grand Forks and North Dakota Manual for 1885, William L. Dudley, Plaindealer Book and Job Rooms, Grand Forks, Dakota Territory, 1885, Page 114)

From St. Vincent, on the verge of Minnesota and Manitoba, south to Ada and from that line wet the bourne of civilization in all North Dakota, north of Fargo, there is a territory that knows the handiwork of J. B. Mooney, the energetic young proprietor of the Grand Forks Boiler works.  Those who look at the cut in the HERALD head and see the number of smoke stacks, not thinking, might suppose that there are too many placed there, for the manufacturing and industrial interests of Grand Forks.  But it is not so.  There should be at least three more, and one of them should be at the western end of the DeMers avenue bridge, on the south side, to show Mooney’s boiler works.  It is quite unnecessary thus to particularize, for as far as traffic comes from the Minnesota side in the spring season on to harvest, Mooney’s works may be known by the great park of engines, boilers, etc., that throng the premises and even fill the wide thoroughfare, awaiting repair.  They come for eighty miles to this centre.  A brief sketch of Mr. Mooney’s artisan career will serve best to illustrate the importance of his enterprise.  He is a native of Jackson, Mich., where he was born in 1855.  He learned his trade at Detroit and served an apprenticeship which laid the foundation of solid success.  In 1882 he came to Grand Forks with H. W. Markey and they together carried on boiler making and repairing until two years ago, when Mr. Markey retired and Mr. Mooney succeeded to the entire business, which, with related industries, has grown to large proportions.  The first work done was the 70 horse-power steel boiler for the Roller mill across the street, which has proven a good recommendation.  They also put in the Red saw mill boiler.  Last year Mr. Mooney made the $5,000 boilers for the city pump house, a superior job, and his work may be seen in every town of the valley.  He has now a contract to put in a 50 horse-power boiler and engine for the Lambert saw mill at Eight-mile point, south of the city; has just completed the $9,000 water works extension for this city and is putting in a mile and a half of water mains at Grafton.

Such men, though in the first flush of manhood, succeed because they deserve to succeed – have clear cut grit – tireless activity and wring fortune from the very jaws of adversity.  This is another industry in iron work which argues in favor of having smelting works and refineries here, as soon as the Northern Pacific puts us in short communication with Duluth.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Sunday Morning, December 19, 1886, Volume 11, Number 42, Page 3)



One of the Largest Manufacturing Concerns in the City.

The boiler and engine works of J. B. Mooney & Co. is one of the oldest as well as one of the largest manufacturing institutions in North Dakota.  This firm has been in existence for 17 years and has built up an immense trade over a wide area of country.  The shops and offices are situated on DeMers avenue, near the bridge, and a large force is kept busy the year around, manufacturing various kinds of iron goods.  While an immense business is carried on in the manufacture of steam boilers, this is only one of the large number of branches of work carried on by the firm.

Mooney & Co. are agents for the celebrated Minneapolis and Victory separators and many of their machines are at work each fall throughout the valley.  Their long experience in all kinds of engine work enables them to turn out work of the finest quality on short notice and their establishment is headquarters for threshermen’s supplies of every description.

One special branch of the firm’s business, to which a great deal of attention is being paid, is the manufacture of steam and hot water heating plants.  Among the large buildings in which heating plants have been placed by this firm last season are the central school building, Trepanier block and the Beare block in Grand Forks, city hall, Franklin, Sullivan and Russell & Doll buildings, East Grand Forks, besides a great number of residences in Grand Forks, Mayville, Hatton, Fisher, Mallory and other places.

The heating plant in the central school building is worthy of special mention.  Not only is it the largest heating plant in the state, but it is the only one of its kind in North Dakota.  The plant was thoroughly tested last winter when the temperature remained at an extremely low range for a much longer period than has been known for many years, and it was found that notwithstanding the fact that more space was heated than formerly an actual saving in fuel was effected.

The firm has added a new department to its business this year, that of plumbing and gas fitting, and is prepared to furnish estimates for residence, public buildings, etc.  A skilled mechanic is in charge of this department, and all work is guaranteed equal to that obtainable in any of the larger cities.  The indications are that the firm will be as successful in this as in the other lines of its business.  (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday Morning, June 27, 1899, Volume 18, Number 205, Page 10)




Just as the sun broke through the trees and foliage of Riverside Park yesterday morning (August 25, 1903) and east of its first rays on the family home, the spirit of John B. Mooney took its flight.

The final summons that had been hourly expected for several days came at 5:30 yesterday morning, and death never placed its mark on a man more universally beloved by his fellow citizens than Mr. Mooney.

Twenty years ago Mr. Mooney came to Grand Forks, from Milwaukee, and from that time until his illness he had been prominently identified with every move that would benefit or advance the welfare of the city, and he was an especially devoted friend.  In fraternal circles he was generally admired for those many traits of character that make a man a brother in all that the word implies.

Especially lovable was his home life.  Six years ago Mrs. Mooney died, leaving in his care three daughters, and to this little family he has since been both mother and father, and the blow of his death falls especially heavy on them.  During his last illness, when it became certain that he could not long survive, he showed his great love of home and the home circles by calming the fears of his loved ones and assuring them that he would yet improve and soon be himself again, a hope which he firmly held to up to the very last.

Monday afternoon a brother and sister arrived from Detroit and were immediately recognized by the sick man, who smiled a welcome.  In the evening he had a sinking spell, but retained consciousness until within three hours of his death, falling into a peaceful sleep, from which there was no awakening this side of the tomb.  Death was due to Bright’s disease.

John B. Mooney was born at Jackson, Mich., on Sept. 27, 1855, and was almost 48 years of age.  In 1882 he came to Grand Forks from Milwaukee and under the firm name of Mooney & Markey established the boiler works on DeMers avenue, with which he has at all times been identified.  This firm was succeeded by Mooney & Danaher, and the present firm of J. B. Mooney & Co., succeeded a few years ago to the business.  One sister and three brothers still reside at Detroit, Mich., Mrs. McAuley and Messrs. George, Frank and James Mooney.  The immediate family consists of three daughters, Misses Gertrude, Kittie and Myrtle, the youngest being fifteen years of age.

Mr. Mooney was a Christian of the Catholic faith and a communicant of St. Michael’s church.  He was a member of Columbia Court, Catholic Order of Foresters, and of Grand Forks lodge of Elks, No. 255.

In his death the church loses an active member and a good worker and the societies lose a companionship that was cherished because of the manliness of the man.

The little family loses a father, who was more than father, whose very life was wrapped up in their happiness, and in their sad bereavement they will have the warmest sympathy of a wide circle of friends and neighbors, especially those familiar with the home life of the family.

The funeral will be held from St. Michael’s church at 10 o’clock Thursday morning.  The funeral cortege will leave the residence in Riverside Park at 9:30.  Members of the Foresters and Elks, with which the deceased was affiliated, will attend the services in a body and Father Edward Conaty will celebrate requiem mass.

Grand Forks Daily Herald
Wednesday Morning, August 26, 1903
Volume 22, Number 259, Page 8


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