The Duffy Homestead

The house located at the southwest corner at the junction of County Road 83 and Eagle Creek Blvd. Shakopee, Minnesota was once the home of Peter F. Duffy. The property had been in the Duffy family for over a hundred years.

Back in 1827 Peter, who was born in 1809, West Meath, Ireland left his home in Ireland and came to America. He stayed in Philadelphia for several years, staying with his brother who was a priest. Sometime in the early 1840s he made his way to New Orleans and found employment with a hardware firm. From there he changed careers and became a police officer in New Orleans. He remained on the police force for six or seven years and then decided to come north. In 1853 he traveled up the Mississippi with his wife, Margaret and son Timothy, first stopping in St. Paul, and then to Shakopee. In June of 1853 he made a claim of 160 acres at the edge of the timber line in Eagle Creek and settled on it as a preemption claimant. He sold this property in 1866 and bought the farm on the prairie where this house is located. Peter Duffy died in 1879.

His funeral was from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Shakopee and burial at the Calvary Cemetery in Eagle Creek

The farmstead stood on a ridge of the prairie, looking down on prairie lands to the north and to the south. The farmstead has been slowly dismantled for further development. At present it is surrounded by cityscapes: a pharmacy, restaurants, banks, motels, medical facilities, manufacturing business, home improvement business, office buildings and a horse racing establishment.

At one time this was a stately farm house surrounded with native trees, prairie grasses and shrubbery with multiple outbuildings consisting of a huge dairy barn, granary, chicken coop and garage.

The first floor consisted of a kitchen with a huge pantry off of the kitchen, a dining room, living room and a formal parlor. Off of the dining room there was a staircase that led to a bedroom for hired hands. The second floor contained four large bedrooms and the third floor contained the attic, big enough to house more bedrooms if needed. And of course the sanitary facilities were housed outdoors.

After Peter’s death his son, Timothy Duffy, who was born in Louisiana in 1846 took over the farm. Timothy came to Minnesota from Louisiana with his parents in 1851. The Duffys settled on one hundred sixty acres as previously stated, located in the southeastern part of Eagle Creek Township, Scott County, Minnesota, later moving to this location where the house stands.

In 1863 Timothy served as a Private in Company L, Second Regiment Minnesota Cavalry volunteers. He married Caroline Stemmer in 1867. Caroline was born in 1850 in Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Francis and Mary Ann Beisang. At the age of two she came to Minnesota with her parents. They also settled in Eagle Creek Township.

Together Timothy and Caroline had eleven children. Andrew died as a young man, their son William F. Duffy taught in the rural schools of Scott County. In 1925 William became the owner and publisher of The Shakopee Argus newspaper in Shakopee, Minnesota. He also served as clerk of district court and was the secretary-treasurer and manager of the Shakopee Telephone Company.

In 1926 he purchased the Shakopee Tribune and consolidated that publication with the Shakopee Argus-Tribune until 1945 when he sold it to Mr. James Hall and Frank Strunk.

Another son was Judge T .E. J. Duffy of Prineville, Oregon. Timothy’s son Walter took over the operation of the farm after Timothy died.

Three daughters were married: Mary Kinghorn, Margaret Huber, Florence Feldmann, Anna, Gertrude, Helen and Katherine lived at home with their parents.

Timothy farmed and owned approximately 500 acres of farm land in Eagle Creek Township. Some of the land was located on the north end of Dean’s Lake. Besides farming his son Walter dealt in livestock and maintained stud draft horses that supplied many farmers in the surrounding area with their work horses. His daughter Margaret married into the Huber family who also were big land owners in Eagle Creek Township. Mr. Timothy Duffy was instrumental in the beginnings of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Shakopee, and was active in public affairs, associated with the schools and township government, serving as county commissioner for the Third District of Scott County for several terms. He died in 1917. His funeral was from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Shakopee, Minnesota, burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery on Eagle Creek Blvd. His wife Caroline died in 1919. Her funeral was from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Shakopee, Minnesota, burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

Descendants of Peter Duffy and his children live in Carver County, Minnesota, the state of Oregon and Indiana.

It is with mixed emotions when we see the fading of our past. Make way for progress but yet keep the past in mind.

Article originally published in the Spring 2013 Shakopee Heritage Society newsletter.

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