2012 Gathering in Rochester, MN
The 2012 Towey Gathering was held in Rochester, MN from Friday to Sunday 10 – 12 August 2012. Many Toweys also attended part of the annual Minnesota Irish Fair that was held at Harriet Island in Saint Paul, MN.
All Gathering festivities were held at The Kahler Grand Hotel. Over 190 families and friends attended from US, Ireland, UK and Canada. Success was due to the dedication of Chairperson, Ed Towey, of Deephaven, MN and Event Planner, Dan Towey, of Blaine, MN, and the dedication of all their family members and friends. We extend our greatest appreciations. The program is available at 2012 Schedule
Thursday Evening, 9 August
Early arrivals held an informal get-together in the patio of Martini’s Lounge. Coincidently, Rochester’s summertime Thursday Outdoor Market with live entertainment was being held next to The Kahler Grand Hotel. Several streets were blocked off for live music with over 120 vendors selling food, arts and crafts.
Chairperson Ed Towey opened the meeting and gave the Clan’s official appreciation to Dan Towey and their local families and friends who arranged all activity for the 2012 Towey Gathering in Rochester, MN. Ed also introduced Mike Towey, Clan Chieftain (Taoiseach), who led discussion of the 2012 Agenda.
Executive Committee Election
Designated Towey Clan Executive Committee members are:
Vice chairperson…………Position open
Secretary………Caroline Hassett Power, Quin, Co. Clare, Ire: firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer…………………Patrick Hassett, Shannon, Co. Clare, Ire: email@example.com
Assistant Genealogist……Dick Towey, Corvallis, OR
Webmaster……………….Bill Towey, Stockton, CA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Webmaster…….Mike Towey, Dublin: email@example.com
(Afterwards, Bill and Mike agreed to train Leland Fiegel, Cabin John, MD
to be Assistant Webmaster)
Committee Members…….Dan Towey, Blaine, Minnesota: firstname.lastname@example.org
…………………………..Eileen Collins, Birmingham, UK: email@example.com
…………………………..Michael Towey, Liverpool, UK: firstname.lastname@example.org
…………………………..Timothy Towey, Newport, RI: email@example.com
Continuing Honorary Officers:
Chieftain (Taoiseach)…..Mike Towey, Dublin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Chieftain (Tánaiste)…Mary Towey Ratto, Ukiah, CA: email@example.com
Next Towey Gathering
Our next Towey Gathering will be in Ballaghaderreen over the weekend of 23 – 25 August, 2014. Meeting details will be forthcoming in 2013 on the www.toweyclan.com web site. We have high hopes that hundreds of Toweys and Towey descendants around the world will attend, inclusive of variant family name spellings.
Mike Towey also made a Haemochromatosis Awareness presentation, a blood-iron overload that affects 1 in 5 Irish of Celtic decent. Symptoms are chronic fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, irregular heart beat. A blood test to check iron status can confirm or rule out iron overload. Visit web site http://haemochromatosis-ir.com for more information.
Informal Family Reception
Upon conclusion of the meeting an informal family group get-together was held where we greeted, renewed friendships and exchanged experiences over a pint or two. John Towey, Actor and Professional Pianist, a native of Rochester, MN, entertained the attendees for approximately 2 hours. For more information about John see our Famous Toweys web page.
View photos of the 2012 Meetings
Saturday Morning, 11 August
St Bridget’s Church and Cemetery Visit
On Saturday morning, dozens of Towey’s rode to St Bridget’s Church and Cemetery near Simpson, MN. Parishioners built the original church in 1859 from local limestone in honor of St Bridget, an Irish saint who founded the first convent in Ireland at Kildare in 470 A.D. Congregation over the years included dozens of Toweys who lived nearby. Many are buried there. St Bridget’s tour was organized by and a short history talk was given by Parishioner Wanda Towey Niehow.
View photos of the 2012 St Bridgett Visit
Ed Towey welcomed attendees in conjunction with Virginia Mahoney, Maplewood, MN and Dick Towey, Corvallis, OR who answered audience inquiries for genealogy information and resources. Approximately 45 attended. Bill Towey, Stockton, CA briefed a bit about our Towey “Auld Sod”, Ballaghaderreen, Ireland using maps and picture posters. Several Toweys responded to Ed Towey prompts to provide information about their Irish heritage. Most fascinating, in particular, was listening to Mike McCown, Dickenson, Texas who kept highlighting his genealogy and his continuing search to locate distant Towey ancestors in Texas, to no avail.
Handouts available were a 1901 Ireland census of Toweys, a chronological outline of Ireland History and the Towey Y-DNA Project.
View photos of the 2012 Meetings
Saturday Evening, 11 August
Ceili Social Evening
The Saturday night Irish dinner, floor shows and dancing were highlights of the Gathering and a tremendous success. Approximately 170 adults and 25 children had a fun, cool time.
- Two buffet dinner tables held delicious Irish food items – Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, country bread and dessert. Children were not overlooked, what with chicken strips, french fries and fruit cup for those not attempting Irish food.
- The Two Mary’s, Marriane Connelly and Mary Bridget Towey Lawson, sang typical Irish music playing a tin whistle, bodhràn or a guitar.
- After an invocation by Deacon Tony Towey, Chicago, Ed Towey warmly welcomed everyone to the festivities and introduced Chieftain Mike Towey, Dublin, Ire who gave thanks to Ed, Dan and the dedication of their families in planning and arranging the entire weekend festivities.
- Upon Mike’s introduction, he asked Eileen Towey-Collins, Birmingham, UK to recite the Towey Ballad, a poem about Thomas Towey, an evicted tenant from his Barnaboy farmland, plus two other men who campaigned against the Dillon absentee landowners and were jailed as Irish hero’s.
- Ed Towey also gave special recognition to family members in attendance who reached the golden 80 years of age.
- An embroidered quilt was given to the youngest family member in attendance, Brianne Towey Frazier, daughter of Brigit Towey Frazier, Riverview, FL.
- Next highlight of the festivity was Irish step dancing led by Avin Honecker Sherman, Dodge Center, MN. The dance troupe was sponsored by Catherine Towey, Stewartville, MN.
- Then the most fun for all was watching or participating with Leprechaun Debby Towey, Hayfield, MN and her little leprechauns in traditional Irish dancing. Debby was assisted by Coleen Fitzgerald. It was a roar to watch her adult leprechauns when they were added to the melee.
- The evening continued with help of a local professional dance troupe who tried to teach a traditional Irish folk dance called The Siege of Ennis.
- Then festivities continued with music provided by DJ Linda Engele, St Paul, MN.
- Historical photos of Towey families in the U.S., Ireland and elsewhere were featured in a computer slide show prepared by Katie Scott.
- Throughout the evening family groups were professionally photographed by Genevieve Detrude and Patricia Towey.
- Pat Towey displayed a wall chart with Towey family tree connections, about 127 feet long, spanning three walls.
- T-shirts with the Towey crest thereon were sold at a booth run by Clan members Jim and Peggy Ulwelling, Pine Island, MN.
- Bill Towey of Stockton, CA displayed historic maps and photos of the Towey “Auld Sod” in the Ballaghaderreen area.
View photos of the 2012 Ceili Social Evening
- We thank those who organized and ran the raffle, namely Tammy Towey Adams, San Antonio, TX and her crew Lisa Thompson Gaona and Susie Oswood, Minneapolis, MN and Dennis and Bridget O’Neill, Rochester, MN.
- A very special thank you to all of you who donated raffle prizes. It is one big way of paying for Gathering expenses outside of the Saturday buffet and Sunday brunch.
- Videos of weekend festivities were taken by Patricia Towey, a Film Production graduate of Emerson College, Boston, MA. Cost is $20.00 per copy.
- Slide show photos of Towey ancestors plus photos of the 2012 Gathering were taken by Katie Scott and are also available for an additional $10.00.
- To obtain a DVD of Patricia’s videos and/or a DVD of Katie Scott’s photos, kindly send a letter and check to Dan Towey, 126 96th Lane NE, Minneapolis, MN 55434. Payment from outside the U.S. must be an international money order in U.S. dollars. Please include your email address in addition to your mailing address.
Sunday Morning , 12 August at Assisi Heights
Catholic Mass in Remembrance of Deceased Toweys
On Sunday, a Catholic Mass in remembrance of all deceased Toweys was held in Lourdes Chapel at Assisi Heights, Rochester, MN, by Father David Byrne, a native of Ireland.
- The priest’s entry into the Chapel was led by Mary Scott, Rochester, MN. Our Chieftain, Mike Towey, prayed for deceased Toweys, with the congregation responding “Lord, hear our prayer.”
- At the Offertory, several Toweys presented the hosts and wine to Father Byrne. Other Toweys performed as eucharistic ministers to the congregation for receiving Our Lord in the form of bread and wine.
- Following Mass, the Sisters of St Francis served a delicious brunch to about 140 Toweys followed by a tour of the Motherhouse given by Sister Marlys Jax.
- Assisi Heights is the Motherhouse for the Sisters of St Francis. Twenty-five Sisters relocated to Rochester, MN in 1877. Nearly one-third of the Sisters are presently located in Rochester area, plus those in Minnesota and fifteen other states as well as Bogotá, Colombia and Cambodia.
View photos of the 2012 Memorial Mass at Assisi Heights