Mc Govern Family

In the 1840's John Mc Govern immigrated to the United States from Ireland with his brothers Tom and Hugh. He married Elizabeth Mc Caffery in Ohio and settled in the Territory of Wisconsin, Town of Portland  with his two brothers. There they raised seven children. Their third child, John Jr., is the father of Van Allen Mc Govern who purchased Mc Govern's from the Chase Lumber Co. in 1935. For over the past 170 years seven generations of Mc Governs have been celebrating St. Patrick's Day and you can celebrate with them this year. There is no other place to be than Mc Govern's on St. Patrick's Day.

Of John and Elizabeth Mc Govern's seven children, only John Jr. or Jack married and had children who went on to have families. Frank had two children but had no grand children. John survived losing his left hand in a dynamite explosion removing boulders from a field. The family stopped the bleeding using stove ash while waiting for a doctor to arrive. If John had died, the Mc Govern family linage from John and Elizabeth would have ended.

John Jr (Jack) Mc Govern Married Elizabeth Hilker and had four Children. Emma Zeda moved to Appleton, WI and died of heart disease from pneumonia perhaps brought upon from ice-skating at the age of 20. Wilbur married Emma Prietz and had two children Norma and Harold (Red) Mc Govern. Wilbur died after a brief illness at age of 34. However, according to Gerald Mc Govern from his grand mother Elizabeth, death may have been caused by poisoning. Ruth moved to New York City, married Orville Smith who work as a railroad conductor, and lived in the Bronx. Orville fell on hard times and the youngest sibling Van Allen brought Ruth and Orville back to Wisconsin. Al Mc Govern then leased his first bar in Madison on Atwood Avenue.

Allen married Lucelia Blaska and had four children Gerald, Wayne, John, and Jeannette. Al was a successful wildcat beer bootlegger during prohibition. He purchased two more 80 acre farms next to the original homestead. Orville operated a bar Allen leased on Atwood Avenue. Allen then bought the Tar Paper Shack Bar leased by Hienie and Dick Nordness Sr. in Sun Prairie from the Chase Lumber Co. and had Orville manage it. Orvile Smith called it Smittyís High Life Garden Bar. Allen owned a Miller beer distributorship after prohibition given to him by Harry John of the Miller Brewing family. Smittyís was nicknamed the Bloody Dagger Bar because of the number of fights occurring between the locals and those from surrounding communities and Native Americans. When WWII started Orvillie and his family moved back to New York to work for Pullman in the railroad industry. Jeannette moved to California and the three sons fought in WWII. Allen then had Ross (Woody) Woodhead from Springfield manage the bar and it become known as Woodyís Bar.

Allen also owned a bar in Portland called Mc Governís Inn. After WWII, Jerry along with the youngest brother John, came to work at Woodyís Bar in Sun Prairie. A year later it was renamed Mc Governís Club. Wayne worked for the Schroeder Funeral Home for a short time and then ran Mc Governís Inn in Portland along with his wife Marge. Later Wayne and his family left Portland to move to Sun Prairie and help Jerry run Mc Governís Club. A lilac tree was transplanted on the east side of the bar from the original homestead and still remains there. Mc Governís Inn was then ran for years by Van Allenís nephew Harold (Red) Mc Govern and has remained operating under various names. John married Joyce Strasburg and went to work managing a bowling ally across the street from Mc Governís owned by his in-laws. After a fire destroyed the bowling alley, John worked for the Strasburg Gas Co. Wayne and Jerry then ran Mc Governís along with their children and grandchildren. Today, four generations of Mc Governs have run Mc Governís Club and Restaurant.

Click the address below for MapPoint directions 

820 West Main Street, Sun Prairie WI 53590

608-837-7321 800-837-7321

Fax 608-825-3800

email: mcgovern@merr.com