Michael was born 1 Dec 1892 in the tiny village of Ballaghduff, Galway. For his parents Catherine (age 25) and Michael (age 28), he was the third child in three years.
In 1900, age 7, he was enrolled in the Curraghmore National School, along with his brother John and neighbors James Stephens, Peter Collins, Martin Collins, and Margaret Mullin.
Later, when family farm work was quiet, Michael migrated back and forth to England working as a farmhand and coal miner. [I wonder how he traveled. Did he and his buddies find their own way or did the mines provide transportation for gangs of boys and men?]
The April 2, 1911, census shows Michael (age 18): working as a farm laborer in Rixton, Lancashire, England, lodging with Thomas Kilmartin (age 26) of Kilkerrin and Pat Murphy (age 46) of Corrolenaugh.
In the mines, he broke a hip [date unknown]. It was properly cared for and he recovered.
Back in Ireland, in the years before the Irish Free State was declared (1920-21), British paramilitaries haunted the backroads of eastern Galway. While Michael was an IRA sympathizer, he hadn’t joined. Nevertheless, one day when he was bicycling to Tuam, a Black & Tan rode up alongside him and kept bumping into him, Michael finally fell off the bike and re-broke his hip. He would have been about 30 years old then and walked with a limp for the rest of his days.
As his parents aged, he took over the management of the farm in Ballaghduff, while his brother John managed the farm at Cooloo.
About 1930, Michael’s sister Lizzie Kilmartin became disabled and her husband left her. She was bedridden, with two toddlers. Michael stepped in. He made sure the children Kitty and Paddy were cared for, most notably by having his young nieces Vera (b. 1920) and Grette (b. 1921) Stephens stay with them. When Lizzie died in 1949, he became the primary guardian of Kitty and Paddy.
Michael remained a lifelong bachelor, as did his ward and housemate Paddy Kilmartin. The two continued to farm into their old age.
Michael died on 13 Nov 1984, at the age of 92.