It’s been a while since I’ve written but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on the Dailey family mysteries. Quick background. In my ongoing attempt to determine where our Ellen Connors and Patrick Dailey originated from in Ireland, I’ve been working on Ellen’s sister, Mary Connors, who came over on the ship the Albert Gallatin with them and was listed in the 1856 census as living in Osage, Iowa and working for a family as young women often did in those days. I haven’t been able to find a mention of her again in Osage after 1856, however, she was mentioned in Jane Lane Hyde’s letter to Will Dailey in 1911 as your Auntie.
There are, I believe, two likely candidates for ‘our’ Mary Connors. Both of them were born in Ireland in about 1838 and were in Iowa in the mid 1850s. I have not yet been able to make a direct connection between either one of them and my Ellen Connors, however, I’ve been digging into them in hopes that there exists a record, an obituary, a person ‘out there’ to fit one of them into this puzzle.
The reasons I’ve narrowed my search down to these two Mary Connors as likely matches are because they were both Irish immigrants living in Iowa at about the correct dates and they married men whose families had close Iowa ties and are part of the group of families who were closely associated from Ireland to their settling in the US.
The first Mary Connors was born in Ireland on March 25, 1837 (according to her death certificate). She was close to her sister Nancy O’Connor (b. 1844) who lived in Glens Falls, never married and who worked as a housekeeper for the local priest.
In Co. Cork, there is one Connors family with children named Ellen b. 1835, Mary b. 1837, Anne (Nancy?) b. 1840. The dates match with my Ellen, Mary and Anne. (This family had other children as well, but for this already complicated post, I left them out.)
FACTS: Mary Connors married Edward Sheehan in Glens Falls at St. Mary’s Church on June 2, 1861. Mary and Edward had seven children. The family educated all their children and one daughter became a teacher and one son, a doctor and another the local postmaster. The family stayed in the Warren Co and neighboring Chittendon Co in Vermont. Mary lived to be 84 years old and died on July 11, 1921. ConnorsMarySheehanobit
THEORY: I believe that after living and working for a couple of years in Warren Co NY, it is likely that Mary spent much of her social time with the other Irish families in that area. They surely went to church together and these families probably provided support for each other as they navigated life in a new country. There is some evidence from newspaper articles that the NY folks kept close contact with those who moved out west to Iowa. I believe that after her widowed sister Ellen Connors Dailey remarried Samuel Coon in 1860 that her younger sister Mary was free to marry and move wherever her husband was. Perhaps she moved back to Warren County to marry Edward Sheehan, a fellow native of Co Cork?
ACTION PLAN: Hoping to find her parent’s names and place of birth, in 2017, I requested Mary Sheehan’s death record from Warren co, NY and they said they couldn’t find it and sorry, they weren’t sure where it might be. In January of 2018, I sent a check and a request to the NY State Department of Health for Mary’s death certificate and it arrived yesterday, almost ten months later. (Their website warned that these requests might take up to nine months.)Scan 3
RESULTS: Needless to say, I was thrilled to see the envelope in the mailbox yesterday with the long-awaited death record for Mary Connors! Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when I realized that the record—the original record–was inaccurate. It did list correctly her date of birth in Ireland and date of death in Johnsburgh, NY, however they made a huge mistake in her parents’ names. Instead of listing her parents’ names, it listed her own name and her husband’s as her parents. The informant was her son Edward Sheehan and the only thing I can think that might have happened is that when the person filling out the form asked Edward Jr for the name of the father and mother, he listed his own. Grief? Confusion? Who knows. But I do know that Mary Connor’s father was NOT Edward Sheehan as is listed on the death certificate. Back to the drawing board for this Mary Connors. Sigh…..
Second possible Mary Connors:
FACTS: The second potential match is a Mary Connors who was born in Ireland in 1840 and who immigrated to the US in 1851, according to the 1910 census. She married Patrick Mahoney in Rock Island IL on Jan 26, 1857. The interesting thing about this marriage record is that the same priest who married them that day, also married Denis Sheehan and Mary Callaghan that day.
Denis and Mary (Callaghan) Sheehan then moved to Waseca co MN where they farmed and raised their family. There were many Callaghans, Sheehans, Mahoneys and Connors in the northern Iowa, southern Minnesota area from Co Cork who were all successful farmers, cattlemen and law men.
This second Mary Connors and her husband Patrick Mahoney moved first to the St. Louis area, then to Louisville KY, then back to Iowa and eventually they ended up in Bend, Silver Bow Co., Montana area along with many others from Co. Cork and Kerry. Patrick was variously listed as a laborer, a miner and a boiler maker and he ultimately worked in the mining area of Montana. Mary and Patrick Mahoney had seven children and three of them died before the age of three. Mary died at the age of approximately 85 on March 13, 1921.
THEORY: The two couples knew each other from back in the old country and had traveled together from Ireland, New York, Illinois and finally to Iowa. They planned their wedding together so they could be each others’ witnesses before going on to their new lives.
ACTION PLAN: I have sent a request to the Diocese of Peoria for these marriage records as last week (October 17, 2018) I received a phone call from Sister Anne, the diocesan archivist, to let me know that she has located these records and will be sending me a copy of the original records as well as a transcription. I’m hoping that the names of their witnesses or something in those records might help me figure out if this Mary is ‘ours.’
Two Mary Connors. Two completely different lives in the US after immigrating from about the same area in Ireland. This may yet be another one of those dead ends, but I choose to believe that some bit of evidence will help me know if one of these women is ‘ours’ or will eliminate them from contention. It’s a long game I’m playing here….