The Story of Daniel Dunn

I don’t know exactly when or where Daniel Dunn, my great great grandfather, was born. Based on later records like census returns and marriage certificates, it was somewhere in Ireland, around the year 1844. His father’s name was also Daniel- his mother’s name was Ann. This information comes from the earliest document connected with Daniel that I’ve found so far, the Cambridge, Massachusetts marriage registry. On July 2 1865, Daniel and Mary Ledwick of Somerville were married. Mary’s parents are recorded as James and Mary Ledwick. Daniel was 20, his bride 19. Continue reading “The Story of Daniel Dunn”

Finding Uncle William

When I started researching the family history, I managed to figure out the basics of all of Dad’s siblings except for his brother William. He was Grandfather and Grandmother Sheehan’s second child, born in Worcester in 1904. The only other fact I knew in the beginning was that our cousin Rusty was his daughter. Rusty’s real name was Eleanor, (probably named after Grandfather’s sister Ellen) and we used to see her and her husband George Brunt when we’d visit Florida. I remember being confused when Mom told me Rusty was my cousin, because she seemed to be close to Mom’s age (she was born in 1928). To me that made her an aunt, not a cousin!

William married Helen Gaffney sometime in the early 1920’s. In addition to Rusty, they had another daughter, Mary, born in 1926. In later years, Mary lived in Grafton, and I remember visiting her house with Mom and Dad when I was younger. There was also a son, Thomas, born in 1929, who became a very successful lawyer and insurance executive. The family appear in the 1930 census, living in Worcester. William was 25, and worked as an office clerk at a “loom works”, probably Crompton & Knowles. That was the last record I could find prior to the 1940 census being released in 2012. Continue reading “Finding Uncle William”

On this day: April 21, 1676- The death of Nathaniel Seaver

When I wrote about our ancestors who fought in the Revolution, I said I suspected we had some French and Indian War veterans in our family tree, but didn’t know for sure. I still don’t, but I did come across a record of a family member who served (and died) in an even earlier conflict, King Philip’s war:

397px-SudburyMA_FightMarkerNathaniel [Seaver], son of Robert and Elizabeth (Ballard) Seaver, was baptized in Roxbury, January 8, 1645, and was slain by Indians in the battle of Sudbury, Massachusetts, April 21, 1676, during King Philip’s War. He was one of ten Sudbury men who were killed on that day and served in Captain Wadsworth’s company.

The site of the battlefield where Captain Wadsworth so long held the Indians at bay is on what is now called “Green Hill.” While an attack was being made on a small body of eighteen minute-men under Edward Cowell, Captain Wadsworth and his company came upon the scene and seeing a small party of Indians rushed forward with impetuous haste and were caught in the usual ambuscade, for when within about a mile of Sudbury they were induced to pursue a body of not more than one hundred Indians and soon found themselves drawn about a mile into the woods, where on a sudden they were encompassed by more than five hundred, and were forced to a retreating fight toward a hill where they made a brave stand for a time (one authority says four hours) and did heavy execution of the enemy until (Hubbard says) the night coming on and some of the company beginning to scatter from the rest of their companions were forced to follow them, and thus being surrounded in the chase the officers and most of the company were slain. It is said that the savages set fire to the woods and thus forced the disastrous retreat, and only thirteen out of the entire company escaped to Noyes’ mill.

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,: Volume 40 1886

The veterans in our family tree

World War II

One of the things I wish I had talked with Dad about more was his military service. I knew that he had served in North Africa, and then Italy and France, but that’s about it. Aside from a few random recollections, like seeing the Sistine Chapel, or swimming in the Mediterranean, I don’t really know any details of his service. As far as I know, he was the only member of his immediate family to serve in the military- his brothers were all more than a decade older. Dad enlisted on February 20, 1941. Here are the details of his enlistment record: Continue reading “The veterans in our family tree”

The Sheehans come to America: Bridget

Patrick and Bridget Sheehan had eleven children, and six of them emigrated to America- at least as far as I know at the moment. Here’s a short history…

I believe the first of the Sheehans to come to the US was Bridget, who was also the first born child in the family. Bridget was born in 1871, and probably emigrated in 1891- that’s the date given for her arrival on the 1900 US Census. In 1893 she was living in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in November of that year married Michael Greene, who was also a recent immigrant from Ireland. Their first child was a son, named James, born in 1894. A daughter, Mary, followed in 1896. Mary died from cholera infantum, shortly after her first birthday. Continue reading “The Sheehans come to America: Bridget”