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.

Another son, Harold, was born in 1898. There then followed three daughters, all, like Mary, named after Bridget’s sisters: Margaret, Ellen (Nellie), and Julia.

Tragedy struck the family again in 1910, when James Greene, just 15 at the time, drowned while swimming in Lake Quinsigamond.

Harold joined the Massachusetts National Guard, and saw action along the Mexican border in 1916, and later in Europe in World War I. Harold died in the Rutland Heights Veterans Hospital in 1930, after a long illness. It’s not clear whether his death was the result of an injury or illness suffered in the war.

Bridget’s daughter Margaret married Timothy Halley in Worcester in 1920. Ten years later she gave birth to a son, Timothy Jr. That, unfortunately, is about all I know about Margaret herself. She disappears after 1920. I haven’t come a cross a death record, or any other indication of what happened.

In the 1930 census, Timothy Sr. is living as a lodger in someone else’s home, but is listed as married. Timothy Jr., now 10, is living at the Nazareth Home in Leicester, operated by the Sisters of Mercy. Father and son both served in the military in World War II. Timothy Sr. remarried, but had no additional children. He died in Worcester in 1966.

Timothy Jr. moved to Texas after the war, where he married and fathered a son and daughter. The son died in 1999, while the daughter is still alive as far as I know. I haven’t found any record that either had children of their own.

bridgetobitMichael Greene died in February 1936, and Bridget survived him by only a few weeks. Her obituary in the Worcester Evening Post was headlined “Democratic Woman Leader Expired Suddenly”, and described her work in a number of Democratic Party organizations, as well as religious and charitable groups.

Bridget’s daughters Julia and Nellie both married, but neither had any children. Julia worked as a kindergarten teacher for over 40 years. She died in 1999 at the age of 92, and was buried in the same plot in St. John’s Cemetery where her infant sister Mary had been lain to rest over a century before.

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