Three more sisters for Grandfather Sheehan

Back in April I came across an old Rootsweb posting that led me to Grandmother Sheehan’s parents. I later found an earlier posting by the same individual that showed three marriages that had taken place between the Casey and Powers families in Stradbally. In addition to those marriages, one of the Powers siblings, Patrick, married Maggie Sheehan, and one of the Casey daughters, Mary, went on to marry Grandfather Nicholas Sheehan.

I’ve confirmed much of the information in the rootsweb postings, but discovered an apparent error when it came to Maggie Sheehan’s husband, Patrick Powers. Patrick died in 1962, and his obituary gives his parents’ names as Maurice and Margaret Scanlon Powers. The rootsweb post has Catherine McGrath as Patrick’s mother. I haven’t come up with a definite solution to the discrepancy- it’s possible that Catherine McGrath is an error, or that there were actually two Powers families involved. The person who posted the original messages told me by email that he no longer had any of the information he relied on for the posts.

I decided to try working backwards in time from the earliest record I had found of Patrick and Maggie, the 1910 census record. I eventually came across a 1900 census form that showed Patrick living with Maurice (Frank) Casey, and his wife Nora (Powers) Casey. Although the census form gives Patrick’s relationship to the head of household as “boarder”, I’m pretty sure he was Frank’s brother-in-law, and Nora’s brother.

Scanning up a few rows from Patrick I found none other than his future wife, Maggie Sheehan. And Maggie is said to be living in the household of a Michael J. Green and his wife Bridget. Maggie’s relationship to Michael? Sister-in-law! Which means that Bridget is Maggie’s (and Grandfather Sheehan’s) sister! The census gives Bridget’s birth date as July, 1872, which would make her, so far, the eldest of Grandfather’s siblings.

Needless to say, that changed the course of my research- I headed off in search of what happened to Bridget after 1900. I found her and Michael in 1910, not in Mechanicville, but, where else, Worcester. The 1911 Worcester City Directory lists a Michael J. Green living at 75 East Worcester St. Working back through the earlier directories, though, I came up with a Michael J. Green, wireworker, living at 2 Milton Place in 1905, the same address Nicholas F. Sheehan had occupied the year before!

Bridget and her husband Michael Green(e) had actually lived in Worcester prior to that date, and were married in Worcester in 1893. The two sons shown on the 1900 census were both born in Worcester, and the family was back in Worcester within a couple of years of 1900. So far, it looks like Bridget was probably the first Sheehan to settle in Worcester, followed by “Uncle Ned”, and then Grandfather Nicholas and his brother Michael.

bridgetobit

Michael and Bridget Greene died in 1936, just a few months apart from each other. Bridget’s obituary in the Telegram says that she was very active in the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party, and had been a member of the Worcester Democratic City Committee. Mom has said that Grandfather had a sister that was very active in politics, and I had assumed that she was talking about Maggie in Mechanicville. After reading Bridget’s obituary, it seems more likely that she was the politically active sister Mom had heard about.

The obituary also added two more sisters for Grandfather- it says that among Bridget’s survivors were her sisters “the Misses Nellie and Julia Sheehan of Ireland”. Bridget’s two sons aren’t mentioned in the
obituary. At least one of Bridget’s sons served in the military in World War I (one of the organizations she belonged to was the “War Mothers”, which was formed during that war), so it’s possible that one
or both may have died in the war.

Bridget’s daughter Julia became a kindergarten teacher, and taught in the Worcester schools for 40 years. She died in 1999 at the age of 92. Daughter Nellie worked for the telephone company, and died in 1991.
Neither Julia or Nellie had any children. There was also a daughter named Margaret, born in 1901. She married Timothy Hally, but I haven’t found any information on her after the 1920 census.

One mystery is that while both Bridget and Michael’s obituaries say they were to be buried in St. John’s Cemetery, when I called the cemetery office to check the location, they said there was no record of either of them being interred there. Bridget’s obituary also says that she left three grand-children, so there may be some of her descendants around still, descended from Margaret, or one of the sons. Bridget’s obituary and marriage record both give her mother’s maiden name as Bridget Doody, which sounds more likely than the Marguerite Doody given in Uncle Ned’s obituary in 1960.

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