On this day: April 17, 1870

Today marks the 138th anniversary of the birth of Mary Ann Dunn, my great great aunt, in Somerville, Massachusetts. Mary Ann’s parents were Daniel and Mary (Ledwick) Dunn. Mary Ann was the second of four children- the others were her older brother Daniel, her sister Catherine, and younger brother Thomas. When Mary Ann was just five years old, she apparently witnessed the death of her mother at the hands of her father, in Lowell on July 13, 1875.

Mary Ann and Catherine next show up on the 1880 census as “pupils” at the St. Peter Orphan Asylum in Lowell. Their brother Daniel, by 1880, is already living in Jaffrey, working on a farm. I haven’t been able to find any official records of Mary Ann and her other siblings (aside from Daniel, of course), after 1880.

Forty years later, however, the Fitchburg Sentinel contained this brief item in the Rindge social notes for April 9, 1920:

Miss Mamie Leary and Miss Kate Dunn of Lowell were guests of Mrs. M. Alice Dunn over Sunday.

An earlier item in the Sentinel had mentioned a visit by “Daniel Dunn’s sisters from Lowell”. Mamie Leary may be Mary Ann’s married name- Mamie can be a nickname for Mary. I haven’t been able to find either Mary Ann or Catherine (or Mamie or Kate) in the census or directory records for Lowell around that time.

No luck in probate…

The Middlesex County Probate records I requested from the LDS library arrived this week, but unfortunately, they provided no clues on Daniel Dunn. I was hoping there would be some record of a guardianship, or something similar, to document his move to Jaffrey from (presumably) an orphanage in Lowell, but no such luck. In what I assume is a bizarre coincidence, however, there was an entry for a guardianship under the name “Mary Alice Dunn”, and it was in Lowell! Hard to imagine that it could actually be connected to our Mary Alice, but it was startling to see the name there!