Death and Burial

Patrick Galligan/Gallaghan: Three Records of Death/Burial

I have not yet found an RC burial record for Patrick Galligan/Gallaghan, who was born about 1807 in Co. Cavan (probably parish of Kilmore), Ireland, and who emigrated to Canada about 1843. I have checked a number of Roman Catholic parish registers (e.g., St. Michael’s, Corkery; St. Michael’s, Fitzroy Harbour; St. Peter Celestine, Pakenham), but so far, no burial record. It may be that I am overlooking something obvious; it may be that I am overlooking something obscure. Or perhaps his burial was recorded and the record was subsequently lost, misplaced, or destroyed. Or perhaps his burial was never recorded in a parish register at all.

In any case, despite the lack of a church burial record, I do have three different records of the death or burial of Patrick Galligan:

Cause of death: puerperal (childbed) fever?

On 7 April 1885, Bridget Adeline Lavelle,1 wife of James McCann, gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Margaret Adeline McCann. Ten days later, Bridget Adeline Lavelle was buried at “the new Catholic Cemetery of Perth” (i.e., St. John the Baptist RC Cemetery, on the outskirts of Perth).

Not surprisingly, her Catholic burial record supplies no information about the cause of death:2

Burial of Bridget Adeline Lavelle

Burial of Bridget Adeline Lavelle

Or, at least, there is nothing in the above record itself that would indicate a cause of death. On the previous page of the register, however, is the record of the baptism of Margaret Adeline McCann, born 7 April and baptized 14 April 1885 (with Michael John Hartney and Maggie Finnall serving as godparents). This is obviously a significant clue: when a woman dies nine days after having given birth, it is reasonable to suspect a childbirth-related mortality.

  1. Daughter of James Lavelle and Margaret Boyle, and baptized (30 June 1861, Pembroke Mission, Renfrew Co.) Bridget Adelaide Lavelle.
  2. St. John the Baptist (Perth, Lanark), Baptisms, marriages, burials 1880-1899, Intmt 14, Mrs. James McCann burial, p. 173: database, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org/:
    accessed 4 January 2013), Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923.

Death of Thomas Benton …

… And Dispersal of his Household of Five Daughters

When Thomas Benton died in Arnprior (Renfrew Co., Ontario) on 7 March 1890, he left behind one son and seven daughters.

His wife Hanora (“Annie”) Ryan had died over a decade earlier (28 January 1879), apparently of “inflammation of the bowels.”1 And three of the children of Thomas Benton and Annie Ryan had already married and set up their own households by the time of their father’s death:

That left five Benton daughters still at home when their father suffered a dreadful, and fatal, accident…

Thomas Benton Jr. was in Duluth, Minnesota with his wife Maggie Mulvihill (daughter of Michael Mulvihill and Bridget Cronin). 2
Catherine Benton, who had married John Finnerty (son of Peter Finnerty and Anne Havey) in 1875, was still in Arnprior, though she and her family would move to Cloquet, Carlton Co., Minnesota in 1892. And Bridget Benton, who had married James Finnerty (another son of Peter Finnerty and Anne Havey) in 1888, was also in Arnprior, with her husband and the eldest two of their eleven known children.

That left five Benton daughters still at home when their father suffered a dreadful, and fatal, accident.

  1. Dysentery?  appendicits? colitis? enteritis? The cause of death might have been any of these, or perhaps something else entirely.
  2. Although Thomas Benton Jr. had emigrated to Minnesota in 1883, he had at least briefly returned to Arnprior in the late 1880s, where he married Margaret (“Maggie”) Mulvihill. In the record of their marriage, St. John Chrysostom, Arnprior, 13 September 1888, he is described as “Thomas Benton of Duluth, hotel keeper.”

Funeral Prayer Cards

I tend to think of funeral prayer cards as a Catholic thing, though this assumption may be a function of my own, somewhat limited experience: the vast majority of funerals I have attended have been Catholic (at the moment, I can think of only two that were not, though that can’t be accurate, surely?).

In any case, the two examples below are most certainly Catholic, and baroquely Catholic at that.

Funeral card for Francis Joseph McGlade (1908-1961)

Francis Joseph McGlade, son of Arthur Joseph McGlade and Catherine Honora McCarthy, was a younger brother of my maternal grandfather Jack McGlade.