Tag Archive for Byrne

Obituary for Thomas and Alexander Moran

While it may seem a glaringly obvious point, it’s a point worth keeping in mind when you discover an ancestor’s obituary.

That obituary or death notice1 that you discovered for your ancestor didn’t just write itself. Somebody had to write it; and was that somebody a staff writer for the newspaper, or a family member who paid for the announcement? And even if written by a staff writer, somebody (probably not a staff writer, unless your ancestor was famous or infamous, or at least, in the case of more local or regional papers, unless your ancestor was a highly prominent citizen of the locality) had to supply the relevant details.The thing didn’t just write itself, in other words: it had to be written by someone, based on information supplied by somebody.

A Double Obituary

Irish World, 13 February 1892, p. 5. Death and burial of Thomas and Alexander Moran.

Irish World, 13 February 1892, p. 5 (www.genealogybank.com). Death and burial of Thomas and Alexander Moran.

From the Irish World and American Industrial Liberator, 13 February 1892, here is an obituary (see image, right) for the Messrs. Thomas and Alexander Moran: a double obituary notice with details of a “double bereavement.”

And I certainly wasn’t expecting to find an obituary notice for my 2x-great-grandfather Alexander Michael Moran — of Huntley Township, Carleton County, Ontario, Canada — in an Irish-American newspaper that was published in New York City. Nor was I expecting to find one for his eldest brother Thomas. But that’s the wonderful thing about online, digital newspaper repositories such as GenealogyBank and Newspapers.com: they can help you turn up little gems that you never would have discovered otherwise.

Two brothers, Thomas Moran and Alexander Michael Moran, both of Huntley Township, Carleton County, Ontario, Canada died five days apart in late January 1892, of la grippe (influenza) with pneumonia. Thomas, a lifelong bachelor farmer known as “Uncle Tom” to “a legion of nephews and nieces,”  was the eldest son of James Moran and Margaret Jamieson. His younger brother Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael was the husband of Mary Ann Leavy,2 with whom he raised a family of twelve children, one of whom, Margaret Jane, died young; six of whom married and remained in the Ottawa area; and five of whom emigrated to Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

Though you won’t find any specific details of parental or spousal relations in this obituary notice from the Irish World: no, not even the names of the brothers’ parents, never mind the name of Alexander Moran’s wife, nor of his eleven surviving children. No mention, either, of Thomas and Alexander’s four surviving sisters, all of whom were alive and well and living in, or next-door-to, Carleton County at the time.3

Instead, the obituary focuses on the brothers’ standing in “the farming community of Carleton County”; on the respect paid to the men at their funerals, when the church was “appropriately draped in mourning;” and, in the case of the elder brother, on Thomas Moran’s status as an “exemplary Catholic.”

Who Wrote this Obituary?

So: who wrote this obituary?

Well, of course I do not, and cannot, know who authored this obituary. But if I had to hazard a guess, I’d place my money on the Rev. Patrick Corkery, who is mentioned in the obituary as the “Father Corkery” who “performed the burial ceremony” for Thomas Moran.4

And here are the three reasons why I would guess Father Corkery (but I emphasize that this is only a guess, and perhaps a wrong one):

TO BE CONTINUED…

  1.  There’s no bright line, no hard and fast rule for distinguishing, between a death (or mortuary) notice and an obituary. In general, a death notice was very brief, perhaps only one or two lines of vital information, whereas an obituary offered at least a bit (or perhaps more than a bit) of narrative: a life story, or a biographical sketch, with some key names, dates, and details.
  2.  Daughter of John Leavy and Jane Byrne, originally of Co. Longford, Ireland.
  3.  Elizabeth Moran, wife of Peter Doyle, was in Montague township, Lanark County, Ontario; the other three sisters — Marcella Moran, wife of John Hogan; Margaret Moran, wife of Arsène Charlebois; and Henrietta Moran, a lifelong spinster — were in Carleton County. It was after the death of her brothers that Henrietta, moved to Ottawa.
  4. Thomas Moran’s funeral and burial took place on 23 January 1892, with the Rev. P. Corkery officiating. Five days later, on 28 January 1892, the Rev. P. Corkery performed the funeral rites for Alexander Michael Moran.

“My Maternal Ancestors,” by Alec Lunney

I am extremely grateful to Al Lunney for sending me a copy of Alec Lunney’s “A Collection of Family and Ottawa Area Information,” which includes his account of his maternal (and my paternal) ancestors James Moran and Margaret Jamieson.

Peter Alexander (“Alec”) Lunney (1896-1953) was the son of Hugh Andrew Lunney and Margaret Amelia Hourigan, and a descendant of (my 3x great-grandparents) James Moran and Margaret Jamieson, and also of Mary Lahey (sister of my 3x great-grandfather James Lahey). His ancestral chart can be found here. His “A Collection of Family and Ottawa Area Information” was recorded at Pakenham on 8 August 1946, and included the following account of James and Margaret:

My Maternal Ancestors, by Alec Lunney

 

On my mother’s side of the house were the Hourigan and Moran families of Huntley and March townships. My mother’s paternal grandparents settled in March township. Her father Thomas Hourigan was born in 1824 in Canada. He married my grandmother Julia Moran, they had in addition to my mother, three other children, James who died as a youth of 18 in the year of the Great Fire of 1870, Mary Anne, who died in 1877 at the age of 26 years and Thomas who died in 1899 at the age of forty years. All of these three were unmarried.

Thomas Hourigan, my grandfather was an ambitious man and taught himself to read and write in an age when that was by no means a small accomplishment. He died in 1857 at the early age of 33 years. My grandmother, left with four small children, then moved to Huntley so as to be near her own people. My mother’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Jamieson, who had an upbringing of advantage in Ireland. Her father was a doctor, as were five of her uncles. Her grandfather was a landed gentleman in Ireland. Her mothers name was Fraswer, so that although she lived in Ireland she was but slightly Irish stock. She married my great-grandfather James Moran against her family’s wishes and left with him for Canada. This was sometime between 1815 and 1820.

Thomas Hourigan, my grandfather, was an ambitious man…

Foresaking a life of refinement and comparative ease, she chose the crude pioneer life of the Upper Canada wilds. She and her husband were natives of Kings and Queens counties. The Hourigans derived from Tipperary. James Moran and his wife, Margaret Jamieson lived for about three years in the Philomen Wright settlment of Hull, Quebec. Then with their two eldest children they trekked to the Ontario side to carve out a home of their own. They passed Richmond Landing, later Bytown and now Ottawa — if they had foreseen the future land values, we might now all be rich — and staked out two hundred acres in the First Concession of Huntley. Near here lived Dr. Christie with whose family my great grandmother formed a close and lifelong acquaintance which partly compensated her for the sacrifices she made in that pioneer environment. The first James Moran was the pioneer substitute of a doctor, in that he was much in demand as a blood letter a supposed panacea for most of humanitie’s ills in the early days. He died in the late fifties, both he and my grandmother, who lived on into the eighties, are interred at Huntley Cemetery.

James and Margaret Moran had three sons and six daughters. Thomas never married and became known as “Uncle Tom” to a legion of nieces and nephews. Since my mother’s family were so early deprived of their father, they were perhaps closest to him of all the related cousins. His old farm, draining into the miniature Carp River is now owned by a Mr. Cox of Huntley. Alexander (Sandy) married Mary Levi [Leavy] of Pakenham, and lived for a time there, but at his father’s death he came home to Huntley. He had a large family. His son Thos. Moran inherited the family farm, but sold it in 1913. It is now owned by Mrs. Cleary. The CNR (Ottawa to Depot Harbour) bisects this farm, and the old stone house commands a fine view of the valley which James and Margaret Moran chose as their New World home so long ago. The other sons and daughters of ‘Sandy’ and Mary Moran, lived and died in Ottawa, North Dakota, Washington, and Oregon. Only Mrs. Fagan (Minnie) and Mrs. Delaney (Emma) of Ottawa and (Annie) Mrs. Sullivan of Grand Forks, N.D. now remain. The descendants of this family branch are very numerous indeed. There were two sons, Thomas Edwin, who married Bridget McDermott and Alexander, who married Annie Benton. James Moran, son of the original James died as a young man and is buried at Richmond. Of the girls Marcella married John Hogan and lived on the Carp-Stittsville Highway. Their family of three sons and seven girls are now all deceased. Thos. Hogan succeeded to the family homestead, but sold it many years ago, at one time this family had branches throughout the adjacent townships and tho some of their descendants remain, the original family are all gone. Mrs. Pat Hammill (Elizabeth) of Bell’s Corners passed on quite recently, as the last of the family of John and Marcella Hogan. This branch, too, has very numerous descendants. Notable among them are two sisters, Marjorie Byrne (Sister Carmelita) and Madesta Byrne (Sister — ?). These are five generations down from Jas. and Margaret Moran.

Julia Moran, my grandmother married Thomas Hourigan and I have already enumerated their family. Margaret married Ercin [Arsène] Charlebois of Torbolton, and of three sons and one daughter, Thomas of Ottawa remains. Elizabeth married Peter Doyle of Drummond and had a son and daughter, Tom and Lily, both still living. Mary married Geo. Cahill of Calumet Island. They had a large family of whom a son, Dick, lives on the island homestead. Due to their distance away our acquaintance with them was less intimate than with others of the connection. Shortly before my mother’s death we paid them a visit on the island, my mother’s second visit after a lapse of over half a century. Henrietta Moran never married and lived with her brother Tom on the farm in Huntley. After his death she lived in Ottawa and passed away several years ago.

This concludes a quite abbreviated resume of the family of James and Margaret Moran. Their descendants are very numerous and come down to the sixth generation, five of whom were Canadian born. Comparatively few of them remain on the land. Their descendants will be found largely in the cities whether here [i.e., in Canada] or in the great republic [i.e., in the USA], but wherever they are if they could be congregated together, they would surely constitute an assembly of no mean dimensions. My great-grandmother lost contact with her people in Ireland for a time, but in later years was in touch with some of her cousins who had come to this side. A letter we have in our possession, dated New York, 1849 substantiates this. However, circumstances intervened to prevent her ever meeting any of her relations again. Though the rigors of pioneer life, its isolation and its hardships must have been in striking contrast to her early upbringing, she was compensated by a long and happy life with her own children and numerous descendants living throughout the Ottawa Valley. After her husband’s death she made her home with her unmarried son “Uncle Tom.” She had lived from 1798 into the early eighties of last century. My mother never wearied of telling of her, and it is very apparent that in the pioneer community so long ago, hers was a benign and refining influence.

John Leavy and Jane Byrne

My 3x great-grandparents Jane Byrne (born about 1811, died after April 1881) and John Leavy (1801-1881):

leavey_john_byrne_jane.jpg

John Leavy’s headstone (Indian Hill RC Cemetery, Pakenham, Lanark Co.) identifies him as “a native of Co. Longford, Ireland;” Jane Byrne was presumably also a native of that Irish county.
This couple married about 1830 in Ireland (presumably Co. Longford), and had three children (Patrick; Mary Ann [my great-great-grandmother]); and James) born in Ireland; before emigrating to Upper Canada around 1834, where they settled at Pakenham, Lanark Co., Ontario, and had six more children (Thomas; Ellen; John; Michael; Jane; Elizabeth).
John Leavy’s last will and testament transcribed here.
Mary Ann Leavy married Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran, son of James Moran and Margaret Jamieson.

Last Will and Testament of John Leavy

John Leavy1 was born in Co. Longford about 1801, possibly (this is undocumented) the son of Patrick Leavy and Mary Bambrick. Around 1830, he married Jane Byrne, who was born in Ireland (presumably Longford) about 1811. The couple had nine known children, with the first three — Patrick (1831-1886), Mary (1832-1907), and James (1833-1909) — born in Ireland; and the next six — Thomas (1835-1916), John (1837-1926), Ellen (1841-1930), Michael (1843-?), Jane (1846-1934), and Elizabeth (1850-1921) — born in Pakenham township, Lanark Co., Ontario. The children’s birth dates (the dates are approximate for the Irish-born children) indicate that the family emigrated to Canada in 1833 or 1834.

The Leavys farmed at Concession 11, Lot 22 and/or Lot 23,2 Pakenham township, Lanark Co., Ontario.

John Leavy died 8 April 1881; an Ontario civil death record lists the cause of death as “Asthma.” He was buried 11 April 1881 at St. Peter Celestine RC Cemetery (aka Indian Hill Cemetery) in Pakenham; a headstone describes him as “Native of Longford Ireland.” His will, which he signed (or rather, marked with an X) on 3 March 1877, was filed 4 June 1881, at which point his personal estate was valued at one thousand three hundred dollars. I have not yet found a burial record for his wife Jane Byrne, who apparently survived him but who probably died before 1891.

Last Will and Testament of John Leavy3

I John Leavy of the Township Pakenham, County of Lanark, and Province of Ontario, Yeoman, being in a sound and disposing State of Mind do make the following distribution of the property owned by me in this my last Will and Testament
After paying my just and lawful debts and burial expenses
leavy_john_byrne_jane_3.jpg
1st I Will and bequeath to my beloved wife Jane Leavy One hundred dollars per annum during the term of her natural life; the payment of said Annuity to be due and payable at the expiration of One Year after my decease; and each Succeeding Annuity to be due and payable with same order as to time, during the term of my wife’s Natural life

2nd I Will and bequeath to my daughter Mrs Morin [Mary Leavy, who married Alexander Michael Moran] one hundred dollars

3rd Having given my daughter Mrs Gormerly [Ellen Leavy, who married Patrick Gormley] one hundred dollars, I leave her nothing

4th I Will and Bequeath to my daughter Mrs Mcgunnigal [Jane Leavy, who married Patrick McGonigal] One hundred dollars

5th I Will and bequeath to my daughter Mrs McGary [Elizabeth Leavy, who married Henry McGarry] One hundred dollars

6th I Will and bequeath to my son Patrick Leavy One hundred dollars

7th I Will and bequeath to my son Thomas Leavy One dollar

8th I Will and bequeath to my granddaughter Cathrine Alice Leavy daughter of my son James Leavy [and his second wife Alice Farry], One hundred dollars, to be paid to her when she arrives at the age of eighteen, or when she gets married

9th With a view to carry out my intentions, as set forth in My last Will and Testament, I hereby nominate and appoint my son James Leavy, Alexander Moren [his son-in-law Alexander Michael Moran, husband of Mary Leavy], and Robert Dickson executors to this my last Will and Testament

10th In the event of there being a surplus of funds in the hands of my Executors, at the time of the death of my wife, after paying the foregoing bequests, I will and bequeath to my son Michael Leavy said Surplus

John X Leavy his mark [his X mark on the paper]

We the undersigned were present and saw John Leavy, Senior signe, or make his name to the above as his Last Will and Testament on the 23rd day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Seventy-Seven

James Levy [his signature] Robert Dickson [his signature]

  1.  Numerous variant surname spellings include Leavey, Levy, Levi, Levie, Levey, Lavey and Lavie.
  2.  In the Census of 1851, Canada West (Ontario), Lanark (county), Pakenham township, Schedule B (agricultural census), John Leavy is found at Concession 11, Lot 23 (200 acres). Later documents place his son James at Concession 11, Lot 22.
  3.  Will of John Leavy, filed 4 Jun 1881, Lanark County Surrogate Court estate files, file #524: microfilm reel 439, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.