Tag Archive for McNulty

Cause of Death: Pulmonary tuberculosis

The Family of Hugh Walsh and Mary Catherine McGlade

I’ve written about tuberculosis before. See, for example, Tuberculosis in Ontario; and also see a list of those who Died of Tuberculosis in the Ottawa Valley Irish database.

Here’s a family that was hit hard by the scourge of tuberculosis in a five-year period from 1915 to 1920: the family of Hugh Walsh and Mary Catherine McGlade. Two parents; eight grown children:1 and no fewer than four of these ten people died of pulmonary tuberculosis between March 1915 and December 1920.

Mary Catherine McGlade was the daughter of Michael McGlade and Bridget McNulty. She was born in the (civil) parish of Forkill, Co. Armagh in 1864; and she emigrated to Pennsylvania with her parents and four of her siblings in the early 1880s.2 While her parents and four living siblings would head north to Perth (Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada) by 1883 or 1884,3 Mary Catherine McGlade stayed in the United States, where she married a Hugh Walsh in Leetonia, Ohio in 1883.

Hugh Walsh was born in Ireland about 1856, the son of an unknown Walsh and of an Elizabeth Lee, and emigrated to the States about 1864. He appears to have been an iron worker for many decades, first in Leetonia, Ohio, and then in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; several records describe him as a “puddler.” For a brief account of the family’s move from Leetonia to Pittsburgh in pursuit of employment in the iron and steel industry, see this obituary for daughter Sister Mary Hugh Walsh, MM (born Elizabeth Irene Walsh), a Maryknoll Sister.

Hugh Walsh and Mary Catherine McGlade had nine known children, all born in Leetonia, Ohio between 1884 and 1889, with the youngest, Hugh, dying in 1905 at the age of six before the family moved to Pittsburgh.4 So: eight children moved with their parents from Leetonia, Ohio to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania between 1905 and 1910; and of these eight, three would die of pulmonary tuberculosis within the next decade or so.

Here’s the ‘died of pulmonary tuberculosis’ death toll for this family:

  • Thomas Walsh, died of pulmonary tuberculosis 9 October 1910
  • Patrick J. Walsh, died of pulmonary tuberculosis 14 March 1915
  • Alice Walsh, died of pulmonary tuberculosis 23 June 1918 (Alice, who died at a sanatorium at the age of 22, was listed as a Telephone Operator in her death record: for some reason, I find this detail unbearably poignant)
  • Hugh Walsh, died of pulmonary tuberculosis 9 December 1920

So there we have it: 40 percent of a family wiped out by an airborne infectious disease (tuberculosis) that is now treatable, in the space of 5 short, and sorrow-ridden, years.

Folks, modern medicine is our friend: and if you don’t believe me, please take a closer look at your family’s tree: all those little Johns and little Marys who were carried off before the age of 5 by childhood diseases that are now almost entirely preventable. And please, please, please, inoculate your children against any and all preventable diseases. (End of pro-vaccination earnestness.)

Btw, I first learned of the existence Mary Catherine McGlade through her father Michael McGlade’s obituary in the Perth Courier (20 January 1905), which listed a surviving daughter as a “Mrs. Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio.” Yes, the name of the town (Leetonia) was misspelled; but the information was basically sound, and verifiable. Never ignore unexpected or seemingly random details in an obituary (those details may be a bit muddled, but they’re not random!): always follow up and follow through.

  1.  The ninth, and youngest known child, Hugh Walsh (born 7 July 1899), died on 15 October 1905, at the age of 6.
  2. According to Michael McGlade’s obituary in the Perth Courier, four other siblings died and were buried in Armagh.
  3.  Michael McGlade’s brother John had been living in Perth since about 1851.
  4.  The family can be found in Pittsburgh by 1910.

“Mrs. Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio:” Using FamilySearch

Michael McGlade’s obituary (Perth Courier, 20 January 1905) notes that he was predeceased by his wife Bridget McNulty and by five of their nine children; and that he was survived by three sons and one daughter. Of the five dead children, the obituary records, one is buried in Perth (that one is Margaret McGlade, who died in Brockville in 1894), and “four are buried in Ireland” (presumably Co. Armagh). The surviving sons are named as Patrick and John of Perth (Ontario), and Michael of Havelock (also Ontario); and the daughter is named as “Mrs Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio.”

So who was Mrs Hugh Walsh of Latonia, Ohio? I had no idea what her first name might be, though I knew, of course, that her maiden name was McGlade; and I had also never heard of a place called Latonia, Ohio.

The Queen vs Kelly: Part IV

Continued from The Queen vs. Kelly: Part III.

Hard Times, Hard Labour

As reported in Part III, John Kelly entered the Dominion Penitentiary at Kingston on 15 May 1841, to serve a one-year sentence for the manslaughter of his brother-in-law Michael Hourigan.

Dickens described the penitentiary as ‘well and wisely governed’…

While we don’t have any details specific to Kelly’s one-year confinement in the penitentiary, we can assume it was a harsh, if not hellish experience. Though touted as a model of the new, and more humane approach to punishment and rehabilitation — when Charles Dickens visited the Dominion Penitentiary in the 1840s, he described it as “an admirable jail,…well and wisely governed, and excellently regulated, in every respect” 1 — the new prison at Kingston was in fact “a place of violence and oppression.” From an online history at Correctional Service Canada:

At the root of its problems in the early years was its first warden, Henry Smith. Smith’s use of flogging, even in an age when it was an accepted form of discipline, was flagrant. In 1847, inmates were given 6,063 floggings, an average of 12 per inmate. Women, and children as young as eight were flogged. As well, Smith punished inmates with shackling, solitary confinement, bread-and-water diets, darkened cells, submersion in water, 35-pound yokes, and imprisonment in the “box,” an upright coffin. His son ran the kitchen, profiteering by diverting food and serving rotten meat. In his spare time, he tortured inmates, once putting out a prisoner’s eye at archery practice.

Even by the severe standards of the day, Smith’s treatment of the prisoners was considered outrageous, and he was removed from his post as warden after an investigation into his abuses in 1848.

  1. Charles Dickens, American Notes (London: Chapman and Hall: 1874), etext edition, University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center 1996, pp. 240-241.