Memories of the Morans

By Emmett Patrick Sloan

The Ottawa Citizen, 10 February 1943

Emmett Patrick Sloan (1920-2007), RCAF pilot and WWII veteran, was the son of John Percival (‘Percy’) Sloan and Mary Lillian Fagan, and a descendant, through his mother’s side of the house, of James Moran and Margaret Jamieson.

He was also a family historian who spent years constructing a very detailed family tree, which involved tracing any number of Morans and Leavys across North America.

A few months before he died, he sent me his memories of my great-grandparents Alexander Michael Moran (1872-1939) and Anna Maria Benton (1871-1947). He also gave me his Moran family history research notes, for which I am extremely grateful.

My memories of the Morans centre around my grandmother, Mary Eugenie Gertrude (Minnie) Moran Fagan and her brothers and sisters who lived in Hintonberg in the 20s and 30s.1 Minnie married Michael Fagan in November 1888. Michael was a letter carrier and postal clerk. About 1900 they moved into a new house at 146 Hinton Ave. They had a large family (eleven) of whom my mother was the second, born in 1891. In 1926 my mother and father moved into a house four doors from the Fagans on Hinton Ave. I and my brother and sisters had open visiting priviledges [sic] to my grandmother and we took full advantage of it. I remember particularly the fresh homemade bread she baked.

I have very vague memories of living with Alex and Annie [Benton] Moran on Spadina Avenue before we moved to Hinton Ave, but those are very dim. Later when they moved to Armstrong St, next door to Tommy and Bridget [McDermott] Moran my memories are much better. Uncle Alex was one of the first of our relatives to own a car. It was an Essex, I think, and I remember taking a few trips in it to Vinton or Calumet Island to visit the Sloans and Cahills. On one occasion I recall that the Essex broke a spring and Allen [Allan Jerome Moran] and Orville [Orville Alexander Moran] had to take turns standing outside on the rear bumpers to keep the car moving.

Canada, Voter’s Lists, 1935-1980,

During the 1930s Alex and Annie operated a small grocery shop in their home on Armstrong St. In the depths of the depression my father, who was a railroader, got very little work and we were often short of cash. At those times our credit was good and we could always get the essentials at the Morans. There were lots of card games and visits to and fro. Uncle Alex was also a fiddle player and he and Aunt Em Delaney played for dancing and entertainment.

Aunt Em Delaney and her husband Ed lived on Holland Ave. He worked at Eddys paper mill at the Chaudiere Falls and he walked to and from work every day. I used to drop in on Aunt Em quite often and always got a cup of tea and a cookie. Uncle Ed was a big dark man and it was his regular duty at New Years to ‘first foot’ our house. Aunt Em liked to smoke and a cigar was a special treat. She loved the violin and kept it under her bed at the nursing home she lived in for a time so she could play it on request.

Aunt Annie Sullivan lived on Parkdale Avenue for a time and was a regular visitor to Hinton Ave. Uncle Tommy and Aunt Bridget Moran lived at the corner of Parkdale and Armstrong. They had a large family of whom I knew only Gerald and Royden. My Grandfather Michael Fagan died in 1927. In the late thirties my grandmother operated a rooming house on O’Connor street in downtown Ottawa. In 1939 when I was working in the government I used to visit her at lunchtime, particularly near the end of the month before payday. After the war she moved back to Hinton Avenue where she was joined by Aunt Em Delaney, Aunt Annie [Benton] Moran, and other widowed relatives. If you dropped into that establishment, you had to be prepared to play a game of Rummy or Casino. There was no escape. Later on Minnie ran a similar rooming house on Bronson Avenue with many of the same roomers.

  1. Hintonburg, a working-class neighbourhood in Ottawa with a significant Irish and French Catholic presence.