My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Monday, September 12, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Thomas McCaffrey (1799-1890)

Thomas McCaffrey was born in 1799 in County Tyrone in Ireland. In 1825 he boarded the ship Carolina Ann out of Belfast, along with 129 other Irish citizens headed for America. They arrived in New York harbour on June 20, 1825. His occupation was listed as "weaver". No other family had made the trip with him. Thomas McCaffrey is my 4th great-Grandfather.

He married Susan (1793-1869), also an immigrant from County Tyrone, presumably soon after arriving. Her maiden name is unknown, as is the date of their marriage. It is possible that Thomas met his wife on the ship coming over - there is only one "Susan" of the 130 passengers listed, and she lists her age as 30, make her born in 1795. [Thomas listed his age as 28 when he was really 26 - maybe they were both fudging their ages, which seemed to be quite common even in those days!] Children soon entered their lives when the first two children were Mary, born in 1826, and James, born in May 1830.

Their third child was Thomas Joseph, my third-great-grandfather. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 17, 1832. Two more daughters followed - Susan, born in 1834, and Elizabeth, born in 1837. Their youngest child was called 'Eliza'. All were born in Massachusetts. By 1850, the family had celebrated the marriage, then suffered the death of their oldest daughter, Mary, who died at the age of 20. The family was now living in Baltimore, Maryland. Thomas listed his occupation in the 1850 U.S. Census as "ash collector." [Presumably the ash collector's job was going door to door removing the ashes from fireplaces of homes and businesses. Son James, 20, was listed as a carpenter; Thomas, 18, was a pattern maker.

In 1853, son Thomas married my third-great-grandmother Charlotte McCluskey (1838-1917) and children soon followed. On October 4, 1855, Thomas' sister and his parents' 21-year-old daughter Susan died. Son Thomas moved to Alabama to support the Confederacy at the beginning of the war; his wife and children would soon follow.

All was not lost for Thomas and Susan. Son James married Margaret (1845-UNK) and by 1864 had given his parents a grandson. In 1866 their only surviving daughter, Eliza, married Thomas James Rice (1864-UNK) and they would have four sons.

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1869, Thomas' wife Susan died. According to the newspaper she was 58 (or 68). Her headstone listed her age as 76. Thomas, himself seventy-one at the time, moved into the home of his son-in-law at 408 South Central Avenue in Baltimore. He had listed his occupation in the 1870 Census as "carter". [A carter is one who drives carts or one who carries goods in a cart.] By the time of the 1880 Census he no longer listed an occupation - he was 81 at the time.

In 1874 son James, at 44, died after a "short and painful illness", according to The Baltimore Sun's notice of his death. Thomas had now survived the loss of three of his children and his wife, as well as four of his grandchildren.

On April 16, 1890, Thomas died at the age of 91. He was buried next to his wife and children at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Baltimore.  He was survived by son Thomas, daughter Eliza, fourteen grandchildren, including my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth McCaffrey Flemming (1858-1922) and ten great-grandchildren, including my great-grandfather Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955).

"McCAFFREY - On the evening of April 16, 1890, at the residence of his son-in-law, Thomas Rice, No. 408 South Central avenue, Thomas McCaffrey aged 91 years, a native of county Tyrone, Ireland. May he rest in peace.
Relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, as above, on tomorrow (Saturday) morning, at eight o'clock, thence to St. Patrick's Church, where a High Mass of Requiem will be offered for the repose of his soul." [from The Baltimore Sun, April 18, 1890]
A Requiem Mass was held for him on April 19th at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. This prayer card was one given out at the Mass.

Who entered into rest
On APRIL 16th, 1890, AGED 91 YEARS.

A precious one from us has gone,
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.

God in His wisdom has recalled,
The boon His love had given;
And though the body slumbers here,
The soul is safe in Heaven."

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