Bridget and Patrick O'Donnell settled in the town of Jericho, Henry County, Kentucky. He worked initially for the railroad that was being laid in the area, eventually working his way up to Supervisor. Not long after their wedding they started their family. They would have seven children, six daughters and one son:
- Margaret, who was called "Maggie", was born June 12, 1858;
- Mary Ann, called "Mollie", was born December 8, 1859;
- Alice L. was born April 2, 1860;
- Frances, called "Fannie", was born about 1863;
- Josephine Rose, called "Josie", was born January 11, 1864;
- John Martin, my great-grandfather, was called "Martin", born November 7, 1865; and
- Ella Agnes was born December 7, 1869.
Bridget and Pat were Irish Catholics and had continued practicing their faith after they came to America. The only Catholic church in Henry County wasn't built until the 1880's; before that time Masses were celebrated in the homes of Catholic families. The O'Donnell family may have attended Mass in nearby Louisville, which had its first church built in 1811. At Bridget's funeral Father Walsh, the parish priest, read this poem he had written in Bridget's honor:
Seven Sorrowing Children Piously Cherish Her Memory
|Graves of Bridget and Josie O'Donnell|
(Patrick O'Donnell's grave unmarked)
St. Louis Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky
But ah! She speaks not from the silent tomb
As oft she lulled my childish grief to sleep,
And as I weep I feel the mystic gloom
that shrouds my life, since death one year ago
Laid his chill hand upon her tender heart,
And hushed the music of her voice so low,
Is but a veil that keeps our souls apart.
I kneel at mother's grave, and memories come
Of all her countless acts of patient care,
Her tireless love, which filled our humble home
With joy and peace; in mingled ha'o fair
The light around her, gifted with a voice
Echoed sweet music from each gentle say,
To charm the heart to virtue's path by choice.
Is memory all that's left of this? Ah, nay!
My mother's gentle spirit is not dead;
Beyond the grave a higher life than this
Awaits us, thence her loving soul has fled,
To live eternally a life of bliss.
And while I plod life's pathway here below,
Unbroken bonds still bind us soul to soul,
The fondest hope my heart can ever know
Writes mother's name and mine on heaven's scroll.
Like ocean sands, in time we drift apart,
And other ties are briefly formed instead.
And yet we look beyond the passing years,
For a reunion with the loved ones gone;
Fond memories mingle without blinding tears,
While every pulse throbs with an undertone
That speaks of changless immortality,
As if those lying still beneath the sod
Whispered to us from their eternity,
'Meet us again and dwell with us in God.'
- Father Walsh