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, October 10, 2011

MONDAY'S MOTHERS - Bridget Kennedy O'Donnell, 1838-1893

Bridget Kennedy was born July 25, 1838, in County Tipperary, Ireland. Her parents were James Kennedy (1818-UNK) and Mary Maguire (UNK-1893) - they are my 3x-great-grandparents. Bridget's father had died in Ireland before the family- including her mother, seven siblings and she - came to America. On June 27, 1856 Bridget married Patrick O'Donnell (1823-1911), also an immigrant from Ireland. He was 33, she was 18. They are my great-great-grandparents.

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.
On February 18, 1893, Bridget died at the age of 54 years. The cause of death - heart failure. She was survived by her husband Pat, their seven children, ages 13-24, six grandchildren and three more due within months of her death. She was buried at the St. Louis Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. Her large tombstone was no doubt a testament of the love her family had for her.

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
"Today I stand by mother's grave and weep -
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.

However, dearly linked is heart to heart,
As through life's devious windings here we tread,
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

No comments:

Post a Comment