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


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MONDAY'S MOTHER - Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey McCaffrey (1838-1917)

Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey, my great-great-great-grandmother, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 15, 1838. Her parents, , were  She was the oldest daughter, and second child born to Patrick McCluskey (1810-1855) and his wife Mary (1805-UNK), my 4x-great-grandparents. Patrick and Mary had immigrated from Ireland.

At the age of 16 Charlotte married Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896) on August 15, 1853, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Philadelphia. Thomas was living in Baltimore, Maryland, working as a pattern maker in an ironworks factory serving the United States Navy. He was born in Boston, Massachussetts, the middle child of five born to Thomas McCaffrey (1799-1890) and Susan (1793-1869), immigrants from County Tyrone, Ireland.

Charlotte and Thomas were living in Washington, DC at the time of the 1860 U.S. Census. Abraham Lincoln was elected President that same year. But Thomas was a Southern sympathizer and moved to Alabama in 1861, the year Lincoln took office, to make cannon for the Confederacy. Charlotte was left in Baltimore with their three children: Thomas Joseph, born May 14, 1854; Susan, called "Susie", born March 3, 1856; Elizabeth Agnes, called "Lizzie", my great-great-grandmother, born December 23, 1858. Their daughter Mary Frances, born March 13, 1860, had died before she was 8 months old, on November 10, 1860.

While Thomas was in Alabama, first at Brierfield Ironworks in Shelby County, and later at the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry in Selma, Charlotte not only cared for Thomas, age 6, Susie, 5, and Lizzie, 2, alone in Baltimore, but she was also expecting baby number five.  She went to Philadelphia, possibly to stay with her widowed mother at this difficult time in her life, when tragedy struck. On May 28, 1861, daughter Susie, just five years old, came down with Scarlet Fever and died at the home of her grandmother. Six months later John Beauregard was born, November 10, 1861, exactly one year to the day after the death of daughter Mary Frances.  Charlotte returned to Baltimore with Thomas, Lizzie and baby John when once again the family suffered a devastating loss. John Beauregard died on June 23, 1863, at just 18 months old.

Battle of Baltimore
April 19, 1861
from Harper's Weekly (May 4, 1861)
[Another possible reason the Charlotte was in Philadelphia in May of 1861 is because of the "Battle of Baltimore"which occured on April 19, 1861. This was the site of the first bloodshed of the Civil War. Maryland was a border state, and a slave-holding state, which did not secede from the Union, but had a great number of southern supporters, including the Mayor and other public officials. President Lincoln had ordered Union troops to protect the nation's capitol from possible take-over by the confederates. On this day, Union troops had disembarked from the train in Baltimore and had to march through the city to board another train across town to take them to their final destination. A mob of successionists and southern sympathizers began throwing rocks and bricks at the train and the soldiers and blocked their route. Fearing for their safety several Union troops fired into the civilian mob and chaos ensued. After the city police force gained control, four Union troops and twelve civilians were killed. Small skirmishes continued in the month ahead but eventually tempers cooled. It makes sense that Charlotte took her family away from the violence and to the safety of her mother's home in Pennsylvania.]

Charlotte, along with other southern sympathizers were forced to leave Baltimore after this. Eventually she and her two surviving children travelled to Selma, Alabama, where Charlotte gave birth to their sixth child. Charles Andrew. "Davis" as he was called (after Confederate President Jefferson Davis) was born on May 2, 1865. Once again the timing of this must be understood with regard to what was happening in the Civil War. Union General James Wilson was moving through Alabama, under orders to destroy all Confederate property at Tuscaloosa. This was at the end of the War. Selma was the location of one of the South's main military manufacturing centers, producing tons of supplies and munitions and turning out Confederate warships. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was leading the defense of the city. But with the Union's 9,000 soldiers versus the Confederate's 2,000 men, many of whom were not veterans but militia consisting of old men and young boys, the city fell to the Union. Charlotte's husband Thomas was among this militia. The Battle of Selma took place on April 2, 1865, one month prior to the birth of Davis McCaffrey. The battle lasted through most of the day but by nightfall all that was left to do was to round up the confederate prisoners who had not jumped into the Alabama River or escaped through the woods. Thomas McCaffrey was among those who were captured at Selma and briefly held prisoner.
Ruins of Confederate States Naval Foundry at Selma

The Union forces looted the city of Selma that night, setting fire to many of the businesses and homes. They spent the next week or two destroying the arsenal and naval foundry, before heading on to Montgomery. On April 9, 1865 Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army. Prisoners-of-war were released at this time. On April 14, 1865 President Lincoln was assasssinated. Eighteen days later Charlotte had her baby.

Charlotte would give birth to seven more children, for a total of thirteen: Joseph William "Joe", born January 28, 1867; James Michael, called "Jim", born February 13, 1871;  Margaret Loretta, called "Maggie", born December 18, 1872; Charlotte Teresa, called "Lottie", born April 5, 1875; William George, "Will", born May 31, 1877; Agnes Gertrude, born September 26, 1875; and Marie, born June 17, 1882, and dying the following day. Charlotte was 44 at the time of Marie's birth.

Charlotte and Thomas and their growing family had moved to Rome, Georgia, by 1872. The last five of their children were born here. Charlotte lost her husband on May 21, 1896. Their oldest son Thomas had died in 1872; son Jim had died the year before his father, at the age of twenty-four. In 1897, son Will died at only 19 years old.

Grave of Charlotte McCluskey McCaffrey
Myrtle Hill Cemetery
Rome, Georgia
By the 1910 U.S. Census, Charlotte had moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where daughters Lizzie, Lottie and Agnes lived with their families. Charlotte was living with Agnes when she died on June 12, 1917, at the age of seventy-nine. The cause of her death was listed as Mitral Insufficency. Bronchial Pneumonia was listed as a contributing factor. She was buried next to her husband and children at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome, Georgia.

Charlotte had buried her husband of 43 years, eight of her 13 children, eleven of her grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was survived by five children, thirty grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Notice of Death
Rome Tribune
(click to enlarge)

[NOTE: Charlotte's daughter Lizzie married Charles Clinton "Charlie" Flemming (1854-1932). They lived in Birmingham. They had eleven children, eight living to adulthood, including their oldest, my great-grandfather, Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955). Harry married Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961) and together they had eight children, including my grandmother Susan Elizabeth Flemming (1909-1999).]

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