|John Martin O'Donnell|
After graduating from Eminence College (see "September 27, 2011" post) in 1885, he was hired by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad as a civil engineer. His father and uncles, after arriving in the United States around 1847, had all worked for the railroad, as laborers, building the actual track as it connected Louisville to Nashville. His father later opened a general store in Jericho.
At some point early in the early 1900's John was transferred with the railroad to the growing city of Birmingham, Alabama, first living in Calera, Shelby County, south of Birmingham. Here, as family lore tells it, he met his future wife, Mary Bertha Huber (1873-1913) while both were living in the same boarding house. She was a school teacher and, too, was a native of Kentucky - born and raised in Bowling Green. They were married on February 11, 1904 and they had four children: my grandfather John Huber (1905-1964), called Huber; Charles Patrick (1906-1987); Edward Joseph Kennedy (1908-1989); and Barbara Lena (1909-1996). Their family's happiness was short-lived. In late 1912, Mayme, as my great-grandmother was called, came down with Tuberculosis.
John took his wife to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city known for its dry air and its rapidly growing health care facilities dedicated to serving TB patients. Mayme's younger sister Philomena Barbara (1876-1937), called Minnie, was a nurse; she travelled out from Kentucky to New Mexico to help care for her. Mayme did not recover. She returned to Birmingham, where she died at home on March 30, 1913. She left behind her four small children - Huber, 7 1/2; Charles, 6 1/2; Ed, 5; and Barbara, 3 1/2. She was buried at the old Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church Cemetery.
[click to enlarge]
|Picture on Prayer Card|
|"Pop" with grandson Huber, Jr.|
taken in front of home ca. 1922
John's children all married and began their families. Soon after his oldest son Huber married my grandmother Susan Elizabeth Flemming (1909-1999), they moved in with him at his home in Norwood, a suburb north of the city. [NOTE: The home is still standing @ Also living with him at this time was his sister Frances "Fannie" Delaney (1862-1939).
|from The Birmingham News, p.10|
December 7, 1937
|from The Birmingham News, p. 23|
December 8, 1937
His body was brought back to Birmingham, where he was buried next to his wife. He was survived by his four children, and eight grandchildren.
When the Church and Cemetery were relocated, most of the graves were re-interred at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham. Many of the graves were not able to be identified and were re-buried together in mass graves behind Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, near Elmwood.
|One of four Headstone at Old Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery|