Sunday, 31 January 2010

1864 - marriage of Susan Fitzhenry and George Wilson in Arklow, County Wicklow.

Bev Kronk has sent me a scan from a marriage register from Ireland (thanks Bev!).

Registrar's District of Rathdrum
Marriage solomnised at Arklow, in the parish of Arklow, in the County of Wicklow

19th September 1864
George Wilson of full age bachelor
Resident of Ballynok, Donaghmore (not too sure about the placename Ballynok)
Profession: gentleman
Father: Nicholas Wilson, farmer

Susan Fitzhenry of full age spinster
Resident of Arklow
Father: Robert. Ed. Fitzhenry, shopkeeper.

Married by license by Rev Richard Ed. Eaton
Witnesses: Wm. Heath and Wm. Fitzhenry

Looking at the Griffiths' Valuations for Wicklow, there seemed to be an extended family of Wilsons around the Donaghmore area. There are several entries for Nicholas Wilson - they may all be the same man farming several pieces of land.
There is no Robert Fitzhenry as a tenant in County Wicklow for 1850-54 (range of the Wicklow valuations), but the Reverend Richard Eaton Appears as a tenant of William Fitzhenry on Main Street, Arklow in 1854.

There is a William Fitzhenry of Main Street who appears in the
Arklow Business Directory of 1840 under several business headings as a draper, an earthenware dealer and as a coal and timber merchant.

William Fitzhenry, a widower and shopkeeper of Arklow, married Mary Jenkinson spinster on 15 May 1845 were married in Rathdrum. In the Pigot's directory of 1824, both William Fitzhenry and Robert Jenkinson (perhaps Mary's father) were ironmongers in Arklow.

Robert Edward Fitzhenry appeared as a seedsman and gunpowder dealer (also on Main Street)
in the Arklow Business Directory of 1840.

This is where I've got up to so far with this family.

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Sunday, 24 January 2010

Mrs Rebecca Lena Graham (later Fitzhenry) - pioneer of Native American property rights

I came across an article detailing the life of Rebecca Lena Graham (1861-1946) during one of my periodic trawls around the internet.
Written by the historian and genealogist Patricia Hackett Nicola, it is the story of a woman who was born to a male white settler and a Native American woman from a local tribe near what is now Seattle, and how she had to fight for her right to be recognised as his heir and to inherit his property.
Click here to read the story. It really is a cracking read.

Although Rebecca finally won her court case, she was not so fortunate in family matters.
Her first husband John C. Holmes by whom she had four children, became violently psychotic after the death of one of them. He died after being committed to a hospital for the insane in 1889.

She married Victor E. Graham in 1890. Two more of her children died shortly afterwards.
It was under the name Rebecca Lena Graham that she started her successful court action in 1893 to secure the property of her natural father Franklin Matthias.
Sometime after 1900, Victor Graham left the family to prospect for gold in Alaska and did not return.

Rebecca married George W. Fitzhenry, a native of Maine in 1911. She was then 50 years old and there were no children from this marriage. She signed an affidavit that she was a member of the Duwamish Tribe under the name Rebecca L. Fitzhenry in 1916 (image of this affidavit in the article). But by 1920 George had moved away to Aberdeen, WA and had remarried.
My own research about George shows he was born about 1875, to Robert H Fitzhenry (Maine) and Bridget McElroy (Ireland). The Fitzhenry family moved from Maine to King County, Washington Territory (before it was a state) sometime in the 1870s. Rebecca seems to have been his first wife, and he then married Allie Craig. He died in 1935.

Rebecca died in 1946, a wealthy and respected pillar of the community in Seattle. Her obituary describes her as "one of the first white settlers to be born here", her Native American ancestry conveniently forgotten.

Rebecca Lena Graham's Fight for her inheritance
Patricia Hackett Nicola
Pacific Northwest Quarterly, summer 2006

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Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Gooderham & Worts Distillery inToronto

While trying to find out more about the C.L. Fitzhenry Distilling Co. in Boston, Mass, I came across another Fitzhenry distilling connection, this time in Toronto, Canada.

These two excellent websites here and here give the background to the Gooderham and Worts Distillery.

A summary of the Fitzhenry connection to this company shows that in 1855 Julia Riordan started a dairy and distillery on Front Street. In 1867 William Thomas Fitzhenry was running this distillery, leased from Mrs Riordan. William married her daughter
Mary A Riordan sometime between 1861 and 1863. The distillery claimed to be producing 250 gallons of liquor a day and was renamed the York Distillery.

After Mrs Riordan died, the York Distillery was sold to the Gooderham and Worts Company in January 1877.
This sale may also have been due to the death of William, as in the 1881 Canadian Census, Mary was widowed and had four children to support. She never remarried and died in 1907.
The children were:
Thomas born 1863
Moses born 1866
Julia born 1869
William born 1872

The distillery connection didn't finish there - in the 1913 Toronto City Directory, Thomas is listed as a clerk at Gooderham and Worts.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Fitzhenry Distillery of Boston Massachusetts

The legend on this little shot glass reads:

C. L. Fitzhenry & Co.

Baltimore Rye
17 Beach Street
Boston Mass.

Charles L Fitzhenry (born Oregon, 1865) was the son of Edward and Sylvia Fitzhenry, originally of Maine and ending up in Massachusetts. This family has already been featured in the blog when I wrote about another son, Lewis Frank Fitzhenry .

Edward had created a machine for the improved preparation of leather and, like his father, Charles started out as a "leather splitter".
Sylvia and three of her sons (Edward, Lewis and Charles) can be found in the directory for Malden Medford Mass in 1886. The other two sons were "machinists".
In the 1897 directory, Charles was a city councilor.

At the 1900 US census, Charles had been married to Julia for 11 years. Julia was born in England - I wonder whether she was she any relation to Lewis' English wife, Mary Jane Hodgson? They had 3 children - Ethel, Edward and Dorothy. Charles was still a leather splitter, and he was described as a leather splitter in the 1910 census too.

However in the 1904 Boston directory there is the entry:
Fitzhenry Charles, liquors 17 Beach, home at Medford
So what happened to the liquor company between 1904 and 1910? Was it a short-lived operation which folded before 1910, or was this a sideline to the leather business? There's no further information that I can find on the web, but if anyone has any further information I'd be very pleased to receive it.

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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Irish church records online - Dublin and Kerry

Online parish records from the diocese of Dublin and from part of the diocese of Kerry are now available at the Irish Genealogy website
It's a site set up by the Department of Arts Sports and Tourism of the Irish government and has a fully searchable index - and it's free to use.

I've found about 150 Fitzhenrys and relations under various spellings - the most bizarre being FITZHENORERRY. Some of these will undoubtably be duplicates, but it's a good haul nonetheless.

According to the website, there will be more records added this year - the rest of Kerry, and then Cork.

Unfortunately I haven't found any relations to people I already had in the database, but if you find your relative in this index, I'd be very grateful if you would drop me a line and let me know how they fit into your family.

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Saturday, 16 January 2010

Fitzhenrys from Clonbur Galway and Pittsburgh

Nancy Nolan wrote to us about her forebears from Galway.
She wrote:
My great grandfather was Myles Fitzhenry. He was born in Clonbur in 1856 and was baptized at St. Patrick’s Church. He was married to my great grandmother Mary Laffey. Myles was a fisherman and perished at sea some time after 1880. My grandmother, Catherine was born in 1880 and came to the United States between 1895 and 1900 and married Patrick J. Thomas in Pittsburgh, PA in 1905.
Another possible link to your Fitzhenry search is Stephen Fitzhenry. My uncle, the son of Catherine Fitzhenry Thomas, was born in 1929. His Godfather was Stephen Fitzhenry.
Myles does not appear in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) - the information about his birth came directly from Nancy's enquiry to the parish records of Clonbur. He was the son of Patrick Fitzhenry and Mary Kyne (an alternative spelling of Coyne) and was born on 2 February 1856. Patrick and Mary had two other sons who do appear on the IGI. These are:
John Fitzhenry born 19 December 1865
William Fitzhenry born 29 September 1873

Luckily for us, Mary Kyne was a long lived woman, as we found her and her extended family in the 1911 Census of Ireland. They were a farming family now living in the village of Cornamona, in the district of Cong in Galway. The family was Roman Catholic and all had been born in Galway.

Mary was an 80 year old widow, a farmer, who was illiterate and spoke only Irish.

Her 50 year old son John was also a farmer who spoke both Irish and English.
He had been married to Mary (aged 38) for 16 years. Mary was literate and was also bilingual. She had borne 8 children of whom seven were still living.
All seven children were still living in the family household, and all those of school age were literate and also bilingual. They were:
Patrick (Pat) born 1895
Mary born 1899
Michael born 1901
Kathleen born 1904
Thomas born 1906
Maggie born 1908
Annie born November 1910

Do these people feature in your tree? If So Nancy would be delighted to hear from you and can be contacted via the Blog

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