Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Irish Roots Planted in PA and AL

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, I am paying homage to my Irish immigrant ancestors, James McGowan, Bridget Conlon McGowan, Daniel McNamara and Jane McKenzie McNamara.
James was born in Ireland in a yet to be determined location about 1833. Bridget was born May 18, 1837 in Ireland, location also unknown.

The name McGowan in Ireland and Scotland, is of Celtic origins, originally Mac an Ghabhan, and is translated as the "Son of the Smith". James certainly followed this tradition, as he was an iron worker.

I was able to find James arrival to the United States on the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild website James arrived at the Port of Philadelphia aboard the Barque Creole. Captain John Watt's manifest was signed "this 18th day of July 1850".  All the passengers except two were from Ireland. James was the only McGowan on board. He states his age as 18, and occupation as laborer.  For all the passengers, the United States was the country of which it was their intention to become inhabitants. The journey from Ireland would have taken about a month on the Creole, a sailing ship. Sailing from Londonderry would usually indicate that the passengers were from northern Ireland.

The Creole was "...a well-known ship on both sides of the Atlantic--easily identified in port with the unusual figurehead of a Creole Indian in full head-dress and war-livery."

The Great Famine migration began in 1847, but it's effects were still being felt in 1850. The United States was the land of opportunity for these immigrants.

James settled in Pittsburgh. In June, 1860 he is found in the household of Constantine Galegar, age 33, Master Iron Worker.
Household of Constantine Galegar or Galegor, age 33, Ireland, Master Iron Worker (1827)
Mary, age 34, Ireland (1826) (maiden name Stinson)
Charles, 7, PA (1853)
Christophr, 5, PA (1855)
Constantine, 4, PA (1856)
Mary A, 2, PA (1858)

James McGowan, Age 28, Journeyman Iron work, born Ireland (1832)

James is age 28, and occupation Journeyman Iron work. It is interesting that James was living with the Gallaghers, as there were several on board the Creole on the voyage to the Unites States:

Pat Gallagher        30  labourer                    2 barrels, 1 trunk
Jno. Gallagher        8  child
Dan. Gallagher       6  child
Ann Gallagher       28  spinster

This may suggest a possible relationship to them, but so far unknown.

Shortly after the census was taken, James married Bridget Conlin or Conlon, daughter of Michael and Ellen. Bridget was also born in Ireland, and immigrated to the US in 1855 per the 1900 census. Their first child, my great-grandfather Patrick Henry, was born March 22, 1861. Patrick was baptized March 31, 1861 at St. John the Evangelist (South Side).  Sponsors were Albert Griffin and Anna Conlon.
Other children followed quickly:

Mary, born 12 Feb 1864; baptized 28 Feb 1864; father: James McGowan; mother: Bridg. Conlon; sponsors: John McDowal, Mary Conlon. Mary married Edward O'Malley September 12, 1880. She married Michael Ridge Nov 29, 1897.

Sarah Helen, born 2 Mar 1866; baptized 18 Mar 1866; father: James McGowan; mother: Bridget Conlin; sponsors: Thos. Nolan, Edelia McCann. Sarah died before the 1870 census was taken.

Joseph, born 18 Mar 1867; baptized 31 Mar 1867; father: James McGowan; mother: Bridget Conolan; sponsors: Edward McTiernan, Anna McCann. Joseph married Mary Ann McDonnell about 1888.

Ellen, born 19 Mar 1873; baptized 6 Apr 1873; father: Jacobo [James] McGowan; mother: Brigitta Connolly; sponsors: Hugo McFadden, Anna Murray. Ellen died before the 1880 census.

Jacobum, (James) born 15 Feb 1875; baptized 18 Mar 1875; father: Jacobo McGowan; mother: Brigit Conlon; sponsor: Winifred Gowey. James married Clara Elizabeth Wordtt, probably in PA.

Thomas, born 16 Oct 1877; baptized 21 Oct 1877; father: James McGowan; mother: Brigit Conlon; sponsors: Arthur Holland, Mary McGlinn

In the 1870 Pennsylvania census, the family was living in the East Birmingham Borough of Pittsburgh. 

James, age 36, Iron Pudler, value of real estate 1000, personal estate 100, born Ireland, father & mother of foreign birth, US Citizen.
Bridget, age 33, keeps house, born Ireland.
Patrick, age 9, Born PA
Mary, age 6, born PA
Joseph, age 4, born PA
Michael, age 8/12, born PA, Sept (Michael died Jan 7, 1873 of measles)
Townloe, Mike, age 23, laborer, born Ireland

Between 1855 and 1922 an alien woman became a citizen automatically if she married a native-born or naturalized citizen.

Puddling is the process of stirring pig iron with iron bars, exposing it to the air so that thecarbon in the pig iron is oxidized and burns off. This process creates steel.[5] As practiced in the early and mid-19th century, puddling required great strength as well as skill.[1] Because chemical testing of the molten iron had not yet been developed, puddlers relied on their long experience with steelmaking to determine whether too much or too little carbon had been oxidized.[1][5] Puddling was also an extremely dangerous trade, as some steel processes required the molten metal to boil and bubble as the puddler stirred in scrap iron and puddlers were required to physically remove slag and drain pure steel out of furnaces for additional processing.[1][5] -Wikipedia
An iron puddler makes iron bars in a furnace

In the 1880 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania census:

James MC GOWAN  42 born Ireland, Occupation Boiler, Parents born Ireland
Bridget MC GOWAN Wife 40, born Ireland, Keeping Boarding House, Parents born Ireland   
Patrick MC GOWAN Son 19 born Pennsylvania, Boilers Helper, Parents born Ireland
Mary A. MC GOWAN Dau 16 born Pennsylvania, At Home, Parents born Ireland
Joseph MC GOWAN Son 13 born Pennsylvania, Works In Rolling Mill, Parents born Ireland
James MC GOWAN Son 5 born Pennsylvania, Parents born Ireland
Thomas MC GOWAN Son 2 born Pennsylvania, Parents born Ireland
James CONAWAY Boarder 40 born Ireland, Boiler Parents born Ireland
Edwd O'MALLEY Boarder 30 born Ireland, Boiler Parents born Ireland
William RILEY Boarder 36 born Ireland, Boiler Parents born Ireland  

Edwd OMalley above married Mary later in 1880.

Apparently James became ill around 1881:

Title: J. F. Diffenbacher's Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities. 1881/1882
Author: Diffenbacher, J. F.
Collection: Historic Pittsburgh City Directories
pg 557
McGowan, Jas, invalid, 2707 Wrights ay, s s (South Side)
McGowan, Patk, helper, 2707 Wrights ay, s s

Patrick married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Cecilia McNamara, daughter of Daniel and Jane McKenzie McNamara September 28, 1888. Her parents were both born in Ireland.

James passed away in Pittsburgh at the age of 56.

Or 51 per his obit

Bridget is listed as the widow of James in the next few years in the  J. F. Diffenbacher's Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities:
McGowan, Bridget, wid Jas, 140 S Twenty-fifth
McGowan, Jos, helper, 140 S Twenty-fifth
McGowan, Patk, pud, 2518 Larkins ay
McGowan, Thos, furnace man Newton, n Brownsville av

McGowen, Bridget, wid Jas, 2412 Carey ay
McGowan, Jas J, lab, Salt Works, B & O RR
McGowan, Patk H, pud, 2928 Harcums ay

McGowan, Bridget, wid Jas, 2412 Carey ay
McGowan, Jas, Leckey av, n Mclure av, ( I'm not sure which James Jr. is this family)
McGowan, Jas, 8 Eden ay
McGowan, Jos, lab, 2412 Carey ay
McGowan, Patk H, pud, 2514 Larkins ay
McGowan, Thos, lab, Fifth av, n Robinson

McGowen, Bridget, wid Jas, 2412 Carey ay
McGowan, Jas, lab, Howard ext, ab Spring, A
McGowan, Jas, mach, Neville,. n Forward av
McGowan, Thos, lab, Robinson, n Fifth av
McGowen, Jos, helper, 2510 Carey ay
Patrick not found, has already moved to Birmingham, AL

I think this may be Bridget in 1900:

 Series: T623  Roll: 1368  Page: 224
630 Jerome St,

MCGOWAN  BRIDGET  57  F  W  IREL  Jan 1843, Widowed. 5 children, 5 living, Immigration 1855, Years in US 45
McGowan, James, son, Feb 1875, 25, born PA, parents Ireland, laborer pipe mill
McGowan, Thomas, Oct 1878, 21, born PA, parents Ireland, laborer pipe mill

Patrick has already blazed the trail to Birmingham. He moved to AL about 1896 based on birthplaces of children:

1900 Jefferson County AL, 9th ward

Patrick H, Head, age 39, b Mar 1861, in PA, says father born PA, mother Ireland, occupation Puddler Rolling Mill, can read & write, rents home
Lizzie, wife, age 35, B June 1864 in PA, 6 children, 5 liviing. Father & mother born Ireland, can read & write
Thomas J,  b March? 1891 in PA, age 9
Ella, b May 1893 in PA, age 7 (+Jen Baldwin great-grandmother)
Dannie, son, b Dec 1895 in PA, age 4
Alice, b March 1898 in AL, age 2
Joseph, b Feb 1900 in AL, age 4/12
Gus Myrlen (boarder)
Joseph Schoclere? (boarder)

Lizzie's father Daniel died in February 1904, and her mother Jane McKenzie McNamara died November 30, 1922.

Lizzie McNamara McGowan died in 1919.

By 1920, Bridget had moved to Birmingham, and is living with Patrick.

Series: T625  Roll: 22  Page: 248-249

MCGOWAN  P H  55  M  W  PA  AL
TOM 27?  SALESMAN-BARBER SUPPLY PA. Tom married Ora Barfield.
DAN 24  CARPENTER? -STEEL PLANT PA Dan married Ruby Wells November 13, 1920.
ALICE 21 OPERATOR-PHONE CO  AL Alice married Lyman Stribling September 20, 1920.
JOE 20 LABOR ? CO  AL Joe never married.
FRANK 13,  ? BOY, ? CO AL Frank married Ethelyne Blanche Oliver October 12, 1937.
JOHN 11 AL (My grandfather) John Married Georgia Mildred Fratoddi October 7, 1931.

Bridget died in 1921

Patrick died in 1924.

I have as yet been unable to locate the graves of those buried in Southside Catholic Cemetery. The location is now part of the UAB campus in Birmingham, site of the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. It is possible they were re-interred in Elmwood Cemetery.

If you are connected to any of this family, I would love to hear from you!