Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ship "Friesland" Departed Queentown August 27th, 1908, Arrived Philadelphia September 6th, 1908

The last recorded Bolands to arrive in Philadelphia from Ireland were John & Ellen Doherty Boland and their two youngest children, Ellen and John Jr. Also listed as arriving with them is their 3 yr old grandson Michael McCafferty, child of Bernard & Mary Cafferty who came to Philadelphia without their son in 1906. Click on to enlarge.

Ship "Merion" Left Queenstown April 18th, 1907, Arrived Philadelphia April 30th, 1907

Katherine (Kate) Boland, sister of Bridget Boland came to Philadelphia from Ireland with another of Bernard Cafferty's sisters, Margaret Cafferty. Kate was listed as being born in Killala while Margaret was listed as being born in Ballina. Click to enlarge.

1930 Census Record "Boland"

John and Margaret Boland lived at 1 Laboratory Hill in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia. Laboratory Hill was a community built around a chemical plant where the residents worked. John was a laborer in the chemical plant. He was listed as being 34 yrs old. Also in residence was his wife Margaret (34 yrs old) and their three children, Anna (9 yrs old), Margaret (5 yrs old) and John (2 yrs old). John's father was also listed in the household. He was 65 yrs old.

Please note that two of John & Margaret's children died in early childhood. Mary died in 1923 at age 3 yrs old. Theresa died in 1928 at age 18 months old.

Also of interest, Margaret Boland immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland in 1914.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ship "Merion" Left Queenstown August 16th, 1906, Arrived In Philadelphia August 25th, 1906

This is the ship's passenger list for Bridget Boland McCaffery (great grandmother) and Bridget Cafferty (sister of Bernard Cafferty). Bridget Boland is listed as being 20 yrs old and born in Killala while Bridget Cafferty is listed as being 22 yrs old and born in Ballina. Please note that the term Schuylkill was once used for the current name of East Falls Click on image to view details.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Jerry Cannon, my grandmother, my mother, Mary McKiernan, Molly Cannon (black sleeveless dress), Molly's brother, Nancy, Uncle Gene, (unknown man), Uncle Bill, Helen, Aunt Dolores

Those who are deceased; my grandmother, Molly's brother, Uncle Bill and Helen.

Open Letter To Molly

Today, you glide ever closer to death. My heart breaks with the thought. Truly.

I have known you all my life because you were my mother's closest friend since childhood. Forty-six years would pass before I had the good fortune to call you mother-in-law. How funny life can be with its twists and turns.

I remember when my mother took me to your house in Plymouth Valley after your fourth child and first daughter, Joanie was born. I clearly remember Joanie lying in her crib. I also remember the house full of boys. Funny that I would eventually marry one of them later though it was this particular son, I cannot remember as a child. But, I remember the one called Jerry all too well. He was born just four days before me in 1960 and we would be nursery-mates as well as you and my mother were room-mates in that same hospital.

That day in Plymouth Valley, Jerry got on my nerves with his nonstop talking and bragging not to mention his grandmother, your mother egging him on because he was 8 yrs old and could spell the word "aspirin". Strange how someone can remember something so silly.

Do you remember when my parents lived in Manahawkin, just outside of Long Beach Island right on the bay? You came to visit every summer and stayed with my parents so we shared numerous barbecues and beach-time. I clearly remember your husband making his (at the time) famous blue fish on the grill. It actually was not too bad. This was the fish that he, my Dad and sometimes my oldest son, Shaun caught while out on those fishing trips.

Then I remember sitting on the beach with you and my mother while you two discussed things that I probably should have never known. Sometimes during those conversations, I had the feeling you both had forgotten I was even there.

Remember, the couple on the beach who had one little girl named "Tara". When you overheard the mother of that child call out to her daughter your first reaction/comment was, "the parents must be yuppies to have named their daughter, Tara". Again, it is funny how one remembers such silly things. Then, there was always that white zinc cream you generously put on your nose to avoid a sun-burn on that area of your anatomy.

Then there was that hot August day when my brother Michael got married and all the bridesmaids including me wore pink satin in one hundred degree weather where the church lacked air-conditioning and where I nicely tore the seam to my very very pink satin gown just as I got out of the car. The entire wedding I spent worrying that the four safety pins holding that dress together would come undone rendering me naked up at the altar in front of all those guests many which were cops because at the time, my brother was a cop.

That night as I laid on the sofa at my parents' house in that stupid hot pink torn dress, I overheard you and my mother talking (probably after many glasses of wine) and the topic was me so naturally I continued to lay there pretending that I was asleep just so I could hear what the two of you had to say about "me".

I remember you telling my mother how beautiful I looked sleeping. I could not be more than 30 yrs old at the time. (an age where no one should be forced to wear pink satin in August)
I just cannot let that dress thing go, can I?

For as long as I have known you, you always drank Merlot. Though Merlot tends to give me a headache, I too like wine. However, my own children saw that I developed an ulcer and put an end to that little pleasure.


I just spoke to Bill. He said the Hospice Nurse tells him its only a matter of hours. He is one thousand miles away and I cannot do a damn thing but talk to him on the phone. To complicate matters even worse, is his father's health. It is my understanding that he too has spent a great deal of time in bed today sick with a fever and sore throat.

1910 Census Records

John and his wife Ellen along with children Kate, John Jr. and Ellen lived on 137 River Road in Lower Merion Township in 1910. Click on to view larger image.


I finally located the burial records of John and Ellen Doherty Boland, maternal grandparents of my grandmother Anna Marie McCaffery Gallagher.

Folk lore suggested that they were interred at St. John the Baptist's church grave-yard in Manayunk. However, after several trips over to St. John's and numerous hours searching through their records, I never found any records suggesting they even had a funeral mass at this church let alone were buried in their church-yard.

It also did not make sense to me that a plot was purchased by John Boland at Holy Sepulchre for his daughter, my great grandmother, Bridget McCaffery when she died in 1915. The question that always remained in my mind was why would the parents be buried upon their own deaths at St. John's when their child was interred at Holy Sepulchre.

Then I discovered another Boland sister, Aunt Kate was also interred at Holy Sepulchre along with her husband, Daniel.

Last week, I discovered two more Boland families at Holy Sepulchre, my great great grandparents and their son, wife and two young daughters.

I also discovered that Ellen Boland did not die as thought when my grandmother was 7 yrs old but when grandmom was 14 yrs old. So the question remains, how old was grandmom when she went to live with Aunt Kate? The answer is somewhere between 1920 (after the 1920 census were taken) and 1926. I may never really ever know.

On April 6th, 1923, John Boland Jr. purchased a family plot for 75 dollars when his 3 yr old daughter, Mary died. She was interred on April 7th, 1923 in Section Z, Range 2, Lot 33, Grave #1. Address at time of death was 1941 Bonitz Street. (Nicetown)

Ellen Boland (great great grandmother) was interred on June 26th, 1926 in Section Z, Range 2, Lot 33, Grave #4. Address at time of death was 4807 Ridge Avenue. Age at time of death was 65 yrs old. (East Falls) Funeral was probably from St. Bridget's Church.

Theresa Boland (another daughter od John Boland Jr.) was interred on March 28th, 1928 at age 18 months old. Section Z, Range 2, Lot 33, Grave #1. Address at time of death was 1 Laboratory Hill. (East Falls)

John Boland (great great grandfather) was interred on January 6th, 1934. Section Z, Range 2, Lot 33, Grave #4. He was listed as being 71 yrs old and address was 1 Laboratory Hill. (East Falls)

John Boland Jr. was interred on September 9th, 1964. Section Z, Range 2, Lot 33, Grave #2. He was listed as being 69 yrs old and lived at 723 E. Price Street. (Germantown)

Margaret Boland (John Boland Jr.'s wife) was interred on April 16th, 1970. Section Z, Range 2, Lot 33, Grave #2. She was listed as being 75 yrs old and lived at #6 River Birch Road in Turnerville, N.J.

George & Mary (Gallagher) Cannon's House

119 Dawson Street in Manayunk

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Someone Is Either A Complete Moron Or They Forgot That They Actually Let Me Go

Today, I received a Confidential Exit Interview from my former employer of twenty-years. Let me just sum it up for you while I sit here in shock.

The form asked a number of questions which by the way I am suppose to fill out and send back to Human Resources. (I had to take a second look as to where I was suppose to actually send this form after completion because the two sentence termination letter dated January 5th, 2007 that I received did come from that same department) Oh if you prefer to read about that, please click on this previous post.

Anyway to make a very long story short, here are a few examples of the type of questions they want me to answer.

Why did you initially decide to join (name of hospital)?

What is your reason for leaving now? other employment? to attend school? no child care? moving out of the area?

Did you consider a transfer to another department prior to leaving?

Could anything have been done to prevent your leaving? Please comment.

Would you ever consider returning? Yes? No?

Please rate the following about your department. (which gave me the option to chose excellent, good, fair, poor or N/A.

Working conditions?
Opportunity for advancement?
Rate of pay?
Health insurance?

and various other-like questions.

Then it asked me to rate my supervisor? Too bad Back-Stabbing was not an option in which to choose from.

Then it asked me whether or not I would recommend this place to my friends as a place to work?

Finally, it asked me one last question. Do I have any suggestions that I felt would make this a better place to work?

I am just wondering if I should enclose that birthday card/free meal with my reply?

Heinrich (Henry) B Ritter

Henry B Ritter and his third wife (our descendant) Mary Voigt Ritter

Henry B Ritter was born September 17th, 1835 in Kirchheim an der eck, Germany and was the son of Christian and Philipina Oswald Ritter, brother to Jakob (July 1st, 1830), Christian (1832), Philip J (September 17th, 1837) and Elisabeth (January 8th, 1845), another brother (eldest) also named Heinrich died when he was four years old.

At the age of nineteen, Henry immigrated to the state of Ohio where two of his brothers (Jakob & Christian) immigrated at an earlier date. In Ohio, he worked for two years on his brother's farm before at the request of his cousin Philip J Ritter, he moved to Philadelphia. He worked just six months at his cousin's Philadelphian company before he resigned. After he left Philip's company, he worked as a driver then conductor on a street railroad before he decided to go in business for himself.

Henry opened a hotel and saloon in the Manayunk Section of Philadelphia.

The interesting thing about Henry is that he was married four times with all four wives dying before he met his own death in April of 1893. His first wife, Mary Meiers died April 3rd, 1862. They had no children together. His second wife, Wilhelmina Hasserrick died October 4th, 1871. They had three children. However, only two survived. They are Anna Mary born March 28th, 1868 and Charles born October 14th, 1870.

But it is Henry's third wife, Mary Voigt that makes the connection with our family. The Voigts were the cousins of the Kellers and John Keller ( my great great grandfather) was our direct ancestor.

Henry and Mary Voigt Ritter had five children together before Mary died on June 12th, 1884. They are John Gottlieb (February 18th, 1874), Josephina (September 8th, 1875), Dorethea Elizabeth (June 3rd, 1877), Philip J (September 14th, 1878) and Louisa (August 4th, 1882).

Henry's fourth and final wife, Elizabeth Mary Bichlein died May 31st, 1892. They had three children together, Frederick John (June 20th, 1886), William Washington (April 24th, 1887) and Hermina (August 17th, 1890).

When Henry died in 1893, his two children from his marriage to Mary Voigt, John Gottlieb ( age 19) and Dorethea Elizabeth (age 16) assumed responsibility of Henry's hotel and saloon business and all the younger children. However, in 1899 the business proved not to be successful so he gained employment at his cousin's place, The Philip J Ritter Conserve Company where he worked various positions before he landed the position of Salesman for the City of Philadelphia.

Some personal information about Henry B Ritter and his son John Gottlieb. Henry was of dark complexion with dark eyes and a moustache. He was 5 "9" tall and his first position in Germany was a wine, fruit and grain farmer. He was baptized in the Protestant church and was a member of the Masonic Order.

John Gottlieb was 6' tall, well built with dark hair and dark eyes. He was near sighted so he wore glasses.

In the 1800's Manayunk/Roxborough was often referred to as the suburbs of the city even though it was actually part of the city. In the 1800's, Frankford was often referred to as the city and after John and Dorethea closed the hotel and saloon in Manayunk in 1899, they are referred to as moving from the suburbs (Manayunk) to the city (Frankford) to be closer to the Philip J Ritter Conserve Company which of course was located in the Frankford Section of Philadelphia.

I have alot more information about the Ritter family which I will share at a later date. I also have a photograph of Henry and Mary Voigt Ritter (Mary was a very pretty woman) and two of their children John and Dorethea which I also will share at a later date.

I want to mention that all of the above information was taken from a book originally written in 1905 by Philip John Ritter in Philadelphia PA. The book is called the Family Register of George Christian Ritter of Leiningen, Rheinpfalz, Baiern, Germany and his descendants from 1735 to 1905. which was sent to me by one of our distant cousins Curtis Arnold Ritter who along with Robert West Ritter reprinted it in 1996. The original author of this book was the brother of Curtis's great great grandfather Christian. Curtis is currently an attorney at Dow, Lohnes & Albertson in Washington, D. C. However, he was born and raised right here in Roxborough.

Some General Views Of Bethany Lutheran Cemetery

Some General Views Of Westminster

Some General Views Of Holy Sepulchre

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Declaration Of Intent, Port Of Entry Document List

Our Patrick entered through the Port of Philadelphia in 1880. Click on to enlarge and view.

Example Of One Of The Documents I Refer To When I Research

This is the 1910 Census Record that lists Patrick and Hannah Gallagher along with their youngest child Sally and her husband John Keller. Patrick and Hannah are our first Irish ancestors to come to America. Immigration was in 1880. Patrick and Hannah had four children, Grace, Mary, William (grandpop's father) and Sarah (Sally). The John Keller listed in this record is the son of John and Elisabeth Keller and sister of Mary Keller Gallagher, grandpop's mother. Click on to enlarge and view.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Charles Sumner Walsh

Charles was the only son of Harry and Regina Cafferty Walsh. He was also the only relative of ours who was killed during the Vietnam War at the tender age of 19 years old.

Date of birth was October 8th, 1948. Date of death was March 15th, 1968. Date Charles was interred at Beverly National cemetery was April 1st, 1968. He is buried in Section X, Site 1664 with his parents.

Charles was a Marine and according to folklore, he was killed by friendly fire when the jeep he was riding in blew up. He supposedly lost both his legs in the explosion.

On a personal note, I remember the day Charles was buried. My parents would not allow me to attend the funeral so on that day I was in school. While sitting in my classroom at St. Bridget's, the church bells of St. Bridget's began ringing once his funeral mass was over. Though, I did not remember/know this cousin, I remember feeling sad as I sat listening to those church bells ringing. It may have been my imagination but I remember thinking that those bells were ringing a very long time which would not be surprising if the funeral procession was long. One more thing I remember on that day was when those church bells rang, my teacher stopped what she was doing and had us all say a pray.

In the future, I will post a newspaper article about Charles and a photo of him.

Harry Charles Walsh

Harry was husband to Regina Cafferty. Date of birth was December 28th, 1903. Date of death was in August (do not know exact date) of 1961. Because Harry served in the Army during World War II, he was interred in the Veteran's cemetery, Beverly National in New Jersey, Section X, Site 1664 along with his wife and son.

Military information is as followed. Harry enlisted on October 30th, 1942 and served until April 8th, 1943. At the time of his enlistment, he was a Section Hand at the Railroad. He was married and was 5"7" and 137 lbs, a little guy.

Regina Cafferty Walsh

Regina was the daughter of Bernard and Mary (Boland) Cafferty. She married a man by the name of Harry Charles Walsh and though I do not know the exact address, I was told they resided on Ridge Avenue in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia.

It is my understanding (through word of mouth) that they had several daughters and one son. I also understand that Regina and my grandmother, her first cousin, Anna Marie (McCaffery) Gallagher were good friends as well as cousins until Regina's death in 1985. My grandmother would follow her in death five years later.

Regina was born March 14th, 1919 and died December 1st, 1985. I was told she died of a brain tumor. She is interred with her husband and son at Beverly National Cemetery located in the State of New Jersey, Section X, Site 1664.

Beverly is a Veteran's cemetery.

At the time of her death in 1985, Regina resided in the NorthEast Section of Philadelphia.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Only A Family Genealogist Would Do Something Like This

Dr. Schumann founded the Ob/Gyn department in 1928 at Roxborough Hospital. My grandmother had her first child here in 1931. I wonder if all babies were born at home prior to the opening of this ward since it is the only hospital in the neighborhood's immediate area.
Yeah, that's me walking down the hospital hallway with IV poll in my lovely hospital gown and why is Bill taking a picture of me in the hospital you may be wondering. (because we are freaks) Well, it is because I discovered if I walked down this hall it would take me over to the "old" hospital building and you know how we love to investigate stuff like that.
I was born here at Roxborough Hospital along with all my other siblings. My three uncles, Billy, Jack and Gene were also born here but Roxborough stopped delivering babies about 8 years ago and today the old labor/delivery/nursery/maternity ward are used for storage. Of course, we just had to walk through here and do a little research in the process. Hey, why waste a hospital admission when you can do a little research. This is a photograph of the very small nursing station and the nursery window across the hall.
Again it is I who is walking through the "old" maternity ward. I wonder which room my mother was in?
During my walk through this hidden part of the hospital, I asked Bill to photograph these because they are the names of some of the OB/GYN doctors that once worked here.
Back here (yes, we opened the door) are the "old" labor/delivery rooms. As you can see, the area is now used for storage.

Midvale Steel and Frederick Winslow Taylor

Articles of interest for those interested in obtaining more information about Midvale Steel.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Almost As If It Were 47 Years Ago

As I sit here listening to the sleet/freezing rain hit against the bedroom window and after looking out that same bedroom window to view the predawn snow covered streets, I am reminded of a story my mother had shared with me numerous and I mean numerous times ever since I was old enough to understand.

It was the night I decided to make my appearance in the world. The same night the city was hit with a major snow storm with blizzard-like conditions. The same night my mother had to find a way to the hospital because her husband, my father was away in the military and after an attempt to place chains on his truck, my grandfather's truck was hit by a vehicle that lost control on the slippery road.

I cannot imagine having a baby alone but even if my father were home, the times were such that the husband was not allowed in the labor room let alone delivery room. As a matter of fact, the delivering physician suggested to the father-in-waiting that he should go home and someone would call him once the baby was born. Better yet, the husband should just go to work because god knew how long the birth would take.

My mother had a difficult time with my delivery because I was breech and needed to be turned while still in utero before I was delivered. Turning a baby while in utero and in labor is a painful proposition and my mother did suffer in the process. Then came the loneliness and feelings of abandonment because while the other new mothers in her room experienced the joy of family company and flowers, my mother received none. Whether it was due to the weather and/or road conditions (my mother's family lived at the bottom of the hill in East Falls while the hospital was located at the top of the hill in Roxborough) or it was because they were too busy to visit will never be fully understood.

It was also at this time that my mother decided then seeked out to divorce my father. I will never understand the circumstances surrounding this life-altering decision but it would be nearly five years and a new husband later that I would meet this man who had fathered me.

It was something I would never forget.

When he came to pick up my older brother Michael and I, I only knew him as some strange man called Ronnie. Ronnie took us for a ride in his car and I remember that when I called him by his name Ronnie, he became agitated and told me he was my father and he was to be called "Dad". This was confusing to my little five year old mind because the person who currently held that title was the man who lived in my house with my mother, older brother Michael (7) and two baby siblings Maryanne (1) and Artie (infant).

It was also the beginning of what was a rocky relationship between my biological father and I because over the next 11 years he would be in and out of my life. There were times when a few years would go by before I saw him. I would not understand his absences in my life until I became an adult myself and learned he served one tour during the Korean War before serving two tours during the Vietnam War. He was a military man through and through, something I should be proud of, something that those ancestors before him did as well but to what price?
His wife divorced him and his two children grew up without him and when a child grows up without a parent they never get the chance to bond and the chance for a close relationship can be lost forever. Though it was not the case for my brother, it was the case for me.

I was 16 years old when he finally retired from the Navy. But instead of sticking around, he made the decision to move to South Jersey where he met a woman who was in the process of divorce herself. She had three sons who still lived at home. Then one day he called me on the phone and told me he was moving down to South Carolina where he and his girlfriend would get married once her divorce was final. Off they went and here I stayed more confused than ever. I just could not understand why after all those years away in the military could he make a conscious decision to move yet again so far away from me let alone with a girlfriend and her three kids.

Carol was a nice enough woman. But she rather not have me around as it was evident when he took Carol and her kids on vacation but not me. For a short time they returned to South Jersey where they had a daughter. That daughter was one year younger then my eldest son.

I will never forget Barbara's 4th birthday party when a coworker of my father asked me who I was. When I told him I was the older daughter, he appeared shocked and somewhat taken aback. His only response to me was he did not know Ronnie had another daughter. This was a man who worked beside Ronnie everyday. How sad. How pathetic. It was not long after that Ronnie would retire to South Carolina with his wife and daughter but this time he just left. There was no phone call but I guess I should be grateful that Carol did send me a letter with their new address.

The years that followed were full of emotions over his history of abandonment and lack of love towards me not to mention he never saw my sons, his grandsons grow up and it would be several years before I saw him again. (as in approx 10)

I tried to stay in touch "via" mail with him but he left it to his wife to correspond with me. When his sister died a few years ago, he returned to the area for her funeral and I made the effort to attend the viewing where I sat with my hand in his the entire time. I wanted to show him support. After all, I was his daughter though I say that with tongue in cheek. When his wife suffered a small stroke then subsequence dementia, the letters stopped too.

I do not believe Ronnie ever felt that father-daughter connection with me. Prehaps his wife just wanted to pretend I was just another relative and not his daughter because not once and I mean not even once did I receive a birthday card for "daughter". Oh, I received birthday cards but they were always the generic kind, you know the type you send to a friend.

Just once I would have loved to have received a card for a daughter that stated he loved me.

But what he lacked I gained with the man who did raise me and who did love me and who has always sent me that card. The man who bought me heart shaped birthday cakes because I had a Valentine birthday. The man who has been there for me my entire life and for this I am not only thankful but so lucky.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Holy Sepulchre Burial Records


Section 41
Range 1
Lot 135 & 136
Family Plot
4 Double Plots (graves)
Contains 8 bodies & 3 cremains

Mary C. Cafferty
4024 Ridge Avenue
age 67
interred on 8/3/1950
grave #3 back

Bernard Cafferty
4219 Ridge Avenue
age 85
interred on 2/13/1962
grave #2 back

Margaret (Cafferty) Dilts
350 Manor Avenue
age 85
interred on 9/24/1997
grave #2 front

Lester H. Dilts
4030 Ridge avenue
age 72
interred on 2/7/1976
grave #2 front

Margaret (Siejna) Wood
no address listed
age 48
interred on 12/10/1988
grave #3 front

Baby Charlotte Wood
1948 W. Bristol Street
age 6 weeks
interred on 9/30/1960
grave #3 front

Helen (Cafferty) Martin
Langhorne Pa.
age 89
interred on 8/11/2003
grave #4 back

Frank J. Martin
3204 W. Allegheny Avenue
age 61
interred on 4/28/1966
grave #4 back

Anna (Cafferty) Siejna
4239 Ridge Avenue
age 66
interred on 5/10/1973
grave #4 front

Karl J. Siejna
1906 W. Bristol Street
age 57
interred on 4/30/1961
grave #4 front

Vincent J. Francisco
5994 Henry Avenue
age 59
interred on 7/16/1973
grave #1 back


Section 5
Range 12
Lot 13
Grave 2

Daniel J. Malervy
3827 Terrace Street
age 39
interred on 7/3/1934

Katherine (Boland) Malervy
3827 Terrace Street
age 69
interred on 9/21/1959


Section 22
Range 11
Lot 1
Grave 1

George F. Cannon
119 Dawson Street
age 76
interred on 9/8/1954

Mary (aunt Mame) (Gallagher) Cannon
119 Dawson Street
age 77
interred on 9/23/1959

Did You Know That

in 1896 you could rent a six room house near the Reading Railroad for nine dollars a month or buy it outright for eight hundred bucks?

if you preferred to live away from the railroad tracks then you could rent a house for twelve dollars a month or buy it for twelve hundred bucks.

two years later in 1898 a house in wissahickon on kalos street would cost you around thirteen dollars a month to rent.

if you preferred to live on a street such as umbria or st. david's then you would pay ten bucks a month.

did you know that in the year 1900, it cost twenty-five dollars for a piano and fifteen dollars for a solid oak bedroom set?

take a steamer to riverside, strawberry mansion, belmont hills and the zoo and pay fifteen cents round trip.

a burial plot in west laurel hill or westminster cemetery would cost you about twenty dollars. that is only five dollars less than what my great grandmother paid for a plot at st. john the baptist church ground for her brother in 1947. however, she was given it for half off its original price of fifty dollars because she was an active member in the church.

and in 1900 there were fourteen trains that ran to west laurel hill and westminster cemeteries from manayunk daily.

did you know that in the year 1880, the main occupation for those living in west manayunk/belmont hills/lower merion township was farming?

and that after world war II, most farms ceased to exist in these areas?

agriculture-industry-retail, all in that order were the largest occupations in between the years 1880 to 2007.

what type of local businesses were there in 1880?

there were fourteen general stores, nine hotels, three drug stores and flour & feed stores, two dry goods, confectioneries, restaurants, lumber and coal yards, and finally one grocery, stove and provision shop.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bethany German Lutheran Church

Where the Keller, Ritter and Voigt families once worshiped.

Bethany German Lutheran Cemetery "Voigt & Keller"

John & Elisabeth (Voigt) Keller who served in the Civil War.
Emielie (Voigt) Kunze
Karl & Dorete Voigt, parents of Henry Charles Voigt who fought, died and is buried at Little Big Horn.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Holy Sepulchre "Cannon"

Daughter of Patrick & Hannah (Dougherty) Gallagher. Sister of William J. Gallagher I. Aunt of my grandfather William J. Gallagher II.

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery "Cafferty"

Daughter of John & Ella (Doherty) Boland. Aunt of my grandmother Anna Marie (McCaffery) Gallagher.
Helen and Margaret are daughters of Bernard & Mary (Boland) Cafferty. They are buried in the Cafferty Family Plot.

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery "Malervy"

Mother of Helen (Malervy) Nicholson. Daughter of John & Ella (Doherty) Boland. Sister of Bridget (Boland) McCaffery. Aunt of my grandmother Anna Marie (McCaffery) Gallagher.

Westminster Cemetery "Nicholson"

Daughter of Daniel & Katherine (Boland) Malvery

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I went over to Westminster Cemetery to obtain burial information and pictures of the Nicholson grave site. In addition, I took another series of photographs which I will share later of the cemetery in general which included some more Keller and Ritter grave sites which may or may not be related to us. After I research the various names, I will be able to tell you whether or not there is any family connection.

Nicholson is the married name of grandmom, Anna Marie (McCaffery) Gallagher's first cousin on her mother's side. Helen (Malervy) Nicholson was the daughter of Daniel and Katherine (Aunt Kate) (Boland) Malvery. Aunt Kate was the sister of Bridget (Boland) McCaffery and the woman who took grandmom into her home after her own grandmother Ellen (Doherty) Boland died sometime in 1920. Bridget McCaffery died in 1915.

Because Helen and my grandmother were raised together, this was the closest of any sibling grandmom would ever know. Both girls were only children.

Helen E. Malvery married Mahon Nicholson and they resided on Manayunk Avenue their entire married lives. Mahon Nicholson (1914) died November 14the, 1972. Helen (1915), his wife died May 2nd, 1988. Just recently on December 22nd, 2005 their daughter Regina (Jean) died. She left one sister also named Helen. Both Nicholson sisters never married and lived at the same Manayunk address as their parents. Helen still lives in that house today.

About one year before Regina (Jean) passed away, I had the great opportunity to speak with her and she was instrumental in providing me much needed background information on the Boland family. As a matter of fact, if it was not for her I would have never known that John and Ellen (Doherty) Boland lived in Lower Merion Township (once West Manayunk) in the year 1910. It was this informational tip that lead me into the correct research direction. I only wished she survived long enough for me to have provided her the missing links, she so desired of her parents' past.

Mahon, Helen and Regina Nicholson are interred in Lot 89, Grave E 1/2 number 2 in Section "Barmouth". The Barmouth Section of Westminster Cemetery overlooks Belmont Avenue. Mahon and Helen have a headstone. As of today's date, there is no headstone for Regina.

In a post note, I also revisited Bethany German Lutheran Cemetery and took more pictures of the grave-stones. I also photographed the old Bethany German Lutheran Church where our Keller, Voigt and Ritter relatives once worshipped at. All pictures will be posted at a later date.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Little Bit Of Local Steel Work History

I have been working on obtaining some background information on the history of three main steel work plants that have had a direct affect on the employment history of many of our family members throughout the years 1880 to 1976.

Here is a small summary of what I have found so far.


This mill was located on fifty acres along the Schuylkill River which was once known as West Manayunk. This area today is called Belmont Hills.

The mill was founded in 1852 by the Robert's Family and was a major bridge and structural steel maker in its time. In 1900 Pencoyd joined the United States Steel Company and changed its name to the American Bridge Company. It employed about 1,000 men.

In 1937 it became a subsidiary of the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Company but closed its door after World War II. Portion of the plant's grounds was taken over by Connelly Containers which was a carton factory. Next to the mill there was a dyewood and chemical mill which later was known as S.A. Rudolph's Ashland Paper Mill.


There was very little information I was able to locate on this mill. However, what I did find out was the plant was started by the Allen Wood Family who at the time owned most of Conshohocken and whose family had one of the largest estates/mansions (Spring Mill Road) on the Main Line.

I came across alot of legal ligation about the plant's huge asbestos problem and its relation to an increase in cancer among its employees. I have not investigated in its entirety therefore, I do not know what the outcome may have been. The plant was torn down and as of today a large part of it remains a large empty lot. In the surrounding areas, there are quarries and some new housing developments. Hopefully, I can discover more about this plant and its operations at a later date.

Midvale Steel

The mill was founded in 1873 by Edward Clark (son of a City Banker and wealthiest known residents of Germantown) and William Sellers (who discovered a thread for machine screws and bolts).

In the 19th Century, Midvale Steel was one of the largest leading metal works along side of Baldwin Locomotive and William Cramp Shipyard.

By the late 1870's it became the country's leader in the development of machine tools such as heavy-duty lathes, planers, boring machines and metal-cutting machines.

In 1875, Midvale received an order to make Naval guns and became the Nation's "pioneer" maker of steel for all large guns and heavy armor. Congress wanted the country to become a World Power by having a strong Navy which Midvale helped provide and during this time in 1875 the plant still lit its factory with kerosene torches and employed only about 4oo men who used a small open hearth furnace to melt steel. Midvale was the leader in all top military contracts until Bethlehem and Carnegie Steel entered the Steel Works business.

In 1878 Frederick Taylor was hired on as a foreman for the machine shop and would later be known as the "Father of Scientific Management" for his invention of the "high speed tool" used for steel.

As the 19th Century came to a close, Midvale had 1200 employees whom 200 of them were black, By 1900 there would be 3400 employees whom 1,000 of them would be black.

When World War I broke out the plant had so many military orders to fill it had 11,500 employees. After this war it converted its Nicetown operation to produce only "specialty steel products" and by 1928 the plant was down to 1800 employees which increased during the time of World war II but never regained its earlier popularity because of other steel works competition in Pittsburgh.

In 1976, Midvale closed its doors due to severe economic problems.

In 1977, it was purchased and was to reopen under new ownership. That endeavor failed.

Today, most steel is made overseas.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

William Joseph Gallagher I

I came across the military records of my great grandfather William J Gallagher I recently. Though he did not serve in either World War I or II, he did register for the draft. Therefore, I was able to view some personal information about the man who was my grandpop's father.

William Joseph Gallagher was born June 29th, 1884 to Patrick and Hannah (Dougherty) Gallagher. He was their only son. William had three sisters Grace (Silverthorn), Mary (Cannon) and Sarah "Sally" (Keller).

According to the World War I Draft Records, William had blue eyes and light brown hair. He was 5 "7" with a ruby complexion and was of medium built. When he signed up for the draft on September 12th, 1918, he lived at 143 Seville Street in the Manayunk Section of Philadelphia. Occupation was listed and this was in 1918 "folks" Electrical Machinist for Midvale Steel at 4201 Wissahickon Street.

On April 27th, 1942, he signed up for the World War II Draft. He was still 5"7" and 150lbs with blue eyes, gray hair and a ruby complexion. He was also listed as being employed at Allenwood Co., Ivy Rock Plant in Conshohocken. He was also listed as living on 317 Roxborough Ave. This is in the year 1942.

Patrick Boland

Patrick Boland arrived through the Port of Philadelphia on May 3rd, 1887 on the ship "British Princess" from Liverpool England. Year of birth listed was 1866.

Patrick resided in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia on 3157 Carlisle Street. He married a widow named Mary Ervin who had three children from her previous marriage. Their names were John, (1888) Mary (1891) and Thomas (1992) Ervin. His wife Mary was listed as arriving in Philadelphia from Ireland in 1888.

Patrick and Mary went on to have five children together. Their names are as followed; Martin (1894), James (1896), Edward (1897), Patrick Joseph known as simply Joseph (1900) and William (1902).

The only son I could find military records on was James Patrick. He enlisted in the service during World War I on June 5th, 1917. Occupation listed on military records was a 'boiler" in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. He lived with his family on 3157 carlisle Street and was listed as having blue eyes and brown hair.

1900 census records for the Patrick and Mary Boland's family lists Patrick, Mary, John Ervin, Mary Ervin, Thomas Ervin, Martin, James and Edward.

1910 census records lists Patrick, Mary, John Ervin, Mary Ervin, Thomas Ervin, Martin, James, Edward, Patrick Joseph and William.

1920 census records lists Patrick, Mary, Patrick Joseph and William.

1930 census records lists Patrick, Mary, Patrick Joseph and his wife Sarah.