Friday, June 30, 2006

This Station To Return Shortly After A Brief Message

A Journey Into The Past and Child Lost will return after July 10th, 2006 after a short siesta. Upon my return, there will stories of my vacation on the Sunny West Coast of Florida with two little boys. (the plane trip itself should be interesting) Then, I will give you all the dirty little details of my Moving Into A New House Adventure. It is a good thing I have sons who have friends because I will need all the help I can get. (still down with the shoulder)

Here is just a few little tidbits of the house for those who have an interest in such things. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, Living room, Dining room, Breakfast room, Kitchen, Family room. The Living room has a gas fireplace (love love love) and another favorite of mine in this house is the front and back staircases to the second floor. The grounds consist of a small side and front yard and a patio in the back. Just enough ground for my garden but not alot of grass to cut.

See you all soon.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

His Memory Continues On

Artie with my youngest son Joseph in 1988. Artie is Joseph's godfather.

My brother died nine years ago at the age of 32 years old. His death took our family by surprise because he was so very young. His death was as simple as going to sleep one night on his Living Room sofa and never waking up. I recently had a dream about him. In my dream he was very much alive and I remember telling him how great he looked. He was tall and lean and very very happy. I wish this was true the night he left us. When Artie died, he was very over weight and was not very happy. He suffered from sleep apena and that night when he went to sleep on that sofa, he had a heart attack and never woke up.

Arthur Louis Maier was the fourth child of Arthur and Mary (Gallagher) Maier born May 1st, 1965 and like all the other children in this family was born at Roxborough hospital. He was five years my junior so he really was not much of a childhood playmate to me. My older brother Michael was my childhood playmate since Michael was only two years my senior. Arthur was my younger sister Marianne's childhood playmate being that they were only 16 months apart in age.

Artie was a very cute and extroverted child who spoke to everyone everywhere anytime. As a teenager then a young adult he was the nicest person you would ever want to be around and when he became an uncle, there was not a better uncle around. He often took my children out or just came over to simply play with them. My boys adored him and their little faces glowed like the sun in the brightest summer day when Artie walked into the house.

He was also a very loving and devoted brother.

When he married Ann, they wanted to start a family immediately but this was more difficult than they expected and it was not until after several miscarriages that their dream came true when their son Arthur Louis Maier III was born. I remember thinking at the time that if anyone ever wanted or deserved to be a Daddy it was my brother because he loved and adored children. This entrance into Fatherhood did not last long because he would die thus leave his son less than two years later.

The lost of Arthur has created a large void in my family's life. It has been nine years since his death. His son Arthur will be 11 years old this August and probably does not remember his father. He will only know his father through the memories of others. When you think about it it really does seem unfair.

Generally I have a great memory for dates but every since Artie's death I seem to not always remember the exact date he died. It is weird because I remember each and every detail of that Sunday morning when I received that horrible phone call from my sister when she told me Artie died. I became a robot after that call. I remember mindlessly getting into the car driving to Artie's In-laws to break the news in person to Ann that her husband was dead. Then I got back into the car and drove to Artie's house. When I got there my brother Michael who was on duty at the time (he was a cop) and my sister Marianne were already there. I was taken back when I saw Artie on the sofa. He appeared to be asleep. He was on his side with his head resting upon his arm. He looked so peaceful.

The three of us stayed with him until the funeral director came. We waited until he was taken away to the funeral home before we closed up the house, took his dog and left. Further details about that day's events would be retold later that day at Marianne's house where we all congregated together to grieve. My brother Michael was on duty when a call came in that a body was found dead in a house. When the address was given over the police radio, My brother realized it was his brother's house and called in that he was going over there. Michael entered the house and discovered Artie's body. He knew from examining him that Arthur had died hours ago. Then there was the heart renching story of my parents. They lived down the shore at the time. Marianne gave the news to my mother who was home alone at the time. My father was out at the store. My mother called her neighbor to come stay with her until my father's return. When he walked into the door and saw his neighbor and my mother's face, he knew something was terribly wrong. Several times on their drive up to Philadelphia my father broke down and had to pull onto the side of the road. It was the drive from hell. I personally do not know how they made it.

They went directly to the funeral home and asked my brother Frankie to be there for support. The funeral director did not want them to see Artie but my mother insisted as any strong minded Irish mother would do. I cannot imagine the agony they felt when they first saw him lying on that table. My heart aches just writing this nine years later.

The days that followed are a blur. He was laid to rest in Our Lady of Grace cemetery in a family plot. The same cemetery my grandparents William and Anna Gallagher were interred in.

For the longest time I could not cry. Then one day while visiting Artie's grave I broke down and sobbed my heart out. All the feelings and all the tears that I never allowed to surface came flowing out all at once. My brother was dead. He was gone. He will always be in my heart forever.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Raging Waters Of the Almighty Schuylkill River And Wissahickoning Creek

Kelly Drive (formerly known as East River Drive) flooded with the waters of the Schuylkill River
View from Laurel Hill Cemetery looking at the Schuylkill River View of the Schuylkill River from Laurel Hill Cemetery
The creek looking towards Ridge Ave Bridge
The Creek rages by the Falls near Ridge Ave Wissahickoning Creek at the Hundred Steps one block from my house

As everyone probably knows, our little section of the country has been hit with a lot of rain and where there is a lot of rain, there is a lot of flooding and it is no exception here. So like many others who were not directly affected by the flooding (like my son & his family) I decided to leave my little hilltop perch and go down yonder to snap pictures of this craziness.

St John The Baptist Church Burial Ground

Behind the stone wall and black iron locked gate lies a burial ground that could be known as the Irish Grave Yard since most of the names if not all of them as written on the headstones were of Irish descent. So among all the McBrides, Donahues, Gallaghers, Doughertys and Murphys are those who were once parish members of St John's and lived, worked and prayed in this little town called Manayunk.

This tiny church cemetery was hard to walk in because of its steep hills. Many times I had to remove my shoes to get more leverage so I could avoid falling and rolling down the hill myself.
It made me wonder how those bodies of the decease were interred on those hills and from the look of some of those headstones which have fallen down over time it was a wonder they could be erected on those hills at all.

We have relatives interred here but like most of our relatives there is not a headstone to indicate their burial place. However, since I did research the cemetery records I have the location and have photographed it anyway.

Relatives interred here are John and Sally (Keller) Gallagher and Baby Brian McCaffery. I have been told that John and Ellen Boland are interred here. However, I have not yet found records to substantiate that claim.

Walking Tour Of St John The Baptist Burial Ground

This is the tomb of Father Eugene Murphy Godfather to Mary (Keller) Gallagher.

John and Sally (Gallagher) Keller are buried here along with baby Brian McCaffery.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Boland & Cafferty Family History Update

The funny thing about family legends is by the time they are passed down a few generations, the information becomes a little tangled and until you can substantiate the legend with proven fact, we can never really be certain of its authenticity.

Well, I got ahold of the Philadelphia Passenger Lists and the 1930 census records and no one was more surprised than I on the information I found. Let's just say, I probably will need to rewrite A Journey Into The Past . The information I have listed below is taken directly from the ship's passenger lists and 1930 census records. Please print this out and attach it to the original family history because what you are about to read is documentated truth.

The Bolands continue to fascinate and elude me. Their trip into this country is what textbooks are made from. How they sent one or two family members at a time to get established here before sending for the rest of the family. To have the courage to travel to an unknown place to begin an entirely new and different life and in once case, leave their infant son behind for two whole years to gain that establishment. The more information about this family I discover, the more I realize they are probably one of the strongest families I have come across in my research of our background. It is both amazing and exciting to piece together and follow the life of those who have lived one hundred years ago. To see how they made a new life for themselves and their families and to feel the strength in this devoted hard working Irish family. And most importantly, to realize that these are the people who have made us who we are today. I cannot discuss the Bolands without discussing the Caffertys because together it was these two families who made their way over here.

If you remember Bernard Cafferty married the eldest child of John and Ellen Boland. Bernard and Mary were married in Ireland and were the first two of John and Ellen's children to come to Philadelphia. However, they are not the first Bolands to come here.

The information I came across is the most detailed information I have come across in a long
time. The passenger lists tell a story on their own. For instance, they list exact dates of arrival through the Port of Philadelphia, the ship they traveled in, the year they were born, the place they are traveling from in addition to the place where they were living in Ireland. It also lists the name and address of their contact in Philadelphia in which they are traveling too. So for anyone taking a future trip to Ireland, you now have the exact town they lived in.

Bernard and Mary (Boland) Cafferty entered the Port of Philadelphia April 30th, 1906 on the ship "Friesland". The ship left from Queenstown, Ireland. Both Bernard and Mary came from Ballina, Co Mayo. Bernard was born in 1880. Mary was born in 1884. They left their one year old son back in Ireland with Mary's family. Their contact here in Philadelphia was Marten Boland, Mary's Uncle who lived at 186 Calumet Street in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia.
Next over was my great great grandmother Bridget Boland. She arrived in the Port of Philadelphia on August 25, 1906 on the ship "Merion" from Queenstown, Ireland. Bridget was born in 1886 and her place of residence in Ireland was not Ballina as original thought but a town six miles NorthWest of Ballina called Killala, Co Mayo. It is a little seaside town. Her contact in Philadelphia was listed as Mary Cafferty (her sister) who lived at 138 Calumet Street in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia.

Kate Boland came into the Port of Philadelphia April 30th, 1907 on the ship called "Merion" from Queenstown, Ireland. Kate was born 1889 and also was listed as being from Killala. She arrived here with Bernard Cafferty's sister Margaret Cafferty. Margaret Cafferty was listed as being from Ballina. Both girls had Bernard Cafferty listed as their contact in Philadelphia. See address listed above.

The last over were John and Ellen Boland along with their other two children Ellen and John and their grandchild Michael Cafferty. They arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on September 6th, 1908 on the ship "Friesland" from Queenstown, Ireland. John was listed as being born 1858 and from Killala. Ellen was listed as being born in 1858 in Cobrayo, Co Mayo. Their children Ellen and John were listed as being born in 1892 and 1895 respectively.

There are two other interesting facts relating to the Bolands; the children are recorded as being fair skin with brown hair and brown eyes. (so I guess it is safe to say our grandmother Anna Marie McCaffery takes after her father with the red hair and green eyes) And next to John Boland's (father) information is the name Michael Doherty listed as a step-son. At this time I do not know what to make of it. The thing about researching is everytime you find another piece of valuable information, you also receive a curb ball.


In the 1910 census records, John and Ellen Boland lived at 137 River Road in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, Pa. John was a laborer in the cemetery. (Westminster) His daughters Kate and Ellen were spinners in a woolen mill and his son John was also a laborer in the cemetery. Wife Ellen was a homemaker.

In the 1920 Census records I found Kate Boland. She was married to Daniel Melervy and they had a daughter Helen age 4. What is interesting about this record is my grandmother Anna Marie McCaffery was not listed as living with them. After her mother died in 1915, she went to live with her grandparents John and Ellen Boland. I was told she was sent to live with her Aunt Kate after her grandmother died. So the question remains, when did Ellen Boland die? Was this census taken right before her death? Another curb ball.


In the 1920 Census records the Caffertys lived at 4117 Ridge Ave in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia. Along with their seven children, they had nine boarders recorded as living in this house and I have to tell you I saw this house in person and it is not that large of a house to accommodate all these people comfortably. This house has five bedrooms at the most and one bathroom. All of the boarders were of Irish descent; Michael O'Donnell, James McReavey, Thomas Rafferty, William O'Donnell, William Flynn, Thomas Rooney, Gary Bollard, Michael Gibbons and John Doyle.

I have to wonder if Bernard and Mary Cafferty's home was used to bring others from Ireland over here. This boarding house trend continues in the 1930 census too.

In 1920 Bernard was listed as a Laborer in a cemetery (most probably Laurel Hill) and was many of the boarders who lived with him. His wife Mary was a homemaker but with seven children and nine boarders. This woman really had her work cut out for her. Children listed; Michael 18 yrs (worked as Bell Hop in a Hotel), Annie age 16 yrs, Margaret age 12 yrs, Helen age 7 yrs, Bernard age 5 yrs, Regina age 2 yrs and Alice age 10 months.

In the 1930 Census records, the family is now listed as living at 2626 16th street though I must admit I thought they always lived on Ridge Avenue so unless this is a typing error on the census record, they may have not always lived on Ridge Ave. I did not count all the boarders living in this house but it appears to be the same number but different names and again the names are of Irish descent.

In 1930 Bernard Cafferty was listed as being a foreman in a radio factory. Mary was again a homemaker. Children listed; Margaret, Helen, Bernard, Regina, Mildred (Alice) and William.

Still to come, military records of all those family members who served in the Civil War, WWI and WWII and some of these records may surprise you.

Monday, June 26, 2006

St Columbus Catholic Church

An Artistic Beauty In Design

St Columbus (St Columba) opened in 1895 and was located at 2340 W. Leigh Ave in the North Section of Philadelphia. St. Columbus closed its doors in 1993 but remains a Catholic Church under the current name of St. Martin de Porres. The pictures of this church cannot capture the true essence of its beauty. This is a church worth seeing in person.

Ann Marie Gallagher, youngest child of William and Anna Marie (McCaffery) Gallagher was the only one of five Gallagher children to be baptized here. (the other four were baptized at St John The Baptist Church) In 1942, the year of her birth, her family resided on 2722 Croskey Street and her father was an employee at Midvale Steel.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

St. James The Less Episcopal Church And Grave Yard

I remember taking walks through the grounds of this church and cemetery as a child when I lived in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia. The buildings always amazed me. And of course, I never feared a cemetery and always liked to walk through them. So it is no surprise that I continue to do this sort of thing today but for different reasons. As a child, I played in the cemetery's grounds. As an adult, I research in them but it is not to say that I do not enjoy its peaceful vast and beautiful grounds and buildings.

Recently, I took a walk through St James The Less. It is very much the same place I remember as a child. Some things have changed like the politics of this religion which forced the present congregation to leave after more than a hundred years at this church. Present Day Episcopalians have tried to force new rules to a very old traditional functioning Eiscopalian church. After a lengthy court battle, the congregation picked up and left to set up "church" in Belmont Hills because it simply refused to change what they believed in for the last hundred or so years. Thus leaving the existing buildings and grounds with a very unknown future. I am glad the place was made a Historical Landmark years ago because it does guarantee its existence in its present form.

St James The Less has touched the lives of many in Philadelphia. The Wanamakers are buried here as are the Biddles. It also has a history in my paternal side of the family because my great grandfather Charles Schroeder worked these grounds as a grave digger. He was also a sexton at the church and rang the bells. After my grandmother Marie Schroeder Weleski died in childbirth in 1945, my great grandfather Charles Schroeder took the eldest son, my father under his wing and had him help out at the church. Granted the Schroeders were German Lutheran and my father was being raised Catholic but it did not matter that St James The Less was Episcopal. The cemetery grounds were once also a part of Laurel Hill Cemetery and since Charles worked for Laurel Hill it is not a surprise that he also worked for St James The Less.

The church and its cemetery have a rich history dating back to 1831. The stones on the graves tell their own story.

A Photo Walking Tour Of St James The Less Cemetery

The Grave Walker, Herself

Saturday, June 24, 2006

He Must Surely Be In Pain

Frankie, Mom, John

When can you tell a kid is on the verge of becoming that proverbial teenager? It is when he painfully looks forced to take a picture with his grandmother and a much younger brother as clearly seen here at his brother John's 6th birthday party.

Do Not worry Frank and Danielle, this will only last another seven years or so.