Wednesday, January 28, 2015

52 Ancestors #48: UAW Local 200 Autoworker Ernest Moynahan Sr.

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.” 

This week's post is about Ernest Joseph Moynahan Sr. my grandfather. He was an autoworker at the Ford Motor Company of Windsor Ontario from May 22 1932 to the August 31 1965.

Ernest J. Moynahan at work at the Ford Motor Co.


Ernest Moynahan Born

Joseph Ernest Moynahan was born August 18, 1900 in Sandwich South, Essex County son of  Sandwich South Town Clerk John Moynahan and Mary Broderick.

Original Birth Registration for Joseph Ernest Moynahan

Ernest Moynahan Baptismal record
St, Mary's church, Maidstone, Ontario
Family Photos

I love this next series of family photos of Ernest and his brothers and sisters Aileen, Bernard, Raymond, Gerald and Mabel over the years.
Ernest, Mary Aileen and Mary Mabel
(c 1901)

Ernest, Mary Aileen, Erlan Raymond, and Mary Mabel
(c 1904)
Mary Aileen, Ernest, Gerald, Erlan Raymond, and Mary Mabel.
(c 1908)

Moynahan Family: Aileen, Ernest, Bernard, Raymond, Gerald and Mabel
(c 1909)


In the 1919 Vernon Directory both John Moynahan (Justice of the Peace for Ojibway) and his son Ernest are working in Ojibway


The Essex Free Press newspaper reported that Ernest was visiting his Moynahan grandparents with his brother (Father Ray Moynahan) in Maidstone and the 1922 Vernon's Directory shows that Ernest was working for the Studebaker Corporation. Ernest would later start work at Ford Motor Co. on May 22, 1932 and (according to Metropolis) By 1937, the Studebaker factory is listed as “Silent and Mostly Vacant”.

In Vernon's 1922 Directory, Ernest Sr. is working for the Studebaker Corporation
as a machinist at 22 years of age
Metropolis has posted a web page on the Studebaker Corporation in Windsor: "The Studebaker Factory Then and Now" It is worth a visit. I was suprised to read: "One of the more interesting cars manufactured by Studebaker was the E.K. Big Six, so named because of its 7-passanger size and ability to reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. Rum runners of the day did much of their business with this vehicle–so much so, that in 1921 the Windsor Police Department bought a $3,000 Big Six of their own just to keep up with the Runners."

Ernest Moynahan

The Essex Free Press. February 3, 1922 - pg. 8


Ernest Meets and Marries Rhea Coughlin

Ernest and Rhea (pictured at the rear) at Schofield marriage

Wedding picture: Ernest Moynahan and Rhea Coughlin

Wedding picture: Ernest Moynahan and Rhea Coughlin

Wedding day: Ernie and Rhea with her parents William and Elizabeth Coughlin

Ernie and Rhea's Children
  • Patricia married Edward McHugh
  • John married Shirley Brazeau
  • Ernest Jr married Dawn Creighton

Ernie and Rhea (holding infant)
Ernie and Rhea with daughter Patricia and son John
The Moynahan Family on Marentette


The Ford Strike: Negotiations stalled and on September 12, 1945, 11,000 Ford workers went on strike and stayed out for 99 days. The 1945 Windsor Ford strike was historic....... On November 5, as tensions mounted, 8,000 workers from 25 plants organized by Local 195 walked off the job in solidarity with the Ford workers. They stayed out for one month - with no strike pay. The next day, the union, anxious to avoid bloodshed, formed a blockade of cars and trucks stretching 20 blocks around the giant Ford plant.

1945 Ford Strike in Windsor

 I posted previously the recollection of Ernest Sr.'s son UAW labour leader John Moynahan on the historic Ford strike:
"(John) was eleven years old when he witnessed the historic 1945 strike at Ford almost on his doorstep. In an interview (in 1981), he recalled going to the soup kitchens on Drouillard Road."

L to R: Rhea, Ernest Sr., Ernest Jr., Patricia and John Moynahan
in front of 912 Marentette


The Grandchildren Arrive


Ernest's Post-Retirement Years

Ernest worked at Hotel Dieu in his post-retirement years

Ernest Moynahan Dies at 74 Years

Ernest Sr. with his Aunt Ellen ("Nellie") Moynahan (school teacher)

Grandpa Moynahan with Cindi, Pat, Kelly and Lori Moynahan

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