Excited, I immediately began searching databases for "Jeremiah Moynahan" and I accidentally stumbled across a DIFFERENT Jeremiah Moynahan who lived in St. Louis, Missouri and had a VERY interesting story!
|Source: The Boston Globe Boston, Massachusetts 10 Jan 1910, Mon • Page 9|
The story of Jeremiah Moynihan goes something like this:
- Jeremiah Moynihan died in St Louis, Missouri on January 8, 1910
- He was destined for a pauper's grave until a key was found that led to a safety security vault
- The papers reported that Jeremiah Moynihan was a "Millionaire Rag Picker" who died without a will
- Immediately 1,000 people came forward to claim that they were related to "Jerry" and therefore the rightful heir
- The courts believed Canadian Benjamin Foster Moynahan who claimed to be Jeremiah's son and was who was born at Bells Corners, Ottawa, Ontario Canada
- "NOT SO!" said some 50 cousins in Rathmore, County Kerry Ireland, "Jeremiah never married and did not have a son!"
I was certainly curious. My brother and sister and I had just visited Rathmore, County Kerry Ireland in the spring and I live a short distance from Bells Corners! I needed to know, who was telling the truth? The Kerry cousins or the Ottawa son?!
|New York Tribune; Jan 10, 1910|
A Key Is Found To a Safety Deposit Vault
Thousands Claim To Be Rightful Heirs
|Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch; 21 Jun 1910; Page 6|
|Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch;20 Aug 1912;Page 11|
- An alleged son, Glen Adonis Gilbert of Galena, Ill. who produced a will
- An alleged cousin Mrs. Nancy Shanahan of Lawrence, Mass. who produced a letter
- Alleged nieces and nephews - the O'Connors of Oswego, N.Y.
- Letters from relatives in England, Ireland, Russia and Australia
- Dozens of abandoned wives and scores of children he turned his back on
- Half a hundred brothers and sisters and several hundred overlooked nieces, nephews and cousins
- Jerry lived at 2022 and later (2100) N. Broadway St. Louis, Missouri
- Jerry visited Ireland several times and no one knew why
- Jerry had not worked at anything in the last 9 to 10 years of his life (he died at 80)
- Jerry had been the driver of an express wagon at one time, and for awhile had a team of his own
- Jerry was "fastidious about his person and in his habits" (according to the hotel keepers where he lived) and was never seen to "lend, spend or give a nickel away" and never married because when he was "young he had no money and when he had money he was too old"
- Jerry had planned a trip to Ireland to "give the boys $5000 apiece. I want to give it to them while I am living and not wait until I'm dead. I'd have done it long ago but I wished to see how they'd turn out when they grew up. They're grown now and they're all alright. The money will be a big thing for them."
- Jerry "always seemed to deeply pity anyone who tried to annoy him. Boarders at the hotel would sometimes try to provoke him when thy were tipsy.....some tipsy fellow trying to start an argument with Moynihan I would turn on the tipsy one , but Moynahan would remonstrate with me. "The poor fellow", he would say, "he hasn't much sense has he?" Then he would shake his head and walk away murmuring. "Poor fellow, poor fellow."
- Moynihan's greatest hobby (the hotel keeper said) was in trying to encourage people to get along in the world.
|Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis, Missouri 13 Mar 1912, Wed • Page 4|
Will Produced by Illinois "Son" Declared FAKE
|Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch; Sept 9, 1912; Page 1|
Estate Awarded to Canadian Son: Benjamin Foster Moynihan
|Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch; March 10, 1913; Page 1|
- Benjamin Foster Moynihan was represented by lawyers Henry A. Baker of St Louis and Donald MacLean of Ottawa
- Benjamin was in St Louis for the hearing of the claims
- Benjamin was a farmer most of his life, worked as a watchman until a few years prior to 1913 and was unemployed with a wife and several children
- Benjamin produced documents that influenced the judge that included a family bible
- The judge was also influenced by Benjamin's facial resemblance to pictures of Jeremiah Moynihan
- The judge believed that it had been proven that:
- Jerry Moynihan had settled in Nepean township, near Ottawa
- Jerry had married Rebecca Pearson in 1849
- Jerry and Rebecca Moynihan lived with William Foster and his wife
- Jerry and Rebecca Moynihan had twins in 1850, a boy and a girl
- The mother Rebecca (Pearson) Moynihan and the infant girl died
- Benjamin Foster Moynihan was soon given to the Fosters who adopted him and brought him up as their own son
- in 1861, Jerry visited the Fosters and addressed the boy as son. Later the Fosters told the boy that Jerry was his father and Jerry Moynihan acknowledged the relationship in letters and papers, some of which were placed in evidence. One of the records was in the family Bible.
- In 1893, the Judge said, it was shown that Jerry Moynihan met Benjamin in Ottawa, and acknowledged him as his son, and borrowed $500 from him, giving him a note. (the handwriting expert declared the signatures genuine)
- According to the testimony of Benjamin Foster Moynihan his father was born in Australia and went to Canada in 1849, married Rebecca Pearson who died in childbirth the following February along with her twin daughter
- According to the testimony of Benjamin Foster Moynihan, a day or two before the death, Mr and Mrs. William Foster had lost an infant son a few hours old and Benjamin was substituted for this child, reared as a Foster and Jerry returned to Australia
- Benjamin Foster Moynihan was living on Pretoria Ave. when he received the telegram from St. Louis that he had been awarded the estate. He was 62 years of age
|Source: The Ottawa Citizen; March 10, 1913; Page 1|
The 50 Cousins From County Kerry, Ireland Appeal
|The Ottawa Citizen; Nov. 19, 1913; Page 2|
- Jerry Moynihan never married and that Benjamin Foster Moynihan of Ottawa is not his son
- Jerry Moynihan was not a "rag picker' as alleged and that he worked as an inbound freight clerk for the Iron Mountain Railroad from 1865 or 1868 until 1893 when he retired
- When Jerry retired, he never worked again, but lived in different cheap hotels in St. Louis
- He had a saftey deposit box at the Mercantile Trust Company and, when assigned this box, he had to give the place of his birth and the maiden name of his mother, which he did.
- Moynihan's naturalization papers said that he was born in Ireland
- Letter, registered receipts from the Kelliher family in County Kerry show that Jerry Moynihan had sent them $15,000, and visited them, as his cousins in 1905
- During that visit, Moynahan visited his birthplace at Islanderagh, County Kerry
- Moynihan paid a mortgage of $500 on the little home then owned by his cousin John J. Kelliher, and reserved for himself a room in the house, which would always be his should he return to live permanently in Ireland
- The United Sates census report for 1910 shows Moynihan was a bachelor and was born in Ireland in 1831, instead of in Australia and of German parentage as Benjamin Foster Moynihan had testified
- The will of William Foster (Benjamin's alleged adoptive parent) who died in 1872 refers to Benjamin Foster as a natural son, and to whom the bulk of the Foster estate was left
- The mortuary and cemetery records at Bell's Corners, near Ottawa, where Mrs. Jerry Moynahan is alleged to have died show no record of either her marriage or her death
- The records do show that Benjamin Foster (Moynihan) was married twice under the name of Foster and has children who likewise married under that name
1915: Court Finds 50 Cousins To Be Moynihan Heirs
|Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch; Feb 11, 1915; Page 1|
|Source: St. Louis, Missouri 11 Sep 1912, Wed • Page 2|
Jerry Moynahan Is Buried in Calvary Cemetery, St Louis
|Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch; Sept 12, 1912; Page 1|
|Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis, Missouri 17 Sep 1912, Tue • Page 4|
Lawyer for Irish "Cousins"
Believes Other Claimants Are Confused
|Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis, Missouri 20 Sep 1912, Fri • Page 9|
|Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis, Missouri 12 Sep 1912, Thu • Page 2|
Mrs. Shanahan Argues Her Case
|Source: The Boston Globe Boston, Massachusetts 16 Aug 1912, Fri • Page 4|