Tuesday, August 11, 2015

52 Ancestors No. 29: Mary (Moynahan) Moynahan of Corktown, Detroit

Sometimes genealogical research has you going in circles and sometimes on the second or third time around in the same circle you discover something new.

Such is the case with my first cousin (4x removed) Mary Moynahan of Essex county who married Mathew J. Moynahan of Ireland.

When I was researching the beautiful zinc Moynahan headstones at Mt Elliott cemetry, I had no idea I would eventually return to Timothy Moynahan (1813-1902) of Maidstone, Essex county. I also had no idea that this research would take me into Corktown, Detroit and connecting with researcher Paul Szewczyk and learning about 19th century Corktown's tradition of female home ownership.

Mary Moynahan 1847-1905

Mary Moynahan was born in Maidstone, Essex co., Ontario on the 15th of October 1847 the daughter of Timothy and Margaret (Cronyn) Moynahan

Mary's father Timothy Moynahan (1813-1902)
When Mary's father Timothy died in London, Ontario in 1902, his obituary stated that of his nine children from both marriages, only two were living: Enos and Mary (who is the subject of this post).

The obituary failed to mention another living child Timothy who was at the London Asylum at the time. I suspect that Timothy died in London, Ontario beccause he was visiting with Timothy Jr in the London asylum and died there. I have no proof of this but I also have no idea why Timothy would travel to London, Ontario at 89 years of age?

I also have no explanation regarding the omission of Timothy Jr from Timothy Sr's obituary?

Timothy Moynahan's 1902 obituary
Source: Windsor Evening Record. October 21, 1902 - Page: 1 of 8

Mary's mother Margaret (Cronyn) Moynahan (b 1811) died in 1859 when Mary was twelve years old and her father remarried Archange Parent. Mary had four step-brothers from her father's second marriage (Enos, James, Timothy and Joseph).

Matthew James (M.J.) Moynahan of Detroit was born in Ireland in 1836 the son of Jeremiah Moynahan and Catherine Hearlihy.

He was married to Hannah O'Connor who died November 1870 after giving birth to twins Margaret and Emma (who also died May 1870 and June 1970 respectively)

M.J. (41 years of age) later married Mary Moynahan (30 years of age) on the 27th of May 1877 at Maidstone Cross, Ontario

Marriage record M.J. Moynahan and Mary Moynahan
Source: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932; Reel: 23

Their Children

Catherine ("Kitty") was the only surviving child from M.J. first marriage. On the 20 Jan 1879 Margaret (Maggie) was born.

I have not had any luck finding the family on the census returns 1870-1910.

Corktown Detroit

Corktown, Detroit is located just west of Downtown Detroit, and is the oldest extant neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan

I discovered on Paul Szewczyk's excellent Corktown Blog that he had a great deal of information on Mary Moynahan's house at 11 Baker St in Corktown (now 1221 Bagley)

 11 Baker St in Corktown (now 1221 Bagley)

According to Paul Szewczyk

"Rose Lane sold 11 Baker street to Mary Moynahan for $3,350 in July of 1882. This is an example of 19th century Corktown's tradition of female home ownership. In Irish households at the time, wives were in charge of the domestic finances, and property was often held in their names."
11 Baker St. in 1884.
"The front part of the house had two stories and was attached to several one-story additions.
The house would have had a very different appearance at the time.
 Paul Szewczyk

 "The home's new owner, Mary Moynahan, was a first-generation Irish-Canadian, born in Ontario in 1846. Her husband, Matthew J. Moynahan, was an Irish immigrant. The couple married around 1876 and had two children. Two years after moving into the home, Matthew Moynahan passed away. Mrs. Moynahan was listed at 11 Baker Street through 1887, after which she rented the house to Martha Fessenden, a widow. One of Mrs. Fessenden's son's, Mark, died at the home on February 15, 1889, at the age of 26. 

 Other boarders listed at this address in 1887 and 1888 included Thomas W. Richardson, a porter for Thorp, Hawley & Co.; Walter Parrish, a lineman for the Brush Electric Co.; and Frank Hutchinson, a clerk."

"On June 5, 1889, Mrs. Moynahan sold 11 Baker Street to Daniel and Isabelle Donovan for $4,000."

Mt. Elliott Cemetery

This brings me back, full circle, to the beautiful Moynahan zinc marker that I wrote about in July 2014.

The beautiful zinc Moynahan marker at Mt Elliott cemetery, Detroit, Michigan
Mary was interred here on the 11th of April 1905 with M.J and his first wife Hannah and all of their children.
Internments at the Moynahan plot - Mt Elliott cemetery, Detroit, Michigan

The last person buried in this plot was Kitty Moynahan (1858-1938) a retired school principle who was daughter of M.J. Moynahan and the only surviving child of his first marriage.

  • Marriage M.J. Moynahan and Mary Moynahan; Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932; Reel: 23
  • Special thanks to Paul Szewczyk for granting me permission to use his Corktown material in my blog post.

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