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A Quick Summary on Mary Riley


·         Mary was born July 2, 1846 to Timothy Riley and Hanna Donnehy and baptized on July 10, according to records in the Catholic Archives in Saint John, NB.


·         The spelling of Mary’s father’s last name in the above file was given as ‘Reily’ or ‘Riely’ but not Rilley or Riley.  


·         Witnesses at the baptism were John and Eleanor Reily. Whether there is any familial connection here is unknown, but my first impression would be that there could be.


·         Mary is listed, appropriately, as a 4 year old with mother Honora and brother Timothy in #1 Ward Boston in 1850 census (September 12). She does not appear in the 1860 census record, at least in a recognizable format; she may have been sent out to work as a domestic by that time as she would have been 13/14.


·         There is a Mary Riley, 14 year old, as a domestic to the Bond family in Weymouth in 1860 (August 7); gives birthplace as MA. Bond was in boot manufacturing in 1860 and Tim was working as an apprentice in the same business in Weymouth in 1860.


·         She may also be represented by 13 year old Mary A. in Bristol Co, 4th Ward of New Bedford, in 1860 (July 9th) living with the William H Packard family (no occupation so perhaps not a domestic), or a 14 year old Mary working as a domestic in Boston’s 2nd Ward in 1860 for Eben(?) Snow (boot maker); claims born in MA.


·         Mary next appears in the record as a 19 year old Mary Elizabeth (first time we have seen this middle name) Riley marrying 25 year old farmer William S Bryant on March 28, 1867 in Plympton, MA. For him it was a second marriage. This record notes her birthplace as Frederickton (sic), NB, and her parents as Timothy and Ann Riley.


·         William S Bryant was born in Plympton c 1841, son of Zenas and Juliette (Judith) Bryant. William was originally recorded as a farmer but his occupation was later described as carpenter.


·         The couple had three children over the next few years: i) Minnie Laura on June 21, 1868, ii) Albion C on Dec 9, 1869, and iii) Florence M in 1871. Florence died in Plympton in 1889; Albion died at 20 years of age in Boston of pneumonia on August 17, 1890.


·         Mary Elizabeth died of consumption in Plympton on Apr 28, 1874 at the age of 26 years. Her death record correctly notes that she was born in Saint John, NB (after at least two other Fredericton references in children’s’ birth records). What is perhaps most significant is that her death record sets her parents birthplace thus: “both of Killarney, Ireland” becoming the first record in North America to make the connection back to County Kerry. This is a most welcome change after the inconsistent record in her mother’s file!


·         It is interesting that Honora had two children named Mary Elizabeth, with Mary Elizabeth Riley a 12 year old at the time of Mary Elizabeth Vickery’s birth.


·         At 24 years of age Minnie Laura married 35 year old Thomas Ferriter, a hostler, in Taunton, MA on June 1, 1892. The record shows that she listed her stepmother Kate as one of her parents. It was his second marriage. The records indicate that the couple appears to have had three children in their household over time: i) James V, who was living with the couple in 1910 and who was born in 1889 and therefore likely a son from Thomas’ first marriage; ii) Florence C who was born in 1891, also likely a product of Thomas’ first marriage, and who died of pneumonia in 1899 at 7 years of age, and iii) Ethel May, later known as Etta, born in December 1892, who was also living in the family unit in 1910.  


·         In 1910 the family was living 167 High Street, Taunton; in 1920 the parents were living alone and carrying boarders at 17 Trescott St; in 1930 Minnie was living with her daughter Etta F who was at that time married to optometrist Harry W. Brigs and living at 29 Cedar St, Taunton. The younger couple had one son, Harry W Junior, whose age was given as 14. Minnie’s age was given in 1930 as 55 and she was listed as a sales lady in a dry goods store. It is assumed that husband Thomas had died by this time.


·         Harry W Brigs Jr was a member of the US Navy during and after WWII.


·         After Mary (Riley) Bryant’s death William S Bryant at 35 married 19 year old Kate Finerad who had been born in Worcester, MA; it was her first marriage. The couple proceeded to have three children: i) Kate Bryant on Feb 7, 1876, ii) Lucilla Bryant in 1878, and iii) Bertha Bryant on Dec 7, 1879 and all births were recorded as Plympton.


·         Mary Elizabeth’s mother Honora, living with son Seth L Vickery in Rochester, MA, reported in 1900 that she had had six children, of which five were still living. All the boys were alive as of that date. Of the two girls, Mary Elizabeth Vickery married Benjamin F. King in 1880 and the couple, along with their 20 year old daughter Edith, was living in Plymouth County in 1900. Mary Riley would be the lost child identified by Honora in the 1900 census.


RAR -15.05.06

Updated -10.02.13