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The Jeremiah & Honora Dannahy Family in America

(with emphasis on daughters Ellen F and Josephine L)


§  The 1850 census lists Jeremiah and family as living in Boston in Ward 1 and recorded as John Dinnahy, 31(b c 1819) (indexed on Ancestry as Dinnaley), laborer; wife Hanora, 28 (b c 1822); son John, 4; dau Ellen, 2; parents b Ireland, children b MA. By the time of the MA State Census son John had died (Sep 1850) and Joanna, 5, Margaret, 4, and Francis H, 2, added. Additionally living with the family was 24 year old Catherine Crowley, b Ireland, and Jane T Ritchie, 63, b MA.


§   The 1860 census shows the family of John Dannahy of Boston’s 12th ward as follows: Irish-born John Dannahy, 40 (b c 1820), a hack driver and with an estate valued at $300; wife Honora, also Irish-born and also 40 (b c 1920); children (all MA born) – Ellen F, 11; Johanna M, 10; Margaret J, 9; Francis H, 7; Delia T, 5; Joseph W, 3.


§  Joseph W died of a brain disease on Jan 12, 1863 at 5 years, 7 mo, 16 days; mother Honora died of diarrhea at 45 on June 7, 1867. Honora’s death record notes her father to have been Philip Galvin.


§  The 1870 census shows the family as follows:  John Denehy, 50 (b c 1820), hack driver, estate valued at $500, born in Ireland; Nellie, 21, at home; Josephine, 20, a lontag (?) maker; Margaret, 18, house keeper, Frank, 16, hack driver, Delia, 14, at school. Also again present was 35 year old Irish-born Kate Crowley, tailoress.


§  John at 45 and a hackman, married Irish-born Catharine “Kate” Crowley, 35 (b c 1835), in Boston on September 4, 1870. He gave his parents’ names as Jeremiah and Ellen; she gave hers as Timothy and Catharine.


§  John died at a reported 59 on Oct 10, 1876 of dysentery (b c 1817); his parents were given as Jeremiah and Ellen. His address was 27 W Fifth St. and his occupation carriage driver.


§  By 1880 the Dennehy family had faced some considerable change. Father John had passed away and the two older girls had married in 1878 and 1879 and left the family.  Remaining in the family home at 276 Bowen St. where widow Kate was now the matron were step daughter Margaret J, 28, at home; stepson Francis H, 26, laborer; and step daughter Delia D, 24, carpet maker.

o   Daughter Margaret J passed away on April 19, 1884 in Boston; cause of death was given as phthisis. Her address was given in the death record as 156 D St. She was noted to be a border and her parents as John and Hannah. 

 o   Son Francis died, single, of TB in Boston in 1897.

o   Daughter Delia, registered Catherine at birth,  married one John Boyle in Boston in 1885 but succumbed to TB, apparently childless, in Boston some four years later in 1889.   


§  On Jan 30, 1878 daughter Ellen F Dennehy married 31 year old James A Symes. James was a tinsmith, son of Charles and Judith Symes; Ellen, ascribed no occupation, was listed as the daughter of John and Honora Dennehy.

o   In the 1880 census Ellen F Symes was found, without her husband, living with the John H Lally family in Boston at 30 Howeth St. and noting a sister relationship. John H Lally’s wife was Ellen Fs sister Josephine Dennehy. 

o   In 1900 the Symes family was living with 69 year old Emma (sic) Leddy at 5 Rochester St, Boston. James was recorded as a 50 year old (b MA Jan 1850) insurance agent; Ellen as a 50 year old (b MA Nov 1849) and married 24 years, having had 2 children, both living; 20 year old daughter Mabel, b July 1877 (sic) in MA, a dry goods clerk; and 10 year old son Abbot (Herbert) born Feb 1890 and at school.

o   The 1910 census shows insurance agent James A and Ellen T (?), respectively 61 and 60 years of age, living at 30 Howeth St, Boston; living with them is son Herbert F, shown as a 29 year old news dealer (?), 26 year old daughter and department store saleswoman Marie L, and 25 year old niece Edith M Lally, also a news dealer. In this record Ellen T was recorded as having had 6 children with two living.

o   Ellen's death record indicates she died of a cerebral hemorrhage at 57 years in Jan of 1912, it gave her maiden name as Danahy, it gave her address as 30 Howell Street, and her parents as John Danahy and Honora Galvin. The 1920 census shows a widowed James A Symes, 73, as an inmate in the Boston State Hospital for the Insane. It indicates his father was born in NS so it may not be the right James A.

o   The Boston directories provide the following information regarding James A Symes (as opposed to a James F Symes who is also consistently listed):

§  1879: not referenced

§  1882: solderer, house 196 W Eighth

§  1883: solderer, house 196 W Eighth

§  92-93: solderer, h. 594 E Ninth

§  1904: collector, 5 Rochester

§  1918; no occupation, h 122 Boston, Dorchester

o   In respect to the Symes children the MA vital statistics database 1841-1910 indicates the following:

§  Francis H Symes born to James (tinsmith) and Ellen in July of 1878 at 27 Fifth St; he died at 2 months of chronic diarrhea.

§  Mabel Symes was born in 1880. She appears to have stayed single (at least to 59 years) and worked as an elevator operator in Hanover, Plympton Co (1930) and Boston (1940).. 

§  Walter James Symes born to James A and Ellen F on Nov 20, 1881 while they were at 196 W 8th St; Walter died of inflammation at 8 months on July 25, 1882 at the same address.

§  Twins Arthur and Alfred Symes were born to James A and Mary F on June 7, 1884 at the 196 W 8th St address. Arthur died of enteritis on Oct 1 and Alfred of the same malady on Oct 3 of the same year. 


§  On Aug 15, 1879, 27 year old Boston-born daughter Josephine L Denehy married 28 year old Boston-born John H Lally in Boston. John was listed as a milk dealer; his parents were John and Eliza. Josephine’s parents were given as John and Honora; she was ascribed no occupation. (William A Lally, who appeared in the Leddy pension file and was likely a brother of John H, was listed as a milk dealer in the 1890 Boston directory)

o   John H and Josephine L had a daughter, Evelyn, in Boston in May 1880 while the couple were residing at 241 East St. In this record John was ascribed the occupation of “weigher”, an occupation pursued by his father over a number of years. 

o   In the 1880 census (June 3rd) John H and Josephine L were still living at 241 East St. in Boston, John was listed as a 27 year old milkman born in MA and Josephine as a 26 year old keeping house. Daughter Evelin was listed as one month old and born in May. Also living with the family was Josephine’s sister, Ellen Symmes, 28.

§  At this same time what appears to be John’s parents, John and Eliza, and family were living at 166 W Third St. John Sr. was listed as a 57 year old Irish-born ‘weigher of grain’ , Eliza as a 57 year old housekeeper who was born in France of English parents, and the children, still living at home, were listed as Elizabeth A, a 24 year old dress maker, William A, a 21 year old milk dealer, and Isabel G, a 17 year old who worked in a tissuing (?) store.

§  John Sr, still of the above address, passed away at 64 on Dec 7, 1886 in Boston of bronchitis. His occupation in the death record was described as laborer and his parents were identified as John and Mary.

o   John H and Josephine L Lally are recorded as having a second daughter Edith in Boston on June 11, 1884. At the time the couple was living at 156 D St and John’s occupation was given as “woodcarver”.


§  John Lally’s occupation appeared to progress from milkman (1880), to wood carver (1882-1884), to cigar store operator (1883-1893). John was still classified as a woodcarver on his death record in 1904 so it may have been more of an avocation than a vocation. The fact that Josephine was described as a storekeeper on her 1910 death record suggests she may have taken over John’s cigar/confectionary business.  


§  John H Lally’s address as a witness in the Ellen Leddy pension request in 1897 was 594 East 9th St. Boston; in 1902 it was 592 5th Ave Boston.


§  A death record exists for one John H Lally, 53 (b c 1851), woodcarver, of 41 Shirley St, Boston, for Aug 27,1904; John died of spastic paraplegia accompanied by myocarditis. John’s parents were given as John Lally of Ireland and Elizabeth Wright, born on the Isle of Jersey, England.


§  Widow Josephine (Dennehy) Lally died from heart disease and associated nephrites on Feb 5, 1910 in Boston at the age of 53 years, 9 months, 25 days (b April 11, 1857). Her death record noted her occupation to be that of storekeeper, and her parents names were given as John Dennehy and Honora Galvin.


§   There is an highly apparent ‘closeness’ between the Symes and Lally families as determined by common Boston addresses as follows:


 27 5th St-               1876       John Dennehy dies

                                                        1887        Francis Symes born

 241 E St-                1880       John Lally and Family + Ellen Symes

                                                        1880        Evelyn Lally born, father John H a "weigher"

                                                        1880        John H Lally, milkman

 30 Howeth St-       1880        John Lally and family

                                                       1910        James Symes and family

 156 D St-               1880        Mabel Symes born

                                                        1884        Edith Lally born to John /Josephine, carver

                                                        1884        Margaret Dennehy died

                                                        1885        John H Lally, wood carver

 592 5th St-             1892        John H Lally/Ellen Symes (affidavit) 

 594 E 9th St-          1892/93   James Symes, Boston directory

                                                        1892/93  John H Lally, cigars (163.5 Shawmut)

                                                       1897        John H Lally (affidavit)

                                                        1897        John H Lally, cigars (163.5 Shawmut)

                                                        1897       James Symes (affidavit)


o   Daughter Evelyn G Lally of 231 Dudley St, Boston, at 22 and in Feb of 1903, married Gregory L Biersmith, 26, of 63 Blue Hill Avenue, Boston. Evelyn was listed as a bookkeeper, Gregory as a metal worker, born in Meadeville, PA. Parents were John H Lally and Josephine L Dennehy and Martin Biersmith and Frances Meir. 


o   The Biersmiths had three children: i) Harold Richard was born in Boston 1904 and died in Dec in Chicago in 1918; the reason for death was not available in the record; ii) Elinor born in Boston in1907, married Matthew Myer in Chicago in 1930, and died in Minneapolis, MN 2003; and iii) Richard Jerome born 1918 in Chicago and married Dorothy Roche in 1950 in Chicago.


o   Prior to leaving Boston Gregory, who had 4 years of college, had established himself as a chiropodist and by 1940 he was set up as an orthopedic surgeon in private practice. Evelyn likewise was recorded as having had 4 years of college.


o   Daughter Edith M Lally eventually followed her sister to Chicago in 2010. She appears to have married Charles R Blacklidge in the windy city in 1920. They moved to East Chicago, IN, where Charles was employ in the local Inland Steel mill.  


RAR - 08.09.07

Updated - 15. 02.13