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Honora’s Sister, Ellen F (Dennahy) Leddy


§  Timothy Leddy first came to attention (along with a Margaret Kelliher) as a witness for an Honora (Dennahy) Vickery affidavit signed in 1896 stating he had known Honora for 45 years, which would put the date c 1850 or shortly after her move to Boston.


§  A search of the 1850 US census provides for one 27 year old Irish-born Timothy Leddy, laborer, living in Boston’s 5th Ward, and married to 20 year old Irish-born Ellen. A search of the Boston passenger lists shows a Timothy Leddy, likely ours as Leddy is not a common name, arriving Boston from Halifax on the Lt. General Jackson out of New York on May 30, 1848. All the passengers on the sheet but one, a Nova Scotian, were credited with “belonging” to the US and yet all were noted as intending to become inhabitants of the US.  


§  Following through into the 1860 US census the couple is still living in Boston, now in Ward 11, with Timothy listed as a tailor. By this time the couple has two children, 7 year old Ellen F and 1 year old Ann M. Recorded as living with the Leddys are one  Patrick Gilman(?) a 25 year old Irish ‘refugee’ and, most interestingly, a 70 year old Irish born widow listed as Ellen Denahy.


§  A review of the Leddy marriage certificate indicates the couple was married on August 18, 1850 in Boston, a first marriage for both, and both born in Ireland. Timothy C’s age was given as 23 and Ellen’s as 18. Timothy gave his father’s name as Timothy Leddy and provided no name for his mother (His death record lists her as Mary Clarke). Ellen F listed her maiden name as Dennihy and her father’s name as John with no mother’s name provided.


§  The reference to the Dennihy last name immediately provoked a number of possible assumptions, which after further testing and consideration, have provided for the following likely set of events: that the Ellen Denahy, widow, living with the Leddy’s in 1860 is likely Ellen Fs mother; an extension of this assumption is that this Ellen Denahy is the 54 year old Ellen Donnehoe living with Honora in 1850, and that Honora and Ellen F are sisters. Supporting the hypothesis are the following, admittedly somewhat tenuous, pieces of information/conjecture:

o   The now digitally enhanced interpretation of Honora’s poorly written name on daughter Mary’s Saint John, NB baptism record is Donnehy

o   Honora’s death record lists her maiden name as Denhue, a close corruption

o   The 1850 Donnehoe could likewise be a spelling/pronunciation corruption of Dennahy

o   The Kelliher and Leddy witness connections in the Honora pension file infuse some real and more than coincidental closeness in the relationship between the two individuals

o   The presence of an older, unmarried Ellen in both households over a 10 year period suggests a mother in both cases, and by extension in this case a common mother

o   It is not difficult to see one of the names of Honora’s father, Jeremiah, being shortened in North America to the more common John. (In fact, when Honora/Ellen’s brother Jeremiah immigrated to Boston his name was commonly converted to John as well, even within the family.)  

o   Margaret Kelliher (herself originally a Dennahy and a possible cousin) signed affidavits for both Ellen F and Honora in their quest for their husbands’ pensions.

o   Ellen F Leddy’s death record gave her father’s name as Jeremiah Denehy and her mother’s name as Ellen Drew, both born in Ireland. The Jeremiah reference corroborates one of the names given by Honora for her father, and the Ellen reference would tend to confirm the assumption that Ellen Denahy, widow, of the 1860 household, is indeed the widow of Jeremiah Denehy and the mother of Honora Vickery and Ellen Leddy. 


§  On June 5, 1853 at the time of the birth of the Leddy’s first daughter, mother’s namesake Ellen Frances, the couple was living at 39 High Street, Boston. Timothy’s occupation at that time was given as sailor (although it could have been corrupted from tailor!); mother Ellen’s maiden name was not recorded.


§  At the time of daughter Anna Maria’s birth on October 14, 1858 the family was living on Meander St in Boston. Ellen F’s maiden name was not provided on Anna’s birth record, although Timothy’s occupation was now listed as tailor. There was no last name given for mother Ellen F on Anna Leddy’s death record; she died from scarlet fever on June 24, 1860 at 1 year, 8 months, and 13 days.


§  Timothy served in the 1st MA Heavy Artillery during the Civil War, being mustered in at Fort Warren on April 30/63  where he contracted rheumatism of right shoulder and hip in or about April 1863 and for which he spent 3-4 weeks in regimental hospital, then returned to duty. He was again in hospital with rheumatism from Dec 1864 to Jan 1865 and in Feb 1865. He was mustered out on June 29, 1865 at Gallops Island in Boston harbour. His pension records indicate he worked at his tailor trade until 1874 when his rheumatism forced him to retire.


§  The second listed witness in the Timothy Leddy pension file was one Daniel Dennehy of Boston, possibly a nephew. There are a number of candidates for this Daniel in the Boston area but to date a solid connection to anyone specific has not been generated.  


§  Tracing the Leddys through the 1870 census they are found in Boston but now in Ward 7, their ages are now given as 44 and 40, 17 year old daughter Ellen F was still with the family; two additional children were now present – 8 year old Timothy J and 2 year old George H. Mother Ellen Denahy was not listed and the record shows her death as having occurred on August 7, 1863 in Boston due to dysentery; it notes her maiden name as Drew, her father as Thomas, and her married name as Denahy.


§  The family can be found in the 1880 census as a group of four: Timothy and Ellen, are both listed as 30 years of age [should be ~50], Ellen F was recorded as working as a 14 year old [looks as if changed from another greater age, should be 27] book folder, and 16 year old Timothy J. with no listed occupation.  The absence of George H, born July 28, 1868, is consistent with his death January 12, 1875 from meningitis. The family address was 22 Rochester St., Boston.


§  During the later 1880’s and 1890’s the Leddy address was 5 Rochester St., Boston. Wife Ellen F. continued to reside at this address after Timothy’s death on January 23, 1897 and was recorded (as Emma F) as the 69 year old head of the household at this owned location in the 1900 US Census. That census also records her immigration year to the US 1847, and incorrectly notes that she had had 12 children of which none are living. 


§  There is a second family residing at this same location headed by 50 year old MA-born Scot, James Symes. That family included 50 year old Ellen F as wife, and mother to 20 year old daughter (born July 1877?) Mabel (a dry goods clerk) and 10 year old schoolboy son Abbott b Feb 1890 [this would be Herbert Francis Symes]. A third seven person family under the leadership of MA-born Patrick Costello (who also signed affidavits for Ellen F’s pension quest) likewise rented accommodation at this address from the senior Ellen.


§  The Ellen F Symes living with Ellen F Leddy in 1900 was her niece Ellen F Dinnahy, daughter of Ellen Leddy’s brother Jeremiah and Honora Galvin.


§  With the exception of Ellen Leddy’s daughter Ellen Frances, b June 1853, the deaths of her five known offspring have been accounted for: i) 3 year old Elizabeth Maria died in 1858 from an “infection of the lungs”, ii) sister Anna Maria died at 20 months in Oct 1860 from “scarlatina”, iii) 34 year old Timothy James, single, photographer, died from TB in Boston in 1896, and iv) 7 year old George Henry died of meningitis in 1875.


§  Timothy James Leddy Junior is listed in the 1890 Boston directory as a photographer sited at 175 Dover St. and boarding with his parents at 5 Rochester St. The record gives Timothy J’s death at 30 years of age on August 10, 1896 from what would appear to be sun stroke. His mother’s name is given on his death record as Ellen F Dennehy.


§  The record of Ellen Frances Leddy Jr is scantily known. There is an 1884 marriage recorded for Ellen F Leddy Jr in the MA vital statistics database 1841-1910 wherein she married one Alexander McDonell , machinist, (b New Brunswick c1861) in Boston.  Ellen F Leddy Sr.’s 1900 declaration that all her children were dead suggests Ellen F Jr. died prior to 1900; however, a death record is yet to be found.


§  Alexander McDowell (sometimes listed as McDonell) appears to have been born in Bathurst, NB, to Alexander McDowell, b QC, and Frances Miller, b NB. The family was living in Moncton, NB in 1881 where Alexander Jr was listed as 19 (b NB c1862).


§  Alex McDonnell, machinist, b Canada Aug 1860, parents born Scotland, was listed in the 1900 US census as a ‘boarder’, one of 30 or so, at 445 Canal St., ward 4, Lawrence MA. He noted his marital status as single. 


§  Alexander McDowell of Boston, 40?, b NB, of 70 Middlesex St, died in a Boston institution, Free Consumption Home, from TB in March of 1903. At that time his occupation was given as photographer, an occupation also claimed by Ellen F Jr.’s brother Timothy James Leddy prior to his death in 1896.


§  Ellen F Leddy Sr. was successful at securing Timothy’s pension at $12/month on Feb 17, 1899 retroactive to Jan 24, 1897. The MA Archives reports her death as having been caused by apoplexy after a two week illness and that she died on April 10, 1903 (The Pension Commission was not aware of her death until 1904!).


RAR - 08.09.07

Updated - 16.02.13