Saturday, September 10, 2005

Michael, Bridget Foley Found!

Having never met my great-grandfather, Daniel Edmund Foley who was born in 1853, the likelihood of knowing much about his father were very rare. We knew his name was Michael and that he was born in Ireland, married Bridget. And we knew that he was buried in Champaign and Bridget in Teutopolis, both in Illinois. We only had a sketchy idea of even where they lived when alive

This week we found them both.

Bridget was rather easy in that Teutopolis was very small when she was buried and there is a good county historical society there. The State of Illinois has organized a project called Gen Web for the purpose of making historical records easier to trace online. An email to a former resident of Teutopolis now living in Arizona who maintains the county site got immediate answers. (Thank you Linda!)

There is only one cemetery in Teutopolis, named St. Francis Cemetery. It is a Catholic cemetery, associated with St. Francis Church in Teutopolis. The records show Bridget Foley is buried in Section 7, Row 5, grave #3. This is in the VERY old section of the cemetery. The stone reads died 2-27-1873 at the age of 52 years. There is no birth date on the stone but doing the math she would have been born sometime in 1821, probably not in Teutopolis. The town was founded in the early 1840’s. The cemetery was originally laid out in 1860. The stone does, however, state that she is the wife of Michael.

Michael was another story. I envisioned going to the cemeteries in Champaign until I found his headstone. The Urbana Free Library made that all unnecessary with two phone calls.

First, I learned from the archivist that there was a record of Michael Foley, born 1821 same as Bridget, being buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, another very old site. Incredibly, Michael's passing made the newspaper at the time, the Champaign Daily Gazette. Michael passed away on January 31, 1889. The Gazette story under a heading of "Local Brevities", tells of Michael Foley's passing away of rheumatism of the heart while visiting his daughters in Champaign, Mrs. J.C. Hollingshead and T. Dunbar.

Most interestingly, it indicates a familiar link, that Michael Foley was visiting from DuQuoin Illinois where he lived. This was an unknown. His son, Daniel, was born in 1853. A brief study of the history of DuQuoin indicates that the railroad was finished and the first depot built also in 1853.

Cousin Don remembers hearing the name Hollingshead in his youth. I can recall a lot of mentioning of DuQuoin Illinois from my father. We may have more cousins soon!