Monday, October 31, 2005

Four Generations of James Clinton Hollingsed as told by James C III

I knew that there was a possibility that I would encounter new relatives when I began this blog. The idea was intriguing. Having found the Hollingsed family connections with the Foleys, this was one I pursued. Finding another name exactly the same as the ancestors was a real help in locating the current family. Still, it was with trepidation that I dialed the number for the first time.
I had to introduce myself as a possible distant cousin. Luckily, the folks I called were the right ones and they had heard of the Foleys in their family. What I learned was more than worth the call.
The Hollingseds also had a written family history passed down through several generations. Here is their story.

The original James Clinton Hollingsed was a brakeman on the Big 4 railroad. He was killed between 2 cars when his son, James C. Hollingsed Jr was 15 years old.
JC Jr grew up and worked into the railroad business as well,working for the American Express, then later the Railway express out of Mattoon, Ill. He became Route Agent for the REA, working out of E. St. Louis when JC III was born.
His job was to supervise various offices of the company and involved in train travel most all of every week, getting home on Saturday and often leaving Sunday evenings. He later was transferred to Lafayette, Indiana, Kokomo, Indiana., back to E. St. Louis, and Connersville, Ind. He was then made general agent(no travel) at Springfield, Ill. in 1926. In 1931, because of depression cutbacks, he was made agent in Chicago Heights. In 1943 he was made general agent in Terre Haute, Ind, and later transferred to Maywood, IL, from which he retired in 1951.
James C Jr never was unemployed and always had a "white collar job". He was born in Chicago (an avid Cub fan) but because of his father's death he had to quit school, so never got beyond the first year of high school.
James C III recalled one case that James C Jr had to testify in an embezzlement trail of a man named Rutledge in Petersburg, IL. This man was a descendent of the Rutledge family who had a daughter, Ann, the legendary sweetheart of Abraham Lincoln. Her grave is in Petersburg,near New Salem state park. Her tomb has a poetic epitaph by Edgar Lee Masters on it ending: "bloom forever, oh republic, form the dust of my bosom." She died about 1830.

James C Hollingsed Jr. married Mattie Agnes Foley of in DuQuoin, IL. She started to school in Centralia. After grade school graduation in Carbondale she attended the "Normal", So IL state normal university for 3 years. This was really a high school with the last year devoted to practice teaching. But Mattie Agnes wanted no part of teaching, so she quit after 3 years and went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad as a stenographer. Her father, Daniel Edmund Foley, was a section foreman and track supervisor for the I.C. Mattie worked in the railroad division offices in Carbondale, Centralia, and Memphis, Tenn. She also worked in a similar job one year in Bakersfield, Cal. She and grandpa were married in 1915 and that ended her working career. They were married by a father Samuel Stritch in Memphis, who later became Samuel Cardinal Stritch, archbishop of Chicago and a member of the Roman Curia, the papal cabinet.

This material was written by James Clinton Hollingsed III for his son, James Clinton Hollingsed IV and the last.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Foleys by Generation in the United States

After a lot of posts I thought I should dedicate one spot to recap the family tree.
Our US history started in County Waterford Ireland in 1820 or 1821 when Michael Foley was born to parents William Foley and Bridget Fitzgerald. Michael would marry a lass also from Waterford, Bridget O'Brien, after both had arrived in Massachusetts. Their wedding was in Easton Mass on October 1, 1853. Perhaps they traveled here together to get married or they found each other as friends in the beginning of a new chapter in both of their lives.

Michael and Bridget started their family in Massachusetts and added to it in Illinois after moving to the Midwest. Their son Daniel Edmund Foley was the next direct line to today's Foleys. Daniel was born March 18, 1857. He worked on the Illinois Central Railroad and worked as a supervisor of a road crew. Daniel's oldest sister Mary married another railroad employee, James C. Hollingsed. Daniel married Margaret Ann Purtill in Illinois and his family included Louis Francis Foley my grandfather.

Louis Francis Foley married Helen Baillie and they raised their family of four boys and one girl in Carbondale. Louis Edward (Ned) was the oldest and became a pharmacist owning a pharmacy in Anna Illinois for many years.
My father was next, William Severn. Dad served in World War II and was a salesman for various boiler makers. Appropriate too because he liked his boilermakers. Daniel Bernard was the third son and he went to medical school and became a physician practicing in Carbondale and later in Edwardsville. Richard Emmett was the last son. Dick also became a salesman after a successful basketball career at Southern Illinois University. Helen, their daughter, was actually the oldest but was born to my grandmother's first marriage to a Mr. Druar. Helen Druar was legally adopted by my grandfather.

This gets us to me and the present. However, I have four sons and a daughter and the other Foleys also have many offspring. And I have a grandson too. Going back to where and when this started and continuing to my grandson, we now have an accounting for eight generations. And that is all since Michael came over from Ireland.

The most intriguing part of the story is part legend part true and the new goal of this blog. The legend is that a Foley was sold in slavery on a pirate ship and escaped when the ship landed here in the 1600s. He raised his family in Canada. One of his descendants decided to return to Ireland. The legend is that it was the very first name when I started this article, William. He had been born here but returned to Ireland and his sons came to the United States during the famine years.
The true part is that it is explained by his grandson in the family history that was handed down. So far, everything in that history has proven to be accurate and documents support the details. Is this part true? Or legendary? Or some of both?
Once a birth date and city for Michael Foley are found, the details of his parents will slowly emerge. That is our new quest.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Saint Francis Cemetery Teutopolis Illinois

Finding my great great grandmother in Teutopolis was the easiest thing that we did on our October 14 trip.
T-Town, population 1584, is located very near Effingham Illinois. There is one four way stop sign in the middle of town and all of the homes and businesses fan out from there.

I had previously talked with the ladies who work for Saint Francis Parish and they would be looking for me when we got to the Church. We entered town from the north and saw a big cemetery before anything else. It was Saint Francis. T-Town has a wonderful Catholic heritage and many connections to Saint Francis. The Church was Saint Francis, and the Cemetery. Later we also noticed an old steeple that was standing alone and decided to take a look.

This proved to be the former entrance the the Franciscan Monastery established in T-Town in 1860. All that remains is the entry, two statues, an altar and one monument. The monument explained that this belonged to the former Monastery and was now being used as a Memorial for the Unborn. This intrigued me. Without Bridget and all the generations who followed her, would I have been unborn? Urban areas tend to take abortion for granted. Small rural towns do not.

But before we would get to these places we stopped at the Cemetery. I had been given instructions over the phone as to where the oldest part of the cemetery was but no assurances that Bridget and her grave would be identifiable. We parked and walked over a closed road covered with shade and up a slight hill to the sunshine. A bright glen with very few grave stones awaited us. But first we saw a large monument near the old road that had three stone vertical slabs and a cross with engraving. These are pictured left. I surmise that many of the oldest stones were becoming weather worn and unreadable so the good citizens of T-Town took matters into their own hands. The created a monument for the many folks who helped start T-Town. They wanted the deceased remembered as well as the unborn. "Bridget Foley 1873" read the inscription on the monument. We were very impressed with the quality of the stone and the serenity of its location overlooking a small lake.

On the rolling hill below there were few stones and we began to look for Bridget. I found her in about ten minutes. Her stone was covered with moss on the side where the inscription was but I could make out several letters. We scraped the moss off and took pictures. It is very legible, amazing since it was the original 1873 stone.

The last thing that struck me was the shape of her grave stone. Hers and her husband Michael's gravestones were the same style and shape though they are buried in different places and died 16 years apart. When Michael died in 1889 it is clear that one of his children made the decision to give him a stone like Bridget had been given. That they might be together again symbolically. That little bit of their humanity spoke volumes about their children's love for them.

Our next stop was Saint Francis Church to pick up a record of Bridget's death. The ladies had looked it up for me. It was written in Latin:
1873 27, Februarii Brigitta Foley
Die 1pm Marti sepelivo Brigitta O'Brine Foley

There is one last sentence that is illegible except for one word "sacramentis". I believe this was a recording of Bridget being given the Last Rites.

The pictures above do not do this cemetery justice. The tallest stone near the center of these pictures is Bridget Foley's grave.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Saint Mary's Cemetery, Champaign Illinois

Michael Foley's burial site was on of the quests of this blog site when it was started several months ago. On October 14, 2005, it was our goal as we left home.
I previously blogged about this here.

Communication with Linda in Arizona put me on the trail of the cemetery in Champaign where Michael was reportedly buried. First, a name was determined. The oldest Catholic Cemetery was Saint Mary's Cemetery in Champaign, right on the Champaign-Urbana city borders.

We weren't sure of the exact location and drove to Champaign knowing we would have to do some searching. We exited at Neil Street when we saw a sign for "Tourist Information". Turning north we only saw a big mall and no other likely location. Sure enough, after turning into the mall parking lot we spied another sign. This was our first indication that our path was being determined for us by forces outside of our realm.

Into the Market Place Mall we went and found a kiosk with local tourism info. Kenesha helped us and though she was not sure about the cemetery location, she did have a map. And all of the cemeteries in Champaign were clearly indicated. Our street to travel to the Cemetery? Neil Street where we had turned off the Interstate. "I am not a fan of coincidence" is an adage I have espoused for many years and having two at this early stage had gotten my attention.

After a quick lunch in the Food Court of the Mall, we headed south on Neil Street to Saint Mary's Road where only a few blocks later we found the Cemetery. Saint Mary's is broken into sections and divided by roads. There was no gatehouse or office on site. We decided to find Michael by ourselves. Within about 15-20 minutes Nancy called out "I found them" and she had. The Foley, Hollingsed, Dunbar and Welty burial site. Michael Foley and three of his daughters. Here is what the site looked like on this crisp day.

Above top is Michael's grave and stone. On the right of his stone is the stone for James C. Hollingsed. The picture immediately above is the picture of Saint Mary's Church corner stone in Champaign. It is significant because Michael died in 1889. The Church corner stone indicates it was built in 1888. Michael would have been among the first 50 burials from this church.
Here are some pictures of the other stones on the site and of the Church itself.

And here are the rest of the grave stones on the sight:

Friday, October 14, 2005

An Autumn Day to Remember

Friday October 14, 2005, was a bright, sunny day in the upper Midwestern United States. The kind of day that college students anticipate for a football weekend. The kind of day that senior citizens enjoy a drive in the country to take in the changing of leaves from vibrant green to luminescent yellows and oranges. The kind of day for enjoying the discovery of new things and observing the changes in the eternal cycle of life. The kind of day that inspires poets, writers and musicians to reach your soul with their artistry.
It was a perfect day as we set on the road from Davenport Iowa, where coincidentally new windows were being installed in our home and it was good luck that we had planned to be road warriors and could not be under foot.
We drove from Davenport at 9:00 AM with a destination of Champaign Illinois and then Teutopolis Illinois. The missions was simple: find the burial plots of my great-great grandparents Michael and Bridget Foley. It turned into more than that and there must have been a higher power leading our way. There were far too many coincidences to think that we were just lucky travelers.
I have decided to break this story down into parts. One will be about Michael, one Bridget another the charming city of Teutopolis or "T-Town" as all the locals call it. Pictured above is a serene lake setting adjacent to Saint Francis Cemetery In Teutopolis. Bridget is resting near here.
I hope to be able to do justice to this day and to Michael and Bridget and their memory. It is the kind of day for that.