Since I last wrote about Lucy O’ShaughnessyI have received a couple of full obituaries. The best is actually a tribute to her, that includes so much information I didn’t have, I am going to share some of it. The writer of the memorial is not named, but I am guessing it to have been her son Louis O’Shaughnessy who was City Editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer at the time, where it was published on 7 Jan 18751

The tribute begins: “While few women in private walks ever had a more eventful life than that of her who is the sainted subject of our sketch, all of [her] story that may serve any good purpose may be briefly told.” It then proceeds to give her date and place of birth and discusses her marriage to Josiah Dalton. Lucy Barry was said to have been born in Dublin Ireland on 5 Feb 1809 to Church of England parents. Louis Coffin later wrote that her father was a British Civil Servant in Dublin. These details provide several important pieces of information that I can now try to document.

Lucy married Josiah Dalton, “a Quaker gentleman” and they were reported to have come to “this city” (Cincinnati) in 1830. Lucy “adopted the dress of her husband’s sect”. I don’t have any knowledge about whether or not she adopted the dress of the Quakers, but we do know that Josiah did not formally join the Cincinnati Meeting (see the post I wrote about Quaker records here). We also know that they did not come to Cincinnati until after the beginning of July 1831. Here is the passenger list showing the family arriving on the ship Britannia. So the writer was off just a little on their arrival date. He also did not provide any information about why the young Dalton family came to Cincinnati.

Lucy was “left a widow in 1834, with two children—T.G. And R.J. Dalton—who survive her.” This seems to support my suspicion that her first son, Stephen Dalton, had died sometime between the Daltons’ landing in New York and Josiah’s death in 1834, since he isn’t mentioned. Lucy went on to marry “rising young merchant” Thomas O’Shaughnessy, although no date of their marriage is given. They were “married by Dr. Ayedelotte, the first pastor of Christ Church” (which presumably was not a Catholic church).

“[H]is bride, with a beauty which is described as regal, and a mind and culture unequaled, became one of the society queens here and elsewhere. At Newport, R.I., then in its prime, she was known as the most fearless swimmer, and it was there, too, that such women as the present Mrs. Samuel Colt were proud to make their debut under the chaperonage of ‘the beautiful Mrs. O.’ Here and in Europe she met most of the fine minds of the day, and retained to the last a vivid impression of them.” Doesn’t this paint a vivid picture of Lucy? I can imagine her in an 1840s swim dress braving the ocean off Newport R.I. I wonder if they used bathing machines?

Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last. “Mr. O’Shaughnessy became embarrassed in the dry goods business—in which some of the richest wholesale firms of to-day were his customers—and closed out, sacrificing a fortune in settling in full. His means became further reduced by the purchase and subsequent burning of the famous Eagle Cotton Mills in Newport, Ky; and in 1862 Mrs. O’Shaughnessy became a widow of limited means, with five children by her second marriage—Lucy, John, Louis, Mary and Frank—all of whom likewise survive her.

About her joining the Catholic Church, it was said: “She followed closely the memorable debate between Archbishop Purcell and Alexander Campbell, andsubsequently sought instruction of the noted Father Elet, of the Society of Jesus, and became a devout Catholic.” “There was no morning too cold or stormy for her to attend early mass and to return via the market. She became such a mother to her children as the Church was to her. Men who grasped her hand but once, and looked into her face, blessed her because she recalled to each his ideal of his own mother.”

Lucy Barry Dalton O’Shaughnessy died 5 Jan 1875, of congestion of the lungs according to an index of deaths2. She was reported there as being 66 years old, born in Ireland, and buried in St. Joseph’s cemetery. The tribute to her concluded: “There to-day—the claims of the living, long since overpaid ten thousand-fold—will the last duty be done, the last journey ended, and she will be laid by her sons, beside the remains of him who, perhaps, owes it to her example that he awaits her in heaven.”

  1. In Memoriam: Mrs. Lucy O’Shaughnessy. Requiescat in Pace. Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922): Jan 7, 1875; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841-1922) pg.8
  2. This is a digitized collection of records from the Cincinnati Department of Health

* Search the Hamilton County Probate Court site for the marriage of Lucy Barry Dalton and Thomas O’Shaughnessy.
* Send a message to the general JewishGen listserv about my Scheier family questions.

* Still trying to get that last inbox cleared – somehow there is always something more urgent (read: interesting) to do.
* Back up the blog! And look for something that will back it up automatically. Is there a plug-in?

* Read book I got from the library about how to create and use a wiki. I watched the Thomas MacEntee webinar but need more education. And sometimes having it in front of me in print is easier.
* Watch one online video or webinar about genealogy. [It’s so easy to do, and there are some sites where I can even watch on my own schedule.]
* Find a new webinar site that archives and/or puts up free webinars.

I found a new resource, one I never would have thought of, so I want to share my experience. This all started with the (ongoing) conversation with an O’Shaughnessy researcher I mentioned in my last post. I wrote most of the details about Lucy Barry Dalton O’Shaughnessy last time, but didn’t have this new information at the time.

To begin at the beginning: I have a short (3 page) memoir written by Charles Louis Coffin (Cousin Louis) who was Mary O’Shaughnessy Coffin’s son. In that memoir he noted that Lucy Barry Dalton O’Shaughnessy, Mary’s mother, was a remarkable woman and he detailed a few of her characteristics. One of the pieces of information I had not had before was that her first husband, Josiah, was a Quaker. Now Josiah

Josiah Dalton

has been a bit of a mystery in my researching. He died young and didn’t leave many footprints for me to follow. So, the possibility that he had been a Quaker opened new avenues for me to explore in looking for where he might have been buried.  Perhaps I should have had a clue about Josiah, based on this, the only existing image of him that I know of (he died before photography had been perfected).

Opening my trusty browser and firing up Google I started to look for the history of Quakers in the Cincinnati area. I found a website for the Cincinnati Friends Meeting, which has a historical archive section (including scanned historical documents) and a contact us page that allows you to email them. So I emailed asking about Josiah Dalton and whether there was any information on him in their records. I got back a very nice reply that said there was no mention of Josiah in their records, and then a 2nd email with an 1850 census that the correspondent had found and sent along in case it was my Josiah. So I had no confirmation that Cousin Louis had been accurate in his statement about Lucy Barry converting to Josiah’s religion, at least in Cincinnati where they ended up. And no more information about where he might have been buried.

My next step was to search for information about Quakers in Ireland. I found several websites and began to learn a little about the Society of Friends and its history in Ireland. The most useful site, for my purposes, was the site. There I discovered the Dublin Friends Historical Library. Along the way in my reading I discovered that each Meeting is required to keep information about its members and the happenings in the community, and to report that information to the Monthly Meeting of which a local group is a member. In the case of the Dublin Monthly Meeting, much of their early information has been digitized and put into a database, including Removals (when a member went from one Meeting to another either in Ireland or abroad), and Disownments and Resignations (members who “incurred the displeasure of the Society”) as well as marriages, births, and deaths.

Having had a success with the Cincinnati Friends website and contacting them with a question, I tried it again with the Dublin Friends Historical Library. I wrote asking about Josiah and noting the family history that his wife Lucy might have converted and that the family left Dublin so there might be a note of that. What I received in reply a day later was a spreadsheet containing all of the Dalton events noted in the Dublin Meeting. There are 26 events listed, with first and last names and dates (at least years and usually a full date), and then additional information depending on the event. So most deaths recorded also have burial date information (although not place interestingly – perhaps the burials were all in the same cemetery). In addition, parents’ names were often noted.

Based on this gem, I now have parents and grandparents for Josiah Dalton along with some siblings and at least one aunt, and perhaps information where the family lived. More importantly, I have evidence that Lucy Barry did not convert, but rather that Josiah was disowned from the Meeting for marrying a person of a different religious persuasion. It was also noted that Josiah had a birthright amongst the Society of Friends. I assume this meant that his parents were/had been members, and perhaps that he would have the right to be re-admitted under the right circumstances. This may also be the explanation for the inclusion the births of his and Lucy’s two sons, even though he was not a member in good standing at the times of their births.

Once I started looking around, and learning about the Society of Friends, I learned that Quaker genealogical research is an area people specialize in. I should have known this, but I didn’t. Certainly my experiences so far have been very positive with respect to responses and information from the historians of various Meetings. Records not only have been preserved but are shared when you ask. In fact, people have gone out of their way to be helpful and to provide information. What a pleasure!

I’ve been having great fun the last couple of weeks corresponding with someone who is interested in tracking the O’Shaughnessy family. It turns out that he is descended from another brother than the man I have been interested in (who I didn’t know about) so I think we’ve both learned some things.

In describing his grandmother, C. Louis Coffin wrote: “… a remarkable woman, Lucy Barry, who had previously married a Quaker and adopted that faith. Her father had been a British Civil Servant in Dublin. Left a widow in 1834, she attended the famous 1837 lectures between Alexander Campbell and Bishop Purcell and announced her opinion that, ‘There is not halting ground between Catholicism and infidelity’. She married Thomas O’Shaughnessy in 1837 after the lectures.” This is a very brief description of the woman I am interested in, but an intriguing one in terms of the amount of information packed into it.

Lucy Barry, was born about 1808 or 1809 in Dublin I think. Certainly by the time she married Josiah S. Dalton on 1 October 1827 in Dublin, she was reported to be a member of the St. Nicholas Without parish and he was not. Their first son, Stephen was born 26 December 1828 and his baptism was reported to have taken place on 4 February 1829. Thomas George Dalton was born to them on 16 January 1831 and he was duly baptized on 23 March 1831. During this period the family lived on Coombe Street in Dublin. While the marriage and then baptisms suggest to me that Lucy had not converted to the Society of Friends, it is possible that her husband Josiah had been a member and maybe continued to be.

The family must have left Dublin almost immediately after Thomas’s birth and baptism, since they appear on the passenger list of the Britannia from Liverpool to New York, arriving 6 July 1831. Josiah was listed on that list as a grocer. Two letters of reference for Josiah have survived, both from gentlemen in Dublin attesting to his good character and dated May 1831.

I don’t know why the young Dalton family moved to Cincinnati or exactly when, however that was where they settled, before 1832-33. Although there was a Meeting of the Society of Friends already established in Cincinnati, Josiah apparently did not become a member. In 1832 or 33, their son Richard was born. The 1834 city directory for Cincinnati listed Josiah Dalton at Johnston and Dalton, an auction and Commission store, although in April of 1834 Josiah Dalton died. So he must have been established in this partnership prior to 1834. His death left Lucy a young widow (about 26 years old) with two or possibly three young boys. Whether it was two or three is not certain. The oldest son, Stephen, did not appear to be with the family in the 1840 census when he would have been about 12 years old, although the two younger Dalton boys were there. However, there are no records found yet that show a death for Stephen.

As Louis Coffin wrote, Lucy met and married Thomas O’Shaughnessy in 1837. This date has also not yet been confirmed by any official records, but their first daughter was born in September 1838. Her youngest Dalton son was just about 5 years old. Lucy and Thomas went on, as shown in the timeline above, to have 5 children together all of whom survived to adulthood.

The two Dalton sons lived with the O’Shaughnessy family well into adulthood. Richard married my great grandaunt, Jessie Malvina Coffin in 1859 when he was 26. Tom was still living with the family at age 29 in 1860, but left sometime between then and 1870 as he is not with the family for the 1870 census. Thomas O’Shaughnessy died in 1862, and Lucy still had all 5 O’Shaughnessy children at home with her as of the 1870 census.

The O’Shaughnessy home began to be broken up when Lucy died, apparently unexpectedly, in January 1875. She had “congestion of the lungs” it was reported. The unmarried O’Shaughnessy descendents continued mostly to live together in Cincinnati, although Francis was no longer in the same residence as of 1880 and soon after the others moved on to their own establishments. Lucy continued to be missed by her children, as Tom Dalton wrote to his married sister Mary O’Sh Coffin in Argentina in 1875:

This is one of those years when I am not going to get Christmas cards written or sent. The fact that I haven’t yet done anything about cards is a clue. There are many who would be surprised to hear that I ever send cards. There are some who won’t be surprised to hear that I’m not getting it done this year. I am not a very faithful correspondent by the written word – and often not by phone or any other means, although email has made some difference in this.

In coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t happening this year, I found myself thinking as I sometimes do, of the people in the past who sent cards. My mother was, as far as I know, very good about sending Christmas cards to a wide number of people in her life, from childhood friends to next-door neighbors. Her address book certainly supports my picture of her as a correspondent.

Among my older family treasures are a selections of cards from even earlier than my mother’s collection. These come primarily from Auntie, my great great aunt Jessie M. (Coffin) Dalton. Auntie’s collection of cards that came down to me was from her daughters and household, and included one from her Grandma Justice. Most of them were not sent through the Post Office but hand-delivered.

This is the earliest one I can date. It was from Grandma Justice (Susan Wilcox Justice) at Christmas 1877. Jessie was her first grandchild, and the only one for 6 years, so likely petted and spoiled some. In 1877 Jessie was 37 years old, married with two daughters. She and Grandma Justice probably lived either next door to each other, or almost that close, in Newport Kentucky.

This one either lost its envelope or was an extra in the household. It is copyright 1890.
I love the little one in the middle with the glasses.

This one is sort of mysterious. It is signed Louise, A.D. 1907, and has an envelope addressed to Mrs. Jessie M. Dalton. I originally thought that it was from her granddaughter, my Cousin Jessie who was

Louise to Jessie M. Dalton

also known in her younger days in the family as Louise. The problem is that the handwriting looks adult, and Cousin Jessie was only 10 years old in 1907. So my assumption seems to be wrong.

This one is also a little mysterious. The note on the back makes me think it was given to Auntie, by the names and relationships noted, but it is signed “your loving sister Lou” and this doesn’t fit with anyone I know. The card was from the early 1900s,

from "your loving sister Lou"

and produced by the Whitney Made Worcester Mass company. Worcester is a fair distance from the Cincinnati/Newport KY area, but this company was a noted one and probably sold to stores in Cincinnati.

The one possibility I have come up with so far is Jessie’s uncle Harrison’s wife, Louise, who was actually 9 years younger than Auntie. I know that Harrison and Auntie’s brother Henry were friends and given the similarity in age perhaps the 3 Coffin children and Harrison thought of each other more as siblings. Harrison Justice was born about 6 months before Jessie M. Coffin. Louise Riley and Harrison Justice were married in 1893. Possibly it was this Louise who sent the card above as well.

And this one, the last in my series here, was from her daughter Alice in 1930.

"for my Mamma"

By 1930 Alice was living in Florida and Auntie may have been with her for the Christmas season or may have been at home in Newport Kentucky. Any envelope is long gone so I can’t tell.