Friday, July 11, 2014

Initial Assessments

Having already found a Julia L. Sullivan and a Julia C. Sullivan professing prowess in real estate transactions in early 1900s Denver, Colorado, I take that revelation as a clue to proceed cautiously as I attempt to uncover what became of our Kelly descendant, Julia Creahan Sullivan. Though she—Julia Creahan Sullivan, that is—claimed on her 1900 census entry to be occupied as a capitalist, she apparently had plenty of company among women sharing her name.

Once again, it appears that this will all come down to the matter of a single stroke of the pen: one initial, settled between the “Julia” and the “Sullivan” that each of these women claimed as their own, unique identifier.

The search for the right Julia is not over yet, for there is the instance of yet another Julia Sullivan that has surfaced in archived Denver newspapers from that time period. A Denver Post headline on Monday, August 27, 1906, announced
          Widow of Mining Man Willed One-Half of the $400,000 Property.

Okay, you know me: I had to check current value for that inheritance. According to my favorite online inflation calculator, that $400,000 would be worth a cool $10,526,315.79 now.

Not bad. With a cache of that size, I could see that Julia Sullivan considering herself a capitalist.

But was she our Julia Sullivan? Not really. Again, it all came down to initials—and, of course, to the additional identifier of the husband with whom she was associated. In this case, it turns out Julia was known as Julia A. Sullivan, widow of Denver mining expert, Stephen J. Sullivan—not our Julia’s mystery husband, Thomas F. Sullivan.

To quash all hopes of familial connection, the Denver Post article spelled out the names of the descendants named in the Sullivan will. As you may notice, none of these names match the four children listed in our Julia’s household in the 1900 census.
            The estate of Stephen J. Sullivan, mining expert and capitalist, amounting to upwards of $400,000 will be divided by the terms of his will entirely among the immediate members of his family. Mr. Sullivan died Aug. 6 at his home, Seventeenth and York, and his will was probated today in the county court. All the heirs live in Colorado.
            The first beneficiary named in the will is the widow, Julia A. Sullivan, who is given one-half of the entire estate absolutely. The oldest son, Stephen J. Sullivan, Jr., is named as executor of the will to serve without giving bond, and the remaining half of the estate is disposed of as follows: Mrs. Ellen Joyce, sister of the testator, is given $5,000; J. A. Sullivan, a brother, is given $5,000; Mrs. Bridget Bishop of Leadville, a sister-in-law, is given $1,000. Robert A. Sullivan and Miss Eva Sullivan, son and daughter, are left a special bequest of $5,000, the testator explaining that this is the amount he gave the other children on their attaining their majorities.
            After these bequests have been paid all the remainder of the estate goes share and share alike to the children, Mary T., Stephen J., James L., Robert A., and Miss Eva Sullivan….


  1. If Julia C. were alive today, I wonder if she'd call herself a "domestic diva." Maybe "capitalist" was the enumerator's choice when she said something like, "I have a little money that my husband left me, plus what's left from selling my parents' home." Oh well, why am I guessing? I'm sure you're hot on the trail of a definitive answer that will be the subject of tomorrow's episode.

    1. "Domestic Diva" or not, she certainly exhibited some chutzpah--well, assuming it was she who dreamed up that designation of capitalist. If it weren't for her personality-plus (though perhaps I'm reading too much between those lines), I'd never have realized just how many Julia Sullivans there were in Denver who considered themselves capitalists.

  2. Well you have helped out those Sullivan Relatives:)

    1. It certainly was a handy list...couldn't pass it up!

  3. That inflation calender really shows how badly the US Dollar is doing these days...Billionaires are really "only" millionaires (of old)


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