With yesterday’s post closing out the final chapter of Harry A. Sullivan’s life in Denver, Colorado, I thought that would be the last word on this branch of our Kelly family from Lafayette, Indiana.
Sometimes, research projects can take on an aspect of teamwork, owing to the many digital crowdsourcing tools available to us now. Thanks to the good word put in for us by reader Intense Guy—and the subsequent assistance by Find A Grave volunteer VDR—there now are memorials put in place for most of the Sullivan family, complete with photographs. Not only is that so for Julia Creahan Sullivan and her children Harry, Florence and Regina, but also for one more: their elusive father, Thomas F. Sullivan. The one member of the family that I could not find anywhere or any time after his name appeared in the Rocky Mountain News following his 1888 application for a marriage license apparently died in 1900—the very year we first located Julia and her family in census records.
It was interesting, viewing these photographs. A few observations popped out, right away. First, that both Sullivan daughters were long-lived, with Regina Sullivan McClinton living to an age of ninety seven, and Florence Sullivan besting her older sister by yet another year. For two women whose father and mother lived for forty eight and sixty years, respectively—and an athletic brother who succumbed early at the age of fifty eight—that’s quite remarkable. Perhaps it was that healthy mountain air. Or the altitude. Who knows.
The other detail that caught my eye did so on account of its absence rather than its presence. Upon taking a close-up view of the elder Thomas F. Sullivan’s headstone, I realized there was no entry below his name designating that of his wife. In fact, there was no stone over her grave site at all. Apparently, as successful as this widow’s son might have been, his lifetime habit of giving from his own funds to assist the many destitute veterans he encountered precluded his ability to do so for his mother upon her passing. Neither was Julia’s spinster school teacher daughter Florence able to attend to that duty. Whatever grand notions Julia might have entertained upon that fanciful declaration of her occupation as “captialist” for the 1900 census, there was no telltale sign left to demonstrate such a legacy.