Monday, July 17, 2023

The Last of the Family


When the last of the family is gone, then what? Have we preserved their stories?

I'm wrapping up the burial records for Johanna Flanagan Lee's extended family, including her cousin Catherine Malloy Tully's in-laws. All found their final resting place in three family plots at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Chicago. What first started me on this chase was the discovery that Johanna herself had been buried with her uncle, William Flanagan, and an assortment of other relatives in William's family plot. I pulled out the records I had received from the cemetery to ensure that my online tree reflected all these same details.

These sparse records required some corroboration, for the table I received for each family plot may have outlined the name on each burial, plus the date in which that person was buried, but it lacked any further information. For that, I had to cross check with each person's death record. For that, I had transcribed the certificate number plus the date of death, the person's age, and location of passing onto the chart I received from the office.

In the case of this third burial plot, it was indeed purchased by the last of the Tully family, the youngest brother, William. William Earl Tully was the only one in his immediate family who was born in Canada; all the rest had been born in County Tipperary before the family left Ireland. As had all his older siblings, William's final move in that emigration route was from the place where the family had settled in Paris, Ontario, across the border into the city of Chicago in the United States.

The William Tully family plot in Section 17 of Mount Olivet contained seven of his family members. Of William's eight children, only two were buried elsewhere. Oldest son John Felix, dying at age five in 1880, was buried to the north of Chicago in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Evanston. And next-to-youngest daughter Edna, the only one of William's children to marry, was buried in another cemetery in the Chicago area after having raised a family of her own. The rest of William's children, along with his wife Sarah, were buried in his family plot at Mount Olivet.

Looking at the ages of some of his children at their death gives an inkling of how hard life must have been for this immigrant family. After the loss of their firstborn John, William and Sarah buried two of their children in 1889—three days apart, in fact. Four year old Leroy F. Tully was buried on July 14, followed quickly by his nine year old sister Catherine. Small wonder her death report recorded her name as Kitty; she was a mere child at her passing.

Three years later, the Tully family would repeat the same scenario, losing yet another four year old child, William's namesake son. The child's 1892 burial was followed in 1896 by William's own death at the age of forty six. Only a few years later, his daughter Mary, though living to adulthood, died toward the end of 1902.

William's widow Sarah and their remaining daughters, Margaret and Esther, stayed together in their East  93rd Street residence through the following decades until Margaret's passing in 1936 and her mother's death in 1941. Last of the family to join the others was daughter Esther, whose 1972 burial completed the burials in the William Tully family plot at Mount Olivet.

Unlike the family burial plot of Johanna's unmarried uncle William Flanagan, this final Tully plot represented most of the children in one of the Tully families I've been researching in Chicago. A more traditional result—definitely one making research far easier for me—the records represented what became of the last of the Tully family in Chicago.   

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