Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maggie Munroe Cordone 4/22/1877 - 5/4/1911*

Thanks to a lot of hard web research and interviews conducted by Sheila Swierczewski nee Cummings, we believe we now know the following about the mysterious Maggie Munroe who is buried in Cathedral Cemetery in Wilmington.

1. Maggie (Margaret Munroe) was the fourth child of Martin and Bridget Munroe of Wilmington, Delaware
2. Maggie was married to Joseph Cordone.
3. Joseph and Maggie lived at 916 Wood Street in Philadelphia as of April 16, 1910 and were 32 and
31** years of age at the time of the Census report.
4. Maggie and Joseph had no children living at that time.
5. Maggie died of pulmonary tuberculosis April 29, 1911

6. Maggie's funeral was at the Church of the Assumption in Philadelphia and she was buried in Cathedral Cemetery, Wilmington.
7. Maggie is interred in the same plot as her mother, father and two brothers.

8. The best we can conclude is that the reason she was never mentioned is that she married an Italian man.

This is not an entirely satisfactory explanation, but we are unlikely to find anything more about her estrangement from her siblings.

J. A. Munroe writes in [Munroes of Galway and Delaware page 17] "My father [Michael John Munroe] did not remember Mary living at home. The first time he recalled seeing her in the house was at a children’s party. It was one of the few festive occasions in the house that my father remembered. He was only a young boy, and the party was mainly composed of his sister Maggie (two years older than he was) and her friends. His memory of his first visit to the Brandywine Park was also connected with Maggie, since she took him there, to Tatnall’s woods. Otherwise he had very little to say about this sister. The first home my father remembered was on Tatnall Street between First and Second, and he believed that this was where he was born on September 27, 1879. By my time this was a rough area, either part of or next to a run-down neighborhood called Bloodfield. It was undoubtedly the home of poor folk, but not as bad when my father lived there as it became later. According to a block directory for 1886 the next door neighbors were named Lawless and Knotts, which agrees with my father’s recollection of Johnny Knotts as one of his earliest friends."

[Munroe's of Galway and Delaware page 21] "Maggie’s fate is mysterious. My mother suspected a scandal since she was never spoken of. After the death of my parents, my cousin Sarah Brown told me Maggie had married a Jew and had now been dead for a long time, probably at least fifty years. According to Sarah my father went to the funeral, which was in New Jersey, and told Aunt Mary about it when he came home. It is strange that my mother seemed to know nothing about Maggie’s fate. She could keep secrets, but my father could not. I suspect it was someone else who attended Maggie’s funeral and told Aunt Mary about it. Since my father did not mention Maggie’s fate to me, I share my mother’s suspicions. Marriage to a Jew, in my opinion, would not, in itself, have been enough to account for this silence. My mother’s older sister married a Jew, and through this shocked her German immigrant mother, her siblings rallied to her defense. Since there was much talk of this marriage in the family, it is strange if such an alliance by his sister was sufficient to seal my father’s mouth."

Below is a small portion from the written census record for 916 Wood Street, Philadelphia.

This is the recorded** information for that census entry.

The listing from Cathedral Cemetery for the five Munroes buried together.

*The date given in the title for her death is actually the burial date. Her date of death is given in point 5.
**Her age at the time of the sensus was recorded in the written record as 31 however, it was transcribed incorrectly as 37. The Miracode 1910 census has it corrected. We have copies of the documents exerpted here. (the burial record was simplified to make it fit the page better)

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