Monday, April 21, 2008

Remembering Catherine (Kate) Munroe Collins

Catherine (Kate) Munroe Collins
(3/15/1882 - 1969)

Kate Collins was the sixth of eight children born to Martin Munroe and Bridget McCabe who were married in 1864 in Galway Ireland. She grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and married John F. Collins. She appears in a 1904 city directory as Catherine, the wife of John Collins a morocco worker of 603 W. 3rd Street. [Munroe's of Galway and Delaware, by John A. Munroe p.20] In Tales of My Father (also by John A. Munroe) John Collins is referred to as "A steady railroad worker."

Michael John Munroe was only a little more than two years older than his sister Kate and here are his recollections as recorded in Munroe's of Galway and Delaware: "The girls were not permitted to have callers, and there were seldom guests in the house. Dancing and singing in the home was unknown (quite different from the situation in my mother’s home when she was a girl). My father’s sisters were required to be in early, usually at 8 but sometimes they were allowed out until 9. When Kate once stayed out at a dance her father locked her out.

Kate, however, was a match for her father and his temper. When he once began to beat her, she ran into the backyard screaming bloody murder so loud that neighbors came from their houses to see what was the matter. Martin was ashamed and cowed by the attention. To the end of his life he remained a little afraid of Kate. He never struck her again.

Sheila Cummings Swierczewski sent me the picture above and with it recalled her Grandmother Kate Collins fondly: "Grandmom was quiet, spoke softly, and seemed very peaceful and very competent in everything she did. I never saw her lose her temper or get rattled; I used to stay with her for several days, maybe as long as a week, every summer. I have nice memories of that, but I must have been annoying to have around...I hope I wasn't. I didn't help her with work or anything, I just hung around like a bump on a log.

I remember walking to the corner store with her and going to a store on fourth Street to buy ice cream and subs too, (I think); but I went by myself then, if memory serves. There was an alley connecting the back of their house to Fourth was paved in brick I think, as was their sidewalk. I wonder if their old house is still there and if the alley still connects through to Fourth. Their house was at 1212 West Fifth Street, and their back gate opened on to the alley...very exotic to me! Here's how I remember her. She is beautiful to me.

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