Monday, April 27, 2015

Still Here - Update

Well, this will be short. I just wrote a long entry and tried to preview it and lost it. Since my last post, most of my activity and research has been through Family Tree DNA with our cousin Sheila Swierczewski who has encouraged many family members to have testing and make their DNA results available.

We still don't have positive identification of Bridget McCabe or any clues suggesting offpspring of Maggie Munroe. I have also been disappointing not to find any definite new close relatives who are not already known. Did the brothers of Martin Munroe not have offspring that remained in this country. Did our branch of Munroes's die out in Galway? Or is it just that offspring of siblings of the parents of Martin and Bridget have not been interested in DNA testing. Did siblings who ended up in Australia have offspring? In time more relatives may be revealed. There are a lot of Munroes who came to America before Martin and Bridget but non who seem to be close relatives genetically.

If you found this blog and are searching for your relatives, please contact me and I will put you in contact with Sheila and let you know what is known. I intend to update the family tree found In the meantime, do check out the page of changes and corrections that has most of the info that is not updated yet:
-michael munroe 4/27/2015

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Remembering John Martin Monroe

John Martin Monroe born February 28, 1911 in Rochester, PA was the second child of Patrick Frank Monroe and Bertha Majors to survive to adulthood. John Monroe, described as soft spoken, was a superior athlete who played football in high school (1927 Rochester, PA) and semipro baseball for the Rochester Whippets in 1929.

John's nephew, Robert Monroe, wrote, " John attended Geneva College located in Beaver Falls, Pa. John was awarded a football scholarship & suffered a knee injury that ended his football career. My understanding from my Dad was that John tore the ligaments in his knee & at that time it was a football ending injury. I do not know if the injury happened during the fall practice or during the regular season. John served an apprenticeship as a Tool & Die Maker & worked at that trade until drafted in World War II."

Robert also writes, "I do know that John was in the Air Force & was with the 13th Air Force. The Air Force sent him to Oklahoma A& M for a period of time. Oklahoma A&M is now Oklahoma State. I remember he sent me a T shirt from there."

John Monroe was inducted into the US Army Air Force on November 21, 1943 (serial number 33 401 970) took his basic training at Fort Mead. John's discharge indicates that he was qualified as a Clerk Typist 405 and with a Carbine MM 43. His discharge lists battles served as New Guinea, Northern Solomons, Bismarck Archipelago and the Southern Philippines. He was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, a Philippines Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, an Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and a World War II Victory Medal. John was honorably discharged on January 1, 1946 having served a little over 3 years and one month. He left the Army with the rank of Staff Sargent.

John Martin Monroe's youngest sibling, was a sister Mary Louise Monroe who was an athlete in high school and reportedly was of Olympic caliber. She was born in August 30, 1920 but died while still in high school in on September 17, 1937, before her Olympic hopes could be realized.

Robert Monroe wrote, "John worked for Social Security in the Pittsburgh area but ended his career working for the Social Security Agency located in Beaver Falls. He lived in Chippewa Township which is a area located outside of Beaver Falls. He lived with a lady whose name was Bertha Lehman." "He was married when he was in the service; I met his wife while visiting my Aunt Margaret in Rochester. Her name was Maggie & they had one child that died at birth."

He [John] did like to fish and he did take fishing trips; it may have been with Ernie Brown. I met Ernie Brown one time when he was with Uncle Mike to visit my Grandfather. i believe they both had their wives with them at that time. Ernie Brown was not with Uncle Mike when we went to Akron to visit his sister Sadie."

"I think my Grandfather [Patrick Frank Monroe] and Uncle Mike [Michael John Munroe] kept in touch someway or through someone. My grandfather talked about Uncle Mike before I met him. It's strange now when I think about it but i can remember it so plain the day my grandfather and Uncle came to our home for the first time. There was just the two of them; had no idea where they stayed or what they did. My grandfather didn't drive. Uncle Mike make the trip to my Grandfathers funeral alone. "

John Martin Monroe died in 1978 at the age of 67 and is buried in Sylvania Hills cemetery (New Brighton, PA) with his brother Willis Monroe, Willis's wife Emma Mae, John's sister Margaret Bittner and her husband Robert Bittner.

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.

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)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sarah "Sadie" Munroe

This very nice studio portrait taken by Palace Studios on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City of Sarah Munroe was miss-identified by me for some time as being of Sarah's older sister Mary Elizabeth. Sarah, known by her relatives as Sadie or Aunt Sadie, was the seventh child of Martin and Bridgett Munroe and the fourth child born in America. Sarah was born on July 15th 1884 in Wilmington, Delaware. Married Charles Geffken* and moved to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. She died around 1970.

Sheila Sweirczeski [nee Cummings] writes, "You can see Sadie as an older woman in the photos I sent a few days ago...with her husband, dogs, and again as a much older lady, but still with a dog beside her."

Kathy Hayes [nee Cummings] writes, "I also loved the picture of the group with Aunt Sadie. I never met her, but I remember her last name was Gefken or something close to that. I believe she, Aunt Sadie lived with my grandparents, Catherine (Kate) and John Collins when they were first married. I guess your granddad had married and Sadie had nowhere else to go."

John A. Munroe writes in "Tales of My Father", "The youngest child, Marty, apparently died before his mother, which means that only three Munroes were left at home with their father. Michael (my father) and his sisters Kate and Sadie. Kate soon married John Collins, a steady railroad worker, and moved to her own home on the west side of Wilmington. Sadie remained as the housekeeper, and my father increasingly the man of the house, as his father’s physical condition and age forced him to a minor role as a watchman at Lobdell’s."

John A. Munroe continues in "Tales of My Father" "My grandfather, Martin Munroe, died in 1910, possibly of a heart attack, in my father’s arms. My father took consolation in having been there, for he obviously loved his father. (The bill for Martin’s funeral in Cathedral Cemetery was dated 1910; the undertaker was J. Fox.). . . "

". . .Martin died in his home in South Wilmington, but that home now was abandoned. His two children remaining there, my father and Sadie, his youngest sister, moved in with Katie, her husband John Collins, and their two young children, John and Catherine. Before leaving the old house, my father’s zeal led him to an action that distressed me whenever I heard about it. Dad gathered and burned all of his father’s papers, including his passport, his naturalization papers, and letters from Ireland. . ."

". . .Living with the Collins family, Dad [Michael J. Munroe] was able to wash indoors for the first time in his life. So he told me. . ."

John A. Munroe writes in "Munroes of Galway and Delaware", "Only my father and his youngest sister, Sarah, were now left with their father in the house on Heald Street, where he lived until his death in November 1910. From at least 1906, however, the oldest of Martin’s children, Mary, was living only two doors from her father, at 200 South Heald Street. She and her husband Reuben Brown had previously lived in Newark, where most of their children were born. . ."

I remember my father and others often referring to Grandfather's
sister Sadie. She was the last to marry and the last woman to leave her parents home. It must have been sad for my grandfather when she moved so far away. But they stayed in touch. Granddad regularly wrote to his sister. I remember him writing at the dining room table. My grandfather was always read the newspaper and a magazine like, "Modern Maturity." however, writing was an uncommon task. I remember him using a lined paper guide beneath the paper on which he was writing. They also did travel as can be seen in this last photo taken~ 1950wen traveling to the home of Emma and Willis Munroe in Akron, Ohio. [in group photo Sadie is at the lower left]

*I think that Sarah Munroe's married name was spelled Geffken but it might be Goffken. I don't know either the date of her marriage or the exact date of her death. I also know nothing of her husband Charles. They had no children so it will take some careful research to complete her story.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My father, John A. Munroe, wrote an essay, "Arden as I Knew It." The essay begins,

"Perhaps it is my earliest memory. I was a very small boy in a stroller and my mother was pushing me up Harvey Road toward Arden. She might have been coming from the B&O Railroad stop on Harvey Road, but I think on this occasion she had much farther to walk--from the trolley car line across the Philadelphia Pike."

When I was twenty years old, I volunteered at Candlelight Theater in Arden. For part of the year I left my job at W.L. Gore in Newark and drove to Arden in time to eat at the theater (after the paying customers) and work back stage. This was a happy time. When I was much younger my father took me to visit my Aunt Katie (Katharine Sophia Tessmann) who lived in Arden. I loved her yard and she was always nice to me.

Wikipedia says of Arden, "Arden was founded in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price, followers of Henry George's Single tax, William Morris’s Arts and crafts principles, and many of Peter Kropotkin's principles of communal living."

My cousin Jim P. Collins Jr. (3rd generation under Martin and Bridgett Munroe) and his wife Elaine lived from 1970 to 1976 in the same house that my Aunt Katie (1890-1970 - sister of Mary Frieda Detling 1887 - 1965 - wife of Michael John Munroe 1879 - 1969) once owned* in Arden. This is also certainly the source of the middle name of their oldest child Mary Arden.

The picture above is a mystery photo given to me by John A. Davis. My great aunt Katie was not the first of my relatives to live in Arden. Her mother, Wilhelmina Maier Dettling, moved to Arden first. My father writes in his essay,

"What brought Grandmother to Arden had nothing to do with the political philosophy, the Single Tax, that had led to Arden’s foundation in 1900. Grandmother had a weak heart and it seemed wise for her to be in a one-story bungalow instead of the two-story house she and her four unmarried children--Mena, Katie, Andy, and Pauline--had on 22nd Street in Wilmington."

Here is another mystery photo also taken in Arden. I wonder if we will ever learn who any of these actors might have been. It looks like a true "Arden party" to me. If anyone reading this blog lived in Arden in the first half of the 20th century I would love to hear from you and on what street you lived.
*owned - actually no one owns land in Arden. You own your house but lease the land for 99 years.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Martin Munroe's Papers - Michael J. and Sadie

This picture is of Michael John Munroe and
his sister Sarah (Aunt Sadie) taken in
Akron, OH in the 1950s

michael munroe wrote on 9/15/2007:
I asked about Sadie because one of the great sadnesses of my father was that my Grandad reported making a bonfire of Martin Munroe's personal papers after his death. I don't know if any further explanation was ever given for the motivation for the bonfire.

[Munroe's of Galway and Delaware p.4] ". . .So much that we do not know might have been revealed to us had my father not made a bonfire of his father’s (Martin’s) papers when he and his sister Sadie were moving out ofthe family home after his father’s death.[7]. . ."

[Munroe's of Galway and Delaware p.16] ". . . My father was a good steady worker after he grew up, and he never missed a day’s work, however ill he might feel, if he could drag himself out of the house in the morning. Being male, he was allowed privileges, particularly as he grew up and became, as he did, the financial mainstay of the family in his father’s old age.

The two men talked a lot apparently, since my stories of Martin came mainly from my father. After all, for twelve years, from Bridget’s death in 1898 to Martin’s in 1910, they lived together, the only two men in the house, though there was always at least one girl there as housekeeper—Kate, until her marriage, and Sadie throughout this period.

Only occasionally did a story regarding Martin’s temper slip from my father, as, for example, on an occasion when my son Stephen made a remark I considered insolent and I raised my hand to strike him. "Don’t do that, John," my father interrupted. "The boy is too big for that. My father hit Pat and he ran away. . ."

[ footnote Munroe's of Galway and Delaware p.24] 7. Martin’s Letters from his brothers, his passport, and his naturalization papers were all destroyed in this fire."

It could have been a desire for finality, or could indicate how difficult he had been during his lifetime, I really don't have any indication at all.

However, since my Grandfather was not one to keep a lot of paper around, and as I doubt that he could have suspected, at that time, that he would have a son with a great interest in history, - it could have been much like school children making a bonfire of their school papers at the completition of a term. . ."

michael munroe

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cathedral Cemetery - Margaret Cordone

On Friday June 1, 2007 Paul E. Brown wrote with this news:

"A call today to Cathedral Cemetery, Wilmington, was interesting and informative. Very quickly the woman in the office confirmed that Martin was indeed buried there.

[Martin Munroe] is in a three grave plot in which 5 are buried. In the old days they allowed double interments. . . Here is the information that she did give today:

There are two Martins there, one buried in Nov. 1910 which would be our great grandfather, and another buried in 1900 which is probably Martin and Bridget's son. Bridget is there buried in 1898 and William (another son?) and surprise surprise Margaret Cordone buried in May, 1911 (the *mystery daughter?).

*Margaret Monroe the fourth child of Martin Munroe born in 1877 in Wilmington, Delaware: Absolutely nothing had been known of the life or whereabouts of Margaret until this discovery. Now, if only we had some idea where Maggie got the name "Cordone" and why she died at the young age of 33 and why her siblings never told the next generation anything about her.

Frank P. Monroe

(Frank Monroe and his grandson Bob)

On Tuesday 2/20/2007 Bob Monroe wrote:

". . .I knew & spent more time with Grandpap than either of my sisters. I would walk with him to the bus stop when he was leaving after a visit. We never knew when he was coming or when he was going to leave. He would stay for two or three days and then leave.

I always gave up my bed for him and slept on the floor during that time. I always liked him . He would always tell me "Bobby, A man is only as good as his word"

[Frank Monroe d.1947] was struck by a car as he was stepping from a curb in Ambridge. He was taken to the Rochester Hospital and passed away a short time later. He passed away in the hospital. Uncle Mike was at the funeral and I sat with him.

Grandpaps daughter Mary Louise
[youngest child of Frank Monroe d. 1937] was killed in an automobile accident her senior year in high school. The accident happened in Meadville, Pa. My grandfather said very little about his family. Never heard him mention his Dads name. . ."

Michael John visits Akron, Ohio 1950

(This picture is from Akron, Ohio in 1950. Michael, Bob and Willis in the back row Emma and Mary are two of the women in the middle row and Marian and Sadie are in the front row.)

On Monday 2/19/2007 Bob Monroe also wrote:

"I remember Uncle Mike coming to visit my grandfather. We did not have a car at the time They would ride the bus from Rochester to Beaver Falls. We were living at 1511-5th ave when I first met my Uncle Mike.

At a later visit, when we owned a car we traveled to Akron ,Ohio and Uncle Mike saw his sister Sadie & her husband Charley. I believe his sisters name was Sadie. I have a picture somewhere of the two of them from that visit & when I locate it I will send it to you and you will be able to share it with others."

Frank P. Monroe

On Monday 2/19/07 Bob Monroe wrote:

" The picture of Frank Monroe is my grandfather; it was taken when we lived at 1405-2nd ave. in Beaver Falls. I recognize the birdbath & the three stall garage in the background.

My dad purchased that home from Timothy & Ann Hartnet who lived in the home behind us. My grandfather looked at that property with my dad & I learned that my grandfather said it was a good buy for $2,800. That was in 1940."

Emma Young Monroe and Charles Young

(Emma Young was the wife of Willis K. Munroe)

On Thursday May 3, 2007 Bob Monroe wrote:

"This picture was taken in the back yard of the last home my dad & mom owned. It was taken probably in 1958. The address is 510-8th ave.-Beaver Falls, Pa. It was in an area called Patterson Hgts. We had moved from 1405-2nd ave to this home.

I can remember how good my mom & dad felt moving into this home. The home on 2nd ave was a good home for the family; it was tough neighborhood. The block that we lived in had Italian families, Polish families, German families, Irish families and we had probably one of the first displaced families from Europe after World War 11.
I can remember how the kids would get into fights and the parents would not get involved in them."

George Green

On Wed 10/18/2006 John Davis wrote:

". . .Mom has corrected me in a couple of details. (1)

George was a Master Machinist, and not a Master Mechanic by trade, although I’m sure you see the overlap as you must understand the nuances of machine art. I think what amazes me the most is that he could MAKE any tool he needed.

Wow, Talk about teaching a man to fish,….teach him how to make tools and he can have unlimited dreams.

The other correction (2)is that he did make a telescope and ground the lenses by hand; But no recollection of binoculars’ or the Navy. I may have that memory crossed over with something else. Mom recalls that on many occasions some members from the Fells Planetarium would come down and they would gather in the back yard. . ."

On 10/22/2006 John Davis added:

". . .Going thru my Grandfathers’ old tool box was a magical mystery ride. It was a revelation deconstructing his dreams and hopes of using this and that odd fixture or tool. Ancient bunson burners and pipe fittings, odd metals and chisels, files and believe it or not I found at least 15 pencils that were 3 inches in length or less. I guess growing up in the Great Depression, you used EVERYTHING until it was completely spent. . ."

Grandmother Mae Green

On 10/14/2006 John Davis mentioned in an email:

"I will always treasure my memories with him and of the stories I heard from my Aunt Sarah, Uncle Ernie, Mary (Mae) Green –my Grandmother and of course my Mom and Dad, Bob and Marie Davis. Add to that list, my Mom’s sister Geri Buckwalter (just had knee surgery last week-and I know she is disappointed she can not be there) and Paul Brown and Betty Brown-Campanella. The list is endless.

One quick recollection, I remember my Grandmother Mary (Mae) Green – Daughter of Mary Munroe Brown, telling me that just after the influenza pandemic of 1915-18, where they (The family of Mary Munroe Brown and Rubin Brown) lost several children.

My Grandmother was taken ill. She told me John would come over and sit at the foot of her bed and read stories to her.

She was probably 18 or 19 then, John would have to had been 5or 6 years old.

(based on the assumption that this was just after 1918 – say 1919-1920 ?)"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Granddad - Michael J. Munroe

When my grandfather turned the TV to one of the prize fights, I could tell that my grandmother was angry. She didn't exactly stamp around but the atmospher chilled and I noticed that she no longer addressed questions to my grandfather. She now would only communicate through me.

The TV room in their city row house was less a room than it was a wide hallway between a formal sitting room and the dining room. The dining room had french doors with lace curtains, a row of window seats and on the window sills were her African violets.

I think my grandparents had color TV before we even had a black and white set. The TV sat on a big mahogony side table that was in the space in front of the open staircase to the second floor. My grandfather used pieces of broken glass to scrape off the old finish. Today we would use a flat scraper or a sander. In my grandparents house, the steps to both the second floor and to the third floor were always beautifully finished.

The shows my grandmother loved to watch with me and Granddad included, Queen For a Day, Art Linkletter, Laurence Welk, and Jackie Gleason. My grandfather loved Jimmy Durante and his prize fights.

Granddad had lots of stories. He had grown up in the rough side of Wilmington leaving school in the sixth grade. When he left school, he continued to leave each morning with his lunch pretending to go to school for some time until his parents found out. He had worked at many jobs such as taking cows to pasture, working on a hack taking people into Wilmington, working in a glass factory, shining shoes and a rolling mill.

In the end, his father helped him get a seven year apprenticeship at Lobdells where he took up the trade of a molder. A molder was one step below a pattern maker who would have been just below an engineer. It was a skilled job with great responsibility as the rolls he poured were the among the largest being made at that time. Lobdells made chilled iron rolls for the paper industry and this work was a very good occupation. At Lobdells, he got the nick name Pete. He started out as "little Pete" until the original Pete left and granddad became known simply as Pete. My granddad worked at Lobdells until he retired and there are several stories from that period of his life that will have to wait until later.

michael munroe
June 23, 1999