Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

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Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Sduddy » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:12 am

Hi Jimbo

I am taking a break from Genealogy for a while.


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Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:43 am

Re: Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree,

Post by Jimbo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:24 am

Hi Sheila,

Enjoy your well earned break. Thank you very much all your assistance during the search for the missing Thomas McNamara of Glandree. And especially for all your hard work with the transcriptions of so many parish baptism records. I've also taken a break from Irish records, and have spent the last week having a look around Atlantic City. The Atlantic City seashore in New Jersey was the premier holiday destination for Americans in the first half of the 20th century, but is now rather depressing.

For the children of Edmond Walsh (1857 - 1928) and Ellen McKenna, their one uncle and three aunts had immigrated to New Zealand in the 19th century. Not sure what happened to their eldest uncle, Michael Walsh born in 1853, but since their father Edmond inherited the land in Kilnoe, perhaps Michael had died young. Also, no sign of their brother John (born in 1862) or sister Mary (born in 1868). The McMahon family tree of NZ tells of an unknown sister who died in the great San Francisco earthquake & fire of 1906, perhaps this was Mary? For the Edmond Walsh children, if they wanted to immigrate to the United States they appear to have had no uncles or aunts to use as contacts, but only "cousins".

Patrick Walsh was reported as age 23; of Bodyke, Kilnoe; father Edward Walsh, Kilnoe, Bodyke, Clare; on the SS Adriatic arriving in New York on 23 May 1915. His contact was cousin Michael McMahon of 305 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, New York. The WWI rego for Michael McMahon of 305 Prospect Place stated he was born on 20 November 1874, and he had become a naturalized citizen. His wife Nora McMahon (age 28 in 1910 census) was Nora McInerney. How either could be related to Patrick Walsh is a mystery. Anyways, the entry was crossed out, and Patrick took another ship the next month and had a different cousin as a contact person.

Patrick Walsh was reported as age 22; of Bodyke, Kilnoe; father E. Walsh, Bodyke, Clare; on the SS Saint Louis arriving in New York on 7 June 1915. His contact was cousin Mr Duncan, Continental Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Nine years later, Michael Walsh was reported as age 24; of Bodyke, Kilnoe; father Patrick Walsh, Ballinahinch, Bodyke, Clare; on the SS Celtic arriving in New York on 13 October 1924. His contact was aunt Mrs Duncan, Continental Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Mrs. Duncan of the Continental Hotel was Mrs. Margaret Walsh Duncan, born 1867, the daughter of Patrick Walsh and Johanna McMahon of Ballinahinch, Clare. She was the younger sister of Patrick Walsh (1865 - 1942), married to Anne Tuohy. Hence, Michael Walsh on the SS Celtic in 1924 was the nephew of Margaret Walsh Duncan. Patrick Walsh on the SS Saint Louis in 1915 was not visiting his cousin, but the first cousin of his father, Edmond Walsh. This common link to Margaret Walsh Duncan is evidence that Patrick Walsh (1865 - 1942) and Edmond Walsh (1857 - 1928) were first cousins, and that their fathers, Patrick Walsh (died prior to 1892) and Edmond Walsh (≈1828 - 1900), were brothers. I believe that these two brothers were the sons of Michael Walsh (died in 1847) and Catherine McNamara (living in 1855 GV).

When I read that Mrs Duncan was listed as a contact on the passenger listings with the Continental Hotel as an address, I had assumed that she was likely a house cleaner or other low paying job. When I next determined that the Duncans were the owners of the Continental Hotel, I assumed that she had married a rich American. I was incorrect on both of these assumptions. Previously, I was rather impressed that James W. Halpin, an Irish immigrant, was able to open a newly built grocery in Brooklyn in 1900. This achievement now looks rather small compared to his first cousin Margaret Walsh of Atlantic City.

Margaret Walsh first appears in the 1903 Atlantic City directory as living at 18 S South Carolina Avenue; occupation was "hotel". In the 1905 state census for New Jersey, Margaret Walsh, born in Ireland in April 1870 was reported as a "housekeeper" living at 18 S South Carolina Avenue. Margaret was listed with eight boarders, and that she rented the property. 18 S South Carolina Avenue was the address for the Hotel Brevoort.

Margaret Walsh advertised the Hotel Brevoort in newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington DC, always with her name as proprietor in bold or capital letters. And she received lots of good press:

Brevoort Hotel, Atlantic City (PA newspaper, 5 May 1905).jpg
Brevoort Hotel, Atlantic City (PA newspaper, 5 May 1905).jpg (95.35 KiB) Viewed 196 times
The Brevoort, on South Carolina avenue between Atlantic and Pacific avenues, is one of the best moderate-priced hotels here [Atlantic City]. It is conducted by Miss Margaret Walsh, the proprietress, who has built up an enviable reputation for this home.

Evening Star, Washington D.C., 2 April 1905
Below is an old postcard of the Hotel Brevoort on S South Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City. A "Morris L Johnson" was listed on the postcard as proprietor. This is because the postcard was sent by Annie McElhenny to her sister Mae in Centralia, PA in 1909. By 1909 Margaret Walsh had already moved on since the Hotel Brevoort was just a little small for someone with her ambition.

Brevoort Hotel, Atlantic City (1909).jpg
Brevoort Hotel, Atlantic City (1909).jpg (183.86 KiB) Viewed 196 times
Several important real estate deals were consummated in hoteldom this week. Miss Margaret Walsh, an enterprising hotel woman conducting the Brevoort for a number of years, has purchased the Cumberland Hotel on Tennessee avenue for a consideration of $47,000. After making $10,000 worth of improvements she will open it in December as the New Brevoort.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25 November 1906
The Duncan family of New Castle, Delaware appear to have gotten an inside scoop on this real estate transaction:
Word was received here yesterday of a large real estate deal at Atlantic City. Miss Margaret Walsh, proprietor of the Brevoort, on South Carolina avenue, south, has purchased the Hotel Cumberland, located on Tennessee avenue below Atlantic avenue [the dividing street between north and south in Atlantic City street], at a cost of $47,000. Miss Walsh, who is well known here, having visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Duncan and other members of the family on numerous occasions, is progressive and will introduce vast improvements at the new hotel. Contracts for an entire new front, making it more attractive, a new dining room and hall, remodeling of the buffet, and other features, at a cost of $10,000, are some of the features. Miss Walsh expects to open the hotel on March 1st. She will not continue The Brevoort, but will name the new hotel The New Brevoort.

The News Journal
, Wilmington, Delaware, 27 November 1906
Most likely after a discussion with her lawyers, Margaret Walsh realized she could not rename the newly purchased hotel on Tennessee Avenue as "The New Brevoort" since that name was already being used a few blocks over on South Carolina avenue. She settled upon the far more grand sounding "The Continental Hotel". Her multiple contracts for the ambitious remodel, budgeted at $10,000, came in at $15,000. Fifty percent over budget— some things have never changed.

Continental Hotel advert, Philadelphia Enquirer, 23 Feb 1907.jpg
Continental Hotel advert, Philadelphia Enquirer, 23 Feb 1907.jpg (76.91 KiB) Viewed 196 times
The frequents visits by Margaret Walsh to the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Duncan can be explained by this news:
Notices of the wedding of T. Parks Duncan, of this city, and Miss Margaret Walsh, of Atlantic City, at that resort have been received here.

The Philadelphia Enquirer, Philadelphia, PA, 18 June 1907
Mrs. Margaret Walsh Duncan always retained her maiden name in newspaper advertising for the Continental Hotel. She, not her husband, was listed as the proprietor and owner, as in the below postcard:
Continental Hotel, Atlantic City, M Walsh Duncan, owner and proprietor.jpg
Continental Hotel, Atlantic City, M Walsh Duncan, owner and proprietor.jpg (190.37 KiB) Viewed 196 times

The Continental Hotel on South Tennessee Avenue was a moderately priced hotel. It looks very nice, but nothing like the grand palace hotels on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Margaret Walsh and T. Parks Duncan had no children. However, Margaret Walsh had numerous nieces and nephews from Ireland who came over to work at the Continental Hotel. In the 1910 census, living with the Duncans at the Continental Hotel were Josephine Walsh (age 17) and Mary Brady (age 17), both had arrived in 1908. In the 1920 census there are four young women reported as nieces working at the Continental Hotel: Mary Brady (age 26), Josephine Walsh (age 27), Mary A Walsh (age 25), and Elizabeth Brazil (age 24).

1910 census:
1920 census:

Atlantic City in the 1920's was the "golden age" of its popularity and it had become a year round resort for tourists as well as conventions. Holiday makers were no longer simply attracted to the beach and boardwalk during the summer months. Since Atlantic City didn't strictly enforce prohibition rules on alcohol, there was year round entertainment. Margaret Walsh Duncan became very wealthy. She died on Monday, 1 October 1928.
Mrs. George Duncan received word today of the death of her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Parks Duncan, at her home in Atlantic City, N.J. Mrs. Duncan, who is well known here [New Castle, Delaware], with her husband, operated the Continental Hotel in Atlantic City. She had been in failing health for several months. The funeral will take place from the Duncan residence on Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Mrs. Duncan is a sister-in-law of Major S.B.I. Duncan, Miss Susan Duncan, of this city, and George and James Duncan, of Wilmington.

The Morning News, Wilmington, Delaware, 2 October 1928
The Atlantic City newspapers would probably have had more detail. The Duncan family of New Castle, Delaware were Protestants. While I am sure that Mrs. Duncan of Delaware loved her daughter-in-law, she would not have wanted readers to get any ideas that the Duncan family were Catholic. Thus, there was no mention that "Mrs. Parks Duncan" was born in Ireland, or that she was known as "Mrs. Walsh Duncan", Walsh being a very Irish surname, or that the funeral mass would be held at St. Nicholas Tolentine Catholic Church just down the street from the Continental Hotel. However, just a few weeks later, the newspaper reporting of the probate of the will left by Mrs. Margaret Walsh Duncan would certainly leave no doubt that she was a Roman Catholic:

Catholic Church to Benefit Largely in $250,000 Bequests

Mays Landing, Oct. 16.—An estate valued at $250,000 is left by Mrs. Margaret Walsh Duncan, owner of the Continental Hotel, Atlantic City, who died October 1 after a short illness.

The will, probated today by Surrogate Albert C. Abbott, creates a trust fund from the bulk of the estate for her husband, T. Parks Duncan, after bequests totalling $25,000 are paid to other relatives and friends.

Two nieces, Elizabeth Brassil and Josephine Tracy, are given $2,000 each while two nephews, Michael Walsh and Michael Russell are similarly rewarded.

Margaret Walsh is another recipient of $2,000 while a $10,000 bequest is made to Mary K. Brady, of Atlantic City. Mary Walsh, another relative, will receive $5,000 from the estate.

At the death of the husband, the will provides that half of his estate will be divided between the seven persons already mentioned, while the other half will go to charity. A $2,000 bequest is made to St. Nicholas Catholic church of Atlantic City, which is to be paid from Mrs. Duncan's estate [this type of bequest is a good indicator where the funeral was held, the church in only one block from the Continental Hotel].

Upon the death of Duncan, St. Michael's Orphanage and Industrial School of Hopewell will get $10,000. The Francescan Monastery of the Poor Clare, Bordentown, will receive $5,000 while the St. Joseph's Home of the Providence for the Aged, Beverly, will be given $10,000.

One quarter of what is left of her husband's estate will then go to the Augustinian College at Villanova, Pa., and the remaining quarter will be awarded to the Apostolic College, at Cornwallis, Pa.

Courier-Post, Camden, New Jersey, 16 October 1928
It is fascinating to compare the wills of John Harrison of County Clare (page 27) and Margaret Walsh Duncan of Atlantic City. The power had completely shifted from the husband in the relationship (John Harrison, husband of Johanna Walsh) to the wife in the relationship (Margaret Walsh Duncan, niece of Johanna Walsh). Margaret Walsh Duncan was a very savvy business woman and after her death she wanted to ensure that her own Irish relatives were the beneficiaries and that Catholic charities of her choosing would also be rewarded. It is very clear from the will that Margaret Walsh even after her marriage retained ownership of the Continental Hotel.

Margaret Walsh Duncan named seven relatives to receive immediate bequests totaling $25,000, and upon the death of her husband, these same seven relatives would receive one half of the estate, presumably a much larger amount. I was able to determine how each of the seven relatives were related, except for one and a few unanswered questions on another:

1) Elizabeth Brazil ($2,000): a niece, the daughter of Catherine Walsh and Michael Brazil of Tulla (see updated Walsh family tree a few postings back)
2) Josephine Tracy ($2,000), a niece, the daughter of Patrick Walsh and Anne Tuohy, born about 1893 but could not find civil birth record. Also, where was she in 1901 census? Josephine Walsh, of Ballinahinch, daughter of Patrick Walsh, married Timothy Tracy, of Knockavine, son of Patrick Tracy (dead) at St. Joseph's in Limerick City on 12 February 1924.
3) Michael Walsh ($2,000): son of Patrick Walsh and Anne Tuohy; the nephew who arrived on the SS Celtic in 1924, as reported at the start of this posting.
4) Michael Russell ($2,000): reported as a nephew on the probate, but not sure how. Margaret Walsh Duncan had only one unaccounted for sister, Mary Walsh born in 1860. Perhaps her son? This remains a mystery.
5) Margaret Walsh ($2,000): niece, daughter of Patrick Walsh and Anne Tuohy, who was age 8 in 1911.
6) Mary K. Brady ($10,000): niece, daughter of Johanna Walsh and Henry Brady of Scariff (see updated Walsh family tree).
7) Mary Walsh ($5,000): niece, daughter of Patrick Walsh and Anne Tuohy, who was age 17 in 1911.

Margaret Walsh of Ballynahinch arrived in the United States in 1890 according to the 1920 census. She would have been 23 years old. Where did she gain the strong skills in hospitality that led to her success in running hotels in Atlantic City? Speculation, of course, but I reckon she must have worked at nearby Ballynahinch House, the home of Charles George O'Callaghan.

To end with some historical trivia about the Irish rebel leader and editor of the Gaelic American, John Devoy. "On September 21, 1928, Devoy and his friend Harry Cunningham journeyed [from New York City] to Atlantic City. The sea air often invigorated him, but this time he could not shake his assortment of ailments. By week's end he was in bed in his hotel room, and a doctor was summoned. There was little he could do, he told Cunningham. At about 1 a.m. on September 29, Devoy asked to be turned over on his side. He died minutes later." ("Irish Rebel" by Terry Golway, 1998). He was 86 years old and his body was brought back to Ireland for burial. Coincidentally, Margaret Walsh Duncan died on 1 October 1928, just two days after John Devoy who had been staying at the posh Ambassador Hotel right on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

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