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My Search for my Grandfather

October 2005

Throughout my life very little has been known about my grandfather, William Brady. Grandpop Brady died when I was only 1½ years old so I never had a chance to talk to him. I do have a memory of him being in the kitchen on Hector Street in Conshohocken. He is standing next to the refrigerator and shaving. It’s possible this memory is just one that has been planted by stories since I was so young when he died.

The last couple of years I have made family history research a hobby. My first attempt was to trace my Vernon roots. After some starts and stops I was able to latch on to some good information that led me all the way back to 1680 when the Vernon family arrived in America. By way of this information I ended up researching the Ashbridge family who at one point married into the Vernon family. My Ashbridge ancestor served in the militia during the Revolutionary War. Through this ancestor I made a successful application to the Daughters of the American Revolution on behalf of my aunt.

There’s not a lot of information to go on about my grandfather. By all accounts, my grandfather was said to be a quiet man who did not talk much and did not talk about his family. My mother tells me that William Brady’s father’s name was James, he had a brother Francis, possibly a sister named Loretta and that his mother’s name was something very Irish. There is a story of a family construction business and my grandfather’s love of the game of baseball. Grandpop Brady built a lot of homes in Conshohocken but lost his business during the Depression. When the depression hit in 1929 & 1930 Grandpop had seven homes under construction. No one could afford to buy a home or pay for the home they had contracted to have built. Grandpop Brady was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri but left home at a young age.

I was told and it was later confirmed that when my Uncle Jim would visit St. Louis on business trips he would copy Brady names from the St. Louis city directory. He passed along the copied names from the phone directories to his mother. It’s uncertain if Mary Kehoe Brady ever tried to contact the Brady’s.

After I started my research, I was to find out that Aunt Anne Foley tried in 1986 to get a copy of her father’s military file from the national records center. Their response was that the file was most likely lost in a fire there in 1973.

I want to start a search for my grandfather’s family. My mother and Uncle Jim don’t know the names of their grandparents from that side of the family. They don’t know any of their aunts or uncles. And, they don’t know if they have any cousins on the Brady side, still living today. I wonder if I can find anything.


January 25, 2006

Who was William Aloysius Brady ?

Elizabeth Brady, daughter:

My father loved to tell stories, usually after he had a few beers. You could never tell when he was telling the truth and I was very young. For instance, he used to say he was part Indian and that's why he had such a large hooked nose and ruddy complexion.

Bill Brady, his father and Bill's brothers had a construction business. Bill's father was killed in an accident at a construction site. This caused a riff in the family. Bill Brady left the area and had little or no further contact with his family after that time.

Bill Brady had a brother, Francis. Bill would write to Francis but that stopped because of World War I. Francis may have been killed during the war.

Bill Brady used to mention having a sister, possibly named Loretta.

Bill Brady had a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and black hair. Even when he died at the age of 72 years he still had black hair.

Bill Brady always said he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He may have attended a school run by priests. He used to speak of the "Christian Brothers".

Bill Brady served in the Navy during World War I. He was inducted in Seattle, Washington. He was discharged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James Brady, son:

When Bill Brady and Mary Kehoe were to be married in 1920, their wedding was to be the first wedding ceremony performed at the new St. Matthew's Church in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Because of difficulties in getting Bill Brady's records from his church in St. Louis their wedding was actually the second wedding at the church.

For a time Bill Brady was the sexton at St. Matthew Church.

Bill Brady's father died when Bill was a teenager. Bill Brady was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and came from a large family. There were possibly as many as twelve children.

Bill Brady loved baseball and played 1st base for a team in the Three I League (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana).

Bill Brady enlisted (not drafted) in the Navy during World War I. He served on a destroyer as a ship's carpenter. He was discharged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Uncle Tim Foley, husband of Anne Brady

William Brady would occasionally talk about going to a school that was staffed by nuns or Christian Brothers.

William Brady was very skilled with his hands; there was nothing he could not build. He may have attended an Industrial Trade School; he appeared to have had training in the building trades.

William Brady was a prominent individual in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania because of all the homes he built there.

William Brady used to sit on the couch facing Hector Street in Conshohocken. He had pinned to the arm of the couch his pocket watch. An ashtray and his cigarettes sat next to him. At his feet was his bottle of beer. Whenever he saw young Timmy Foley coming he would gather it all up to protect it from the young child.

William Brady, when young children came to visit. "Oh Christ, Mary! Here they come again."

William Brady’s daughter, Anne, probably spent the most amount of time trying to get her father talking.

William Brady never drank liquor, only beer. One time after a party, Grandmom Brady stored the bottles of unused liquor in the drawer under the stove. Unknowingly, Aunt Margaret came home and proceeded to put a meatloaf in the oven. The resulting explosion blew the door off the oven. Uncle Jim said it was the best meatloaf they ever had.




Information from the Marriage License Application for William A. Brady & Mary E. Kehoe

Groom’s Father's Name: James (no last name recorded)

Birthplace of Father: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Father was deceased

Groom’s Mother's Name: Nora Brady

Mother's Maiden Name: Nora Toohy

Birthplace of Mother: St. Louis, Missouri

Mother was deceased

Applicant Name: William A. Brady

Date of Birth: November 23, 1893 (McMonagle has it as November 23, 1888)

(Note: I supposed the 1893 year of birth was because of the difference in age between William Brady and his bride to be.)

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri


Norristown Daily Herald, Thursday, January 29, 1920

Wedding of Mary E. Kehoe and William A. Brady

Date of Marriage: January 28, 1920

Officiating: Rev. Father Smith

Bridesmaid: Miss Mary E. Blanche, cousin of the bride

Groomsman: Andrew Monahan, of Philadelphia, cousin of the groom


Norristown Daily Herald, November 1, 1956

Obituary for William A. Brady

States his age as 73


Conshohocken Knights of Columbus

Philadelphia Carpenter's Union

Conshohocken American Legion

Conshohocken Veterans Foreign Wars

St. Matthew's Church burial records at Montco Historical Society

States his age as 72


Main Sources of Records Searched

US Federal Census for the years 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 & 1930

World War I Draft Registration Cards


1920 Census:

The census for Pennsylvania shows Mary Kehoe living at the residence of her parents in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Even though Mary Kehoe was married in January 1920 the census records reflect a person's status and residence as of January 1, 1920.

William Brady is not found in the 1920 census for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I did a page by page search of the census records for the enumeration district that William Brady was living in at the time. In the records I found the street and residence (4348 Cresson Street) that William Brady used on his marriage license application. No William Brady. But, after a closer examination of the census page I now know why he did not appear on that record. As it turns out, William Brady was being married on the same day the census taker was making his enumeration of that street in Manayunk. The owners of the house were listed as well as another boarder but not William Brady. I suppose the homeowners felt no need to mention a tenant that had already left their house.

A great deal of time was spent searching the Federal Census Records for the years 1880, 1900 and 1910. The 1890 Federal Census Records were destroyed in a fire at the Census Bureau, so they are not available. During the years 1880 to 1910 there should be some record of the family of William Brady living in St. Louis, Missouri. Date of Birth (depending on whose records, 1882, 1883, 1888, 1893), Father's Name, Mother's Name, Mother's Maiden Name, brother Francis, sister Loretta, hometown St. Louis MO, Father's place of birth, Mother's place of birth are all clues that should lead to the family in the census records. Weeks were spent searching the records and looking at thousands of pages of census records for a family unit with William, James, Nora, Francis and Loretta, or parts thereof. The search was not exclusive to the Missouri records. Searches were performed for all William Brady's in the United States, all James Brady's in Pennsylvania and Missouri in census records prior to 1880 and all Nora Brady's in the United States.

World War I Draft Registration Cards

Many days and hours were spent viewing the draft registration cards for World War I. It is known that William Brady was from St. Louis, Missouri, had blue eyes, black hair and his date of birth. The physical characteristics and hometown were compared as well as the signatures on the draft cards against the signature on the marriage application. It is possible that William Brady never completed a draft registration card since it is believe he voluntarily enlisted. All draft cards, numbering in the hundreds, for all William Brady's and all Francis Brady's were viewed.

Neither the US Federal Census Records nor the World War I Draft Registration Cards revealed any clues to the whereabouts of William Brady, either in Missouri, Washington state or Pennsylvania. The Federal Census records show no family unit for a William Brady, Nora Brady and James Brady. Also, the census records show no husband James Brady and wife Nora Brady, at least with a child William or Francis or Loretta.

Illinois records were also searched since there is a city East St. Louis, Illinois across the river from St. Louis, Missouri.

Tracking Nora Toohey

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) maintains the largest collection of free family history and genealogy records in the world, www.lds.org. Searches for William Brady, James & Nora Brady, Francis Brady and Loretta Brady all failed to reveal any records of births, marriages or deaths that could be linked to William Aloysius Brady of St. Louis, MO and Conshohocken, PA.

In the LDS family history database there is a St. Louis marriage record for a Nora Toohey (residence unknown) and James Haney (Hanney) born in Pennsylvania that occurred in November 1882. Following the lead through the census records reveals the following information:


1900 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

James Haney b. 1859 Pennsylvania, Parents: Ireland Occupation: Flour Packer

Honora Haney b. 1866 Illinois, Parents: Ireland Wife Occupation: Dress Maker

(7 children, 6 living)

Ellen b. Oct. 1885 Missouri daughter

James b. June 1886 Missouri son

Clemens S b. Nov. 1888 Missouri son

Francis J b. June 1890 Missouri son

Leo A b. June 1896 Missouri son

Lorretta b. Dec. 1898 Missouri daughter


1910 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

James Haney b. 1859 Pennsylvania Occupation: Flour Packer

Leo b. 1896 Missouri son

Loretta b. 1898 Missouri daughter

Regina b. 1902 Missouri daughter

Kate b. 1875 Illinois Wife, married 3 years, no children

It would appear that Nora is deceased since all searches find no further evidence of her. That would place Nora's death between 1902 and 1907.

Notes about the names:

Nora: derivative of the Irish name Elenora, Hanora, Honora, Eleanor, Norah

Tuohy: has many different spellings and misspellings: Toohy, Toohey, Toohay, Tuohey, Tuohay, Twohy, Twohey, Twohay

Haney: Hanney, Heney, Heaney


Break Through ???

1880 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

Stephen Toohey b. 1835, Ireland Occupation: Private Watchman

Ellen Toohey b. 1835, Ireland Wife Keeping House

Elenora (Nora) b. 1866, Illinois daughter Dress Making

James Haney b. 1859, boarder Laborer

Nora would be age 14 in 1880 and James Haney was a boarder in the Toohey home.

Living in the residence next door:

Thomas Brady b. 1840, Ireland Occupation: Engineer

Catharine Brady b. 1831, Ireland Wife Keeping House

John b. 1861, Missouri son Engineer

James b. 1865, Illinois son

Thomas b. 1867, Illinois son

Alice b. 1869, Illinois daughter

Catharine b. 1872, Missouri daughter

Owen b. 1875, Missouri son

Charles b. 1877, Missouri son

Is it possible that Nora Toohey and James Brady had a child, William, born in 1882/83? The parents were young, 16 and 17 years old. Nora married James Haney in 1882 according to the LDS records. Unfortunately, because of the missing 1890 census we can not follow the family 10 years later.

Or, did Nora Toohey Haney and James Haney have a son Clemens born in November 1888? The date of birth matches the date from Mary McMonagle's family history research. Did Clemens later change his name and become William A. Brady. Searches through the census records reveal no further information for Clemens Haney.

Following James Brady b. 1865, he appears in census records for 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 as a house painter.

1900 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

James Brady b. 1865, Missouri occupation: House Painter

married 1890

Mary Brady b. 1867, Missouri Wife

Harry b. 1891, Missouri son

Leolia b. 1893, Missouri daughter

Grace b. 1895, Missouri daughter

Hanora Quirk b. 1841, Ireland Mother in Law

Katy Quirk b. 1869, Illinois Sister in Law


1910 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

James B. Brady b. 1863, Missouri occupation: House Painter

married 1890

Mary Brady b. 1866, Missouri Wife

Harry b. 1891, Missouri son Clerk RR

Leola b. 1893, Missouri daughter

Grace b. 1895, Missouri daughter

Roy b. 1904, Missouri son


1920 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

James Brady b. 1865, Missouri occupation: Painting

married 1890

Mary Brady b. 1866, Missouri Wife

Harry b. 1894, Missouri son Clerk RR

Leola b. 1896, Missouri daughter Clerk RR

Grace b. 1898, Missouri daughter Clerk RR

Roy b. 1904, Missouri son Clerk RR


1930 Census, Missouri, City of St. Louis

James Brady b. 1864, Missouri occupation: Painting

married 1890

Mary Brady b. 1866, Missouri Wife

Harry b. 1892, Missouri son Clerk RR

Roy b. 1904, Missouri son Painting

Note about dates in the US Federal Census:

Census enumeration forms were changed for each census. A form used in the 1900 census might ask for a person's date of birth and age at last birthday. The 1910 census enumeration form only asked for a person's age. The dates when a census was performed also changed. Earlier censes were performed in June, more recent censuses were performed in April. This timing might cause a person's age in 1900 to be 25 and in 1910 the person's age is listed as 36. Also, the time when a person was included or excluded changed. Even if the census was performed in April and a child was born in March, some census only included someone as of January 1 of the year of the census. Some earlier censuses included births, marriages and deaths that occurred during the census year.

At this point in time it is difficult to absolutely determine who William Aloysius Brady was. The records searched so far are inconclusive and incomplete. The missing 1890 census records will always be a problem. The 1890 census records would be critical to following and knowing about William Brady, Nora and James.

Was William Brady the son of two teenagers, Nora Tuohy and James Brady?

At this point there is no real evidence to support this. The only evidence is that there was a Nora Toohey living in St. Louis in 1880. Living in a house next door to the Toohey family was the family of Thomas Brady with a son, James, who is close in age to Nora Toohey. Nora Toohey ends up marrying James Hanney in 1882. There are two children of Nora Toohey and James Hanney that match the names of the siblings of William Brady; Francis and Loretta.

Was William Brady actually Clemens Haney, son of Nora Tuohy Haney and James Haney?

The only evidence here is that Clemens or Clement is born in November 1888, according to the 1900 census. This date of birth is close to or similar to the date of birth for William Brady, November 23. The year of birth is uncertain since we have conflicting information from different sources. Some say 1883, some say 1893 and Mary McMonagle states the date as 1888. Clement is found in the 1900 census living with his parents and siblings, age 12 and attending school. There are no records of Clement Hanney after the 1900 census; no further census records, World War I draft registration, burial records or death records.


David Vernon

January 25, 2006



February 2006 to August 2006

Who was William Aloysius Brady ? (continued)

Since there is no evidence that William Brady was a child of the teenagers, Nora Toohey and James Brady or that William Brady was actually Clement Hanney I am proceeding with the search for William Brady assuming a more traditional family of parents, child and siblings. Without evidence these guesses are unproven, and no evidence has been found up to now. They should be set aside until a more complete search for the family of William Brady is undertaken. Perhaps I will come back to that at some point or perhaps I will find solid evidence of William Brady and his parents, Nora and James Brady and siblings, Francis and Loretta.

Before making the decision to proceed along traditional lines I have made contact with Jayne who is researching the family of Nora Toohey and James Hanney. Jayne is the granddaughter of the first son, James, of Nora and James Hanney. Jayne has been trying to find her grandfather as well. Her story is that her grandfather deserted his family leaving a wife and four children. After I explained my search she became very excited that perhaps her grandfather, James Anthony Hanney, was our William Aloysius Brady. Once we compared notes we determined that could not be the case since her grandfather was living in Kansas during the 1920’s and having children while William Brady was living in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania with his wife and children.

During a research trip to St. Louis, Missouri in April 2006 there were many avenues I wanted to explore to try to find William Brady. The St. Louis County Library has an extensive genealogy collection including Catholic Church records, civil records of birth, marriage and death, institutional records of orphanages and hospitals and newspapers from the 1860’s to present day. I was determined to plow through all these records and make the most of the time while I was in St. Louis.

Catholic Church Records.

The library’s collection of church records for baptism, marriage and deaths include about a hundred parishes for the area of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. To narrow down the list of parishes that would have to be searched I could exclude parishes that were founded after 1895. Also excluded were parishes of black and Asian ethnicity and parishes of nationalities that were too extreme such as Polish, Italian and French. That left me with about forty parishes of English, American and Irish congregations. The clues I was using were a date of birth between 1880 and 1895 and parents Nora Toohey and James Brady.

Fortunately for me many of the parish baptismal journals were indexed alphabetically and I was able to focus on Brady births for William, Francis and Loretta. Approximately 20 percent of the journals were not indexed and this required that I do a page by page search of the journals during the time frame of 1880 to 1895. Since William Brady is a fairly common name there were dozens found, some with a father James, a few with a mother Nora but none with a father James and a mother Nora. In addition to the search for William there were no baptisms for a Francis or Loretta with parents James and Nora.


Civil Records – Birth, Marriage & Death

Civil birth records for the state of Missouri were not required until the year 1905-1910. However, the city and county of St. Louis did record some births prior to that, but only on a voluntary basis. I was able to search but not find William Brady and his parents James and Nora.

Death Records & Obituaries

Family legend is that James Brady died while William Brady was a teenager or a young man about twenty years of age. Using the state, county and city death records I was able to search the newspaper archives for the obituaries. Hopefully, the obituaries would list a spouse and/or children. There was one James Brady with a spouse Nora and a son William. Furthermore, the time period was correct for our William Brady. James Brady was a police officer for the city of St. Louis. He was killed while responding to a disturbance at a St. Louis tavern. A shootout occurred between two of the bar patrons and the police, James Brady was hit and died of his wounds. Over the next few weeks there were many newspaper articles written about the shootout, the wake and funeral of James Brady and the family he left behind.

I was able to research the family of Police Officer James Brady, his wife Nora and their son, William. For this family I was able to uncover quite a bit of information through birth records, marriage records, obituaries, death certificates, coroner inquest records and census records. As it turns out this Nora Brady had a different maiden name other than Toohey. And the son William was an accountant who died in 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri.


Institutional Records for Orphanages and Hospitals

Our William Brady was secretive about his St. Louis family and had no contact or little contact with them after he left St. Louis. This made me wonder if perhaps he was placed in an orphanage at birth or at a young age. If he was ashamed of being an orphan this could explain his reluctance to talk about his family. Perhaps the siblings, Francis and Loretta were other orphans at the same home.

During this time period there were many orphanages in St. Louis. Children were placed in the homes for a variety of reasons; sometimes on a permanent basis, other times on a temporary basis. There are many instances of children being placed in an orphanage after the death of a parent. The surviving parent may have found it difficult to support some or all of their children so they looked to the community for help. Often, after the parent was able to become better established they retrieved the child and returned them to their home. During the time a child was in the home it was not unusual for a parent to visit and sometimes the parent was making small contributions to assist in the keep of the child. While in the orphanage the child would have been schooled until about the age of fourteen. From the age of fourteen to seventeen the child may have received occupational education. And finally at age seventeen the child would have been released to the world to find their own way.

During my time in St. Louis I searched all the available orphan intake records at the County Library. I was also able to make a list of about a dozen orphanages and the organization that survives them today. After my return to Pennsylvania I wrote letters to the surviving organizations requesting they search their records for the time period 1880 to 1895 for a child William Brady. I received replies from almost every organization, but none had a child matching our William Brady.



May 2006 to August 2006

The trip to St. Louis failed to find a record of William Brady and his parents James and Nora, his brother, Francis and sister, Loretta. But because it did not produce a record could also be considered evidence. And perhaps that evidence points to a William Brady born in San Francisco, California as stated on his U. S. Navy Enlistment Record and in his U. S. Military file in the National Military Personnel Records Archives.

The military file shows a William Brady living in Seattle, Washington in 1918. His date of birth is listed as November 23, 1883. His place of birth is listed as San Francisco, California. His occupation is listed as a bricklayer. Ames Ship Yard is listed as a reference and I supposed that was his employer at the time of or prior to his enlistment. A physical description of William Brady includes a tattoo of the Five of Diamonds playing card on the back of his left hand. This tattoo was confirmed by his daughter Elizabeth and son James. The military record states that his parents are deceased. George Clary, a cousin, is listed as nearest relative with an address of General Delivery, St. Louis, Missouri. If he was born in San Francisco why is he showing next of kin in St. Louis, Missouri? My search of the census records for 1900 to 1930 failed to find a George Clary living in St. Louis.

William Brady enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve Forces during World War I. According to his military personnel file he enlisted on April 24, 1918. After his enlistment he was sent by train to the East Coast where he met his ship and was sent to France. He departed for France on June 5, 1918, less than six weeks after his enlistment in Seattle, Washington. Who knew at this time an armistice would be declared six months later in November 1918. After the war ended, William Brady was sent back to the United States in January 1919. But, because he had enlisted, he was obligated to complete his period of enlistment. As fortunes would have it, the Navy needed to cut expenses and reduce the forces that had been built up during the war. The sailors were given the option to end their active enlistment and apply for inactive status. In February 1919 that is what William Brady chose to do since it released him from the Navy and allowed him to pursue employment in a civilian occupation. On September 30, 1921 William Brady received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Naval Reserve Forces. By this time he had already married in January 1920 and would soon find out that his first child would be born in May 1922. William had also established himself as a building contractor in Philadelphia and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

After declaring war in April 1917 the United States held a series of draft registrations with the first being conducted on June 5, 1917. Additional draft registrations were conducted on June 5, 1918, August 24, 1918 and September 12, 1918. Each draft registration was to include individuals depending on their date of birth. The first registration was for individuals of the age 21 to 31 years. The next two registrations were for individuals having reached the age of 21 since the previous registration. The final registration was for individuals who had previously not registered and of the age 18 to 45 years. More than 24 million individuals registered for the draft during World War I. The actual draft registration cards were preserved, microfilmed and are available via the internet through various sources. My search of this database failed to find a William Brady that matched the information we know of him. Also, because of his November 23, 1883 date of birth he would not have been required to register for the draft until the September 12, 1918 draft. On September 12, 1918 William Brady was already in the Navy and serving in France.

The Christian Brothers

At times, while growing up, my mother would hear her father mention the "Christian Brothers" that taught him while he attended school. In fact there is an organization of Catholic priests and educators called the "International Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools". The order founded in France by St. John Baptist De La Salle, has many locations throughout the world and founded locations in the United States during the 1700’s. LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of their colleges. The Christian Brothers also had locations in St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, California. In addition to their colleges, the Brothers were educators in the Catholic elementary schools and high schools.

I was able to do some research on the Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to a traditional education the school also provided for some occupational education to the students. The school was established for Catholic children and required tuition for attendance. However, the school also accepted Catholic children orphans or those unable to pay based on circumstances. I was able to make contact with an individual on the alumni board of the Christian Brothers College in St. Louis, Missouri. Unfortunately, the school had a fire about 1916 and many of the records were lost. However, there were some records that survived from the time period that William Brady would have been in attendance. There was a William Brady found but the date of birth would have been in 1879, a bit too early for our William. Further research reveals that this William Brady was most likely the son of the Police Officer James Brady.


Baseball William Brady

There is a family legend that William Brady played baseball for a minor league baseball team in the "Three I" League. This was a minor league organized in the mid-west but ended up having teams over a larger area including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri. The Three I stands for Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. The league had a few starts, stops and suspensions due to wartime and financial problems. During William Brady’s lifetime baseball was extremely popular throughout the country, especially in St. Louis and our William Brady was an avid fan. In fact the major league team of St. Louis was one of the original teams in the early days of Major League Baseball. St. Louis had two major league teams and numerous minor league teams all playing baseball during the same time period. Minor league players at the time were only part time players and often held other jobs while playing baseball. But, just as in today’s baseball world, players were often sold or traded to other teams during the off season.

I was fortunate to make contact with an individual who has researched the Three I League. His manuscript on the league is probably the most complete collection that exists on the league. The manuscript documents the cities that hosted teams throughout the league’s existence and records the player’s name and averages during the years that records exist. Unfortunately, since this was a minor league the records are not nearly as complete as we would find for modern day baseball teams. Team rosters that exist would list the player’s last name and position played; and maybe a first initial. There were probably a dozen Brady’s to play in the Three I League and a couple of William Brady’s but none that could be determined to be our William.

Through a researcher who lives in the Cooperstown, New York area I was able to make a contact at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The contact is the archivist for the library at the Hall of Fame. This archivist sent to me the available records for all William Brady’s in their library. It appears there were four or five with a couple of them playing on major league teams in Philadelphia, Boston and Cleveland. There was even one William Aloysius Brady, nicknamed "King", who played major league baseball during 1910 to 1912. After his major league career this William Brady played a few years in the minor leagues. But, as it turned out "King" Brady was a native of Brooklyn, New York and died there in 1956, coincidentally a few months prior to the death of our William Brady.


Pennsylvania Death Certificate

Before my trip to St. Louis, Missouri I requested a death certificate from the Vital Records Department for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and then forgot about it. To my surprise I received a copy of the death certificate a couple of months later. The informant for the information was Mary Brady, his wife. The death certificate lists a date of birth of November 23, 1883. The parents are shown as James Brady and Nora Toohey. The place of birth is listed as San Francisco, California. ??? What is this? The children of William Brady were always told of him being born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Why would Mary Brady give San Francisco? So we have a marriage license that states St. Louis, military records that state San Francisco and now a death certificate that states San Francisco.

Perhaps the listing of San Francisco was done with the assistance of the funeral director upon the death of William Brady. The little documentation that Mary Brady had for William would have been a marriage license and United States Navy discharge document. The funeral director may have thought there could be a pension to be obtained based on William’s Navy service and it would not do to have a death certificate stating a place of birth different from the military records. But then again, one would think that after thirty-six years of marriage that Mary Brady would have known where her husband was born. Another mystery.

One new piece of information obtained from the death certificate was a Social Security Number. A previous search of the Social Security Death Index did not find an entry for William Brady. Based on that information I had assumed that William was too late for Social Security or had never contributed to Social Security since he worked for himself for much of his working life.


Social Security Application

Now having a social security number I made a request to the Social Security Administration for a copy of the Social Security application for William Brady using the number on the Pennsylvania death certificate. A response was received within a month. William Brady completed a Social Security application in November 1936. On the application he listed his parents as James Brady and Nora Toohey. For his place of birth he listed St. Louis, Missouri. ??? At times he used San Francisco and at other times he used St. Louis, this is becoming more confused.


Missouri Death Certificates

Just days prior to my trip to St. Louis the state of Missouri released to the public a new database of death certificates for the time period 1910 to 1955. The database was available without cost and could be viewed over the Internet. The initial release included an index list for all deaths reported between 1910 and 1955 plus actual scanned copies of death certificates from 1910 to 1920. Internet copies of death certificates after 1920 are released once all the certificates for a year have been scanned into their database.

Armed with this new source I researched any James and Nora Brady that could be the parents of William. At the same time I was looking for Francis and Loretta Brady. These death certificates list the parents of the deceased, the spouse of the deceased and sometimes other family members. Also, I undertook a campaign to get copies of all the death certificates for any James, Nora, Francis and Loretta Brady in the years that had yet to be scanned and made available to the public. I was able to obtain copies of about thirty death certificates from this in addition to the pre – 1920 certificates I could view on-line. Sadly, none of the death certificates from Missouri looked to be for any of the subjects of the search.


September 2006

My planning for a research trip to San Francisco, California has just been completed. I have my plane reservations, my hotel reservations and a rental car. The main focus of the trip will be to visit the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and search their records of baptisms and marriages for the various parishes in the archdiocese. Also, I will probably make visits to the San Francisco Public Library, the Oakland Public Library and the California Genealogical Society.

Family history research in San Francisco can be a challenge because of the earthquake of 1906 and the fires that resulted. Unfortunately, ninety percent of the civil records for births, marriages and deaths were destroyed as a result of this catastrophe. Fortunately, church records somehow survived the destruction. If I can find those church records they will provide the evidence of William Brady and his parents James and Nora. There is only two more weeks until I make the trip.


September 5, 2006

I just received a package of information from my cousin Diane Brady Sadler. Apparently, her father had some information about a search for William Brady’s family that was done in 1956; fifty years ago and a few months before William Brady died. William Brady’s daughter Anne had a letter published in a St. Louis newspaper under the title "Lost Relatives". Also, as part of this search my Aunt Anne made an inquiry to the St. Louis Police Department. The Police Department conducted a search for relatives using the names provided by Anne Brady Foley. The reply from the Police Department was that they were unable to locate any individuals using the city directories, county directories and Social Service Exchange.

Anne Brady Foley’s letter to the St. Louis Globe Democrat is as follows:

"Lost Relatives"

To the Editor:

I am trying to locate any relatives of James Brady (contractor) and Nora Toohey Brady, both deceased – my father’s parents. There was a family of seven children. My father is William A. Brady. He left St. Louis as a boy and made his way to Philadelphia during World War I and lost contact with his family.

The boys, believed dead, are Leo, James, Francis and William. The girls are Nora, Regina and Loretta.

Mrs. Francis J. Foley

103 Keys Street

Conshohocken, Pa.

(end of letter)


It is eighteen days before I leave on my trip to San Francisco and here is a list of William Brady relatives believed to be from St. Louis, Missouri. Not only do I now have a more complete list of names for the family but these names are familiar from my earlier research. This list of names is almost a complete match to the list of names for the Nora Toohey / James Hanney family! The same Nora Toohey, who in 1880, was living next door to a James Brady! The same Nora Toohey, who in 1882, married James Hanney!

Aunt Anne’s list of Brady children:









List of Hanney children as determined by census records and church baptismal records:

Ellen b. 25 October 1883

James Anthony b. 18 June 1886

Clement Stephen b. 23 November 1888

John Francis b. 15 June 1891

Louis Joseph b. 25 August 1893

Leo Aloysius b. 12 June 1896

Loretta b. 30 December 1898

Regina b. 20 August 1901

Now these two lists of names are not a complete match but I believe I can account for some of the differences. The Nora on Aunt Anne’s list could have been a guess that a daughter was named after the mother. Or, it could be that the names are variations of the same name (Nora, Honora, Elenora, Ellen). In the records I found on Nora Toohey Hanney, she was listed as Nora, Honora and Elenora, this by her parents and spouse. As far as Francis and John Francis are concerned, John Francis Hanney was called Frank by his family. This information was passed along to me by the Hanney researcher, Jayne, grand-daughter of James Anthony. Louis Joseph born in 1893 died in the year 1895 at the age of two years.

Finally, there’s William and Clement Stephen. Is it just a coincidence that they share the same birthday but not the same year of birth? If Clement decided to change his name might he not also change his year of birth? Or, was William simply a half-sibling that by circumstances was never recorded or found in the available records? If William was a half-sibling then his date of birth would have to be after November 1880 and no later than January 1883. This I know because of census records from 1880 and Ellen Hanney’s recorded baptismal record of 4 November 1883 giving her date of birth as 25 October 1883.

So, going back –

Was William Brady the child of teenagers, Nora Toohey and James Brady, or was William Brady actually the missing Clement Hanney who could never be found after the 1900 census when he was only age twelve?


September 14, 2006

Nine days until San Francisco but will I find anything there? Does the family of William Brady truly come from St. Louis, Missouri? The matching list of family names seems to be just too much of a coincidence. 

Records indicate there are some Hanney’s living in Kansas .  Because of different spelling variations and misspellings there are Haney’s, Honey’s and Kanney’s as well.  I know that James Hanney did live, for a time, in Kansas .  But until he married he did not live with other family members.  

James Anthony Hanney left St. Louis, Missouri after the 1904 death of his mother Nora Toohey Hanney. In 1907 the father of James Anthony, James, remarried a woman by the name of Kate. The story, as related to me by Jayne, is that James Anthony did not get along with his step-mother and left St. Louis. James Anthony can be found living in Kansas based on his 1918 draft registration card. James married Laura Parker in 1915, produced four children between 1916 and 1925, lived in various towns in Kansas and Iowa, and finally abandoned his family sometime after 1925. Laura Parker Hanney destroyed all evidence of James Hanney after the abandonment. The only photograph known to survive was hidden from Laura by her daughter, Regina.

To further complicate the picture there are two William Brady’s listed in the census records for Kansas, one of them being a William A. Brady. And by chance both are soldiers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. William A. Brady lists his date of birth as 1886 and the other William J. Brady has a date of birth of 1879/1880.

If James Anthony left St. Louis because of his mother’s death and his father’s remarriage it seems reasonable that some of the other children could have left for the same reason. Perhaps, William, James and Clement all left together. Or, perhaps it was only James and Clement who left and for unknown reasons Clement became William Brady.

September 15, 2006

San Francisco, only eight more days!

I’m going to email my fellow researcher Jayne to tell her about the matching list of names. It just seems to be too much of a coincidence. Perhaps she has some additional information she has not passed along to me since February. Also, while I was in St. Louis I happened to come across a baptismal record for one of the Hanney children. After finding it I started to look for others since I was there and could share them with Jayne after I returned.

Before I write to Jayne I want to refresh my memory with details of the Hanney children and my thoughts on the list of children from my Aunt Anne’s letter. The list I created from the church records in St. Louis is the most accurate I have in regards to their dates of birth. The church records reflect the exact date of birth and the date of baptism. Also included are the parents’ names and baptismal sponsors’ names. While looking at the list one of the sponsor’s names jumps out. It is Valentine Cleary, sponsor for Leo Aloysius Hanney. Could this be a relation to the cousin, George Clary, listed as the next of kin in William Brady’s United States Navy enlistment document? A search of the Missouri census records shows a Valentine Clary living in Missouri with a son George born in 1879. Is this just coincidence? The Valentine and George Clary live in Missouri but not in St. Louis. In fact, they live in the western part of the state. But, Valentine is an unusual name so it’s likely to be the same Valentine Cleary as in the baptismal record. Now, I have a cousin George Clary, next of kin to our William Brady and a Valentine Cleary who shows up as a baptismal sponsor for Leo Aloysius Hanney. Further, I have a Valentine Clary with a son George and both these individuals have dates of birth close to those of the Hanney parents and children.

There are cracks in this brick wall, some of the bricks have been dislodged and now one more brick falls. In 1918, James Anthony Hanney registered for the draft while living in El Dorado, Kansas. He is employed by Empire Gas & Fuel as a moulder. James Anthony Hanney has listed his nearest relative as living in St. Louis, Missouri and that next of kin’s name is Anna Claray. Is Anna a child of Valentine or perhaps the wife of George? A relationship between Anna and George & Valentine has not yet been proven but we have James Hanney listing Anna Claray and Leo Hanney’s sponsor as Valentine Cleary. And we have William Brady’s next of kin shown as George Clary. This just seems to be too many coincidences to be ignored.

I have not yet proven with direct evidence the connection between William Brady, Clement Hanney and the family of James Hanney and Nora Toohey. But, the preponderance of similar and matching information leads me to believe there is a connection. Regardless of what that connection is I believe the family of James Hanney and Nora Toohey is the family of William Aloysius Brady.

Was William Brady the child of teenagers before the marriage of Nora Toohey to James Hanney?

Was William Brady an orphan child taken in by the Hanney family when he was young?

Was William Brady at birth Clement Stephen Hanney and for some reason decided to change his name?

We know where William Brady was from 1918 to 1956. We can not say for certain where he was from his birth until his Navy enlistment in 1918. But the facts lead me to believe that William Brady was in some way related to the James & Nora Hanney family. And, with a nearly matching list of siblings I have to believe that it was a close family relationship.

David Vernon

October 12, 2006



Family of William Aloysius Brady

Nora Toohey was born in July 1865 in either St. Louis, Missouri or Illinois to the parents Stephen Toohey and Ellen Egan. Her parents listed both locations in the census records. On November 12, 1882 in East St. Louis, Illinois Nora Toohey was married by a Catholic priest to James Hanney. The bride and groom misstated Nora’s age, probably to allow them to marry without parental permission. On November 21, 1882 Nora Toohey was again married to James Hanney. However, this time the marriage was performed by a Catholic priest at St. Patrick’s Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Permission to marry was given by her father, Stephen Toohey, since the Missouri marriage application states she is under the age of eighteen. I suppose the second marriage ceremony was performed since the first ceremony was performed under false pretenses and without parental permission for a child under the age of eighteen years. Nora Toohey Hanney died in January 1904 at the age of thirty-eight after giving birth to eight children, seven of whom lived to become adults. Nora Hanney (nee Toohey) was buried in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

James Hanney was born in 1858 in Pennsylvania to the parents Michael Haney and Catherine Barrett or Barry. It is curious to note that James Hanney spelled his name with two "n"’s, while his father used only one "n" in his name. However, on his Missouri marriage application James Hanney only used one "n" in his signature. Before he married Nora Toohey, James Hanney lived for a time as a boarder in the household of Stephen Toohey. During his entire life James Hanney was a miller or flour packer. After the 1904 death of his wife, James Hanney remarried in 1907. There were no children from his second marriage. James Hanney died in 1938 at the age of 80 years and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

Ellen Hanney was born 25 October 1883 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. Ellen was baptized in St. Patrick’s Church parish. Ellen died in February 1904 just one month after the death of her mother. She is buried in Calvary Cemetery along side or near her mother’s gravesite.

James Anthony Hanney was born 18 June 1886 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. By now the family had moved to a new location in St. Louis and attended Visitation Church parish. James and the rest of the Hanney children were all baptized in the Visitation Parish Church. The parish for Visitation Church was predominantly Irish Catholic and over time the congregation was split among four different churches. In 1882 the parish started a school for the members of the church congregations. It is possible that the Hanney children attended the Visitation parish school. James Hanney left the St. Louis area after the remarriage of his father. It has been said that the young James did not get along with his new step–mother, Kate. James married in 1915 to Laura Parker and fathered four children, Roy Francis, Regina Maxime, William Louis and James. Sometime after 1925 James abandoned his wife and family and reportedly went to South Dakota in search of gold. James has never been heard from again, nor has he been found in any records after 1925. He remains a mystery to the family he abandoned and his descendents.

Clement Stephen Hanney was born 23 November 1888 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. He was baptized in the Visitation Parish Church and may have attended the school at the same parish. Clement is found with his parents in the 1900 census. You would expect to find him listed in World War I draft records but none has been found. Perhaps he died, away from the St. Louis area or perhaps he decided to change his name.

John Francis Hanney was born 15 June 1891 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. He was baptized in the Visitation Parish Church. John Francis was called Frank by his family. Frank was living in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1917 at the time he signed his WWI draft card. Frank Hanney married a woman named Mildred and died in 1956. In 1942, he was living in Danville, Illinois. When he was contacted by a nephew, son of James Anthony, he was reluctant to talk about his family.

Louis Joseph Hanney was born 25 August 1893 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. He was baptized in the Visitation Parish Church. Louis Joseph died at the age of 2 years in November 1895.

Leo Aloysius Hanney was born 12 June 1896 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. He was baptized in the Visitation Parish Church. During World War I Leo served with the United States Army being discharged as a corporal. In 1922 Leo married a Florence M. The 1930 census shows him living in Springfield, Illinois with his wife and a son John. John’s age indicates that he could have been born from a previous marriage. The 1920 census for Texas shows a Leo Hanney that closely matches Leo Hanney from St. Louis but there is not enough evidence to prove this. On both the 1920 and 1930 census Leo is listed as Lee so that is the name he was probably known by. Leo died November 28, 1957 and is buried at the Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. His wife Florence is buried with him.

Loretta Hanney was born 30 December 1898 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. She was baptized in the Visitation Parish Church. In September 1922 Loretta married Lenord (Leon?) F. Roberts. In 1931 Loretta and Lenord validated their civil marriage at Visitation Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Nothing further has been found for Loretta. For that matter the 1920 census shows only the father James Hanney and his second wife Kate living together. All the children have now left the home of their parent.

Regina Hanney was born 20 August 1901 to the parents James Hanney and Nora Toohey. She was baptized in the Visitation Parish Church. Nothing further has been found after the 1910 census record when Regina was a child living with her father and step-mother. As is so often the case, the female children are more difficult to track through records since when they marry they change their name.

James B. Brady was born in April 1865 to parents Thomas and Catherine Brady. The 1870 census lists his place of birth as Illinois. The 1880 census shows James B. Brady living with his parents and siblings; John, Thomas, Alice, Catharine, Owen and Charles. The Thomas Brady family is shown to be living at the residence at 1448 Collins Street, St. Louis, Missouri. In the residence at 1446 Collins Street is the family of Stephen and Ellen Toohey and their daughter Nora. Because of problems with the original 1880 census taken in June 1880 a second enumeration was done in November 1880; both sets of records have been preserved by the Census Bureau. The June census shows Nora Toohey with her parents and the November census shows the child listed as Elenora. By the time of the 1900 census James B. Brady has married a women by the name Mary Quirk. James and Mary married in 1890 and had four children; Harry b. 1891, Leolia b. 1893, Mary Grace b. 1895 and Roy b. 1904. During his entire life James B. Brady worked as a house painter. In the 1920 census all the children are still living at home with their parents and all of them are working in some capacity for the Railroads. The 1930 census shows only the sons Harry and Roy still living at the home of their parents. Harry is working for the railroad and Roy has joined his father as a house painter. The two daughters are now living together, unmarried, in Chicago, Illinois.

James B. Brady died 20 March 1942 at the age of 76 years.

By 1942 Mary Grace was married to Volney King.

Mary Agnes Brady (nee Quirk) died 1 May 1944.

Leolia Brady died in October 1959.

Roy Brady died in March 1961.

Harry Brady died in June 1974.

The entire family except for Mary Grace is buried in a family plot in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

For a time the Brady family and the Hanney family were members of the same parish of Visitation Church. Mary Grace Brady was baptized there on 11 August 1895.

Probably there is more that can be found about the life and family of William Aloysius Brady. Further research may clarify just what the connection was between William Brady and the Hanney family. And perhaps there was a connection between William Brady and James B. Brady.

Is it important to know if our William Brady was born William Brady or Clement Hanney? Perhaps not. Perhaps, it is only important to know what his wife and children thought of him. Mary Kehoe Brady was known to say, "Your father was a good husband and a good father".

Note: October 4, 2006. As expected my search of the San Francisco, California records failed to find any evidence of William Brady and his parents, James and Nora.

Whether the connection between William Brady and the Hanney family was biological or not I believe this was who William Brady called his family. The connection between the names from Aunt Anne’s letter and the Hanney family, the mother Nora Toohey, the next of kin name from William Brady’s Navy documents, the nearest relative name from James Hanney’s draft registration card and the baptismal sponsor for Leo Hanney all just seem to be too many coincidences. All my research has not found any Brady family that coincides at so many points. This just has to be his family.

I sent my thoughts to my fellow genealogy researcher, Jayne, and explained my reasoning and logic. She agrees with me about the connection between Brady and Hanney. Jayne has not been able to find any additional information in her search for her grandfather, James Anthony Hanney. I sent to her some recent information I had uncovered regarding the connections between the Cleary’s and the Hanney’s and also my finding of the marriage of Loretta Hanney.

Jayne is as convince as I am of the William Brady and Hanney family connection. She now has revealed to me some additional information on her James Anthony Hanney branch. Roy Francis Hanney was born 1916 in Waterloo, Iowa. Roy is retired from an insurance company and living in Spokane, Washington. Regina Maxime Hanney was born 1918 in Waterloo, Iowa. Regina is married, a housewife and lives in El Dorado, Kansas. William Louis Hanney was born 1923 in El Dorado, Kansas. William was an architect in Wichita, Kansas and died in 1988. The son of William Louis Hanney, Martin Hanney, has continued the family architect firm. Martin, and his wife Jayne, have five children with two presently enrolled at college. James Hanney, a son, was born 1925 in El Dorado, Kansas and died in 1931.  Roy, Regina, William Louis and James would be cousins to Elizabeth Brady Vernon and Uncle Jim Brady.

The Neighborhoods and Other Family

Collins Street

When Nora Toohey and James Hanney married they were probably living in the house of Nora’s father, Stephen. The house at 1446 Collins Street was situated only three blocks from the Mississippi River in the area known as North St. Louis.

This large area was settled by waves of immigrants, first German, then Irish and later Italian, Polish and Jewish. The German Catholics settled in the vicinity of Eleventh and Biddle Streets and German Protestants in the Carr Square area. The first Irish immigrants colonized the area which later became St. Patrick's parish around Sixth and Biddle. About 1842 an Irish group from County Kerry settled in what later became Kerry Patch in the vicinity of 18th and O'Fallon Streets near Cass Avenue. Other Germans settled north of Cass Avenue in an area called "Little Paderhorn" and later spread northwestwardly. After 1870 large numbers of Poles settled in the Kerry Patch area supplanting the Irish. The German Protestants around Carr Square began an outward migration in the 1880's and were succeeded by Orthodox Jews. An Italian community began to emerge near Seventh and Carr Streets after the turn of the century. By 1920 the area north and west of downtown assumed a polygot character of mixed nationalities including immigrants from Russia and the Balkan countries.

The earliest surviving residential architecture in the area is in the old Village of North St. Louis section where their New England architectural antecedents may be seen in some houses dating back to the 1830's. They are built at or near the sidewalk line, are generally two and a half stories and feature iron tracery balconies and cast iron ornamentation. These houses, with their shuttered windows and the brick sidewalks across their fronts, give an appearance which echoes the Colonial and Federal style neighborhoods of old Boston and Philadelphia

To the north of Carr Square was "Kerry Patch", inhabited by Irish immigrants from County Kerry in Ireland. The Irish occupied the homes under "squatters' rights", having no title to the land on which they were built. However, the tract was owned by a sympathetic family of Irish descent, the Mullanphys. The amiable, aggressive Irishmen became police and firemen and involved in politics, producing some well known lawyers, doctors, editors and government figures. The "Patch" has been completely obliterated by public housing, which displaced brick slums occupied by blacks since the 1930's.

The oldest of the Roman Catholic churches of the Near North Side was St. Patrick's at Sixth and Biddle Streets. Its cornerstone was laid in 1843 and the church was dedicated in 1845. It was originally a Gothic brick structure with a 190 foot spire, which was destroyed by the tornado of 1896. The church was built by Francis Saler on a site donated by Mrs. Ann Biddle. Its interior was quite ornate with an elaborate marble altar, said to have been one of the nation's finest in the 1880's. Its Irish parish was the most populous in the city in 1883, but declined in size in later years although infused with other nationalities.


Newstead Avenue

About 1884 the family of James and Nora Hanney moved to a new location at 1700 Newstead Avenue. Living with them were Nora’s parents, Stephen and Ellen Toohey. The streets of St. Louis were reorganized, renamed and renumbered before 1900. The house in 1900 was numbered 1400 N. Newstead Avenue and is centrally situated in the Grand Prairie neighborhood. Grand Prairie was completely urbanized by 1900.

From a beginning as a sparsely settled countryside in the 1860's, the Grande Prairie area experienced a gradual urbanization. This build-up followed a westward trend across Grand Avenue, beginning about 1870, and progressed into the first decade of the twentieth century. Among the many people moving into the area were significant number of German and Irish immigrants as well as a few blacks. Prior to 1900, the population of the area was generally white. The Grand Prairie neighborhood is bounded by N. Grand Blvd. on the east, Delamr Blvd. on the south, N. Kingshighway blvd. on the west and St. Louis Ave. on the north.

The Church of Our Lady of Visitation was one of the first to be founded in the West End being proceeded only shortly by Holy Ghost Church. Since the only other church available was St. Teresa's on Grand Avenue, this circumstance led to the formation of Visitation parish in 1882.

Archbishop Kenrick commissioned Rev. Edward Fenlon to organize a church and word of this reached Samuel Cupples, a prominent Methodist layman, who offered a two acre tract at Taylor and Evans Avenues as a site for the church. This offer was graciously accepted by the Archbishop and a frame building was erected thereon to serve the parish's thirty families. This church was dedicated on November 9, 1882 and contained a bell which was also a gift of Mr. Cupples. A parochial school was built in 1883, followed by a rectory and a convent. Father Fenlon was succeeded by Rev. Edward Dempsey in 1907 and two years later the cornerstone of the present church was laid. The new building was dedicated by Archbishop Glennon on November 11, 1909.

North 13th Street

Between 1901 and 1910 the family again moved and this time it was to 2917 N. 13th Street. They are back in the North St. Louis neighborhood. Also, the Yeatman neighborhood is located between the area of North St. Louis and Grand Prairie neighborhoods. While the Hanney children may have started their schooling at the Visitation Parish School in Grand Prairie I believe they finished at the school at St. Bridget’s Parish in Yeatman.

Three Roman Catholic parishes are associated with the Yeatman neighborhood. These are St. Bridget of Erin, St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Leo. The earliest of these was St. Bridget's whose first church was erected in 1853 adjoining the site of the present church at the northeast corner of Jefferson Avenue and Carr Street. The present church was dedicated on December 2, 1860 and is built in a mixture of Gothic and Byzantine styles.

By the 1880's, the older brick church was used as a school for boys in the charge of the Christian Brothers. The girl's school was situated in a four story building on the northwest corner of Jefferson Avenue and Carr Street. It had 12 rooms and a capacity of 700 pupils.

In 1883, the parish contained about 5,000 persons, mainly Irish from nearby Kerry Patch. For 36 years the parish flourished under the esteemed Father William Walsh.

St. Bridget of Erin Church was founded on Jefferson and Carr, with the present church dedicated in 1860. John Christopher Fittman (1853-57) was the first pastor, followed by Father David Lillis (1857- 1862). Father William Walsh was instrumental in the early church. Rev. J. J. Ryan was an assistant in 1875. Monsignor Walsh died in 1898 and was succeeded by Rev. Edward Fenlon.



The neighborhood to the north of Grand Prairie and Yeatman was known as the Fairgrounds. In addition to the residential portions of the neighborhood this was the site of the St. Louis Fair. The fair grounds were situated on a site of more than fifty acres. The St. Louis Fair was at its’ prime during the late 1870’s and after 1883 started to lose some popularity.

Across from the fairgrounds were the baseball fields and stadiums. Baseball was introduced to St. Louis in 1860 and was widely popular. In 1871 the first ballpark was built, originally known as Grand Avenue Ball Grounds. The park was later known as St. Louis Baseball Park and Sportsman’s Park. In 1876 the St. Louis Browns were charter members of the National League Club and played at Sportsman’s Park. In 1882 the Browns started to play in the American Association. A second major league franchise played in the expanded National League until they were sold in 1898 and moved to Cleveland. The Cleveland club relocated to St. Louis and the team was renamed the Cardinals. A new stadium built in 1892 was to be the home of the Browns and later the Cardinals until 1920.

The Extended Family

Nora Toohey Hanney’s parents were Stephan Toohey and Ellen Egan. Ellen Egan emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1852. Ellen’s parents were John Egan and Ellen Ryan. Ellen Toohey died in September 1903 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery. Various sources place her birth between 1838 and 1840. Stephen Toohey emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1863. Stephen’s parents were Stephen Toohey and Honorah Nevin. Stephen Toohey died in May 1904 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery. He was born about 1830. Stephen Toohey and Ellen Egan married in May 1864 and Nora was born in July 1865. Stephen Toohey and Ellen Egan Toohey’s daughter Nora was named for Stephen’s mother Honorah Nevin. The 1900 census shows Nora’s parents living with the Hanneys in the house on Newstead Avenue. Ellen Toohey states that she has had two children and one child is living; that would be Nora. Nora Toohey Hanney died in January 1904 at the age of 38. A month later in February her first daughter, Ellen, would also die. Between September 1903 and May 1904 there were four deaths in the Hanney/Toohey home on Newstead Avenue; Ellen Toohey, Nora Hanney, Ellen Hanney and Stephen Toohey.

James Hanney’s parents were Michael Haney and Catherine (Katherine, Kate) Barrett. For some reason James Hanney chose to spell his name with two n’s. His father and brothers spelled their name with a single n. There may have been some disagreement between James and the rest of the family. This is presumed because of the different last name spellings and the fact that none of James’ siblings appear to have been named as baptismal sponsor for his children. Michael Haney emigrated from Ireland to the United States about 1857/1858. His oldest son, John, was born in England between 1855 and 1857. The next child, James, was born 1858 in Pennsylvania. Michael Hanney was born about 1830 in Ireland and listed his occupation in the 1880 and 1900 census as a blacksmith. Michael died in January 1903 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery. Catherine Barrett was born about 1831 in Ireland. She and Michael Hanney married before 1857 in either Ireland or England. Catherine died in June 1889 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery. Michael and Catherine Haney had seven children; John born about 1855/57, James born 1858, Mary born 1861, Steven born 1867, William born 1870, Joseph born 1873 and Thomas born 1875/1879. John and James are the only children known to remain in St. Louis, although it’s possible that Thomas and Joseph also stayed. I was not able to trace any of the daughters so it is unknown if they stayed or left St. Louis.

My research tells me there was a group of Irish immigrants that settled in St. Louis, Missouri from County Kerry, Ireland. The neighborhood they settled in was to become "Kerry Patch". The "Patch" was close to the Hanney and Toohey homes on Collins Avenue and N. 13th Street. Michael Haney’s family also lived in the area. The Haney home in 1880 was at 1240 8th Street just a few blocks from Stephen Toohey’s family and a little closer to the "Patch". Michael Haney would remain in this neighborhood until he died, while James Hanney, his family and in-laws would, for a time, live on Newstead Avenue.

There was a group of Toohey immigrants that settled first in St. Louis then moved to Knox County, Missouri. This group of Irish immigrants was from County Clare, Ireland. Perhaps Stephen Toohey’s family was a member of the County Clare clan but decided to remain in St. Louis.

As you glance through the 1880 census for the neighborhood surrounding Collins Street there are Irish names in every household. The friends and neighbors of Nora Toohey Hanney and James Hanney would become their extended family. Julia Lynch is living in the Collins Street home in 1880. Julia is a witness to the marriage of Nora Toohey and James Hanney in 1882 and in 1893 she is a baptismal sponsor for their child, Louis Joseph. Julia’s mother, Lizzie, lives only a few houses away from 1446 Collins St.

The family of Michael J. and Elizabeth Cleary appear to have the most connections to the family of James and Nora Hanney. Elizabeth Cleary was born Elizabeth Burgess. Her brother, Phil, was a baptismal sponsor for Louis Joseph Hanney. Both the Cleary family and the Burgess family lived within one or two blocks from the home on Collins Street. The baptismal sponsors for Loretta Hanney are Michael J. and Elizabeth Cleary.  On the first record of this baptism it is impossible to read the last names.  However, a different copy of the record confirmed the last names as Cleary.  A child of Michael and Elizabeth Cleary, Cornelius Valentine Cleary (born February 14, thus Valentine) is named as the baptismal sponsor for Leo Aloysius Hanney. Another child, Anna Regina Cleary, is the Anna Claray noted on James Anthony Hanney’s World War I draft registration card. In the U. S. Navy file for William Brady is noted his nearest relative, George Clary of St. Louis, Missouri. I believe George Clary is actually Gerald B. Cleary another child of Michael J. and Elizabeth Cleary. The difference in the names is either from a misspelling or Gerard was known as George.

Frank Krewet, another neighbor, is the baptismal sponsor for James Anthony Hanney born 1886. John and Margaret Stapleton are the baptismal sponsors for Regina Hanney born in 1901, the last child of James and Nora Hanney. John and Margaret Stapleton are shown on the 1880 census living next door to Stephen, Ellen and Nora Toohey.

Louis Joseph Hanney was born in 1893 and died in 1895. Buried in the same grave site is Lizzie Lynch, mother of Julia; Nora Byron, a neighbor of the Lynchs and Tooheys; and Mary Toohey, relationship is undetermined. Mary’s age would indicate that she is a sister or sister-in-law to Stephen Toohey. A Mary Toohey is listed as the baptismal sponsor for James Anthony Hanney. In the 1880 census there is a Mary Toohey, wife of a John Toohey, living on Collins Street, a few houses away from Stephen, Ellen and Nora Toohey.

Other baptismal sponsors for the Hanney children include O’Neill, O’Brien, Nolan, Burke and McCann.


David Vernon

October 24, 2006

Note:  Additional research has shown that the Clearys, Burgess, Lynchs, Byrons and Stapletons are all related to Ellen Toohey (nee Egan).  Ann Burgess, Elizabeth Lynch, Honora Byron and Johanna Stapleton are sisters of Ellen Egan Toohey.  Elizabeth Cleary is the daughter of Ann Burgess.  Julia Lynch is the daughter of Elizabeth Lynch. 

The Final Chapter