From the Albany Evening Journal, Watervliet news section, Saturday, May 3, 1902:
A meeting will be held this evening by the old members of the Oswald Hose Company. The meeting will be held for the purpose of placing in the company’s quarters the head of “Nell,” who was the first horse ever owned by the company. “Nell” for over twenty years hauled apparatus to fires and became greatly attached to every member of the company, and it was with the greatest sorrow when she was obliged to quit the service.
The members fearing that she would be sold by the commissioner, raised a sufficient sum for her purchase, and placed her upon a farm in Colonie about three years ago. She then became sick, and it was thought best to end her suffering by chloroform, which was done.
The members decided to have the head mounted in a suitable manner, and the members will meet this evening, when the head will be dedicated, after which a spread will be enjoyed.
1. The Oswald Hose Company was, of course, in Watervliet. I was looking at volunteer fire companies in West Troy/Watervliet because my great-grandfather Joseph Haigney served in Watervliet’s Gleason Hook and Ladder company.
2. I’m continually struck by how 19th-century ancestors could be so much more sentimental and, at the same time, so much less squeamish than we are today.
3. First the head, then the spread. I prefer a simple tailgate, myself.
Recently, I came across the death notice for one of my great-grandfathers, Peter Kelleher, who lived with my grandmother and her family during the last years of his life.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, Wednesday, April 13, 1932, Page 10
PETER KELLEHER died Tuesday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Raymond Haigney, 519 Court St. He was the husband of the late Catherine Kearney and is survived by his daughter; two sons, Frank and Michael McKenna; a brother, Bernard Kelleher, and a sister, Mrs. Harry Scofield. The funeral will be held on Friday at 9:30 a.m. from his home; thence to St. Mary Star of the Sea Church; where a solemn mass of requiem will be celebrated. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
1. Peter Kelleher was the father of my paternal grandmother, Margaret Kelleher Haigney. My father, Peter J. Haigney, was named for him (over my grandmother’s objections, but that’s another story.) He was born in 1864 in Leitrim, Ireland.
2. The two sons listed, Frank and Michael McKenna, are actually stepsons. My great-grandmother, Kate Kearney, was the widow of Peter McKenna before marrying Peter Kelleher.
3. Well look at that: I hadn’t heard of my great-grandfather’s sister, Mrs. Harry Scofield, before reading this obituary and am trying to find out more about her.
Today’s clip is another in a series of articles about birthday parties for my great-great Aunt Maggie (Haigney) Roache (or Roach, or Roche). I know — I think it’s a little odd myself, and I used to be in journalism and everything. What can I say; the Troy Times Record just kept covering her birthday parties. I’m beginning to get the feeling she was buddies with somebody on the city desk.
A few months ago I wrote about this article and did a partial quote of it, but to be thorough for my NewsClips project, I’m including the full text here. It’s another engagingly written story with charming details about Maggie’s feisty personality. However, as my notes indicate, it contains inaccuracies, too. You do have to be careful about newspaper stories. But they can be tremendously valuable in pointing out new avenues for research.
Today’s NewsClip is the obituary of my paternal grandfather, Raymond F. Haigney. Raymond’s sudden and early death from a heart attack removed him from the family picture well before I was born, and until just a few years ago I had not even seen a photo of him.
Coronary disease, sad to say, is a big factor in recent family history — my paternal grandmother also died of a heart attack, as did my father, Peter, at age 59. It being hard to ignore a pretty striking family medical pattern, I thought genealogy research might provide some insights. So I guess you could say that Raymond F. got me into genealogy.
I’m offering this for Amanuensis Monday, and selfishly including it in my NewsClips file too. It was the most fantastic find from my unexpected bonanza of Troy, N.Y. newspaper clippings.
My great-great-aunt Maggie Haigney Roche and her sibs certainly had their share of publicity over various birthdays, but nothing topped the ink Maggie got in 1958, when a features reporter for the Troy (N.Y.) Times-Record sat down for a talk with her as she turned 88. The result? A personality profile that not only yields the date of Maggie’s parents’ marriage, but also gives an irreplaceable sense of Maggie’s lively personality. I so want to find out who Maggie’s PR rep was.
(Amanuensis Monday is the ongoing initiative by John Newmark at TransylvanianDutch in which participants transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.)
For Maggie’s moment in the spotlight, read on:
Today’s NewsClips transcript is a great example of how the right newspaper article can save you lots of poking around. Here’s the scoop on the 90th birthday party given for my great-great-aunt Margaret Haigney Roche — and what it tells me, besides the fact that the party sounds like fun.
The Times Record, Troy, N.Y., Saturday Evening, January 16, 1960 • “Woman, 90, Honored At Verdoy”
Mrs. John Finch of Kelly Road, Verdoy, was hostess to friends and neighbors at her home Monday to honor Mrs. Margaret Roche of 2509 Second Ave. Watervliet on her 90th birthday.
Mrs. Roche, daughter of the late Sgt. Martin Haigney and Mrs. Haigney, was born in Watervliet on Jan. 11, 1870. Her father was stationed for 42 years at the Watervliet Arsenal.
Mrs. Roche is the widow of James Roche who died more than forty years ago. At this time Mrs. Roche moved to Island Park, L.I., and made her home with the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Walker. After many years she and her sister, Mrs. Walker, came to Verdoy and made their home with their brother, Martin Haigney in Best apartment, Kelly road, and Kennette apartment. [sic] After death [sic] of Mrs. Walker in 1957, Mrs. Roche and her brother moved to Watervliet. The brother is a Spanish-American War veteran. His 90-year-old sister keeps house for him.
At Monday’s party the hostess presented the guest an orchid and the table setting was a beautiful birthday cake sent by the Pittard Baking Co. of Latham.
Following an afternoon of picture taking and gift openings, a lunch was served when Mrs. Roche cut her cake and blew out the candles. She has all her faculties and does all the business for herself and her brother.
Now, what helpful information does this article contain? Besides the part about the orchid? Just off the top of my head:
• Margaret’s address in 1960.
• Margaret’s exact birth date.
• Her father’s military rank and service (although from other records, it appears that “Sgt.” may have been an exaggeration).
• Margaret’s husband’s name and a time frame for his death date (“more than forty years ago” in 1960).
• Her sister’s death year.
• A rundown of Margaret’s other residences (contrary to what I’d thought, she moved outside the Troy-Watervliet area for a time).
• Information on her brother’s military service (“a Spanish-American War veteran”).
Not bad for a throwaway social item, right?
P.S. No Google result for “Pittard Baking Co.” in Latham, but there is still a listing for a “Pittard’s Cookie Jar Catering Co.” Just FYI.