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Francis, son of William Arthur of Limerick

 

Francis was born in Limerick in about 1814.He was the eldest of a large family consisting of 9 boys and one girl. He was the son of William Arthur and Margaret Considine and a brother of Joseph William Arthur of Ennistymon. He was a manager in the large firm of Quinn LTD Limerick who were wine and spirit merchants.. He married a Limerick lady whose name is unknown at present. Of this marriage there was a large family, it is likely that most of these children were born in New York. He arrived in New York on the 28th. July 1847 when he was 25 years of age aboard a ship called Eagle. By 1865 he was living in Brooklyn, Ward 4, District 2, King , New York, his wife Mary was dead a short while and he was raising 7 children tanging in age from 14 to 1. They were called Mary A. Arthur 14 years old, Kate Arthur 13 years old, Anna Arthur 11 years old, Frank A. Arthur 9 years old, William Arthur 7 years old, Emma Arthur 5 years old and lastly John Arthur 1 year old. In 1865 the property where he lived was valued at $3,000 and as this was after the civil war the value of his property had gone down from the $4,500 it had been in 1855. By 1880 Francis had married another Irish lady called Mary ( we do not know her surname) but all the children had moved out and they were on their own.

Francis carried on business as a dry goods merchant in company with his son-in-law, a Mr White. This Mr. White carried on a drapery business or as New Yorkers termed it, a “dry goods store” In 1879 Francis was living in Butler St, Brooklyn. Francis Arthur’s first wife died when his children were young. And after a short time he married again, of this union there were 2 children, a Francis and a girl who later became a Mrs White. Francis was short and stout in appearance. He dressed in typical Yankee style, wearing a moustache. He died in about 1889. We knew little more of this Francis Arthur as he communicated little with his brother Joseph William in Ennistymon.

The other sons of William Arthur of Limerick died either as young boys or in early manhood. These were Edward, Walter, Harry, Patrick and Jemmy seems to have lived on in his grandfathers house (Patrick Arthur of Ennistymon) until his death. He does not seem to have married or have had any children and had a business in the town of Ennistymon. It is thought that after his death that Patrick Arthur's house passed into the hands of his sister Margaret's family who had been living there also. One daughter died young, and of her we have no record.

 

  These are the only two photos containing Minnie Arthur that are known.  

Minnie Arthur

 

Minnie Arthur was the eldest daughter of Joseph William of Ennistymon, born in 1862. She grew up a very beautiful girl and was educated in the local convent of Mercy. Although a good and devout girl she never displayed any predisposition for the religious life in her early years. At the age of 18 she was sent by her parents to Limerick to learn about the confectionery trade at the establishment of a Mrs. Kent. Upon the completion of her training in this business she obtained a post in Clonmel at another confectionary establishment owned by a Mrs Kiely. She kept this position for 5 or 6 years where she became a favourite with all her acquaintances.  About the year 1888 she left Ireland rather suddenly for the United States for some reason or other. Perhaps to save her parents grief or for some other motive she never made reference to. She left without telling her parents and this was a great blow to them. It is believed that she obtained a post in a hospital in that great city. She must have felt very unhappy in a strange land among strangers without a friend.

At her first opportunity she went to Meriden to visit her sister Margaret, then a young professed nun in the Mercy Convent there. We can visualise how this must have been after a 4-5 year separation. They must have shared their innermost thoughts with each other; they spoke of the old home in Ennistymon, of their parents and of their younger brothers and sisters. The visit came to an end and the sisters said goodbye. Minnie took the train back to New York. The visit seems to have made a very deep impression on her. She contrasted her life in New York with that of her sister in the peaceful convent. She now saw the world as she had never seen it before, an inward voice surely urging her to leave all things and follow Him.

Before long Minnie Arthur was in communication with the Rev Mother of the Sisters of Mercy in Brooklyn New York and when arrangements were compiled, she entered the community of that Convent as a novice. She made her perpetual profession 3-4 years after her entrance. After a short time her superiors sent her to take up position among the orphan children of the Guardian Angel House, Brooklyn. In this institute Sr. Mary Augustine as she was now called spent her time working with the orphan children.  She had always enjoyed robust health but in the beginning of Jan 1911 she contracted a severe cold. Her life was drawing to a close and she died at an early age on Jan 6th 1911. 

A few years after her death a gentleman entered the establishment of John Arthur her brother in Clonmel. He approached one of the boys in the house saying “pardon me, sir, I have been attracted by the name Arthur at the front of your shop. John asked him his business and the man said that he was wondering if he knew a Minnie and in a few moments the man produced a photograph of Sister M Augustine as a young professed nun. There she stood arrayed in the immaculate habit of the Sisters of Mercy.” It is indeed Minnie,” John said with great emotion. “Where is she now?” “In heaven I hope” replied the man. The stranger drew his hand across his face, leant over the counter and wept like a child. He left as abruptly as he had entered the establishment giving neither name nor address.

Sister Mary Augustine is buried with her sister in Religion in the Sisters of Mercy Plot in the public Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

 

Madeleine Arthur

 

Madeline was the youngest daughter of Joseph William Arthur of Ennistymon. Born in the year 1880 she was a strong built child up until her 7th or 8th year, when she contracted a serious disease that increased as the years went on. In her 13th or 14th year she fell and broke a hipbone, an accident from which she never recovered. She now became completely bed-ridden, and to the eternal honour of her sister Catherine who remained at the bedside as a faithful and constant nurse. It was thus that one sister sacrificed her future well being and happiness for the comfort of her afflicted sister. Madeleine’s life was a martyrdom. She suffered intensely at times. At last about 1909 she died in a hospice in the charge of the Sisters of Nazareth in Belfast.

  

 

John Arthur with some of his family.

 

 

 

John J Arthur, Clonmel

 

John married Margaret O’Donnell of Kilrush who died on 29th. September 1926 aged approx. 60 years and John died on 30th. June 1951 aged approx. 84 years old.. Their children were John, Joseph, William, Charles, May, Francis and Adelaide, Kathleen (died as a child).  Of this family Joseph married May Franklin and they had two 2 girls, Alice and Margaret. Joseph died on Mary.12th. March 1967 aged approx. 74 years and his wife died on 8th. August 1969. Joseph like his father worked as a photographer.

 

        

 

      


                                          

May Keogh / Arthur Helen Keogh aged twelve.

 
On top a sign from John Arthurs shop in Clonmel and the place where it was shown in the photo of the shop below.
 
 

May married Patrick Keogh of Clonmel; they had two children one child Helen was born in 1924. May died on 1st. May 1928 giving birth to Helen's Brother who unfortunately also died. At present if the baby had been given a name it is not known to us. Patrick died on 18th. June 1940. Helen married Mick Kelly and they had four sons James, Paul, Michael and Joseph. James has one daughter Niamh and two sons Conall and Daire. At the time of writing one of James children Conall has a child born in Jamaica where he lives. Niamh works in I.T., Conall is a lecturer in theoretical mathematics and Daire works in information technology as a corporate problem solver. Paul works in the University of Limerick in the I.T. department. Paul has not married and has no children. Michael was a Primary school teacher and principal and is now retired. He has one son Cormac who works as a CGI artist in Dublin and twins who died in infancy. Joe has two sons Colm who went to Trinity College where he studied law and then to England for further study and has now qualified as a barrister and Briain who is still in college. Helen died on 19th March 2007, Mick has also unfortunately now passed away and they are buried together in St. Patricks Cemetary,Clonmel

Frances married Edward Francis White and had 2 children, Gabrielle who died aged 12 and Frances who married Tom Bourke. Francis and Tom have fourteen children all of whom happily are alive at the time of writing. Francis White has the distinction of being the only person to be elected Mayor of Clonmel for five years in succession sadly he was to die during his fifth year in office.

Adelaide married William Waldron of Clonmel. Adelaide and William never had any children. William died on the 27th. Of July 1974 and Adelaide died on 1st. of February 1991 and she was approx. 88 years old when she died.   

Charles married Margaret Lovett in New York and they had as far as I know two children but I only know the mane of one Margaret who was born in 1936. Although her parents visited Ireland several time they were accompanied by their granddaughter and she seems to have come back once on her own there has been no contact for years and we have no knowledge of what has happened to her. While not certain it is thought that Charles died in New York on January 1984.

John Arthur married for a second time, a Margaret Leonard of Navan but there were no children from this union. Margaret died sometime in the early 1970’s. John's shop passed to a niece of Margaret Leonard John's second wife unfortunately she died within months of her aunt and her husband cleared out the shop and dumped nearly everything (untold numbers of old photos must have been lost) he then auctioned the shop and it was bought by the Clonmel Nationalist.

Francis Arthur

 

Francis married Mary Walsh of Gorey. Their children are Charles and Marie.

Charles was a doctor, and he married Fionnuala Monaghan of White Hall Dublin. They have 2 children, one called Jonathan. Charles eventually went to England where he practiced as a doctor. Charles died and was buried in Watford, Hearts .

Marie married Donny Donovan from Limerick, a lieutenant in the Army and they had 2 children, Francis & Helen..To the best of my knowledge Marie obtained a Church annulment of her marriage to Donny Donovan. She then married Paul Keenan a New Yorker and Vietnam veteran. They lived at Rockaway Point on Queens NY for five or six years. Gabriel Arthur met  Paul in Dublin on one occasion. When Paul passed away Marie returned to Galway and had nice flat on Nuns Island in Galway City. She sold the Arthur home , Sancta Maria on Taylors Hill before she re-married.

 

 

Catherine Arthur

 

Lived at Deerpark House Ennistymon and never married. It is thought that Catherine may have also entered a convent but she must have decided that the life was not for her. She took care of her sister Madeline until she died in 1909.

 

Margaret Arthur (Sister Mary Aquin)

 

Margaret was the third child of Joseph William and Catherine Cooney. She was born in Ennistymon in 1869. She was a very beautiful child and if any character was outstanding it was that of her generosity. As a child and girl it was her delight to share whatever she possessed with her brothers & sisters. When only 5 or 6 years old, through the carelessness of a servant a vessel of boiling water fell on her head. It was thought that she would be disfigured for life, but a local woman knowledgeable in herbal cures made a remedy, one of the ingredients being laurel leaves. The result was that in a very short space of time little Margaret was cured. Not a trace or the slightest mark was left.

Margaret was sent to school to the local Convent of Mercy. She grew up a most virtuous girl, and after passing through the usual curriculum of that school, she became an assistant teacher to the nuns. For a short time Margaret acted as governess to the daughter of Dr William Arthur of Brighton who was her Uncle. Margaret returned briefly to Ennistymon to say goodbye to her beloved ones there. At the beginning of 1886 she made arrangements to enter the convent Meridian in the diocese of Hartford, Connecticut USA.

She had only been a few days at sea when a terrible storm swept the Atlantic from Ireland to America. Tempestuous weather & mountainous seas prevailed. Huge waves broke over the ship and even old sailors on board thought they were in imminent danger of floundering. Margaret was very frightened, but a De La Sale brother on board acted as the Good Samaritan and helped to allay her fears. She entered the convent on 15th December 1886 being in her 17th year. She went through the usual postulantship and after the allotted time received the religious habit, the White veil and name Sister Mary Aquin. The life of a white novice in religion is a very uneventful one, she rose at the first strike of the bell in the morning, made her prayer and meditation, heard holy Mass, taught the children to love God, took part in daily recreations, read spiritual books, examined her conscience, did some study and said her rosary. This was one day in the life of a Sister of Mercy.

Sister Mary Aquin was appointed to teach in St Roses School, Meridian in the Primary grade. She was enthusiastic for hard work in St Rose’s her efforts were crowned with success. Her zealous labours were continued in Derby, New London, Rockville and Torrington. With her pupils and ex pupils she was an exceedingly great favourite. Some of her ex pupils would travel hundreds of miles to see her. Letters she received from her sisters in religion breathed sentiments of the most cordial affection.

She was only 4 years in the States when news of her father’s death reached her. It was a fearful trial to the young nun, but she bore it bravely. She provided spiritual help to her family by the beautiful letters of condolence she sent them. Her mother’s sudden death eleven years later was a stunning blow, but perhaps the greatest trial was the death of her beloved sister Minnie, Sister Augustine in Brooklyn. Minnie was her only known relation in America and great was their joy at their occasional meetings.

On 1930 Margaret was re-appointed to Torrington after an absence of twelve years In September that year an offer made by her brother to send some photographs from Ireland she responded “I think better not to send the album, not but I’d be glad to see it, but life is so uncertain, if I died it would be lost." She was in perfect health when she wrote that sentence, but 3 weeks later she had died.

 

This site and all the information contained in it is © 2017. If anyone wishes to use any of the information except that which is already the public domain you must obtain the permission of the author be by contacting me at mick@thearthurfamilyoflimerickandclare.com