Friday, April 16, 2010

James Hugh and "Rose" Gross Ryan -- My Great-Grandparents - Part I

James "Hugh" Ryan was the 6th of eight children born to Hugh Ryan and Mary Ellen McInerney.  He was born on September 27, 1862.  He was known as "Hugh", which I find interesting because the 5th child was named "Hugh".  The first "Hugh" in the family was born in 1861 in Evansville.  I have a copy of his baptismal record, but I've yet to find out what happened to him.  I suspect he died at a very young age.

Hugh, as I will refer to him from here on out, was my g-grandfather.  Hugh is listed as living with his mother and siblings in Cincinnati from 1880 -1889.   During that time, the family moved from 13th St. to Cutter and Everett to Gest St. to W. 8th St. to 280 Baymiller.  (In 1886, Hugh and his sister Margaret briefly shared a separate address living on 9th Street).  Hugh married Mary "Rose" Agnes Pauline Gross on June 27, 1888 at St. Sylvester Catholic Church in Ottenheim, KY.  I've yet to figure out why their marriage took place in Kentucky.  Hugh's sister, Margaret, and Rose's brother, Julius Gross, were witnesses to the marriage.  When they initially got married, they lived with the rest of the family at 280 Baymiller in Cincinnati's West End.

Hugh's occupation is listed as "core maker" in the 1880 Cincinnati City Directory.  From 1882 through 1894, Hugh's occupation was listed as a "molder".  Hugh was promoted to "foreman" at the American Brass Works in 1895.  In 1897 the family relocated to 979 Clinton in the West End.  I was not able to find a City Directory for 1900, the year my grandfather Roy was born, but the family was living at 428 Plum in Elmwood Place (a suburb of Cincinnati) by 1901.

Hugh and Rose were the parents of nine children:   James Nickelos (1889), Mary Julia Cecilia (1890), Rose Mary Agnes (1892), Margaret Mary Agnes (1894), Florence Margaret (1895), Richard Matthew Hugh (1898), Royal (Roy) Joseph Francis (1900), Mary Beatrice (1902), and Raymond Matthew (1904).

The family was living at 404 Beech St. in Elmwood Place in November, 1913 when Hugh died of pneumonia. I visited the home today to take a picture and the two current residents graciously allowed me to do so.  They had just reseeded the front lawn and planted a garden full of spring flowers.  The home is a two-family, but I do not know if the Ryans occupied the whole house or not.

According to Aunt Evelyn, Hugh was out campaigning in early November 1913 for a candidate for Mayor of Elmwood Place. It was cold and rainy and Hugh became ill.  Hugh's Death Certificate says that he was first under the care of a doctor on November 7th.  He succumbed to pneumonia on November 16th, 1913. His Death Certificate listed him as "Superintendent of the Foundry".  He was only 51 years old.


Family life for the Ryans revolved around the parish Church in Elmwood Place.  St. Aloysius was the home of baptisms, funerals and family marriages.  Before Hugh's death in 1913, the family lost three of their nine children.  Richard died on February 21, 1902 at the age of four of scarlet fever and pneumonia.  Six days later, his seven year-old sister, Margaret, died of scarlet fever and measles.  Both children are buried at St. John's Cemetery in St. Bernard, Ohio.  I can't even imagine losing two children in a week.


The saddest death of all had to be the death of James Nickelos (various spellings).  He was born on April 28, 1889 and died on May 1st, 1911.  Just after his 22nd birthday, James died of diphtheria while aboard the U.S. Ship "Virginia" while it was docked in the Boston Navy Yards.  I recall hearing stories that James father, Hugh, insisted on opening the coffin when his son's body was returned to Cincinnati.  He just could not accept that James was actually dead without personally identifying the body.  All three children are buried at St. John's Cemetery in St. Bernard. They, like their parents, are in unmarked graves.

As this post is getting rather lengthy, I will continue with a focus on Rose in Part II.

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