Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why Cincinnati?

I've always wondered what brought the Ryans to Cincinnati.  I was able to trace Hugh Ryan from Co. Limerick, Ireland to Evansville, IN, to St. Louis, to Iowa and back to St. Louis by the time of his death in 1870.  His widowed wife, Mary Ellen, was left with 5 children at the time of his death (3 had died as children). In preparation for this entry, I focused on gaps I had in the Ryan record and tried to determine what it was that brought the Ryans to Cincinnati following Hugh's death. 

I went to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton Co. and just started reviewing one City Directory after the other.  Many are online.  The earliest I could find all of the Ryans (Mary Ellen, Mary, John, Margaret, Ellen and James Hugh) in Cincinnati was 1880.  By then, the oldest girl, Mary, had married William C. McGinnis. a Cincinnati fireman.  The 1880 Census lists one daughter, Mary.  I believe she had at least one additional daughter (based on the Death Notice for John Ryan). Unfortunately, Mary suffered an untimely death at the age of 36 of "brain fever".  This was the term for what we would currently call meningitis. 

A review of the City Directories shows that all members of "our" branch of the Ryans were living in Cincinnati by 1880.  They moved continuously, living initially on 13th St.  Over the next 20 years, the family moved from 13th  to Cutter and Everett, to Gest , to W. 8th, to Baymiller, back to Everett. to Western, to Liberty to 918 Wade.  Most of the time, John, James, Margaret and Ellen lived in the home with their mother, Mary Ellen.  James Hugh married Mary "Rose" Gross in Ottenheim, KY on June 27, 1888.  The newly-married couple lived with Mary Ellen and the rest of the family the first few years. 

In 1880 when the family came to Cincinnati, Mary Ellen was 50 years old.  Mary was 27 and married to William McGinnis.  John was 21 years old and employed as a carriage painter.  Seventeen year old James Hugh, my g-grandfather, is working as a brass worker.  Margaret is 15 and Ellen is 13 and not yet working outside of the home.

So why Cincinnati?  I've not yet been able to figure out how Mary met her husband, William McGinnis.  However, a member of William's family was a conductor on a railroad that linked Cincinnati to St. Louis.  A more likely theory is that they came to be with "family". There was another Ryan family living here headed by 52 year-old John.  The 1876 City Directory lists John Ryan living at 52 Rittenhouse.  His son, John Jr. is employed as a carriage painter (same occupation as "our" John when he came to Cincinnati).  A daughter, Annie, is a vest maker.  Eventually "our" Margaret was involved in the making of vests.  I think it is possible that John was a brother to Hugh -- an area that will require additional research.

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