Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Elusive John Cronin - Part I

For ten years I have been trying to find out what happened to John Cronin -- husband of Lucy Probert and father of her first five children.  He is listed in the Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky 1880 Census with Lucy and the first four children.  Addie was born later on that year.

I knew that all five children were placed in an orphanage in northern Kentucky in 1884.  On the intake record for the boys, the father was listed as "dead."  That gave me a narrow window to search -- 1880 to 1884.  How hard could it be?

For ten years I have visited the Montgomery County Court House, visited the Kentucky Room at the Mt. Sterling library, searched online and searched digitized historical newspapers.  To make matters worse, there was another John Cronin married to Armilda Hubbard living in Mt. Sterling at the time.  Why couldn't I find my guy?

Last night I was searching through the Kentuckiana Digital Library for the umpteenth time looking for John Cronin.  I know from experience that it can be a tricky thing and that you must try every possible spelling and variation imaginable.  This time I hit pay dirt!

Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY    4-21-1882
Committed suicide?  Why?  Why in Paris, Kentucky* if he was living in Mt. Sterling? Continued searching gave me more clues.  Apparently Richard O'Connor worked in a grocery.  John Cronin was a "Deputy Marshall."  According to a second article, John Cronin had had an altercation with one Richard O'Conner.  As Richard threw "weights" at John, John unloaded his revolver into Richard, hitting his left side and arm. I've not been able to discover any basis for the "bad blood" between them.

Bourbon news (Millersburg, Kentucky): 1881, p.4.

I don't know what Richard O'Conner's beef was, but he lived to die another day -- literally.

Evening Bulletin, Maysville, Kentucky, 3-8-1882.
The article makes it appear as if John Cronin succeeded in actually killing him this time, but I have my doubts.  I came across a marriage record in the Kentucky Marriage Index for a Richard O'Conner of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky in 1883.

 And then there is this notice in the newspaper . . .

Semi-Weekly Bourbon News, September 14, 1883, p. 1.
The article about the shooting does not say why Richard was shot, whether or not John Cronin was arrested, and whether or not there was a trial.  BUT WAIT -- THERE'S MORE!!!  The story takes yet another interesting twist. Be sure to read the next post.  John Cronin - Buried Three Times - At Least!

Note:  If you want to know what happened to John's widow, Lucy, go to this link.
*Additional research proved that John Cronin committed suicide in Mt. Sterling -- not Paris.

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