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Patrick O’Dowd


Patrick O’Dowd was from Dublin Ireland[1]. He was born September 1846[2]. Although the 1910 census showed that he immigrated to the United States, in 1854[3], the 1900 census and his naturalitzation information indicate that he immigrated in 1855 at 9 or 10 years of age. It is unknown whether he immigrated with parents and any siblings.
The oldest record on Patrick was found on the 1870 census
[4]. He lived at the home of Christopher George, the father of his first wife, Mary Matilda George. Mary George did not appear on this census and her relationship to Patrick at this time was unknown.  Patrick was 24 years old and his place of birth was shown as New York. Also, he was shown as a male citizen of the US. Since we know that Patrick was born in Ireland, September 1846, the information shown on the census may indicate that he lived in New York prior to moving to Pennsylvania.
Patrick O'Dowd


D7-312 (Cambria County Pennsylvania Courthouse Record) 2 December 1878 – Naturalization of Patrick O’Dowd Petition to the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County

Naturalization of Patrick O'Dowd Petition
Patrick O’Dowd a native of Ireland who declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States on the 2nd December 1878 in the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County; Name Patrick O’Dowd, Birthplace Ireland; Age 32 years; Allegiance Great Britain when he emigrated Liverpool time of Arrival 1855. Intended place of settlement Cambria Cty having arrived in United States under the age of 18 years. Naturalized in Open Court this 2nd day December A.D. 1878; Vouchers Michael Bradley & Adam Myers Sworn to and subscribed this 2 December 1878. C. F. O’Donnelly, Prothy.


Patrick O’Dowd married Mary Matilda George most likely in the early 1870s. They had four children between 1872 and 1879: Annie A or H, Christopher Patrick, Mary Magdalene (Mathilda) and Margaret Alice.

Patrick’s wife, Mary was the youngest child of Christopher George (1Mar1799-30Oct1880) and Martha/Magdalene Moyers/Meyers (abt1805-?). Christopher and Martha George also had the following children: William Michael (26Jan1825-12Nov1910), Elizabeth Ann (23Jan1828-?), Margarita (14Jul1830-?), Anna (18Feb 1833 or 21 Apr -?), Michael (3Aug1835-?), Michael Adam (1Apr1841-16Jul1910), Silas Paul (abt 1843-?) and Jacob Lance.

Mary’s father, Christopher George was one of the six children of Philip George (abt 1765-26Mar1833) and Elizabeth Dishong (1784-?). His siblings were: Catherine (1Jan1793-?), Margaret (21Sept1794-21May1852), Paul (26Oct1796-30Oct1870), Frederick (19Nov1801/3-1883), and Philip (25Feb1807-12Oct1861).

Mary’s grandfather, Philip, represented the branch of the George family that left the Maryland area and settled in Pennsylvania. The George family was from Holland, Germany. Albright George (abt 1730-June1793) married Caty/Catherine? Albright and Caty had the following children: Caty, Dority, Powell (abt 1750), Margaret Ann (11May1760-?), Paul  (abt 1761-?), Philip (abt 1765-26Mar1833), Michael (abt 1765), and Barbara. Mary’s grandmother, Elizabeth Dishong was the daughter of Morris William Dishong (abt 1735/40-1798) and Catherine Catrow.

By 1876, Pat O’Dowd is listed as having a hotel in the town of Hemlock according the Wiggins and McKillop’s General Directory of Johnstown. [5] The town of Hemlock no longer exists and became Lilly.

Patrick was naturalized in 1887 or 1889 per the 1920 census. This census also showed that Patrick immigrated in 1880, an obvious error.

On the 1880 census, Patrick, an innkeeper, age 33 and his wife, Mary, age 35 lived on Main St. in Tunnelhill. Their daughter, Annie was 8 years old, son Christopher 6 years old, daughter Magdalen 5 years old and daughter Margaret 11/12 years old.[6]

The late 1890s were a difficult time for the O’Dowds.  Patrick’s Son, Christopher, died of injuries April 19, 1898 in an Altoona hospital. His sister, Anne died August 27th of the same year.

The following year, Patrick’s first wife, Mary Matilda George (b 10 Dec 1838 – d 27 Aug 1899), died at her home in Tunnelhill, on Sunday, August 27th, 1899. At this time her husband, Patrick and two daughters survived her, Mrs. William Reilly (Granny) of Elstie, and Mrs. Edward Litzinger, Margaret, of Gallitzin.[7]


Patrick remarried in the early 1900s. His wife, Catherine Matilda Benden Donoughe (b 26 Mar 1845) was a widow of Civil War veteran John Zypherinus Donoughe (Civil War 5th Regi Co D). September 1908, Patrick O’Dowd was named postmaster of Tunnel Hill.[8]

By 1910[9], only Patrick, also known as Paddy, age 63 and Matilda 65, lived and operated a grocery and notions store and Post Office at his Tunnelhill Street address. Patrick, a storekeeper, and Matilda at this time had been married for 8 years.

John Zypherinus Donoughe
John Z Donoughe

Grocery, Notions & Post Office Tunnelhill

Patrick O'Dowd is pictured here with his second wife Matilda Benden Donoughe & daughter Margaret (Margaret is the daughter from his first marriage to Mary Matilda George). They are standing in front of his Grocery & Notions store. (Note: his name is on the sign). This was also the Tunnel Hill Post Office.
Matilda Benden Donoughe O'Dowd & Patrick O'Dowd

Patrick and wife Matilda lived at 635 Tunnelhill Street and were 73 and 74 on the 1920 census. This census indicated that Patrick became a naturalized citizen sometime between 1881 and 1887 (illegible on census). He was still a storekeeper, operating his own grocery store.[10]

Matilda died 20 May 1921 and was buried in Ashville at St. Thomas Cemetery.

Patrick died on 8 February 1922 at his home in Tunnelhill.


Patrick O'Dowd Obituary




Patrick and Mary O’Dowd’s first child was a daughter, Annie (her middle name either Annorah or Honora). Annie was born in 1872. At the age of 19, she married 22-year-old George Frederick LaRue 2 Feb 1892[11]. He listed his occupation as a miner. His parents were Joseph and Nellie LaRue. Annie and George had two daughters, Ellen Matilda LaRue born about 1872 and Annie M LaRue born about 1898.  Annie died 27 Aug 1898.


Patrick and Mary’s second child, Christopher Patrick was born in 1874. Christopher married Annie R Henry. Annie’s father was from Scotland, her mother from Pennsylvania[12] (another census, however, showed that Annie’s mother was born in Ireland). Annie was born in Pennsylvania. She was adopted later in her life[13]. Christopher and Annie had a daughter, Mary M O’Dowd born about 1896 (she never married) and a son Patrick Christopher O’Dowd born 15 Aug 1898.

Christopher O’Dowd, 22 years, died April 19, 1898 in an Altoona Hospital of injuries.[14]
      Patrick Christopher O’Dowd
Patrick Christopher O'Dowd Christopher’s son and Patrick’s grandson, Patrick C. O’Dowd was a veteran of World War I.[15]  Patrick's picture appears in a group photograph that is on display at the museum/gift shop located next to the Gallitzin Tunnels in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania. The photograph is labeled “Welcome Home Celebration held at Gallitzin, PA – September 17, 1918”. 
Welcome Home Celebration - September 17, 1918
Patrick C O'Dowd WWI Registration Card
Patrick’s WWI registration card showed that he was a miner at the Glen White mines. He was 20 years old and his birth date was August 15, 1898. He was tall and stout in stature with gray eyes and brown hair. His nearest relative was his mother, Anna LaRue. While he was registered and may have served time in the military, a report on his registration card shows that he was physically disqualified and had discharged from the army September 12, 1918.

Two years after the deaths of Annie O’Dowd LaRue and Christopher O’Dowd, their surviving spouses, George LaRue, 29 years old and living in Glen White Blair County and Annie Henry, 26 of Tunnelhill married 23 Oct 1900.[16] Annie’s parents were listed as David/Daniel and Harriet Henry.


Patrick and Mary O’Dowd’s third child was Mary Magdalene (Matilda) born 18 Jun 1875.  Mary (called Granny) a resident of Tunnelhill married William Thomas Reilly (2 Mar 1860 – 13 Jan 1919) of Gallitzin in 10 Oct 1893[17]. Neither Magdalene nor William had been married before.

Granny and William were involved in politics and issues of the day, Granny the Democratic chair of Cambria County (date unknown) and William an active member of the Molly McGuires.

Matilda (Granny) O'Dowd Reilly
Matilda (Granny) O'Dowd Reilly

Because the Reilly’s were Roman Catholic, the Ku Klux Klan visited the Reilly’s homestead and burned a cross in their front yard.

During prohibition, Granny operated a saloon/speakeasy in the very building where Patrick O'Dowd had his grocery, notions and Post Office so many years earlier. Many times Granny was one step ahead of the revenuers, thanks to notice given to her by her son-in-law, Peter Parrish, a local policeman.

Granny died 16 Jun 1961.


Between 1894 and 1918, Mary and William had eight children:
      Edward Reilly  (21 Jun 1894 – 6 Mar 1963) who married Mary Brawley (18 Apr 1902 – 17 Apr 1963).
      Alice Reilly (22 Oct 1902 – 4 Feb 1960) who married Thomas Zimmerman (11 Oct 1901 – 15 Oct 1989).
      Julia/Jude Reilly (Jan 1905 – 14 Sep 1967) who married Peter Parrish (28 Oct 1900 - 11 Feb 1960).
      James W. Reilly (6 May 1910 – 14 Sep 1968) who married Catherine Jones (1910 – 1994).
      Francis J. (Brownie) Reilly (7 Nov 1913 – 10 Jan 1982) who married Doris Brubaker (22 Nov 1918 - ).
      Louis (Knute) Reilly (19 Feb 1918 – 4 Dec 2000) who married Mary Louise McGowan.
      Mattilda Reilly (13 Jun 1896 – 14 Oct 1933) who married Hamer Patterson (4 Apr 1897 - ?)
      Ann Marie Reilly (2 Jun 1900 – 28 Jun 1943) who married Mathew Michael Stanley (29 Nov 1893 – 7 May 1951).


Patrick’s daughter, Margaret Alice (1879-?) age 18, married Edward J. Litzinger, age 21, 19 Aug 1897 in Gallitzin.[18] Edward listed his occupation as a laborer. His parents were Simon and Mary Litzinger. There are no known children from this marriage.

Source: Mary Stanley Bayliss Talley
[1] Family record information from Patrick C. O'Dowd, grandson of Patrick O'Dowd as told to Mauvette K. O'Dowd.

[2] 1900 Federal Census, Cambria County, Tunnelhill,, 6Jun1900, Roll:T623-1389; Pg:2A, ED159, Pg 3of 14. The 1900 census showed Patrick’s immigration date as 1855.

[3] 1910 Federal Census, Tunnelhill Borough, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. ED 157,19 Apr, Series T624, Roll 1325, Part 1, Pg 213B. Pg 10 of 14. The 1910 census states that Patrick was naturalized in 1854.

[4] 1870 Federal Census, Washington Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, Post Office Hemlock, 4 Jul 1870, Roll:M593-1318, Pg429, Image 336, Pg 38 of 44.

[5] Cambria County Pa Genealogy web site - 

[6] 1880 Federal Census, Tunnelhill , Cambria County, Pa, 8 Jun 1880, Roll T9-1111; Family History Film 1255111; Page 362C, ED201, Image 0012. Image 11 of 30.

[7] Obit for Matilda O’Dowd appeared in the Cambria Freeman, Ebensburg, PA, Friday 1 Sept 1899.

[8] Gallitzin Memorial, World War II, published Aug1946, page 154.

[9] 1910 Federal Census, Tunnelhill Borough, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. ED 157,19 Apr, Series T624, Roll 1325, Part 1, Pg 213B. Pg 10 of 14.

[10] 1920 Federal Census, Tunnelhill Enumeration District 232, Cambria County, Pennsylvania

[11] No. 3602 - Application for marriage license dated 7 Jan 1892. George and Honora were united by M. Ryan at Gallitzin, Pa.  2 Feb 1892.

[12] 1920 Federal Census, Cambria County, Pa, Gallitzin Twp Eltsie, 5 Jan 1920, ED 232, Pg 3 of 31.

[13] Email from Sandy Conlon, grand daughter of Thelma LaRue. Annie Henry’s adoption records in Schmokin burned in a fire.

[14] Altoona newspaper clipping from Blair County Historical Society in Altoona, supplied by Alice Piccirillo of Ridgway, Pa.

[15] Gallitzin Memorial, World War II, 1946, published Aug1946, page 133.

[16] Application for marriage license dated 16 Oct 1900. George and Annie were united by J. O’Connor at St. Patrick’s in Gallitzin, Pa.

[17] Cambria Court Record, Index Pg 101-1, License Vol-Pg 11-169 Marriage License #4771 issued Sept 29, 1893, Cambria County Courthouse Records, pp. 11-169.

[18] Application for marriage license dated No. 7298 26 Jul 1897. Edward & Margaret were united by M Ryan at Gallitzin 19 Aug 1897.

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