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   Born on:  31 May 2004 
   Updated: 01 Sep 2011

Maurice Higgins
from Kulfenane to the Hudson

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Update 09/01/2011

A Submission from Clare H Higgins
Date: 31 May 2004 - updated 09/01/2011
Area: Ireland, USA, New York

 

- Morris Higgins and Catherine Flanagan -

Morris (also spelled Maurice and Muiris) Higgins was born some time between 1805 and 1815 in County Mayo, Ireland. No records exist of his birth or baptism. All we know of his early life is that his father (born in 1790), and his grandfather (born in 1765) were both also named Morris.

Catherine Flanagan was born about 1815. Morris and Catherine married on February 2, 1838, in the old Saint Andrew’s Church in County Limerick. The Reverend John Bourke officiated, and the witnesses were Cornelius Flanagan (Catherine’s brother, or father?) and John Fitzgerald. In those days, girls usually married within their neighborhoods, so it’s likely that Catherine was born in Limerick. There are no birth or baptism records for Catherine, and neither she nor Morris ever learned to read or write, so it’s hard to be exact about their birth dates.

Morris and Catherine had at least five surviving children:

  • Ellen, born 1839, Ireland

  • Morris Jr., born 1840, Ireland

  • John, born c. 1843, Ireland

  • Cornelius, born c.1846, Ireland

  • Michael Francis, born 1854, Hudson, NY. Last of Morris and Catherine’s children, and first Higgins child born in the U.S.

Morris Sr. emigrated to the U.S. alone in 1850 and later sent for his family. His grandson's (Edward Lawrence Higgins) research notes say that "three or four children came too." This must refer to the four children above, and then one more child was born in Hudson, NY, where Morris and the family eventually settled.

But the research notes also say that Morris and Catherine had 14 children, and lists them by name: the five above, plus James, Catherine, Francis, Thomas, Edward, William, and three "Unknowns." The ones above are the only ones we are certain came to the U.S., and the only ones we have information on.   What happened to the others?   Re the "Unknowns," were their names forgotten, were they stillborn, or did they die in infancy?

When Morris left for the U.S., he and Catherine had been married 12 years. Catherine could only have had a baby every two years, meaning she could not have had more than six children by the time Morris left, unless there were some twins. After she rejoined Morris in Hudson in 1853, she had her last child, Michael, in 1854, making a total of seven. If other children existed, they may have died in the famine, or never left Ireland.

Some names in Hudson censuses match their names, but this doesn't prove anything.

The number 14 is likely a mistake. Edward Lawrence probably interviewed his father, uncles and aunts about the family history, but his father was the youngest of the family, so he would've known the least. As for his uncles and aunts, they were old by the time he started his research (1920's) and may not have remembered things perfectly. This matter is being researched.

Here is the actual timeline for the Higgins family's coming to America:

1850: Morris Higgins Sr. came alone, arriving in New York City. He worked in the U.S. for three years, presumably to save the money to send for his family.
 

Questions being investigated:

  • Where did Morris stay during the three years? His name doesn't appear in the censuses or the business directories for either New York City, or Hudson, NY, or anywhere in Columbia County during that time. Perhaps he got left out by mistake?

  • Where did Morris' family stay while he was in America? Did they have to go to a poorhouse or a workhouse?

1853: Catherine Higgins came, bringing sons Morris Jr. and John. The family settled in Hudson, NY.

1854: Morris & Catherine's daughter Ellen Higgins came, bringing younger brother Cornelius, and they joined the family in Hudson.

The 1855 Hudson census shows the whole family, with one new addition: Michael Francis Higgins, born in April 1854. He was the first of our Higgins ancestors to be born in the U.S.

In this census, Ellen is listed as "Aaron." This may be because when the census taker asked Morris Sr. for the names of his family, Morris said "Ellen" with such a thick Irish brogue that the census guy thought he said "Aaron." Morris also said "Aaron" was 16, which was Ellen's age when she came over.

About Ellen Higgins

As noted above, Ellen was born in 1839 in Ireland, the eldest surviving child of Morris and Catherine. She came to America in 1854, age 16, bringing her younger brother Cornelius with her. She and Cornelius joined the family in Hudson.

Ellen's name is not found in the 1860 Hudson census. Apparently she got a job outside the home. In 1863 her mother Catherine died, and in the 1865 census, Ellen is back with her father and her brothers, presumably to take over the housekeeping now that her mother was gone. Morris Sr. died on April 4, 1879. In the 1880 Hudson census, Ellen's name does not appear, but she reappears in the 1900 Hudson census, now 60 years old. I'm just not 100% sure that this is our Ellen, since it's such a common name.

Ellen's brother John was killed in the Civil War in 1863.

Source: New York Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts
John Higgins enlisted September 6, 1862 at Hudson, New York for 3 years service. He was mustered in on November 1, 1862 in as a Corporal into Company "A" 159th New York Infantry. He died May 18, 1863 at New Orleans Louisiana from effects of a gun shot wound received in action at Irish Bend, Louisiana on April 14, 1863.
Personal Information: Born Ireland, Age 18 1/2, Occupation is as a Moulder, Blue eyes, Black hair, 5 ft 9 1/2 in tall.

http://dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/159th_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdfHIGGINS,

JOHN.—Age, 18 years. Enlisted, September 6, 1862, at Hudson, to serve three years; mustered in as Corporal, Co. A, November 1,1862; wounded in action, April 14,1863, at Irish Bend, La.; died of his wounds, May 18,1863, at New Orleans, La.

Her brother Michael moved to New York City in 1886. Her brother Morris Jr. moved there also but I don't yet know when. In 1900, only Ellen and Cornelius and his wife Bridget were still living in Hudson. Bridget died in 1906, and Cornelius moved to Hartford, CT and lived with his daughter and her family until his death in 1918. Michael died in 1921 and Morris Jr. died in 1923. Ellen seems never to have married. I don't know when she passed away. I'm still investigating this.

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View 1860 Hudson NY Census Scan 

Name Age
Morris Higgins 40
Catharine Higgins 40
Morris Higgins 20
John Higgins 16
Cornelius Higgins 13
Michael Higgins 4


 
 
PHOTOGRAPHS

Click for a Larger View  Michael Francis Higgins 1919

 See Michael Higgins' Obituary from the October 17, 1921 New York Times

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31 May 2004
 Contact Clare
 


Other Higgins in Hudson, Columbia County, New York
* Relationship to above Higgins families awaiting verification

View 1870 NY Census Scan   Morris Higgins    age 30
Head of Household

1880 Census Household:

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age
Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace 

Maurice HIGGINS  Self M Male     W 40 IRE Moulder IRE IRE 
Maria B. HIGGINS   Wife M Female W 35 NY Keeping House  IRE IRE 
John HIGGINS       Son S Male     W 15 NY Works In News Office IRE NY 
Maurice HIGGINS   Son S Male     W 13 NY Attending School IRE NY 
Cornelius HIGGINS Son S Male     W 12 NY Attending School IRE NY 
James HIGGINS     Son S Male     W 10 NY Attending School IRE NY 
Francis HIGGINS    Son S Male     W  4 NY IRE NY 

Source Information:
Census Place 1st Ward, Hudson, Columbia, New York Family History Library Film 1254821 
NA Film Number T9-0821 Page Number 293D 


1880 Census Household:

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age
Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace
 

Cornelius HIGGINS Self M Male    W 33 IRE Keeping Saloon IRE IRE 
Bridget HIGGINS   Wife M Female W 32 IRE Keeping House IRE IRE 
Katie HIGGINS      Dau S Female  W  9 NY Attending School IRE IRE 
John HIGGINS      Son S Male      W  7 NY Attending School IREIRE 
Thomas HIGGINS  Son S Male      W  4 NY IRE IRE 
Ellen HIGGINS      Dau S Female   W  2 NY IRE IRE 
Maurice HIGGINS  Son S Male      W  1 NY IRE IRE 

Source Information:
Census Place 1st Ward, Hudson, Columbia, New York Family History Library Film 1254821 
NA Film Number T9-0821 Page Number 293D 


View 1900 NY Census Scan  Cornelius Higgins age 55
Head of Household

View 1910 NY Census Scan  Catherine Higgins age 65 Head of Household

View 1910 NY Census Scan  James J Higgins   age 20 Head of Household 

Family Resting Place: Hudson City Cemetery , Hudson , NY , Section C, Lot 53.


See another posting by Clare Higgins
http://www.ancientfaces.com/research/story/392439


The above information is reproduced here with the permission of Clare H Higgins, the Submitter. All information remains the copyright of the submitter and may be removed at any time, at their request. 


  
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