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Charles Cone Deasy
1832 - 1898

Submitted by Steve Howard Deasy
©2007

Charles Cone Deasy came to America in 1849. The earliest records in America indicate that he arrived with his wife, Bridget Dooley, and settled in an area around Trenton, New Jersey in the town of Bordentown in Burlington County. According to old records, he came on a sailing ship and the voyage took six months. He or Bridget probably had relatives living in the Trenton area. By 1870 his mother had moved to Trenton and wrote a letter to him responding to a letter he had obviously written her asking his age. She told him that he was "rising in his 38th year." Because of this, it seems that he was born in 1832. If that is correct, he was 16 years old when he and Bridget were married. He and Bridget lived in Bordentown, New Jersey for a few years before he got a job helping build the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N). It's unclear when his mother came to America. She is not listed in the 1850 census in Bordentown. By 1860, Charles is in Tennessee. Charles' father may have died and his mother had remarried and moved to America by 1870, thus she may have had a different last name.

We are unsure of Charles' parents names but there is a record that states that a Cornelius Deasy and Honora Harnedig from County Cork had a son born around 1803 named Charles Cornelius Deasy. (According to people that I have spoken to both in Ireland and in the U.S., Cornelius is sometimes shorted to "Con.") Cornelius had several wives. His first wife was Honora Collins. They had two children born in Kilbrogan Chapel, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. The oldest was a son named Charles Cornelius Deasy born around 1831. They also had a daughter named Ellen who was baptized on July 6, 1837, in Kilbrogan Chapel in Bandon. Honora died shortly after giving birth to Ellen. His second wife was Mary. According to documents, she was alive after March 11, 1861, when Cornelius died and she buried him in Ballymodan Roman Catholic Cemetery. The records indicate the family was "wealthy" owning 96 acres of land. (In 1880 a Mary Deasy (Dacy) aged 79 was living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to the 1880 Pennsylvania Census. Charles' mother had moved to America by 1870 when she wrote him from Trenton, New Jersey. Trenton and Philadelphia are geographically close to each other. In the letter she said she had no one but her "half-sister's children to see me." In the 1880 Pennsylvania Census, Mary Dacy was living with: Henry Wadsworth, age 69 (Physician); his son-in-law Thomas S. Neale, age 24 (Clerk in railroad office); his daughter Jennie, age 23 (housekeeper); Mabel Neale, age 1; and William Wadsworth, age 11 (at school). According to the old Irish naming patters, the first daughter is named after the mother's mother and the second daughter named after the father's mother. If that is the case, Charles' mother's name may have been Mary because he named his second daughter Mary Jane. Since his natural mother may have died when Charles was young, he may have named his second daughter after his step-mother, Mary, who raised him.

Letters to Charles from 1865, after the Civil War, from Bordentown mention the family name of Dooleys. One letter is from Bernard Dooley. In this letter, Bernard says that "John Dooley had written him a letter saying he was well. I believe that this possibly could have been a mention of Bridget's father. At the time of this letter, Bridget had been dead for about seven years.

Family bible records and oral history tells us that Bridget Dooley and Charles Cone Deasy were married in Ireland on October 15, 1848, and came to America soon afterwards. Katherine Mathias Bowers, great-granddaughter of Charles and Bridget told me she remembered hearing that Charles' father was against Charles and Bridget marrying and that Charles and Bridget eloped. She also said the newlyweds boarded a ship bound for America as Charles' father and his 'hound dogs' tracked them down to the water's edge. The newlyweds' ship, however, was far enough from shore that they safely waved from the ship never to see the elder Deasy again.

According to Mrs. Bowers, one of Charles' sisters may have come to America with Charles and Bridget. She remembers hearing stories of Katy, a sister of Charles, who came and met a man on board the ship, or after arriving in New Jersey, and married him. Other relatives hear of a brother coming with him. No records of either sister or brother have been found as yet. There is a John Deasy, born in 1832 in Bandon who came to the United States and joined the Army moving to New Mexico where he married and raised a family. The descendants of a John Deasy (who changed the spelling to Deacy) now live in California.

Children of Charles Cone Deasy, Sr. and Bridget Dooley:

In his bible, Charles has the name of "John E. Deasy 327 DePaw Avenue, Buff(alo), NY". I have tried for years, with no luck, to find out who this John Deasy was. It could have been his brother who came to America with him or a relative who was already living here when he and Bridget arrived. While Bridget and Charles lived in Bordentown, they had a number of children who died either at, or shortly after, birth. Their daughter, Catherine, was born in Bordentown in 1851. The second child born in Bordentown was named John Deasy on April 19, 1852 in Bordentown. The family bible also states that he and Bridget lost children in 1855, '56, '57 and '58.

Charles was granted his United States Citizenship on April 13, 1855, in Ritchie County, Virginia (now Ritchie County, West Virginia) where he swore allegiance to the United States. (His name is spelled "Desy" in this document.

The 1860 census, taken on July 10, 1860, in Sumner County, Tennessee, lists: Charles Deasy (spelled Dacy) 32 years old; his wife Bridget as 30 years old; James Edward eleven years old; Catherine nine years old; John, seven years old; Mary, five years old; and Charlie who was 6/12 (six months old). Charles owned no real estate and the value of his personal property was placed at $150. His occupation was listed as a "miller."

In a genealogy of the Deasys, children "Jack" (John) and Mary Jane (Mary as listed in the census above) and "Sis" who married John McNeely and died shortly thereafter are mentioned. According to the Sumner County Archives, Marriages 1860-1870, Catherine Dacy (Deasy) married John McNeily (different spelling but same name) on October 21, 1874, when she was thirteen years and ten months old. The 1880 Tennessee Census for Sumner County lists John W. McNeily but Catherine is not included. According to the family bible, Mary Jane Deasy died in 1882 when she was 26 years and eleven months old. Martha Ellen died when she was fourteen years and eleven months old. Jack never married; Mary Jane never married; William never married and Ellen never married. According to old records, William and Ellen both died of tuberculosis with no mention of the cause of death for the other children.

Katie Sarver Tompkins has left a biography of the Deasys (and many other families from Upper-Sumner County) in the Tennessee State Archives. In it Mrs. Tompkins, who was an amateur genealogist during the 1940s and 50s also states that: "Charles Deasy, Sr., operated a mill on Drake's Creek for Henry Sarver, Jr. (Mrs. Tompkins' grandfather) near what is now called Fowler's Ford (near Fountain Head, Tennessee, and present day Portland, Tennessee. It was a very large three-story building that washed away in the Flood of 1850 (called the May Fresh). Charles Deasy, Sr., lived at what was later known as the Largelere (?) Place when the mill washed away, and continued to live there during the Civil War. During this war, the Yankees stole all of his (live)stock except a few that were on the back of the premises, and which they did not find. At this time he was married to Judith (Adeline) Perdue. In later years she was familiarly known as "Granny Jude." Mrs. Tompkins also writes: "The Deasys of Ireland were of the Roman Catholic religious faith and when Charles Deasy, Sr. and Judith Perdue were married, the ceremony was preformed by a Catholic priest from Kentucky. Since the death of Charles Deasy, Sr., the family has not clung to the Catholic faith, but have all become Protestants."

The ninth child, Isabella, born on October 6, 1862, died the following year in 1863. (In the letter from Charles' mother to him in 1870, she tells him that his "Aunt Isabella's health is miserable.") Isabella was the last child born to Charles and Bridget. Of their nine children only three survived past the age of twenty-one (James Edward, Mary Jane, and Charlie). No records indicate what year Catherine or John died. However, Catherine probably died around 1875-6. John (Jack) is seventeen in the 1870 census but there are no records of John nor Catherine in the 1880 census.

Seven months after the birth of Isabella, Bridget died. She died on December 14, 1863, and was buried in a small cemetery in Fountain Head, Tennessee, where Charles would be buried thirty-five years later, in 1898.

Four months after Bridget's death, Charles married Judith Adeline Perdue. She was called "Little Granny" and "Aunt Judy." She was around seventeen years old at the time of her wedding and Charles would have been around thirty-one. Oral history says Judith may have been part Native American. A story told by Katherine Bowers says that heavy rains had caused Drake's Creek to swell. Judith's mother became very ill and needed a doctor very badly. Judith's brothers were afraid to cross the creek for help because of the rushing waters. Judith saddled a horse, crossed the creek and went into town to get the doctor. It is reported she smoked an Indian-stone pipe and was "full of energy." Judith was the daughter of Martha Booker Smith and Lewis Perdue. Lewis was the son of Eli Perdue and the grandson of Meshack Perdue. Meshack (1756-1836) and his wife Eleanor Dillon Perdue (1760-1838) reappear time and again in the Deasy family tree. (They were Judith's paternal great-grandparents; they were James Curren Clendenning's great-grandparents; they were his wife, Charlotte Perdue's, grandparents; and they were William "Bill" Deasy's wife, Hattie Jane Perdue's, great- grandparents and Clarence Deasy's wife Nannie Belle Dorris', great-great grandparents.).

Children of Charles Cone Deasy, Sr. and Judith Perdue:

In all, Charles was the father of twelve children. Only two, James Edward and Charles, Jr., survived their parents. None of Charles and Judith's children survived them.

Charles, Sr., was a member of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Tennessee from Fountain Head, Lodge No. 326, where he served as an officer for the year ending September 30, 1868. He died on December 9, 1898, and was buried in a small family cemetery (Hollins Cemetery) in the Fountain Head Community of Portland, Tennessee. He is not buried in the Old Fountain Head Cemetery as many believe. A small monument was placed in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Portland, Tennessee, by their great-grandson Douglas Deasy honoring Charles and Bridget. Judith Adeline Deasy survived her husband and was the administrator for his will. She died in 1933 and is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Portland.

I believe Charles Cornelius Deasy was related someway (maybe brother, cousin, nephew) to Rickard Deasy who started the Deasy Brewery in County Cork (Clonakilty) and that young Charles and Bridget eloped and caught one of the Deasy and Company trading vessels heading for England. Charles and Bridget possibly had to catch another ship heading to America. I am not sure if a Deasy ship came to America but it is possible it came to Canada. He and his mother both could read and write which was unusual for the Irish since it was against the law for Irish youth to be educated under British law.


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