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James McAdams and Sarah Fagan


The 1850 Census lists James McAdams2 as 45 years old living with his wife Sarah Ann Fagan, age 38. The eight children were all born in Pennsylvania. The children listed in the 1850 Census are:

  1. Susan,3 age 19 who married a coal agent named John Murphy around 1854. Their children included Frank4, Isabella, Mary, James and Kate. Susan died at the age of 41 in 1872 and was buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery. There is a Sarah Murphy in Section F who died of scarlet fever in 1859 at the age of 2 years 9 months. I believe that Sarah Murphy was Susan McAdams Murphy's daughter.

  2. William3 age 17 who died in January 1865 and was buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery with his parents. I have no record of William having a wife or children.

  3. Edwin,3 age 15 who died in 1878 at the age of 41 and was buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery. Edwin was married. His widow's first name may have been Mary. According to his obituary, Edwin was living at the corner 44th and Davidson Streets, 17th Ward at the time of his death.

  4. Rosanna3, age 12 who later married James Murphy a tobacco manufacturer. Their children were:
    1. Jerome4, born about 1861 in Pennsylvania
    2. Gertie, born about 1863 in Pennsylvania
    3. Irene Catherine [August 5, 1867 - November 11, 1934] whose marriage to Frank J. Hardwig appeared in the Allegheny County Marriage License Docket. Irene and Frank's daughter, Rose M. Hardwig was born in May 1892.
    4. James Murphy, Jr. who was born about 1867 and died on October 9, 1936.
    5. William born about 1869 in Pennsylvania
    6. Estella, born after 1870
    7. Josephine, born after 1870, who later married Charles F. Hager
    8. Robert who was born after 1870 and died on April 5, 1953.
    9. Elizabeth, born in 1872, who married John C. Geary.
      Their Marriage License was recorded in the Allegheny County Marriage License Docket. John died in 1906. Elizabeth died in 1947. They were buried in Section O of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.

    Rosanna died on February 21, 1900 and was laid to rest in the Daly plot, Section O of St. Mary's Cemetery in Lawrenceville. Her obituary states that she died "at the family residence 135 Savannah avenue, Wilkinsburg."

  1. Sarah E.3, age 10 who later married James McPike [1848 - 1902], a grocer. Their children were:
    1. A baby4 born and died in March 1868 in Pittsburgh.
    2. Agnes4, born in June 1869. Agnes died of Scarlet Fever in 1875 and was buried in Lot 235, Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.
    3. Harry4 who married Alice Molloy in 1899. In 1910 Harry and Alice were living with their three children, Mary, then 9, James C., then 7, and Harry M, then 4. Source: 1910 Federal Census for Allegheny County, Enumeration District No. 559, Family 168.
    4. Eliza4 born in August 1873. Eliza died of diphtheria in 1878 and was buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.
    5. Paul4 who was born on December 13, 1877. Paul married Mary Clara Schafer in 1903. Their Marriage License was recorded in the Allegheny County Marriage License Docket.
    6. Pearl4 who was born in December 1880. Pearl married John E. Murray. Pearl and John's daughter was Anna. John died in 1946 and his obituary was published in the newspaper.
    7. Myra4 who was born on February 18, 1882.
      Myra married Robert Emmett Donoghue in 1911. Myra and Robert's children were James R.,5 father of Prof. Daniel J. Donoghue,6 Robert E. Jr.,5 and Jane Donoghue.5
      Robert Sr. died in 1944 and his obituary was published in the newspaper.
      Myra died on October 20, 1947 and her obituary was published in the newspaper. Myra and Robert were buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.
    8. Jerome4 who was born in 1886 and died at 10 days of age. Jerome was buried in Lot 235 Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.
    9. Sarah E. McPike died of bronchial pneumonia on her 83rd birthday in 1925. Her obituary appeared in the Pittsburgh Gazette Times. Sarah was interred in her father's plot Lot 237F, grave #2, St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.

  1. Isabella,3 age 5. On April 13, 1871, Isabella married Michael Daly. Their marriage license was recorded in the City of Pittsburgh Marriage License Docket. Michael reported his birthplace as Pittsburgh, and his age as twenty-seven years. Isabella reported her birthplace as Pittsburgh, and her age as twenty-two years. If Isabella was 5 in the 1850 census, she should have been 26 in 1871, not 22 as she reports, but there are enough other problems with ages of the McAdams family in the 1850 census that I am satisfied that this is our Pittsburgh-born Isabella. The family appears in the 1880 Census, Enumeration District # 140, written page 9. At that time Michael "Dailey" was 35, his birthplace was listed as Canada, and the birthplace of his parents was Ireland. His occupation was Engineer. Isabella was 33. With them were Irene, 8, Bertha, 6, James E., 5, and Ida B., 3. Another son, John D. was born in June 1881.

    In the 1920 census, one of Michael's daughters, Ida 38, was married to an Edward Eichenlarb 34, and there were four children listed on that census: Edward Jr. 14, William 11, John 10, Mary Louise 2. They were listed as living in Michael's (age 74, retired) household. - Source - Ruth Carr writes:

    Isabella McAdams Daly died on November 21, 1918. Her obituary appeared in the Pittsburgh Gazette Times. Isabella was buried in Section O of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville.

    Ruth Carr writes:

    I am a Daly descendant and have a Michael J. Daly 1845-1924 married ca 1870 Allegheny Co. to Isabella McAdams 1845-1918.

    I believe that Michael's parents, Patrick Daly & Catherine Swift were born in Castle Kelly, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. They married in Canada ca 1870 at Kingston, Ontario. Some of the surnames that their children married into were: McGrath, Hayes, Cartmill, Waggoner, Wafer.

  2. James E.,3 age 3. James married Mary Ellen Keally, daughter of Charles Keally, Sr. and Amelia Dunn at St. Mary's Church, 45th Street on January 9, 1873. James and Mary had a son Charles Vincent McAdams, born on November 3, 1873. Charles is pictured in Mary Wertz's wedding picture on the Wertz page. Mary died on November 6, 1876 and was interred in her father-in-law's plot in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery. James married his second wife, Catherine Sullivan [1858-1947], at St. John Baptist Church, Pittsburgh in October, 1880. Catherine was the daughter of Thomas Sullivan and Catherine Welch. James and Catherine had four children: Thomas Joseph [1881-1957], Lydia [1884-1900], James Emmet, Jr. [1886 1944], and Catherine Gertrude [b. 1890], who later married Charles Doering. James died on November 28, 1898 at 319 Ella Street, Bloomfield, and was buried in Section H of St. Mary's Cemetery with his wife Catherine, his sons, and his daughter, Lydia.

    James' wife, Catherine Sullivan McAdams, is pictured with her son Thomas Joseph McAdams at her granddaughter's wedding on the Sullivan page.

  3. Robert3 age 7 months. Robert died of whooping cough at the age of 5 in 1854 and was buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery.

  4. A ninth child, Agnes3 was born was born in 1853. Agnes married Samuel Gallagher in 1890. Their Marriage License appeared in the Allegheny County Marriage License Docket. Agnes and Samuel and had a son, Raymond, and a daughter, Marie. Samuel died in 1925 and Agnes died in 1927. They were buried in Section O, St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville, in the same plot as Samuel's father, Miles Gallagher.
It is of interest to note the families that the first generation of the McAdams family married: the first two daughters married a Murphy, one married a McPike and one married a Gallagher, all Irish families. James E. McAdams married a Keally, and a Sullivan, both of whom probably had parents born in Ireland. The transportation and communication of the day certainly limited a person's contacts to one's own neighborhood and one's own church. Even generations later, families such as the Harts and the McAdames tended to marry within their own neighborhoods.

In the 1850 census two plasterers, Wm. Reynolds and David Fagan and Catherine Brennon were also living with James and Sarah McAdams and their children. Sarah's maiden name was Fagan. David Fagan might have been her brother. It was common for extended families to live together. Catherine Brennon might have been a relative also.

James' neighbors in the 1850 census include carpenters born in Pennsylvania, a stone cutter born in Scotland, a German laborer and a bricklayer with a wife born in Wales. I get the image of a bustling city of the Industrial Age, with lots of new construction, and lots of opportunities for employment.

In 1854, both Sarah and little Robert both died; Sarah of cholera and Robert of whooping cough. Both were buried in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery on Penn Avenue. 1854 must have been a tough year for James McAdams.Sarah Fagen McAdams, St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville, PA Click on Image to See Larger Version

The year 1854 is significant to me because my ancestors, Christian Kenzig and his wife Elizabeth Wagner came to America from Switzerland that summer. By the time the Kenzigs were stepping off the boat, the McAdams family had been in America for over 30 years and had brought a generation of children into the world on American soil.

By the 1860 Census, the four oldest children have moved out. James is still living on Quarry Street. His age was 45 in 1850. He should be 55 in 1860, but his age is recorded as 50. Young James was 3 in 1850 but is 10 years old in 1860. James Sr. has a new wife named Elizabeth who listed her age as 47 and her birthplace as Pennsylvania. In other documents Elizabeth's birthplace is Ireland.

For more information read the transcript of James McAdams' 1862 will.


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Copyright 2000-2001 Nancy McAdams
March 22, 2000
Last update December 6, 2003

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