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James McAdams and Mary Keally


James married Mary [Ellen] Keally. Genealogy information comes from a variety of sources. I was fortunate enough to find a message from Charles Keally Liddell, the grandson of Mary's brother, on the Internet. Charles Liddell provided precious information about the Keally family.

Charles Keally, Mary's father, was born in County Derry, Ireland, in 1821. Amelia Dunn, born in Scotland in 1824, married Charles Keally, emigrated with him to America in 1839-1840. Charles was age 19 and his wife 16. Amelia delivered their son John on board ship 21 July 1839 or 1840. They disembarked in Canada, site not known, subsequently moving to Pittsburgh about 1845, lived in the 9th ward. In the 1870 Pittsburgh City Directory Charles Keally [senior] is listed as "clerk Penn Bt 32nd and 33rd". Amelia and Charles had three other sons, William a banker (chief teller at the German National Bank), Allen Dunn Keally in the lumber business, and Charles Lawrence Keally a well known wholesale grocer-commission merchant. The business of Caskey and Keally was located at Penn Avenue and Forty-Fifth.

James and Mary's Marriage License appears in the 1873 City of Pittsburgh Marriage License Docket, page 215. It reads:

Full name of husband, James E. McAdams
Occupation: Mechanic
Residence, No.: Butler Street, 15th Ward
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Age when married: Twenty Fives Years
Full name of wife previous to marriage: Mary Keely
Residence, No.: Penn Avenue, 13th Ward
Age when married: Twenty Three Years
Date of Marriage: January 9, 1873
Where Married: At St. Mary's Catholic Church 45th Street
Color of parties: White
Ceremony employed: Catholic
Name of person performing the ceremony: Rev A. P. Gibbs
Residence, No.: 45th Street, 17 Ward
Date of Certificate: January 9, 1873
Date of registration: January 12, 1873
My latest theory is that James E. McAdams named his first two sons after his fathers-in-law. Joe McAdams of the McAdams Historical Society in Sherman Oaks, California tells me that Scotch-Irish men traditionally named the first son after their father and the second son after themselves. Perhaps James McAdams named his first son in honor of his father-in-law. I had held the theory that his uncle Charles Keally Jr. might have influenced Uncle Charlie to get started in the grocery business. My suspicions were confirmed by the 1919 Pittsburgh City Directory which contains the on page 1728, "McAdams, Chas V. slsmn Chas Keally Co. h 7338 Hermitage Street.

Later Charles operated McAdams and Riske Potatoes at Eighteenth and Pike in the Strip District. Pike is the former name of the section of Smallman Street that ran from Eleventh to Twenty-First Streets. McAdams and Riske must have been located within walking distance of the present Primanti Brothers restaurant at 18th Street & Penn Ave.

Charles' mother, Mary died of consumption in November 1876 and is buried in her father-in-law's plot in Section F of St. Mary's Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

Mary's obituary reads:

MCADAMS -- Monday, November 6 1876. Mrs. MARY MCADAMS, wife of James E. McAdams, aged 36 years 8 months. The friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral from the residence of her brother, Charles Keally, Penn avenue, near 45th street. TO-DAY at 10 o'clock.
After Mary's death, James lived in a boarding house at 34th and Liberty. In the 1880 census, Uncle Charlie was living as a boarder with 70-year-old Mary Keely on Mulberry Street, a few blocks away. The next entry is the family of John Keely, Mary's brother, who worked as a machinist and his wife Josephine Noble. The young widower may have boarded his son with his wife's relatives. The difference in spelling might be attributed to the fact that Mary could not read or write according to the census record. When the census taker asked her how to spell her name, she couldn't answer, so the name was spelled phonetically for the records.

I thank Charles Keally Liddell liddell@comcast.net for the information he provided. He begins his home page with "Interested in information regarding our ancestors: Liddell, originating from Durham, England with Robert who became mayor of Pittsburgh, Pa in 1878." Charles Keally Liddell's mother was Florence Keally, the youngest child of Charles Lawrence Keally and Bertha Loeffler, and cousin to Charles V. McAdams, son of James McAdams and Mary Keally. Florence Keally's father-in-law was the mayor, Robert Liddell. Charles provided me with information that Mary's parents and other relatives are buried in Section D Lot 109 of St. Mary's Cemetery. The spelling of the name on the plot is "Keilly," but Charles is nevertheless confident that this is Mary's family.


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Copyright 2000 Nancy McAdams
March 20, 2000
Last update September 25, 2003

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