A tremendous number of documents are saved to each
person’s file on the Taylor - Griffin / Farrell - Donahue Family
Tree which can be viewed on Ancestry.com.
Any and all comments, suggestions or corrections will be welcomed by the
author should anyone reviewing the Tree find information they believe
to be inaccurate or incomplete. The story above gives a brief overview
of the family, but it should be noted that the Hehir family immigrated
about 130 years before this document was researched and written; the full
story unfolds only in the family tree. The family tree is configured as
a public tree on Ancestry.com. This, in the interest of genealogical research,
allows anyone access to the tree - but all living persons and any records
pertaining to them cannot be accessed without permission, their location
on the tree appears only as “private”. The author of this
document is the registered owner of the family tree.
Mention must be made of one piece of information that
never fit, but lives on in official records and will appear should anyone
reading this document decide to do their own research. There is one record
(the 1900 US Census) of a Patrick Hehir who "owned" Michael
and Mary's home at 41 Leroy Street. It is the only time over a span of
80 years - 1860 to 1940 - that "he" existed. Many Patricks using
different spellings of the family name lived in Binghamton during this
period, including Michael and Mary’s married son, which added to
the confusion. Every one of those individuals has been researched and
ruled out. There is no evidence beyond this single document that this
Patrick ever existed.
According to that one Census document, “Patrick’s”
age matched Michael’s age. He immigrated in the same time period
recorded for Michael. His wife’s name was listed as Mary and their
children in the household had the same names and ages as Michael and Mary’s
Michael is recorded as the owner of the home in documents
from 1885 until his death in 1904, but his name is not in evidence in
the 1900 Census. Coincidentally, Michael’s surname appears in three
Binghamton City Directories during this time period, 1899 thru 1901, as
O’Hare, listed as the owner of 41 Leroy Street. From 1905 until
her death in 1930, Mary, who described herself in annual documents as
the widow of Michael Hehir, owned and continued living at 41 Leroy Street.
This drives one to the conclusion that the name Patrick
was somehow written in error, but the official 1900 record stands and
must be recognized. Perhaps Michael’s middle name was Patrick or
perhaps the interviewer inadvertently used Michael’s son Patrick’s
name on the wrong line. There is documentation that Patrick and his wife
Margaret lived next door at 43 Leroy Street prior to 1900, so the second
option is a possibility.
There is one absolute on this topic: only by setting
aside that one entry do the pieces of the Hehir (sic) family begin to
fall into place. In the course of an 80 year span, 19 distinct families
with a variation of the Hehir surname in Binghamton (nearly 200 people)
have been identified and reviewed in depth, through multiple generations.
Several other distinct families have been confirmed but are still undergoing
study. In addition, many other individuals with some variation of the
family name but not yet confirmed to be directly related to others have
also been identified. These people represent every individual with a form
of the family name recorded in Binghamton from the 1860 US Census to the
1940 US Census. The study entails only those living within the legal boundaries
of Binghamton, NY. Those in other towns and villages in the region have
not yet been investigated or considered, with the exception of those who
appeared in the City records through miscellaneous avenues. (This study
is preserved in Excel Spreadsheet format and is available upon request.)
In the body of the text it states that the two primary
cemeteries used by the Hehir family and descendants are in “present
day” Johnson City. This village was originally called Lestershire,
in honor of the founders of the boot and shoe company, Lester Brothers.
In the 1890’s the company was having financial difficulties. The
Lester family sold the company and it was renamed for the purchaser, Henry
Bradford Endicott of Massachusetts and the partner he brought up from
the ranks upon his purchase to oversee the day to day operations, former
Lester factory foreman George F Johnson.
In a few short years Endicott Johnson
had grown into a large and successful firm employing about 20,000 citizens
of the area. In 1916 George F Johnson announced that the company was going
to reduce every employee’s workday from 9 ½ to 8 hours, with
no loss in pay. There was such joy amongst the citizenry that local officials
voted within a few months to rename the village Johnson City in George
F Johnson’s honor.
The following articles are all transcribed as originally
written in newspapers as cited. Any added notes for clarification are
These are the Hehirs of Binghamton, NY in order of passing, Michael &
Mary Hehir and their children. No published documents located to date
for son John (1878-1894) or daughter Bridget Della Hehir Kelly (1869-1941).
Photo clip and byline as published in the Binghamton Press Sunday
20 December 1904.
Michael Hehir, prominent citizen of Binghamton
who died recently.
Actual date of death 15 December 1904.
Newspaper article about the workplace death
of Patrick Haher.
As published in the Binghamton Press – 9 May 1921.
Patrick Haher, 60 years old, of 19 ½ Virgil Street, employed by
the D. L. & W. Railroad as a car inspector, was crushed to death between
two cars Sunday morning at 9:30 o’clock at the Lackawanna yards.
Mr. Haher had gone between the cars to place a blue flag on one of them
before inspecting it. The flag is a symbol of safety, always recognized
by railroad men, and signifies when placed on a car that the car is not
to be moved.
While he was between the cars an engine coupled to a string of cars was
started and ran into the car which he was inspecting. Before Haher could
reach safety, he was caught and crushed, as the cars were only a few feet
apart when he went between them.
It was thought that Haher was about to place the blue flag where it could
be seen by brakemen, but he had not been noticed by any of the employees.
The body was removed to McDevitt’s undertaking parlors at 123 Washington
Street where a post mortem examination was made by Dr. Frank B. Hough.
The middle parts of the body were found to be in a badly mangled condition
and it is believed that Haher died before he was removed from between
Coroner Frederick A. Goodwin said last night that he had been promised
a written statement from the Lackawanna.
Haher had been in the employ of the company for a number of years and
was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Margaret Haher; three daughters, Margaret,
Jane and Mary; two sons, Joseph and John; by his mother, Mrs. Michael
Haher; and six sisters and two brothers. The funeral will be held Wednesday
morning at 9 o’clock in the home and at 9:30 o’clock at Saint
Paul’s Church. Burial will be at Saint Patrick’s Cemetery.
Patrick Haher Funeral Announcement
As published in the Binghamton Press Wednesday 11 May 1921:
The funeral of Patrick Haher was held this morning at 9 o’clock
at his home, 19 ½ Virgil Street, and at 9:30 o’clock at St.
Paul’s Church. Solemn high mass of requiem was celebrated with the
Rev. Andrew J. Comerford as celebrant, the Rev. Luke V. Gallagher as deacon
and the Rev. Howard C. McDowell as sub-deacon. St. Paul’s choir
sang, “Lead kindly light” and “Beautiful isle of somewhere”.
The soloists were Mary Brodie, Marguerite Cary and George Muggleton. The
pallbearers were John O’Connor, John Holleran, Paul Brennan, Edward
Campion, Patrick Haher and John Clary. Burial was in St. Patrick’s
Cemetery. The three priests officiated at the grave.
Margaret Keogh O’Hare Obituary
As published in the Binghamton Press, Saturday 23 Jun 1923:
Mrs. Thomas O’Hare of 97 Seminary Avenue, died Friday night at the
Neurological Hospital in New York City. Besides her husband she is survived
by three daughters, Adah, Anna and Katherine O’Hare; a son William
O’Hare; two brothers and three sisters. The body will be brought
to this city for funeral and burial.
Margaret Keogh O’Hare Funeral Announcement
As published in the Binghamton Press, June 1923
The funeral of Mrs. Thomas O’Hare was held this morning at 9 o’clock
at her home, 97 Seminary Avenue and 9:30 o’clock at St. Patrick’s
Church. Solemn high mass of requiem was celebrated with the Rev. Callaghan
A. Cordan as celebrant, the Right Reverend Monsignor John McLoughlin as
deacon and the Rev. Thomas J Kellet as sub-deacon. Frank J. Gantier sang.
The pallbearers were Patrick Hehir, Patrick Nealon, Patrick Clarke, Leo
Keogh, John Neylon and John Farrell. Burial was in Saint Patrick’s
Cemetery. Father Cordon officiated at the grave.
Margaret Hehir Obituary
As published in the Binghamton Press, Wednesday 7 May 1924
The funeral of Miss Margaret Hehir will be held Thursday morning at 9
o’clock at the home of her sister, Mrs. Edward Jennings, 15 Ayres
Street, and at 9:30 at Saint Mary’s Church. Burial will be in Saint
Mary Hehir Obituary
As published in the Binghamton Press, Monday 9 Feb 1931
Mrs. Mary Hehir, widow of Michael Hehir, died at 9:00 o’clock Sunday
morning at her home at 41 Leroy Street after an illness of several weeks.
She is survived by 5 daughters, Mrs. Marie Farrell, Mrs. Thomas O’Brien,
Mrs. Edward Jennings and Miss Nora Hehir of Binghamton and Mrs. Della
Kelly of Susquehanna; two sons, Thomas and Martin, both of Binghamton;
27 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren. She was a member of Saint
Patrick’s Rosary Society.
Mrs. Maria Hehir Farrell
As published in the Binghamton Press on Monday 27 April 1936
Mrs. Maria Hehir Farrell died at 5 o’clock Sunday morning
at her home, 6 Gold Street. She is survived by 8 daughters: Mrs. William
Enright, Mrs. John Enright and Mrs. Daniel Splann all of Schenectady;
Mrs. William Golan of the Town of Binghamton and Mrs. Fordyce Whitaker,
Mrs. Frank Kroboth, Mrs. Walter Kettle and Miss Sadie Farrell, all of
Binghamton; a son, John M Farrell of Binghamton; four sisters: Mrs. Della
Kelly of Susquehanna, Mrs. Thomas O’Brien, Mrs. Edward Jennings
and Miss Nora Hehir, all of Binghamton; two brothers, Thomas and Martin
Hehir, both of Binghamton; several nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
She was a member of the Rosary Society.
Nora Hehir Obituary
As published in the Binghamton Press, Wednesday 30 Dec 1936
The funeral of Miss Nora Hehir will be held Thursday morning at 9:00 o’clock
at the home of her sister, Mrs. Thomas O’Brien at 49 Saint John
Avenue and at 9:30 at Saint Patrick’s Church. Burial will be at
Saint Patrick’s Cemetery. Arrangements by Walter D. Sullivan.
Martin Hehir Obituary
As published in the Binghamton Press on Thursday 24 Apr 1941.
Martin Hehir of 14 Highland Avenue died this morning at 10 o’clock
at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital after a short illness. He is survived
by two sisters, Mrs. Thomas O’Brien and Mrs. Edward Jennings; a
brother, Thomas Hehir, all of this city; and several nieces and nephews.
The body was removed to the Walter D. Sullivan Funeral Home, 22 Main Street
and will be returned to the home of his sister, Mrs. Edward Jennings late
this afternoon where the funeral will be held at a time to be announced.
Margaret Neylon Haher Obituary
(Widow of Patrick)
As published in the Binghamton Press on Tuesday, June 17, 1941.
The funeral of Mrs. Margaret Haher was held Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock
from the home, 16 Broad Avenue, and at 9:30 from Saint Paul’s Church
where a Solemn High Mass of Requiem was celebrated with the Rev. William
H Mersfelder as celebrant, the Rev. William J. Morris as deacon and the
Rev. Alfred J. Holdredge as sub-deacon. The Rev. John Quirk was in the
chancel. Thomas McMahon S.J. was master of ceremonies. Mrs. Ernest Noonan
and Miss Helen Spring sang. Music was under the direction of the church
organist, Miss Frances Kelly.
The pallbearers, all nephews of the deceased, were Thomas V. Simonette*,
Raymond J. Simonette*, John W. Sheehan, Timothy F. Sheehan, John J. Golan
and Joseph M. Golan. Burial was in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery. Fathers
Mersfelder and Quirk officiated at the grave.
Note: the * refers to the spelling of Thomas and Raymond’s last
name. The proper spelling is Simonetti, with an ‘i’ at the
end of the name. The above version was left as published in the Binghamton
Mrs. Catherine Hehir Jennings
As published in the Binghamton Press on Thursday 1 June 1950:
Mrs. Catherine Hehir Jennings of 14 Highland Avenue died at 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday at her home. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Charles S.
Judd; a sister, Mrs. Thomas O’Brien; a brother, Thomas O’Hare;
four grandchildren, all of Binghamton. She was a member of St. Thomas
Aquinas Church and of its Altar Rosary Society. The body was moved to
the Walter D. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 45 Oak Street where friends
may call this evening and Friday afternoon and evening. Funeral arrangements
will be made later.
As published in the Binghamton Press on Friday 2 June 1950:
The funeral of Mrs. Catherine Hehir Jennings will be held at Walter D.
Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 45 Oak Street., at 9 a.m. Saturday and
9:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Burial will be in Calvary cemetery.
Friends may call at the funeral home this afternoon and evening.
Thomas F (Hehir) O’Hare
As published in the Binghamton Press on Wednesday 8 April 1953
Thomas F. O’Hare, 86, of 97 Seminary Avenue, died at 5:10 p.m. at
Wilson Memorial Hospital after a short illness. He is survived by three
daughters, the Misses Adah T. and Kathryn O’Hare, both of Binghamton
and Mrs. William A. Donnelly of Oneonta; a son, William F. O’Hare
of Lowville; a sister, Mrs. Thomas O’Brien of Binghamton; several
nieces and nephews. He was a member of St. Patrick’s Church and
of its Holy Name Society. The body was moved to the J. A. McCormack &
Sons funeral Home, 141 Main Street, and was to be taken this afternoon
to his home, where friends may call.
Mrs. Jane Frances Hehir O’Brien
As published in the Binghamton Press on Friday 11 August 1953:
Mrs. Jane Frances Hehir O’Brien of 49 St. John Avenue died at 9:30
p.m. at her home after a long illness. She is survived by her husband,
Thomas S. O’Brien, several nieces including Mrs. Helen Britt of
New York City; several nephews, including the Rev. Thomas D. McMahon,
S.J. of Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City. She was a member of
Saint Patrick’s Church. The body was moved to the Walter D. Sullivan
& Son Funeral Home, 45 Oak Street and will be returned to her home
on Saturday morning where friends may call Saturday and Sunday afternoon
As published in the Binghamton Press on Saturday 12 August 1953:
The funeral of Mrs. Jane Frances Hehir O’Brien will be held at 8:45
a.m. Monday morning from her home at 49 St. John Avenue, and at 9:30 a.m.
at Saint Patrick’s Church where a solemn high mass of requiem will
be celebrated. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Friends may call at
her home today and Sunday afternoon and evening. Arrangements by the Walter
D. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 45 Oak Street.
Many thanks are owed to Mrs. Kathleen Reynolds, of Saint
Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church
Kathleen has been Saint Patrick’s volunteer
historian for over 20 years.
Kathleen was kind enough to pore over the Church
records and supply much of the critical data which helped clarify the
family connections. The surname Hehir changed spelling constantly, often
making one person appear to be two or more in written records. Fortunately,
birth and baptism records at Saint Patrick’s include the mothers’
maiden names and this detail helped bring many of the Hehirs (sic) into
cohesive family units. For example, at one point there appeared to be
three Patricks with different last names, Hehir, Haher and Hahir; all
married to wives named Margaret. Kathleen’s information on births
and baptisms made it clear that in this case there was only one Margaret
(Neylon) and therefore the three Patricks were actually only one person,
the son of Michael and Mary whose story is above.
Saint Patrick’s Church is located at 9 Leroy
Street, just down the street from the Hehir and Farrell families’
homes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most of the family’s
ancestors are interred at Saint Patrick’s Cemetery on Riverside
Drive just over the city line in present day Johnson City, NY and many
later family members at Calvary Cemetery, a short distance further. The
ties to the church and the neighborhood are obvious as one reviews the
data and city maps.
Many other Catholic Parishes were established as Binghamton grew in the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. Two that would play central roles
in the lives of the Hehirs and descendants were Saint Mary’s of
the Immaculate Conception and Saint Paul’s. Both of these parishes
were established as the city and the family grew in unison: Saint Mary’s
in 1887 and Saint Paul’s just after the turn of the century. Until
that time, Saint Patrick’s, which celebrated its 175th Anniversary
in 2013, was the center of Catholic activity in the area.
• In 1902, Lawrence J Farrell was the Treasurer
of Branch 74 of the Catholic Knights of America
• In 1904, Patrick was actively engaged in raising funds for the
construction of the future Saint Paul’s Church on Chenango Street.
Thanks also go to various family relatives, all of
whom contributed their personal memories which helped fill in the blanks
and confirm the validity of the data:
• Three Farrell family cousins, Viola Jean,
Marie and Mary Ellen, who were able to bring both validation and the human
touch to this story by sharing their memories.
• Several newly acquainted descendants of branches
of the family that had been separated by enough time that the memory of
the family’s core had faded nearly to oblivion.
Some examples of family surnames now included in the Hehir Family Tree: