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A History of the Hehir Family in Binghamton, New York
by Jim Taylor

Appendix

Title: A History of the Hehir Family in Binghamton, New York and
A Study of all people in Binghamton who carried the name or its variations (l880s-1940)
Type of Material: Family History
Places: Tulla, Co. Clare; Binghamton, Johnson City , New York; Susquehanna Pennsylvania
Dates: 1853 - 1940
Family Names: Hehir; Farrell; Kelly; O’Brien.
Transcriber/Donator: Jim Taylor

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 children.

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 in italics.
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,

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 the cars.
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.


Followed by:
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.

Followed by:
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 Patrick’s Cemetery.


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
Obituary
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 Press.


Mrs. Catherine Hehir Jennings
Obituary
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
Obituary
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
Obituary
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 and evening.

Followed by:
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:

• Affeldt
• Bucci
• Enright
• Farrell
• Golan
• Haher
• Jennings
• Keogh
• Kettle
• Miller
• Neylon
• O’Hare
• Splann
• Spring
• Taylor
• Whitaker


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