Walsh is one of the most common Irish names. Unlike most Irish names, it is found in every county in Ireland. It is a corruption of the word "Welsh." The people first given the name were part in the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the early 1100s. The Normans had just conquered England and were trying to conquer Ireland. Since they came through Wales the native Irish called them Welsh. In fact, they were from Normandy in northern France. Most people named Welsh are part of the same group and in parts of Ireland today Walsh is pronounced Welsh. The Normans established a number of coastal cities and had areas of influence into the surrounding areas. Soon they became "more Irish than the Irish themselves," abandoning their French language for Irish and most of their French ways for Irish customs. They also were very independent of Normans elsewhere and often fought later British attempts to conquer Ireland. By 1640 when Oliver Cromwell finally conquered all of Ireland, they had been completely absorbed into the Irish population.
The first of our Walsh ancestors that we know is Michael Walsh (born 1814, County Kilkenny, died 22/Dec/1875, Boston, MA). He and his wife Margaret Ann Boyle (born 1824, died 8/Nov/1884, Spalding, NE) came from County Kilkenny in southeastern Ireland. They apparently first went to New Brunswick (or perhaps Newfoundland) in Canada and later to Boston. Charles Walsh on his marriage license application said his father was born in Newfoundland. On Celia Walsh's marriage registration she reported she was born in St. John, New Brunswick. On James Walsh's marriage registration he reported he was born in St. John (which is the name of a town in each province). In the History of Spalding the story of Ed Walsh it says that the Walsh family first went to Nova Scotia and were fishermen in Ireland in County Kilkenny. Since Kilkenny is landlocked they were not fishermen in Ireland but many Irish went to New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia and were fishermen about that time. No doubt Michael Walsh was among them. His son James (see below) was a mariner as well.
Dorothy Womack heard that one of her grandparents was born off the coast of Newfoundland and the other on the ship on the way over. Implicit in this story is that the Monarch and Walsh family were on the same ship coming over. Since Catharine was born in Boston if anyone was born at sea it was Joseph. Since the family was clearly in Canada before his birth, if he was born at sea it would have been on their trip from Canada to Boston. This would also mean the family came to the United States in 1858. Of course, an alternative is that this family legend is wrong.
Joseph married Catharine Monarch in Boston in 1876. Catharine was the daughter of Peter Monarch and Catharine Reiley. According to many records in Boston, Peter Monarch was born in France. He may have died in Massachusetts. Catharine Reiley was born in Massachusetts. Peter's father was also named Peter Monarch and Catharine Reiley's father was named James Reiley. Peter and Catharine were married in Boston on October 9, 1852. At the time Peter was 21 and Catharine was 15. A tradition which conflicts with the records says Peter and Catharine met in Ireland. Both Dorothy Womack and whoever wrote the account of the family in the History of Spalding heard this. Another tradition says both Joseph and Catharine grew up in Lynn, MA. It seems more likely that both grew up in the section of Boston where the Monarch family is recorded as living and a couple of members of the Walsh family as well. This neighborhood is now the financial district of Boston, but was then the waterfront district. The waterfront has been pushed back over time somewhat by landfill.
In the various birth records, the Monarch family is recorded as living at 369 Federal St., 281 Broad St., and 278 Broad St. Joseph Walsh's brother James lived at 304 Federal St. The Federal St. addresses are no longer in existence because Federal Street was truncated by the South Railway Station. These addresses would either be on the site of the station or in the street in front of it. Broad Street is a few blocks away. It also has been shortened, in this case by an expressway. The Broad Street addresses would either be under the expressway or just beyond it. Peter's occupation as a caulker was part of the maritime business and so he lived near the docks. His Broad Street addresses were in the block between Spear's Wharf and Liverpool Wharf. A caulker would seal up any cracks in the wooden vessels to make them watertight.
After their marriage, Joseph and Catharine lived at 61 Albany and 61 Kneeland. The address 61 Albany St. fell in the block between Kneeland and Harvard so 61 Albany and 61 Kneeland could have been the same house. At the most the two addresses were very near one another. Joseph and Catharine's first three children were born in Boston before the family, including grandma Margaret Walsh, moved to Nebraska.
Catharine had at least four brothers, Peter Monarch, Cornelius Monarch, Louis Monarch, and James Monarch. Louis served in the Navy during the Spanish American War and is incorrectly identified in the History of Spalding as having been killed in the explosion of the USS Maine. Louis Monarch (b. 4-Mar-1865 in Boston, MA, d. 9-Feb-1940 in Lancaster, PA) enlisted in the US Navy on May 28, 1898, served on the USS Wabash until June 10, 1898 when he transferred to the USS Princeton, where he served until Nov 4, 1898. He then transferred to the USRS Franklin where he served until being discharged Jan 11, 1899. In fact the relative killed on the Maine was James F. Walsh's son Joseph (see below). According to his Naval Records, Louis was 5 ft. 4 1/2 in. tall, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. (source, Military and pension records of Louis Monarch) According to Louis Monarch's service records and the 1898 Boston City Directory, James Monarch lived at 912 Harrison Ave., Boston in 1898. James married Emma Hall.
Bob Walsh told his daughter Dorothy in the late 1940s that Joseph Walsh, a sailor killed on the Maine, was related to the family. Based on this I was able to discover that Joseph Walsh (son of Michael and Margaret) had a brother James F. Walsh (b. 1846 St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, d. 15-Nov-1906 in Brockton, MA.) James was a mariner. His first wife was Joanna Martin, who he married 3-Nov-1867 in Roxbury, MA. Joanna was b. 1847 in Ireland, and d. 28-Dec-1872 in Boston, MA. She was the daughter of Patrick Martin and Mary Martin. James and Joanna had two children, Joseph F. and Daniel E. After Joanna's death James remarried to Mary E. Holland. He and Mary had seven children: Francis, Annie, Maggie, Gracie, Cecelia, James, and William. Of his nine children, only four survived him. He was injured in some way and was no longer to go to sea by the time he was 50.
James Walsh's son Joseph F. Walsh served two stints in the U.S. Navy. In his first from 1884 until 1889 he served on several ships. His second tour from his enlistment in Sept. 1895 until his death in Feb. 1898 was almost entirely on the U.S.S. Maine. In the ship records he is described as being 5 ft. 2 in. tall, with hazel eyes, dark brown hair, and an olive complexion. He was a coxswain, who is the sailor that steers the ship. He was killed in the explosion of the Maine in Havana harbor, an incident that was used as justification for the Spanish American War. Although the incident was blamed on Spanish sabotage of some sort, modern historians believe it was an on-ship accident caused by the proximity of the coal storage to the ammunition magazine. In the pension file for Joseph Walsh are two interesting letters. They are included in the Maine. (sources: Pension file for Joseph Walsh, U.S. National Archives)
In addition to James and Joseph, Michael and Margaret had another daughter Bridget Walsh who is listed in the Walsh family bible as marrying William Mullin on 2-6-1867. This marriage is recorded in the official Massachusetts records as being between Celia Walsh and William J. Mullin so I assume Bridget's real name was Celia Bridget. William Mullin was a mariner. At the time Celia was 18 and William was 27.
Greeley County, Nebraska was settled in part by Irish immigrants under the Irish Colonization Association in a plan by Horace Greeley and several Catholic Bishops to encourage the Irish to move from the eastern cities and back into agriculture. It was their belief that the social and moral fiber of the Irish was not well served by living in the slums of the eastern cities and a return to agrarian life such as they had in Ireland would preserve the true spirituality of Irish Catholicism. Two of the bishops involved in this plan were Bishop John Spalding of Peoria, IL and Bishop James O'Connor of Omaha. O'Neill, Nebraska was also part of the resettlement plan and General John O'Neill, a Civil War veteran and leader of the Fenian movement in America, was another important backer of it. The large number of Irish families in Spalding, O'Connor, Greeley, and O'Neill and the names of the towns themselves are evidence of the success of the plan. (The Irish in Dakota, David Kemp, p. 87-99)
The Joseph Walsh family left Boston by train on March 29, 1881 and arrived in Columbus, Neb. on April 5. From there they traveled by covered wagon to their homestead (NW 1/4 10-20-10) seven miles north of the present town of Spalding, which had not yet been incorporated. The family originally had a sod house. They were the third family to settle in the area. Eventually they built a two story frame farmhouse.
Life for a pioneer on the prairie was difficult and the family undoubtedly had a hard life. For example, Catharine was always pregnant and when she had to make the long walk to town she would be carrying a child on each arm and one on the way.
The boys all slept upstairs and if they got into a ruckus at night they were left to fight it out and settle it among themselves. In the morning, as they came down a narrow stairwell and through the door to the kitchen, their mother would be waiting with a strap. They all got it, guilty or innocent.
A Swedish family that lived on a nearby farm also had a raft of kids. If they caught some of the Walsh kids by themselves they would beat them up. The favor was returned if the Walsh kids found one of the Swedes alone. Bob Walsh must have been a recipient of their ganging up as he had nothing good to say about those "dumb Swedes" for decades.
After Joseph died, Catharine lived with her son Michael Sylvester (Sylvie). When Sylvie died, Catharine moved to Council Bluffs, where she lived with Bob and his family. In the last years of her life she had what was then called old age insanity. She would sit and look out into the yard and see terrible things. She was also ill with dropsy and took a lot of care. She did not like baths and so bathing her was an ordeal for Bob's wife Vira. Also she would not eat with the family, instead eating in her room. In her mental condition, she didn't trust anyone, including children. This made her frightening to her younger grandchildren.
The Walsh family was clannish. They could fight like cats and dogs amongst themselves but no outsider could say anything about them without facing the whole clan. Several of them had hot tempers and could hold a grudge for a considerable period. They might fight among themselves to the point of not speaking for ages, but if an outsider said anything about one of the clan had better look out. Marriage to a Walsh did not automatically make you an insider. Occasionally a spouse would be told to "Butt out - You aren't a Walsh." Despite the negative aspects of this clan behavior, the fierce possessiveness of one's family had many benefits. It is apparent how much it means to be a Walsh by the interest and cooperation the members of the family have shown in this project.
All the Walshes were hardworking, and several spent much of their lives traveling to where the work was. Although none had much education, all valued knowledge and the grandchildren of Joseph and Catharine Walsh were all educated as well or better than the family finances would allow.
James F. Walsh b. ?-___-1846, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, occupation Mariner, m. (1) 3-Nov-1867, in Roxbury, MA, Joanna Martin, b. ?-___-1847, Ireland, (daughter of Patrick Martin and Mrs. Mary Martin) d. 28-Dec-1872, Boston, Suffolk, MA, buried: Watertown, MA, m. (2) ?-___-1873, Mary E. Holland. James died 15-Nov-1906, Brockton, MA.
Edward James Walsh b. 29 NOV 1876, Boston, Suffolk, MA, occupation farmer, m. 2-May-1904, in St. Michael's, Spalding, Rose Mary Bernt, b. 1 MAY 1881, Humphrey, Neb, (daughter of Frantz Bernt and Marie Koenig) d. 12 MAY 1951, buried: Calvary Cemetery, Spalding, Neb. Edward died 10 JUL 1956, Spalding, Neb, buried: Calvary Cemetery, Spalding, Neb.
William Francis Walsh b. 5-Nov-1879, Boston, Suffolk, MA, occupation Carpenter, m. 6-Jun-1911, in Omaha, NE, Linda May Miller, b. 16-Aug-1885, Beatrice, NE, occupation Secretary & cashier, d. 28-Sep-1982, Lincoln, NE, buried: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Omaha, NE. William died 31 AUG 1923, Council Bluffs, Iowa, buried: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Omaha, NE. Bill Walsh was a carpenter in the Omaha area. He was killed in a fall from a faulty scaffold when working on a medical building in Council Bluffs, IA. His wife Linda was left with six children from nine months to 11 years in a time when there was no social security, aid for dependent children, or suing an employer for gross negligence and loss of life. On the day he was injured (he lived for a few hours) a neighbor took Linda to Council Bluffs in his motercycle sidecar. At the time no one in the neighborhood owned a car and the streetcar was the only means of transportation. Linda could not support the six children at home and the four older children were taken to Saint James Orphanage. They were taught and cared for by the Sisters of Mercy and well treated and well educated by them. As each child finished 8th grade he/she returned home. After the 8th grade they attended high school in the Omaha public schools. Linda worked nights as a cashier at the Union Pacific Railroad Company restaurant because her friend and neighbor, Mrs. Foley, cared for the younger children. As each child reached school age, he/she was taken to the orphanage. Linda worked 365 nights a year. She would take a two-hour street car ride to the orphanage on Sunday afternoons.
Joseph Anthony Walsh b. 27 AUG 1881, Spalding, Neb, m. 8-Jan-1908, in St. Michael's, Spalding, Margaret E. Gregert, b. 31-Jul-1887, Spalding, Neb, d. 20 JUN 1958, Omaha, NE. Joseph died 5 OCT 1955, Omaha, NE. Joseph Walsh was born in a sod house near Spalding, NE. After his marriage to Margaret in 1908, he and Margaret lived in Primrose, NE for a few years. Joseph was a barber while they lived in Primrose. In about 1910 they moved onto a farm in the Primrose area, moving onto a farm 10 miles north of Spalding in 1914.In 1923 they moved to a different farm about two miles from there and in 1932 they moved to a farm about 10 miles south of Spalding. In 1935 they moved to Omaha. The boys found work at the Union Pacific shops, where they stayed until they retired.
James Dominic Walsh b. 11 APR 1884, Spalding, Neb, m. Louise Schneider, b. 1-Nov-1885, Wausau, WI, (daughter of Joseph Schneider and Wilhelmina Schroeder) d. 6-Mar-1951, Omaha, NE, buried: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Omaha, NE. James died 5-Sep-1954, Omaha, NE, buried: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Omaha, NE. After the death of his father in 1912, Jim spent time in Portland, OR where he was a lineman for the electric company. While in Portland he met Louise who was vacationing with her sister Mary. Jim returned to Spalding and with his brother Joe went to barber school in Omaha. After completing the course, he owned the barber shop in Primrose, NE. Jim and Louise's first home was on the Paxton Ranch near Spalding. In 1918 they moved to Omaha, where Jim was a barber in the Burlington Train Station. Jim worked at the Paxton-Mitchell Foundry as a molder. At the advice of his doctor he became a carpenter. They moved to Kansas City, MO. After this job ended they returned to Omaha, where Linda (Mrs. Bill) Walsh had been caring for their home. Jim became the outside electrician and carpenter for the Union Stockyards, where he worked for 25 years until his retirement at age 65. After retiring from the Stockyards he became head maintenance man for Offutt Air Force Base. Louise's parents were born in Kirdoff on the Main River, near Frankfurt, GER. Her mother Wilhelmina was the daughter of high servants in the palace of the Kaiser and as a child Wilhelmina played with Kaiser Wilhelm II. Wilhelmina married Henry Wagner (an arranged marriage) and bore him two children; Henry and Ann. Mr. Wagner was shot in the FrancoPrussian War and had to hide in the Rhine River all night, caught pneumonia, and died. Wilhelmina remarried to Joseph Schneider, a mason contractor. Their first child Edmund was born in Germany. Joseph preceded the family to America to earn the money for the family's passage. Wilhelmina's mother accompanied them to America. However, after six months she wished to return to Germany and took Edmund with her. At the time it was common for the grandmother to care for one child for a mother who had a child each year. Edmund never returned to the United States. After World War II, his sisters Margaret and Elizabeth visited him having not heard from him since 1933 Louise grew up in Wassau, WI. She completed eight years of parochial school but dropped out to help support the family after the death of her father in 1900. She worked for an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist, helping him with mastoid surgery in his office. She considered becoming a nurse and went to Minneapolis for training but became homesick and returned to Wassau. She worked for Employers Mutual Insurance as their seventh employee and one of two women on the payroll.
Walter Charles Walsh b. 3 MAR 1886, Wheeler County, Neb, occupation farmer, m. (1) 7-Sep-1921, Florence McGuire, b. Sterling, IL, d. 12 MAY 1941, buried: Cedar Rapids, Neb, m. (2) 23-May-1950, in St. Mary's Church, Primrose, NE, Margaret Miller, b. 26-Jan-1892, Butler Co., NE, (daughter of Martin Miller and Elizabeth Mauer). Walter died 1 DEC 1966, Cedar Rapids, Neb, buried: 5-Dec-1966, Cedar Rapids, Neb.
Catherine Margaret Walsh b. 14 MAR 1888, Wheeler County, Neb, m. Morgan Philbin, residence: Schuyler, NE. Catherine died ?-Aug-1966, buried: California. The Philbins lived in Schyler, NE. After Mr. Philbin died, Kate moved to California with some of her children.
Charles Louis Walsh b. 14 JAN 1890, Wheeler County, Neb, occupation Farmer & carpenter, m. 26 FEB 1919, in Greeley, Neb, Catherine Veronica McNelis, b. 3 MAY 1888, Kilcar, County Donegal, Ireland, (daughter of James McNelis and Margaret (Madge) Byrne) d. 16 JUL 1954, Grand Island, Neb, Charles died 15 JUL 1970, Sioux Falls, SD,. He grew up on a farm in Wheeler County Nebraska, near Spalding. He dropped out of school after third grade. He was a carpenter and ran a service station for a while. If there was not enough work in Greeley, he would go elsewhere, including a stint as a fireman in Galveston, TX during World War II. He had always wanted a farm and after her father died, Kate relented and he bought a farm west of Greeley in the 1940s, with crops and a few milk cows. He also had a milk route. After Kate died he moved to Omaha, where he did various jobs, including an elevator operator. He moved to Sioux Falls in 1960 and lived with his daughter Charlotte and her family until his death. As a boy he developed an interest in hunting, often hunting prairie chickens after school. He considered himself to be an excellent marksman, and told several stories about his marksmanship. He also did some wrestling and boxing. A lifelong smoker, he developed emphysema in his later years. There is more information about the McNelis family at McNelis.
Agnes Magdalen Walsh b. 16 MAR 1894, Wheeler County, Neb, occupation Nurse, m. 27-Apr-1927, George Nicklas Homan, b. 24-Mar-1889, Octavia, NE, (son of John Homan and Mrs. Mary Homan) d. 3-Nov-1948. Agnes died 16-Jan-1991, Honolulu, HI. George was a widower with two daughters, Fern and Doris. His first wife and infant daughter had died in the 1925 flu epidemic.After George died Agnes went to Omaha with Agnes Jean. She got her L.P.N. and worked at the hospital.
Robert Emmett Walsh b. 12 JAN 1896, Wheeler County, Neb, m. (1) 21-Aug-1923, Clara Elvira "Vira" West, b. 31-Jul-1903, (daughter of Fred West and Grace Clark) d. 6-Oct-1980, Vallejo, CA, m. (2) Mrs. Vi Walsh. Robert died 4-May-1984, Sunnyvale, CA. Bob was a motorman on the Omaha street car lines and later a bus driver. Bob was in the Marines in World War I and carried it through the rest of his life. He walked like a Marine for the remainder of his life. He was a health enthusiast and won an award at his senior citizens club for a health shake he had invented made of fruits and vegetables. After his five-bypass surgery in his early eighties he was infuriated because his doctors wouldn't let him work out in the gym, which he had been doing daily. Vira was a very fiery person, hot tempered, opinionated, and quite intelligent. She had a deep thirst for knowledge and read from a wide variety of subjects. She was of Pennsylvania Dutch (which is actually German), English, and Scots ancestry. She spent her girlhood in Aurora, Bradshaw, and York, NE. Her father, Fred West, had a draying business. Her mother, Grace Clark West, was a quiet lady who disliked quarreling and upsets. Grace and Fred had six children. Beulah, Forrest, and Edna took after Grace while Verla, Loyal, and Vira took after Fred in disposition. Vira went to work at age 12, after finishing eighth grade, which she was told was all a girl should do. Her education included math, english, a foreign language, and music and art appreciation. In later years those she met in government found it hard to believe she was not degreed. She went to work for the telephone company and took the first call to the town telling of the end of World War I. During World War II she worked in a bomber plant, a real life "Rosie the Riveter." After the War she sold ready-to-wear clothing in high-fashion shops in Omaha. After Bob left, she went to Washington, D.C. and worked in the research area with the CIA. Like all the Walshes, Bob and Vira lived humbly by today's standards. They had a cook stove that had a hot water reservoir on the side. They used to bake seven loaves of bread three times a week in it. Store bought bread doesn't taste nearly as good. The kids had to go out in the winter and dig through a pile of frozen corn cobs to get what they needed for kindling to start a fire in it. Everyone felt "up town" when they got a kerosene stove for the upstairs kitchen. They always had a kitchen in the basement due to the summer heat. Many farms had an outdoor summer kitchen for the same reason. Canning of vegetables indoors in the late summer could make a house unbearably hot. They washed all day Monday. In the winter clothes were hung out just like in the summer and the sheets would freeze. The person hanging the clothes soon learned to see which way the wind was blowing and hang the sheets on the line that would blow away from her. Otherwise the frozen sheets would just about beat her to death while she hung the rest of the laundry. Monday was bean soup day and Tuesday was ironing day. Although some dusting and straightening occurred every day, the weekend was cleaning day.
John Joseph Walsh b. 5 JUL 1898, Wheeler County, Neb, m. Mrs. Vera Walsh. John died 11-Jun-1955, residence: Northbrook, IL. Jack was in the Marines during World War I.
Florence Walsh b. 22 JAN 1901, Wheeler County, Neb, m. Rudolf William Greger, d. 26-May-1981. Florence died 4 May 1981. Rudy was a self-taught carpenter, cabinet maker, mechanic, electrician, plumber, etc. Both Rudy and Florence loved music and gave the kids who wanted it the opportunity to take piano lessons. This was during the Depression and Rudy did carpentry work for Eileen's music teacher to pay for her 50 cents weekly piano lessons. Summer evenings were spent canning fruits and vegetables for winter. The floor to ceiling shelves Rudy built on the north wall of the basement were packed with food that kept the family fed all winter. Canning was a family project, with Rudy doing the heavy work. Each morning Rudy got up early, stoked the furnace, and made Florence's coffee (he didn't drink it) before he woke the household. Over the years Rudy completely remodeled the small house. Two small front rooms became a larger living room. Floor to ceiling cabinets were built in both kitchen and bathroom. He put a dumb waiter into his kitchen that led into the earth for a deep cellar to keep things cool before modern refrigeration. All the woodwork in the house pulled out into drawers. The house was very small, with two bedrooms upstairs. A crib was at the top landing. The girls slept crossways on the beds as more could fit that way. After Daryl was born a bedroom was fixed up in the basement. Rudy painted the outside of the house with the type of paint used on big trucks so he could wash it with a hose and it didn't need painting again. He is remembered as an inventive man.
If you think you may be related to this family or have other comments, corrections, or additions, I would love to hear from you. Jim Dunn, 212 E. Irvin Ave., State College, PA 16801 or email@example.com