My great granny Ellen (Helen) Keenan was one of 10 children of Patrick Keenan and Agnes Haughey. Her sister Ann was the fourth of those children. Ann was born in Newmains on 27 May 1862. By the 1871 census there were 10 people living in the family home at 9 Stonecraigs Row. Despite the modest size of these houses the Keenans also had a lodger. Patrick Smith was a young Irish man who was employed as a fireman in the local works. I have no idea if he had any family connection or if he was simply in need of a place to stay.
By the 1881 census the family had moved to 4 Quarry Row. They no longer had a lodger but as well as her six siblings who remained at home, Ann was also living with her baby nephew, John McGarrell. John was the son of her sister Mary who you can read about here.
On 23 July 1883 Ann married Joseph Mollahan at the Roman Catholic Church in Wishaw. This was before there was a Catholic church in Newmains. Ann’s sister Elizabeth was her bridesmaid.
The couple had ten children (that I’ve found).
- Agnes Born 1884
- Thomas Born 1886
- Patrick Born 1890
- Catherine Born 1892
- Ann Born 1894
- Joseph Born 1896
- Margaret Born 1899
- Hugh Born 1900
- Mary Born 1903
- Hannah Born 1905
I can remember Hannah Mollahan living in Newmains. She died in 1993 but I didn’t know then that we were related.
Coming from a big family there were many weddings and baptisms to attend over the years. Sadly there were also many funerals. In the 1880s she lost 3 of her siblings – Mary in 1885, Margaret in 1886 and Hugh in 1888. In 1888 she would have said farewell to her sister Ellen who left Newmains for America.
I know that at least one of her children also went to America. There are records of Agnes living in New York and working as a domestic servant.
In July 1917 Ann received the terrible news that Joseph had been injured in an accident at work. He and another man, John Cosgrove, were horrifically burned while cleaning out gas tubes at the Coltness Iron Works. Their injuries were so bad that they had to be taken to Glasgow to the Royal Infirmary. The journey would have taken hours at that time and it is difficult to imagine the agony the men would have suffered. Both men succumbed to their injuries within hours of each other. The second male, John Cosgrove, is also on my family tree. His brother was my great grandfather.
So Ann was widowed and would have relied heavily on her family for support. With no husband to provide for her she would have needed her working age children to help keep her and their younger siblings.
Ann lived the rest of her life in Newmains. She died on 5 June 1934.
There’s a Facebook page to share memories of Newmains and I spotted this photograph of Ann and Joseph along with their children Margaret and Hugh. I was delighted to find it and delighted to have permission to share it here.