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Catherine Farrelly Coffey
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Birth: Dec., 1869
Death: Jan. 22, 1915

Catherine Farrelly was born in County Cavan, Ireland. She was the daughter of Patrick Farrelly and his wife, Mary Finn, and the sister of Matthew Farrelly, who became Secretary of the Gas Works in Peoria where his cousin Peter Coffey was Superintendent. Matthew was born in County Cavan, came to this country in 1881, and soon after moved in with Peter Coffey and his wife, Mary Ann, in their fine home at 515 N. Madison in Peoria.

The Farrelly (O'Farrell, O'Farrelly, Farrell) clan was the ruling clan of County Cavan when the Pope gave permission to Henry II, best of the English kings to date, permission to invade Ireland in the 12th century. Reason: Henry was charged with bringing the more liberal Irish Catholic Church under Rome (and thus the Pope). Henry sent his youngest son, John (later bad King John of Robin Hood fame) over to run Ireland to get experience in administration--which the Norman kings of England were known for. But that's another story.

Each of the dominant clans who held sway over given geographical areas of Ireland like the O'Neills in the north, the MacMahons in Monaghan and the O'Farrells in Cavan had the choice to cooperate with the English invaders (who lived in the Pale) or fight. The O'Neills fought the English until the 1600's when they lost--hence the flight of the earls. The O'Farrells parlayed with the English. They still are the dominant clan in Cavan--until recently we had two members (liberal) in the Irish Parliament.

After Peter died in 1895, Matthew went with Peter's brother, Thomas and his wife, Catherine (Farrelly) Coffey up to the Sacred Heart Sanitarium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Matthew may have paid for Catherine to come to this country in 1889. He, sister Bessie, and brother Patrick, also came over--perhaps helped by Matthew. All of these Farrellys inherited a cousin's portion from Peter Coffey's estate in 1895. Bessie and Patrick returned to the Farrelly clan in Ireland to live out their lives. Bessie married a prosperous merchant plus had her own fortune from America. She has a larger than life statue of Jesus on her plot in County Cavan.

Catherine went to school to become a stenographer on arrival. Then she was so employed. Nearly at the end of his life, Thomas Coffey--about thirty years her senior--married his young cousin. The Farrelly cousins were related to the Coffey cousins through their mother, Mary Farrelly of the clan primarily based in County Cavan)--confirmed by a 90 year old Farrelly cousin in Ireland who knew Matthew, Catherine's brother.

Catherine died at the sanitarium in Wisconsin at age 45. She was survived by her husband Thomas and siblings in Ireland plus Matthew Farrelly in this country. Matthew, soon after, was a gentleman, living in New York City. He and his wife, Agnes (O'Neill)Farrelly, an actress from New York, went back and forth between their home on the upper west side of New York (they lived in other boroughs early on) and his farm and estate (complete with manor house) in Ireland frequently until the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Agnes O'Neill Farrelly died in April of 1931 in their home in Ireland. Matthew last sailed from Ireland to New York City in fall of 1939--his address in New York City was Hotel Murray Hill on 40th at Park Avenue. Matthew died on 29 April 1942 and his obit appeared in the New York Times the first of May that year. He is buried in St. Raymond's Cemetery in New York City. Requiem Mass was at St. Jerome's Church.

Catherine, Bessie, and Matthew had no children--although Patrick did. Cousins in Ireland, England, and the U.S. who descend from Patrick and siblings who remained in Ireland plus those from Mary Farrelly are in frequent communication.

Catherine, all her adult life, was referred to in society pages of the Peoria newspaper as "the popular Miss Catherine Farrelly". 
Family links: 
  Thomas Coffey (1838 - 1918)*
*Calculated relationship
Catherine Coffey 1869-Jan. 22, 1915
Saint Marys Cemetery
West Peoria
Peoria County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Peter Coffey's plot
Created by: Sheila Robbins
Record added: Jan 18, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64359394
Catherine <i>Farrelly</i> Coffey
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Tony Cannon
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