|Birth: ||Nov. 18, 1874|
|Death: ||Nov. 27, 1955|
CHAPTER IV, MOM ...from our O'Connell-Hill family story compiled by my Gma Norene Margaret Hill (O'Connell);
I know very little about my mother's girlhood because she and her little brothers were left orphans when they were tiny and I imagine the children's records were lost in their moving around so much. Julia, James and David McCullough were born of parents who came from Ireland, Philip and Margaret (Pigott) McCullough at Negaunee, Michigan. Mother's birthdate was November 18, 1874. The parents died when the children were very small. I dont know what caused their deaths, and am so sorry, now that she is gone, that I didnt ask her more questions and have her tell me more of her life's story. Now, I dont know if my mother or her brother Jim were older, but I believe from knowing Uncle Dave in later years that he was the youngest of the three.
After the parents' death she amd her brothers lived with their grandmother Pigott, I believe, in Negaunee for a few years. While living with her gramdmother Julia went to play at a neighbor's house one afternoon and stayed too long. Realizing that she would have to hurry if she were to get home before dark, she thought that she would cut across through another neighbor's yard. She was running across their backyard, and trying to climb over their fence when the neighbor's dog, sensing someone running through his territory, knocked the little girl down and bit her savagely several times all over her back before someone rescued her. Mama bore the scars of those bites for the rest of her life, so we can imagine what a painful and frightening experience it must have been. She never got over her fear of dogs.
When the grandmother died the children were sent to an orphams' home run by an order of Catholic sisters at Ishpeming, Michigan, I believe. Mama attended school there through the fifth grade, and from then on, probably was one of the older girls and had to help with the daily chores and taking care of the smaller children at the home, so did not get to go farther in school.
Mama had an uncle living in Negaunee or Marquette, I think, named Pigott, who was married and had at least one child. This girl married a man named Stenglein who ran a book bindery, but I'm not sure which city it was in. A number of years later when my brother Phil worked at the Ford factory at Iron Mountain, Michigan, he went to Negaunee and visited the aunt and the Stenglein family for a short time. We have some pictures of that family in our album, but otherwise my busy mother didnt keep up communication with them, and I know nothing further about the family.
Evidently the children were kept at the Orphans' home until they were sixteen years old. When her brother Jim was sixteen, he was on his own, and went out west, and for some reason, Mama never heard from him again. She thought he may have died and felt very sad never to have known what happened to her brother, Jim.
My sister Dorothy's memory of some events in our Mother's life are a little different than mine. Dot believes that after theie mother died Mama's father went to Colorado to work in the mines, and was never heard from again. Dot thinks he may have been killed soon aftee. Mama's Grandmother took in washing to support herself and her three little grandchildren. Dot remembers that Mama had delivered washing to a distant neighbor, and was on her way home when she took a shortcut across a neighbor's yard, and the dog attacked hee. She thinks that Mom was about eleven years old when the Grandma died and the children were sent to the Orphan's home.
At age sixteen Mother was sent to live with her Uncle Ed Pigott's family near Cherokee, Iowa. He and his wife had one child, Kate, who was about the same age as her cousin, Julia. But Mom had learned to work and be independent, and her cousin was a bit spoiled, so it wasn't very long before Julia went to work at a hotel in Cherokee. Here a few years later she met the young Irish immigrant, Patrick, and their romance began. Julia was a very pretty girl, small, a bit over five feet tall, with reddiah-brown hair, shiny blue-gray eyes, very shy and deeply religious. In some ways she was the opposite of my father, who was over six feet tall, and very out-going and sociable. Later my mother confided in me that when they married he looked just like Errol Flynn, a movie idol of the thirties with a small mustache, black hair and ruddy Irish complexion.
They made preparations for marriage, and Mama was soon very busy making her wedding gown of wine-colored poplin trimmed with wine-colored velvet. Years later she made a pin cushion of the two materials in the dress. Someplace in my family's possessions the cushion still exists. (They married on January 21, 1895, Cherokee, Iowa)...
And the little girl who was raised in a Michigan orphanage showed before long that she knew instinctively how to make a warm amd loving home for their growing family.
An old song that she used to sing in the early 1900s:
"Put on your old grey bonnet with the blue ribbons on it,
And we'll hitch Old Dobbin to the shay,
And through the fields of clover, we'll drive to Dover,
On our Golden Wedding Day."
Patrick O'Connell (1869 - 1952)
Jeff O'Connell (1897 - 1939)*
John J. O'Connell (1901 - 1939)*
David L. O'Connell (1906 - 1966)*
Mount Olivet Cemetery
Maintained by: Sean Newhouse
Originally Created by: RobMinteer57
Record added: Jun 10, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91681172