May 22, 1918 Pittsfield Berkshire County Massachusetts, USA
On this ENRIGHT gravestone:
John Enright 1837-1909 Elizabeth O'Hara his wife 1841-1918 Requiescant In Pace Amen
Catherine Normile Mother of John Enright 1805-1870 Joseph A. Enright 1875 - 1930 his wife Anna C. Donna 1876-1962
Mary E. [Enright] 1861 - 1922 James E. Enright] 1872 - 1922 Sarah S. [Enright] 1873 - 1927 Elizabeth M. [Enright] 1901-1997 Josephine A. [Enright] 1913-2002 __________________________________
Hopes of a new life in America ran high for those lucky enough to escape the Famine of the mid-1840s. There on board the immigrant ship were our three little girls, Elizabeth (written as "Betsey" in the 1850 U.S. Census of Bridgeport, Connecticut), Emily and Mary O'Hara. However it was soon to turn to sadness. Little Emily died on board that ship. Her big sister, Betsey, never forgot her, telling the next generation about this tiny soul whose life was plucked much too soon, never to step ashore in this new world.
There is so much that you can glean from these census documents. For instance the fact that at least by 1847 Michael and Mary Gilligan O'Hara (both 27 years old) left Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland with three little girls and arrived in the port of New York City. Obviously the parents and Elizabeth and Emily, and Mary, age 7, were born in Ireland. In the 1880 U.S. Census 33 year old John O'Hara (the eldest son) said that his place of birth was, and this is a direct quote, "Atlantic Ocean." That says a tremendous amount about the voyage. Mary Gilligan O'Hara had given birth and also buried a child in the span of about seven weeks on board an immigrant ship bound for the United States. More research will tell us the name of the immigrant ship on which the O'Hara's sailed.
It was through the oral history passed down by Elizabeth's son, John H. Enright (my paternal grandfather), about Betsey's sister, Emily O'Hara, who was "buried at sea." How heartbreaking is that!! Even though we don't know her age (could have been a newborn or even a 6 year old?), we do know that it profoundly impacted our dear Betsey's life, since she passed this bit of information on to us. And like many families Michael and Mary Gilligan O'Hara went on to name another child Emily in 1854.
By 1859 Michael and Mary Gilligan O'Hara gave Betsey and Mary lots of siblings: John, James, Rose, Emily, Michael, and little Henry O'Hara.
The census also tells us that her parents were illiterate, but in 1850 eleven year old Elizabeth and her sister Mary were attending school. What a thrill that must've been for the parents, to actually have a school opened to them. For free! And by the next census in 1860 her Dad had learned to read and write also. The mother was perhaps too busy with all the babies to learn her alphabet! They had Irish neighbors, too, since Mr. Lewis, the census taker, recorded families as he found them, knocking on doors as he made his way down the street on that 25th day of June in 1860. The O'Haras lived next door to the family of the stone mason, Francis Soule, who came over from Ireland 13 years earlier.
Well, you can see how a prose essay could be written about dear Betsey O'Hara and her passage out of the famine and to the land of opportunity.
When exactly was she born? In the 1850 Census Elizabeth O'Hara is listed at age 11, that would make her born in 1839. On her April 1860 Marriage record Elizabeth is 19 years old, which would put her birth roughly in 1840-41. In the June 1860 Census she is listed as age 20, which would put her birth roughly 1840. In the 1880 Census Elizabeth Enright is listed as age 39, her birth would be in 1841 then. Elizabeth O'Hara was about 19 years old when she met John Enright. He had moved from Pittsfield, Mass., to Bridgeport with the Groot & Potts Company. They were carriage manufacturers. John Enright was a carriage stiper, painting the decorative gold on the carriages.
REGARDING the marriage of John Enright and Elizabeth O'Hara: April 30, 1860 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The wedding was conducted by Rev. Peter A. Smith, Pastor [church unknown at this writing]. John Enright was 22 years old and Elizabeth O'Hara was listed as 19 years old. Both were residing in Bridgeport, listed "white," born in Ireland, and it's the first marriage for each. No occupation was listed, as was the case with all but one man on this page in the register. [SOURCE: Family History Library microfilm #1428469. Chris Snyder 2004.]
Oddly enough, 20 year old Elizabeth O'Hara was listed with her family in the June 1860 U.S. Census.
John and Elizabeth's first child, Mary, was born in 1861, probably in Bridgeport. No doubt Mary was named after Elizabeth's mother, Mary Gilligan O'Hara.
The family grew quickly with Thomas N., M. Francis, John H. and Catherine all born in that first decade. Tragedy struck John and Elizabeth with the loss of a baby boy January 2, 1871. However, they were soon to be blessed with the birth of another boy exactly a year later on January 2, 1872- James Edward. Following quickly along came Sarah and Joseph.
On July 28, 1907, dear Betsey lost her son, M. Frank Enright. And on that very same day of that very same year 1907, she was given the announcement of the birth of her grandson, John Richard Enright, my father, son of John Henry Enright. Life is certainly bittersweet.