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Mary Josephine Gleeson Riney
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Birth: May 19, 1842, Ireland
Death: Jan. 19, 1908
Saint Patrick
Clark County
Missouri, USA

Grandmother Mary Josephine was born in 1842 in Ireland. Since the Great Irish Potato Famine lasted from 1845 to 1852, it is probable that she and at least some of her family immigrated to the United States during that time, along with the other one million Irishmen who also emigrated at that time, besides another 1 million who starved to death. This decreased the Irish population by 20 to 25%. Most families would have been unable to afford the passage, but this was usually paid by the landlord or even by the government after the family had spent a year in the workhouse, where the men, women, and children were all separated and housed in different areas.

Irish Catholics had been prohibited by the penal laws from owning land, from leasing land; from voting, from holding political office; from living in a corporate town or within
five miles of a corporate town, from obtaining education, from entering a profession, and from doing many other things necessary for a person to succeed and prosper in Irish society at the time. Most of the people would have been able to keep their homes, which were nothing but hovels anyway, had they been willing to compromise their faith. Sometimes when soup kitchens were run by the established Church of Ireland, the people who partook of their food had to attend their services, so even this food was denied to most people.

The exact circumstances of the immigration are unknown. However, Mary traveled to the United States probably with her brother Patrick James Gleeson and her sister Julia,
who were both considerably older than she and possibly had a different mother.

Mary was in the United States by the time she was eighteen, when she married John Sommers, a German immigrant, by whom she bore a daughter, Mary Minnie Sommers in 1861. John died shortly afterward, and Mary married Henry Charles Riney, whose ancestry was also Irish and by whom she had nine children, four of whom died in
Mrs. H. C. Riney died at her home near St. Patrick Sunday, Jan. 19, at 1 a. m., suddenly of heart trouble, being sick only one hour. She retired in her usual health. Calling her sons (who were living with her) at 12 p.m. she told them she was called to go. They immediately 'phoned the rest of her children but before they reached her bedside she was with her God. Her age was 65 years and 8 months. She was married twice, her first husband being John Sommer, who left one daughter, Mrs. W. White, of this city. She afterwards married H. C. Riney, of Jackson township, who died three years ago, leaving five children: R. P. Riney of Winchester; Andy, Frank and Dave, of St. Patrick, and Mrs. W. F. Fishback, now deceased. Interment at St. Patrick Monday at 10 o'clock.

Farewell: O Mother, Farewell:
Thy loss we deeply mourn:
For in the dark hour of midnight,
Thy soul to heaven was borne.

No more on earth will we see thee,
Or hear the sweet strains of thy voice
But knowing in heaven you are happy,
We with the angels rejoice.

May God in his mercy receive thee,
And grant to thee pardon replete;
As thou in thy pure humility,
Bow and kiss our Savior's feet.

Our Gleeson Heritage
Due in part to the dearth of Irish records brought about by the destruction wrought in Dublin, during the 1916 Easter Rebellion, we have very little factual information about our Gleeson heritage.

We do know that our ancestress Mary Josephine Gleeson and her siblings, Patrick James and Julia, traveled from Co. Tipperary, Ireland, to St. Louis and Clark Co., MO, possibly during the time of the great potato famine, along with other members of their family, which may have included Delores and Madonna Gleeson. Their Uncle David Brislin lived with his family in St. Louis, MO, and has descendants living in that area today.

Patrick James was baptized at Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, so it is reasonable to assume that the family came from that area. For many years, there have been and still are many Gleeson families in and around Nenagh, but no records have been found on this particular family, although extensive research has been attempted there.

Patrick James entered St. Mary Seminary in Perryville, MO, and was ordained a Vincentian priest. Among the places he served was St. Patrick Church, St. Patrick, MO. He eventually left the order and served as a secular priest in the diocese of Denver, CO.

Mary Josephine married John Sommers who had emigrated from Saxony, and they had one child before John's death. That child, Mary Minnie Sommers, was living in St. Louis, with her Uncle David Brislin at the time of the 1880 Census. Mary Josephine later remarried to Henry Charles Riney and had several more children, many of whom died at an early age. Her unmarried sister Julia made her home with them and is buried beside them in St. Patrick Cemetery, St. Patrick, MO, while Fr. Patrick rests in the cemetery at Walla Walla, WA.

Family links: 
  Patrick Gleeson
  . Brislin Gleeson
  John Sommers (1825 - 1864)
  Henry Charles Riney (1837 - 1904)
  Mary Minnie Sommers White (1861 - 1917)*
  Richard Patrick Riney (1868 - 1956)*
  Julia Josephine Riney (1869 - 1870)*
  Rose Ann Riney Fishback (1870 - 1904)*
  Margaret Riney (1871 - 1872)*
  Cecilia Agnes Riney (1873 - 1873)*
  James Edward Riney (1874 - 1874)*
  Andrew Jackson Riney (1875 - 1913)*
  Franklin Brislin Riney (1877 - 1927)*
  David Mathew Riney (1879 - 1961)*
*Calculated relationship
Saint Patrick Cemetery
Saint Patrick
Clark County
Missouri, USA
Plot: Section N 25
Created by: Lillie Riney
Record added: Oct 15, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5079829
Mary Josephine <i>Gleeson</i> Riney
Added by: Lillie Riney
Mary Josephine <i>Gleeson</i> Riney
Added by: Lillie Riney
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- R I P
 Added: Oct. 7, 2016

- Angel of Flowers
 Added: Oct. 5, 2016

- Alex P. Reed
 Added: Sep. 25, 2016
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