Edward Cullen

Edward Cullen

County Wicklow, Ireland
Death 29 Nov 1888 (aged 45)
High Bridge, Bronx County, New York, USA
Burial Woodside, Queens County, New York, USA
Plot Section 12, Range 25, Plot P, Grave 6
Memorial ID 19874448 · View Source
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Place of death is shown as Bronx. Actually, neither Bronx county, nor the Bronx as a borough of NYC, existed at time of death. The place of death is located within what's referred to as the annexed district of New York County. New York City had been comprised solely of New York County, i.e., Manhattan Island, the borough of Manhattan. The annexed district is that area west of the Bronx River, bounded westerly by the Harlem and Hudson Rivers, northerly by the Van Cortlandt Park line with Yonkers. At this time, the original West Farms, which had already been divided as West Farms and the southwest portion as Morrisiana, comprised the lower 2/3rds of the annex along the Harlem River, while the upper 1/3rd of the annex, along the Hudson River, was Kingsbridge.

The Marble Hill section of Manhattan was still a part of the island with the original path of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek running around its northern point from the Hudson to the Harlem River creating strong, spouting, devilish currents; hence, the Dutch term "Spuyten Duyvil". Seven years after Edward's passing, the Harlem River Ship Canal was constructed, essentially a straight line across from the Hudson to the Harlem River, de facto making Marble Hill an island. In 1914 the original creek run was filled in making Marble Hill physically attached to the Bronx, now separated from Manhattan Island, yet still part of New York County.


Our brother Jimmy gave me 1843 as Edward’s birth year but told me that there is a possibility that Edward was born 1839. Based upon the 1880 U.S. Census I uncovered, wherein his age is reported as 41, I had changed his birth year from 1843 to 1839. However, based on his documented age at Civil War enlistment and burial records, I went back to 1843. Subsequently, I was able to obtain a copy of his 1868 Certificate of Marriage and copy of the Return of Marriage Certificate to the Metropolitan Board of Health, State of New York, which indicates an 1844-1845 birth year; this also ties-in to his reported age of 25 two years later recorded on June 20th within the 1870 Census. However, two years after that, at the time of birth of his daughter Ellen “Nellie” in August of 1872, he reported being age 30 and having been born in Ireland. The Death Certificate of his eldest child, John Francis, records that both parents, Edward and Sarah Jane, were born in New York. But that was 15-1/2 years after Edward’s passing and we don’t know the attention given to this item when completing the certificate, nor that of the emotional state of the person providing the information.

Jimmy also called out that he had noted Edward as possibly being born in County Leitrim, Ireland. Possibly born on ship, en route to the U.S.A., to his parents Thomas and Elizabeth, who were possibly from the old Kingdom of Bréifne area. Thus, his place of birth would be treated as the homeland county. This is reflected above under “birth”. As far as I know, Jimmy hasn’t found any supportive documentation on this possibility. For decades, Jimmy has done extensive first-hand digging research on this issue, as well as many other issues. Quite a few years back, Jimmy even travelled to County Leitrim in this pursuit. Unfortunately, nothing yet has turned up or has been uncovered. Jimmy subsequently told me that he thinks the Cullens of ManorHamilton in Leitrim migrated to Australia. Hopefully, perseverance shall prevail one day and we’ll certainly locate the County and Townland!

Within Edward’s marriage record, the name of Thomas is provided by “Father’s Name”. So, this supports the notion that his father’s name is Thomas. No name is provided for “Mother’s Name”. This implies to me that possibly his mother has passed on. The positive side is that Thomas appears to have been alive at this time. In May of 2014, having secured a copy of his Certificate of Marriage, I’m beginning to think that if Edward was “born at sea” that possibly his birth could have indeed been on board of a ship – one that had entered or was docking within The Port of New York. All of his records that I have come across, which contain any field as to place of birth, indicates that he was born in New York; the only exception is a record wherein his daughter Susan, whose remains lie in rest next to his at Calvary Cemetery, had reported him as being “born at sea”. So, I’m thinking that he may well have possibly been born aboard a ship that was within the waters of The Port of New York (City) and that this happenstance was at first a recounted humorous tale, which became enhanced family folklore. Ah, surely it fits Irish embellishment bringing a smile from a humorous thought.


Edward’s paternal ancestry could be traced back by knowing the religious parish within where they were Baptized, first took Holy Communion, were Confirmed and or celebrated the Rites of Holy Matrimony, whether it be Roman Catholic or Church of Ireland (Anglican Catholic, Episcopalian in the U.S.). When this is unknown, civil registration of births, marriages and deaths could be searched as details could possibly be found therein. However, the devil is in the details.

Ireland did not have a country wide comprehensive registration system in place until 1864, which, besides setting in place the registration of all births and deaths, also established a register of Roman Catholic marriages. As a matter of historic fact, England and Wales did not have registration until 1844, which took eight (8) years to legislate. And that gave the authority to the Anglican Church to register marriages, a.k.a., the Established Church. All other churches had to file such records with the Civil Registrar. Across the narrow Irish and Celtic seas, in Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church was of the position that registration of marriages would minimize the sacred rite. Thus, in 1845 legislation was enacted that non-Roman Catholic marriages be registered and empowered certain registrars to perform marriages in the context of civil contracts.

Over time, as the Industrial Revolution developed, along with associated governmental regulations, among surrounding Celtic countries such as Brittany and Scotland, increased economic migration took place. Hence, a growing need for birth and marriage records, as well as required registered records to authenticate hereditary rights and claims. Finally, a national system was promulgated by law in 1863. By this time Edward had already been in the United States for fairly close to a score of years and had been wounded in the U.S. Civil War. Therefore it follows that finding an ancestral thread back appears to require finding some family record, or preferably a set of records, wherein Edward, his brother Thomas, their father Thomas or some other familial member fit within and may indicate a somewhat reasonable ancestral path back to the Motherland.


So, from whence were Edward’s roots in Ireland? According to a screen for the Cullen surname of the Griffith's Primary Valuation Property Survey (as legislated June 1852), made available by IrishTimes, there were 1,578 Cullen unique tenement occupiers dispersed throughout the island of Ireland. I use the term “unique” because that’s what Mr. John Grenham, an expert in Irish genealogy, has advised – it’s only a counting of a residence on a parcel under the Griffith valuation with no repeats.

In actuality, it is a counting of parcels with a residential house and where that parcel is associated with a Cullen that is either renting the residence (leasee) or is renting it out (leasor). Here’s an example for County Cavan. A screen of AskAboutIreland’s database of the Griffith's Primary Valuation Property Survey using the surname criterion of Cullen yielded 107 results for Cavan. Of these, 39 parcels are used as land, i.e., offices, agriculture, bog, pasture and do not have a residential house thereupon – it may have, say a herd house, but not a residential house. One (1) parcel has an unoccupied residential house on land with a Cullen shown as the leasor. This leaves 67 (107-39-1 = 67) parcels that include a residential house with that resident being a Cullen. As noted below, the same criterion screen of the same database at IrishTimes results in 72 Cullens associated with parcels having a residential house. The difference of five (72-67 = 5) is that the IrishTimes count includes those residential houses that may be occupied by others (in the case of Cavan: 2 Lynch, 1 Smith, 1 Gaynor and 1 Brady) on parcels where a Cullen is the leasor.

Bear in mind that an “Occupier” within the Griffith's Primary Valuation Property Survey database is actually one who is occupying the land for whatever use, i.e., house or garden or pasture or agriculture, et cetera or any combination thereof. Using the same Cullen surname criterion, AskAboutIreland yields 2,933 results, of these 2,196 have Cullen actually under the occupier field. However, note that these Cullen occupiers may not be residing on these parcels, they may be occupying the parcel for other aforementioned purposes. As previously stated, the same screen at IrishTimes yields 1,578 records. These are parcels with a residence and a Cullen associated with that residence. Thus, it excludes parcels without a residence. However, as detailed with the Cavan example, that Cullen is not necessarily the actual occupier of that residence, but rather may be the leasor of such parcel. Based upon this analysis, the by county distribution numbers below indicate an overstatement by roughly 7%.

Of the total, 180 (11.41%) were in the six (6) counties of Northern Ireland: Antrim (4, 0.25%), Armagh (67, 4.25%), Derry (16, 1.01%), Down (4, 0.25%), Fermanagh (9, 0.57%) and Tyrone (67, 4.25%); Belfast City, which saddles Down and Antrim, had 13 (0.82%).

The remaining 1,398 (88.59%) were dispersed throughout the remaining Counties of what we know today as the Republic of Ireland, i.e., the Irish Free State, except there were no listings within County Kerry back then.

A significant number (749, 47.5%) were located along or near the southeast coast in Counties Wexford (293, 18.57%), Wicklow (209, 13.24%), both bordered by Carlow (19, 1.20%) to the west, up into Dublin (96, 6.08%) outside of Dublin City (52, 3.30%) and Kildare (80, 5.07%) bordering Dublin.

Then along a northwesterly diagonal from the upper half of Dublin County, there were listings for Meath (42, 2.66%), Louth at the northern border along Dublin had a meager number (8, 0.51%), while continuing northwesterly from Meath, we have Cavan (72, 4.56%) and Leitrim (123, 7.79%). Along the south side of this northwesterly line, we have Westmeath (26, 1.65%), Longford (15, 0.95%), Roscommon (24, 1.52%) and Sligo (39, 2.47%) along the southern border with Leitrim. So, both sides of this northwesterly line accounts for nearly a quarter (349, 22.1%) of those within the Counties of the Irish Free State.

To the northeast of Leitrim, along the western border of Northern Ireland there were some in Donegal (24, 1.52%), and along the North’s southeast border in Monaghan (8, 0.51%), while to the west of the upper half of Sligo there were sparse listings for Mayo (12, 0.76%). Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan (preceding paragraph) are within the Province of Ulster, along with the 6 counties of Northern Ireland.

The balance of the listings for the Cullen surname (1,578 – (180+749+349+44) = 256, ≈16.2%) were dispersed among Galway (15, 0.95%), Clare (14, 0.89%), Offaly (12, 0.76%), Laois (54, 3.42%), Kilkenny (90, 5.7%), Tipperary (33, 2.09%), Limerick (1, 0.06%) with Limerick City (5, 0.32%), Waterford (26, 1.65%) and Cork (6, 0.38%).

During this same time period, there were 90 households recorded with variant surnames of Cullen throughout Ireland. There were 64 McCullen, 14 Cullan, 6 Cullane, 4 Collen and 2 Cullens.


Three valuations were conducted under the direction of Sir Richard Griffith. While commonly referred to as Griffith’s Valuations the proper name is of each volume was titled General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland.

First referred to as the Townland Valuation, passed 1826 under provisions of an Act of Parliament, 7 Geo. IV. cap. 62. Griffith was appointed Commissioner of Valuation in 1827 and he set out about his tasks in 1830. The delay was in waiting for the Ordnance maps set to a standardize six-inch (6”) scale per mile. This Act contained a scale of assumed current agricultural produce prices. However, here’s where a substantial flaw laid as the scale was from after Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena (Oct. 1815) and the signing of the Treaty of Paris (Dec. 1815), so it was from c. 1816-1817. Needless to say, there was a significant change in agricultural produce prices to the upside over the decade. Determination of rent was by what the value of what came from it, sans taxes and operational costs. This valuation had only assessed (noun is “cess”) the more expansive houses of the gentry.

The geographic breakdown of areas went from County to demarcated Poor Law Unions, which in turn were broken down by barony that encompassed parishes and finally townlands therein, which were the basic geographical valuation unit. Thus, the geographic roll-up to the County level is readily seen. Poor Law Unions can overlap Counties. Counties in turn are grouped into Provinces (Ulster in the northeast, Leinster along the east coast to the center, Connaught to the northwest and Munster the southwest).

Incidentally, a land area designated as a townland is of Gaelic origin – a “baile fearainn” (anglicised as "bally"), although there are some Norman influences in some of their names. Townlands are small little settlements, hamlets of sorts. Note that there is no standard land area size of a townland. It has been approximated that generally they’re around 300 acres, say ±10% would probably capture most, although there can be cases of 1/5th that size being a townland. There are over 62,000 townlands in Ireland. Also, the statue acre that we know today also varied in size with each variant size having its’ own label, such as a “great acre”, “Cunningham acre”. Further, land characteristics played a role as to sizing – rocky vs. arable, et cetera.

A second valuation by townlands was called for by an 1836 amendment to the Valuation Act. In this case valuations were never determined for the province of Munster in the southwest, while it was for Ulster, Leinster and Connaught.

The third valuation is known as The Ordnance or, more commonly, Griffith's Valuation that officially begun in the year 1852 under the authority of the statute 15 & 16 Vict. cap. 63. However, Griffith was already conducting his valuations as enacted by this legislation. It is not uncommon in Architectural-Engineering projects of this or similar nature where the nature of the project’s deliverables, in this case the valuations, is modified by the “owners”, in this case the government. What happens is the issue(s) usually arises from out in the field and flows upward where the upper managerial/ministerial tiers discuss it, resolve a plan on how to proceed forward and a directive is issued, which for monetary reasons is preferable to have in writing. Concurrent to the resolution, the Owner’s uppermost tier moves to have the resolution officially enacted, say by a Change Order, an Addendum, an Encumbrance or, in the case at hand, enacted legislation. The Ordnance made use of the statue acre.

Valuations were released by County when they became available. As an example, the first page for Co. Cavan would be titled atop and centered:

Valuation of Tenements (in old English script type)
ACTS 15 & 16 VIC., CAP. 63, 1T VIC., CAP. 8, & 19 & 20 VIC., CAP. 63 (Referencing the year of the reign of Queen Victoria that Parliament passed the law and the specific Chapter of the law)
C O U N T Y O F C A V A N. (capitalized spaced regular text, largest case)
BARONY OF CASTLERAHAN. (capitalized regular text, not spaced, about 1 case size smaller)
U N I O N O F B A I L I E BOROUGH. (capitalized spaced regular text, about 1 case size smaller)
PARISH OF BAILEBOROUGH (capitalized regular text, not spaced, about 2 case sizes smaller)

Then below each parish is a table containing, among other things, Townlands and Occupiers of parcels within each. Starting each table line item was a column (field) containing the map number showing the survey of a particular parcel. Thus, the tables were cross walked to The Ordnance Maps.

Hence, land parcels were those whose metes and bounds were as demarcated on what was and is known as The Ordnance Maps. These maps were produced under the direction of Lt. Col. Thos. Colby by the Royal Engineers as assisted by task forces of the Royal Sappers and Miners. Eventually a scale of six inches (6”) to the mile for all of Ireland was adopted for conventional use by Sir Richard Griffith in cross walking his third series of tenement valuations.


So, since we don’t have a specific town or county for Edward, his brother Thomas and his father Thomas (?), they could have emigrated from any county. Based upon the 1847-64 Property Survey, statistics indicate a higher probability that the family may have been from along or near the southeast coast or along a northwesterly diagonal from the upper half of Dublin County up through Leitrim and “T-ing” off to Donegal on one side and Sligo and Mayo to the other side.

As mentioned our brother Jimmy’s extensive research in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim did not turn up direct familial links. In mid-March 2013, in looking for a possible Prunty tie-in (our maternal grandmother’s maiden surname), I checked to see if they, along with any Haskins (our paternal grandmother’s maiden surname), had possible ancestral ties in Longford, just over the County Leitrim line. Similarly, since coming across Cullens from County Sligo, which may be the more likely given ManorHamilton’s proximity, I started doing some checks.

However, as Providence would have it, on St. Patrick’s Day eve 2013, I uncovered documentation indicating to me that the Cullens and Haskins’ do have familial ties, other than through our paternal grandparents, and may be from County Cavan. I have some details of this written up within the memorial for Matthew “Mattie” Haskins (memorial no. 107852260). In short, Rose McEntee, a sister of our Dad’s Aunt Tessie (McEntee) Haskins (sister-in-law of our paternal grandmother nee Mary “May” Haskins), married James Cullen, a native son of the townland of Arvagh, Barony of Tullyhunco, in the Parish of Killashandra and part of the Poor Law Union of Cavan, County Cavan. James was born March 16th, 1887. We find him having just turned 14 at the start of April 1901 living at house 47 on Main Street, Arvagh along with his widower father Edward, sister Lizzie, age 18, and brothers Edward (Jr.), age 16, and Patrick, age 11. Note similar family names (Edwd, Jas, and Eliz.) with those of the families of Edward (Elizabeth, James and Edward) and his brother Thomas (James, Edward and Mary Elizabeth).

Realize that Ireland Censuses are rather scanty prior to 1901 for a number of reasons, largely due to civil entropy and administrative capabilities. I did a search of the 1851 Census of Ireland, which substantially covers all counties but I don’t know much about the depth of coverage. I searched just for “Cullen”. There were 9 results – all in one family “Residents of a house 3 in Clonee (Magheraculmoney, Lurg, Fermanagh)”, religion was not an asked question. This townland is up in the middle of the border with Donegal.

Available records from the 1841 Census of Ireland are limited to 14 counties. Here I did a search for just Thomas Cullen. This resulted in just one Cullen family, a 71-year-old Thomas, a weaver, with his wife a 70-year-old Bridget. This indicates birth years of 1769-70 and 1770-1771, respectively and were married in 1796. They were residents of a house 3 in Kiltrasna (Killashandra, Tullyhunco, Co. Cavan); Killashandra is also spelt as Killeshandra. Residing with them was an unmarried Patt Quillan, recorded as a 20-year-old son, so possibly there’s a transcription error here, which is easy to see or he’s a son-in-law or the son a married daughter who passed away along with her husband. The household was rounded by two-year-old cousin Patt Kelaher; his forename may be after his father, as to his surname I don’t have an inkling. Besides being residents of County Cavan, they were all recorded as Cavan natives.

In re the 1831 Census of Ireland only two counties are available for searching: Antrim and Londonderry. A search of these records for “Thomas Cullen” returned no results. According to the Ireland National Archives, the Commissioners for the 1901 Census, in their General Report, stated” “A second enumeration of the people was taken in 1831. The inquiry, however, was not commenced simultaneously in all parts of the country, and it extended over a considerable period. The Enumerators, moreover, were under the impression that they would be paid in proportion to the numbers they enumerated, a system of payment which, it appears, was in many cases actually adopted. For these and other reasons, the results of this Census have not been regarded as satisfactory.”

As to earlier censuses the Commissioners’ General Report wrote: “The first attempt to take an Official Census in this country was made in 1813, pursuant to an Act passed in 1812. Under this statute the supervision of the enumeration was entrusted to the Grand Juries of the several counties. This arrangement worked badly, the Grand Juries, from their constitution, not being capable of efficiently superintending the work, and having at their disposal no adequate machinery for its accomplishment… [A]fter two years spent in a fruitless endeavour…the attempt was abandoned.”

They next noted "The failure of this inquiry directed public attention to the necessity of providing more effective machinery, and an Act was passed in 1815 vesting the superintendence of the next census in the Magistrates at Quarter Sessions and the Assistant Barristers; and accordingly the Census of 1821 was taken under their supervision. Though there was no staff officially under the control of the magistrates, yet the nomination of the enumerators was placed in their hands, and much care appears to have been taken to secure the services of men who were competent to perform the duty. At first many difficulties appeared. In some districts open hostility manifested itself, while in others the undefined state of the boundaries caused many obstacles to the compilation of a satisfactory statistical return. These, however, having been surmounted, the results of the first authoritative and complete Irish Census were presented to the public in 1823."

Now the records available for the 1821 Census of Ireland are of Counties Antrim, Carlow, Cavan, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kilkenny, King’s, Limerick, Mayo and Meath. A search of these records for “Thomas Cullen” yielded 8 results, 4 of which were at the same residence; all were in Co. Cavan. Of the four (4) not at the same address, one was a 9-year-old Thomas, brother to Henry 12, John 15, Hugh 19, Matthew 19 with parents Philip 54 and Eleanor 50 in the town of Stradone of the parish Drung & Larah. Another was a son of James and Anne, a 30-year-old Thomas Cullen, indicating a 1790-91 birth in the townland of Tonaugh, Kilbide parish. Another one appears to be a duplication of the same record as all the family’s names and ages, as well as the house number (21), are the same with the only difference being the exact location Jonaugh versus Tonaugh, both in Kilbride, Cavan, probably a typo “J” and “T”. The fourth was a Thomas, 42, and wife Anne, 40, residents of a house 3 in Cormaddyduff (Castlerahan, Cavan) by Lough Ramor (Lake) and the town of Virginia both near the border with Meath, along with their five (5) daughters – Anne, Catherine, Mary, Bridget and Margaret.

Now the four (4) results that were all at the same residence appear interesting. These 4 results are actually 2 unique records of a “Thomas Cullen” as they were duplicated. But that’s not the interesting aspect. What’s interesting is the names of the family members residing at house 9 in Rahever (Kilbride, Cavan). This household is comprised of husband Thomas 60 and wife Mary 50 with their offspring Jane 24, Elizabeth 22, James 21, William 17, Thomas 14, Margaret 12, and Cathrine [Sic] 6, with servants Michael Enrod 25 and Honora Reilly 50. It’s my understanding that Kilbride is now more commonly referred to as Mountnugent. It’s close to the Longford, West Meath and Meath borders.

The older Thomas (b. 1761±) could possibly be the grandfather of this memorial’s Edward Cullen and his older brother Thomas, while the 14-year-old son Thomas (b. 1807±) may well have been their father. What’s even more interesting is that the Edward Cullen of this memorial, our paternal great grandfather, along with his wife Sarah Jane (Hickinson), bore children they Christened Mary, Elizabeth, James, William and Catherine, et al. Names all common to that of the Thomas and Mary Cullen family of the 1821 Census of Ireland. A note to bear in mind, is that, for whatever reasons, no births are recorded for Edward’s wife Sarah Jane from mid-1873 to mid-1875. So, there could have been another family forename that hasn’t come to the fore yet. Further note that Edward’s older brother Thomas had children named James, Edward, Catherine, Mary Elizabeth and Thomas, et al.

As to distances: it’s less than 20 miles from James Cullen’s Arvagh down to Thomas’ and Mary’s location, as well as Jas. and Anne with 30-year-old son Thomas, both families in Kilbride (now, more commonly Mountnugent), Kingscourt (McEntee family) west to Kilbride is less than 30 miles, Kingscourt northwest to Arvagh is less than 40 miles and Kingscourt to Dublin City (Haskins family) less than 60 miles. In re Arvagh, the local Roman Catholic Church is Saint Mary's Church with an address of Drumalt, Arva, but is situated right in Arvagh, a stone’s throw from the border with County Longford. Arvagh is less than 2 miles from the point where the Provinces of Connacht, Ulster and Leinster meet. It is in the center of the Drumlin Belt. Oh, and by the way, the 71-year-old weaver Thomas with his 70 year old wife Bridget at house 3 in Kiltrasna (Killashandra, Tullyhunco, Co. Cavan) from the 1841 Census is less than 5 miles from Arvagh, the equivalence of 100 city blocks. Kiltrasna derives from the pronunciation of “coill thra sna”, i.e., cross wood; tully is from “tulaigh” for a hill, “fearainn” is the word for land, drum is from “droim” usually used to describe a type of hill – “droim rua” red hill, “droim ruisc” hill of the marsh, “droim sionnaigh” hill of the fox, et cetera).

So, this research back to the 1821 Census of Ireland does lay out an exploratory course that loosely connects our father’s heritage back to his father as detailed herein, and to his father’s father – Edward, and a plausible possible link back to Edward’s father – Thomas, as well as Thomas’ father Thomas (b. 1761±). Additionally, it links the James Cullen born 1887 in Arvagh, County Cavan, via marriage to his wife Rose McEntee Cullen to her sister Tessie (Teresa) McEntee to her husband Mattie the brother of Mary “May” Haskins, our paternal grandmother. While May was from Dublin, her father and brother were born in County Meath – neighboring all along County Cavan’s southern border.


During several centuries on both sides of the first millennium, from the start of the dark ages until after the end of the remaining Middle Ages, County Cavan (Contae an Chabháin) was an integral territory within the Kingdom of Bréifne. The Kingdom of Bréifne roots back to at least around 500 A.D. At one time, the realm extended from Co. Leitrim with part of Co. Sligo from Drumcliffe (Droim Chliabh), the lower portion of Co. Fermanagh and through Cavan to Kells in Co. Meath. I’m not sure if it included the northern most tip of Co. Longford, but I suspect it did, e.g., Barony of Granard. Its’ name derives from the Celtic tribe that inhabited and ruled the area, known as Uí Briúin Bréifne. The Uí Briúin may have been a branch of the royal family of the province of Connacht. The metes and bounds of today’s Roman Catholic Diocese of Kilmore is more or less comparable to that of the Kingdom of Bréifne. Kilmore encompasses 35 parishes, 2 of which are in Co. Fermanagh. The River Shannon starts its trip through southeastern Ireland to the Atlantic Ocean in Cavan.

From the late mid-1250s, after the great battle by Ballinamore, the general Leitrim area (Breifne West) was under control of the O’Rourkes (Ó Ruairc) and remained that way into the 1500s, while that of Co. Cavan (Breifne East) was under the O’Reilly’s (Ó Raghallaigh). Both were part of the province of Connacht up until 1584 when Cavan was shired (made into a county) and made part of Ulster Province. Today Co. Cavan is commonly referred to as Breifne County. The shape of today’s Cavan’s border is shaped like a drum stick from a large turkey.

The Anglo-Irish poet, William Butler Yeats is interred at the Drumcliffe Parish Church in Sligo by the Benbulben Mountains. Drumcliffe, which as mentioned was part of the Kingdom of Breifne, is less than 5 miles from the town of Sligo, Sligo, Ireland. It’s just on the other side of the small middle peninsula.


What appeared to be a serious candidate for consideration is a May 16, 1836 manifest I address under the section “Intra-Family Relationships”. It’s a Port of New York manifest for the Britannia. Surnames of disembarked passengers of family note are: Conlon, McCabe, and Duffys. Additionally, there’s a Thomas Cullen age 25. However, this year appears as possibly too early an arrival for Edward’s family.

There were over 600,000 Irish that emigrated by sea during the epoch of January 12th, 1846 to December 31st, 1851. These are databased as the Famine Irish Passenger Record Data File. I screened this database for “Cullen”, which returned 747 records. I have these records sorted by ascending year order and have bracketed by bordering or highlighting couples and larger groups. Since I’m of the impression, based upon current information, that Edward’s father, Thomas, had emigrated before this epoch, I’m holding these screened results in abeyance.

The potato blight started July-August of 1845 in the west of Ireland. It was an unintentional, unforeseen indirect import from the U.S. via France to the Isle of Wight, just off the coast of middle southern England in the English Channel, and onward to Ireland of an air carried fungus ‘Phytophthora Infestans’ that caused potato blights. At the time, the potato made up somewhere around 60% of Ireland’s food needs. It was the staple of their diet. The blight swept across and covered Ireland like a lethal cloud of death, invisible to the naked eye before the infestation and clearly visible when its symptoms presented in the form of starvation; it was a sinister stealth version of a dark cloaked natural catastrophe. By year end 1845 the crop was halved, during 1846 it was a devastation, and paltry at best in 1847. It’s been estimated that Ireland lost at least 25% of its population – a million to deaths and a million to emigration.

Some landlords tried to throw these under nourished, raggedy clothed Irish off their lands and even forced them onto ships to the U.S., thinking that getting rid of them was the solution. This too led to many deaths on board due to dysentery and fever. To this regard, spend a couple of minutes to look up on the internet the name Lord Palmerston, the British Foreign Secretary – an absentee landlord.

There’s a concise write-up and nicely constructed fluid read on the Irish Famine by James Donnelly, author of The Great Irish Potato Famine (Sutton Publishing, 2002) that looks at the famine in two chronological segments, the real famine and an “artificial famine”. The artificial famine is when there was more than ample food, in the form of Indian maize (corn sent over from the U.S.) but a blatant ineptness, coupled with an inherent lack of intrinsic motivation, in optimizing its preparation for consumption in tandem with efficacious logistical distribution to those in need. Donnelly puts forth that the severity of the “real famine” was exacerbated by three ideologies prevalent at the time in England: laissez-faire – hands off, the market will take care of itself, “providentialism” an act of Providence against the Irish and “moralism” that the very character of the Irish was one of laziness, sloth and reliance. The conflation of these three ideologies within the aristocratic mind-set of England’s upper and middle classes resulted in a rather snooty, better than thou, let ‘em suffer perspective that became prevalent. The epitome of this mind-set was personified in the character of Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB (Knight Commander in the Order of Bath), Assistant Secretary to HM Treasury.

To me this resulted in a twisted notion of laissez-faire. The Irish were, for the most part, tenant farmers, on lands that were taken by Anglo invasions and doled out to those who brought about sufferings of the Irish. Parcels went through iterations of sub-division to smaller and smaller size to squeeze out maximum rental incomes – to flow this cash to absentee landlords in England. Plots became too small to practically produce significant grains, such as wheat, barley and corn (collectively referred to as “corn”). Concurrently, there were “Corn Laws” that placed burdensome tariffs on grain imports to England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, keeping “domestically” produced grain prices artificially high. Thus, all associated food products were high, including among many, bread - the staple of life.

However, the potato could be grown while not undermining the soils, while also providing enough nutrition to sustain tenant families. This is especially true for the Irish Lumper, a white potato variety, which was the sole variety grown in Ireland. It’s known for its abundant growth in poor, craggy soils – ideal for Western Ireland. The Great Famine may have been greatly minimized had there been other varieties grown that were more disease resistant. Scales of prices for produce, diary and the like were listed below market for valuating (estimating) rents for government taxes and tithes. On parcels of ample size for profitable produce, such as the collective term “corn” (included all grains), the produce was strictly marked for export to England and not for general consumption. Greener pasture lands were for cattle so that the beef and dairy products could be sent to England for consumption. This provided short-term maximum profits to the absentee landlords and their middlemen representatives in Ireland. The Irish were in effect squeezed into a state of basic existence - peons.

There were many absentee landlords that didn’t properly manage, they didn’t strive toward a mixed development, rather they drained and abused. The societal system in place was feudal like, a last vestige of European serfdom. So, the Irish did not start from laissez-faire conditions. Under true laissez-faire conditions other markets would have freely moved in to replace the failed potato crop market bringing about alternatives, development creating and driven by a favorable jobs market. Instead monies were directed in road building, some going nowhere, draining ever increasing tax dollars from and away from value producing enterprises. Obviously, those taxed were irked. Sound familiar?

The notions of “providentialism” and “moralism” were quickly dispelled by Irish immigration to the U.S., where they struggled at first but over the years each generation prospered more than the last; same as, inter alia, German, Italian, European Jews and Chinese immigrants. The U.S. was at the time closer to laissez-faire conditions based upon our founding fathers than Europe was at the time. Unfortunately, over the years, we are being pushed toward European socialism, by power driven, control seeking, egotistical politicians pulling social engineering strings with little or no real-life experience in or understanding of free market conditions. They’re comparable to an addict’s addiction in trying to suck out as much money as they can for their grandiose crony schemes for their sole enrichment. They promise things to people with other people’s money. The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of spending other people’s money (Margaret Thatcher).

There were some who in their own way tried to help the impoverished Irish. Following is a snippet taken from “Annals Of The Famine In Ireland, In 1847, 1848 And 1849” by Mrs. Asenath Nicholson of Vermont (New York: E. French April 1851) written from her own personal accounts travelling throughout Ireland at that time. She was quite a woman of intelligence, compassion and character. She gives a descriptive firsthand account not only of the starvation but of the endearing and enduring Irish spirit, centered around their spirituality. So much for Trevelyan’s notion of “providentialism”.

“A man had died from hunger, and his widow had gone into the plowed field of her landlord to try to pick a few potatoes in the ridges which might be remaining since the harvest; she found a few - the land lord saw her - sent a magistrate to the cabin, who found three children in a state of starvation, and nothing in the cabin but the pot, which was over the fire. He demanded of her to show him the potatoes - she hesitated; he inquired what she had in the pot - she was silent; he looked in, and saw a dog, with the handful of potatoes she had gathered from the field. The sight of the wretched cabin, and still more, the despairing looks of the poor silent mother and the famished children, crouched in fear in a dark corner, so touched the heart of the magistrate, that he took the pot from the fire, bade the woman to follow him, and they went to the court-room together. He presented the pot, containing the dog and the handful of potatoes, to the astonished judge. He called the woman - interrogated her kindly. She told him they sat in their desolate cabin two entire days, without eating, before she killed the half-famished dog; that she did not think she was stealing, to glean after the harvest was gathered. The judge gave her three pounds from his own purse; told her when she had used that to come again to him. This was a compassionate judge, - and would to God Ireland could boast of many such.”

Another snippet is a quote she heard that drives the image of starvation home: “The breath is cowld in the poor divil's body, he'll no more feel the hunger, God bless him !” This wasn’t said at a wake, it was overheard while travelling along a road passing someone who died from starvation.

Starving Irish, like ready to fall off dangling buttons on their last thread, would be imprisoned and transported abroad for acts like taking a cob of corn. For a touching song, listen to "The Fields of Athenry”, written by the Dubliner Pete St. John (Peter Mooney) in the 1970s. My favorite version is by Shelia Ryan, which I heard while over in Ireland, around Tralee in County Kerry and I have on tape. She has a truly beautiful, angelic voice. The most successful version was that by the Irish tenor Paddy Reilly, which you can listen to on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3zQQIJwT5U.


In screening ship arrival records going back some eighty (80) years, as mentioned earlier, I uncovered a Port of New York manifest dating back to May 16, 1836 for the Britannia, which sailed out of Liverpool. Note that the ship is not an SS. Names of passengers of family note that disembarked are: John and Mary Conlon, John McCabe, four Duffys: Michael - 30, Anna – 30, Anna – infant and Ellen – 9. Additionally, there’s a Thomas Cullen age 25. However, this arrival appears too early for our Edward. Nevertheless, refer to the memorial # 104660597 for Lawrence V "Annie’s Larry" McElroy and his youngest brother Michael, memorial # 102159944 for Conlon tie-ins. See memorial # 102161743 for Mary Ellen L. "Mae" Haskins Cullen McElroy Corrigan, as well as Michael’s for tie-ins to the Duffys and the McCabes. Further note that Lizzie Duffy, along with John McElroy, bore witness to Larry’s and Annie’s (nee Prunty) McElroy wedding.

Records indicate that our Cullens immigrated to the U.S. at or just after Edward’s birth. That is, after the foregoing 1836 manifest and before the potato famine start in July-August 1845. We also have an exploratory path of assorted documents relating the family surname back to the mid-1700s to along the southwest and southeast border of County Cavan. The townlands of Arvagh and Kiltrasna located near the southwest border are within the Barony of Tullyhunco in the Parish of Killashandra and Barony of Clanmahon in the Parish of Kilbride, respectively. Here are some snippets viewing Killashandra from a window in time capturing the period of 1836 and pre-famine 1845 taken from Wikipedia.

“Killeshandra owes its origins to the Ulster Plantation, when Sir Alexander Hamilton of Innerwick, Scotland was granted lands by the crown in July 1610 to build a castle and create a Protestant community around the barony of Tullyhunco. The 1641 rising and civil war was a particularly difficult period in Killeshandra's history, as the Hamiltons with their neighbours the Craig's were forced out of their settled lands by the O'Reilly's. It was not until after the war and during the Restoration (1660) period that Sir Francis Hamilton regained control of the area and set about building a market town with Scottish planters and migrant Huguenot settlers who were especially noted for their industry and thrift. The new settlers and their families quickly adapted to the local conditions, which included the beginnings of flax growing and linen processing in the Cavan region. …..”.

“Linen production around Killeshandra grew considerably following an incentive in 1760 from the Linen Board, and was later quoted in Pigot's 1824 Directory as: “The greatest linen market in the county, and the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood are principally employed in its manufacture.” However, failure to capitalise on industrial methods of linen production when market sales were approaching their peak meant that Killeshandra would inevitably lose out in the race to compete with the bigger linen export producing towns further north, eventually leading to hardship and destitution for many local flax growing linen producers.” Recall the 71-year-old weaver Thomas Cullen with his wife Bridget from the 1841 Census of Ireland. So, a specialized industrial downturn may have been the motivator for our great, great grandfather Thomas and family to emigrate Ireland.

Compounding Cavan’s failure to advance from intensive, laborious and time-consuming hand production to cheaper, more efficient, mechanical production of linen from flax, as Belfast did in 1825, there was a cholera outbreak in 1832. Cholera is an infectious disease of the small intestines and very fatal back then. Typical spread via a polluted water supply.

There was a professional demographic analysis of the 1841 population survey specific to the parish Killeshandra presented in Volume V, No. 17 of the journal “Breifne” (1976). Among the demographic facets analyzed was a “Sickness and Death” section. Therein it noted: “While the census asked for the cause of death to be filled in, we are unable to build up a fully scientific picture of the situation. It's doubtful in many instances if people knew what was the cause of death. Consumption or T.B is reported as the most common killer, accounting for 484 deaths (32%). This compares with only 11% for the rest of Co. Cavan. Among the epidemic diseases fever accounted for 7% of deaths, smallpox for 5%, measles for 5% and whooping cough for 3%. Measles and hives were among the biggest killers of infants. About 22 people died as a result of accidents, such as drowning, scalding and even being knocked down by a cow. There were two cases of murder reported. One was Mrs. Cumisky, a 53-year-old widow from Behy and the other was 60-year-old William Scott from Corlisprattan.”

Putting aside dismal economic conditions, I would imagine that the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) would alone be motivation enough to emigrate the Parish of Killashandra, wherein Arvagh is situated, by hoof or by foot. So, the parish wherein Arvagh is situated suffered economic downturns in failing to capitalize which, in turn, lead to “hardship and destitution”, which, in turn, lead to tuberculosis. We know that close living conditions of the poor hastens the spread of TB, particularly the wasting away brought on by pulmonary tuberculosis (consumption). Killashandra is part of the barony of Tullyhunco which borders Co. Longford, the next barony to the southeast is that of Clanmahon, which has the parish of Kilbride that touches the tail part of West Meath separating Longford and Meath and is along the border with Co. Meath. So, besides the similar family forenames previously noted in both parishes, the fit of estimated birth years within 1 or 2 years, the documented family connection to James Cullen born 1887 in Arvagh, we now have historical economic and heath occurrences that tie-in to the pre-famine time of emigration.

For more family tie-ins from James Cullen, born 1887 in Arvagh, to other Cullens that appear to be possibly connected to him in the Jersey City area (to where they moved during early to mid-1930) from the turn of the century up to 1940 see the memorial (no. 107938338) for Aunt Tessie “Teresa "Tessie" McEntee Haskins McGlynn”. Particularly note the mid-April 1903 manifest of a 47-year-old James Cullen, a merchant, from Cavan on his way to see his brother John in Jersey City. A finding in the 1901 Census of Ireland, two years earlier, indicates he was 46, a “Spirit Merchant” residing in house 2 on Mill Street in the town of Cavan, Cavan. This ties into the age on the manifest, i.e., 47, to turn 48 after mid-April 1903 (b. 1855±). Coincidentally, his birth year is around the exact time that Edward’s brother Thomas and his wife Catherine had their son James, who I have located within the 1855 and 1870 U.S. Censuses, but not the 1880 U.S. Census. I wonder if he became a “Spirit Merchant” returning to Ireland. There are some seven (7) years after the birth of Thomas’ James and that of his brother Edward. Maybe there was another brother born in between, i.e., the brother John that James was going to visit in 1903. Something to think about.

As noted in further detail within the memorial (no. 129443478) for Edward’s brother, Thomas Cullen, in the 1st Enumeration of the 1870 U.S. Census, there’s a James age 40 (b. 1830±), Susan, possibly a sister or James’ wife, age 35 (b. 1835±) and a John age 25 (b. 1845±) Cullen. The first thing that comes to mind is to wonder if they’re siblings of our Edward and Thomas Cullen or paternal first cousins. In other words the siblings ordering would be James (b. 1830±), Thomas (b. 1832±), Susan (b. 1835±), Edward (b. 1843±) and John (b. 1845±). I take it with a grain of salt that Thomas only sired Thomas and Edward, not typical for our family back at that time. Incidentally, at that time James and John were each a “carman”. Besides the Census, just like Thomas, each were listed within Trow’s 1872 New York City Directory as being a “carman”.


My brother also told me that in the 1860's, before the Civil War, Edward was a drover. I've researched that "drovers" drove cattle that were ferried across the Hudson River from Elizabethport, NJ, cross town along 44th Street to the Allerton stockyards at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, before new NYC Health Laws became effective in 1866 (for historical context, refer to David Rotenstein at blog.historian4hire.net; for population densities and sanitary conditions at the time see The Living City Archives at TLCArchive.org - 97th Street was just above the "outskirts"). Also note that 1850-1870 marks the Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed era in NYC politics.

In reeling through some 1860 Census Population Schedules, I uncovered a Thomas Cullen a “Driver”, age 40 with wife Elizabeth age 38, both from Ireland. Listed children are Jas. 11, David 9, Ellen 7, Mary 4, Hannah 2 and Isabella 9 months. There were no street addresses recorded as part of the 1860 Census. Suffice it to say that they were residing within the same 12th Ward as The Hickinson’s in the 1870 Census addressed within the John “Hickerman” Hickinson memorial. However, I’ve subsequently ruled this Thos. Cullen & Family out as being Edwd.’s brother since finding Edward’s older brother Thomas as residing in downtown Manhattan. For details refer to Thomas (II) Cullen’s memorial, no. 129443478. I have a number of immigration manifests for Elizabeth Cullen; one shows an 1846 arrival at age 24 with an estimated birth year of 1822. I probably have more than a dozen manifests for “Thomas Cullen”, I don’t yet see one that fits the foregoing scenario coupled with that of Elizabeth’s. Results should link up like opposing magnetic poles.

As a matter of note in re the 1860 Census, I came across another Thomas, unable to decipher his occupation, age 28, with wife Margaret age 26, residing down in the 18th Ward – bounded by East River west to 6th Avenue, 14th Street north to 20th Street. Edward’s brother, Thomas, his wife Catherine and family were living within this area in 1870 (17th St.) and 1880 (13th St.), except directly across on the westside.


Available Civil War records record Edward having served in Company C, Regiment 10, New York Infantry during the Civil War. He was 18 years of age at the time of his enlistment on 1 Oct 1861, which indicates a likely 1843 birth year; unless of course he claimed to be 18 while 17, which would then tie-in to his wedding and burial records. He was wounded at 2nd Bull Run 30 Aug 1862, becoming an “invalid”. He was captured 2 Sept 1862 at Groveton, Virginia and paroled on 3 Sept 1862. He was discharged some 6 months later, on 12 Feb 1863, due to disabilities. Edward was mustered in as a Private on the day he enlisted to serve 3 years. The New York 10th Regiment were known as the “National Zouaves”. Their volunteer counterparts were “The 5th New York Volunteer Infantry”, known as Duryée Zouaves, after Abram Duryée, a successful lumber merchant who had organized them in April 1861.

The uniforms of the Zouaves were unique to differentiate themselves from those of the regular army, after all they were to represent well disciplined, specially drilled, and superior, fierce, brave warriors. The uniform’s uniqueness attracted a certain mind set and was a bold statement of what they stood for. The Duryée Zouaves uniform consisted of red baggy pants, i.e., pantaloons, “balloon pants” in today’s parlance, white leggings extending up over the calf, a short, collarless royal blue cape like jacket with red trimmings and scrolling on each side in the front, a red cap that was a cross between a fez and today’s wool snow cap with a dark yellow gold tassel hanging down from the top in the back.

As to the New York 10th Regiment “National Zouaves” (as they were the State’s National Guard), the following is a description of their uniform from a newspaper clipping from c. mid-Oct. 1861 titled: Colonel McChesney’s Zouaves – Their Encampment at Sandy Hook and Expected Departure. “The uniforms are to be sent to the encampment to day, and are the improved Zouave costume, the jacket and pants being of blue pilot cloth, trimmed with red, with vest of the same cloth, trimmed with stripes of blue, and ornamented in front with a row of gilt buttons; a Havelock of linen, Zouave boots, and a blue sash with crimson border, complete the costume. Several tailors are sent with the uniforms, and each man is to be properly fitted.” The same clipping ended by stating” “The Brooklyn company is entitled to the right of the line, and Company C, commanded by Captain Southern, the left.”

In New York City (limited to Manhattan and surrounding islands at the time) enlistment had been held at 480 Broadway (couple of blocks north of Canal and west of Lafayette in SoHo) and up at the corner of 58th and 3rd Avenue. A Havelock incidentally is a white cotton or linen cloth worn over their caps, draping down from ear to ear in the back, over the rear of the neck to the top of the shoulders. The men used them as a general utility cloth, including as a coffee strainer. The Zouave boots are the white leggings.

The Battle of Second Manassas, aka 2nd Bull Run, took place by Manassas Junction, a strategic railroad crossing in northern Virginia that routes to the Shenandoah Valley, Richmond, VA and Washington D.C. The NY 10th (National Zouaves) regiment was under the command of Colonel John E. Bendix, while the 5th Volunteers regiment, was under Colonel Gouverneur Kemble Warren. Of the two colonels, Col. Warren was given brigade command by Brig. General George Sykes as both Zouaves were assigned to his division of U.S. Regular Army. In like hierarchy, Brig. Gen. Sykes division was within Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter’s V Corps who, in turn, were to be in service to Maj. Gen. John Pope who had been battling the Confederate forces of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s. Both Duryée Zouaves and the National Zouaves were noted as being well drilled, disciplined, proficient infantry.

During the early afternoon of August 30th, 1862, Warren’s Zouaves were being held in reserve along the Warrenton Turnpike, which runs in a northeast – southeast direction. This was just east of its intersection with the north-south running Lewis Lane that essentially demarcated the line between Confederate forces on its west and Union forces on its east. The intersection of Lewis Lane and the Warrenton Pike, although somewhat skewed, basically formed x-y axis quadrants.

Around high noon, Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds’ division abandoned its position, moving east to Chinn Ridge and an hour later, c. 3:00 P.M., was ordered north across the Warrenton Pike (into the northeast quadrant) in support of Maj. Gen. Pope who was re-engaged in battle with Stonewall Jackson after being repulsed the day before. Jackson’s forces were aligned to his west, with the Commanding Confederate General Robert E. Lee forces aligned along the southwest marching east against the Union troops. The movement of Reynolds’ troops northward left D Battery of the 5th U.S. Artillery, positioned atop a knoll on the south side of the Warrenton Pike and just east of Wilcox’s Confederate forces, vulnerable to their left (south). So, at the request of D Battery’s 1st Lt. Charles E. Hazlett, Warren moved his troops to form a line facing the western woods to D Battery’s south. This area is Groveton, VA. The western face of Chinn Ridge was behind them with the summertime exposed muddy banks of a Bull Run tributary, Young’s Branch, running in between.

Not knowing what dangers lurked within the woods to their west, Col. Warren ordered Col. Bendix to dispatch 6 National Zouave companies toward the woods as skirmishers, holding back 4 companies of the 10th in reserve. The skirmishing was scattered and on and off, in sum, desultory. Then c. 4:00 P.M. General Longstreet’s 28,000 Confederate troops appeared one after the other out of the woods from the west and southwest, like a great grey fog, yelling with bayonets glistening from the late afternoon sun at their back and rear left charging at the 10ths’ skirmishers, who were able to get off 1 volley before rapidly scurrying back to their reserved 4 companies for support. At first, the 5th Duryée Zouaves who were set-back from the 10th, right along Young’s Branch creek, couldn’t make out where the firing was coming from and almost took to firing at the scurrying 10th forces.

Moments later the 5th was ferociously fired upon being riddled with gun shots and rounds removing parts of their extremities. The 10th were subjected to a sweeping fire along the length of their line (enfiladed). Of the 525 Duryée Zouaves engaged in battle, which lasted only 10 minutes, 332 were lost, over a third (119) were immediately killed or died shortly thereafter from their wounds. The fatalities of this battle are recorded as the highest percentage of casualties in the shortest amount of time during the Civil War. It was a general slaughter, a massacre. My brother Jimmy sent me an article titled “Destruction of the 5th New York Zouaves” by Brian C. Pohanka, which provides a very vivid description of the massacre that ensued that day – known as 2nd Bull Run, aka The Battle of Second Manassas. It’s available at www.CivilWar.org. This short narrative here is based upon that article, as well as records from New York State’s Division of Military and Naval Affairs, in addition to historical information and battle plan maps of the Civil War organization.

Jimmy was able to secure (I’m sure it was laborious) a copy of the following original document “This is to Certify That Edward Cullen was a Private of C Co. 10th Regt. New York Vols who was Honorably Discharged on the 30th day of April 1863 and was Mustered a Comrade of Reno Post No. 44 G.A.R. Dept New York on the 13th day of September 1881.” Just in case someone reading this doesn’t know, the acronym G.A.R. stands for Grand Army of the Republic. The post is named after Major General Jesse Lee Reno (from “Renault”) and was chartered on April 15th, 1875. Reno was born August 20th, 1823 in Wheeling, West Virginia and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1846, along with his close friend Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Reno made Brigadier General in 1861, Major General 1862 the year he was killed at Fox's Gap during the Battle of south Montana. Several towns are named in his honor, to wit, Reno, Nevada. His remains are reinterred in Georgetown, Washington D.C. where Fort Reno there gets its’ name from.


For the period of 1868 and into 1910 refer to the memorial for Edward’s wife Sarah Jane "Mother" Hickinson Cullen by clicking the link toward the bottom of this memorial.


So, what did Edward do for a living? Jimmy informed me that Edward was a lineman for the telegraph company. Edward's occupation given at time of death was as a telegraph lineman for the NYC Fire Department. In 1888, he was killed when he fell from the Fire House flag pole at the N.E. corner of W. 167th Street and Ogden Avenue, in the High Bridge Section of the Bronx (Eng.68, Lad.49 1160 Ogden Ave.). I note that communication of fires and the like were by telegraph - the modern technological advance of the time.

As a kid, I heard that he fell off a flag pole reaching for his derby hat which had flew off from the winds that day; impressing upon me the importance of one’s derby hat! This was embellished by jokingly hinting at flag pole sitting, but not coming right out saying he was flag pole sitting, simply mentioning it letting one’s mind imply it. I remember then being told about “flag pole sitting”. The king stuntman of flag pole sitting was Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly, whose proper name was Aloysius Kelly, born 1893 and orphaned in “Hell’s Kitchen”. As an adult, I now see that this is indeed family folk-lore embellishment, flag pole sitting started out as a daring fad c. 1924, not 1888, and the fad carried on into the 1930s. However, I’m sure children of those times, particularly boys, were captivated by this daring feat. So as these children reached their thirties and forties, I see it as them jokingly connecting a childhood memory of a daring feat, by someone named Aloysius, to perhaps lighten a wistful event. Forget flag pole sitting! Just imagine the fascination with the stunts of Harry Houdini during the first quarter of the century!

My brother Jimmy related to me the thought that Edward got caught up in the blowing flag.

At the start of August 2014, I received an email from Gary Urbanowicz, Hon. Deputy Chief – FDNY Historian, who informed me that there is a short record of Edward within “The Last Alarm”, last published 2007. Gary had informed me that “As an employee of the FDNY who died while on duty and, as a lineman, undertaking a task that he was well-suited for, he was included in our book”.

The inclusion reads as follows:
November 29, 1888
In Quarters of Ladder 19, Bronx

Lineman Edward Cullen was in the quarters of Ladder 19 at 1187 Ogden Avenue in the Bronx. He climbed up the flagpole from the roof of the firehouse to reeve the halyard on the pole when he fell and was killed. The incident occurred around noon and by 1:00 p.m. permission was requested from the coroner by the undertaker to remove his body to his home at 110 East 97th Street.” As an aside, to reeve is the act of passing a rope through the eye of a pulley, while a halyard is a rope specific to the act of hoisting or lowering a sail or flag.

Cause of Edward’s death was a fractured skull. It’s tragically ironic that almost four years prior to his death date his brother Thomas also had a fatal fall and passed on from suffered skull damage; refer to the memorial for his brother Thomas Cullen, number 129443478.

As credited accordingly within the foregoing, it is our brother Jimmy (Jas. Edwd. II) who has researched and provided me the initial names along with birth and death years of our genealogy posted herein. I subsequently researched and uncovered further noted details. The brief reference to the Allerton stockyards I discovered online as noted,


2nd Calvary Section 12, Range 25, Plot P, Grave 6



  • Maintained by: Daniel Michael Jas. Cullen Sr.
  • Originally Created by: Diana Enos Hammock
  • Added: 13 Jun 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 19874448
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edward Cullen (Sep 1843–29 Nov 1888), Find a Grave Memorial no. 19874448, citing Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Daniel Michael Jas. Cullen Sr. (contributor 47995737) .