Susanna <I>Harrity</I> Dever

Susanna Harrity Dever

Birth
County Donegal, Ireland
Death 11 Feb 1894
Lambertville, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Lambertville, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA
Memorial ID 22261341 View Source
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Susanna was born about 1832, the daughter of Hugh Heraghty and his wife Mary McLaughlin of Bellanascadden, Coolboy, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. She had younger brothers named Thomas and John. Thomas migrated to America, while John inherited the family's tenancy of a farm and blacksmith's forge at Killhill.

The teenaged Susie survived the Irish potato famine of 1846-1849, when over a million people died of starvation.

She married Patrick Dever on Apr. 11, 1852 at St. Columba's R.C. Church in Kilmacrenan, Co. Donegal.

The couple departed from Londonderry, Northern Ireland on the ship "The Helen Thompson", arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylania on June 6, 1853. The ship's manifest listed Ramelton as their place of origin.

Patrick and Susanna had five daughters: Ellen Teresa in 1853, Mary A. 'Mamie' in 1857, Catherine Agusta in 1858, Anna Matilda 'Hannah' in 1860, and Susanna in 1861. The eldest was born soon after their immigration. The youngest died of measles at 2½ years old.

The family was itinerant, moving from place to place depending on the available work. In their first eight years in the US, they lived in Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey; Mauch Chunk, Carbon Co., Pennsylvania; and Solebury Twp., Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. The family finally settled across the Delaware River in Lambertville.

To make ends meet, Patrick enlisted as a private soldier during the Civil War. He died of disease in 1862.

Because of his war service, Susanna was awarded a widow's pension of $8/month for the rest of her life plus $2/month for each child under the age of 16 years. Payments began 17 months after his death, once she had submitted all the proper paperwork.

She was illiterate. It beggars belief how she was able to support her daughters. She was working at a flax mill in 1870, but mostly she was a housewife and a mother to her daughters. Perhaps her brother Thomas helped, but he was very poor as well, and he had at least seven children of his own from 1873 to 1891.

Susanna later owned property at 32 South Union Street in Lambertville. Her son-in-law, John Michael Masterson, appears to have helped her purchase this. It is unknown how she saved the money to buy real estate.

Susanna died of uterine cancer. In her will, she bequeathed her savings of $15 and some furniture to her four surviving daughters. She signed with her mark.

She had 18 grandchildren and 216 known additional descendants as of late 2007. All but one of the latter are through her daughter Catherine.

I have a great admiration for my 3x great grandmother. I can't even begin to imagine how hard her life must have been. That she produced a strong but kind female line down to my daughter under such adverse conditions is a testament to her own resilience and maternal skill.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam, err yesh day guh rev ah ahnam.
(Gaelic for "Rest in peace.")


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