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Sarah Jane Carr Norton

  • Birth 18 Nov 1863 Mount Bellew, County Galway, Ireland
  • Death 28 Jan 1950 Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, USA
  • Burial Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, USA
  • Plot Grave 16, Section H, Block G
  • Memorial ID 7604430

Sarah Jane Carr (1863-1950) Norton. She was a migrant from Ireland to the United States around 1884 or 1885. She worked as an indentured maid with her sister and cousin in a rooming house in New York City, possibly in Brooklyn. (b. November 18, 1863; Hollygrove, Killeroran, County Galway Ireland - d. January 28, 1950; 61 Clendenny Avenue, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, 07304-1503, USA)

Sarah Jane Carr, Sadie Carr. Her married name was Sarah Norton.

Thomas Carr (c1840-bef1901) and Bridget Conboy (c1840-aft1901) of the townland of Coalpits, County Galway, Ireland or the adjacent townland of Hollygrove, County Galway, Ireland.

Sarah was born around November 18, 1863 or 1864 in Hollygrove, Killeroran, County Galway, Ireland. She must have been born before civil registration of births began in Ireland since she does not appear in the General Register Office birth index. Her sister had her birth recorded, and that sister was born in Hollygrove, County Galway, Ireland in 1865. Sara's death certificate listed her birth as "November 18, 1877", but the 1900 United States census lists her birth as "November 1866". The 1915 New Jersey census uses "November 1872". She was listed as age 26 in 1890 when she married, which would place her birth in 1864, the year before civil registration began. Her marriage certificate is the closest document to her birth, so it is likely the most accurate. The dates she used range from 1864 to 1877, but November has always been consistent.

She was baptized in Athleague parish which was located in County Roscommon but served the region of Galway that bordered Roscommon. Her baptism record has not been found yet. Her sister was baptized there.

Her siblings include: James Carr I (1874-after1950) who emigrated to the United States around 1903 and operated a speakeasy, and was a chauffeur in 1918; Katherine Carr (1865-1952) aka Kitty Carr, who emigrated to the US around 1881 and worked as an indentured maid and married James Joseph Kennedy (1866-1926); Andrew Carr (c1870-?) who may have emigrated to Australia from Ireland; Mary Carr (1873-?) who never married and remained in Ireland; and Thomas Carr II (1876-?) who married Mary Kelly and remained in Ireland on the family property until his death.

Sarah came to the United States between 1885-1886 with her sister, Katherine Carr. If born in 1864 she would have been 22 or 23 years old. Her brother, James Carr arrived in 1903. Sarah also had a cousin that came over as an indentured maid, Margaret Agnes Conboy (1866-1951) aka Maggie Conboy, who married Owen McLaughlin (1863-1931). The 1900 US census uses 1885 as the year of her migration. The 1910 and 1920 US census both use the year 1886. There is a Sarah Carr who came over in 1887 aboard the Celtic, that may be her.

Indentured servant:
Sarah, and her sister Katherine, and her cousin Margaret were indentured servants, their passage to the United States was paid by the rooming house in Brooklyn that they worked in, and they had to work for 5 years to pay off that debt. The exact place in Brooklyn where they worked has not been identified.

Sarah married Patrick J. Norton (1856-1905) on April 13, 1890 at Saint Paul's Roman Catholic Church at 14 Greenville Avenue in Jersey City. At the time she was living at 65 Avenue E in Jersey City. Patrick Norton was the son of Michael Norton (c1830-?) and Bridget Mulligan (c1830-?). The wedding was attended by John Norton (1861-1905), Patrick's brother and some of the Hogans that were Sarah's cousins. She was able to marry after waiting the five years since migration to pay back her debt.

Sarah and Patrick had five children with three living to adulthood: Thomas Patrick Norton I (1891-1968) who married Mary Margaret Burke (1890-1949) aka May Burke, and after her death he married her half-sister, Josephine Burke; James Joseph Norton I (1892-1961) who married Helen Marie Maher (1895-1974) aka Eeenie Maher; Katherine Mary Norton (1894-1942) aka Kate Norton, who married James Patrick Langan I (1889-1975); Sarah Francis Norton (1896) who died as an infant of acute pachymeningitis; and Mary Norton (1898) who died as an infant of acute meningitis.

Death of husband:
Sarah's husband Patrick worked as a laborer on the railroad, but both Patrick, and his brother, John Norton, died in 1905 at a relatively young age. Patrick may also have had a third brother, Matthew Norton, that was the witness to his wedding to Sarah.

Sara Carr traveled back to Hollygrove and Coalpits at least once with her sister Katherine Carr and daughter, Catherine Norton. Kathy Langan Smith says one trip was before Catherine Norton was married in 1930. They all should have passport applications once they become available.

Jersey City, New Jersey:
In the year 1900 she was living at 101 Bright Street in Jersey City and by 1910 she had moved to 31 Germania Avenue.

Two two-family houses:
Sarah somehow received a large sum of money after Patrick's death. The source of the money is not clear, but she used it to buy two newly-constructed two-family houses in the Horseshoe, or Irish section of Jersey City in 1920. She lived in one unit and had family members living in some of the other units. The address was 61 and 63 Clendenny Avenue.

Sarah Jane Carr died on Saturday, January 28, 1950 at about age 84. She had house guests from Ireland staying over in her home, and she was very excited and happy, talking about Ireland. She died in her sleep that night.

Jersey Journal on January 31, 1950: "Mrs. Sarah Norton (nee Carr) died on Saturday in her home at 61 Clendenny Avenue. Mrs. Norton, a native of Ireland, resided in the Horseshoe section for 30 years before moving to the Clendenny Avenue address 30 years ago. She was a communicant of Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church; a member of the Rosary Society; Greenville Council, Catholic Daughters of America, and St. Alicia Council, C.W.B.L. Surviving are two sons, Thomas and James; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren."

Funeral notice:
Jersey Journal on January 31, 1950: "Norton - Died suddenly on Saturday, January 28, 1950 at the residence, 61 Clendenny Avenue, Sarah Jane Norton (nee Carr), beloved wife of the late Patrick J. Norton, and the late Katherine Langan; loving sister of Mrs. Katherine Kennedy and James Carr; also survived by six grandchildren. Relatives and friends, also Catholic Daughters of America. Greenville Council, No. 450; St. Alicia Council, No. 58, C.W.B.L., Rosary Society of Our Ladies of Victories Church, are invited to attend the funeral on Wednesday, February 1st, at 9 a.m., from the Funeral Home of Richmond F. Routh, 206 Old Bergen Road. Solemn mass of requiem at Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church at 10 a.m. Members of our Our Lady of Victories Rosary Society are asked to meet at Richmond F. Routh, 206 Old Bergen Road, tonight 8:15 p.m. to offer prayers for Sarah Norton, a former member."

She left an estate valued at $9,000, which was to be split between her children. Her daughter, Katherine, had died in 1942 and the money was split between her two surviving children, Tom and James. Katherine's widower, James Patrick Langan, hired a lawyer because he felt Katherine's share should go to her children. The legal fight ended up using some of the money in legal fees.

Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Apocryphal stories:
Sara was known for her colorful family stories that may have had no basis in fact. She said that when she came to the United States everyone was wearing black armbands, and somehow the story was transformed by her grandchildren that she came over when the president was shot. She also said the family was from County Cork, but she was from Hollygrove and Coalpits on the Galway/Roscommon border. She also told people that her husband, Patrick died from yellow fever during the Spanish-American War, where he was a farrier, and that the money she received to buy her 2 two-family houses was from his insurance.

Hollygrove, Ireland:
Ann Elizabeth O'Malley (1933- ) writes: "On September 28, 1982 Fred and I drove to Roscommon in search of [the birthplace of Katherine (Kitty) Carr (1865-1952)]. We asked the first elderly man we saw if he had ever met Thomas Carr. He said if it is the Thomas Carr who married Mary Kelly then he had. That was our lucky day. He directed us to the Holly Grove/Coal Pits area. We stopped in front of a two story granite house and asked a middle aged man if he knew whether this was the former residence of Thomas and Mary Carr. As luck would have it, once again he said that it was not, but that he owned the old Thomas Carr estate. His name was Mr. McCann and he said that the property had been divided and the Rourkes had built a house on a portion of the original property. The neighbor also said that Mary loved children and often gave them sweets. The front door was boarded up so we climbed through a back window into the kitchen which still had only a mud floor. At the front entry hall there was a staircase straight ahead and a hallway to the left of the staircase leading to the kitchen. There were two large rooms, one on each side of the entry hall both with interesting fireplaces. A stairway with nicely carved banisters, still intact, led to the second floor. The second floor like the first consisted of two large rooms, both with a fireplace. To the left of the house was a stone shed. There was also a spring on the property and someone said that many years ago it was used as a community spring. It was a great thrill to see the house where my grandmother was born and grew up. If only the cows had not roamed through it and destroyed the floors it would still be a picturesque house on a hill. After dinner that evening we went to a general store in Athleague and mentioned that my grandmother, Catherine Carr, was born in Coal Pits."

Memories about Sarah Carr:
Thomas Patrick Norton II (1923-2011) said: "She would say that I was a 'house-devil' and a 'street angel', meaning that I was polite when she took me out on the street but was a devil inside the house when I would fight with my brothers. She would always wear black after her husband died. Sarah loved to play euchre, a card game. She played euchre with such intensity that when she trumped, she would slam the cards on the table loudly, so that people in other rooms would hear her. She would play with Katherine Norton, Thomas Patrick Norton I and James Joseph Norton I and even James Langan. She bought 61 and 63 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City. They were both two family houses. She lived in one unit at 61 Clendenny Avenue. In another unit lived Katherine Mary Norton (1894-1942), James Patrick Langan (1889-1975) and their three children. In a third apartment lived James Joseph Norton I (1892-1961) and his wife Helen Maher (1895-1974). The fourth was rented to strangers. Across the street was a saloon where I would fetch the beer in a bucket. She made great apple pies."

Memories about Sarah Carr:
Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) writes on November 2, 2011: "Sarah Carr was able to buy two brand new two family houses during the depression. She made up a story that it was from the insurance when her husband died, but he died in 1905 and he was just a day laborer for the railroad. It is just speculation, but I believe she was involved with the numbers game in Jersey City. That would be the only way she could afford to build two brand new two-family houses. In the 1920s and 1930s, her son Thomas, would rent the downstairs unit at 603 Garfield Avenue to a woman who worked for Newsboy Moriarty. The unit was used as a counting house where they sorted the betting slips and sorted the money that they collected. Thomas Patrick Norton I said 'only downstairs', meaning he never let the illegal activity occur in his upstairs unit."

Sarah Jane Carr (1863-1950) was the great-grandmother of Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ).

Researched and written by Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) for Findagrave starting on June 21, 2003. Updated on February 10, 2011 with the speculation of her being part of the Irish numbers game in Jersey City and that story was corrected on November 2, 2011. Updated on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 2011 by changing Coalpits to Hollygrove as her place of birth based on her sister, Katherine Carr Kennedy's using "Hollygrove" as her place of birth on her birth certificate. Updated on March 5, 2014 with information on her migration. Updated on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2016 with the parish of her baptism and the best estimate of her date of birth.


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