Footsteps Through Time | Home
Patrick O'Brien's Siblings in America | Ireland | Patrick Farrell O'Brien | Mary Theresa Cafferty | Scenes of Miskaun Glebe in Aughnasheelin, Co Leitrim | Julia Ann Sullivan | Flurry and Mary-Margaret Sullivan | The Falvey Family | The Ahern Family | The Cafferty Family of Aughnasheelin | The O'Brien Family of Aughavas | The Descendents of James O'Brien and Katherine Kane
Mary Theresa Cafferty
Down to this century some of these families relate the coming of their ancestors. The Caffertys first settled in Ballinaglera which they found to be bleak and cold and moved on to the southern slopes of Sliabh an Iarainn in Stralongford at a place called "Curley's Rock."
These new settlers found good land scarce, and had to reclaim land which was on the mountainsides, unused for centuries. They cleared it, then dug a mixture of lime and sand or gravel into the ground and allowed it to interact with the moory soil to form a compost which was good to grow potatoes and oats. They burned the lime from limestone taken from the river beds. The stones taken from the land were used by them to build their houses. This is where her story begins.
Mary Theresa Cafferty was the first child born to Charles and Mary Creamer Cafferty. She was born on February 12, 1859, and was baptized in Saint Bridgets Church in Ballinamore by Rev. Peter Curran.
The Cafferty family added seven more children between the years 1863 -1879. They were Andrew, Jane, John, Ellen, Catherine, Charles, Patrick, Hugh and Margaret.
It is evident that education was important to the Caffertys as Mary could read and write when she came here. Many Irish immigrants were illiterate. Education for Catholics was not encouraged by their Protestant landlords and town officials.
Leitrim was a poor county. It was difficult land to farm because of its boggy and rocky terrain. It was hard hit during and after the Famine.
By 1874 many of the young people were leaving. Mary was one of them. She was just fifteen years old.
She left the same year as young Patrick Farrell O'Brien from the south of Leitrim. Perhaps they knew each other for some time, or they may have met on the boat coming to Amerika, as it was pronounced by the Irish.
Mary came to live in the home of Margaret and Patrick Cafferty, her aunt and uncle on Lippett Street in Providence.
She was working in a Providence woolen mill. The girls who emigrated usually agreed to work for at least five years. They also sent most of their wages back to Ireland to help pay passage money for their brothers and sisters who would soon follow.
Mary must have worked hard, being the oldest, because Ellen, Jane, Patrick and John also emigrated. These I have documented, there may have been others. Usually only one son stayed to run the farm, the others were forced by economics to leave. Andrew stayed.
Mary and Patrick were married on August 19, 1879 in Saint Josephs Church on Hope Street in Providence, RI by Reverend James Joseph Bric.
The O'Briens began their married life in Woonsocket, RI. Patrick worked there in the Bannigan Rubber Boot Factory.
They were living at 22-25 Church Street when their first and only child was born . They named him Thomas Francis Joseph O'Brien, the Thomas as Irish tradition has it is for Patrick's father.In 1890 they purchased a small home at 73 Massasoit Avenue in East Providence, RI. They lived there for many years
Patrick was naturalized as a citizen of the United States on December 12, 1888 in Providence, RI. This meant that Mary, as his wife, was also naturalized.
Patrick held several different jobs over the years. Mary kept house and raised her son. It was said that her house was neat as a pin, a cute homey little place.
I remember Mary, my great grandmother. She was about eighty years old when I was born in 1939. She was very aged and bed ridden when she gave me the lovely white statue of the Blessed Mother Mary which has always been displayed on my bureau in my bedroom. She wanted her great grandchildren to have something of hers to keep always. I will always treasure it, and think of the little girl so long ago who journeyed to America.
Patrick died in 1939, and as Mary grew older and more dependent on others she went to live on Walnut Ave. in East Providence with her son Thomas and his wife Harriet.
What a grand storehouse of memories she must have had! I truly wish I could have heard them all.
Mary Theresa Cafferty O'Brien died on October 23, 1946. She was eighty seven.
She is buried with her husband Patrick and her son Thomas and his wife Harriet. Their names are not on the grave as it is a military stone inscribed in the name of Thomas. They rest in Lot 26, Section 50 in Saint Francis Cemetery,