Monday, April 09, 2012


I've had no success finding anything online on the accidental death of the other
John McFarland  on May 24th 1888. I'll try to get into Boston sometime in the
next few weeks to check the newspaper archives at the main branch Boston
Public Library for other newspapers other than the Boston Globe. There were
around six newspapers in Boston at the time and  one of them must have carried
the story even if the Globe hadn't.

The account of great granduncle Frank McFarland's death in the trench cave-in
posed a few questions for me. The story mentions his two brothers arrival at the
scene. Was it actually  the two John McFarlands or did my great grandfather John
have another brother here in Boston I didn't know about? Were the two elderly
parents who Frank supported here as well or still back home in Ireland?

I can make what I think is a valid assumption as to one effect of Frank McFarland's
death: my great grandparents had to move. From a street directory I know that
great grandfather John and family lived in a house at 37 Coventry Street in Boston.
Frank's address on his death record was the same. A few months after his death,
my granduncle Frank(who taught me how to make tomato and mayonaise
sandwiches when I was a kid)was born at home on 24Nov, 1886. I'm pretty
sure he was named after his deceased uncle.More important is the fact
that the family was now living at  171 Vernon Street. I think Frank had
been contributing to the rent of the house on Coventry Street and with
his death the family could no longer afford to live there so they had

This made me wonder.....

So I went looking at earier Boston City Directories to see if Frank had been living
with my great grandparents at the first address I knew about, 44 Berlin St in 1883.
I found them, along with the "other John" and then a surprise, a fourth McFarland,
Terrance McFarland. Could this be the other brother mentioned in the newspaper
article? It looks like he moved out on his own when my great grandparents moved
to 171 Vernon St  but in 1894 he was back with them at 9 Albert St in 1894. In
1895 he had moved out on his own again and lived on Burke St.

Next I tried searching FamilySearch and ran into a bit of frustration. I found a listing
for Terrence in the Massachusetts, Deaths 1841-1915 file that said his parents'
names were Michael and Dorothy which matched my great grandfather's parents
as Frank's had. But when I looked a the image, half the record was missing! I
checked the previous image and the next image and it looks like the odd
numbered page images are missing for that year! At any rate, it told me
Terrence was a widower who'd died  on 1Sep 1915 and that he'd lived at
938 Parker St. That pretty much clinched it for me that Terrence was the
older brother of my great grandfather  John since John lived on Parker St
from at least 1910 until his own death  in 1923.

A death notice in the Boston Globe for 2Sept 1915 told me Terrence had a
wife named Ann (Gerone) McFarland. A look at the 1900 Census for their
household at 938 Parker St revealed they'd been married 33 years in 1900
so the marriage had taken place in 1866 or 1867. In the 1910 Census it
indicates Ann had four children all of whom had survived to adulthood.
Two daughters lived with them, Kate and Mary, and Mary had been born in
Scotland. That ties in again with my great grandparents who had met and
married in Scotland. There was a Michael McFarland living in the same
house on Parker St who was also born in Scotland. He probably is the
son who reported Terrence's death.

Cousin Chris Markunas had told me there was a listing of Boston City
Employees on the Boston Public Library website. I checked there and
found my great grandfather as a laborer for the Sewer Department in
1905 and paid $2.25 a day. Terrence was also a Sewer Dept. employee,
a pipe layer paid the same amount.

Given all this, I'm convinced that Terrence McFarland is another great
granduncle and the other brother who broke down and wept with my
great grandfather John at the death of their brother Frank.

To be continued 


Chris said...

There is a brief mention of John McFarland's death in the Boston Evening Transcript of 24 May 1888:

"While working in an excavation on Parker street, yesterday, John McFadden [sic], living in Clifton place, was struck by a bucket which fell on him, and was so severely injured that he died at the City Hospital last evening."

Bill West said...

Thanks, Cousin Chris! A cousin from my Dad's side of he family helping me with something from my Mom's side of the family! Love it!

Bill West said...

Just realized the irony of that, Chris. That's Terrence McFarland and my great grandfather were living on in 1915 and 1923 respectively when they died. all three died on Parker St.