Oldest son, baptized Dec 16, 1831
immigrated ca 1855?
d. May 28, 1895, 337 E 31st St., Manhattan
bur. Calvary 3, section 17. range 3, plot 0, graves 9-10
McCaffrey: Calvary 2, section 55, range 15, plot L, grave 20
Cassidy: Calvary 2, section 55, range 27, plot G, grave 12
[Immigrants] [Caffrey townland]
Narratives: [John] [Eugene] [Edward] [Lawrence]
[Matthew 1] [Matthew 2] [Obit] [Baps/Births] [Children 1][& 2]
Carlons intro | part 1 | part 2
John Fagan's common name and unpredictable patterns made him the most difficult to research of the Fagan brothers in Manhattan. In our Fagan family papers is a slip of paper on which are listed the siblings of out great grandfather Matthew. Though the name John was among those listed, and we knew of his Castlerahan baptism and his position in the family as the oldest boy, it took years of research before we stumbled on a link between known family and one of the many John Fagans listed in the New York City directories.
We find the link in the will of his nephew John Vincent Fagan (1876-1921) the last surviving son of Eugene Fagan. Having no immediate relations, John V. appointed a cousin named Johanna Fagan to administer his estate. Who was Johanna Fagan? The 1900-1920 censuses showed that she was older than any known childrenborn to the NYC immigrant Fagans. Trailing Johanna Fagan to her 1928 death, we learn that she was, indeed, the daughter of our missing John Fagan.
Johanna, a dressmaker, was also custodian of two sets of her own presumably orphaned nieces and nephews: the MCCAFFREYs and the CASSIDYs. Thus Johanna became the bridge that connects for us Eugene's family and both the ancestral and descendant families of John Fagan.
Further sheltering John Fagan from our scrutiny was his apparent absence from the 1880 federal census and the atrocious handwriting that masked his presence in the 1870 census. John also failed to follow his brothers' patterns: he was the only brother who was didn't earn a living as a blacksmith; and he lived for long periods on the west side, rather than east side preferred by his brothers. Even after John emerges (sporadically) between 1862 and 1895, he doesn't quite come into focus.
John's 1895 death certificate gives the only clue to his immigration date, a vague one unfortunately. It says he was in the country over 40 years. If accurate, that would place John's immigration earlier than 1855, which is the earliest date suggested for any of the other family migrations. If true, John may have been the advance guard for the family. Not surprising, as he was the eldest brother, and aged 23 in 1855.
John was also the first of the Fagan brothers to marry, probably around 1859-1860. His wife was an Irish immigrant named Johanna CAHILL. Johanna's 1895 death certificate puts her immigration at 1850 and names her parents as Michael and Maria CAHILL.
John Fagan was listed in the NYC city directories as a ostler, more often than not, but he was alternately listed as coachman and laborer. His shifting occupation was an anomaly in a family of blacksmiths. That his address changed frequently suggests that his job as ostler may have involved several different places of work.
1862-63 - 88 W. 39th (betw. 5-6 Ave., ward 21), occupation: ostlerTHE FAMILY
John and Johanna had at least five girls born between 1860 and 1870, and one boy (Edward) born in 1874. I believe their oldest daughter Sarah, born around 1860, was the earliest Fagan birth in the U.S. John's pivotal child, to my research, as well as to members of the John Fagan family, was his second daughter, Johanna Fagan, born August 6, 1862 at 88 West 39th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). By the time of the 1870 census, there were three more girls: Mary (ca. 1864), Annie Irene (ca. 1866),and Catherine (1870).
July 1, 1870, Manhattan Ward 20, dist 22, r#1008, p.748 (1st enumeration)
January 9, 1871, 143 W. 39th Street, Manhattan, Ward 20, enumeration district 14, page. 12 r#1047 (2nd enumeration)I know of only one other child, the boy Edward F. Fagan, born ca. 1874, but I suspect there may have been at least one more child. There were later developments that suggest the existence of a 6th daughter, born possibly during the early 1870s. The family's absence from the 1880 census, which would have given a more complete portrait of the group, leaves a gap that's difficult to overcome.
During the 9-year span (1886-95) on East 31st Street, John lost one daughter (1891) and his wife. Catherine died on Mar 12, 1895 of nephritis at (roughly) age 64. Two months later, on May 28, 1895, John himself died of pneumonia at the age of 63. After his death, John's remaining single children lived together. His son Edward appeared at 223 E 21st, and it was Edward who was listed as head of household in the 1900 census.
The CASSIDYS. John Fagan's third daughter Mary married Irish immigrant Michael CASSIDY and had four children known to us. However, I have never found Mary in census after her childhood (1870, age 6-7), nor have I found her husband. I did not find any record of the children until after their parents were not in the picture.
The Cassidy children were Edward M., b. 1887, Selena M., b. ca. 1890, Anna, b. ca. 1893 and Francis Michael b. 1894. I found these four children living with their Aunt Johanna Fagan in the 1910 census, so one would assume their parents were deceased. However, there is evidence Mary was still alive at that time. Johanna's 1929 death certificate names her sister as informant, oddly enough by her maiden name, Mary Fagan. There are scenarios that accommodate these factors, but I'd rather reserve judgement until contradictions are resolved.
The MCCAFFREYS. Roughly 1905, the 5th daughter Catherine Fagan married Irish immigrant John McCaffrey, a Postal Clerk. They had had three children: Helen b. ca. 1905, John, b. 1907-08 and Catherine b. 1909, all born in Manhattan. Catherine died in 1919, after which the family split into two. The boy John stayed with his father, who eventually remarried. The girls moved in with their aunt Johanna and the Cassidy children. In 1930, on the decease of Johanna Fagan, Helen J.McCaffrey was living in Richmond Hill, Queens with her cousins the Cassidys. Anna Cassidy was married to a man named Charles Harm.
I know of no living descendants of John Fagan, but based solely on my own (admittedly superficial) historical research, the best chance for potential descendants would be in the Catherine MCCAFFREY HANKINS line.