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Transcription of obituary by Eileen Callahan Werth
Source of article – Family scrapbook
Newspaper – Unknown but Mary McCloskey’s last address was on 273-1/2 Skillman Street which is in Brooklyn
Date: Unknown but Mary McKeon McCloskey – died June 30, 1889, so probably in early July 1889
The below is an admirable likeness (click here) of Mrs. Mary McCloskey who was buried last week at Calvary Cemetery. Mrs. McCloskey was a most remarkable woman and deserves something more than a mere passing notice of her death. Remarkable in more senses than one, first for her extreme old age, coupled with her vivid recollections of events that transpired more than 85 years ago. She was born in the last year of the last century in the town of Ballymena, County Antrim, where her father, a well-to-do farmer, raised a family of five sons and six daughters, every one of whom had passed the 85 milestone in life's journey and a few had reached the 100th. She was also remarkable for her Catholicity, for religion with her was an epitome of everything that was good. Faith, hope, and charity, in their broadest, fullest meaning, found an abiding place in her old heart. Next to her love of God, Ireland, the home of her childhood, the thought of her young womanhood, the dream of her entire life, was her idol, its green hills never found a truer lover than this gentle soul, for daily and hourly would she pray for her deliverance and when the concessions that were wrung from the invader by the disestablishment of the Church and other kindred oppressions were told her her eyes would fill with tears of joy and a silent prayer would be uttered for the happy ending. She pinned her faith on Parnell and often remarked: "I'll live to see it yet; God grant I may." She will we hope, but it will be from a high seat in heaven where her many charitable deeds have earned her that privilege.

The worshippers in St. Joseph's Church, 6th avenue and Washington Place, would scarcely believe that one of the founders of that old edifice lived up to so late a date. For she was the last of the original pew-holders of St. Joseph's and she fought for the faith, too, in those bigoted days. A stranger in passing up Christopher Street and the junction of Waverly Place will notice a small green space with a railing around it. That triangle was the site of the first Catholic Church, nearly 60 years ago, in what was called the village. There were no parochial schools in those days, and the public school was only a society school, whose members were made up of the Plymouth Rock anti-Jesuitical class of men; therefore a Catholic found little or no welcome with them. The fight commenced some years after by the Rev. John Hughes but the lady whose name heads this article anticipated him by opening up one in her basement under the auspices of the pastor Father Cummisky. It was the mustard seed of that parish which now boasts one of the finest in the City of New York. Another remarkable feature in her character was her youth in old age, if I may call it. She was a friend of children and strove to make their young lives pass pleasantly, the hungry never left her door unsatisfied, nor the despairing man or woman a consoler. And although the morning of her life was often darkened by clouds of sorrow, yet the evening of it was bright and sunshiny as her own sweet nature. It was like reading a page of history listening to the recollections of her youth and the conversation would not please the Englishman of the Balfour stripe should he hear it. No wonder, for her father and four brothers were victims to “England’s cruel laws.”

She remembered her brothers stealing like a thief in the night, to obtain a little knowledge from the hedge school master; she remembered, too, the tithes proctor selecting one from every tenth stalk of corn to feed the minister, with his congregation of half a dozen; she remembered Craig Billy fair, when the Orangemen announced their intention of scattering and sending the Catholics howling to their homes; she remembered, too, the injunctions of Father Fitzsimmons to drive them back if they attempted it, and then come and get his blessing. And they did, too. The heel of the tyrant was on her country’s neck. That her deliverance was close at hand she hoped because she believed in a just God who might for reasons of His own permit her to suffer for purification’s sake, but in His own good time laughter should take the place of tears. Such was her faith; God grant it may be realized. Mrs. McCloskey left two of ten children, James J. and Felix, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her ---------ARTICLE TORN WORDS MISSING --------SO WELL KNOW IN St. Patrick’s parish, ---------ARTICLE TORN WORDS MISSING ---------more. May she rest in peace!

Researcher: Eileen Callahan Werth


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