Something about Martin…

Years ago, after coming into contact with a Connelly cousin, I heard mention of Winifred (Nolan) Connelly, the matriarch of the family, having to travel out to Rhode Island a couple of times, after they had settled in Chilton, Wisconsin, to take care of one of her daughters, who’s husband was causing problems.

There was never any mention of who’s husband that might be, but I always had my suspicions.

In the 1860 US Federal census for Chilton, Calumet County, Wisconsin there is an entry for Winifred and Dennis Connelly:

1860 census entry from Ancestry.com image

 Living with them are 4 of their grandchildren: John, Sarah, Winifred and Julia Cane. Winifred and Julia had been born in Wisconsin. Dennis and Anne were still in Rhode Island with their parents. So the question is why were their grandchildren living with them? I can understand why two of them were born in Wisconsin, their daughter Winifred probably travelled out to Wisconsin to have her children with the help of her mother.

Here is the entry from the 1870 US Federal census for the same:

1870 census entry from Ancestry.com image

Now two Cain children, Dennis and Anne, are living with their grandparents and attending school. John the eldest is 17 and already living in Oconto working at one of the lumber companies. We do not know what happened to Sarah, Winifred, or Julia.

Winifred Cain had died by 1863. Martin Cain had married his second wife in 1864, Bridget Nolan, and is still living in Rhode Island working in the mills there (it does not appear that they ever actually lived in Wisconsin). But somewhere along the line Martin had picked up a few bad habits, none of which would bode well for a happy household:

Providence Evening Press; Date: 06-14-1865; Volume: XIII; Issue: 78; Page: [2]; Location: Providence, Rhode Island

There is never mention of abuse from rumor or in the papers, but Martin most likely was a typical Irishman who loved his drink a bit too much. He married young and had no other family around, that we are aware of, so probably took his cue on husbandly duties from those around him. And they were very poor examples.

I haven’t found any other evidence in the papers of Martin’s shameful lack of support for his family, but I do not know how thorough the digitized paper collections are online.

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