Michael Hegarty (1898-1970) and Agnes Murphy (1902-1985)

Cambridge Tribune, XI.9 (5 May 1888) – Agnes Murphy worked here in the 1920s.

Michael Hegarty and Agnes Murphy

Numbers 4 and 5 in my ancestral Ahnentafel are my paternal grandparents, Michael Hegarty and Agnes Murphy, denizens of then-industrial Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Michael John Hegarty was born 11 March 1898 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Irish immigrants John and Margaret (Deasy) Hegarty.[1] Michael married Agnes Murphy 17 January 1926 at St. Catherine of Genoa’s in Somerville, Mass.[2] Michael died 16 October 1970 and is buried at Puritan Lawn Memorial Park in Peabody, Mass.[3]

Agnes Cecelia Murphy was born 23 July 1902 in Cambridge, Mass, the daughter of Irish immigrants Walter Murphy and Anastasia Gaule. [4] She died 23 January 1985 and is buried in Peabody with her husband.[5]

Michael Hegarty abt. 1920

As a young man, Michael worked in various jobs at printing presses that serviced the colleges in Cambridge.[6] As the Depression took hold in 1930, Michael started working on the steam boilers for the Cambridge Electric Company at their Blackstone power plant by the Charles River. [7] His father had already been working there for decades and was probably instrumental in that move. Michael too worked there for decades, for the rest of his working life. In 2003, Harvard University bought and renovated the Blackstone plant to service their campus and a couple of Michael’s grandchildren also worked there in various capacities.

Agnes Murphy abt. 1920

Agnes Murphy, whose father worked at Squire’s meatpacking plant, left school by 1920 and worked as a packer at the Kennedy Biscuit factory. [8] Kennedy Biscuit was the birthplace of Fig Newtons and eventually became the Nabisco corporation. The landmarked original factory is now apartments renting for close to $5000/month.

In her senior years, Agnes was often in poor health and lost a leg to diabetes.

Michael and Agnes had seven children between 1926 and 1942. I’m not including their names here for privacy reasons, but if you think we’re related, get in touch.

Notes:

  1. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “Affidavit and Correction of a Record of Birth” for Michael John Hegarty, 7 July 1914; Massachusetts State Vital Records,1841-1920, database with images, FamilySearch.org. The affidavit was given by Michael’s father John. Michael’s birth was also listed in an 1898 Registry of Births for the City of Cambridge, which appears to have been transcribed in February 1899. See Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 (database with images), Ancestry.com. There is other supporting evidence for this birthdate such as Michael’s baptism a week later at St. Paul’s parish in Cambridge. See Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, baptismal registry entry 2775 for Michael John, son of John Hagerty [sic] and Margaret Deasy, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1789-1900, database with images, NEHGS.
    N.B. Be careful if researching these people not to confuse Michael John Hegarty with another man named Michael Joseph Hegarty. Michael Joseph Hegarty was also born in Cambridge in 1898 (on May 9th) and died in 1970 (on Dec. 9th) and had a father named John Hegarty and a mother named Margaret (Coakley). I have not found any connection between the two families.
  2. Hegarty-Murphy marriage announcement, Cambridge Tribune, 23 Jan. 1926, p. 10. Cambridge Public Library. This marriage is also annotated in the margin of Michael’s baptism record.
  3. Death notice for Michael J. Hegarty, Boston Globe, 17 Oct. 1970, p. 15. Newspapers.com
  4. Massachusetts, U.S., Birth Records, 1840-1915, database with images, Ancestry.com, accessed 6 Aug 2022, registry image, entry 174 for Agnes Murphy; citing 1902 register of births for the City of Cambridge.
  5. Death notice for Agnes Hegarty, Boston Globe, 24 Jan 1985. Newspapers.com
  6. These jobs are documented in the biannual Greenough’s Cambridge Directories throughout the 1920s. These directories are included in the database U.S., City Directories 1822-1995 on Ancestry.com.
  7. 1930 US Census. Census Place: Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 927; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 416; Image: 928.0. Family of Michael Hegarty.
  8. 1920 US Census. Census Place: Cambridge Ward 5, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_707; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 48; Family of Walter Murphy.

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