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.

Google map for Hegartys and Murphys in Cambridge

Relatives still living and/or working in Cambridge expressed curiosity about exactly where our ancestors lived in the early 20th century, so I made a Google map. These home addresses were taken from censuses, birth records, draft registrations, news articles, etc. Both the Hegartys and Murphys immigrated from Ireland to Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Murphys moved over to Somerville and, in their later years, the Hegartys moved to Brighton. Click through and be ready to zoom in or out as necessary.

 

WW1 casualties in my family tree

United States soldier 

Infantryman Thomas Philip Murphy, my great-uncle, was wounded eleven times during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France, and died in the evacuation hospital there in October 1918. He was 23. He was eventually buried in Arlington, Mass. in 1921. My father used to tell a poignant story of Thomas’ mother going to meet her son’s casket at the train station and welcoming him home.

commonwealth_gq67jx20b_access800
My great-uncle’s portrait from the Cambridge World War I Memorial Plaques.

 

British soldier (from Newfoundland)

My first cousin twice removed Bernard Cleary enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment and died along with almost the entire regiment at Beaumont-Hamel on 1 July 1916. If you get a chance to see the exhibit “Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou” at The Rooms in St. John, definitely go.

Ignatius Furey & Bernard Cleary
My cousin Bernard Cleary (right) died at Beaumont-Hamel. Ignatius Furey (left) died at Gallipoli. I am related to a Newfoundland Furey family, but I’m not sure if I’m related to Ignatius, but I am loathe to crop him out of the photo. So there he is.

 

British sailor (from Ireland)

My great-great-uncle Timothy Deasy lied about his age to join the British Royal Navy in 1897 when he was 15 years old. He served in the Royal Navy until he died with about 900 other people aboard the HMS Defence, an armored cruiser sunk during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. The wreck of the Defence has since been found by divers in the North Sea; it is currently protected as a war grave under the British Protection of Military Remains Act.

HMS_Defence_1907
HMS Defence in 1907 (photo from Wikipedia). I don’t have a photo of Timothy Deasy but here is the ship he died on, and apparently still rests with at the bottom of the ocean.

Sources

Cambridge World War I Memorial Plaques, Cambridge Public Library. Digital images. Digital Commonwealth: Massachusetts Collections Online.

Deasy, James. Family history and ledger. 1895. Privately held.

Death notice for Thomas P. Murphy, Cambridge Chronicle, 16 July 1921, p. 3. Digital image. Cambridge Public Library, Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection (http://cambridge.diconsulting.com : accessed June 2015).

England. Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services. Access via “Discovery.” Database with images. The National Archives.

Glavine, James. Our People . . . Our Church: Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Harbour Main, Newfoundland, 1857-1982. Harbour Main, Newfoundland, 1983. 112.

HMS Defence (1907).” Wikipedia.

United States. World War I Military Cablegrams, Main Series, War Department to AEF HQ, #2683. National Archives. Database. Footnote.com. (Which has since become fold3.com)