Catherine M Phelan Sage 1871

Catherine M Phelan Sage 1871

Place of migration:
Migrated to/Born in USA

Image of James, Catherine and young children c. 1895

We are grateful to Lisa McCole, Catherine's great-granddaughter who provided the information and images about the family

In 1910, Catherine M Phelan Sage was widowed with 9 children. The children ranged in ages 19 to 1 - five boys and four girls.  She was able to sell the family pub and move the family to 21 Mayors Walk, Waterford, Ireland. This is just 10 years before the Civil War in Ireland. I sometimes wonder if she foresaw the coming troubles. Did she worry for her 19 year old son?  In 1912 she said goodbye to her two oldest children, Thomas Francis Sage, then age 21 and Myra Sage, age 19. They sailed together on the Cameronia leaving on 28th January 1912 from Queenstown, Cork. They were in 3rd class. Interestingly the Outbound Passenger List says Myra Sage was 18 and a James (aka Thomas) Sage was 19 years old. James was listed as a laborer. 

On 4th February 1912 they arrived in New York. The New York Passenger Arrival List states that James was the brother of Myra. She is listed as a servant and he is listed as a plumber.  Both are able to read and write and are British/ Irish citizens. It was receired that they had left next of kin, their mother, Mrs Sage of 24 Emmitt Place Waterford, Ireland. They had a ticket to their final destination paid for by their aunt. It seems that they had $3. Neither has been in the United States before. They were going to an Aunt, Mrs Carey of 257 4th Street, Troy, New York. Neither had been in prison and  were not polygamists or anarchists. They were both in good health and had no deformities. Myra was 5’3”  with a dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes.  James ( or Thomas) was 5’10” with a dark complexion, brown hair and blue eyes. Neither had any marks of identification. and both were born in Waterford, Ireland. (3)

The story that I grew up with is that Catherine Phelan Sage had sold the pub and sent the two oldest to America to get settled and find jobs then the rest of the family would go over.  In 1912 she bought tickets on the Titanic for herself and the remaining 7 children.  When she heard the captain of the Titanic say that it was the greatest ship ever built and not even God could sink it she knew it was doomed. This must have been blasphemy to her.  The story goes on that she sold the tickets and bought passage on the Mauretania for her and the children.  Tom and Myra in America did not know of this change of plans and when they heard of the sinking of the Titanic on 15 April 1912, they thought their family had perished.  The story also said that Myra died because of the sorrow she had for losing her family.

On 14th April 1912 the family sailed bound for New York on the Mauretania as third class passengers.  Listed on the Outward Passenger list from Queenstown, Cork , Ireland were Kate Sage, housekeeper, 45 and her children Kathleen 17, Rebecca 15, James 11, John 8, Alice 6, and Joseph 3. They arrived in New York on 19th April 1912. The ship manifest says that all except the 3 youngest could read and write. They were all British/ Irish and were born in Waterford, Ireland. They left Kate's sister, Mrs. Grimes in Ireland. She lived at Michael Street, Waterford.  Their final destination was Troy, New York. Kate did not have tickets to her final destination but she had paid the passage for the family's journey. It looks like she may have had $200 but it is crossed out on the manifest. She had been to Troy, New York before in 1885-1890.  They were going to her sister Alice Carey at 259 4th Street, Troy, New York.  They are in good health and had no deformities. Kate was 5’4” with a fair complexion, fair hair and grey eyes. Kathleen was 5’0” with a fair complexion, fair hair and blue eyes, Rebecca was 5’0” with a fair complexion, fair hair and blue eyes.  All the remaining were fair complexioned with fair hair and blue eyes. All were born in Waterford, Ireland. 

Image of Catherine and family in 1912

Tom and Myra were reunited with their family in Troy, New York.  Unfortunately, Myra died 11 January 1913 and is buried in St Mary’s Cemetery Troy, New York.  Kate continued to raise her family in Troy, New York.  In 1920 they were living at 123 Hill Street and she worked as a furrier and her daughters, Kathleen and Rebecca were collar workers.  James was working as an Apprentice. On the same street, at 125 Hill Street lived Charles Reidenbach with his mother and brother.  He would marry Kathleen Sage on 19th June 1924.

Image of Catherine at her house in Troy c. 1912

In 1930 Kate, her youngest child, Joseph, and her nephew, Phillip Grimes were living at 2570 East 14th Street, Brooklyn, New York.  She was not employed but Joseph was an electrician for Edison and Phillip was a porter for Spaldings. The first Spalding Shop was opened in 1885 in New York's most prestigious street Fifth Avenue. A symbolic men’s only store, born to provide the young up-and-coming East Coast college students with all the support they needed. Spalding took its full name from this exclusive shop: A.G. Spalding & Bros., 520 Fifth Avenue, NY. The company was personally run by Albert Goodwill until the early 20th century, when Spalding & Bros. had 14 stores, some of which overseas.  

Kate died 23rd July 1936 and is buried next to her daughter Myra in St Mary’s Cemetery, Troy, New York. 

Image of Katherine Phelan Sage's Grave



Additional Information
Date of Birth 1871 (circa)  
Date of Death 23rd Jul 1936  


Census Ireland VIEW SOURCE


  • Lovely story. Sounds like a wonderful family. Shame Myra did not get to spend time with the family. I have Phelans from Abbeyleix and Mountmellic through the Ryans and the Roes.


    Mary Martin


    Friday 25th September 2020, 06:48PM

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