John Haughey Byrne was born in Teelin (Teileann) to James Byrne (1831-1914) and Hannah Haughey (b. 1840).
His father, James was known as "Spar" for his resemblance to the main mast of a sailing ship and his great strength. This name may have come about when he caught a sailor who fell from the rigging of a ship and saved the sailor from peril. James "Spar" served as a hired Union solider in the US Civil War. After he returned from the war, Hannah washed his uniform and set it out to dry on a line. She found it later stripped of the brass buttons.
In the 1901 census James (a farmer) and Hannah (a spinner), who both spoke only Irish, lived in Shanbally townland with three of their children: sons James (b. 1872) and Patrick (b. 1875), both fishermen; and daughter Mary (b. 1877), a dressmaker. Their daughter Bridget (1874-1930) also went to Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania where she married Patrick Cassidy in 1891. Mary moved to Mauch Chunk in 1910 and worked in a hotel there.
The 1911 census shows James as a widower residing in Shanbally townland with son James, his wife Mary, and their daughter Nora. James (the son) had married Mary Haughey (daughter of James Haughey and Hannah McShane, of Lergadaghtan townland) in 1909 and they had children Nora (b. 1910), Bridget Agnes (b. 1912), Mary (b. 1913), James Patrick (b. 1915) and Annie (b. 1917).
John was a fisherman and recalled he "bobbed up and down like a cork" in the coastal waters. However, he ran afoul of the authorities when they required inspection of his catch in a different port, essentially taking away his livelihood. In about 1890 John left his parents and siblings in Teelin and went to the coal mines of Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania. After seeing a mine collapse which killed fellow Irishmen, he headed across the country to the Pacific Northwest and found work dredging the harbors. He married Katherine McNulty, the daughter of Irish immigrants, and lived the rest of his days in Seattle.
|Date of Birth||1864|
|Date of Death||1945|