John Joyce 1887

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John Joyce was born in Liscarney, Westport, Mayo in 1887, the second of 6 boys born to Thomas Joyce and Bridget Keane.  One of his younger brothers died in late 1890 at 4 months of age.  His Father died at age 30 in early 1892 when his twin boys were 4 month old.  The twins died in that same year at 7 months and 10 months.  His Mother struggled to raise the remaining 3 boys.

According to family stories, while John was working about the farm, he heard a commotion and came upon his Mother arguing with a man who was there to collect rent, some say it was a soldier or a police officer. The argument became physical and John pushed the man away from his mother.  The man hit his head on a rock and eventually died.  John was sent to live with relatives in Knappagh Beg and eventually emigrated to Chicago, IL in 1907.  There he met and married Winifred Harrington from Swinford, Mayo.  The picture shows my Grandfather John Joyce and Grandmother Winifred Harrington on their wedding day in 1911.  John shortly thereafter joined the Chicago Police Department and had 5 children.  John never saw his Mother or two remaining brothers again. He died at age 76.  

On my first visit to Mayo in 2011, I visited the grave of Henry Joyce, brother to my Grandfather John Joyce, in Aghagower Cemetery, who died at age 88 in Liscarney.  I was also fortunate enough to have visited the remains of the home in Liscarney where John lived with his family.  From what was once a door or window opening, the view of Croagh Patrick is amazing.  I sat by the hearth of what used to be the fireplace and was told stories about my Grand Uncle Henry who lived in the house until his death in 1974.   Words cannot express how much that has meant to me.  I have returned 4 additional times since then and will continue to relish my time visiting Ireland and learning as much as I can about my Irish ancestors.  

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Additional Information
Date of Birth 3rd Jul 1887  
Date of Death 16th Sep 1963  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Bridget Keane  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Thomas Joyce  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Winifred Harrington  


  • Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! My great great grandmother Ann Joyce from Westport married Richard Whelan in Westport in 1851 and they lived in Westport until at least the 1870s or 80s. Do you know if your great grandfather Thomas Joyce was related to Ann Joyce? (I know there were a lot of Joyces in the Westport area.)

    Richard Whelan & Anne Joyce

    Thursday 28th November 2019, 02:08PM

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