Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in USA

John Shelley’s baptism record is from December 19, 1854 RC Parish of Templemore – Diocese of Cashel & Emly.  He was baptized on December 19, 1854 and his baptism sponsors were Dennis and Honora Meehan. His parents were Patrick Shelley and Mary Lidwill.  His father Patrick was found in Griffith's Valuation in the Townland of Dromard Beg, which consisted of 33 lots.  He had a house and land and rented 12 acres from Frederick Lidwill Esq.  It is believed that Mary Lidwill was related to the landlord's family and was brought up Catholic so she would have no inheritance rights.  Patrick was considered a small farmer as he held between 5 and 30 acres.

He immigrated in 1880 at the age of 26.  He died August 13, 1939.  He and his wife, Mary nee Brennan, are both buried at Highland Union Cemetery, Highland Falls, New York.  Highland Falls is nearby West Point, the home of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Older brother Patrick emigrated to Australia in 1868.  Patrick settled in Mount Morgan.  He was a dairy produce dealer.  Patrick lived in Queensland for 29 years.  Patrick met Bridget Casey and she became pregnant in 1881-1882 and her daughter Alice was born August 1, 1882, but the birth record does not show a father.  Bridget was a widow; her maiden name was Hayes.  Patrick and Bridget married on October 11, 1882.  Patrick would have been 41 years old.  Alice died several months later on December 3, 1882, and her mother, now named Bridget Shelley, died October 9, 1889.  Patrick went on to live 8 more years.​

In the 1880 US Census, John Shelley is found in the Town of Highland, Orange County New York working as a servant at the cadet mess hall. John had 5 brothers Patrick, Thomas and John were all born/baptized in Knockahaw, Co. Laois, Parish of Rathdowney. We don't know what happened to Thomas, but John died.  William, Martin and 3 sisters, Mary, Bridget and Anne were born in Dromard Beg, Co. Tipperary.

William Shelley was born November 19, 1847 and emigrated in 1872.  He traveled on the SS Parthia.  The 1875 NY Census showed he worked as a gardener for Colonel Ruger and his family.  Col. Ruger was the superintendent of the USMA from 1871-1876.  William married Sarah Ryan in 1876 and had a son, Patrick Shelley, born in 1878.  Son James was born in 1888, daughter Mary was born in 1892 and grandson Joseph in 1908.  Mary A. Treacy and her husband Daniel Treacy, who vouched for William at his naturalization on Dec 17, 1883, took care of William's children and grandson when Sarah separated from him.  William had many grandchildren, but Joseph was his first grandchild.  His oldest son Patrick married Nellie Downey in 1906, and Joseph was born in 1907.  Sadly, Nellie and newborn Mary both died in December 1909.  Patrick left his son Joseph in the care of William and the Treacys.  Patrick later remarried Jane O'Hara in 1913 and had 8 children.

Mary Shelley remained in Ireland and married Patrick Laffan on February 24, 1873 at Clonmore RC Church.  Witnesses to the marriage were Patrick Maher and Margaret Mullally.  Both were from Dromard and were farmers.  They had 9 children.  Patrick Laffan died on October 2, 1883 of old age and Mary Laffan nee Shelly died November 26, 1902 of old age.  Their two daughters, Mary and Annie Laffan, emigrated to America.  First, Mary journeyed in 1900 on the SS Majestic, which arrived in NY August 22 to visit her Uncle William.  Later, Mary would return to Dromard and travel with her younger sister, Annie, and her two Stapleton cousins on SS Oceanic that arrived in NY on Sept 27, 1905. They both married men named Carroll though the Carrolls were not related, and both families resided in Highland Falls NY.

Bridget Shelley was born in July 1852 and was found in the 1875 New York Census and 1880 US Census working as a servant at West Point cadet mess hall in the Town of Highlands, NY.  She married Daniel McDonald in 1884 and they had 4 sons and 1 daughter.  Daniel and Bridget are buried at the Union Cemetery, Highland Falls, NY.  3 of their sons served in World War I and never married.  Michael, the eldest, moved to Roswell New Mexico, married Mary Louise Destree in 1911, and they had two children.  Daughter Mary Albert died at aged 40 and her mother took care of her daughter Marion.

Anne Shelley married Thomas McCormack at Clonmore Church on February 5, 1883.  Witnesses to the marriage were Pat Brien and Joanna Bergin.  Thomas was a railway inspector.  Thomas and Anne had 4 children:  John, Patrick, Bridget and Thomas.  Bridget and Thomas died as very young children from bronchitis and measles, respectively.  Anne died on Christmas Eve, 1895, from shock as a result of a fall.  Her husband Thomas remarried Catherine O'Brien in June 1899.  Eldest son John married Catherine Reilly in 1908 and emigrated to America on the SS Lucania alone in November, 1908.  He returned to Templemore.  There was some friction between him and his step-mother.  His younger brother Patrick helped with return fare to New York. John remarried Josephine Marks in about 1918, settled in Passaic New Jersey, and they had 4 children.

We also found his brother Martin in the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census.  The 1901 Irish census shows Martin living with his wife, Elizabeth, 5 children, his mother Mary who is 83 and a servant and farm laborer named John Kelly who is 26 years old.  They lived at house #18 in Dromard Beg, Killavinoge, Co. Tipperary.  Martin’s wife was born in Queens County.  The house was a Class 2 with 5 rooms and 5 windows.  There was no landlord; Martin had title to his home.  From, we found Martin had 7 children; son Daniel emigrated in January 1925 on the SS Baltic to marry Mary Kate Quinlan.  His destination was Germantown, PA.  Daniel and Mary Kate had no children.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 19th Dec 1854 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 13th Aug 1939
Place & Date of Baptism RC Templemore, 19th December 1854
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Patrick Shelley
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Mary Lidwell
New Type Highland Union Cemetery, Highland Falls, New York
Names of Siblings Patrick, Thomas, John, William, Mary, Bridget, Martin, and Anne
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  • I know there were Shelleys in Albany, NY but I don't know any details. 


    Sunday 8th December 2019 11:36PM
  • Thanks Lynne.  I was fortunate to visit Dromard and found out much information.


    Saturday 21st December 2019 09:09AM

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