Section 1. the line of

Mary E Whalen

David E Hay's mother

Mary E Whalens's Mother's Line

Mary A Phelan Whalen Fitzgerald, was born December 1854 in County Waterford, Ireland, the daughter of John Phelan and Honora Walsh/Welch. From the 1900 census, we learn that Mary Phelan could neither read nor write, and she came to the USA in 1871.


So she arrived at 17, married at 19, had two children, then was widowed at 27. She remarried at 28, had five more children, one of whom died at two years old. She was widowed again at age 37 when Patrick Fitzgerald died of alcoholism. At age 60, she died of chronic pericarditis.


Since Mary Phalen Whalen Fitzgerald's second husband's death certificate listed "alcoholism," I assumed he died of something like cirrhosis of the liver, but a cousin's letter tells the rest of the story...


'Pat,' as they called Patrick Fitzgerald Senior, "ran a tavern on the Mall in Newburyport. It was successful, but he was one of his best customers. One night he boarded the ferry on the Merrimac River and somehow became entangled in the paddle wheel."


Because of the Irish-vs-American spellings, our Whalen story gets messy and confusing. Although they were Phelan and Whalen/Whelan in Ireland, here all of Mary Whalen Hay's relatives' names were spelled Whalen. (Actually 3 early records were Whalen. One early record was Whelan.) I only found the Phelan/Phalen name on a genealogy message board. Every official record spells her name Whalen.



Whalens from County Waterford

We have traced our male Whalen line back to County Waterford, Ireland where Michael Whalen (born abt 1800) and his wife, Johanna Powers (born abt. 1805) were married.


Cousin Debbie Whalen Spendley has memories of her Dad singing a rhyme... "Waterford, Dunaford(?) the village of Ring!" He said he was told that the Whalens came from that village..." I hope Debbie proves correct, because Ring is one of the best places to visit in Ireland, being one of very very few Gaelic speaking areas. It's a very scenic, tiny fishing village on a peninsula overlooking Dungarvan harbor. (See map.)


Maurice Whalen (1830-1892) & Mary Scully

Michael and Johanna's son, Maurice Whalen (1830-1892), married Mary Scully (1836-1915), the daughter of Patrick Scully and Elizabeth Crimmins. Maurice and Mary Scully possibly lived in Ballymacarbery, Waterford, Ireland until they came to Newburyport about 1876, reportedly through Canada. Most of the family worked in the cotton mills. Some of their children were our direct ancestor, Michael J Whalen (1849-1882), plus Johanna Whalen Sargent, James Whalen, Mary A Whalen Whalen, and Kate Whalen.


Maurice died in 1892, at age 62, of Cap. Bronchitis. (CAP means community acquired pneumonia.) Mary Scully died in 1915, at age 79, of broncho pneumonia. They and most/all the Whalens are buried at St Mary's cemetery in Newburyport.


Drown on the Fourth of July.
Michael J Whalen (1849 Ireland-July 4, 1882)

Because Michael J Whalen married Mary A Phelan in 1874 in Boston, we believe he arrived in America a few years before his parents. Michael was then living in Boston, and his bride, Mary Phelan, was living in Sommerville, just north of downtown Boston.


Most records cite his occupation as laborer. The exception was the 1880 Census where he was a Fisherman. During four months of that census year, he had been unemployed, so perhaps he had lost his factory job and was fishing with his cousins.


In the 1880 US census, the Michael J Whalen family was living at 11 Centre St, Newburyport, Mass.

    Michael Whalen 33, fisherman
    Mary Whalen 27 his wife
    Mary E. Whalen 5 years
    John J. Whalen 1 year


On July 4th 1882, Michael J Whalen died in a boating accident at Salisbury Beach, Mass. Given the place and date of his drowning and his fisherman occupation, I'm guessing he did something really stupid, probably while using alcohol, and his family was mad at him forever. Between Mary and her brother Maurice J, they had seven sons. No son was ever given the name Michael even as a middle name, even though it was their great grandfather's name in Ireland. (Update: a cousin's letter confirms my suspicions saying his drinking was "the direct cause of his early demise.")


The Newburyport News Thursday July 6, 1882:

    Drowned at Black Rocks
    About nine o'clock last evening, just before the last boat left the land at Black Rocks for this city, Michael Whalen, living on Water Street, near the coal pocket, ran down the gangway on the floating landing, and made a jump, evidently thinking that he would strike the steamer; but instead he plunged into the river. It was very dark at the time, and he must have sunk immediately as he was not seen after going overboard, and all efforts to save him were futile. He was thirty-four years of age, and leaves a wife and two children. Up to ten o'clock this morning the body had not been recovered; although search was made for it.


letter to Debbie from Uncle Maurice. date May 7, 1976 "remind him that our grandfather "missed the boat" in that tragic tale involving a "bit of the brew" and a futile attempt to prove his athletic ability."The story I heard was Michael worked building the jetties at the mouth of the Merrimac River. After he got off work he stopped at the local pub, time got away from him, so he was rushing to the dock to get the last ferry home. It had just left, so he tried to jump on the deck and missed. (Side note: Building the jetties was hard work and this was during the time when signs were posted on businesses “Irish Need not Apply”. He drank too much, but he was a hard worker).


Mary E Whalen (1876-1949)

Mary Ellen Whalen Hay was born September 17, 1875 in Newburyport, Massachusettes, the first child of Ireland-born parents, Michael J Whalen (1849-1882) & Mary Phalen Whalen (1854-1915). Her full-brother, Maurice James/John was born about four years later. Growing up, they called her "Mamie," I guess because there were so many Marys. Her paternal grandparents, Maurice and Mary Scully Whalen also lived in Newburyport.


Mary E Whalen was just six, when her father died in the boating accident. It must have been horrible for her. We have a clipping from the Boston Daily Globe:

    "NEWBURYPORT JULY 10. The body of Michael Whalen of this place, who was drowned at Black Rock July 4th, floated ashore on the jetties this forenoon. It is terribly decomposed."


Just six months later, her 28-year-old mother married widower, Patrick Fitzgerald. He died nine years later of alcoholism. Their marriage produced Mary's four half-siblings, Ellen Fitzgerald O'Neil, Alice Fitzgerald Webber Page, David Fitzgerald and P Edward Fitzgerald. (Likely our David Edward Hay was named after her two Fitzgerald brothers.)


In the 1900 census, Mary E Whalen was living at 59-1/2 Liberty St., Newburyport with her twice-widowed mother and all her siblings.

    Mary Fitzgerald 46, Head of house
    Mary Whalen 24 yrs, cotton weaver
    Maurice Whalen 20 yrs, comb burnisher
    Ellen Fitzgerald 16 yrs, collar polisher
    Alice Fitzgerald 13 yrs
    David Fitzgerald 11 yrs
    Edward P Fitzgerald 8 yrs


On June 27, 1900, when she married Fred J Hay, Mary was 24 years old and working as a mill operator. Fred was a shoemaker and also living in Newburyport. Fred and Mary's marriage was performed by Rev. John J Flood, probably at Newburyport's only Catholic Church, the Immaculate Conception.


At age 27, her first child was born, Frederick James Hay Jr. (1901-1973). About 1920, the family moved from Newburyport to Swampscott, so that Fred J Hay could work at the Lynn shoe factory. Swampscott, (which the Hays pronounce SWAMP'-skit), on today's roads, is only about a half hour's drive from Newburyport. After Mary's mother and grandmother both died in 1915, she became caregiver for her elderly maiden aunt, Kate Whalen, and her nephew Herbie Webber, son of Alice Fitzgerald.


Mary E Whalen Hay died on Feb. 18, 1949 at age 73 and is buried in Swampscott Cemetery with most of her family. We don't know her cause of death.



Taken in 1942, this is the family Mame's full brother, Maurice J Whalen. He and his wife Effie Sullivan are shown behind the 3 families of their 3 kids. (Left to right: E Blanche Whalen Garand, Charles Whalen, and Maurice F Whalen)



Whelan, along with its common variant Phelan, comes from the Irish O'Faoláin (faol = wolf). The Whelan Motto means God is My Tower Of Strength. (Turris Fortis Mihi Deus).


The family originated in the ancient kingdom of Decies, part of the modern county of Waterford, where they were rulers up to the Norman invasion in 1171. Spelling variants: Phelan/Phalen/Whalen/Whelan/Whalin/Whallen/Wheeland, etc.


At St Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Newburyport, Mass.
Mary Whalen Hay's Grandfather, Grandmother, Father,
and then two of her father's sisters. Her mother is also buried there with Patrick Fitzgerald, her second husband.


Fred has no memory of his Grandmother, Mary Whalen Hay. Barbara Towner LaPorte, (who called her "Nana" and Fred J. "Grampie"), remembers her going to Mass every day. In contrast to her Towner grandmother, Mary Whalen was quite old-fashioned in her dress. She never wore slacks, always dresses or housedresses. And she wore those really old-fashioned high, lace-up leather shoes.


Fred & Mary Whalen Hay with their dog, Ching.


The Fitzgeralds, half-siblings of Mame Hay, taken about 1935 at Plum Island, Mass. Some Fitzgerald descendants still live in Chicago. Front Row: Alice Page, Ellen O'Neil, Lorraine and Dorothy Fitzgerald. 2nd Row: David Fitzgerald, his wife Marion Brown Fitzgerald, Patrick E Fitzgerald. Back Row: Margaret Donegan Fitzgerald (Patrick's wife), Robert Fitzgerald. All three children were Patrick's. Not pictured: Alice's four children: Lois Webber Ramstrom, Adeline Webber McLoughlin, Herbert Webber (1911-1991), and Marilyn Page Braley. Also Ellen O'Neil's daughter, Ellen O'Neil.



Newburyport Whalens in 1919 or 1920. Standing in the May Shipyard.


Taken about 1937, Fred, Mary and all of their seven children. Standing behind: Billie Towner, Fred J Hay Sn., Mary Whalen Hay and David. Sitting: Fred, Len, Mary Cronin, Bill & Art.

























































































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