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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

McLaughlin's Go West - Part 5

Thomas Michael McLaughlin and Ellen (Maxwell) McLaughlin moved to Napa, California in 1886, after living for 16 years in Lander County, Nevada.  I'm still not sure why they left Nevada.  I can imagine that the high desert can be a tough life with dry wind, drought, and few resources.  Afterall, Austin or Grass Valley, Nevada is out in the middle of nowhere.

As a farmer, rather than a miner, I'm sure Thomas was looking for greener pastures.  Napa definitely had the farmland that he'd be looking for.  I need to ask my mom if she knows exactly where his land was located in Napa.  In the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Census, I place Thomas, Ellen and their daughter, Catherine, living at 118 Jackson Street, Napa, CA.  Unfortunately this section of Jackson Street no longer exists in Napa.  I found the family living in the "Salvador" area of Napa in 1900. 

I wish that I had more information about how my great-great grandparents lived their lives in Napa.  I have a copy of Thomas' death certificate.  He died on February 5, 1926, in Napa.  He apparently had skin cancer.  He was 85 years old.  I see an address of 934 Jackson Street, Napa, CA, indicated on the certificate.  I mapped this location and it is a residential area.  I do not know if this truly indicates where they were living.  I am assuming that is the case.  I can honestly say that the person who filled out the death certificate could have done a better job.  It leaves something to be desired.  I really question why he felt the need to abbreviate Thomas' first name as "Thos.". 

From what I know, Ellen Maxwell McLaughlin may not have really cared for Kate Flanagan too much.  I know that they must have known each other.  They went to the same church, both lived in Napa, and their children married each other.  Jack (John Francis) Flanagan and Minnie McLaughlin married in 1904.  So why do I bring up Kate Flanagan at this point?  Well, she wrote a letter to Ireland about Minnie marrying Jack (Kate called him Frank).  She comments some about Minnie's life which includes her father, Thomas.

Kate Flanagan to Michael Flanagan - Nov. 8, 1904

"You will think it is about time you heard from us again. Well, there is very little in the way of news that you dont know of already. That wedding went off very pleasantly and the bride and groom are settled in their own home as happy a couple as you could imagine. Frank has steady work in Napa running a steam engine, he keeps up his studies in Machanical engineering still and expects to pass an examination later on. His wifets family kept a Dairy ranch near union Station had a milk route in town some years ago but her father met with an accident which left him unfit for any thing like ranch work so they moved into town. Father Slattery was a great friend to them in their trouble. So that is why they had him to come up from the city to tie the knott.

Minnie (Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin), (Franks wife) has been the main stay of her family for some years through her teaching and would not marry till the rest of the family were educated and able to do for themselves, so we can feel sure that so good a daughter will be a good wife....."

I love Kate's letters.  They are not only interesting to read but handy to have.  I wonder what happened to Thomas McLaughlin.  He must have been injured and could no longer work as a farmer.  I guess I have more to find out if it is still out there.

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