A COMBINED FAMILY PROJECT
Acknowledgements……Sheila Moss…..Paul Adamson…..Jim McHugh..... Neil Pedersen
Mary Ann Fox, my grandmother, pictured above, was the youngest daughter of Thomas Fox and Mary Meehan Irish immigrants from Sligo.
Mary Meehan was the daughter of James Meehan and Mary Monroe. In 1862 Mary Meehen married a Peter Curtis in St Peters Catholic Church, Seel Street, Liverpool. Peter Curtis is described as a Greenwich Pensioner. It appears that Peter Curtis died shortly after this marriage took place.
In 1865 Mary Curtis(Meehan) was married to Thomas Fox in St Peters, Church of England, in Church Street,Liverpool.
In 1871 the Foxes found lodgings in Thomas Street in the Liverpool 1 area. This street ran from Paradise Street to South Castle Street which has now disappeared under the new Liverpool One shopping precinct.
A 1867 painting of Thomas Street , the Fox family lived in this street when this image was created.
There were a total of ten children born to this couple between 1866 and 1883 all baptised in St Peter Roman Catholic church Seel Street Liverpool. The number of Monroes standing as godparents is a noticeable feature. The Monroes are first cousins of Mary Fox.
The family relocated to Gilbert Street in the mid 1870s. Although it is 35 yrs after the Fox family changed addresses , this 1910 photo of Gilbert Street gives an impression of the environment.
To most people who read about 19th Century Victorian Britain, references to high child mortality is a common theme. Today we find it shocking that the suffering and death of children was tolerated in the most wealthiest and advanced country on the planet.
In this section we find that in the 5 years from 1876 to 1881 four of the Fox children died of diseases which today would be easily cured.
On 24TH May 1876 Patrick Fox died of Marasmus, aged 12 months .
31 months later on Xmas Eve 1878 Mary Fox, aged 12yrs, the eldest daughter, died in 62 Gilbert Street of scarlet fever. Her father was present at her passing.
On 31st Dec six days after Mary's death her three younger brothers Michael aged 9yrs James Stephen aged 7yrs and Thomas William aged 5yrs were admitted to the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary suffering from Scarlett Fever. Thomas William died in the infirmary on 4th Jan.
11 days later on the 4th January 1879 Thomas William Fox aged 5yrs died of scarlet fever in the Brownlow Hill Workhouse Infirmary.
In 1882 William Fox aged 9mths died of Measles, at 34 Dickenson Street.
In 1881 the much reduced family are still living in 62 Gilbert Street.
In the1891 census the family had moved to Dickenson Street, my Grandmother Mary Ann was born here in 1883, They were joined by Mary Fox's mother (my great great grandmother) Mary Meehan (nee Monroe) aged 79 yrs.
By 1897 the Fox siblings were reaching marriageable ages and over the following 10 years there were five marriages.
In the 1901 census Thomas Fox and his family are living in 87 Pitt Street, they were now joined by the brother of Mary Fox, William Meehan, the servant Annie Blower later married Thomas P Fox in 1905.
On the 18th May 1902 Thomas Fox dies of brain damage as a result of an accidental fall.
His body was released by the Coroner for burial in Ford Cemetery on 22nd May 1902. He is buried in plot 1A220 .
In July 1907 my grandmother Mary Ann Fox married John De La Santos in St Peter's church Seel Street. .
In the 1911 census my grandmother Mary Ann De La Santos and her family are living in 85 Pitt Street.
The De La Santos children came to know Bridget, pictured below, as Auntie Bezzie. I suspect that the job of caring for the elderly relatives fell on her shoulders. This is suggested by Sheila Moss when she relates the story that her mum Emmeline told her. “ I always felt sorry for her, when my mam told us stories about her, she said she was like an unpaid skivvy to everyone. She spent some time living with Uncle Mike but he wasn't best pleased that she was partial to a drop of drink!”
Anita Adamson remembers her Mum told her that Auntie Beazie would sit next to the coal fire and knit socks for everyone. The socks would stand up on their own on the mantle piece!
In 1911 my grandmother's other sister Catherine Fenlon was living in 28 Greetham Street. Following the death of her husband William in 1921 Catherine emigrated to Chicago in 1926 with her children onboard the Cunard ship the Scythia.
Jim McHugh Catherine's grandson said, "The Fenlon family, ie your grandmothers sister, Catherine my grandmother. actually came to Chicago in 1926 also aboard the Scythia. I have attached a copy of the manifest. At the time the two oldest sons, William and John, who were sailors, had "jumped ship" here in the states and settled in Chicago. On the Fenlon side there is the name Longbottom, and I think a cousin or uncle of theirs, who by then had shorten his name to Long, was in Chicago. Willie and Johnny, sent for their mom to join them in Chicago. It is my understanding that they both had to leave the US and come back in legally at that time."
The 1911 census has my grandmother's two married brothers were living locally, Thomas Patrick Fox living in 110 Pitt Street and Michael Fox living in Upper Frederick Street. In the 1937 photo below Thomas Patrick is on the left, he had moved his family to Sparling Street where the photo was taken, his older brother Michael is next to him.
Also in 1911 my great grandmother Mary Fox (Meehan) dies in 85 Pitt Street.
By 1938 my grandmother was living in 69 Pitt Street the photos are of my grandmother with her daughters and grandchildren sitting on the front door step of number 69. The other photos show 69 Pitt Street from different locations.
The 1938 photo is of St Peter's school Gilbert Street. All the Fox,Fenlon and De La Santos children attended that school.