Family Stories

John G. Sheehan, Civil War Veteran, Buried in Calvary Cemetery – Fayette County

This photograph of the gravestone of John G. Sheehan was taken at Calvary Cemetery in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.  As you can see, John was a private in Company E, Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War.  Per his death certificate, John Sheehan was the son of William and Katherine Sheehan, both born in Ireland.  John was born in Ohio, August 11, 1843.

John G. Sheehan, Private, Company E, 9th Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, Civil War, 1844-1921. Calvary Cemetery, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.

Per the company muster-in roll, John Sheehan joined the Union Army August 9, 1862, in Frankfort, Kentucky, for a term of 12 months.  Remarks on the sheet, ‘By consent of Father in writing.’  There was no page in Fold3 for this consent.  The Ninth Regiment fought near Richmond, Kentucky, on August 30, 1862; the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862; and were involved in a skirmish at Marrowbone, Kentucky, on July 2, 1863.

John Sheehan filed for a pension March 24, 1887, when he would have been about 43 years old, marked as invalid.  But the date written above is February 21, 1907, when he would have been about 63.  I am not sure which date he started receiving a pension.  At the bottom lists his death date, May 31, 1921, at Lexington, Kentucky.

In 1850 a William and Catherine Sheehan, aged 33 and 32, respectively, born in Ireland, lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ward 7.  Children were Margaret, 14, born in Ireland; David, 9, born in Kentucky; John, 6, born in Ohio; Mary, 3, born in Ohio.  Timothy Sheehan, 20, born in Ireland lived with this family, possibly a younger brother or nephew of William.  Is this our Sheehan family?  It’s hard to say, but since the names of the parents are correct, and John is the age he should have been in 1850, it is possible.  By 1860 the family should have been in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, but I did not find them.  If they lived in adjoining county, they didn’t come up in a search.  We know the family lived in the Frankfort, Kentucky, area in 1862, when John was given permission by his father to enter the Civil War on the Union side. 

About 1865 John G. Sheehan married Mary (Mollie) Fitzgerald.  Her parents were Patrick Fitzgerald, born 1810 in Ireland, and Maria, born 1812 in England.  In 1870 John and Mary (Mollie) lived with her parents in Fayette County, Kentucky.  John was 27, a printer, born in Ohio.  Mollie was 25, born in Ireland.  The couple had three children, Mary, 4, William, 2, and Henry, 5/12, all born in Kentucky.  Lizzie Fitzgerald, 20, born in Ohio, also lived with the family – daughter of Patrick and Maria, and sister to Mollie.

In 1880 John is head of household, 35, a printer; Mollie is 33.  In addition to the three children listed in the 1870 census there is also Catherine, 7; Elizabeth, 4; and John, 1.  Maria Fitzgerald, 75, lived with the family and is listed as mother-in-law.  Elizabeth Fitzgerald, 29, sister-in-law, a dressmaker, was also in the household.

Mary (Mollie) Fitzgerald Sheehan died January 25, 1887, in Lexington.  She is most likely buried in Calvary Cemetery beside her husband, but there is no gravestone.

In 1900 the family lives on Woodard Avenue in Lexington.  John is 54, was a storekeeper and gauger; Mary was 35; William was 32; Henry, 29, was a mail carrier; Catherine, 27, was a dressmaker; Elizabeth was 24; John was 21; Maggie was 19; and Nellie was 17.  Notice that all eight children still live at home.

By 1910 the family lived on Maple Avenue.  John, 65, was a printer; William P, 43, was a grocery salesman; Stephen Henry, 41, was a city fireman; Catherine, 39, was a dressmaker; John, 32, was a grocery salesman; Margaret, 26, worked as a trimmer in retail millinery; Nellie was 24.  Six children were listed.  Mary died November 10, 1902, and was buried in Calvary Cemetery.  Elizabeth Sheehan married Archie Barr, and with him had one son, Jack.

Son John J. Sheehan died September 3, 1911.  In his obituary cause of death was not given, but since tuberculosis seemed to run in the family, and he was listed as an invalid ‘for some time’ it’s quite possible that was cause of death.

Lexington Leader, Fayette County, Kentucky

Monday, September 4, 1911

Mr. John J. Sheehan

After having been an invalid for some time Mr. John J. Sheehan, known familiarly as “Jack” Sheehan, died at the home of his father, Mr. John G. Sheehan, at 430 Maple Avenue Sunday morning at 9:30 o’clock, aged 33 years.  Although he had been sick for some time his death was sudden and unexpected.  He is survived by his father and two brothers, Messrs. William P. and S. Henry Sheehan, and four sisters, Mrs. A. C. Barr and Misses Catherine, Margaret and Nellie Sheehan, all of this city.  The funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock, Rev. William T. Punch officiating, and the interment will be in the family lot in the Catholic Cemetery.

William P. Sheehan died June 16, 1914, of tuberculosis and was buried in Calvary Cemetery.

In 1920, still at Maple Avenue, John G. Sheehan was 76, a night watchman.  Henry, 50, was a fireman; Catherine, 47, was unemployed; Margaret, 34, was a milliner; and Nellie, 30, had no job.  She was the only child who did not work. 

Stephen Henry Sheehan died December 8, 1920, of tuberculosis.  I found no obituary.

John G. Sheehan died May 31, 1921.

The Lexington Leader, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wednesday, June 1, 1921

Captain Sheehan

Custodian of Second Floor of Court House Dies After Only Two Days’ Illness

Following an illness of only two days John G. Sheehan, 77 years old, familiarly known to his friends as “Captain Jack” Sheehan, because of his Civil War record, died at his home 430 Maple Avenue, Tuesday night at 8 o’clock.  Death was due to pneumonia.  He became

ill Saturday while at the Court House, and was removed to his home, where he gradually grew worse.

“Captain Jack,” who was custodian of the second floor of the Court House, was a native of Cincinnati, but removed to Frankfort early in life, where he learned the printer’s trade on the Frankfort Yeoman, then one of the influential newspapers of the State.  Later he came to Lexington and for years was connected with the Lexington newspapers, being for a long time foreman of the mechanical department of The Lexington Leader.  He was fond of talking of the old days of printing in Lexington before the linotype and modern machinery had displaced the picturesque “typo” of that period.

Captain Sheehan was a Civil War veteran, a member of the E. L. Dudley Post, G.A.R. and at one time was commander of that organization.  He always took a leading part in Memorial Day services and other celebrations conducted by the local post.  He was a genial, companionable man and universally esteemed by all who knew him.  He was a Democrat in politics and was for years committeeman from his precinct.

He is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Katherine, Margaret and Nellie Sheehan and Mrs. A. C. Barr, all of this city.  Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, of which he was a member, at 9 o’clock Thursday morning, Rev. Father William T. Punch officiating.  Interment will be in the family lot in the Catholic Cemetery.

The pall bearers will be:  Active, J. J. O’Brien, John J. Riley, Owen O’Neil, Thomas P. Hanly, John G. McFadden and Ben Freckman; honorary, Captain John T. Gunn, Captain J. R. Howard, Herman Trost of E. L. Dudley Post,

G.A.R., and Judge Frank A. Bollock, Hogan Yancey and Charles B. Gillman.

Less than a year after her father’s death, on April 14, 1922, Nellie died of tuberculosis.  She must have been weak and frail most of her life.

At this point, three daughters are left.  Elizabeth M. Sheehan Barr died June 19, 1941, her husband following her to the grave 3 years later.  Margaret Sheehan died February 19, 1950.  Catherine Sheehan, at the age of 79, was the last of the family, died December 3, 1952, of cardiac failure.  Her death certificate still lists her as a dressmaker.  Nephew Jack Barr was the informant.

I always feel a little sad when I get to this point in my post.  We’ve discussed the family, but now all family members have passed on.  But this is life.  We are born and we eventually die.  What is accomplished between those two dates is what is important. 

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