My great-grandfather, Patrick M. Eagan, was, as far as we know, the first of our Eagan family in America. He was born on the 16th of either November or December in 1828, in Ireland. The conflict in the month of his birth is between 1900 Federal Census for NY, which states November, and his tombstone in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, which states December.
Patrick's wife, Mary Tierney, the daughter of John and Mary Tierney, was also born in Ireland on March 17, 1829.
We do not know where in Ireland either Patrick or Mary came from. I recall that when I was young I asked my father where his family came from in Ireland and he said that he was not sure but thought that it was County Kerry. Whether he was referring to both of his Eagan grandparents or just Patrick I don't know. Census records for the Eagan family just note Ireland as their birthplace.
Although we are not sure when Patrick and Mary came to the United States, we do know that they were in Medina, NY in 1853 when their oldest child, Catherine Jane was born in January of that year. I have assumed that Patrick and Mary were probably married in about 1852 based on the 1900 Federal Census and the date of the birth of their first child, Catherine Jane.
The earliest record I have been able to find for Patrick and Mary is Catherine's baptismal record from St. Mary's Church in Medina, Orleans County, NY. It is not yet known when the Eagan's left Medina but they were in Rochester, NY by 1860 according to the 1860 Federal Census for New York. This census, taken on June 27th of that year found the Eagans living in Rochester's 8th Ward, and probably in the Atkinson and Prospect Streets area. Patrick, a moulder, listed as “Patrick Eagin,” declared real estate valued in the amount of $1,100, and a personal estate in the amount of $100. Not a rich man but certainly not a pauper. (It is interesting to note that, according to the 1865 New York State Census, while their neighbors all had frame houses, the Eagan house was brick.) This census of 1860 showed living at home, in addition to his wife Mary, three children: Jane, 8 years old; James, 6 years old; and my grandfather, Stephen, 4 years old.
The Rochester City Directory of 1863-4 lists Patrick Eagan as a "moulder" and the Eagan family lived at the corner of Prospect and Atkinson Streets. This neighborhood in the 1860's was predominately Irish. Neighbors in 1865, for example, were the McMullen, Beamish, and Lewis families, the heads of these households and their wives having been born in Ireland.
Entries in the City Directories from 1864 to at least 1901 note that Patrick was a grocer and his grocery was, at different times, at number 55 and number 82 Prospect Street. The 1883-4 directory listed a "Eagan & Lamont (P. M. Eagan & C. A. Lamont), grocers" at the 55 Prospect Street location. The partnership was short-lived, however, as the 1885-6 directory noted that Charles Lamont died on September 2, 1884 at the age of 24.
The 55 Prospect Street location was also the Eagan home until about 1884-5 when they moved to 110 Atkinson Street. At the time of Patrick's death, on June 1, 1903, the family lived at number 108 Atkinson Street where they had moved to in 1891-2.
Between the 1860 and 1870 Federal Census, Patrick and Mary had three children all of which died very young: Ellen, born in 1863 and died in 1864; Cecilia, born in 1865 and died in the same year; and Fannie, born in 1866 and died in 1868.
In the 1870 Federal Census for Rochester, taken on June 22 of that year, five children were living at the 55 Prospect Street home: Catherine, 17 years, at home; James, 15 years, at school; Stephen, 13 years, at school; Mary, 9 years; and Sarah, 1 year. Later in the year in September, Mary died. In the 1880 Census the only Eagan children living at home was Sarah who was 11 years of age and she was attending school. In the decade between the 1870 Census and 1880 Census, two additional children were born and both died young: Francis born in 1871 and died in the same year; and William born and died in the next year.
The 1900 Federal Census noted that Mary Eagan had ten children although only three were still alive.
For the entire time since Patrick and Mary moved to Rochester, the family were members of the Immaculate Conception Church on South Plymouth Boulevard (today Frederick Douglass Street).
Patrick died on June 1, 1903, and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle carried the following obituary for Patrick in its June 3, 1903 edition:
EAGAN - On Monday, June 1, 1903, Patrick M. Eagan, aged 75 years.- The funeral will take place from the family residence, No.108 Atkinson Street, Thursday morning at 8:30 o'clock and at the Immaculate Conception Church at 9 o'clock.
Mary, as a result of a broken hip caused by a fall, developed pneumonia and died on August 24, 1917. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle carried the following obituary in its August 26, 1917 edition:
EAGAN - At the family residence, No. 108 Atkinson Street, Friday August 24, 1917, Mary Eagan, widow of Patrick Eagan, aged 88 years. She is survived by two daughters, Sara (sic) and Mrs. John C. King.- The funeral will take place Monday morning at 8:30 o'clock from the house and at the Immaculate Conception Church at 9 o'clock. Automobiles.
Both Patrick and Mary are buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Lake Avenue, Rochester in Lot 6, Section 6, along with nine their children (Catherine is buried in her husband's family plot which is adjacent to the Eagan family plot) and some of their grand-children and the grand-children's spouses.
In 1838, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Rochester purchased a 21 acre plot for burials on Pinnacle Hill and members of the city's “Irish” parishes – including St. Patrick's – were buried in this cemetery, and that included six of the Eagan children: Mary Ann, Ellen Elizabeth, Cecilia, Fannie Ester, Francis Patrick, and William Joseph. In 1871, Bishop McQuaid decided that the Catholic families of Rochester would be better served by a single burial grand so a large plot of farmland on both sides of what is now Lake Avenue became Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Following the cemetery's dedication, bodies from the Pinnacle Cemetery were removed and reburied in Holy Sepulchre.
Children of Patrick and Mary Eagan:
i Catherine Jane EAGAN
ii James EAGAN
iv Mary Ann EAGAN born 28 Aug 1860, and died 28 Sep 1870.
v Ellen Elizabeth EAGAN born 3 Feb 1863, and died 3 Jul 1864.
vi Cecilia EAGAN born 10 Mar 1865, and died 27 Mar 1865.
vii Fannie Ester EAGAN born 16 Mar 1866, and died 17 Oct 1868.
viii Sarah L. EAGAN .
ix Francis Patrick EAGAN born 23 Feb 1871, and died 22 Jun 1871.
x William Joseph EAGAN born 11 Jun 1872, and died 10 Jul 1872.