Today’s obituary, which comes from the Boston Daily Globe, Massachusetts of 2nd Feb 1911, relates to John Heenan, a veteran of the American Civil War.
JOHN HEENAN DIES AT THE AGE OF 86
John Heenan, aged 86 years, the oldest member of Theodore Winthrop post, G.A.R., and one of Chelsea’s oldest citizens, died yesterday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Susie Doyle, 26 Shawmut st., Chelsea.
Mr. Heenan had enjoyed good health until about a fortnight ago when he contracted a cold.
Mr. Heenan was born in Ireland and came to this country more than 60 years ago. He had been a resident of Chelsea more than 50 years. At the outbreak of the civil war he was one of a company of about 90 Chelsea boys who gathered in Chelsea sq.and went to the front in the Union cause. He was a member of Co G 40th Mass. regt, and through the war the company participated in many important battles.
He was a charter member of Theodore Winthrop post. In Chelsea, Mr. Heenan years ago was regarded as
a very clever man with horses and a good part of his army life was devoted as a teamster. In later years
he served as janitor of the Shurtleff grammar school in Chelsea. He is survived by three sons and three
daughters. The funeral services will take place tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock at St. Rose church, Chelsea.
Discovering John Heenan
There were numerous clues in this obituary that I wanted to investigate. To find out more about John Heenan I turned first to his death certificate. This shows that he was the son of Nicholas Heenan and Elizabeth Kelly, both from Ireland. At the time of his death he was living at the Old Soldiers Home in Chelsea but had previously lived at 26 Shawmut Street, Chelsea. He was a widower.
The 1910 US Census, gave me additional information. He was a resident at the Soldier’s Home, was a widower aged 75 years old (note the 10 year difference with the date given in his obituary) and had arrived in the USA in 1839. He fathered nine children of whom seven were alive at the time of the census.
The couple must have married before 1885 because they are recorded as a couple with three children in the 1855 Massachusetts state census.
John W Heenan born about 1851
Eliza J Heenan born about 1853, married Andrew Cullen on 28th November 1877 in Chelsea, Massachusetts
James Heenan born about 1854, married Margaret Brett, Oct 29 . 1877 in Chelsea, Massachusetts
Mary Heenan born about 1857, married William Hampton on Nov 14, 1880 in Chelsea, Massachusetts
Anna Heenan, born about 1858. Died 1864
Margaret Heenan born about 1861
Joseph Heenan born about 1863, married Louise Matthews, September 20, 1885
Susan Heenan born in Chelsea, Massachusetts on Aug 3, 1866 to John W Heenan and his wife Mary married 15 Aug 1889 to Patrick F Doyle, a teamster from Boston. She was 23 years old at the time.
John Heenan enlisted in Company G, Massachusetts 40th Infantry Regiment on 05 Sep 1862, which had been organised at Camp Edwin M. Stanton, Lynnfield in August 1862. They moved to Washington, Sept. 11, 1862, occupying Fort Ethan Allen near Chain Bridge. During that autumn and winter they were on guard and picket duty near Miner’s Hill, Mills’ Cross Roads, and Hunter’s Chapel. On April 15, 1863, they were ordered to Alexandria,
Virginia and then to Suffolk which was being threatened by a Confederate force. During 1864 it was involved in many battles in the areas of Cold Habour and Petersburg, Virginia. The regiment was mustered out on 16 Jun 1865 at Richmond, Virginia.
- Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War Massachusetts GAR: Journal of the Annual Encampment GAR Dept of Massachusetts 1866-1947 (Sargent)
- U.S., American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866
- Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915
- Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 (accessed via Ancestry.com)
- Massachusetts, State Census, 1855
- 1860 United States Federal Census, Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: ; Page: 911; Image: 283.
- 1870 United States Federal Census, Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_650; Page: 40A
- 1880 United States Federal Census, Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: 562; Page: 318D; Enumeration District: 789
- 1900 United States Federal Census, Chelsea Ward 1, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T623_689; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 1554.