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Sweeney Family - Old St. Joseph - Bellefont

While walking Old St. Joseph’s cemetery, an unusual shaped headstone appears in your line of vision. Engraved on it is the following information:

Bridget Sweeney Born in Mayo Co. Ireland May 1846 Died Sep 26 1889

James Born In Mayo Co. Ireland Died July 3 1878

Anthony Born in Columbiana Co. Ohio Died Aug 3 1879 Julia Born in Edwards Co. Kansas 1880 Died Aug 1881 Their story begins in Mayo County, Ireland with the birth of Patrick Sweeney, Sr. on March 10, 1844. Bridget Hagan, his wife to be, was also born in Mayo Co. in May of 1846. The two were married in Ireland and bore their first child, James. In the mid-1870’s, the family arrived in New York and settled in Lansingburgh, Rensselaer County. New York. They were not alone. Between 1860-1890 approximately 46,000 Irish emigrated to Kansas. That number is second only to 91,000 Germans.

The late 1870’s saw the family move to Edwards County, Kansas where their family had grown to nine children. Shortly after their arrival, their oldest son, James, died of a snake bite. The following year 3-year old Anthony also died of a snake bite. Little baby Julia died after being “scalded with hot water from the stove.” The final name on the headstone, Bridget their mother, passed away after suffering from “a lingering illness.”

Husband and father, Patrick, Sr. died December 17, 1905 and was laid to rest next to his children and wife. Other known children born to Patrick & Bridget, were Michael (no information found); John, whose wife is buried in Trotter Cemetery, Lewis, Edwards County; Patrick (1881-1966) is buried in Wayne Cemetery, Lewis, Edwards County. Bridget (1881-1966) married Charles King and is also buried in Trotter Cemetery.

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