I was born on March 30, 1902 on a small farm in the townsland of
Cregameen, Town Castlerea, Co. Roscommon. One half mile North East
of the Boundary with Co. Galway six miles South East of Co. Mayo.
I sailed for the U.S.A. on March 30th 1921, on my 19th Birthday,
on The White Star Liner, R.M.S. Cedric.
On arrival at New York We were taken to Ellis Island and after the
fumigation process, when our clothing was returned, I looked like
the Biblical son who was given, acoat of many colors. I found out,
we were not through with boats yet. The agent, whom I presumed was
making himself a few dollars, instead of putting us on a train for
Boston, instead put us on the Old fall River Line boat. We had a
night long sail and were disembarked at a place called Mansfield
Mass. There we connected up with a Boston & Maine train for
We arrived Manchester in the early afternoon on the 8th or 9th of
April & took a taxi to the apartment of our family.
After about a week in Manchester I and a few other recent arrivals
were hired by the Manchester Street Railway to clean up the parks
which it owned at Pine Island Park, Massaahesic Lake and Uncanonic
Mountain. We were later put to work on the R.R. tracks until Fall
and laid off. I got a job at Hoyt Shoe Shop, Beacon Shoe Co. and
in late spring returned to the R.R. tracks. About August 1922, expecting
a lay-off, together with a friend I went to Boston. My friend got
a job at the Gillette Razor Factory and I one at the New England
Iron-Works at C & Summer Streets. The cold of the plant together
with the clammer of riveters made me quit.
I next got a job with a contractor, John L. Sullivan Co. I guess
he had most of the city contracts, Jim Curley was mayor. I worked
at the construction of a high school at Allston Mass. Also at Nantasket
Beach and Revere Beach. Toward the end of the year, work was getting
slack, as the brick-layers did not work in frosty weather. I went
to visit a cousin at Malden Mass. Her husband and brother worked
for the Malden & Melrose Gas Light Co. My cousin asked her brother,
why don't you try to get Jim a job at the Gas House? He said no
they are not hiring anybody. Her husband who came from Kerry said
Jimmie, don't leave tonight, until you see me tomorrow. He came
home at lunch time the following and said I had the job, not only
that, but he had gone to the store & bought me a set of dungares
& said you go to work tomorrow. All that from a man I had never
seen before. I started as a stoker, loading up the bunkers with
coke for the water gas machines. Later I took over the job my cousin
Mike had held before he went back to Ireland.
Duties: Night patrol 11 to 7 two weeks, 3 to 11 two weeks , night
patrol 4 hours 7 to 3 day duty two weeks. I controlled the gas pressure.
recorded the reading of the gas tanks hourly, kept a record of the
hourly production of gas, notified the engineer when holders reached
their peak when to shut down. We had a seven day week and you got
8 hours off between two shifts, 16 hours between the next two and
32 between the other two. I liked the job but I found I was getting
allergic to gas, sensitive stomach, and the "moonshine"
in Malden was of a very poor grade. So I resigned.
In the Spring of 1925 I came to New York, got a job with the Third
Ave. R.R. Trolly cars as a Conductor. I stayed there a year and
left in disgust, no money in it. I was still on the extra list,
would get assigned to certain Report show up & sometimes get
an hour or less.
I applied at the Railway Express Agency & the agent said they
were not hiring, but he referred me to the station baggage master
at Grand Central Terminal. They put me on and I started there June
26th 1926. Assigned as Receiving Clerk, Delivery Clerk, COD Clerk,
Check Clerk, Cashier, Office Clerk, Trace Clerk. Head check clerk,
Timekeeper, and accountant. I retired in 1968 after 42 years on
In January 1969 I saw an ad. for couriers or messengers for the
United States Bank Note Co. I went down to Hudson Street and got
the job. The Chief Clerk said, I want you to know, I don't like
the Irish, knowing what he was, I said, That's alright, I don't
like the Jews either. He was the best and most considerate man I
ever worked for. I quit in 1975 and he tried to talk me out of it.
It was a great experience, outside of the city, speed was essential
and was mostly by plane. We would fly to Washington to file papers
with Security & Exchange Commission 2 or 3 times a week. Flew
to Chicago, Dearborn, Mich. Montreal, Toronto and Quebec, Pittsburgh,
Harrisburgh, Wilmington, Del. Buffalo and my longest trip West,
Denver Colo. Wherever you went you took a taxi to and from the plane.
Leaving home in the morning you never knew where you might be a
six in the evening . They paid for phone calls home.
It was an exciting experience, for though as a rule we did not see
much of the cities & did not hang around, it was nice to be
able to say, I was there.
In 1969 our oldest son James & Daughter Martha Jane arranged
a trip for us to England and Ireland. James, then a major in the
U.S. Airforce was assigned to a base about 30 miles from London.
We made a weeks tour of London then he took his big Oldsmobile to
Fishguard in Wales the night boat to Wexford. Stayed over at Waterford,
then down to Bantry Bay, for a stopover, next on to Killarney with
stopover at Blarney. Next to Ennis Co. Clare stopover, through Limerick
to Galway City stopover. Conemara Galway Bay, then headed for the
old home in Co. Roscommon, the first time in 48 years. The old hoes
were hone and there were very few of the people we know. Jim &
Martha had to return to England. We stayed about two weeks, then
flew back to London for another week, then the T.W.Q. home. It was
a great treat and we had a nice time but why did we wait to get
so old. We have made two other trips. 75 and 77.
So now for the Boss & Guardian of my life, Mary Staunton. Mrs.
Rafferty, truly the girl from home. Born about a half mile apart.
In fact her mother and mine went to school together. She lived in
Brooklyn when I came to New York and we kept up a flippant correspondence.
Being a pretty girl, she had plenty of boy-friends. I took advantage
of her coming to work in New York & tried to avoid her being
lonely for the absence of the Brooklyn suitors & pursued this
course until she kindly assented. We were married June 30th, 1930
at the famous Church of St. Ignatus Loyola on Park Ave. I had met
and known many in the Police & Law Departments, many of whom
we had invited to the wedding in Brooklyn. Then an event occurred
which I have never found out whether by arrangement or error it
From the Church, we went to a photo studio for the usual wedding
pictures. When we came out on the ave. around 74th we were picked
up by a motorcycle cop who motioned to the car to follow him. From
that point with siren blaring and without a stop took us to the
entrance to Brooklyn Bridge, swung around and waved his arm &
turned back. This was in the middle of a business day in New York
and I don't think Mayor Koch could make the trip today in the time
we took. It felt like getting the key or freedom of the City.
We had a family of 7, 6 boys 1 girl.
1.) James Jr. U.S. Air Force 24 years, Lt. Col. Retired. He had
a family of 7. 5 girls two boys. While he was assigned to West Germany
his oldest daughter 18 was killed in an auto accident on the autobahn.
Jim now teaching at St. Louis University.
2.) John P. Nine years New York National Guard. N.Y. city fireman
retired, account of disability because of accident. Died of heart
attack 1980. two sons one daughter
3.) Thomas J. Three years U.S. Army, assigned to a trip to D.E.W.
Line at Thule About 40 ships in the convoy. Spent six months unloading
in the dark up there. He did not like his C.P.O.s & when he
came back asked for a transfer. He got it but within a week got
orders to proceed to Seattle. When he got to Seattle he was assigned
to another fleet accompanied by three ice breakers heading for Virginia
Island, Canadian Northwest Territory. So in a couple of weeks he
was back almost to Thule, but with a continent between. The first
time he had gone up via the Atlantic past Iceland, the second time
by Pacific & Bering Sea. Family of 4, two boys two girls. Civilian
engineer with U.S. Coast Guard.
4.) George A. Three years U.S. Army. Trained at Fort Dix and Virginia,
Assignment Honolulu, Hawaii. Enjoying the sun & beaches plus
pretty girls, until discharged, 2 girls one boy. Foreman, freight
Dept. Scandanavian Airlines. Also partner in a freight forwarding
5.) Richard M Nine years new York National Guard. Family of 2,
boy & girl. Owns a laundromat & cleaning establishment,
side line bar tender.
6.) Martin Eugene, eight years U.S. Air Force. Ground troop assignment.
Archangel, Alaska & Thailand. One boy one girl. Construction
engineer, cranes & all heavy equipment.
7.) Pop's sweetheart, Martha Jane, (Mrs. Marti) Secretary for Law
Firm, New York Community College. New York Law School. Attorney
in Connecticut. Married, no chilldren, husband Dean of Middlesex
We have loved the attention of all our children and particularly
their loyalty and fidelity to each other. If there were five of
them at a party you would always find three or four of them together.
For this I give the credit to their mother.
God bless her and all of them.