Friday, August 18, 2017

Toons, Long Island, air shows... (part four)

Continuing the story of how Maurice Toon ended up on New York's Long Island. Read (part one) here, (part two) here, and (part three) here.

One of Alfred (1832-1903) and Anna's children was another Alfred, born about 1867 in Philadelphia, PA, USA. The family moved out of the city to Sellersville, Bucks, but by the time he was 26, if not sooner, young Alfred was back in the city, working as a "hack"--hackney cab or taxi driver. The video above shows a collection of photos of the city as it was then: still many horses, very few cars. Did Alfred first work with horses, and later with motor cars?

In 1893, Alfred married a young lady from Ireland, Mary McNamee. I've not yet been able to trace Mary's family; there were at least three Mary McNamees arriving from Ireland, or via Scotland, in the years that precede the marriage, at least two of which have mothers with the relatively-unusual name of Isabella. (Maybe they are the same Isabella and I haven't yet been able to disentangle all the threads.) The McNamee thread definitely needs more research on my part. 

There was a large community of Irish families in Philadelphia at this time, following the exodus of people during the Great Famine of 1845-1852, when 20-25% of Ireland's population either died, or emigrated. There are no records for Philadelphia from the 1890 US census--they were lost in a fire--but in 1880, there were at least 319  people with the surname, McNamee, with either Irish, or Scots, origins, living in Philadelphia.

In 1890, Alfred and Mary have a home on Mole Street in Philadelphia, and the census says that they have one child, a daughter called Marie, who was born in February, 1896. However, I believe this is a census error, as the next census--1910--has the family still with just one child, a son, Maurice Toon, also born in February, 1896. So... either Maurice and Marie were twins and someone else was looking after four-year-old Maurice in 1900, and Marie was elsewhere in 1910, or the 1900 census contains an error. I have not been able to track down a Marie anywhere else in the records, so my assumption is that there is an error, and that Maurice was an only child.

In 1910, our family of three were living in a home on North Mole Street, Philadelphia, most likely in one of the terraced (row) houses that survive to this day. Mary Toon nee McNamee died at 2253 N. Mole Street, in 1916, aged 46, from atrophic cirrhosis of the liver, when Maurice was 20 years old.

Maurice Joseph Toon's WW1 Draft Registration

Alfred Toon, Maurice's dad, spent his whole life working with transport of some sort. He was likely too old to be drafted for the First World War; far too young for the civil war.

In 1920, Alfred was a garage foreman, while Maurice, aged 23, was working in the world of newspapers as a manager. Alfred and Maurice were living together as boarders in a home shared by several small families.

Alfred Toon passed away in Philadelphia on 16th August, 1931. I don't know the cause of death: his death certificate says, "inquest pending", but so far I have not found any information about the inquest.

But by then, Maurice had already been drafted for the first World War, and after the war had married and settled on Long Island.

The final part of this story comes next! Long Island awaits.

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