Friday, April 22, 2011

Sympathy Saturday - Maggie Houlihan


Last year we developed a database of Newtown Deaths that occurred between 1890 and 1899 in order to fill in the gap presented by the loss of the 1890 census.  The editor of Connecticut Ancestry was interested in the project, but what he really wanted was some stories behind the deaths.  We complied an article about the Newtown Deaths database and added some stories surrounding a few of those deaths that was published in the February 2011 issue of Connecticut Ancestry. Here is one of those stories:

Twenty-six-year old Margaret “Maggie” Houlihan worked as a hat trimmer in Danbury, Connecticut until she received a “partial shock” which caused her to convalesce at home for several weeks. She tried to return to work, but her sickness affected her brain and she would become irrational. She could not continue to work. On a Friday afternoon in early February 1894, Maggie spoke of visiting her friends the Misses Brennan. Her parents discouraged her. But, “About 6 o’clock… she said she was going on an errand. Shortly afterward her parents heard the milk train whistle and stop and Mr. Houlihan ran down to see what was the matter, only to find his daughter had been struck by the engine and was in a dying condition…She was taken to the house where she soon died. Whether Miss Houlihan deliberately threw herself in front of the engine or whether she still had it in her mind to call on the Misses Brennan, and becoming confused fell on the track will never be known.”  (Newtown Bee February 16, 1894.)

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