Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who the heck is Alice?

I was going to write about Alice eventually but then I discovered the other day that daughter Hallie didn’t have a clue as to who Alice was. (Oh my!) She thought I was talking about the Alice in the song "Living Next Door to Alice" that was so popular with our Irish Singer friend from Canada, Jack McGuire.

What would your brother say?”, I asked. Michael’s carefully chosen tartan for his first kilt was the plaid for County Antrim, Ireland where his Irish ancestor Alice had been born. He had agonized over each and every part of the outfit using great care with color and originality.

So now my desire to make sure Alice is given due recognition has taken on a new urgency....

Alice MCILVOY, my children's third great grandmother, was born in, or near, Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland around the year1813. This birth year is given here using the information from her obituary that says she was 90 years of age when she died in 1903. The 1900 census gives January 1815 as her date of birth. (Alice's headstone says 1818 but we know this is incorrect.) Alice was the daughter of Alexander McIlvoy and Mary Magdalene McConley. She and her family arrived on the shores of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania aboard the "North Star" out of Liverpool, England on 28 August 1818. In all the years of my research involving hundreds of ancestors between our two families, Alice was the latest immigrant to come to the United States. Others had arrived here 100 to 200 years earlier. Not one relative I have traced on either side arrived here late enough to have come through Ellis Island in the late 1800s.

What I’d really like to know are the details of the journey of the McIlvoy family between the date of their arrival at Philadelphia's port and the end of that journey which placed them squarely in the middle of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the precinct of Mackville near Springfield in Washington County where Abraham Lincoln's parents were married just a few years earlier. That’s a long way by wagon train, lots of obstacles….mountains, Indians, etc. Yet they show up there as early as 1820, just two years after their arrival in the U.S. Did they come in the tide of one of the great Catholic migrations from the North?

In 1840, when Alice was about 27 years old she married William B. Logsdon. She was William's second wife. His first wife, Nancy Ann Worland, had been dead almost 2 years and William already had 10 children when he and Alice were married at St. Rose Church in Springfield. Before 1860 Alice would give William ten more children! Their large family lived for many years on a farm known as the Horse Shoe Bend Farm on the Little Beech River.

In 1870 we find William and Alice in the neighboring county of Marion in the precinct of Loretto. They were living in this precinct until William's death in 1882. Sometime before 1900 Alice moved to the precinct of Chicago in the same county and in the 1900 census her spinster daughter Mariah Louise is living with her. Alice died in 1903 and was buried alongside her husband in the old St. Mary's cemetery in Lebanon. I believe Alice's first name may have been Margaret. She is listed as "Peggy" (a nickname for Margaret) on the immigration lists and one of her grandsons, on his father's death certificate, listed his grandmother's name as "Margurite". But, like so many Catholics, Alice was known by her middle name.

Alice's obituary below is taken from "The News-leader" (Springfield, Kentucky) Thursday, August 6, 1903.

"The remains of Mrs. Alice McIlvoy Logsdon who died in Chicago, Ky., were brought to St. Mary's, Marion County last Monday for burial. She died on August 1st and was 90 years of age. The deceased had lived many years of her life in this county where she has children and grandchildren and a number of nephews and nieces living. She was the sister of the late Daniel McIlvoy and widow of William Logsdon who lived for a number of years on the Little Beech in this county on the farm known as the Horse Shoe Bend farm. Mrs. Logsdon was born in Belfast, Ireland and came to this county at an early age. She was a woman of fine character and noted for her charity and kindness of heart."

Alice is buried at St. Mary, Lebanon, Marion Co., Kentucky, Section J, Card 61, Section #40