Chapter Four

John Martin Morrissey and Edith Sweeney

Thomas and Mary's son John Martin Morrissey married Edith Sweeney on 15 May 1895 at Saint Anthony's Church, "in the presence of William E. Flanagan, uncle of the bride" and "Thomas Morrissey, father of the groom". Martin Morrissey was named after his uncle, Father Martin Callaghan. He was known familiarly as Martin, as indicated on the 1891 Census; the custom of the family in some cases was to use the middle name as the everyday name of the child. Martin was also known as 'Banty', which obviously suggests a small physical stature.

While I never met my paternal grandfather, I have many happy memories of my grandmother and of my uncles, especially my Uncle Alex and Aunt Ivie. My parents, my brother and I, lived with my grandmother from around 1952 to 1954 when my father was ill. My grandmother loved her children and placed her children and her family first in her life. Her door seems to have always been open to relatives who needed a place to live. She encouraged her children to continue with their education and paid the tuition for my father to attend St. Leo's Academy.

My father, like his mother who played piano, and several of his other siblings, played a musical instrument. He belonged to a band that his brother Herb organized and they performed at many venues in Montreal. It was a home of family gatherings, music, laughter, playing cards, and an interest in sports. Martin played lacrosse and their son Frank Morrissey was involved with organizing amateur sports in Quebec.

Where They Lived


Bottom door, 94 Marin Avenue, Montreal, residence of Martin and Edith Morrissey from 1907 to 1926

After Martin and Edith married they lived at 572 (now 3072) St. Antoine Street in what was then St. Henri. This is a street level flat exiting directly onto the sidewalk on the south side of the street, a few hundred feet west of Atwater Avenue. In 1907 they moved around the corner to another street level flat, at 94 (now 1094) Marin Avenue. These are attached buildings of two or three floors, all grey stone or red brick exteriors with outdoor stairways for the upper flats. Edith's parents lived at 536 Greene Avenue, which is just around the corner from both of the residences where Edith and Martin resided between 1895 and 1926.

Martin and Edith moved from Marin Street to a six and a half room upper flat at 238 Girouard Avenue in 1926 or 1927; this address was renumbered to 2226 Girouard Avenue in 1930. Located in the west end neighbourhood of Notre Dame de Grace, this is where I used to visit my grandmother in the 1950s and 1960s. At some time in the 1930s the street was widened, eliminating front lawns and making Girouard a busy through-street along which streetcars ran to lower N.D.G. until around 1959. Other relatives lived across the street from 2226 Girouard, possibly the MacDonalds.


St. Antoine Street near Marin Avenue, Montreal


Stephen Morrissey in front of stairs to 2226 Girouard Avenue, upper flat, Montreal

The Family

Martin and Edith had three daughters, Mabel, Stella, and Elsie. Elsie and Stella both died young, and Mabel remembered with sadness the absence of her sisters, especially Elsie who was only one year her junior. Mabel Morrissey worked at the Bank of Montreal where she was popular with her colleagues. Otherwise, she lived a quiet life at home with her mother and family.


Mabel Morrissey at the summer cottage, St. Eustache, 1948

Martin and Edith's first son was Frank Morrissey made a name for himself organizing amateur hockey in Quebec as well as for working with the Montreal Maroons. For a while he and his wife Eva Dubois lived at the Corona Hotel. They had one daughter, Patsy, who spent much time living at Girouard. A newspaper columnist wrote the following, when Frank died prematurely at age forty:

I have yet to meet a person who knew him and didn't like him. He had that exuberant spirit which could not be broken, even by adversity. And a 'squarer shooter' with his friends never breathed.

Throughout his career as a sport executive he worked like the proverbial Trojan. Much of the foundation of the present amateur hockey structure in Quebec was built by the tireless effort of this diminutive live-wire'. Let us pause just a moment to think of this gallant little man who, to my knowledge anyway, never had a real enemy.

William Morrissey worked most of his life for Dawson Company. He and his wife Lil Bateman lived for many years at 397 St. Aubin Street, in Ville St. Laurent. They had one son, Bill Morrissey who served in the Canadian army in World War Two; he fought against the Germans in Holland. Lil Morrissey told my mother about her son's terrible war experience, which she read about in his letters from Holland. Bill junior and his wife divorced and their daughter Joanne was raised by her grandparents, William and Lil.

Alex Morrissey and his wife Ivy had one son, Herb, who became a well-known magician and who owns a company in Toronto that sells magic products. Alex worked as a salesman and he and Ivy spent their summers at a cottage they shared with his mother Edith and sister Mabel. For several years my mother rented a cottage across the street from theirs and while my mother was at work, my grandmother and Aunt Ivy kept an eye on my brother and I.

Herb Morrissey married my aunt Dorothy Magrane in 1939. For a few years they lived a few doors away from us on Oxford Avenue. They had two children, Linda and Bob.

I will discuss my father, Edgar Morrissey, Martin and Edith's youngest son, in the next chapter.

Martin and Edith

Martin Morrissey died after suffering a stroke at Windsor Station, probably on Wednesday, 10 February 1932. He was buried at Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery on Saturday, 13 February 1932. Martin and Edith were married for thirty-seven years. Eileen Oakes writes that Martin Morrissey "always worked for the C.P.R. telegraph, in fact took a stroke in his office and died the same day." My father also worked at Windsor Station and could have been present when his father died, or soon after.


Edith Sweeney Morrissey in front of her son Edgar's car, mid-1930s

My grandmother, Edith Sweeney, continued living at 2226 Girouard Avenue until her death in April 1965; she had a cold the previous February, and this developed into pneumonia from which she died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital only a few blocks from her home. Her two sisters, Essie and Edna, continued living at the flat until it was no longer possible because of their advanced age. Essie died in July 1968; Edna entered an old folks' home near Ottawa until her death in January 1970. While Edith is buried in the Morrissey family plot, with Martin, at Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Essie and Edna are both buried at Mount Royal Cemetery. Essie is buried with the other Sweeneys, in the plot purchased by her father, while Edna is buried about fifty feet from where my father is buried.

Husband: John 'Martin' Morrissey:
Born: 14 June 1874, Montreal
Buried: 13 Feb 1932, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal
Father's name: Thomas Morrissey
Mother's name: Mary Callaghan
Married: 15 May 1895, St. Anthony's Church, Montreal
Wife: Edith Mary Sweeney:
Born: 29 May 1875, Montreal
Died: 23 April 1965, Montreal
Buried: 26 April 1965, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal
Wife's father's name: Joseph Sweeney
Wife's mother's name: Margaret Flanagan
Children: Edith 'Mabel', Victoria 'Elsie', Stella, Frank, William, Alex, Herbert, Edgar


Mable Morrissey with her nephew, Stephen Morrissey, St. Eustache, Summer 1951

1. Edith Mabel ("Mabel") Morrissey:
Born: 24 Feb 1896, Montreal
Christened: 27 Feb 1896
Buried: 19 Aug 1960, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal

2. Victoria Margaret Elsie Morrissey:
Born: 28 May 1897, Montreal
Christened: 28 May 1897, St. Henri, Montreal
Buried: 6 Jan 1911, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal

3. Stella Gennett Agnes Morrissey:
Born: possibly 1898
Buried: 27 Aug 1905, Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal

4. Francis ("Frank") Thomas Morrissey:
Born: October 1898, Montreal
Christened: 28 Oct 1898, St. Henri, Montreal
Died: 25 Feb 1938, Montreal
Married: Eva Corrina Dubois around 1919
Children: Patricia Edith ('Patsy')

4.i. Patricia Edith Morrissey
Born: around 1920, Montreal
Married: a Robb
Children: Jo-Anne, David, Donald

i.1. Jo-Anne Robb
Born: Montreal

i.2. David Robb
Born: Montreal

i.3. Donald Robb
Born: Montreal


William Morrissey with his nephew Stephen Morrissey, Fall 1973, Montreal

5. Luke William ("Bill") Morrissey:
Born: 4 Oct 1900, Montreal
Died: 13 May 1977
Married: Lillian ('Lil') Matilda Bateman
Spouse's birth: around 1900, Dalhousie, Nova Scotia,
Spouse's death: August 1963, Montreal
Spouse's siblings: Audrey, Mary, Jennifer, Nicki, Dorothy
Children: William Chipman Morrissey

5.i. William Chipman Morrissey
Children: Jo-Anne Morrissey

i.1. Jo-Anne Morrissey
Born: October 1947, Montreal
Married: a Steen
Note: The family now live in White Rock, British Columbia
Children: Alison, James


Jo-Ann Morrissey Steen, granddaughter of William Morrissey and Lillian Bateman, now of White Rock, B.C.

1.i. Alison Carrie Steen
Born: 1972, Montreal
Children: Grace Victoria, born January 2000

1.ii. James William Steen
Born: 1975, Montreal

6. Alexander ("Alex") Martin Patrick Morrissey:
Christened: 8 Nov 1905, Montreal
Died: 21 November 1968, Montreal
Buried: 23 Nov 1968, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal
Married: Ivy Adelaide Lewis
Spouse's death: 8 Feb 1972
Children: Herbert


Alex Morrissey and his son Herb, 2226 Girouard Avenue, Spring 1938

6.i. Herbert Morrissey:
Born: Montreal, February 1938.
Married: Shirley Howse, 20 June 1959
Spouse's birth: October 1938, Prince Edward Island
Note: The family now live in Don Mills, Ontario
Children: Kim, Daniel

i.1. Kim Morrissey
Born: 1961, Montreal
Married: A Sharpe
Children: Branden, Taylor

i.2. Daniel Morrissey
Born: 1965, Montreal


Edgar Morrissey (left) and his brother Herbie Morrissey, around 1918, probably St. Henry neighbourhood, Montreal

7. ("Herb") John Herbert Morrissey:
Born: 4 April 1910, Montreal
Died: 10 Jan 1998
Married: Dorothy Magrane in1939, St. Patrick's, Montreal
Spouse's birth: 1917, Montreal
Spouse's death: 7 May 2003, Montreal
Children: Linda, Robert

7.i. Linda Morrissey

7.ii. Robert Morrissey
Children: Linda and Robert have five children between them, they are Kimberley, Marnie, Donna, Jim, and Dan.


Portrait of Edgar Morrissey, around 1940

8. Edgar Raymond Leander Morrissey:
Born: 11 March 1912
Died: 16 November 1956, Boston, MA
Buried: 20 November 1956, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal
Married: Hilda Richards Parker in 1940, Trinity Memorial Church, Montreal
Children: John, Stephen

8.i. John Richard Morrissey:
Born: September 1946, Montreal
Married: Katherine Thompson, 1970, in Montreal
Spouse's birth: October, 1950
Note: The family now live in Toronto, Ontario
Children: David, Heather

i.1. David Morrissey
Born: 1977, Ottawa, Ontario

i.2. Heather Morrissey
Born: 1980, Ottawa, Ontario


Edith Sweeney Morrissey with her grandson, Stephen Morrissey, 2226 Girouard Avenue, around 1953

8.ii. Stephen Edgar Morrissey:
Born: April 1950, Montreal
Married: Patricia Walsh on August 16, 1976 in Montreal
Spouse's birth: March, 1949
Children: Jake Walsh Morrissey
Born: January 1979, Montreal
Second Marriage: Carolyn Zonailo
Married: April 5, 1995, in Malone, New York State

Edith Sweeney's Ancestry

Edith Sweeney's mother, Margaret Flanagan, was the daughter of Mary Barron and Murtagh Flanagan. An Irish friend informs me that the name Murtagh is "common in Roscommon", an inland county in the northwest of the Irish Republic, and is the name of one of the three kings of Tara. Murtagh, in Irish, means "skilled at sea craft" and today the name might be "Mortimer" for English speakers. Mary Barron was buried at Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery on 26 June 1906 and was predeceased by her husband, Murtagh Flanagan; however, I don't know where Murtagh is buried.

Murtagh Flanagan and Mary Barron, Edith's maternal grandparents, had at least four children. There was Margaret Flanagan, Edith's mother. Another child was William E. Flanagan, Edith's uncle, who was a witness at Edith's wedding; he died on 10 December 1927. A third child was Edith's aunt, Elizabeth Flanagan ('Aunt Lib') who had a career as a journalist; she married a Ryan, which may have been a second marriage. Aunt Lib lived at Girouard for a few years until her death on 3 January 1944; her son moved to St. Louis, Missouri and she planned to move there but upon visiting found the climate too humid and returned to Montreal. She is buried with her mother next to the Morrissey family plot at Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery. Finally, there is Ann Mary Barron Flanagan, who was buried on 20 October 1950. She married Joseph William Dowling on 29 October 1890. The Sweeneys and the Barrons were very close, so much so that Edith considered the name Barron as one of my father's middle names. There are also several other family members who have "Barron" as one of their Christian names.

While the Barrons were Catholics, the Flanagans and the Sweeneys were Protestants. My grandmother's parents, James Sweeney and Margaret Flanagan were married on 7 July 1875 at Erskine Presbyterian Church in Montreal.

Edith Sweeney's father, James Sweeney, was the son of Mary Gallagher and Daniel Sweeney. At James and Margaret's marriage, Daniel Sweeney, the "father of the groom", signed the marriage certificate as a witness. Margaret Flanagan was of the "age of majority" which at that time was twenty-five years of age.


Most of the Sweeneys are buried at this location in Mount Royal Cemetery, there is no grave marker on any of the graves

Daniel was born in Ireland in 1816; he died of "cerebral apoplexy" and was buried at Mount Royal Cemetery on 8 February 1888, age 72 years. At that time he resided at 153 1/2 St. Charles Borromee Street in Montreal. Daniel worked as a tailor in 1845 when, according to Lovell's Directory, the family lived at "Ste Catherine and Bleury". In Lovell's 1861-1862 edition he was still working as a tailor but had moved to 22 Hermine Street, Montreal; in 1868 the family lived at 107 St. George Street. Daniel's wife, Mary Gallagher, was born in Ireland in 1814 and died of "consumption" (tuberculosis) on 14 December 1860 at age 46.

James Sweeney, my grandmother Edith Sweeney's father, lived his final years with Edith at 2226 Girouard Avenue. James was born in 1852 in Montreal; he died when he was 85 years old of "uremia coma and chronic nephritis" on 11 January 1937. In 1864-1865 he and his family lived on Tannery West and worked as a labourer; in his final years he worked in a tobacco store. He is listed as the owner of the Sweeney family plot at Mount Royal Cemetery.


An early photo of the Sweeneys; Edith Sweeney Morrissey, possibly first on right, her son Herb Morrissey third from left; Edith's sister, Essie Sweeney third from right; perhaps another sister, Clara Sweeney, first on left. The other younger woman and small child are unidentified; photo taken around 1922.

James Sweeney's wife, Margaret Flanagan, was born around 1851-1854 in St. Johns (present day St. Jean-sur-Richelieu), Quebec about twenty miles south-east of Montreal. Margaret was baptized at the Anglican church in St. John's, Quebec and was later, like her husband, a Reformed Presbyterian. Margaret Flanagan's mother, Mary Barron, was Roman Catholic and this would account for why several of James Sweeney and Margaret Flanagan's children were baptized at the Roman Catholic La Cathedrale in Montreal (formerly St. James Cathedral, and as of the early 1950s Mary Queen of the World Cathedral). Margaret died of "pernicious anemia" at age 72 years on 4 January 1926 and was buried on 6 January 1926 at Mount Royal Cemetery.


The historical St. James Anglican Church, constructed in 1816, St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, summer 2001

According to the 1881 census, Margaret Flanagan and James Sweeney lived in the St. Louis Ward, Montreal where James was employed as a book keeper. By then they had three children: Edith Mary (my grandmother) who was born in 1876; Clara, born in 1877; and their first son, Frederick who was born in 1880. The former are all listed as being Reformed Presbyterians. Also living with them was Margaret's mother Mary (Barron) Flanagan (born 1829) and two of Margaret's siblings, William Flanagan (born 1874) and Marianne (Ann Mary) Flanagan (born 1859), who were Roman Catholics. This also suggests that Murtagh Flanagan, Mary's husband, was deceased by 1881. If James was the sole breadwinner, he was supporting two families.

Edith Sweeney's Paternal Ancestry:

Husband: Daniel Sweeney (Edith Sweeney's paternal grandfather)
Born: 1816 in Ireland
Buried: 8 February 1888 at Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal
Wife: Mary Gallagher (Edith Sweeney's paternal grandmother)
Born: 1814 in Ireland
Buried: 14 December 1860 at Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal
Children: James, George, Emma, William


The church cemetery is located on the right-hand side of St. James Anglican Church

1. James Sweeney:
Born: 1852, Montreal
Died: 11 January 1937
Buried: 14 January 1937, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal
Married: Margaret Flanagan on 7 July 1875 at Erskine (Pres.) Church in Montreal
Children: Edith, Clara, Frank, Frederick James, William Edward, Essie, Bertha, Herbert, Edna (see below for details)

2. George Sweeney:
Born: 1852, Montreal
Christened: Knox Crescent Church, Montreal
Died: in New York City on 2 November 1882, buried on 9 November 1882 at Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, funeral at Knox Pres. Church

3. Emma Sweeney:
Born: 1852, Montreal
Buried: 24 November 1930, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

4. William Sweeney:
no information

Edith Sweeney's Maternal Ancestry:

Husband: Murtagh Flanagan (Edith Sweeney's maternal grandfather)
Born: 1800s, possibly in Ireland
Died: Between 1874-1881
Wife: Mary Barron (Edith Sweeney's maternal grandmother)
Born: around 1829, possibly St. Johns, QC
Buried: 25 June 1906 at Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal.
Children: Margaret, William, Elizabeth, Ann Mary Barron

1. Margaret Flanagan:
Born: around 1851-1854
Died: 4 January 1926
Buried: 6 January 1926, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal
Married: James Sweeney on 7 July 1875 at Erskine (Pres.) Church in Montreal.
Children: Edith, Clara, Francis, Frederick, William, Essie, Bertha, Herbert, Edna

1. 'Edith' Mary Sweeney:
Born: 29 May 1876, Montreal
Died: 23 April 1965, Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal
Married: John Martin Morrissey, 15 May 1895 at St. Anthony's Church, Montreal
Spouse's father: Thomas Morrissey
Spouse's mother: Mary Callaghan
Children: Edith ('Mable'), Victoria ('Elsie'), Stella, Frank, William, Alex, Herbert, Edgar

2. Clara Florence Sweeney:
Christened: 7 March 1878, La Cathedrale, Montreal
Died: 15 December 1939, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

3. Francis ("Frank") Herbert Sweeney:
Born: possibly January 1879, Montreal
Christened: 21 October 1879, La Cathedrale, Montreal
Died: 25 March 1880 ("age one year three months"), from Knox Pres. Church
Buried: Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

4. Frederick James Sweeney:
Born: 18 March 1880, Montreal
Christened: 7 June 1880, La Cathedrale, Montreal
Died: 15 April 1968, Los Angeles, CA
Married: Unknown
Note: He moved first to Riviera, California; his last address was at 91006 Arcadia Street, Los Angeles, CA; Fred stayed in touch with his sister Edith Sweeney until her death in the mid-1960s.

5. William ("Eddy") Edward Sweeney:
Christened: 11 July 1881, La Cathedrale, Montreal
Died: 8 February 1889, "age seven years and seven months", Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

6. Ethel ("Essie") May Sweeney:
Born: 23 May 1885, Montreal
Died: 15 July 1968, Montreal
Buried: 17 July 1968, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

7. Bertha Mary Sweeney:
Born: 1 January 1889, Montreal
Died: June, 1889, Montreal (age six months)
Buried: 25 June 1889, Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal

8. Herbert ("Herbie") Sweeney:
Born: possibly 9 August 1890, Montreal
Married: Maud McEwier, 14 June 1914 at La Cathedrale, Montreal
Spouse's father: William McEwier,
Spouse's mother: Adeline Verdon

9. Edna Sweeney:
Born: possibly 1892, Montreal
Died: 23 January 1970 in Ottawa, Ontario
Buried: Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal
Married: Bert Taylor
Children: Howard Taylor

2. William E. Flanagan:
Born: around 1874
Died: 10 December 1927, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal

3. Elizabeth Flanagan:
Buried: 3 January 1944, Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal
Married: a Ryan
Children: one son who moved to St. Louis, Missouri in the 1930s.

4. Ann Mary Barron Flanagan:
Born: around 1859
Buried: 20 October 1950, Notre Dames des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal
Married: Joseph William Dowling on 29 October 1890 at St. Catherine Church, Montreal
Spouse's father: William Dowling
Spouse's mother: Catherine Dolan: