Hugh Brawley 1902-1947

Hugh Brawley was born on 8 April 1902 in the town of Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, USA. His father was James Brawley, younger brother of my great grandfather, Daniel Brawley. James left Newmains in 1888. Hugh was the seventh of eight children. His mother, Sarah McGlynn was born in Pennsylvania.

In 1919, without telling his parents, young Hugh and a friend left Wyoming and headed to Illinois to join the Navy. This article from the local paper tells of how they later passed through their home town. I wonder if he’d been refused permission to go and what his parents reaction might have been.

When his time in the Navy was up he returned to live with his parents in Rock Springs.

Hugh married in 1937.

The photograph of Hugh was kindly sent to me by his daughter in law who told me that Hugh and his family left Wyoming for California looking for new opportunities at the start of the war. Sadly Hugh was killed in 1947. He was working for a logging company and was crushed to death when a chain broke causing logs to fall on top of him.

He is buried at Rock Springs Cemetery, Wyoming

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Patrick Brawley 1884-1956

Patrick Brawley was born in Newmains, Lanarkshire on 22 May 1884.  His parents were James Brawley (Born about 1837)  and Sarah McLaughlan (Born about 1839).  He was the youngest of ten children and was born 27 years after his eldest sibling, John. By the time Patrick was born James and Sarah had lost two children.  Patrick (born 1873) and Matthew (born 1875) both died of scarlet fever in October 1876.  The family were employed in the local iron works and lived in accommodation provided by their employer.  The family home in Brown Street would have offered little in the way of luxury. In 1887 young Patrick saw two of his brothers, Daniel (born 1864), my great grandfather and James (born 1866) leave Scotland for new lives in America.  In 1888 brother Hugh (born 1869) did the same.  This would obviously have had an influence on a little boy seeing his brothers leave him and his world behind. By the 1891 census Patrick was living with his parents, brother Matthew (born 1877) and sister Elizabeth (born 1861) along with Elizabeth’s husband, Charles McCafferty.

Tragedy struck the family in 1892 when brother John died of a fractured skull at his home in Newmains and again in 1895 when Hugh Brawley was killed in a mining accident in Pennsylvania.

In the 1901 census Patrick was still living with his parents and was employed as a steel dresser. James and Sarah had now lost four of their sons and it would be easy to imagine that as the only son still living at home Patrick may have been a bit spoiled. Sister Elizabeth was still at home but not with her husband.  Patrick’s 5 year old niece, Sarah, was also living in the house.

In 1903 19 year old Patrick became a father when neighbour, Mary O’Neill gave birth to their daughter, Mary on 24 December.  The child was registered with the surname Brawley and Patrick signed the register.  She was baptised as Mary O’Neill on 8 February 1904 in St Brigid’s Church in Newmains.  Both parents are listed on the register. Despite acknowledging his daughter it would seem that Patrick had no intention of settling down to a quiet family life.

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From St Brigid’s Parish Baptismal Register

In 1907 he too headed for America arriving in New York on 2 April 1907 on board the SS Columbia.  He headed initially to stay with brother James, who by this time was living in Rock Springs in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. In 1913 Patrick married a widow, Mary Bates whom I believe had the maiden name McCrorie. According to the Rock Springs newspaper at the time they were married in a quiet ceremony. Mary had two children, Mary and Roy and in all future records the two are listed as Patrick’s children. Strange that he should end up with a wife and daughter called Mary after leaving the two Marys behind in Scotland.

Patrick did not remain in Wyoming. On his WW1 Draft Registration he was working as a pressman for DuPont de Nemours in Pomton Lakes, Passaic, New Jersey.

Patrick returned to Scotland at least once. In 1922 he visited along with his wife and the two children. By that time both of his parents had died and I have no way of knowing if he ever spent time with daughter, Mary who was brought up by his brother Matthew and wife, Mary Hagan.  Maybe he wanted to show off to the family left at home as by 1922 he was living in New York and I get the impression that’s what he dreamed of all along. Not for Patrick the backbreaking work in the mines or ironworks.  He had found a job as a barber which suggests he was quite a sociable character.  His home on 6th Avenue, Brooklyn was rented and they didn’t own a radio set! (Great census question I think)

The 1940 census shows that Patrick was unemployed and seeking work but fortunately this didn’t last too long as by 1942 according to his WW2 draft registration he was working in sales for Refined Syrups in Yonkers.  Again sales a sales job indicates he might have been quite outgoing. He’s described as 5’10 1/2 and 168lbs with brown eyes and dark hair.

I lose track of Patrick after that. The next record I found was his death record. He died on 18 September 1956 in Brooklyn, New York.

James Brawley 1866-1955

Of my great, great grandparents, James Brawley and Sarah McLaughlin’s ten children, James lived the longest. What must that be like to see eight siblings go before you? Only one much younger sibling survived him. Tragically, he also outlived his wife and two of his own children. In his 88 years he must have seen so many things and experienced so much.  If only he had written it all down.

James Brawley was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire on 30 September 1866.  His other siblings were born in Lanarkshire so I assume his father had had to move to Ayrshire for a short time for work.  James was James and Sarah’s fourth child.  John was born in 1857, Elizabeth in 1861 and my great grandfather, Daniel in 1864.  At the time of young James’ birth, his father was employed in the ironworks as a furnace filler.  The family later moved to Newmains, Lanarkshire where they settled.

More siblings came along. Hugh was born in 1869, Peter in 1871 and then there were the two wee ones, Patrick and Matthew who were born in 1873 and 1875 respectively but who died within days of each other in 1876.  Another two sons followed with another Matthew in 1877 and Patrick in 1884.

Life would’ve been tough for young James.  There were many mouths to feed and they lived in cramped conditions in housing provided by my great, great grandfather’s employers.  The 1881 census shows a fourteen year old James out of school and employed as a dye worker.

It appears then that James and my great grandfather, Daniel hatched a plan to seek their fortunes in America.  They left from Glasgow some time in 1887 bound for Pennsylvania.  The plan it would seem was to find jobs in the mining industry.  I’m assuming they must have responded to some time of recruitment ad but I havent been able to find any details of that. They were joined in Pennsylvania the following year by younger brother, Hugh.

James married Sarah McGlynn on 24 October 1889 in Kingston, Luzerne, Pennsylvania.  The couple went on to have eight children:

  • James (Born 1890)
  • Sarah (Born 1892)
  • Thomas (Born 1894)
  • John (Born 1898)
  • Mary Colleen (Born 1898)
  • Agnes (Born 1900)
  • Hugh (Born 1903)
  • Elizabeth (Born 1907)

They moved from Pennsylvania to Wyoming where they settled in the town of Rock Springs in Sweetwater County.  The family were living in Rock Springs in 1903 when Hugh was born and James remained there until his death.

Over the years James would have received notifications of the deaths of is family.  Brothers John and Hugh both died in tragic circumstances in 1892 and 1895 respectively.  His father died in 1905.  I know that he did return to Scotland on at least one occasion.  He visited in 1910 and I imagine this would have been the last time he ever saw his mother who died in 1916.

It is hard to imagine how hard it must have been to be so far away from family, especially during time of bereavement.  His parents were illiterate so there would have been no letters from them.  I would hope that they may have enlisted help to communicate with their son but those letters would surely have lacked the personal touch.

In 1930, at the age of 64, James was still working as a coal miner.  Moving to America might have given him greater opportunities but it wouldn’t have been an easy life.

His wife died in 1937.  In 1947 he lost two of his children.  Hugh died in an accident in California.  I know from records that Elizabeth also died that year but I have been unable to find details of her death.  I do know that she was married and her name was Salardino and that she was buried in Colorado.

James died in 1955 at the age of 88 which is pretty good going in my family.  The cause of death is given as pneumonia following a heart attack.  He did have to face tragedy but I would like to think he knew joy in his life.  He had his children and many grand children.  Prior to his death he was living with his daughter, Mary Colleen and her husband.  His obituary on the Find A Grave site suggests he was loved by many.