Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to...

Posted by Craig on 1/30/2009
My great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Wallace Kanalley. She was born on this day, Jan. 30, some 131 years ago (1878) in the small lakefront town of Cobourg, Ontario, just across Lake Ontario from Rochester, N.Y.

Mary and her five children while her husband James was serving in World War I overseas.

She was the first-born child of Andrew Wallace, a painter of Scotch-Irish descent, and Catherine Bulger, whose parents came to Canada from Ireland as young adults. Andrew and Kate would go on to have eight more children, four in Canada and four in Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, where they died.

Mary married James Kanalley, a poor man 10 years her elder born to Irish immigrants. James' parents Thomas and Rose came to Canada due to the Potato Famine - something none of Mary's ancestors could claim. Her folks were already well established in Canada, coming as early as the 1830's.

Mary's parents disapproved of the engagement, and the couple fled to Cleveland, Ohio, to have the wedding. Neither of her parents attended. They later moved back to Cobourg, but the story goes that James never got along with his father-in-law Andrew. In a bit of irony, James was also a painter, so it is likely Mary met him through her father's business (and her grandfather Daniel Wallace was a painter, too).

Mary and James Kanalley had five children in the early 1900's - Wallace, Catherine, Mary, Marlene, and Ann. Wallace, the eldest, was born Jan. 5, 1902 in Cleveland, and he is my great-grandfather.

James served overseas in France and England during World War I for the Canadian Army. He was wounded and discharged early. Alcoholism and affects from mustard gas meant he was never the same once he returned, and he suffered an early death due to heart disease at age 55 in 1923.

Mary was very independent and a strong woman, and she refused assistance to care for her children from the Canadian government. She worked as a nurse's aid to raise her young family - her youngest was 12 years old at the time of James' passing - and took the family to the Buffalo, N.Y. area in Nov. 1924 in hopes of a better way of life.

She remarried to Nicholas Jacoby in 1929 in North Java, Wyoming County, New York. Mary died in 1940 in Buffalo.

Mary's last surviving child, Marlene, died Dec. 19, 2006 in Fort Erie. However, in 2009, Mary is survived by 11 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, and many more descendants.

On this day, her birthday, she's remembered!

2 comments on "Happy Birthday to..."

Unknown on May 20, 2010 at 12:38 AM said...

Hi Craig,
I wanted to write to thank you for compiling and working so hard on our family! I understand the photo you recently posted of the Mary Kaneally and her five children seats my great grandmother (Nana) Mary Margaret Kaneally. Mother of Charles, Robert and Richard, Sister of Marlene Francis, Catherine, Anne, and Wallace? So excited to read on. Do you delineate blogs between your Mother's and Father's lines? I am not sure which I am connected to?

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