Dorothy Agnes Mullan (1882-1984), known as “Delia”, left County Tyrone in Ireland aged 16 after her family accepted a marriage proposal from an American businessman Edward Shortt (1878-1959).
Edward’s father had left Omagh in the mid-nineteenth century, most likely escaping the dire economic conditions in the wake of the Irish Famine. His surname appears to have been McGuirk so I’m guessing that the family changed its name to Shortt before arriving in the US – maybe anticipating anti-Irish Catholic feeling there. Something to investigate!
Delia and Edward lived in Connecticut and over time she became to all appearances an American housewife who was never in formal employment.
After turning 100, she was interviewed by the press in Arizona where she lived in a retirement home. Delia said her fondest memories were of Tyrone and her time at school. So even though her Irish identity seemed to have evaporated, it was still there under the surface.
Edward was in touch with his niece Norma who grew up in Tyrone and was my grandmother. She was the daughter of his wife’s sister Catherine Mullan (1868-1933). I found Edward’s name in an old contact book among Norma’s belongings after she died in 1975.
You’ll notice that Catherine Mullan – my great grandmother – lived to about 65. But Delia and another sister reached 100. So maybe emigrating to the US was good for the Irish lifespan.
Catherine married a man called Hugh McEnhill. Norma went on to marry into the McMahon family (Felix McMahon). And that’s why I’m a McMahon but I’m talking in this blog post about Mullans and Shortts.
Edward and Delia Shortt (Mullan) – left and right in the back row.
The American dynasty they helped create. I believe Grace Shortt is the woman sitting in between Edward and Delia while the boy is Edward Braca and the girl is his sister Mary Ann. I met Peter Mayer in 2018, the son from another husband of Grace.