In a previous blogpost I wrote about my great grandfather Peter McMahon (1867-1935) sailing from Ireland to Pennsylvania to train to be a miner. What further research has revealed is that there were a whole load of McMahon family members working as miners in that state at the time. There were also at least two female members of the family who became nuns over there.
Miners and nuns – that’s the Pennsylvania McMahon story at the turn of the 20th century!
So what have I discovered? Well, mining just seems to be in the McMahon DNA. My great grandfather spent an unknown amount of time in the American mining industry before returning home to Ireland. His brother George (1870-1942) went over to county Durham in England to become a miner and Peter joined him – to continue toiling underground.
But let’s go back a generation. Peter and George’s father – Eugene Owen McMahon (1830-1902) – also worked as a miner. He stayed in Ireland apart from a stint in Durham with his sons. I already knew that he had a sister, Anne (1813-1878 approx), who married a certain Charles Bradley. They didn’t go to the United States but their children did. And their son, Eugene Owen Bradley (1850-1914) became a miner in Pennsylvania, living in Philadelphia.
Back to Eugene Owen McMahon again and he and Anne have a brother I’ve now firmly identified called Arthur – or “Art” (1828-1881 approx). He emigrated to West Virginia and was a miner according to the censuses. Art had three sons who also went into the same profession. Francis (Frank) and William are shown boarding with their first cousin, Eugene Owen Bradley. I’m guessing it was more convenient for getting to the mine and a nice earner for Mr. Bradley. The third son of Art who became a miner is Barnett or “Barney”.
I’d be intrigued to know how long the mining continued in the family but I have found one DNA-linked fourth cousin – a descendant of Art, Anne and Eugene Owen’s other brother James – who is the CEO of a drilling company in the United States. So, drilling for riches still seems to be a thing in the McMahon clan!