Saturday, April 8, 2017

Mary Elizabeth "Minnie" Cooper Edmonds (1853-188?) Part 2


Mary Elizabeth COOPER Edmonds has disappeared! I last find her giving birth to her first child, a daughter, on 14 Sept 1882. Frances McConnell EDMONDS is the 4th child for John Edgar EDMONDS

John Edgar Edmonds
I received a transcribed copy of a diary, from a distant cousin, handwritten by John Edgar Edmonds telling his story transcribed by daughter, Frances, herself, typed out making it easier to read. 

“This record was written by John Edgar Edmonds (my father) and is a record of his travels from Ireland to New York, in the form of a diary. (Here is the story of a man, gently bred, well educated - the son of a minister going through an amazing experience. “His strength was as the strength of ten because his heart was pure”.)
                             (signed) Frances Eames (Edmonds)

Note by John E.  Edmonds (Copy of Memorandums that were  torn and or better keeping were copied exactly in this book) (The original is in possession of Henry N. Edmonds, son of John E. and my brother)


Entered the service of the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland in Dec. 1865 as clerk and filled all sorts of Railway work till I resigned as Supt. of Cavan Station in Nov. 1883.

Left Cavan, Ireland on 21st November, 1883 by 1/20 train with my family and remained in Dublin until 29 of November when we left for Liverpool by 9/30 A.M. boat. We had to remain in Liverpool until 1st of December in consequence of non-sailing of steamer. We left Liverpool on 1st of December 1883 by S.S. Cephalonia and reached New York at 7 A.M. on 12 December, 1883. We remained in New York until 8 P.M. on 13th December reaching San Antonia, Texas on 17th of same month.  We left San Antonia for Seguin, Texas on 18th of December and along with John Brady and Patrick Finnagan bought Mill Creek Farm on 19th of December. This purchase was a failure for having buried my wife and lost my means, I left Texas on 8th of December 1886, taking my sons Edgar and Henry by wagon to Houston, Texas and sending Landon, Frances and Austin with Brady by rail to meet us there.



Left Mill Creek, Guadaloupe County at 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 8th ,1886 a very wet morning - had two teams and wagon. Reached Luling in Caldwell County at 8:30 a.m. same day. Shipped the boxes marked for Galveston - cost 4/60, had breakfast in wagon yard. Let Luling at 10 A.M. Reached Garwood at 2 p.m. in Gonzales County. Camped one mile beyond for dinner. Resumed our journey but camped for the night in a Methodist Church which we found open. Made fire in church stove and slept in the pews very comfortably. 


DECEMBER 9, 1986

Pulled out of camp at daylight on 9th of December and reached Welder in Gonzales County at about 9 a.m. Left again at 10:30 a.m. and got into Flatonia in Fayette Co. about 3 p.m. where we camped on Market Square for dinner. Resumed our journey at 4:30 p.m. and passed through Praha in same county, but went unto camp in a wood six miles further on.

DECEMBER 10, 1886

Awful bad roads now met after leaving camp before day.  We got into Schulenburg in Lavacca County about 9 a.m. where we camped for breakfast on public square. Left Schulenburg on said December 10th 1886 at 10:30 a.m. and reached Weimar in Colorado County at 12 noon. Again underway at 2 p.m. Reached Borden in same county at 4:30 p.m. and Columbus at 7:30 p.m. 

Camped alongside Court House in Columbus where we lighted a good fire and slept on ground.

DECEMBER 11, 1886

Pulled out from Columbus at 8:30 a.m. for Richmond, passed Allington in same county at about 10 a.m. and reached Eagle Lake in Wharton County, where we dined. Left again at 4 p.m., passed New Philadelphia about 5:40 and camped about 8 p.m. alongside a running creek where we had supper. Built a great fire and slept toes in.


Pulled out again this lovely Sabbath morning at daylight and passed East Bernard about 9 a.m. and Randon about noon where we camped for dinner. Horses all very tired. Still changing the 4 horses turn about. Keep them up to  a good gait. Passed Rossenburgh Junction about 2 p.m. and then Richmond in Fort Bend County about 5 p.m. We here crossed Brazos River and camped in the River Bottoms, four miles farther on in company with a peddler and dark.

DECEMBER 13, 1886

Left our peddler friend at daybreak and passed Walker in Harris County about 8 a.m. We here got into Ellis and Cunningham’s Sugar Plantation and travelled over 10 miles through it - it is all worked by convicts - we saw about 500 of them in their striped suits. This plantation is on Brazos River Bottoms and is splendid land for corn, sugar and cotton, and very unhealthy for any but niggers. We camped at noon beside Railroad as we enter the Prairie. We crossed the Prairie about 50 miles, saw no houses, and except one man, met no people. We got into the city of Houston at 7 p.m. on December 13th making the journey of 300 miles in six days. Put up horses at Wall and Nolans in Houston but did not see Brady or the children.

DECEMBER 14, 1886

Up at daylight, washed and cleaned horses, then went in search of Brady. Found him and he children at 10 a.m. Brady arranged for sale of horses and got $75.00 on account of sale, and on same day paid $95.50 for our fares to New York by Mallory Line and left for Galveston at 5:40 p.m.

DECEMBER 15, 1886

Up again at daylight in Galveston. Got on a cotton lighter which put us aboard Lampasas at 9 a.m. for New York. We were all sick coming through the Gulf of Mexico.

DECEMBER 16, 1886

Lay all day in bed, all more or less sick.

DECEMBER 17, 1886

All up, a little better, but a seedy lot. Wing blows straight ahead. Asked Captain for something for children other than steerage fare. He promised to see it it at noon but it was 5 p.m. when it turned up. Again at 8 p.m. he sent them a splendid pudding.

Got into Key West in Florida at midnight 18th December 1886. All up at 4 a.m. and all better. Saw Key West, it’s a small place and mostly inhabited by Cubans and Mexicans as well as Niggers.

Left Key West at 7 a.m. same day and had rather a good day and all on their “sea legs”. Wind still fair ahead. The children got pies from the cook, which they relished. The steerage fare was first class, much better than on our trip from Liverpool to New York, Girlie [Frances] is the only one delicate, like her poor Mother, who I so much miss. She is a bad sailor. 

DECEMBER 19, 1886

Sabbath - but how unlike one. I long for a home Sunday again, but the Light is quenched out of our once happy home by Mother’s death. May we all meet her in Heaven, where She is. Oh my darling Minnie, how I miss you.

DECEMBER 20, 1886

All up late, a very rough sea on - the ship rolling and pitching. All had breakfast except Girlie [Frances] - she is still sickly. Passengers very kind to children as Ship’s Officers. Austin sits down with a Ship’s Fireman (and though dirty he has his heart in the right place for children) and shares his breakfast - helping himself out of the man’s plate with his fingers and this the fireman does not mind but laughs and says “All right, Mate,”. We hope to see Cape Hatteras this evening.

DECEMBER 21, 1886

All up for breakfast - Girlie [Frances] a great deal better. Last night was awful rough. No such thing as going on deck, as the decks were constantly under water. We hope to reach New York at 10 p.m. All sick but Edgar last night.

It is now 2:30 and all are on deck - had dinner - a beautiful day - calm as a lake - plenty of sailing vessels and steamers in sight. Girlie [Francis] racing on deck, her first day out since we left Key West. Passed Barna Chat Light at 6 p.m. and are now 40 miles from Sandy Hook. Sighted light-house called the Highlands at 8:15 p.m. and anchored at 10 p.m.

DECEMBER 22, 1886

Got off deck at 7 a.m. and got lodgings at 59 West St. Kept here waiting for baggage.

DECEMBER 23, 1886

A lonely day, nothing to do, and our hotel is a fearful place, with sea-faring men whose every word is a curse. Hunted up rooms, but can do nothing till I get my baggage which was left behind in Galveston, and said baggage contains my clothes.

DECEMBER 24, 1886

Called at Metalic Burial Case Company at 330 Pearl Street and got a letter from Manager there to Secretary of Y.M.C.A. 23rd Street on corner of 4th Ave. Saw him, who was kind.

DECEMBER 25, 1886

A dreary day with us. My darling Minnie much missed. Must keep up heart for the sake of the children she so much loved. May God direct us is my fervent prayer.

DECEMBER 26, 1886

Sunday - No church and no clothes good enough to go in.

DECEMBER 27, 1886

Nothing to do but look for the baggage boat - not yet in.

DECEMBER 28, 1886

Got baggage and my clothes at last.

DECEMBER 29, 1886

Went to see Reverend Dr. Hall and got a letter from him to Mr. Depew. Was sent from Mr. Depew’s office to see Mr. Haskell, the freight agent at 33 Street and 11th Ave. Mr. Haskell gave a situation and told me to go to work next day. 

DECEMBER 30, 1886

Started to work as Assistant Checker on N.Y.C. and H.R. Railroad at $49.60 per month and continued in that company’s services until June 1889. Was promoted twice and liked the work only for the working on Sunday, which I was never used to.  

Employed in the services of the United States Savings Bank, 214 East 59th St. as clerk on 24th of June 1889 at $50.00 per month, much less than I had on the railroad, but I have Sunday to myself. Left the services of the United States Savings Bank on 30th November 1894, having resigned in consequence of the Bank insisting upon my sleeping on the premises.

I spent a most unprofitable time.”

This is the end of the diary. What a story! It answered many questions, but gave me more.

Mary E. COOPER  Edmonds was on the ship, Cephalonia, with her husband, 3 step-sons and daughter, when they left Ireland the end of 1883.  Her nick-name was “Minnie” to family. She is listed as “Annie” with her daughter, Francis, who is also erroneously listed as “Son”. John stated that Minnie was “delicate.”  She was pregnant, and the following 18 April 1884, Mary gave birth to a son, Austin Cooper Edmonds, named after his great-grandfather.  I find Austin C. Edmonds with his family in the US. 1900 Census in Brooklyn, New York. He is 16 years old with birth date as April 1884, born in Texas. He is the youngest living with  his father [Widower], John E. Edmonds; half-brother, Henry N. Edmonds; sister, Frances Edmonds. The exact date of birth is given in Austin’s WWI Draft Registration Card.

There is a three year period, John does not give detail about; but mentions it briefly. 

“We left San Antonia for Seguin, Texas on 18th of December [1883] and along with John Brady and Patrick Finnagan bought Mill Creek Farm on 19th of December. This purchase was a failure for having buried my wife and lost my means, I left Texas on 8th of December 1886, taking my sons Edgar and Henry by wagon to Houston, Texas and sending Landon, Frances and Austin with Brady by rail to meet us there.”

This caught my attention with the mentioning the names of John Brady and Patrick Finnigan. Looking back at the Passenger List from my last post. I see  Brady, a Porter, and Finnigan, a farmer, listed below John E. Edmonds. Did they know each other in Ireland? Or did they meet in Liverpool as they boarded the SS Cephalonia? 

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital image, ( : accessed 5 Mar 2017), Image 712 of 1021, Line 2, John Brady & Line 3, Patrick Finnigan entries; citing List Number 1568 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Roll 472; Ship Cephalonia out of Liverpool, Henry Walker master, arrived New York on 12 December 1883.
(Notice that John’s three sons are listed further down & not with their father.) Did Brady and Finnigan discuss the idea of consorting together to buy some land with Edmonds when they arrived in Texas? Notice the day after they arrived in Seguin, Texas, they bought Mill Creek Farm. 

“This purchase was a failure for having buried my wife and lost my means, I left Texas on 8th of December 1886”

What happened in this 3 year period? When did Mary “Minnie” die? A miscarriage? Where is she buried?

“I left Texas on 8th of December 1886, taking my sons Edgar and Henry by wagon to Houston, Texas and sending Landon, Frances and Austin with Brady by rail to meet us there.”

Brady is mentioned again. He trusts Brady to give him 3 of his children to take a train to Houston! Brady meets Edmonds in Houston to sell his horses to buy his tickets to sail back up to New York. Why didn’t he just get off and stay in New York three years earlier?

John’s baggage was left behind in Texas? Did he wear the same clothing for a week, not realizing that his baggage was left behind? Or did they have to wait until they arrived in New York to contact the Galveston port?

Now I need to find documentation accquiring Minnie’s death and burial.  I also need to find Austin Cooper Edmonds birth record from Texas. More research to follow.

I also found a mystery of Francis, the son. He is mentioned only in the ship list and in the 1910 Census. Who is he and how is he related to this family? More to follow as I get answers.

The Edmonds family with their Cooper cousins taken around 1907 in New York City. Photo in my possession.
The above photo is my first connection with the Edmonds family.
My grandfather, John Carrick Cooper, age 19 (first man standing on the left), is posing with family members. This is the youngest photo I have of my grandfather.  I knew of his siblings seen here: Edwin Irwin Cooper, standing to the right, of the man in the center and young, Alex S. Cooper, Jr. sitting to the right in the front. Who are these other family members? My grandmother wrote on the back of the photo. The man sitting in the center chair is John Edgar Edmonds, the Coopers brothers' uncle. He married their aunt Mary Elizabeth Cooper, their father's elder sister. John Edgar and Mary's only daughter, Frances or Girlie, is sitting in front of her father. Two of her half-brothers are in the photo. Henry Edmonds, standing between cousins John and Edwin. Henry's wife, Lydia, has her hand on young Alex. The man sitting in the lower left corner, Landon Edmonds, is the other half brother of Girlie. Landon's wife, Sadie, is sitting behind Landon. 

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