History of the McCloskey Family


Michael McCloskey was born in Co. Derry, Ireland in the year 1846, the family moved when he was about 3 years old to Cookstown (a market town) in Co. Tyrone also in No. Ireland) like most of his countrymen he was active (because he was a catholic) in the early IRA movement. He was about 18 years and had stored some ammo & guns to be used against the British. Some one informed and fortunately he was able to get out & go to a port where he caught a ship to Boston Mass. He landed Boston about 1866 just after the Civil War. He of course traveled as cheaply as he could in the steerage section of the ship.

In Boston he met his future wife who had recently arrived from the north of Ireland from the very depressed Co. Amah. Her maiden name was Mary McNally and she was 2 years younger having been born in 1848. They married in St. Patrick’s church Valley Falls RI, within the year. They briefly lived in Valley Falls and then moved to Central Falls near the corner of Central St. & what is now Roosevelt Ave.¬

Seven children were born in this order: Charles died at birth, Joseph, James, peter, Annie, John, Andrew although born Andrew Francis was always known as Frank) the family moved from central St. To Front St in Pawtucket on the banks of the Blackstone River. My grandfather found work at the RI Curled Hair Works in CENTRAL Falls RI. His death in 1903 was the result of anthrax contracted from the hair that

he was processing he was 57 years old. His wife Mary died of pneumonia three years later in 1907 although they had arrived in this country very poor, Michael & Mary managed to purchase several houses. There were four houses on the corner of Headly Ave. & Perry St., which they rented, and also

the house on Perry St., which my grandfather had built for his family to live in.

Joseph had one child (young Joe) by Mary Ryan his first wife. He was later to marry three other wives. All of whom he out lived. Joseph Jr. had no children. He married late in life to an Irish girl named Betsy Flanagan, As I said they had no children. Peter married a part Indian non-Catholic girl, named Mary Mills. Mary was a very kind and loving lady they had three children, Peter, Charles, and Fred. Peter married a Tessa Brinkle and had four children and died about 1938 of brain cancer. He was a print Designer for cloth, linoleum. Charles married but had no children. Fred never married. Both he & Charles are dead. Peter & Mary owned there own home, a three decker at 714 central Ave. Pawtucket RI (my family and I lived there for about four years1923 1928

James married Charlotte, Pailthorpe an English/Irish Catholic girl From Providence. He opened a business on academy Ave. in Providence, Mount Pleasant section under the name J.P. McCloskey market. It was a typical General store. He was the father of four children, Mary, Gert, Dorothy & James. Charlotte died in childbirth with James. My Uncle Jim never remarried, and, was helped in the bringing up of the children by his wife’s sister, Annie Palithorpe. “Mary married and had one child, a girl. Gert married and had two boys. Dot never married. Jim married and had two children. All except the children are now dead. Annie married Bill Carr and purchased a home at #8 Harvey St. in Pawtucket RI. She had three children, Robert, Anna, Bill. I have lost track of them since my father’s death. John married a Jenny they had two children, Jack & Charles. I have no knowledge of Charles. Jack had at least three children. One of whom is a rather successful attorney in Wakefield, RI

Frank, who was my dad, married Martha Brennen from Providence RI. She was about 35 when she married and lost the first two children at birth. The first was still born and the second who was christened Francis Joseph. He died in about a week (probably a hydrocephalic child). I was born in 1918 Oct 24, just before the end of World War I, my mother was 38 years old. An interesting story my dad used to tell was that before my bro¬ther Francis Joseph, they were living on the lower end of Illinois Street in, what he called the red house. The house was owned by a Mrs. Ashbe. He claims that he and his best man while sitting in the living room one night saw a white coffin in one corner of the living room. When my brother died he was waked at the house and the undertaker a James Flynn put the coffin in that very place. It was one of his many ghost stories¬.

My mother’s maiden name was Martha Brennan. I was delivered by Dr. Remmington in Central falls, RI. . The Dr. was assisted by a Mrs. Slocum a midwife my parents were living with at 76 Sumner Ave. in Central Falls, RI, I was apparently a healthy child . The property was owned by an elderly lady named Sullivan, she was not to happy about a new baby in the house. I remember how she used to drop her false teeth whenever I met her in the hallway. I was christened in Holy Trinity Church by Fr. Bartley. My mother had wanted to name me Gerald after a saint to whom she had prayed. My dad suggested Leo because he felt that the name would be easier for me to spell when I went to school. In 1924 we moved to 714 Central Ave., Pawtucket at age 6 I entered kindergarten at the Central Ave School. My first teacher was a Miss Espenet (a young attractive lady. The principle of the school was Mrs. Findlay. I was promoted to the first grade that was taught by Miss Carroll (who was the sister of the mayor of Providence). I made my first communion at St. Leo’s church, which was across the street from our house. The pastor was Fr. Oroque a brother of Dr. Oroque of Providence. He was the family physician for the Winn family. Fr. O’Roach blamed me for making marks on the pew. My dad got mad and went to the priest and defended me, they had words and my dad decided to move back to Central Falls. We moved to 76 Washington St. Upstairs over Mae Brammall my mother’s niece. My father & mother had met at Mae’ s mother’s house. Mae’ s mother was my mother’s sister Nellie. The house at Washington St. was a new triple-decker and was owned by a man named Oscar Gagnon. My mother died very suddenly on Oct 30, 1930 one day after her birthday. Death was due to mesenteric thrombosis she was 50 years old. My father later married a Canadian lady named Eva Desmaris in 1935 the marriage lasted about a year because she was unfaithful. It was a terrible blow to my dad. We lived briefly in Pawtucket on Montgomery St. and on Clay St. After they broke up, we moved to 138 Garfield St., Central falls. I was supposed to leave to study for the priest hood. Sr. Mary Calcancious had recommended me for Notre Dame University. With the breakup I decided to stay home. I went to Central Falls High School, after graduating from Holy Trinity School. I had just about given up all hope of ever going to College, especially medical school. I changed my course to a commercial course so as to be able to be equipped to do something outside of working in a mill. In 1936 a fellow named Harold Bradbury purchased the drug store at the end of Garfield St. & Dexter St. It had been McGonigals Drug Store. Harold Bradbury asked me if I would be interested in working for him after school. He told me that if I liked pharmacy, he would put up the tuition (125.00 a year) and I could go to the RI College of Pharmacy. After Pharmacy School the plan was that I could go down to Washington, DC and go to Georgetown Medical School, paying my tuition for working as a pharmacist. I jumped at the chance. The doors were open for me. I had almost quit shortly before he made the offer. My good friend Joe Conlon wanted me to enlist in the army with him. I thought it over and decided to stay in school. I was appointed milk inspector for the city and did clear up an epidemic of undulant fever. I was in my third year in college when the War started. I will never forget that December 7, 1941. Agnes & I were out for a ride and did not hear of it until we returned to her house. On Monday a group of four of my classmates went to the Pier Restaurant on Orange St. in Providence for dinner. While we were there the radio came on and they played the Stars Spangled Banner. A hush came over the room and everyone stood up at attention President Roosevelt came on the radio and gave the famous hand that held the dagger speech nothing was ever again the same. The pressure to enter the army was too great to resist. Every night Gabriel Heater, the news commentator would come on and give us all the bad news of which there was a great deal. Ed Murrow would come on from London and tell of the bombings in Europe. I got news that my friend Joe Conlon was taken prisoner by the Japs at Clark Field in the Philippines. All we were hearing was defeats. There was one bright story about LT. Colin Kelley who gave his life in an attempt to sink a Jap ship. I had been exempted because of the milk inspector’s job. I went to the Draft Board and asked to be called. I entered the army as a Pvt. in June 1942. I went to FT. Devens, Mass. I was soon sent to Camp Picket VA. I was there only a very short time when I was sent to FT. Ben Harrison, IN. To go to the Lab. Tech School & promoted to Cpl. I taught there briefly and was transferred to the new and as yet unopened Kennedy General Hospital, in Memphis Tenn. In Jan I received notice of the death of my Uncle Joe and got a furlough home. Fr. James Gilmartin had come in the evening before from Puerto Rico where he was the Provincial Director for the Redemption’s Order. Agnes’s Mother greeted me with open arms

and tears in her eyes and said that Jim could get permission to marry us. Agnes was not too happy because she was going out with a young soldier who was stationed on Cape Cod. His name was Ralph. Well I buried my uncle and Agnes & I were married. She returned with me to Memphis Tenn. I obtained a room with a Mrs. Floyd in the Ellis Simm section of Memphis. I had initially been assigned to the N.P. Ward as ward master but this only lasted until the operative pharmacy opened. Then I was promoted to Sgt. and put in charge. I was pulled out of Kennedy and sent to camp Croft S.C. a replacement depot for reassignment. I joined a Co the 616th clearance Company on maneuvers in LA. We were there only a Short time and were sent to the port of debarkation in VA, Camp Patrick Henry. We joined a convoy and headed to North Africa. From North Africa we went to Sicily from there to Salerno Italy then to Anzio from and after our troops entered Rome we fell back to Santa Maria and staged for the invasion of southern France. We had been assigned to the Third Infantry Division, which was under the 7th Army under General George Patch. In Italy we had for a brief period been Under the 5th Army. I returned home Dec 7 1945. I had collected Five Bronze Stars for D- day landing and a Bronze Arrowhead. I returned home and went back to college and received my degree. I was also commissioned a Captain in the Army Medical Corp as a pharmacy graduate. I was promoted to major in 1953 and to the rank

of LTC while in the Command & General Staff College. 1959. Agnes and I divorced in 1959. 1 married Joan Ernst in June 5, 1965. Her father Ted Ernst came to live with us till his death in 1975. He was buried with his wife in Penn cemetery in Philadelphia. We had no children. Joan died in 1978. I married Peggy in Sept of 1982. We were divorced in March 31, 1987. I changed my residence back to RI & purchased the house at Tuckertown Village.

Family History of Agnes Gauthier

Agnes Gauthier was the result of the union of William Henry Gauthier and Agnes Gilmartin.


William Gauthier was the child of John Gauthier half Candian French Indian and a lady named

Heatherman of Irish birth, not much is known other than the family came from the Lake Webster

area near Worcester, MA. Bill Gauthier was an engraver and custom jewelry designer. He died in

1966 of emphysema. He & his wife are buried in St. Ann’s Cemetery Cranston RI.

Agnes Gilmartin Gauthier

Agnes was born the fifth of nine children of Patrick Gilmartin & his wife (??????) Gilmartin.

The children were: Tom, John, Joseph, Mark, twins Patrick & Michael (Michael died at birth as

well as two daughters). Joseph was postmaster of the city of Providence. Patrick was a Division

chief for the IRS in Providence. Mark was a railway Postal clerk. Tom was a plasterer. James

was a priest with the Redemptories order. He became the Fr. Provincial for the order in Puerto Rico.

The Irish part of the family came from co Rosscommon, Sligo and Clair Ireland. Agnes Gauthier

died of a heart attack in 1943.

Agnes (Gauthier) McCloskey

Agnes was the only child of William Henry Gauthier and Agnes Gilmatin Gauthier she married

Leo McCloskey and had three children by him. After her divorce from him she married a

Mr. Dimmock twice after divorce & remarriage. She had one other child Jeanne Hall by Alvin Hall.

Agnes died in 1987

Addendum to Family History

Burial sites:

The McCloskey family:

Mt. St. Mary’s Cemetery, Pawtucket RI. …Michael, Mary, Martha, Frank, Francis Joseph. In a

separate graves are Joseph and three of his wives, Annie Carr & her husband, Peter McCloskey, his wife Tessie, Frederick & Charles McCloskey and Ann Macalinden.

St. Francis Cemetery Providence, RI. James McCloskey, & family

St. Ann’s Cemetery John McCloskey and family family.

Burial sites Brennen:

Patrick Brennen, his wife Ellen her sister Kate McCarthy all are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery

Valley Falls RI

Nellie Brennen Cleary and her family are in Mt. Calvery Cemetery in Cumberland, RI


William Henry & Agnes and Gilmartin family St. Ann’s Cemetery, Cranston RI

Mark and Martha Gilmartin and their wives St. Francis Cemetery, Providence, RI

Leo McCloskey Sr. & Joan Ernst, Veteran Cemetery Exeter, RI

My mother’s family The Brennen’s

Family name Brennen

Mother’s maiden name was Martha Brennen. She was one of three surviving daughters of Patrick

Brennen & his wife Ellen McCarthy Brennen. There had been seven children born of the union as far

as I know all were girls. Four of the children died as infants of “cholera morbis” what we would now

call infant diarrhea. The girls were … Mary (who married James Winn) Ellen or Nellie as she was

known married Jack Cleary) and Martha (married Frank McCloskey, my father). Patrick Brennen came

from Wicklow, county Wexford Ireland, he is described as being a tall man about 6ft 6 in. tall. I know little or nothing about his background in Ireland. He came to this country about 1867 landing in NY. He got a

job on the railroad and suffered an injury and was given a job as gate tender in the Central Falls area.

He died of pneumonia about 1910. He was about 67 years old. His wife Ellen had died following the

birth of my mother. My mother and her two sisters were raised by her maiden aunt (her mother’s

sister Kate McCarthy. Following my grandmother’s death my grandfather married a Second wife

whose name I do not know. He survived her and went to live with his daughter Nellie & his sister in law Kate.

All of my mother’s family is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Valley Falls, RI. Church records are

available there.

Ellen McCarthy.

Born about 1844 in Co Sligo Ireland, her sister Kate migrated to America about 1865 she worked in the

mills and got enough money to send for my grandmother. Ellen married Patrick Brennen. Kate never

married. Ellen & Kate were the children of Justin McCarthy and Mary ‘. Es

O’Reily both of Co Sligo.. the name of the town I do not know. Justin was a moderately well off

barrister (lawyer in Ireland). My guess is that Justin died and the potato famine came and the family

were in desperate straits as were so many of that period

Mothers family

Page 2

The children of Pat Brennen & Ellen McCarthy

Mary, the oldest living survivor of the seven children born of this union, Ellen (Nellie) and Martha

(my mother) the others all of whom I believe were daughters died of infantile diarehea

Mary married James Winn of Providence, RI. They had five children: Helen, Frank, James,

Hortense (Marie) & Joseph. At this time of this writing only Helen & Joseph survive ( they have

since both died) . Helen was my godmother. Mary died in 1956 of cancer.

Helen married Leo Sullivan they had one child. Leo J. Sullivan, now an attorney in North

Kingstown, RI. He married Barbara Smith and had three children, Leo, Joanne, & James.

Frank died at age 25. James married Heneritta Garbecki and had two children. Tom & Arlene.

Hortense married James Condon and had three children, James, Frank, & buddy.

Joseph married Margaret and had three children, Frank, Marylyn, And Joseph Jr.

Ellen ( Nellie) married John Cleary who was a drill master in one of the local quasi military

organizations. He died of pneumonia they had 6 children John, Mary (May) Frank, William, Martha,

and Raymond. There was another child who died in infancy. Ellen died in 1919 of uterine cancer.

Martha (Margaret). Married Frank McCloskey (my parents) they had three children, 1. A preemie

died at birth, Francis Joseph, died about a week following birth (probably a hydrocephalic child)

Leo Anthony (I later changed the second name to Francis) born Oct 24, 1918. Martha died on Oct 30,

1930 cause of death Mesenteric thrombosis