One of the families I know very little about is the McSwegan’s. My Gr Gr Gr Aunt, Catharine Kelly, married Thomas McSwegan sometime in the 1870s. They’re children were Hugh, Nellie, Joseph, Catherine, Alice, Arthur, and Ellen. The family lived in various areas of San Francisco. I know that Catharine lived with several of her children from about 1900 on. She was widowed fairly young, it seems.
Searching through the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper this week, I was able to find four stories which made this family seem like they had more than their share of trouble.
A Chapter of Accidents
Thomas McSwegan, while at work on a scaffold in Flood’s building on Market street yesterday morning, fell a distance of fourteen feet, causing concussion of the spine and a fracture of the thumb. He was taken to the Receiving Hospital and treated by the Police Surgeon.
–San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Jun 1887, page 5
A Child’s Fatal Fall
An eleven-month old child of Thomas McSwegan, living at 551 Bryant street, tell down a stairway on Monday morning and died yesterday from injuries sustained.
–San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Jun 1888, page 8
Jottings About Town
Hugh McSwegan was arrested by Officer W. S. Thompson on Fourth street yesterday afternoon and was charged at southern station with stealing a driving whip.
–The Sunday Chronicle, 28 Oct 1888, Quadruple Sheet, page 14
Thomas McSwegan’s Obituary
McSweegan [sic]–In this city, July 3rd, 1895, Thomas, beloved husband of Kittie McSweegan [sic], and father of Charles, Hugh, Nellie, and Kittie McSweegan [sic], a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, age 54 years.
Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend funeral TO-MORROW (Friday), at 10:30 o’clock A. M., from his late residence, 139 Dore street, thence to St. Joseph’s Church for services. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery.
–San Francisco Call, Thursday, 4 Jul 1895, page 13
Four Suspects Arrested for Shooting of Policeman Cook:Three Hoodlums and a Boy Are Taken Into Custody by the Detectives
(a lengthy article about an incident involving the shooting of a police officer)
The police have succeeded in apprehending four men whom they suspect of complicity in the shooting of Policeman James S. Cook, who lies on a cot at the Central Emergency Hospital hovering between life and death…The others are a trio of tough characters of the conventional hoodlum type. They are Joseph McSwegan, John Dunnigan, and Samuel Dunphy. All four are locked up in the tanks at the Potrero station. They give various accounts of their doings on the night of the crime, and each claims to be able to establish an alibi…
However, the police feel certain that among the four under arrest is the one who shot Patrolman Cook while he was marching to the station the two looters whom he had caught stealing lead pipe from a telephone reel at the corner of Seventh and Townsend streets at 12:40 o’clock on Wednesday morning…
…Joseph McSwegan, age 21, claims to be a teamster, John Dunnigan, age 33, a laborer; and Samuel Dunphy age 21, gives his occupation as apprentice…McSwegan gives his residence as 113 Shotwell avenue…
–San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Aug 1906, page 11
From these few articles I learned:
1. Thomas McSwegan had a terrible accident at work. He was a plasterer. My notes show he was working in 1892, so the fall must not have disabled him completely.
2. The McSwegan’s had a child I had never heard of. All the children I had previously noted made it to adulthood.
3. Hugh McSwegan was arrested when he was 12 years old. A teenage prank? He later went on to fight in the Spanish American War.
4. Joseph McSwegan was arrested for the shooting of a police officer (sound much like modern times?) I haven’t found any follow up articles to learn if he was tried and convicted. In 1910, he worked as a laborer for the glass works, so perhaps he was found innocent.
So, that’s what I’ve got in the McSwegan newspaper file. A handful of notations that add a little bit of depth to my very slim family story. I had heard that San Francisco was a wild, rough city. I didn’t expect to find my relatives contributing to that element. LOL
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com