Today’s featured women from my family tree is my great-grandmother, Catherine “Kate” E Costello. She died long before my father was even born, so I obviously never even met her. However, her story makes me believe that she was someone who I would have enjoyed knowing.
Kate was born in Barnagurry Parish, in South Mayo, Ireland on September 19, 1877. She was the daughter of Simon and Margaret (Timon) Costello. In 1904, she married John Connell at R.C. Chapel at Knock in South Mayo County, Ireland. On October 19, 1905, John and Kate made the great journey to the United States aboard the Teutonic through Ellis Island. They had their first child, John, in 1906 and Margaret in 1908. Both of them later go by the last name O’Connell.
John died in the Chicago Crib Fire of 1909. More information on the fire can be found below in the Chicago Examiner article from January 21, 1909. John is listed as one of the 67 men who died on that fateful day.
After John’s death, Kate utilized the death benefits she received and returned to Ireland to visit her mother where she stayed, with her two children, for approximately six months. In 1913, they returned to the United States and Catherine bought a boarding house in Chicago. Family lore has it that this is how she met her next husband (my great-grandfather) Michael Joseph Walsh and that he was one of her boarders. They married December 9, 1914.
Kate brought Michael’s son into the family as he had been living with his aunt and uncle since his mother died and shortly after, Michael and Kate had three children together. Sadly, one died in infancy. Kate died on February 7, 1927 from bladder cancer. She was buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Chicago and shares a headstone with the infant son who died in 1916. She is surrounded there by family, a sister and other extended family and loved ones. After Kate’s death, the children were all split up and moved either out on their own or with Catherine’s sisters, showing how Kate had truly been the glue holding that family together.