On June 29, 1860, Thomas Welsh and his tiny family were enumerated for the federal 1860 census. Living among the young couple was their one-year-old son, John Martin Welsh, Thomas' nephew, 15-year-old Michael Welsh, and a boarder, 40-year-old William Jackson. Michael was working as a boatman while Thomas and William worked as laborers, likely for the Flanagan stone quarry, the ore bank, or one of the numerous other quarries in the Harpers Ferry area.
William Jackson was born across the river in Maryland, but he had resided with the Welsh family for over 10 years. Very little has been uncovered about William, but it is known that he was a co-worker and a close friend of the Walsh family. But now there was a new resident in the household -- this time in the form of an eight-year-old little girl. Her name was Elizabeth Slavin.
Elizabeth Slavin was the daughter of Christoper Slavin and Mary Grey. In 1850, the couple was living in the 28th district of Jefferson County, [West] Virginia. By looking at neighboring households, the couple appears to have resided on the outskirts between Harpers Ferry and present-day Bakerton. This location would have been near Lower Bolivar Heights, where Bakerton Rd. meets Route 340 today.
Both Christoper and Mary are listed as being 30-year-old illiterate Irish transplants. No profession is listed for Christoper.
By 1850, Christoper and Mary had three daughters and two sons. All of their children are listed as being born in [West] Virginia. As their oldest listed daughter, Mary, is nine years old at the time of the enumeration, we surmise that the couple likely immigrated in 1841 or earlier.
The children enumerated in Christopher and Mary's household during the 1850 census are as follows: Mary Ann, 9; Thomas, 7; Sarah Jane, 5; John, 3; Catherine, 1.
Elizabeth was not born until June 15, 1852 or 1853, so she is not listed on the 1850 census. The youngest child of Mary and Christopher, James William, was born about 1855.
In the small, three-year window of time between 1855 and 1858, Christopher either died or abandoned his family. No death, military, census, or other records to date have been found.
Elizabeth's mother, Mary, remarried Lawrence Troy on March 15, 1858, in Jefferson County, [West] Virginia. She lists herself as a widow. Lawrence was also an immigrant from Ireland, and before his marriage to Mary Slavin does not appear in Jefferson County records. At this time, Lawrence's life before his marriage to Mary is unclear.
Shortly after her mother's remarriage, Elizabeth's oldest sister, Mary Ann Slaven, married Patrick Higgins on April 13, 1858, in Jefferson County, [West] Virginia. Patrick was born in County Louth, Ireland in October of 1832.
In 1860, Lawrence and Mary were living in the Harpers Ferry District of Jefferson County, [West Virginia]. Mary appears to be living near or in the same home as she shared with Christopher. Living in her household are her children: Thomas Slavin, 16; Sarah J. Slavin, 14; John Slavin, 13; Catherine Slavin, 11; Ellen Slavin, 7; James William Slavin, 5.
Only two of her children were missing from her household: Mary Ann and Elizabeth. While Mary Ann was married and had her own household to run, little Elizabeth resided with the Walsh family in Oak Grove [Bakerton].
Elizabeth's sister, Sarah Jane Slavin married Andrew Higgins, born of Ireland, on January 22, 1866 at St. Peters Catholic Church in Harpers Ferry. Rev. Michael Costello officiated the marriage. Both parties are listed as single. Andrew lists his residence as Jefferson County, West Virginia and his parents as Patrick and Mary Higgins. He was 25 years old and a laborer at the time of their marriage. 21-year-old Sarah lists her parents as Lawrence and Mary Troy.
Only three short years earlier, Andrew was enumerated in the 1860 census in the household of James and Elizabeth Halpin. The Halpin family lived only one door over from the Troy/Slavin family. One door further was the household of 55-year-old Irish immigrant Catherine Higgins.It is unknown if Catherine was of any relation to Andrew or Patrick, but it is probable. Among various children, Peter Mackin is listed as a resident of Catherine's household. Peter later resides with Andrew and Sarah in Ohio.
By 1870, Sarah Jane and her new husband Andrew Higgins removed to Zaleski, Ohio. They brought along Sarah's 17-year-old sister, Ellen C. Slaven. Also in Andrew's household were 24-year-old Peter Mackin, a common laborer, 25-year-old James Gray, a railroad worker, and 70-year-old Patrick Higgins, presumably Andrew's aging father.
At 22 years old, Elizabeth married her husband, James Walsh, on May 24th, 1873 in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Rev. John Kain officiating. James was a 23-year-old carpenter at the time of their marriage. James was a son of Michael and Catherine Walsh and was residing in Zaleski, Ohio.
Differing from her sister Sarah, Elizabeth lists her parents as Christopher and Mary Slaven. Could this suggest a feud within the family? Perhaps this feud is the reason Elizabeth lived elsewhere. Or, perhaps it suggests something less sinister, such as Sarah's love and admiration for her step-father?
Elizabeth's actual marriage to James is also peculiar -- if James was a resident of Zaleski, Ohio, how did he meet Elizabeth? Did Elizabeth visit her sisters in Zaleski? Was this a marriage to a cousin of Thomas? Perhaps James' father, Michael, was a brother of Patrick, Thomas' father. The family of Thomas Walsh and Elizabeth's brother-in-law, Patrick Higgins', are known to have regularly attended St. Peters for services. Did the Slavin family regularly attend as well? Christopher and Mary Slavin appear to have ties to Maryland. Perhaps one of her parents were related to Annie Murphy, Thomas Walsh's wife? Perhaps her mother was attempting to hide the small age differences between her last three children, or perhaps Ellen and Elizabeth were twins?
After their marriage, James and Elizabeth returned to her husband's home of Ohio where Elizabeth bore four children. Between 1879 and 1880, the couple moved west to Colorado, presumably for work. Denver’s Union Station opened in 1881, and it is possible that carpenters, like James, helped to construct that.
On May 16, 1877, Elizabeth's sister Ellen C. Slavin married Thomas Holland in Vinton, Ohio. Curiously, the minister listed is James J. Slavin. The remaining information on their marriage return was left blank.
By 1880, Mary Troy and her husband had moved to Zaleski, Ohio, probably to be near her girls. The Troy family was enumerated there June 3, 1880. In the household were two of Mary's sons, Thomas and William Slavin. Like Lawrence, both boys were working as laborers. The Troy family shared their home with the family of Oren K. Rhoads, a miller.
On June 7, 1880, James and Elizabeth Walsh are enumerated in Denver, Colorado. It seems that they were living either in or on the outskirts of a work camp in the first home on a street. No street name is listed, however, the families on the prior street are noted as residing in tents. The Walsh family shares their home with the family of Gus Behrens, a railroad foreman from Hamburg, Germany. 33-year-old James lists his occupation as carpenter.
The household is enumerated as follows: James Walsh, 33 year old carpenter born in Ireland; Elizabeth Walsh, wife, 28 year old born in Virginia with parents of Ireland; William, son, 6 year old born in Ohio, Joseph, son, 4 year old born in Ohio, Kate, daughter, 2 year old born in Ohio, James, 1 year old born in Ohio; Gus Behrens, 38 year old railroad foreman born in Hamburg, Germany; Mary Behrens, wife, 33 year old born in Wittenburg, Germany; Josephine, daughter, 8 year old born in Illinois.
As the family does not appear in the Colorado 1885 census, their stay in Colorado was likely short-lived. The couple probably returned to James' home state of Ohio once work commenced.
On July 8, 1880, Elizabeth lost her step-father, Lawrence Troy in Zaleski, Ohio. Less than a year later on February 10, 1881, Elizabeth's mother passed away.
On January 11,1898, Elizabeth lost her oldest sister. 56-year-old Mary Ann Higgins was buried in her hometown at St. Peters Cemetery in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
By 1900, Elizabeth and her husband were living in Columbus, Ohio. They were enumerated in precinct D on June 8, 1900 in house number 135. All four of the couple's children remained at home: William J, a plumber; Joseph, a barber; Catherine; and James A. Walsh, a shoe salesman.
Elizabeth's sister, Ellen, was enumerated about 30 miles west of Columbus in Union Township, Madison County, Ohio. In Thomas and Ellen Holland's household resided: their son, Leo, born February, 1878; their nephew, James Walsh, born June 1879 and a shoe salesman; their neice, Nellie Slavin, born August 1883, at school. James was enumerated twice, once in his parent's household and again in his Aunt Ellen's household. This probably suggests that he was either visiting his aunt and uncle during the enumeration or resided in their home short term, possibly due to his occupation.
It is likely James died November 8, 1905 in Columbus from "organic heart disease", however, more research needs to be completed to confirm this information. James was buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1910, the newly widowed Elizabeth is enumerated on Armstrong Street in Columbus, Ohio alongside her three sons William, a plumber, Joseph, a barber, and James, a fireman. By 1920, Elizabeth was residing in her son, James' household alongside her son William. James, who worked as a punch press operator, and William, a roofer, appear to be caring for their aging mother.
Elizabeth's sister Ellen and her husband Thomas Holland were still living close in London, Madison County, Ohio. Ellen and Thomas have young teenage borders living with them, Clyde and Lucille Stevens.
On April 24, 1928, Elizabeth passed away at St. Anthony's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The cause of death is listed as chronic myocarditis and arteriosclerosis. Elizabeth was laid to rest on April 26, 1928 at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.
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