Thursday, November 18, 2010

Descendants of James Devine (1829-1864)

James Devine (1829-1864) was born in County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland to Bernard Devine (1784-1864) and his wife Margaret.

James sailed for Portland Maine at some point prior to 1848, likely with his father Bernard, and his brother, Bernard, Jr.  James' wife, Ellen Norris (1827-1871), was also from Ireland.  James worked as a laborer, and enlisted in the Civil War in July of 1863, but died just over a year later of consumption at age 35.  His wife Ellen died seven years later at age 44.

James & Ellen had four children:

1. Catherine M. Devine (1848-1912) also known as "Kate", lived on Munjoy Hill in Portland all her life, and never married.  She had one son out of wedlock, James, when she was a young girl.  At the end of her life she was living with her niece, Helen Devine-McKeough on 24 Sheridan Street, but also working as a live-in cook to wealthy widow James McMullen on 121 State Street.

2. Edward Devine (1851-1873) died at age 22 in Portland.  He worked as a boilermaker.

3. Margaret Devine (1854-1908).  No further information.

4. John F. Devine (1858-1894), sometimes named John Thomas Devine, John H. Devine, John E. Devine, and Thomas J. Devine.  John worked as a fireman on the railroad.  He married Elizabeth Maria Leonard from Portraine Ireland ca. 1883 in Portland.  They moved to 47 Tyng Street (around the corner from St. Dominic's) and had three children:

--Helen Devine (1884-1966).  Helen married a baker named James ("Jim") Michael McKeough, a descendant of Nova Scotians originally from Tipperary, Ireland, and had four children:  Doris, Edward, Phlip (died at birth) & Philip.  James and his brother Duncan were both bakers, and at one time worked in different hotels across Congress Street from one another - Duncan worked at the Lafayette and Jim was at the Columbia - both located between High and State Streets.

--John Francis Devine Sr. (1885-1949).  "Frank" was a bricklayer from South Portland.  He married Mary Camilla Gill (a second generation Irish American), and had nine children.

--Agnes Devine (1889-1893) (died at age 4)

In January of 1894, not long after the death of her youngest child Agnes, Elizabeth Leonard-Devine died of consumption, at age 37.  Seven months later, her husband, John Devine, was drunk in Gorham's Corner in the West End, and was quarreling with a drunk barber (reportedly a jealous husband), and this fight caused John to fall and hit his head on the brick sidewalk  The paddy wagon came and got them, and John Devine died that night in jail of a brain inflammation, one day shy of his 36th birthday. The funeral was held at 14 Briggs Street, the home of his brother-in-law, Mathew John Leonard.

Daily Eastern Argus
Portland, Maine
25 Aug 1894

Portland Daily Press
August 25, 1894

His son, Frank Sr., at 9 years old, then being orphaned, sailed for Portraine by himself to live with his Aunt Annie Leonard-Quinlan.  Frank's sister Helen, at 10 years old, moved in with her aunt Catherine Devine at 48 Adams Street, whom Helen took care of in her later years.  It's interesting to me that the decision was made for Helen to stay in Portland, but that Frank had to sail back to the homeland.

Dublin, ca. 1903

What I find even more interesting is the chain of causality stemming from this one drunken night.  It orphaned his son, who had to move to Ireland with his aunt Annie.  Later, Annie would then be named in the Will of her uncle Thomas D. Leonard as thanks for raising young Frank.  Annie then got the gumption to move to Portland, Maine herself, collect her inheritance, and stayed there.  This put her in a position to manipulate the Will of her older brother Mathew John Leonard, who was infirm of mind, and to shut out Mathew's own sons out of their due property and money.  The mention of old ugly Annie to any of the Leonard elders is still met with scorn to this day.

When Frank Sr. left Portraine, and returned to Portland in 1903 at age 18 (bringing with him his aunt Annie), he married Mary Gill from Maine (whose grandparents were also from Ireland), and had 8 daughters and 1 son (Frank Jr).  Frank Jr. (aka Frannie) also spent some time in Portraine with family during his WWII service.

Five of Frank Sr's nine children are still alive as of this writing (November 2010), and many descendants also remain in the area.  They had their annual reunion this August in South Portland.  The Devines have several plots in Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.

This is only a small accounting of the Devines of Portland.  There were at least ten other Irish Devine families living in Portland at the same time as my family, and I've attempted to further trace them and make whatever connections I can between them here.

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