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Feeney Family History

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Surnames/tags: Feeney Donnelly
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The following is a narrative written by Charles Francis Rogers about his grandparents Charles Feeney and Katherine Donnelly.

January 1994

It's me again. this time I'll tell the reader what I know about the Feeney side of the family. The maternal grandparents, Charles and Catherine (Kate) Fenney. Getrude's family. The Irish side.

Were you ever surprised to find something you were looking for? Well that happened to me. I was searching in the Philadelphia Archives, actually it was the Federal Archives, at 9th and Market Sts. I was searching back in the Philadelphia census books. I started at the Civil War and worked my way up to 1870, and bingo, there he was "Timothy Feeney," (see map). Roughly I figure he was born in 1840, (see census page). Timothy married Margaret Hawkins. They lived around St. Pauls' Church at 9th and Christian Sts. In Philadelphia, Pa. I guess the only thing they brought with them was their strong Catholic background.

What I remember about Charlie Feeney is very little. His daughter, Gertude, told me they lived in the "Meadows," (88th and Brewster Ave.) in southwest Philadelphia. that was, at the time, the outskirts of the city. It was probably after the turn of the century. Gertrude remembered they had a mean gander, (a male goose). Whenever she went out of the house, that damned gander knew she was out, and began to chase and nip at her. They must have raised poultry.

Charlie moved his family to south Philadelphia. He worked for a lumberyard, Mitten Brothers. The business was located at Front and Reed Sts. Charlie drove a team of horses with a delivery wagon. Gertrude would be right there by his side. He would allow her to handle the team when no one could see them.

On the corner of Front and Reed Streets, was Pat Garrity's Saloon. Pat was good to his neighbors. When there was food left from their lunch crowd, he would share it with the poor, (just about everyone was poor then). I can smell his homemade vegetable soup right now!

Charlie took a job working as a checker along the docks. (waterfront) around 1920. He recorded all the items being loaded and unloaded off the ships. He worked at that until his death in 1939.

Charlie was more than a fan of baseball. He was a coach with a Phillies minor league team. They played on the field at Front and Carpenter Streets. He was a close friend of Baseball Hall of Famer, Chuck Klien. Chuck would visit Charlie's home on Moymensing Ave. and Reed Sts. to have dinner and play some catch.

Charlie and Catherine were living with us when I was just a small tyke. Once when I had a sore throat, Charlie made a funnel, put it in my mouth and blew in some sulfur he had scraped, down my throat. It must have worked, I'm still here. There were times I remember looking up at him. I felt tiny, "I guess I was." He was very tall and I was very small.

Charlie Feeney is where Mummers fever gets into the family. He was a member of the old "Lobster New Years Club." He designed, built, and sometimes carried those huge framed suits. In a way I feel proud to be the only Rogers boy named after an "Irishman." Getting back to the Mummers, til this day his descendants carry on the family tradition. A family where "Happy New Year" means a long march up Broad Street.[1]

Charles and Catherine Feeney had only one child. A daughter they named Gertrude Marie.[2]

Catherine (Kate) Feeney, at the age of 50, developed stomach cancer. The doctors opened her stomach, then closed it up again, saying there was no hope for her. She lived another 23 years! Catherine died at her daughter's home. She was holding her grandson Charlie's hand. Catherine had a sister, Mary, and a brother, Charles. [3] They lived at 3rd and Dickerson Street. Both have died.

Charlie Feeney also had sisters, Maggie (short for Margaret), and another named Kate (Catherine).

Researcher Footnotes

  1. Read about the Mummers Parade held each New Year's Day in Philadelphia.
  2. They also had a daughter named Margaret who was born before Gertrude, but died before 10 years old.
  3. Catherine had a total of 7 siblings.


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