Descendants of John and Bridget Sweeney

-- written by Janet Kennedy Sweeney, 2005

Note from Jerry Specht: Though Mrs. Janet Kennedy Sweeney's document includes detailed information on all 8 of John and Bridget's children and their children – since Mrs. Sweeney has asked that the other information not be made generally available online –, I have included just the details for my great-grandmother, Ella (Ellen) Sweeney .

Generation No. 1

JOHN1 SWEENEY was born June 1814 in Ireland, and died February 11, 1904 in Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania. He married BRIDGET about 1854 in the United States, most probably. She was born March 30, 1836 in Clare County, Ireland, and died March 28, 1901 in Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania. He was working for the railroad, and began to farm in later life.


Naturalization papers found in the Crawford County Courthouse, Orphan’s Court,1 stated that John Sweeney was born in Ireland in 1814, and stated that he had selected Pennsylvania as his place of residence and that he renounced any allegiance to the Queen of Great Britain. The document is dated April 2, 1879.

According to the 1880 United States Census of Spring, Pennsylvania, John, age 60, was found living in Spring, with the following children: John, age 22, Michael, age 17, Mary, age 20, Ellen, age 12, and Anna, age 3. John was a section boss of the railroad, and his sons John and Michael were also working for the railroad. 2

Bridget, age 44, was living in a separate household in Conneaut, Crawford, Pennsylvania, with John listed as the head of the household. The following children were living with Bridget: Agnes, age 9, and Katherine, age 6. John is listed as a farmer. As John had recently purchased property in Conneaut, we may assume that the family was in the process of moving there. 3

Daughter Margaret, age 20, is found living in a boarding house in Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania. She was employed as a domestic.1

John Sweeney immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1834. Bridget Sweeney had immigrated from Ireland in 1850. In 1900, two daughters were living with them, Katherine Sweeney Newberry, age 25, and Anne Sweeney, age 22. Two grandsons were also living there: Donald Newberry, age 2, and Edmund Newberry, age 5 months.2

John Sweeney had bought a parcel of land in Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania, for the sun of $5,500.00, from Mary Fenner. This deed was recorded May 14, 1879.3 Presumably, this is where the family was moving to in 1880, and they were still living there in 1900. Bridget was an invalid with tuberculosis and John was elderly. Probably the girls were there to help out.

He deeded this parcel to his daughters, Katherine Newberry and Anna Sweeney, for the sum of $1.00, on August 31, 1901,4 just six months after Bridget had died.

John Sweeney died in 1904.

“John Sweeney, Age 91, Born in Ireland, Farmer. Died 2/11/1904 in Conneaut Township of old age. Sick three months. Buried 2-14-1904 in Conneautville.”5

[Inserted by Jerry Specht] The following is an obituary from the Feb 17, 1904, Conneautville Courier:

“Death of an Old Resident”

John Sweeney, one the oldest residents of Western Crawford, died at his home in Conneaut township on Thursday night, of old age. He had been ill for several months. The deceased was born in Kilrush, Clare County, Ireland, June 20th, 1813, being the oldest and only son in a family of twelve children. Most of the sisters came to America and settled in the New England States, where one yet survives. Mr. Sweeney came to America in 1850. He is survived by six daughters, Mrs. George Fisher and Mrs. Mart Clary, of Conneautville; Mrs. Harry Newberry at the old home in Conneaut township; Mrs. W. Garwood, of Meadville; Mrs. C.T. Gates, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Sister Mary Stella, of Buffalo, and two sons, Dr. John Sweeney, of Alleghany, N.Y., and M.J. Sweeney, of Dayton, Ohio. The funeral was held at the home on Monday forenoon and the remains buried in the Catholic cemetery at this place.

[End JS insert]

[Inserted by Jerry Specht:] As can be seen below, all of John and Bridget's first four children (Margaret, John, Mary, and Michael) were born in New York state, with the last of the four, Michael, being born in 1862. Ellen, their fifth child, was born in Pennsylvania (in 1867) – as were all of their other three children. Though we've been unable to find other concrete evidence of their residence in New York, it seems that they must have been there from 1855 – 1862, at least. These are details of our attempts to find information about their residence in New York. [End JS insert]

Notes for BRIDGET:

I found Bridget's name in the 1880 U. S. Census Record of Conneaut, Pennsylvania along with her birth date. She was about 44 years old.

I also found her name at submitted by Jerry Specht as a part of his family tree. He is descended from a daughter, Ellen Sweeney.

Another descendent, Jack Peck, whose wife descends from the brother, Michael Sweeney, has reason to believe that Bridget's maiden name was Donoghue. However, at this time it is not authenticated.

Obituary for Bridget:

"Mrs. John Sweeney died at her home in this Township on Tuesday morning, aged 64 years. She had been an invalid for the past three years. Mrs. Sweeney was born in Clare County, Ireland, and came to this country when eighteen years of age, locating in New York state, coming here about thirty -five years ago. She leaves beside her husband, eight children, Mrs. Maggie Garwood, Meadville; Mrs. Mary Gates, West Virginia; Sister M. Stella, Buffalo; Dr. John Sweeney, Allegany, N. Y.; Michael Sweeney, Chardon, Ohio: Mrs. Kate Newberry and Miss Anna Sweeney, at home. The funeral will be held in the Catholic Church in Conneautville on Thursday morning, at ten o'clock."1


"28, _______Sweeney, age 64, married, place of birth, Ireland, died March 1901 Conneautville, cause, Consumption. Ill, two years. Date of interment - 3/30/1901."

Recorded 1/10/19022

Children of JOHN SWEENEY and BRIDGET are:

MARGARET2 SWEENEY, b. March 1855, New York; d. February 16, 1938, Meadville, Pennsylvania; m. WATSON A. GARWOOD, Abt. 1890, Sadebury Twp., Crawford, Pennsylvania;1 b. December 1857, Pennsylvania; d. February 07, 1930, Meadville, Pennsylvania.


No children were born of this marriage.23


Burial: February 1938, Meadville, Pennsylvania


Burial: February 1930. Meadville, Pennsylvania4

2. ii. JOHN SWEENEY, b. February 20, 1856, New York; d. November 19, 1933, Gloversville, New York.

3. iii. MARY SWEENEY, b. November 17, 1859, New York; d. 1933, Pennsylvania.

4. iv. MICHAEL SWEENEY, b. August 24, 1862, Dunkirk, Chautauqua, New York; d. August 17, 1922, Dayton, Ohio.

5. v. ELLEN SWEENEY, b. November 10, 1867, Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania; d. September 1958, Greenville, Pennsylvania.

6. vi. AGNES SWEENEY, b. November 24, 1870, Pennsylvania.


In Bridget Sweeney's obituary, one daughter is listed as Sister B. Stella. Through the process of elimination, this is most likely to be Agnes.

A Sister Stella Sweeney is found in the 1920 United States Census in Buffalo, New York.1 Her age and place of birth are consistent with what we know about Agnes. She is living in the German Roman Catholic Orphanage and she is listed as an assistant. Franciscan Sisters staffed that orphanage.

“At the time of the fire in 1956, all records from the home were transferred over to the custody of the Catholic Charities of Buffalo, 525 Washington Street, Buffalo, New York 14203."2


Burial: St. Peter's Cemetery, Conneautville, Pennsylvania3

6. vii. KATHERINE SWEENEY, b. April 26, 1874, Pennsylvania; d. June 1935, Pennsylvania.

viii. ANNA SWEENEY, b. March 10, 1877, Pennsylvania; d. 1905, Pennsylvania; m. MARTIN CLEARY, April 02, 1902, St. Peter's Church, Crossingville. Pennsylvania; b. July 30, 1873.


Anna Sweeney Cleary is buried in St. Peter's Cemetery, Conneautville, Pennsylvania.4

The marriage information on Mary, Katherine, Ella, and Anna was sent from the local Historical Society.5 They married in St. Peter’s Church:

"It should be noted that Crossingville, Pennsylvania is in Cussewago Twp. near the Erie County line and has the oldest Catholic Church in our county. Irish settlers seemed to come to the area, and then moved into our nearby townships as laborers building the Erie Extension Canal. Our Catholic Church, St. Peter's, was a mission church of the one in Crossingville, which is St. Philips. Then, south of us in Summit Twp., Irish in the area built another mission Church known as the Immaculate Conception. There is also a cemetery at that location, but no longer a church."

Address: St. Peter's Church

501 Washington Street

Conneautville, Pennsylvania 164061

Generation No. 2

Note from Jerry Specht: Though Mrs. Janet Kennedy Sweeney's document includes information on all 8 of John and Bridget's children and their children, I have included just the information for my great-grandmother, Ella (Ellen) Sweeney – since Mrs. Sweeney has asked that the other information not be made generally available online.

ELLEN2 SWEENEY (JOHN1) was born November 10, 1867 in Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania, and died September 1958 in Greenville, Pennsylvania. She married GEORGE AMBERSON FISHER February 19, 1898 in St. Peter's Church, Crossingville. Pennsylvania.2 He was born December 14, 1873 in Creamace, Pennsylvania, and died March 22, 1967 in Greenville, Pennsylvania.


According to their marriage license affidavit, Ellen Sweeney was a teacher and George Fisher was a mechanic.3

The 1924 Directory and subsequent directories indicate that George and Ellen lived at 251 Clinton Street, Greenville, Pennsylvania. He was a carpenter with the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad. By 1935, daughter, Elizabeth M. Fisher is listed as residing at the Clinton Street address. She, too, worked for the B&LE Railroad - as a clerk. After Ellen's death in 1958, Elizabeth and George moved to 418 S. Main Street.4

Fisher, George R. 1873 - 1967

Fisher, Ellen C. 1869 - 1958

Fisher, Elizabeth M. 1901 - 19785


Burial: September 1958, St. Michael Cemetery, Greenville, Pennsylvania

The Greenville Area Historical Society

P. O. Box 25

Greenville, Pennsylvania 16125

February 7, 20031


Burial: March 1967, St. Michael Cemetery, Greenville, Pennsylvania


9. i. HELEN3 FISHER, b. September 11, 1899, Greenville, Pennsylvania; d. May 06, 1972, Greenville, Pennsylvania.

ii. ELIZABETH FISHER, b. 1902; d. Abt. 1980.


Jerry Specht wrote: “I certainly knew Elizabeth Fisher (my ‘Aunt Betty’) quite well. (She was really my great aunt, but since my mother called her ‘Aunt Betty’, that's what we called her too.) She never married. She lived until about 1980 I believe. She was a rather "nervous" person but certainly loved us all very much....’

Here is what Dorothy Deissler Specht wrote about her mother Helen Fisher:

“My mother was always a hard-working person. She was valedictorian of her high school graduating class. She attended Thiel College in Greenville for one year. A scholarship paid for that year, but she had to quit and get a job because she couldn't afford the expense. She went to work as a clerk at the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad and stayed until she was married. Her sister was my Aunt Betty who never married. She worked at the railroad until she retired.”

Jerry goes on to tell about his mother:

“My mother took a lot of interest in organizations like the Parent’s and Teacher’s Association and was frequently an officer.

Playing bridge was one of the things she liked to do and she belonged to a bridge club for a while.

Spending time with her grandchildren was one of her favorite pastimes and she was always lending a helping hand to me when our children were growing up. She was always a dedicated mother to her children at all stages of our lives for as long as she lived.”1

1 Crawford County Courthouse, Pennsylvania, Orphan’s Court

2 1880 United States Census of Spring, Crawford, Pennsylvania,

3 1880 United States Census of Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania

1 1880 United States Census of Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania

2 1900 U. S. Census for Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania

3 Crawford County Deed Book, R4, Page 530.

4 Crawford County Deed Book, 58 - 59

5 Crawford County Court House: Death Notices

1 “Conneautville Courier”, March 28, 1901

2 Crawford County Courthouse Death Records

1 Family Search, LDS

2 1900 U. S. Federal Census: Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania

3 1910 U. S. Federal Census: Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania

4 St. Bridgid’s Cemetery Book, Meadville, Pennsylvania

1 1920 U. S. Federal Census: Buffalo, Erie, New York

2 Email from Ralph Handley, Webmaster,

3 Crawford County Historical Society’s Cemetery Book

4 Crawford County Historical Society’s Cemetery Book

5 St. Peter’s Church Marriage Records, Historical Society of the Conneaut Valley Historical Society

1 Betty Kovac - Conneaut Valley Historical Society

2 Crawford County Historical Society

3 Marriage Affidavits: Crawford County Courthouse

4 Greenville Historical Society

5 Mercer County Cemetery Inscriptions – Vol. 10, P. 43

1 Greenville Historical Society

1 Jerry Specht – Great-great grandson of Ellen Sweeney Fisher, Email sent March 18, 2003.