Catherine "Kate" Daly was my second great-grandmother.
Kate was born in 1850 in Massachusetts, the daughter of John Daly and Mary Carey. Her parents were Irish immigrants. Of Kate's early years we know almost nothing. What we do know is mostly family lore backed up by a few magazine clippings and old letters. Kate was born in Blackstone, Massachusetts. Blackstone is in Worcester County, near the border of Rhode Island. It's a small town today, and would have been tiny and very rural in the mid-1800s. A railroad was built in 1849 to connect Blackstone to Southbridge. Kate's father, John Daly, likely worked on this railroad and others in Massachusetts. Census and birth/death/marriage records indicate that the family also lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which is near the border of New Hampshire and nowhere near Blackstone. One of Kate's sisters was born in Virginia. Kate's parents appear to have spent their twilight years in Waltham, Massachusetts. If Kate's father worked for the railroad, he likely moved often in the course of his work, which would explain the numerous locations the family called home.
Kate moved from Massachusetts to San Francisco, California, sometime prior to 1878. I do not know if any of her family members accompanied her. It seems unusual that a woman would make this long journey alone, but I've found no records of her travel or her residence in San Francisco prior to her marriage to John Bernard Murray in 1878.
Kate married John Bernard Murray in Oakland, California. She was seventeen years his junior. Upon her marriage, Kate became a stepmother to John's nine children from his first marriage. They were all still living at home, so Kate had quite a job right from the start. She had John soon added more children to the family. They had eight children together over the course of their marriage.
John Aloysius Murray (b. 1878)
William Murray (b. 1879)
Julia A. Murray (b. 1881)
Frederick C. Murray (b. 1882)
Gertrude Agnes Murray (b. 1884)
Frances Mary Murray (b. 1885)
Frank Joseph Murray (b. 1886)
Genevieve Frances Murray (b. 1888)
Ambrose Murray (b. 1891)
|Catherine Daly Murray with her daughter Julia|
Their youngest child, Ambrose, died of typhoid fever at one year of age. This was the only one of Kate and John's children to die in infancy, and the loss must have been horrific for the Murray family. Twelve years later, in 1904, their daughter Julia died of consumption at age 23. Her death was devastating to the Murray family.
|Catherine Daly Murray with one of her children|
In 1906, Kate died at the age of 55, just a month and a half after the great San Francisco earthquake and fire. The cause of death listed on her death certificate is pulmonary tuberculosis. Tuberculosis also claimed the lives of her daughter Julia and son John Aloysius. She is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Oakland, near her husband and three of her children. Her obituary reads as follows:
MURRAY-- In this city, May 24, 1906, Catherine J., beloved wife of John Murray and mother of John A., William, Gertrude, Frederick, Frances, Frank, Genevieve and the late Julia and Ambrose Murray, a native of Blackstone, Mass., aged 55 years. Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend the funeral at 9 o'clock a. m. Monday morning from St. Francis de Sales Church.