1880 Census

Alexandria, Virginia

John and Catherine Creegan

John and Bernard McCann


On June 1, 1880 F. G. Swaine, the census taker for Alexandria’s second ward, began visiting homes on the east side of North Pitt Street starting at Queen Street walking north on Pitt. The sixteenth family he visited was that of John and Catherine McCann on or near number 55. There was actually no house number listed on the census for them or their neighbor, Margaret Cook and family. The next neighbor past them was listed as number 61. The previous two families on the south side were both listed at number 55. I do not believe this home is 312 North Pitt where Catherine died but it is not far from there.


The location of the house was deduced by looking at every page of the census for Ward-2 and Ward-3 and recording the streets in the order they were surveyed. Then a map was used to trace the routes. The rout in Ward-2 went straight north on Pitt St to Pendleton so it was not clear where the blocks started and ended. The census taker in Ward-3, however zigzagged back and forth across N. Pitt making it clearer which block the numbers went with.


The census taker recorded the following members of the family:


Creegan, John              50      laborer

---------, Catherine            45      House keeping

---------, Michael              22      laborer

---------, Mary Ann           19      at home

---------, Catherine            17      servant

---------, Elizabeth            14      servant

---------, Ellen                  12      at home

---------, Hugh                  8       at school

---------, Hannah              6      

---------, William              10/12


o       It is indicated that both John and Hugh are sick or injured and were not able to work at the time of the census taking.

o       Catherine (daughter) and Elizabeth have been unemployed.

o       Hugh is in school and the only one who has been in school during the past year.


            The actual census information:



          The following entry is interesting. It was found in the third ward:



Katie Creegan is probably our Catherine (daughter of John and Catherine) even though she is also listed with the Creegans. She is obviously a servant for Worth Hulfish, who was or would later become a successful merchant in Alexandria. This fits as Katie is listed as a servant under John and Catherine’s listing. She is 18 years old in this entry, which is correct, and 17 in the Creegan entry, which is incorrect, as her birthday is Jan 15.


Bernard McCann was difficult to find in the 1880 census. Only after locating his address in the Boyd’s 1880 Washington, DC directory and then tracing the address in the 1880 census, was it possible to find. The reason was, he was listed as Bernard Buchanan!


Bernard first shows up in the Boyd’s Directory in 1874 and again in following years as shown below:

1874 107 F Street SW (Note: that there was an Edward McCann, stone cutter, near this address in 1872).

1875 Same address

1876 No listing

1877 115 F Street SW

1880 115 F Street SW, Michael H. McCann listed at same address.

1881 115 F Street SW, HJ McCann and Michael H. McCann (stone cutter) are listed at the same address.

We also know that in 1900 Bernard and others were living at 832 4 ½ Street SW and some of the family continued to live there until after 1920. All of these residences are in the same general area not far from the Capitol building. So, it appears they moved from Southern Maryland no later than 1874 and remained in the Capitol area from then on.


Now, searching through the 1800 census by street yielded the following entry at 115 F Street SW:


1880 Census – Bernard McCann (District of Columbia)


Even though the last name is Buchanan, the other information definitely makes this Bernard and family. It also appears that they may have had a son named Peter A. (27), carpenter, which would make him the oldest son. He would have been born in 1853, which is within reason, but where has he been all these years! I’ll have to think about that one for a while. Bridget is shown as married to a Smith but this listing does not follow the normal convention so I’m not sure I trust it, i.e. more research to do. Notably, it also messed up the indexer which is why they don’t show up on searches. On Familysearch.org, only Bernard, Ellen and Mr. Murphy show up on the index for this household under Buchanan because they considered the others as belonging to Bridget Smith!


Michael and Ann McSherry (Ellen McCann nee McSherry’s parents) are still living in Charles County Maryland, probably at the same location as their neighbor is still Thomas Mudd and family.


1880 Census - Michael McSherry (Charles County, Maryland)


John McCann in still in St. Francois County Missouri and they have a daughter Katherine (7) who they call Kate. Sally is suffering from a disease – I think it reads billious disease. The men have been out of work at least some of the time. Kate is in school.


1880 Census – John McCann (St. Francois County, Missouri)