Creegan Family History






*     Bernard McCann (along with the McSherrys) arrived in Philadelphia on the Ship Europe in 1849 and walked to Alexandria (see Immigration page).


*     By 1853 Bernard and John McCann are living in Alexandria on property owned by Henry Daingerfield, the Daingerfields were a well known Alexandria family. The property is located on a square block area bounded by Wythe, Pendleton, Alfred and Patrick Streets. The dwelling is a two story structure. There are some McSherrys there also. This information is derived from Alexandria tax assessment records.


*     John Creegan and John McCann were most likely working for the Cumberland Coal and Iron Co. which delivered coal to Alexandria via the Canal. There is no reference to the Company after the start of the Civil War (probably because the aqueduct across the Potomac was used by the Union to transport men and goods and the Canal was not in use for the duration of the war). This information was derived from 1859 Alexandria tax ledgers.


*     According to study conducted at the Flinders University of South Australia, by 1859-60 John and Catherine are living in a dwelling on the southwest corner of Columbus and Madison Streets. This is probably where they were living at the time of the 1860 census which means Bernard and Ellen McCann were there also. The 1877 Hopkins City Atlas of Alexandria, Va. shows the house on that corner, but it is no longer there. This may have been where John and Catherine lived after they married in 1856.


*     Having arrived in America to start their new lives, where do they begin? It must have been intimidating, to say the least, unless they had some help. Did Bernard or someone else help them get situated? Did they know anyone in Baltimore? Did they stay there for a while? Read on.


*     How did they get to Alexandria? Walk, horse, carriage, train? Passenger train service may have been available to Alexandria then or at least to the District of Columbia. If they had a little money that would be a likely choice. Otherwise, a carriage ride would probably been their method of transportation. Records on this sort of thing are rare.


*     When did they arrive in Alexandria? John Creegan received a letter in Alexandria one year later, in August 1855. Given the time it took mail to be delivered then, that means he had already been there a while. Since at least two of Catherine’s brothers were already there, she almost certainly had a plan to meet them and they probably went directly to Alexandria as quickly as possible. Bernard indicated on the 1900 census that he had immigrated in 1849 so he had been here about five years before Catherine, plenty of time to make a plan.


*     Where did they live in Alexandria before they married?


*     When did they move into Pitt Street near the canal? The map in the link shows how the Canal came up from the Potomac and turned north at Washington Street. Pitt is marked and as you can see it ends at the Canal. If the lived ‘near’ the Canal it had to be there. This is not far from 312 North Pitt (6-7 blocks) and I guess you could say that was near also.


*     John and Catherine were married 10 Aug 1856 in St. Mary’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia.


*     Michael and Mary Ann Creegan were born in 1857 and 1859, respectively.


*     Bernard McCann married Ellen McSherry on 3 Jan 1853. Ellen’s Father, Michael, gave his consent as can be seen on the Arlington County Marriage Register. This is a wide document so use the scroll bar to see Michael’s name. The entries fooled me for a while because it looks like M. Sherry and not just me the index had Ellen as Sherry, Ellen M.


*     John McCann married Sarah Owens on 6 Jul 1853. Six days later, on 12 Jul 1853, one Thomas McCann married Mary Duffy (sworn to by Peter McCann), and I believe this is the Mary McCann widow of Thomas listed in Chataigne’s Directory of Alexandria City.  However, I have not, as yet, made a direct connection to our McCann’s.