McCann Family History




The McCanns were from County Armagh, Ireland and some of the family emigrated to America as a result of the potato famine and other poor conditions at the time. At least two brothers, Bernard and John, and their sister Catherine made their way to Alexandria, Virginia.


Bernard came over in 1849 to Philadelphia on the Shjp Europe along with the McSherry family. Bernard would later marry Ellen McSherry. For more information on the Europe passengers visit


Ship’s Passenger List Showing the McSherrys and Bernard McCann


John McCann may have come at the same time but we have no hard evidence of his arrival until 1853 when he married Sarah Owens.


Catherine McCann came over in 1854 to Baltimore aboard the Ship Annapolis and also settled in Alexandria. Family lore states that Catherine’s brother Hugh was supposed to come over with her but for some reason he did not and John Creegan made the voyage as Hugh.

Records show that on July 5, 1854 the Ship Annapolis arrived in Baltimore with 285 passengers. Passengers #126 and #127 were listed as Hugh and Catherine McCann. The ships master was John C. Graham who lived in Alexandria at the time. Catherine McCann and John Creegan married in 1856.


Ship Annapolis Passenger Manifest July 5, 1854, Baltimore Maryland


There were also Peter and Thomas McCann in Alexandria who might be related but there is no evidence to support this with the exception that John McCann named two of his sons Peter and Thomas. Peter lived several doors down from Bernard and Catherine at the time of the 1860 census. A second Bernard McCann was living in Alexandria around the same time but I do not believe he is related – he was married to Catherine Duggan.


All three of the McCann siblings were living in Alexandria at the time of the 1860 census. Bernard and family later moved to Charles County, Maryland and then to the District of Columbia. John and his family settled in St. Francois County, Missouri after the Civil War. Catherine married and lived in Alexandria until her death in 1891.


The information gathered is described for each sibling’s family separately. A great deal of the information comes from census data which can contain errors and missing or misleading information. Other information came from family lore, the Creegan family bible, civil documents and word-of-mouth testimony.

Bernard Edward McCann


Bernard McCann was born in Armagh County, Ireland [family testimony] in 1833. This birth year comes from the 1900 census and I think we need to be flexible when interpreting his age from this as it doesn’t match with other data. I have never seen a document with the middle name ‘Edward’ or initial ‘E’ but will make the assumption that it is so.


In 1849, as shown above, the Ship Europe arrived in Philadelphia and on the passenger list is Barney McCann. What really confirms that this is our Bernard is the fact that Michael McSherry his wife Ann and children Ellen and Michael are also on board. It is said that he (they?) walked to Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria was a very successful seaport town at the time and work was plentiful.


Bernard married Ellen McSherry and the marriage was recorded in the Arlington County marriage register on 3 Jan 1853. Ellen’s father Michael McSherry gave his consent for the marriage.

Arlington County Marriage Register 1853 – Bernard McCann and Ellen McSherry


Arlington County Marriage Register 1853 – Michael McSherry (father)


The 1855 Alexandria Property Tax Assessor shows Michael McSherry in Alexandria as a tenant on property owned by the Dangerfields. This property is a 4 square area bounded by Wythe, Pendleton, Alfred and Patrick Streets. The dwelling is a two story structure. I am still researching the tax records for additional information.

1860 Census


The 1860 census shows Bernard and Ellen having 3 children. The oldest being  Michael, however, note the misspelling and the fact that the m for male and f for female have both been written one over the other for the sex of the child.



1860 Census (Alexandria) – Bernard and Ellen McCann


Bernard and Ellen lived in the same dwelling with John and Catherine Creegan. Note, again, that their son Michael is listed as Martha and as female. We have speculated that this was intentional – perhaps they were worried that fairies would replace their first born son with a changling.



1860 Census (Alexandria) – John and Catherine Creegan nee McCann


Michael and Ann McSherry are now living in Charles County Maryland. Michael is listed as a farmer.



1860 Census (Charles County, Maryland) – Michael and Ann McSherry



1870 Census


The Civil War changed the face of Alexandria forever and it is not surprising that in the 1870 census we find that Bernard had moved to Beantown, Charles County, Maryland next door to Michael McSherry. They have seven children – Michael, Elizabeth (Bridget?), Hugh, Frank, Catherine, Edward and Mary.


1870 Census (Charles County, Maryland) – McCanns and McSherrys


Also near-by are the Mudds. I have not yet researched this to see if they are related to Dr Mudd who treated John Wilkes Booth.


1870 Census (Charles County, Maryland) – Mudds


1880 Census Data


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 back to 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.


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, 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)


1890 Census


The 1890 census was almost completely destroyed by fire and I have not found any remnants that help us.


In the 1890 DC directory the following people had listings at 832 4 1/2 St. SE:

Bernard McCann (Grocer).

Rose M. McCann (Milliner)

Catherine A. McCann

Edward B. McCann

John J. McCann (plumber)

Rose McCann (clerk)


Michael H. McCann is at 829 4 ˝ St. SE (cigars)

Francis T. McCann is at 209 M St. SE (stone cutter)

Hugh P. McCann is at 362 K St. SE. (stone cutter)

Jane McCann widow Michael is at 414 6 ˝ St SE. (who is this??)

Davis Shlesinger has entries for 313, 316 and 318 4 ˝ St. SE. (clerk, cigars)


Are the two Rose McCanns the same person? Was Rose McCann one of Bernard’s daughters? Did Peter McCann’s widow, Rosa, move from Alexandria to live with Bernard? There are other McCanns in the SE area as well. More research to do.


We also know that in 1890 Hugh P. McCann died at 832 4 ˝ Street SW (and Ellen in 1899) 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.


May 18, 1890


Hugh P. McCann, son of Bernard McCann dies on 18 May 1890 at 832 4 ˝ St SW, Washington DC. He was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetary.


August 13 1899


Ellen McCann dies at 832 4 ˝ Street SW - DC death certificate #126431. She was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.



1900 Census


Bernard is living at 832 4 ˝ Street SW, Washington DC with daughter Catherine and son Bernard Edward as well as daughter Mary Shlesinger and her children Bernard Edward (4), Helen (2) and Ruth (1). Bernard is listed as widowed as Ellen had died the year before. This census also shows Bernard immigrating in 1849 and shows his occupation as Capitalist. He records that he was not naturalized.


1900 Census (Washington, DC) – Bernard McCann


John J. McCann (Son of Bernard McCann) is living in DC with his wife Laura and children (Mary) Ester and John J. John’s occupation is listed as a plumber.


1900 Census (Washington, DC) – John J. McCann

July 15, 1901


Infant son of John J. and Laura McCann dies at the age of 4 days. He was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.



1910 Census


I have not yet found Bernard in the 1910 census yet he was probably still at 4 ˝ Street as B. Edward McCann and B. Edward Shlesinger were still living there in 1920. The census taker may have skipped them because the streets nearby were shown but not 4 ˝ street.


Bernard’s son Michael was living at 702 7th Street NE with wife Irene (Troxell) and family. Most interesting for me was this tied the Simontons and Burgdorfs to the McCanns. They had 5 surviving children out of 6. Not shown is Mary Burgdorf’s son Robert Jr. who is listed on the next page of the census. Michael is listed as a stone mason, Bernard as an apprentice plumber and Robert Burgdorf as a carpenter.


1910 Census (Washington, DC) – Michael McCann


John and Laura McCann are still in DC. They have 3 more children. Laura E., Bernadine and Francis T. They have 5 surviving children out of 6. John is a plumber.



June 5, 1910


Michael H. McCann, son of Bernard, dies on 5 June 1910 at 603 L. St. NE, Washington DC. He was a stone mason and was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.



December 8, 1912


Mary “Mamie” Shlesinger dies at 832 4 ˝ St. SW at the age of 42 – DC death certificate #208555. The birthplace of both parents was listed as Armagh, Ireland. She is listed as Mary Rose but the 1880 census shows Mary E. Family information indicates her name was Mary Ellen. She was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.



June 5, 1914


Bernard McCann dies at 361 Eye St. SW at the age of 81 – DC death certificate #217737. Her was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.



October 4, 1914

Irene Elizabeth McCann nee Troxell, wife of son Michael H. McCann dies at 808 F St. NE at the age of 51. She was returned to her birthplace, Granite, Baltimore County, Maryland, for burial. Her mother was from Granite and her father was from Emmetsburg, MD.


1920 Census.


Bernard P. McCann, son of Michael McCann, is living at 439 Tennessee Ave. NE, Washington DC with his family. Maurine’s mother is also living there but I cannot make out the name (Sallie Eschrun?). Let me know if you can. Bernard’s occupation is listed as Breakman on a railroad.


1920 Census (Washington, DC) – Bernard P. McCann


Ellen Simonton nee McCann is living in Arlington, VA with her husband Leo E. Simonton and two children – Troxell and Ruth. Leo’s nephew, Joseph, is also living there. The clincher for this is that Minnie McCann (20), Ellen’s sister, is living with them. Ellen is going by “Nellie” which caused a little confusion. There is another Ellen (K.) Simonton living in DC. Leo is listed as an accountant.


1920 Census (Arlington, VA) – Simontons


The McCanns and Shlesingers are still living at 4 ˝ St SW in DC (I believe the residence is no longer there as I-275 appears to cut through that location). Bernard McCann passed on in 1914.  Mamie died in Dec 1910.


1920 Census (DC) – McCanns and Shlesingers
1930 Census


Bernard Edward Shlesinger (Senior) has moved to Rochester, New York with his wife Frances (Garner) and children Bernard, Jr. and Mary. Frances’ sister Mary is also living there. Bernard Edward, Sr. is an Attorney.


1930 Census (Rochester, NY) – Shlesinger


Mary F. Burgdorf nee McCann (Bernard->Michael->Mary F.) is living with her husband Robert E. in Arlington with their children Robert E., Ronald and Florence.


1930 Census (Arlington, VA) – Burgdorf


Ellen “Nellie” Simonton nee McCann (40) is living in Arlington, VA with her children – Troxell (19), Ruth E. (11) and Leo E. (8). Apparently there was a divorce.


1930 Census (Arlington, VA) – Simonton


John McCann


It is not clear when John immigrated. He indicated on the 1900 census that he immigrated in 1856, however, this cannot be correct because he married Sarah Owens as recorded in the Arlington County marriage register on July 5, 1853 (#64). No additional information was entered in the register other that what is shown here. Also note that one Thomas McCann married Mary Duffy on July 12, 1853 (#68).


Arlington County Marriage Register – 1853


John is listed on the Alexandria property tax list in the spring of 1855 as a tenant on property owned by the Dangerfields, a prominent Alexandria family at the time. The property was located on the 4 square block area bounded by Wythe, Pendleton, Alfred and Patrick - it is ward 3.


1860 Census


John and Sarah are in the 1860 census showing they are still in the city. Hugh, Peter and John are their children.


1860 Census – Alexandria – John and Sarah McCann


We have not yet uncovered any official documents of John being in the Civil War, but several letters to John Creegan testify to the fact that he was in the Provost Guard working in the Quartermaster Department. His commanding officers were Captains Ferguson and Lee. Copies of the letters are attached.


1870 Census


John and his family have moved to St. Francois County and live in Iron Mountain Township. John, Hugh and Peter are listed as coal stackers as their occupation. Apparently John can read and write but Sally cannot. Hugh can read but not write. It is interesting that all the kids except Sarah are listed as born in Ireland (not shown below) - this is not correct – Sarah was born in Missouri and the other children in Virginia.


1870 Census – Missouri – John and Sarah McCann


1880 Census


John McCann is 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. They have a servant named Mary Leach.


1880 Census – Missouri – John and Sarah McCann



A letter from John McCann to John Creegan fills in some of the McCann history. Needless to say this is a very valuable item in our quest for information about the family. I wish we had more like it. He may have been staying with his son Thomas while he was in Webb City.


Webb City Mo

Feb 9th 1893


My dear brother I just received your kind letter and I must say I am glad to hear from you at last. I ought to got your letter near six weeks ago there is another McCann here and he got it and kept it until last night. Well John we are all sorry to hear of Kitty's death. You dident say what was her complaint. Myself and Sally is well and we have four children out of eleven and they are Hugh and Thomas and Mike and Kate. Hugh and Tom are married the other 2 are with us. You dident tell me how many you have got and if any of them is married. John I wish when you see Brian tell him to rite to me I have rote several times I guess I did not have his directions right. Sally wants you to tell her aunt to rite to her. Well John I am trying to get a pension and I have had the Justice of the Peace riting to Washington for me. I expect you will get a letter from him give him what information you can. Well John I have not worked in a good while but myself and the boys has an interest in a zinc and lead mine and the boys are working in it and are doing pretty well. Well John when you rite again tell me more what you are doing and how is times around old Alexandria. So I guess I will have to close for this time by sending our love to you and all the family and to all the old time friends. So no more from your Brother.

            John McCann


             Webb City Mo

             Jasper Co

1900 Census


John and Sarah (Sally) McCann are living in Elvins in St. Francois Township, Missouri with their daughter Kate (26). John is listed as born in Sep 1825 and is 74 years old. It is also indicated that he immigrated in 1856 as does Sarah. We know this is incorrect because John married Sarah in Arlington, VA in 1853. The census records that they have 4 surviving children out of 11 which corroborates the letter from John McCann to John Creegan in 1893.


1900 Census – Missouri – John and Sarah McCann


Hugh McCann, Son of John McCann, is living in Randolph Township in St. Francois County Missouri with his wife Catherine and family. The have had 7 children and they are all at home. Hugh’s age is not quite right and he is indicated as having DC as his birthplace once and Maryland in another census. I believe he was actually born in Virginia. Even so, I believe this is John’s son. The children are John J., Mary S., Thomas J., Catherine M., Sarah A., Edward and Annie.


1900 Census – Missouri – Hugh McCann Son of John McCann

1910 Census


Hugh and Catherine have moved to St. Louis. John J and Thomas J are no longer with them; perhaps they have married (something to look for).


1910 Census – Missouri – Hugh McCann Son of John McCann


Thomas McCann and his wife Belle are living in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri. They have only 2 of 6 children surviving – daughter Blanche Walker and son Bernard. Blanche and her husband John have a baby son Francis.


1910 Census – Missouri – Thomas McCann Son of John McCann



Thomas McCann died on April 14, 1911 in Webb City, Missouri. He was a miner. His father was listed and John McCann and mother’s maiden name unknown.



Hugh McCann died in St Louis on February 28, 1918. John McCann and Sarah Owens were listed as his parents.

1920 Census


Belle McCann, widow of Thomas, is still living in Webb City, Missouri with her son Bernard.




Belle McCann (Isabella Hannah McCann nee Peppers), the wife of Thomas McCann (John McCann’s son), dies on 18 July 1928 (MO Cert #24208, image on file) in Webb City, MO at the age of 62. Her son, Bernard, signed the death certificate. His address is Joplin, MO and he is about 20 years old.