Robert J. Thomas and Ellen "Nellie" Walsh Thomas

Robert J. Thomas and Ellen "Nellie" Walsh Thomas

Robert J. Thomas and Ellen "Nellie" Walsh Thomas was taken in Lowell, Massachusetts, exact date unknown. Robert was born in 1856 to Richard Thomas and Mary Sayers (widow Creahin) Thomas in Lowell. Richard came from Dingle, Ireland to Lowell Mass and worked as a laborer all his life. Census records show that he could not read or write English. Mary worked in the textile mills of Lowell, as did young Robert from the time he was 14 years old. They lived in a section of town called The Acre, where Irish immigrants lived and worked.

Robert first married Johanna Royle and had five children with her: Mary (b. 1880), Richard (b. 1881 and died as infant), Anne (b. 1883), Robert (b. 1884), and Johanna (b. 1886 and died at age 3 mos.). Robert's wife Johanna also became sick and died in 1886, leaving him with three small children and almost penniless from overwhelming medical bills. He himself became very sick and was bedridden for almost a year, during which time he sent each of his three children to live with relatives until he was well again.

Robert then worked his way back to a happy life. He married Ellen ("Nellie") Maria Walsh Thomas, whom he had hired to care for his children as a nanny while he worked. Nellie was born in 1859, the daughter of Thomas Walsh and Ellen Sullivan Walsh. She and Robert went on to have nine children together: Grace (b. 1889), Louise (b. 1890), Ellen Marion (b. 1892), Raymond (b. 1893), Claire (b. 1895), George W. (b. 1897), Frederick (b. 1899), Edith (b. 1900), and Katherine (b. 1903). Robert Thomas became Superintendant of the WaterWorks, was an active parishoner in church, and served his community as an Alderman. They were both kind and loved by many people. They are buried at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Lowell, MA.

For more info about the families listed above, please contact Maryanne Patterson at azpattersons@cox.net

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