James Murney, Killowen to Cleveland

While we are still at one degree of separation from the O'Rourkes and Rodgers families, let's spend a few minutes on James Murney. James was born 31 Aug 1878 in Ballinran, County Down, Ireland.1 His family, and those of his uncles who remained in Ireland, are on the transcription of the 1901 Census of Ballincurry.2

On June 9, 1900, James Murney, Matthew Sloan, James O'Rourke, and Richard and Rose Farrell arrived on the SS Campania from Liverpool. James Murney and the others said that their last residence was Newry. It was the first trip to the United States for all of them. There are articles about all these people on this site, as well as information in the Cleveland Families tree.

James Murney was 21, a laborer, and was headed to a friend's home on Harvard St in Cleveland. He had paid for his own passage and was carrying $20 as well as a ticket to his destination. Based on James O'Rourke's information, James Murney was headed to the home of James O'Rourke's brother, William O'Rourke.3

On the 1900 Census taken just a few days previous to this, William O'Rourke was boarding at 1626 Harvard St with the family of Thomas and Susan Bolan.4 This address corresponds to about 86th and Harvard after the streets in Cleveland were re-numbered in 1906.5

I don't think either James or William remained with the Bolans for long. The O'Rourke family says that William spent some time at the home of his father in law, Edward "Ned" Rodgers at 2484 Elmo,6 and that is where we find James Murney also in the 1901 to 1905 Cleveland City Directories.7 This became 4025 East 89th after the street re-numbering.

While living with the Rodgers, James served as the best man at the wedding of William O'Rourke to one of the Rodgers' daughters, Anna (Rodgers) McCracken, on November 3, 1904 in Holy Name Church, at 89th and Broadway.8

James Murney returned to Ireland in 1905, re-entering the United States on September 1, on board the SS Lucania. On this trip he was accompanied by his brother William, a blacksmith, a cousin, John Hughes, 22 and also a blacksmith, and James O'Rourke, who had returned to Ireland also. James Murney said he was headed home to his cousin Peter Murney's house on Superior Ave,9 but he ended up with the Hughes family at 8323 Harvard (1906 Cleveland Directory).

In 1907 James became a policeman with the City of Cleveland, a position he held for the rest of his life. When he registered for the draft in 1918, he said he was stationed at Precinct 11. This was either on 105th near Euclid Ave, or at 105-- Euclid, the writing is unclear.11

From about 1907 and apparently until his marriage, James boarded with Catharine Hughes, her son John Henry, and daughter Catherine Logue, at 8807 Harvard Ave.12 We'll believe the census information that says that this John Hughes was born in Ohio, so he might not be the same John Hughes that arrived with James in 1905.

A family tree at ancestry.com gives the exact date of the marriage of James Murney to Helen Quinn as June 8, 1910.13 It would be interesting to learn who the best man was and where the marriage took place.

James and Helen purchased a home at 1262 East 83rd and raised two sons. In 1940 the house was worth $3200. James had worked 48 hours the previous week and 52 weeks in 1939 as a policeman for the city of Cleveland, for a yearly income of possibly $2419 (the amount is unclear.) James had received six years of education, his wife Helen had received eight.14

James died at Charity Hospital on April 10, 1941. He had suffered with stomach cancer the last year and one half of his life, and apparently was forced to retire from the police in November of 1940. The full names and birth places of both his parents appear on his death record. James was buried in Calvary Cemetery on April 14 from F. McGinty's at 8112 Superior.15

I pass this information along not because the Murneys' ancestry hasn't been researched, but mainly to show the inter-connections of all these families who emigrated from the Kilbroney and Kilkeel areas of County Down to the Newburgh section of Cleveland, Ohio. Check the tags and categories on this site for articles about some of the others.


  1. Ireland, Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881, familysearch.org
  2. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~meaneypj/CoDownStuff/1901Census/1901CensusKilbroneyCP/Page1-Kilbroney1901_Census.htm
  3. Ellisisland.org, via stevemorse.org for Steve Morse's One Step searches. Look for last names, because some of the first names were obliterated by tape. I found them by looking for Matthew Sloan, whose name was indexable, if not very readable.
  4. 1900 Federal Census, Ohio, Cuyahoga Co., 27th Ward of Cleveland.
    Series T623, Roll 1257, page 309, found at HeritageQuestOnline.com under "Rourke", but I haven't found it yet at Ancestry. You will need a library card to access HeritageQuest.
  5. For a guide to the Cleveland street re-organization, see the Cleveland Public Library's page at Old and New Street Numbers. or a kind soul's page at rootsweb: Cleveland Street Changes 1906.
  6. 1900 Census information for Edward and Ann Rodgers, Ohio, Cuyahoga Co., 26th Ward of Cleveland, Series T623, Roll 1257, page 177.
  7. Cleveland City Directories, at ancestry.com
  8. Photocopy of church marriage record for William O'Rourke, in possession of a descendant.
  9. Ellisisland.org, via stevemorse.org.
  10. Cuyahoga Co Naturalizations at rootsweb.com.
  11. City Directories and World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, ancestry.com.
  12. City Directories, and 1910 Census at ancestry.com, Roll: T624_1173; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0269.
  13. http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/4644209/person/930006270
  14. 1940 Census of Cleveland, ED 92-531, page 9, at Ancestry, but again via stevemorse.org for his 1940 Census ED finder.
  15. Image of death record at familysearch.org.