1910 Letter from Nenagh, Tipperary, to Oakland, Califorinia

1910 Letter from Nenagh, Tipperary,
to Oakland, Califorinia1

In 1910, Richard G Powell of Oakland, California, received a letter from Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. It was sent in care of Matthew Ryan, at 487 Moss Avenue. Can this envelope help us determine Richard's county of origin in Ireland, if any?

Richard was lodging in Ward 4 of Oakland at the time of the 1910 Census, but not with Matthew Ryan. The census information said that Richard was 29, married, and born in Ireland. It said he arrived in this country in 1905.2 He was in Oakland for the 1920 Census,3 as well as in a few city directories I checked: 1911, 1915, and 1927. He worked as a motorman or car operator for the street railway.4

Richard actually arrived in the United States September 4, 1907, aboard the SS Carmania, which had left Liverpool August 27. He was 27, married, and headed to the home of his brother in law, William Workman, at 1220 Geary Street, San Francisco. His last residence had been Linacre, England, and his contact person there was his wife at 27 Mildmay Road, Linacre. Richard's passenger's manifest said that his birthplace was Gortmore, Ireland.5

At this point I thought I would take a shot at the Irish civil registrations for Richard's birth, since I had a pretty good idea of when he was born. I found a birth record that looked like him: March 14, 1881, in Gortmore, Nenagh Registration District, County Tipperary. His parents were Caleb Powell, a farmer and Jane Powell, formerly Kennedy.6

Confirming that this was he, I next found his Declaration of Intention to be a US citizen in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, on June 24, 1927: Richard Gamble Powell, 46, a motorman living at 1209 45th Street, Oakland, was born March 15, 1881, in Nenagh, Ireland, and had arrived in the United States 4 September 1907, on the SS Carmania. His wife Margaret, also born in Ireland, was living with him.7

I didn't find Richard on the 1930 Census, and haven't looked for him in the City Directories for the late 1920's or 1930's. He died in California on Febrary 6, 1936, and is buried in Artesia Cemetery, Cerritos, California.8

Margaret Workman

If you remember, when Richard Powell arrived in the United States, he said he was headed to the home of his brother-in-law, William Workman. When William registered for the World War I Draft, he said he was born 27 May 1880 in Ireland, and that his contact person was his sister Catherine Workman in San Francisco.9 I was able to find birth records for William, Catherine, and Margaret Workman in Culduff Townland, Ballymoney, County Antrim, children of John and Anna (Campbell) Workman. William was born May 27, 1880, as he said; Catherine on March 22, 1873, and Margaret Jane on April 4, 1877. 10 In 1920, William and Catherine were both living at 1014 Ellis St, San Francisco. I didn't find Margaret. As mentioned, her husband Richard was lodging on his own in Oakland.

Margaret entered the United States quite a few times. The first trip that I found was on April 3, 1922, aboard the SS Cameronia. She was 45, married, born in Ballymoney, Ireland, and heading to Brooklyn, New York, which had been her last permanent residence. Her occupation was midwife, overwritten with nurse. She had been in the United States before, in San Francisco from 1909 to 1922. I didn't find her arrival in 1909.

On February 2, 1923, Margaret, with a group of five other nurses, arrived on the SS Mauretania. Their last residence was Nenagh, Ireland, and their contact person in Ireland was 'a friend' Miss Powell, in Nenagh. They were headed to Manhattan.

And on November 24, 1924, Margaret arrived alone on the SS Cameronia, headed again to Manhattan. This time she identified her contact person in Ireland as her daughter Jean Powell, of Nenagh, County Tipperary. She gave her last permanent residence as New York. 11

The last definite trace I found of Margaret was on the 1940 Census of Manhattan. There is a Margaret Powell, widow, with two years of college, born in Northern Ireland, living at 456 45th Street. She was evidently retired, since she had not worked the previous week or year.12 I found a few Margaret Powells buried in the New York City area, but none of them matched Margaret (Workman) Powell.

Their Children

Remember that when arriving in 1924 Margaret Powell mentioned a daughter Jean in Nenagh, Tipperary. In 1911, Jean and her sister Elizabeth were living with their father's mother in Gortmore. Jean was 7 and Elizabeth was 6, at least according to the census. They were both born in England.13

A note on Richard Powell's findagrave page calls the daughters Anna Powell Keays and Elizabeth Powell Keays. A tree at MyHeritage.com says that Anna Jane/Jean was born on February 14 1904 and married William John Keays on April 27, 1932, in Killaloe, County Clare.14

© Ed Hamilton, April 27, 2018


^1. The image of the envelope is used by permission of the Jim Forte Postal History site and can be found on this page of the site, unless it has been sold. I am not connected with the site.

^2. 1910 Census, Oakland Ward 4, Alameda, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 118, sheet 18A. No image at familysearch, incorrectly linked.

^3. 1920 Census, Oakland, Alameda, California, United States; citing ED 88, sheet 6A, line 11, family 149.

^4. City Directories of Alameda County, San Francisco Public Library.

^5. Ellis island passenger manifests. Start at One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse

^6. Irish civil registrations.

^7. Richard Gamble Powell in California County Naturalizations, 1849-1985, at familysearch.org

^8. Richard Gamble Powell, memorial 10218160, at findagrave.

^9. William Boyd Workman, in United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, at familysearch.org.

^10. Irish civil registrations.

^11. Ellis island passenger manifests. Start at One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse

^12. 1940 Census, Assembly District 5, Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 31-437, sheet 9B, line 57, family 217

^13. 1911 Census of Ireland, house 10 in Gortmore (Burgesbeg, Tipperary).

^14. https://www.myheritage.com/names/william_keays

© Ed Hamilton, April 26, 2018

Tagged in: Postal Cover Articles