John Dempsey and Mary Regan

John Michael Dempsey (my great-great-grandfather) was born in Ireland around 1853. I have not discovered a lot of information about him because he died in 1894. This means he is not enumerated in the all important 1900 Census. He would have been in the 1890 Census however, as we are all well aware of, the majority of the 1890 Census was destroyed by a fire in the 1920's (and damaged by water and finally purposely destroyed by our government). I have not been able to locate him in the 1870 or the 1880 Censuses. What little I do know is that John Dempsey immigrated to the United States and settled in Newark (Essex County), New Jersey. He married a Mary Regan (my guess is sometime in the 1870's/80's)and they had four sons in the 1880's.

John Michael Dempsey died February 28, 1894 at home in Newark, N.J. The cause of death, listed on his death certificate was consumption. In the 1900's consumption was known as tuberculosis. Consumption was a devastating disease. I do not have any documents detailing John's illness, but, most people suffered for years with the disease. Sometimes even for decades. By the late 19th Century most families, especially in urban areas like Newark, had firsthand experience with the disease. Someone's father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, aunt or uncle had succumbed to the disease. Consumption was identifiable by a hollow cough, a wasting of the body, night sweats and daily intermittent fevers. Doctors at the time identified three stages to the disease.
First Phase Dry persistent cough, irritation in the throat, pains in the chest and shoulders, slightly increased pulse, difficulty breathing especially during exercise.
Second Phase
Third Phase
Despite these symptoms and/or stages the person's mind was not affected and the consumptive patient usually had all his wits about him/her to their death.

Dempsey coat of arms

Dempsey family of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.
~1860's - 1960's

Baumann coat of arms

Baumann family of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.
~1850's - 1950's

McGinley coat of arms

McGinley family of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.
~1900's - 1940's

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
Lesley Poles Hartley



  ** Thanks to John Dempsey (my uncle) for finding the coat of arms images.