A Marital Union at the Dawn of the Civil War

Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church shortly after it was built in 1856.

Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Chicago, shortly after it was built in 1856.

It was April 14, 1861, just two days after the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, which ignited the American Civil War.

What was happening in your family history on that date?

For me, it was the marriage of my great-grandparents, Thomas Keating and Margaret McCarthy, who wed at St. Patrick’s Church, one of the oldest and most famous churches in the city of Chicago. It’s one of the few buildings in the city’s original business district to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Marriage certificate issued by Old St. Pat’s Catholic Church, Chicago, for my great-grandparents, for Mr. Thomas Keating”  and "Miss Maggie McCarthy” on 14 April 1861, the third day of the American Civil War.

Marriage certificate issued by Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Chicago, for my great-grandparents, “Mr. Thomas Keating” and “Miss Maggie McCarthy” on 14 April 1861, the third day of the American Civil War.

…It’s a church that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its history, architecture, and stained glass windows of traditional celtic design…

…a church that is steeped in the history and culture of Irish Catholics who immigrated to Chicago during the Great Potato Famine in the middle of the 19th century.

And that’s exactly when the McCarthys and the Keatings–immigrated from Ireland to start a new life in America for themselves and their descendants.

St. Patrick's Church Register of Marriages

St. Patrick’s Church Register of Marriages

Happy anniverary to me!

For Further Information

To learn more about the history of Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Irish Catholics in Chicago you may want to check out the following books:

  • “At the Crossroads: Old Saint Patrick’s and the Chicago Irish”  by Ellen Skerrett, Wild Onion Books, Loyola Press, Chicago, IL, c. 1997.
  •  “The Irish in Chicago”  by McCaffrey, Skerrett, Funchion and Fanning, University of Illinois Press, c. 1987.

To view photos of  Old St. Pat’s richly detailed stained glass windows designed by celebrated Irish artist, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, click on the Pinterest link below:

http://pinterest.com/bjpk/old-saint-patrick-s-church-in-chicago/

____

Old St. Pat's  still stands today at the corner of DesPlaines and Adams on Chicago's near west side.

Old St. Pat’s still stands today at the corner of Des Plaines and Adams on Chicago’s near west side.

Copyright © 2015 Patricia Desmond Biallas

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This entry was posted in American History, Biographies, Chicago History, Civil War, Family Legends, Ireland. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Marital Union at the Dawn of the Civil War

  1. toc5871 says:

    Great old photos of the church. My brother-in-law was married there about 15 years ago. I was so excited to get to see the inside. (As I am not Catholic, I never had a reason to visit).

  2. Jana Last says:

    Patricia,

    My great-granduncle Rolllin and his wife Cecelia were married in Chicago. I looked to see if they were also married in the same church as your great-grandparents, but they weren’t. Rollin and Cecelia Holy Name Cathedral.

    I also want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/04/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-april-17.html

    Have a great weekend!

    • Holy Name Cathedral is another renowned church here in Chicago, and the home church of our Archbishop. Quite a magnificent structure to hold a wedding in, even generations ago when your ancestors were married there. Come to Chicago, Jana, and we’ll tour that one together! Thanks too, for including this post among your “Fab Finds” this week.

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