Biography - Patrick McEvoy

PATRICK G. McEVOY, Principal of the New Burnside public schools, where he taught some years since, and to which he returned in 1891, was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1849. His father was Patrick G. McEvoy, and his mother Mary A. Griffin. She was the daughter of Michael and Mary (Langan) Griffin, of the same part of Ireland in which Mr. McEvoy was born, and their country-seat was known as Fairy Lawn Cottage, in Limerick County. Mary (Langan) Griffin was of a prominent family. Her three brothers were participants in the Irish Rebellion, and were also among the patriots of the Revolutionary War under Gen. Montgomery. William Griffin was a physician and surgeon in the British army, and for his valuable services was afterward made a baronet.
The father of the subject of this sketch was one of fifteen children, and our subject himself is one of a family of fourteen, which consisted of seven sons and seven daughters. He is the seventh child and fourth son in order of birth. The father of these fourteen children died in Ireland in 1872, at the advanced age of eighty years. He was a business man and was for many years the mercantile agent of a large house in New York City. The subject of this sketch was sent to the kindergarten when four years of age, and was kept in the public schools up to his thirteenth year. He was then placed in the Normal Training School in Dublin, and afterward in the University of Dublin, where he pursued a course in civil engineering, graduating by examination about the close of the year 1867. His entire family were identified with the Fenian troubles of 1867, and though but a mere lad at the time, he actively participated and soon afterward fled to the United States. He came from Cork to New York in May, 1868, and then went to Scranton, Pa., where he worked on the construction of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad one month, when he joined the engineer corps, taking the compass, which position he held until the following spring. His first teaching in this country was as Principal of the Saint Joseph's Academy in Martinsburgh, Berkeley County, W. Va., which he taught three years, and during the summers attended lectures in Georgetown, D. C., graduating there in his twenty-third year. He has since then taught in the Archer Avenue Christian Brothers' School in Chicago, as professor of mathematics and bookkeeping. His next work was at New Burnside in 1874, teaching the district school one mile west, and in 1880 he came to his present position. He was three years in Jonesborough as Principal of the schools, having five teachers under his inspection.
Our subject was married February 9, 1875, to Miss Mary Ann, daughter of John and Ellen (Cunningham) McCabe, both of Ireland. She was born and reared in Burnside Township, and there received all her education except that which she received at Quincy, Ill. She began teaching when twenty-two years of age and has been thus engaged ever since in New Burnside, except two terms when she taught in the district school in this township. She was seriously ill with la grippe in the winter of 1891-92, and her health is still impaired, otherwise she would be engaged in teaching at the present time. She is still in love with her calling and is considered the most successful lady teacher in this part of the State. Her mother, Mrs. Ellen McCabe, widow of the late John McCabe, who died May 26, 1888, aged sixty years, still survives. John McCabe was born in Ireland, Kings County, and was the son of a farmer named Matthew McCabe, who came to the United States in 1849, bringing with him his wife and six sons and two daughters. One son, John, and one daughter, Mary, had come to this country about one year before. The family first lived a year or two in Ohio, where the father worked in railroad construction, and the mother kept boarders. They then removed to Johnson County, Ill., and bought eighty acres of land, which was partly improved, and upon this farm the parents lived and died. The father died in 1861, aged eighty years, and his widow survived him some twenty-four years and died at about eighty years of age. The family are all gone but two sons and two daughters. John McCabe and Ellen Cunningham had never met in their native land, but after coming to America were brought together, and married July 23, 1849, in New York City.
Mrs. McCabe came over in 1847, when she was twenty-five years of age. She was a daughter of Thomas and Catharine Cunningham, who, though of the same name, were not related. She was one of ten children, six sons and four daughters. The parents of these children were well-to-do farmers and owned their farm. Mr. Cunningham was a well-educated man and gave his children good advantages in that line, and of the sons four were classically educated and two of them became clergymen. One by one, the sons all crossed the sea to the United States but one, who is still living in Ireland on the old home farm. Mrs. McCabe went to service about one year in Connecticut before she met and married her husband. They came to Illinois in 1854 and settled in Johnson County, living one year in the bend of the Mississippi, and clearing up ten acres of land. With the proceeds of the crops of potatoes and corn and some stock which he raised thereon, together with some money he earned at his trade of stone mason and plasterer, at the end of three years he bought two hundred acres of land at $2 per acre, which is still owned by Mrs. McCabe. They lived on that land, which, when bought, was new and all densely timbered, for twenty-eight years. They built at first a rude log house, in which they lived many years, until it went to decay. Mrs. McCabe, during the first eight years of their pioneer life, cooked over a large log fire until they could afford a stove, and within twenty years of their first purchase they owned six hundred acres of land, which cost them from $2 to $15 per acre, and is nearly all in the family at the present time. Mrs. McCabe herself owns one hundred and twenty acres. Twelve acres of the farm are now occupied by village homes. Mr. and Mrs. McCabe buried four children in early childhood and infancy and reared four, two sons and two daughters. One daughter, Catharine, wife of Patrick Hanagan, died at thirty years of age, leaving three children, one son and two daughters. The two daughters are living with their grandmother, Mrs. McCabe. Those of Mrs. McCabe's children who are still living are as follows: Mary Ann, wife of Patrick McEvoy, Principal of the New Burnside public schools; James P., a farmer on one hundred and twenty acres of the home farm, who has a wife, one son and three daughters; Thomas, a farmer on two hundred and forty acres of the home farm, who has a wife, three sons and two daughters. Mr. and Mrs. McCabe bought eighty acres here before the railroad came through and erected a good brick dwelling in 1879. He was a hard-working man, and was of iron frame and of indomitable will, never giving up in the struggle of life, even for the frequent attacks of malaria. He served in the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Illinois Infantry during the Civil War three years, and was then transferred to the Ninth Illinois Regiment. He returned from the war affected with chronic dysentery, from which he never recovered. Mr. and Mrs. McCabe were life-long Catholics and gave their children a good education. Mrs. McCabe was a grand heroine of the war, doing all kinds of farm work during the absence of her husband in the field, and to her labor and good judgment are due the credit and the praise for the financial success of the family both before and since the death of her husband.
Mr. McEvoy has seen many of the ups and downs of life for a man of his years, and he is now well known as a thoroughly competent and successful teacher. This devoted couple, though not themselves blessed with children, are doing a good work in educating the children of this section of the State. Mr. McEvoy has a little farm of forty-five acres within the village corporation, which was named Fairy Lawn to perpetuate the name of his native home. On this he keeps stock of the best breeds and some pure blood Poland-China hogs of the Philadelphia breed. He has a fine orchard of thirty-eight acres of all kinds of fruit. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously a Catholic. Mr. and Mrs. McEvoy have some bright pets, two mocking birds, one a prodigy in its way, which has learned a great variety of music and acquired great fluency in the art of mimicry. This noted gentleman and wife are, as will have been seen by the reader of this sketch, one of the most useful, highly esteemed and interesting couples in this part of the State.

Extracted 13 May 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 373-375.

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