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GRADY/MACDONALD line of Joe Nix's Family Genealogy

Edition of December 2011

A cousin of my mother and aunt, Joe Gartland, Jr., over 24 years traveled over the northeastern U.S. and Canada with five trips to Ireland in compiling a massive amount his Gartland family history including, Healey, Grady, Kerr and McGee. In 1982 he published and copyrighted a 200 page illustrated book, "The Gartlands of Augher, Tyrone'. He wrote me shortly before he passed away in 1987 that he hoped some of the family would carry on his work.

In a phone conversation with my brother Robert on Oct 9, 2004 he related how a Desiree Kerr had migrated to Montreal and married. He recalled meeting her at a family wake in Boston. He said he was 'just maturing' which would be about 1945 which 'seems about right'. I would have been 13 and only recall 'fragments of images' of the wakes in Boston of my mother's side of the family.

I have reproduced below page 123 of that book with anything I add or edit footnoted as (1).(2)..etc..

THE FOURTH CHILD - ELLEN (Mrs. John Macdonald)

Ellen T. Grady, the fourth child, (1) was born on February 2, 1871. She was employed as a cashier. On November 26, 1896 she married John Macdonald, a native of Pictou, Nova Scotia. John was a good-looking, agreeable fellow, a butcher employed by Cook and Huckins, Roxbury (2). Briefly he managed the Forest Hills Hotel. For many years he managed the Eliot Street Garage.6


On March 9, 1899 Ellen became the mother of twins, Harriet and Josephine, the first Grady grandchildren. A winning way with children was part of Ellen's personality. She often displayed a mock seriousness with a niece or nephew, all the while teasing them. She was lots of fun and a great favorite of Grady grandchildren. For many years the family lived on Hampstead Road, a steep hill in Jamaica Plan, near the 203 Arborway and South Street. Ellen died on December 24, 1921 at about 51 years of age and John died on December 28, 1930 at age 61. They are buried at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.(3)

Harriet married Joseph P. Nix, a Providence (R.I.) native. The wedding date was November 26, 1925. They were parents of Harriet, Robert and Joseph P., Jr. The father was a self-employed dinner-ware salesman. He died on January 23, 1955 at age 60. The twins received their schooling at West Roxbury High School and were employed in Boston Insurance offices. (4). Josephine remained single. These sisters were inseparable and were always favorites among cousins. (5) 


  •  the 4th child of the twelve children of Ned and Margaret Grady of Boston.
  •  Massachusetts as are all place names unless indicated otherwise.
  • 3.  Ellen was 50 and died reportedly while undergoing surgery for stomach cancer. Josephine is also buried in St. Joseph Cemetery.
  • 3, The cemetery is in West Roxbury, Massachusetts and is managed by the Holyhood Association. The area in the cemetery is called 'the field of St. Anthony' . The grave of 'Honey Fitz' Fitzgerald, Rose Kennedy's father is nearby.
  • Josephine became head cashier of the Boston office of Massachusetts Mutual from where she retired. Harriet did not work after marriage until 1940 when she worked at the Waltham plant of Raytheon from which she retired about 1966.
  • they were not identical but each uniquely hilarious, tales of which I have written up and hope to reference to these pages.
  • 6. I believe the Eliot St Garage may have been at 64 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain, however  I found this posting online, "Part of Stuart St. was called Eliot St. many years ago; in fact, I seem to recall that the name of the parking garage located a few doors down from the Plymouth/Gary Theatre entrance was the Eliot Street Garage." That would be in Boston's Theatre District, Washington and Kneeland Streets.

  • The Macdonald lineage.  Slightly edited by me from a letter my brother Robert wrote in 1997.

    The big challenge that my sister (Harriet) has taken on is the Macdonald/Macdonald segment......... Harriet's task is difficult because Macdonald was an extremely common name in the Scottish Highlands (and later in Nova Scotia) and both are great grandparents bore the same name (surname). Our mother's middle name, Livingston, is almost certainly from the next generation back (either maternal or paternal great-great grandparent). At  this point,  the most likely situation is that our Macdonalds came from the Inner Hebrides Islands. Therefore they would have left Scotland for Nova Scotia in the 1800-1815 period when their main crop, kelp, failed. Josephine knew that at first in Nova Scotia they captained fishing boats and later became shipbuilders. Our grandfather, John Aloysius Macdonald virtually walked from either Pictou or Antigonish, Nova Scotia to Boston at age 14. His major motivation was to get away from a cruel stepmother.  (I presume that he found others from his part of Nova Scotia and found enough work to pay his room and board, in the same manner our paternal grandfather did at age 16 in Providence R.I., coming in from Ireland.  Which reminds me, John Macdonald was Canadian born and would have had to become a US citizen.).  He died in 1930 while living with his son Joseph's family at 24 Edward St. Belmont, Mass.

    We had no close Macdonald side relatives. Our mother and aunt Josephine had one first cousin on the Macdonald side, Joseph McCarthy of Medford MA, who married Florence Birmingham and they had only one child, Virginia.  Virginia was a professor of gymnastics at Sargent College, a division of Tufts University. Virginia died fairly young of cancer, unmarried.


    There was another Ellen Grady in my mother's line who at age 16 married on February 24, 1852 George Spellesy, age 22, a farmer in Southboro, Massachusetts. So I have added the following from Sean Spellissy's book, "The Merchants of Ennis", published in 1996 for Ennis Chamber of Commerce by
    On Stream Publications Ltd.
    Cloghroe, Blarney, Co. Cork
    Tel/fax 353 21 385798

    Dedicated to my cousins

  •  Katherine Anne Maria Patricia Spellissy Kelsey of Ashford, Kent, England
  • Bernard "Bernie" Spellissy of Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
  • Notation for SPELLISSY surname prior to 1912:
    The SPELLISSY family arrived into Ennis from Tirmaclane in the early 1700's John Spellissy, a victualler, became a collector in 1768, and was a market juror in 1791. His son, John was a tanner in the meat market, and had a butcher's shop on the site now occupied by Ethel O'Halloran's house on Summerhill. Michael Spellissy was listed as a "convert from popery" in 1775; Malachy, a chandler, was a bailiff in 1791; and hugh, a tanner, served as a collector, freeman, market juror, overseer, scavenger and serjeant at mace. Hugh had his business premises in Mill Street in 1788, and John was a medical doctor in Jail Street in the same year. Dennis Spellissy was living in Jail Street in 1784, and later served as a grand juror and scavenger in 1809. In 1846 John Spellissy was a butcher in Jail street; John, James and Jeremiah Spellissy kept butcher's stalls in the market; and Eliza Spellissy was a linen draper and haberdasher in Mill Street. In 1893, Christopher Spellissy was a victualler in Mill Street, and Patrick Spellissy was a victualler in Jail Street.
    Also note the The Griffiths Valuation Index, for County Clare in 1855 had the following:
    Spellissy, John County : Clare
    Parish : Drumcliff
    Location : Clonroad More

    Ginny "O" Chung had a family data surname index on line which contained the names of Joe Gartland's book with many added from her research and some from mine. We are related by marriage through the 'Healy', 'Gartland' and 'Grady' lines.

    WILLIAM LEO MULCAHY Jr., at the Chelsea Veterans Home, Chelsea, Massachusetts, February 27, 2001. Brother of Marian A. Chase of Melrose, Barbara Witham of Parker, AZ, Also survived by three nieces, 2 nephews and several grand nieces and nephews. Funeral will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery Chapel, 302 Elm St. Everett on Saturday, March 10th at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours will be held at Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St. Melrose on Friday March 9th from 2-7 pm.  Burial in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett. WWII Army Veteran, Retired Professor University of Lowell.Taken from an email copy of a newspaper death notice sent to me from Winthrop Mass.

    Bill Mulcahy was a first cousin of my mother who with her twin sister were the first 'Grady' grandchildren of the 12 children of Ned and Margaret Grady of East Boston, MA. I've excerpted and edited the following from 'The Gartland's of Augher, Tryone' by Joseph A. Gartland, Jr, published privately and copyrighted in 1982 in Dedham, MA.

     "W. Leo (Billy) Mulcahy, Jr. was born January 6, 1918, Marian A on in 1920 and Barbara Anne five years later. Young Bill graduated from Boston Latin School where he played baseball and from Harvard. (class of '39) plus a masters from Salem State College. He served in the army in Germany and for five years was an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and 10 years for the Treasury Department. Bill did insurance claims work for a private concern and handled many arson cases. Later he headed security forces at Jordan Marsh (Boston). He taught high school classes and was a professor for 25 years at the University of Lowell. His father's wit had rubbed off on him. He was a pianist and had resided in Lowell at 250 Nesmith St. A bachelor he was devoted to his sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins."


    KIA, Nov. 29, 1950

    Lester Chase was married to Marian Mulcahy, a first cousin of my mother who with her twin sister were the first 'Grady' grandchildren of the 12 children of Ned and Margaret Grady of East Boston, MA. I've excerpted and edited the following from 'The Gartland's of Augher, Tryone' by Joseph A. Gartland, Jr, published privately and copyrighted in 1982 in Dedham, MA.

     "Marian A, Mulcahy was born Feb 3, 1920 and married Lester Chase on October 26, 1946. He was then 30 years of age and native of Exeter, New Hampshire. His record at Exeter and Dartmouth as scholar and athlete was outstanding. He held a responsible position with American Optical Company. (Southbridge MA). Les was a very attractive young man. He returned to the states after a tour of duty in the Korean conflict. Later on his second assignment, he was killed. Marian, formerly employed as a secretary in the Charlestown public schools resides in Melrose."

    Via my posting to the Korean War Project Korean War Project Database   I gathered the following information on Captain Chase;  Service Number: 015428, Unit: 1 Marine Division D Company 1 Tank Battalion, KIA Nov. 29, 1950 in the Chosin Reservoir action.  I learned from Bill Furey, a Marine Corps veteran of the Mulcahy's hometown, Winthrop MA who knew the Mulcahys that "Capt. Chase was in in many battles in WW ll, and was the holder of the Silver Star for gallantry in action." 

    Also via an exchange of email with George Shepard, Commander of the Korean War Vets chapter in Worcester, MA  I learned that a veteran who was with Capt Chase in Korea that he was shot by a long range sniper while leading his tank battalion as commander.  Through an open hatch Capt Chase was  surveying the field ahead with binoculars. George Shepherd held a memorial in May 2000 for all casualties from Worcester County.

    Bill Furey emailed me a photograph of a memorial stone in a Winthrop MA which on Memorial Day 2000 was made more readily visible.  For many years the Korean era KIA names were obscure to the public being on the backside of Vietnam KIA names. The Korean War names are Lester Chase USMC, Peter Hayes USA and Albert O'Shea USA

     Click here to see large photo of memorial tombstone

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