The Descendants of Patrick Lally and Mary Reilly of Ballynacregga

1.  Patrick Lally and Mary Reilly

One of the more interesting Wilmington Lally families of the second half of the nineteenth century is that of the descendants of Patrick Lally and his wife, Mary Reilly of Ballynacregga, County Galway. [1]   The descendants of John Lally, almost certainly Patrick's brother, are also shown in the Family History section of this web site. 

  1.1     Michael Lally  (1826 - 23 Jan 1879)
Born in County Galway, reportedly in 1826, Michael Lally operated a wine and liquor business at 428 West Front Street from 1862 until 1873. [2]   During this time, he lived at 3 Washington Street. [3]   He may be the same twenty-two year-old Michael Lally who sailed from the port of Galway aboard the Messenger with fellow passengers Edward Hart and Bridget Hannon Hart in 1848. [4]
Less than two blocks from Michael's place of business, his brother Patrick Lally opened a wine and liquor business at 200 Tatnall Street.  Another brother, Thomas R. Lally, became a prominent attorney and a land conveyancer in Wilmington.  His sister, Mary, lived nearby. [5]

Michael died intestate on 23 January 1879. The County Assessor valued Michael's real estate at $6,000 value.  Claims against these assets appear to total $3,559. 42.  A large monument erected by his brother, the Reverend John J. Lally, stands in a prominent place in the Cathedral Cemetery in Wilmington (Plot #233).

The names of Michael's siblings are listed in a petition submitted to The Orphan's Court of New Castle, Delaware on 3 February 1880. [6]
That the said decedent left to survive him the following next of kin, he being unmarried through life.   Brothers John J. Lally, Thomas R. Lally, and your petitioner Patrick Lally, Sisters Mary Walsh formerly Mary Lally now the wife of Thomas Walsh – Katharine Connelly formerly Katharine Lally, Bridget Carroll formerly Bridget Lally and the following children of William Lally deceased who was a brother of the decedent viz: Mary Lally, Kate Lally, Patrick Lally, Anne Lally, and Julia Lally. [7]

After his brother Patrick was named the administrator of Michael Lally's estate, his siblings petitioned the registrar of wills in New Castle County to remove him from this responsibility, charging that Patrick had used their share of the proceeds of Michael's estate to extricate himself from bankruptcy. The testimony contained in the estate papers reveals that the dispute was rather acrimonious. “The said Patrick Lally is only entitled to about one-fourth share of said estate, yet without consulting the other heirs, indeed against their wishes, has administered thereon.”  Edward Mulligan, a witness for the plaintiffs in the dispute, declared, “He lacks business capacity.  I heard his own lady say to him he was too easy.  She said he was too slack or too innocent to conduct his own business.  Mr. Thomas Lally and myself were present.”  Mr. Mulligan also complained that he had frequently tried to collect payment of debts Patrick owed him.”

Patrick, however, had his defenders.  Philip G. Plunkett, who said he had known Patrick, John, Thomas, and Mary for ten years attested, “I am in the liquor business wholesale myself.  I think [Patrick] competent to administer the estate.  If it had been my case, if it had been my brother, I should not have objected to him.”  In other sworn testimony James McKenna declared, “I know Patrick Lally, have know him for 9 years, have had some little business dealings with him.  I never heard but a few speak disreputably of him and they are his relations.”

After receiving testimony from a number of witnesses, the registrar ruled that Patrick's indebtedness did not disqualify him as the administrator for the estate. [8] In a document dated 9 January 1878, his wife, Ellen Flynn Lally, having received one dollar from Edward Mulligan renounced all rights to any assets to property owned by her husband Patrick.

1.2    Mary Lally (ca. 1830- May 1893) and Thomas Walsh (ca.1827- 17 Jan. 1892)

On 24 May 1848, the sailing ship Messenger arrived at the Port of New York, having left Galway City at the height of the Great Famine.   Listed among its passengers were Michael Lally (age 28) and Mary Lally (age 20). Immediately below their names on the passenger list are those of Edward Hart and his wife Biddy (Bridget Hannon Hart). [9]   It seems probable that Michael and Mary were the children of Patrick Lally and Mary Reilly of Ballynacregga, Co. Galway and they were neighbors of the Harts of Loggawannia and the Hannons of Carrownacroagh.  This assertion is strengthened by the fact that the ages of Michael and Mary on the passenger list match the approximate dates of birth recorded on their death certificates.

Mary Lally married Thomas Walsh on Christmas Day in 1860 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington. Patrick Lally, probably her brother, and Catherine Morrison were their witnesses.  The Baptismal Register for the Cathedral Parish of St. Peter contains records for three of their children:

1.2.1   Thomas Lally

Thomas Francis was born 12 October 1866.  His baptismal sponsors were Thomas Lally, perhaps his uncle, and Margaret Menton, likely a relative of Mary T. Menton who later married John J. Lally.

1.2.2   John Joseph Lally

John Joseph Lally born 14 February 1868 and his sponsors were Michael Lally and Margaret Gorman. 

1.2.3 Michael Lally

Their third son, Michael, born 11 August 1870, had as his baptismal sponsors John Lally and Mary Murphy. [10]

Thomas and Mary Walsh lived at 413 West 2nd Street.  She joined her brothers Thomas and John in signing the petition to remove her brother Patrick as administrator of her late brother Michael's estate.

On 24 January 1892 Thomas died at the age of sixty-five.  Mary died soon afterwards on 6 May 1892 at the age of sixty-two. Thomas R. Lally, Mary's brother, filed inventories for their estates on 17 August 1893.  Thomas left Mary assets amounting to $350 but his obligations equaled that amount. Mary's estate was valued at $1,350. [11]

1.3      Patrick Lally  (ca. 1837- 2 January 1886) and Ellen Flynn (ca. 1840) [12]

Patrick was born in Ireland circa 1835.  Ellen Flynn, whom he married 31 Jan 1864, was also born in County Galway, Ireland around 1841. [13] The couple had eight children, three of whom remained in Ballynacregga after the others left for Wilmington. [14]

The first listing of a Patrick Lally appears in the 1865-66 edition city directory. He lived on the premises and ran a liquor and wines establishment located at 112 Orange Street.  It cannot be demonstrated that this person is the brother of Michael, though it is reasonable to suppose that he was.   City directories from 1866 to 1881 do show that a Patrick Lally, who is certainly the brother of Michael, operated wines and liquor business at 200 Tatnall Street, just a short block away from Orange Street. [15]   Strategically situated on the opposite side of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad tracks from the Harlan & Hollingsworth Co. shipyard, railroad car, and streetcar factories, Patrick no doubt attracted many mill workers to his saloon and liquor store. From 1866 to about 1871, Patrick and Ellen lived at 110 Washington Street, about two blocks west of his place of business.  By 1872 the family took up residence four blocks further west at 200 Madison Street.  Two years later they moved to 221 West 2nd Street.

Patrick and Ellen had six children:

Child      Birth Date
Burial [16]
Patrick, Jr.
   8 Mar 1865
   19 Mar 1865
St. Peter 
  7   Jan 1886
Mary Agnes 
7 Sep 1867 
9 Sep 1866
St. Peter   
  31  Dec 1947
13 Sep 1868 
20 Sep  1868
St. Peter   
  12 Dec 1870 
18 Dec 1870 
St. Peter   
26 Jan 1872
2 Feb  1872  
St. Paul
8 Jun 1875
13 Jun  1875
St. Paul

The 1870 U.S. Census lists their children, Winifred Flinn (Flynn) (28), a house domestic, and Peter Coyne, a clerk in a liquor store, lived with them.  By time of the 1880 U.S. Census, Winnie Flynn, now listed as a sister-in-law, resided in their home. [17] Patrick may have lost his liquor establishment.  City directories for the years 1882-1884 list a Patrick Lally living at 200 Madison employed as a boilermaker for the P. & J. Co. of Wilmington.  It is possible that this person may have been his eldest son.  A year or so later, the family moved to Philadelphia. On 2 January 1886, Patrick Lally died of exhaustion, perhaps at his home on 1616 S. 17th Street.  His remains were interred at the Cathedral Cemetery in Wilmington. [18]  

Except for her son Edward, his widow, Ellen Lally, and five of her children resided at 48 South 51st Street, according the 1910 US Census for Philadelphia. [19]  

  1.4     William Lally (1838  - 1878)

William Lally, who remained in Ireland, is the deceased and unnamed brother cited in litigation surrounding the appointment of Patrick as executor to the estate of his brother Michael.  He married Bridget Burke of Clydagh. [20]   

  1.4.1  Catherine Lally

Catherine Lally married John Glynn in 1896.  After her husband died, she was turned away from the Glynn homestead and returned to live with her brother Patrick until she remarried in 1898, this time to Michael Geraghty, a neighbor from Ballynacregga.  The Geraghtys eventually inherited the Lally homestead.  Michael died in 1921 and she herself in 1939.  The couple had four children. Thomas (Tommy), born in 1889, married but had no children.  He died in 1960. John was born in 1901 and died a young man in 1930. William (Willie) was born 1903.    Born in 1907, Elizabeth (Lizzie) lived a long life, mostly in Ballynacregga.  She never married.

1.4.2   Julia Lally

Born in 1874, Julia emigrated to Wilmington.  She is listed as a witness to the marriage of Catherine Carroll and John Cavanaugh in 1901 along with William F. Carroll.  Her first cousin, Father John Connelly, performed that ceremony.  She is also listed as a sponsor at the baptism of John A. Cavanaugh, Catherine Carroll's first child and is listed as the godmother for Herbert McDonagh, son of Thomas McDonagh and Julia Connelly (the priest's sister).   Both ceremonies took place in Wilmington's St. Paul Church.

1.4.3 Bridget Lally

Bridget Lally, born in 1895, married John Burke of County Galway in St. Paul Church.  At this time it is not known if this man was also from Ballynacregga nor has additional information about Bridget yet been found.

1.4.4 Pat Lally (1864 - 1950)

The 1901 Irish Census shows that Pat Lally was born in 1864. He attended Clydagh National School until he was sixteen and took over the land from his mother after her death in 1900. The census also lists his wife, Mary Higgins from Donnaghpatrick whom, he married in October 1899.  The couple has five children in all:  Bridget (born 1900), William (b. 1901), Margaret (b. 1902), Patrick (b. 1904) who died just ten weeks later, and John (b. 1905).

The Lally home no longer exists and the last who lived here was Pat himself.

  1.5     Thomas R. Lally (6 Jan 1839-29 May 1902) and Mary G. Dunn (1857 -23 Sep 1900)

Thomas R. Lalley was born in County Galway, Ireland, probably on 6 January 1839.  A biographical sketch published by Every Evening in 1894 states that he was born in 1842 and came to the United States in 1858.  Settling first in Philadelphia, PA, he worked as a messenger boy for a drug store before moving to Washington, D. C. where he was a government clerk for seven years.  During this time, he studied law at Columbia University in Washington and became a member of the Washington Bar.  In 1874, he moved to Wilmington, DE, working as a clerk at French and Water streets before beginning his career as an attorney and land conveyancer.  His biographer describes him as “one of the most active businessmen in Wilmington … interested in the Industrial Improvement Company of Wilmington.” [21]    He, too, signed the Petition and Evidence in the Michael Lally Estate and may have drawn up the legal documents himself since there is no other attorney of record in this case. 

City directories from 1870 to 1874 show that he was a clerk employed at French and Water Streets.  Later directories list him as a Counselor-at-Law with offices first at 821 Market Street and later at 602 1/2 Market Street.  He resided at the Delaware House.

On 24 April 1878 Father Reid assisted by the brother of Thomas, Father John J. Lally, married Thomas and Mary Genifer Dunn of New York.  Their home was on 621 West 4th Street. Mary died 23 September 1900.  Two years later on 29 May 1902, her husband Thomas died of meningitis.  Both are buried in the New Cathedral Cemetery along with his brother Michael. [22]   They had three children. [23]

  1.5.1   Joseph T. Lally (4 Jan 1882 - 4 Jan. 1916) and Mabel Vaughn (1888-1944)

Born 4 January 1882 and baptized 19 Jan 1882, Joseph Thomas later in life became a liquor dealer.  His baptismal sponsors were John Lally and Mary Newell. He married Maybelle Vaughn, the daughter of John Vaughn and Margaret (Maggie) Coley Southwick on 21 October 1903 at Asbury M. E. Church in Wilmington.  The couple had two children. [24]

Joseph died of tuberculosis on 4 January 1916 and is buried in the Lally Plot at the New Cathedral Cemetery with his father and mother. After the death of her husband, Mabel (Maybelle) worked as a clerk in the Powder Mill and assisted her mother in running a boarding house. Mabel died 27 December 1944.   Gladys Rita Lally (20 Oct 1904 - 5 March 1971)

Born in Wilmington on 20 October 1904,s Gladys attended St. Paul School and graduated as a secretary.  On 9 January 1925 she married Thomas James Sullivan.  They had three children: Eugene Vaughn, Thomas James, Jr., and Gertrude.

After her husband contracted tuberculosis in 1937, Gladys worked as a secretary in the film department of the DuPont Company.   Her family subsequently resided with her mother and her grandfather, John Vaughn, at 1702 Washington Street.  Her husband, Thomas, died at the Veterans Hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania on 20 March 1951. Gladys remarried to Thomas Horan of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and she and her daughter lived him and his three sons until his death.  She died on 5 March 1971 at the home of her son Thomas Sullivan and is buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Plot 79 Section A, Wilkes-Barre.    Margaret Vaughn Lally (1910 - 1944)

Margaret Vaughn Lally was born in 1910 died of bronchial pneumonia 18 April 1912. Four years later her father died of tuberculosis on 4 June 1916.  After the death of her husband Mabel worked as a clerk in the Powder Plant and assisted her mother running a boarding house.  Mabel died 27 December 1944.

1.5.2        Thomas Reilly Lally, Jr. (4 March 1885 – 18 May 1885)
Thomas Riley died two weeks after his birth from bronchitis on 18 May 1885 at a time when the family was living at 811 West 5th Street. [25]    He was baptized 15 March 1885.   William Coughlin and Mary Margaret Dordan were his godparents. 

1.5.3     Anne Marie Lally (23 January 1887 - ) and John William Giblin

Anne Marie, the youngest of the children of Thomas R. Lally and Mary G. Dunn, was born 23 January 1887 and baptized 1 February 1887 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington. Her godparents were Joseph L. Menton and Genevieve C. Menton.  She married John William Giblin, son of John William Giblin and Catherine Greyton (?).  Witnessing the marriage officiated by Father James Connelly were Robert Gilroy and Rosa Greyton (?) Giblin.  The couple lived in Scranton, PA.

1.6     Reverend John J. Lally (6 Mar 1841 - 19 Aug 1919)

Born in Headford in Killursa Parish, County Galway, John J. Lally, son of Patrick Lally and Mary Lally of Ballynacregga, came to Pennsylvania perhaps with his brother Thomas in 1858.  That same year he entered St. Mary's College in Wilmington.  After completing his studies at St. Charles College, Baltimore, Maryland, he was ordained 1 January 1871 at St. Bonaventure College, Allegany County, New York. [26]

Appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish near Friendville in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, he remained there for forty years until his retirement in 1911.  He lived in the rectory of St. Thomas Church in Wilmington, DE.  His nephew, Reverend John J. Connelly, had founded the church in 1904 and was still its pastor when Father Lally arrived.  Both priests are buried next to each other in the church cemetery. [27]

John J. Lally's signature without its priestly prefix appears in two places on the Petition and Evidence in the Michael Lally Estate.  The following facts prove that the John J. Lally who signed this document is the Reverend John J. Lally.

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0
Photographer: E. Brennan

St. Mary Church, Claran, Killursa Parish, County Galway

A monument in Wilmington's Cathedral Cemetery bears the following inscription: Erected by Reverend John J. Lally.  Also engraved on the faces of the monument are the names of his two brothers Michael and Thomas R. Lally.  To honor his parents, Patrick and Mary Lally, Father Lally donated an ornate altar to St. Mary's Church located in the townland of Claran in Killursa parish, and erected a gravestone for them in Cargin Cemetery.

1.7       Catherine Lally (1845 --?)

Catherine Lally was born circa 1845, remained in Ireland, and married Hugh Connelly of Carrownakib. [28]

Father Charles O'Connor, born in the town of Headford, County Galway in 1933, reports that Catherine was his grandmother and that she had four children and six grandchildren: Charles, John who became a priest, Thomas, Mary who married a Naughton, Rostaff, Co Galway, Julia who married M. McDonald, and Honora who married a man named Bana.

1.8       Bridget Lally (1848 - 1914) and Henry Carroll (1833 - 1911)

Bridget Lally is another of the two unnamed sisters reported as living in Ireland in the Petition and Evidence in the Michael Lally Estate.  She had eight children by her husband:  Catherine  (1866-1946), Mary (1868-1956), John (1870-1925), Julia (1872-1915), William F. (1874-1954), Martin (1877-1962), Henry (1880-1950), and Bridget (1883-1968).

In his book, Valley of the Milk, Michael H. Carroll, a direct descendant of Henry Carroll and Bridget Lally, presents a very detailed genealogy for this family. His book, however, is more than an extensive family history, though it is that. It demonstrates how his ancestors have participated in the historical events that shaped the lives and culture of the inhabitants of Cargin and Killursa parishes in north County Galway. [29]

[1]   Patrick Lally and Mary Reilly are the great grandparents of Michael Carroll of Galway City. His parents live in a home located about a half a mile from the ancestral home of Edward and Bridget Hannon Hart in Luggawannia, Co. Galway. 

[2] Record of Tombstones and Burials in Wilmington, Cathedral, Wilmington, DE., Section 233. FHL Microfilm #0006303.  The 1826 birth date does not match the 1843 birth year shown in the 1870 U.S. Census, Wilmington Ward 1, p. 76 [341], line 6.

[3] Wilmington city directories.  

[4] The Famine Immigrants, List of Passengers Arriving at the Port of New York, 1846-1851. Vol. 2 Ira Glazier, ed. (Baltimore Genealogical Press Co., 1983) 412.  

[5] The strong signatures of Thomas R. Lally, John J. Lally, and Mary Lally Walsh suggest that these three were quite literate.  Their brother Patrick's signature, however, seems to have been placed on the petition papers with considerable difficulty, a fact that could be attributed to other reasons than illiteracy.  Each person's signature appears twice on the document entitled Petition and Evidence in the Michael Lally Estate, 6 March 1879, Registrar of Wills, New Castle County, DE.  

[6] State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives, Dover, DE. Orphans' Court, Book D, Vol. 2, Estate of Michael Lally 7 May 1880.  

[7] State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives, Orphans' Court, Book D, vol. 2, 443 ff.

[8] State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives, Dover, DE, Petition and Evidence in the Michael Lally Estate, recorded 6 March 1879.   

[9] The Famine Immigrants; Lists of Passengers Arriving at the Port of New York, 1845-1851, col. 2, Ira A. Galzier ed.,(Baltimore Genealogical Press Co. 1983) 142.  

[10] Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington, Register of Baptisms, [unpaged] 11 Aug 1870.  

[11] Delaware Public Archives, Register of Wills and Probates, 17 August 1893, Microfilm RG #2545.  

[12] U.S. 1860 Census, Wilmington Ward 1, p. 58 [692], line 1.  

[13] Cathedral of St. Peter, Register of Marriages, [unpaged] 31 Jan 1864.  

[14] Delaware Public Archives, Orphans' Court, Book D, Vol. 2, Estate of Michael Lally 7 May 1880.  

[15] Wilmington city directories, 1866-1881  

[16] Catholic Cemeteries, Inc, Lot Inquiry List, Section 7A, Lot 100-111, New Cathedral Cemetery, Wilmington, DE.  

[17] 1860 U.S, Census, Wilmington, Ward 1, p. 58 [692]. 1880 U.S. Census, Wilmington E.D. 2, p. 1.

[18] Delaware State Archives, Dover, DE, Register of Deaths, RG 1500, F #12 – 1886, Patrick Lally  

[19] 1910 U. S. Census, Philadelphia, E.D. 0828, Visit 0250.  

[20] “Descendants of Patrick Lally,” a descendant chart prepared by Michael Carroll.  

[21] “History of Wilmington,” Every Evening, Wilmington, DE, (1894) 241-242.  

[22]  Record of Tombstones and Burials in Wilmington, Cathedral, Section 233. FHL #0006303  

[23] Thomas J. Sullivan, Jr. of Wilmington, DE has generously provided much of the information about the children of Thomas R. Lally and Mary G. Dunn.

[24] Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington, Register of Baptisms, [unpaged] 19 Jan. 1882.  

[25]  Ibid. 15 Mar. 1885.  State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives, Bureau of Vital Statistics, City of Wilmington, Death Registers 1847-1954, Thomas R. Lally, 1881, 151.  

[26] According to the Reverend Charles O'Connor, currently a parish priest in Kansas City, Kansas and a native of Headford, John J. Lally worked for a time for the Lackawanna Railroad. (Information obtained during conversation with Joseph M. Lalley, Jr., Asheville, N.C. on 15 January 2000). Father O'Connor's prodigious memory enables him to recall instantly the names, birth and death dates, and significant events of a vast number of relatives and neighbors in Cargin and Killursa parishes.  He maintains close contact with his family and regularly returns to Headford to visit them.  

[27] Rev. Thomas J. Peterman, Portraits of a Century: Commemorating the Centenary of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, 1868-1968 (Devon, PA: Cooke Publishing, Co.), 1970.  

[28] Parish of Killursa, County Galway, Carrownakib, Valuation of Tenements, 63.  

[29] Michael H. Carroll, Valley of the Milk, Galway, Ireland: Jaycees Printers, 2000.  Available for purchase at