John McGeady
of The Liberties

John McGeady was born in 1810 in Donegal either in Magheraroarty or possibly Erraroeymore. He married Nancy Waters (Whoriskey in Irish) while in Ireland, where two children were born, John and Edward (b. December 1842).

The family emigrated to the United States sometime after the year 1842 and later resided in "The Liberties" of Mauch Chunk, a small community of homes set on a hill and a ravine about a quarter mile north of the main town. "The Liberties" was a European carryover, e.g. "The Liberties of Londonderry," indicating a certain autonomy, while still technically part of the larger township.

There appears to be a mystery about where this family resided prior to arriving at "The Liberties." People were not too careful in those days about age and date exactitude, and approximations are often tendered. For example, John, in later life (1900 Census), records that he emigrated in 1840. There seems to be no doubt that Edward, his son, was born December 18, 1842 in Donegal, Ireland; so we must assume that John emigrated after 1840.

A further confusion arises because there is evidence that there may have been two families living in Mauch Chunk area with similar names. The National Archives showing passengers arriving at the Port of New York shows that one John McGeady arrived on the ship Lavina from Londonderry and Liverpool on June 6, 1844 with wife Nancy and a child John. The 1850 Census shows one John McGeady, age 37 (viz b. 1812 or 1813), his wife, Nancy, age 32; son John, age 10 (viz b. 1840) and son Edward, age 6 (viz b. 1844 or 1845) as residents of Northampton Township in Lehigh County near Mauch Chunk.

It is my belief that there were two John McGeadys with wives named Nancy and children John and Edward, probably both grandsons of Shane McGeady, who had tenant's rights to all of Glasserchoo in about 1760.

At all events, when the Civil War arrived, they were in Mauch Chunk, which was the county recruiting center. Every able male (53) in "The Liberties" volunteered for the Union Army. Among these were the three McGeadys: John, Sr.; John, Jr.; and Edward, age 18. They left behind daughters and sisters: Mary, b. 1846 (later Mary Gallagher), Bridget, b. 1854 (later Bridget Cavanaugh), Annie, b. June 8, 1862 (later Annie Steidle) and another child, Sophie (later Mrs. McGee). John, Jr. Was killed during the war and both John, Sr. and Edward were wounded.

At the Battle of Antiem [Antietem?], Edward, then 19, was sent by his superior officer on an errand just before the battle to get him out of the fray. He accomplished that errand quickly and reported to the front lines with his comrades. He fought so valiantly that day that he was cited for bravery and on the spot raised from private to corporal. Mourning the loss of a son and brother, John, Sr. and Edward returned to "The Liberties" as heroes. "The Liberties" was so decimated by the loss of its men to the Civil War and emigration to the newly developed East Mauch Chunk, that it was eventually erased from the face of the earth. The "Town the Civil War Killed" is how it is now remembered. The only trace is a huge boulder with a bronze plaque listing the 53 volunteers, 3 of which are McGeadys.

John, Sr. found work as a laborer. Edward was more fortunate in his choice of occupation as brakeman on the railroad carrying coal from Mauch Chunk.

Edward left his diary to his descendants (now in the possession of Mrs. Reed). That diary gives us an inside look at post war life in East Mauch Chunk, where John, Sr. and Edward owned homes. John purchased his home on December 10, 1863 and Edward in 1870. Nancy Waters McGeady died May 4, 1868. On April 12, 1871, John took as his second wife the widow Catherine Boyle, born in 1825 (a Donegal lass who emigrated in 1851). Edward was by 1865 married to Ellen Dever (born in 1843, died in 1891).

Edward and Ellen's children were: Catherine, born 1865; Annie, born 1870; Agnes, born in 1872, died in 1951 (later Saile); Eleanor B., born on February 28, 1874, died in 1956 (later Connell); John, born on September 1, 1876 (later McGrady), and Charles, born in 1880 (later McGrady). Both John and Charles served together in the Spanish American War in the 5th Ohio Infantry returning to Sheffield, Ohio.

After his first wife's death, Edward in 1893 married Cecelia Malone, settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and became a police officer (constable). By Cecelia, Edward had two children, Amelia C., born in August, 1894, and Edward J., born in December, 1897.

Descendants of Amelia McGeady (later Nevis) are:

Jean Nevis
Nancy Nevis
Benjamin Nevis

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Susan Baker
Joseph Baker
Elizabeth Nevis
William Nevis
Katie Nevis

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Edward J.'s descendants are:

Margaret C. McGeady Feist
Gertrude A. McGeady Forster

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Kathleen Feist
Jeffry Feist
Edward Forster
Karl Forster

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Michael Reed
Amanda Reed
E. Jonathan Forster
Mikki Forster
Michael Forster
Michelle Forster