Richard and Catherine McManus (part 4) – more updates

Work has been quite busy lately but I’ve managed to find a bit of free time to keep researching, and have come across some very interesting information. This will be  a long post!

I’ve contacted the Boston City Archives and the North End Boston Historical Society, and both have been incredibly helpful pointing me in the right direction.

The lovely archivist from Boston City Archives also send me this amazing photo of 280 Causeway Street  from 1896. It’s about 15-20 years after Richard had a liquor shop next door (282 Causeway) but you can still see how the place looked at the time.

Looking northeast on Causeway Street from corner of Charlestown Street

(Image source: Public Works Department photograph collection, Collection 5000.009, City of Boston Archives, Boston. Available at:

Another great find last couple of weeks was the meaning behind “Revere Hall”, the occupation for Richard in 1880 census, and why in 1880 city directory was he listed as “Butler & McManus”


The answer came from a news article in Boston Sunday Globe in 1881, which not only answered those questions, but provided lots of other useful information to follow up on!


It’s clear from the newspaper clipping that Butler in 1880 city directory reference is to T.C.Butler, and him and Dick McManus were associated with Revere Billiard Hall, which seems to be an entertainment establishment. Boston has a huge databases of historical documents and photos online, so I will be searching through those to find out more about Revere Hall, when did they take over and when did they stop working there.

There is a photo on flickr of Revere House, circa 1880-1915, which may be the same place where Richard worked.

Revere House

(Image source: Public Works Department photograph collection, Collection 5000.009, City of Boston Archives, Boston. Available online:

The above clipping provided two more very useful pieces of information. First, that Richard was abroad on 27 Feb 1881 (possibly Derry?), expected to return within days – which gives me  a time frame to search for passenger listings for this trip (and with a bit of luck he may have travelled with his wife and children, so may get more information about them too). And from another newspaper clipping we see he had returned by 11th March, and he seem to have been a very popular guy among his friends!


The second, more interesting piece of information is that he was associated with George H. Homster – he was his “backer and trainer”. Hosmer was a “champion oarsman” as one paper refers to him, and Richard seemed to have had a keen interest in rowing.

I’ll write more about Hosmer and Richard’s relationship in a separate post, but this may be another reason Richard travelled so much, he most likely attended the competitions which were all over USA and Europe. I’m not sure for how long was Richard associated with him, but Hosmer died 23rd Aug 1900 in Boston.

For now, here is one amazing document related to his hobby – in 1880 Richard McManus got a patent for an improved design of an oar with a perforated blade (patent number 230314, Jul 20, 1880) and Hosmer was one of the witnesses. Richard obviously had a very keen interest in rowing! (And wonder if there are any outstanding royalties his descedents can claim:) )


Source: Google patents, Publication number US230314 A, Publication type Grant, Publication date Jul 20, 1880, Filing date May 31, 1880, Inventors Richard Mcmanus, Available online:

More on this story to come!

I also found a bit of information on the whereabouts of Kate McManus after her return to Boston – she was alive and living at 65 Charter street, Boston, in April 1892. Her daughter Jennie died age 13 from meningitis on 12th April 1892 at “City hospital, 65 Charter st”, I already had the death civil record, and had assumed this is the hospital address.


However, I was wrong – apparently the day before Jeannie died,  a man was arrested for attempted break-in at Kate McManus’ residence at 65 Charter street. Such a sad run of events.


Richard is not mentioned in either newspaper notices, so he had most likely passed away by then, which corroborates the story remembered by the family. One interesting thing in the death notice for Jeannie is the last line “Haverhill papers please copy.” Notices like that were aimed to papers in towns where family or friends lived, so most likely Richard and Kate had family members or close friends living in Haverhill in 1892. I haven’t been able to find who are they yet, but will keep searching.

And finally – seems that the ship manifest for Kate Dec 1884 for her return from Derry to Boston with Patrick and Jane is likely the correct one. A search on the internet showed that in those days the travel times were fairly quick, a ship could cross the Atlantic in 7-10 days. So it’s possible for Kate and the children to have arrived on 22 Dec 1884 (travel time on this ship Cephalonia was about 10 days, so she would have left around 12th Dec), and if she had fallen ill, possibly on the trip, to send a cable back to Ireland, and for her husband to board the next available ship.

There is a record of Richard McManus arriving on ship Oregon in New York on 13 Jan 1885 – the average time with Oregon was around 7 days, so he would have boarded around 6th January. The short timing would also explain why he had no time to organise and bring the rest of the children with him, he may have had to board on standby, possibly even from a different port than Derry.

Cephalonia,  Cunard Line steamship built 1882 at Birkenhead by Laird Bros. Source of the image:
Oregon, Guion Line steamship built 1883 at Glasgow by John Elder and Co. Later sailed for Cunard Line. Source:

That’s the main updates on the McManus from the last couple of weeks.

Next post will be about Richard’s possible siblings in Derry, and how I’m using DNA to hope fill the paper trail gaps and prove his mother’s maiden name.


4 thoughts on “Richard and Catherine McManus (part 4) – more updates

    1. Svetlana H.

      Thank you, Anne! The more I search, the more information comes up – it’s hard to keep up:)

      Good luck with the move, you must be quite busy! Maybe in future, when you have time, we’ll get together and add Patrick A.’s story too


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