A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

History: Henry W Fagan (1849 - 1913), Matawan Grocer

As part of my mini-marathon of Fagan research, I looked into George H Fagan's son Henry, who was a grocer in Matawan for at least a few years in the late 1870s.

The 9 Feb 1878 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 3) contained the above advertisement for Murphy and Fagan grocery store, operated by William H Murphy and Henry W Fagan. They also called themselves The Great Matawan Butter Depot, apparently for the benefit of former customers of that company. The same ad appeared in the 3 Nov 1877 edition.

George H Fagan's son, Henry W Fagan (10 NY), was living with his father in Matawan in the 1860 Federal Census. He lived with his father and brothers James and George in Manhattan in the 1870 census. They were all listed as shades manufacturers in 1870. James did well in gold mining in Colorado in the mid- to late 1870s.

Henry's grocery store business partner was likely identical with William H Murphy (15 NJ), printer's apprentice, who was living in the Matawan household of Daniel M Bell, printer, in the 1870 census. This was likely a duplicate enumeration, as a teenaged boy with the same name and approximate age appeared in the 1870 census with his parents in nearby Raritan, showing the occupation "learning a trade." William H Murphy (14 NJ) was in the household of John W Murphy (57 NJ), who was in the trucking business. Ten years earlier, William Murphy (4 NJ) appeared in the 1860 Federal Census as one of the numerous children of John W Murphy (48 NJ), merchant, and his wife Elizabeth L Murphy (41 NJ).

The 25 May 1878 edition of The Matawan Journal contained an advertisement (right) for Henry W Fagan's Matawan grocery. His grocery was advertised in the Journal through the end of 1878.

Henry W Fagan was a member of the Matawan Hook and Ladder Company, according to the 14 Dec 1878 edition of The Matawan Journal. The article detailed how Henry, Joel A Walling, Henry Fisher, Nathaniel Dean (?) and James VanSchoick formed a committee to travel to Hoboken to exchange pleasantries with the Hoboken Hook and Ladder Company there, with whom they had a social relationship. Henry delivered a speech and there was dancing, music and  food.

The 4 Jan 1879 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 2 col 4) contained this announcement: "Mr W Kramer Harris, son of A H Harris, Esq, has purchased the grocery business of H W Fagan, at the stand next to Scheck's meat market. He presented his compliance to the public on the 1st of January by means of a circular, in which he extended a happy new year's greeting."

I've been unable to locate Henry Fagan in the 1880 Federal Census, nor have I found him in the 1881 Canada Census. I have found no records showing him crossing the US border into or out of Canada.

Henry married about 1883 to a woman born in Canada. They had a son named Arthur in November 1883 in New Jersey, based on the 1900 Federal Census. At some point between 1879 and 1885, Henry and wife relocated to New Haven, CT. Between 1885 and 1900 they moved to Chicago, IL.

The 1 Aug 1885 edition of The Matawan Journal announced "Mr and Mrs Henry W Fagan and child, now of New Haven, Conn, have been spending the past week as guests of Mr Fagan's parents in Matawan."

H W Fagan, born Dec 1849 (50 NY East Indies NJ) was a solicitor enumerated in Chicago, Cook County, IL in the 1900 Federal Census. His wife, indexed as Mirrian was born in Mar 1860 in Canada to a father born in France and a mother born in Canada. They had been married 17 years. Their son Arthur Fagan was born in Nov 1883 in New Jersey.

I found a birth record for an unnamed infant 12 Nov 1883 in Hudson County, NJ to Harry W Fagan, age 30, and unnamed female, age 26, both parents born in the US. Harry and Hank are both possible nicknames. The ages don't match for Henry and Mirian, and Mirian was born in Canada, not the US, but this is a promising lead.  I was unable to locate matching parents in the 1880 census.

Henry W Fagan (58 IL Ireland Ireland) was an insurance agent living at 742 East 46th Street in Chicago, Cook County, IL in the 1910 Federal Census. He lived with his wife Mirian (52 Canada Canada Ireland) and a divorced salesman from Ohio who boarded with them.

Henry died 22 Aug 1913 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL, according to Ancestry's Cook County Death Index.


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