Unfortunately, the last twenty-years I have spent trying to uncover information about my Mother's paternal ancestors has been anything but fruitful. I have spent countless hours going over census returns for the years 1880, 1900, and 1910. I personally feel the census for 1890, that which was lost due to fire, holds the key to my research. Too bad there is nothing remaining for Hazle Township in Luzerne County Pennsylvania to fill in the gaps. Given this lack of substantial information, what follows is taken from available records and family stories. One of the main areas of concern is my inability to verify the name of my Mother's paternal grandparents, William Hughes and Grace Carlin, this is due to some big dark secret that the Carlin family still residing in Drifton, Luzerne County refuse to even discuss.
What I do know is that my grandfather was Alphonsus "Ren" Carlin. He was born to Grace Carlin and William Hughes (according to marriage records) in 1893. He had a brother Eugene born in 1895. Here is where the story gets cold because no one can tell me what happened to the parents, William and Grace. According to the 1900 Census there is no record of the family, but in 1910 the boys show up living with their grandmother Annie Carlin. I have a theory of what may have happened and that will be mentioned later. For now I want to stick to facts. Most of what follows is based on fact and census or family stories.
Apparently, the first of come to America were Grace and Rose(?)Carlin who settled in the coal fields of Pennsylvania. Rose apparently had been married to James Malloy, and was born circa 1855 in Ireland, They emigrated in 1880. James Malloy worked as a miner in Drifton, Pa. and he fathered five children before his wife Rose passed away in the early 1890's. The children's names were Sarah born 1882, Mary born 1884, Rose born 1885, James born 1888 and Francis born 1890. This was the last listing for the Malloy's for after this date the sons James and Francis are shown being raised by their grandmother, Annie Carlin in 1910 census. There is no information on what happened to the three daughters or indeed James Malloy after 1900. One can only assume that James passed away and the daughters married but that cannot be verified.
Annie and her husband Manus , was born in Glenties, County Donegal Ireland circa 1840, and her children, Manus was born 1874, William in 1879, Josephine in 1882, and Katie born 1878, all emigrated in 1884 and apparently settled near their daughters Grace and Rose in Drifton.
William Carlin married his wife Margaret in 1909 and they had three children. William worked as a Coal Breaker Foreman in Drifton.
Manus married his wife Nellie in 1904 and they also had no children. Manus worked as a Slate Boss in a breaker also in Drifton. Nothing further is known of them after 1910.
My Grandfather. Alphonsus "Ren" Carlin joined the Army shortly after 1912, and was stationed in Hawaii where he learned his skills as a pugilist. Later in life he would hone those skills and become a professional boxer fighting under the name of Ren Carlin. Although I never knew him, he died in 1933, he was said to be a "Dapper Dan" and very attractive to the opposite sex. In 1915 he met and married my grandmother Margaret Sheehan and settled in Mahanoy City, Pa., where he worked as a miner and prize-fighter.
Their first child Grace, was born in 1916 and died of a childhood illness at the age of two. William (Hughes) Carlin , was born on 10/31/1919 and joined the military at an early age eventually retiring in Louisville Kentucky. Click here for photo of Billy and his three Children.
My mother Rosemary , was born on May 29, 1922. She and my father Joseph McCarthy, were married on June 29, 1940 in St. Canicus Church in Mahanoy City. My Father passed away on October 26, 1986 and Mother passed away on July 12, 2003. They are both buried in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Lebanon County Pennsylvania , see grave marker, a wish of my father's.
Next was Eugene , who also joined the Army and was stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1941.(see photo of Eugene and brother-in-law Jmmy Cusatis)
"Peggy",(see photo) born April 15, 1926, was next followed by
Florence , born February 2, 1929,
(see photo of brother-in-laws Joe
McCarthy, Bernie Hentz and Jimmy Cusatis) and
Alphonsus "Junior" born in June 30, 1931.
The following photos of the Carlin daughters are submitted. Rose, Peggy and Florence.,
and the Carlin/Hughes Boys,
The Hughes boys
the Carlin/Hughes siblings
Florence and Peggy
The Hentz family
Joe, Jr.'s family
Rose and her children on the occasion of her 75th birthday,
Rose and her first cousin's the McClafferty sisters.
and last but not least, Joe and Rose McCarthy celebrating Tess's 70th birthday, also pictured are William and Tess McCarthy circa 1968, Thomas aged 10, On the left is Darlene McCarthy aged 5 years.
Why some siblings were baptized Hughes (William, Margaret, Florence) is explained that when Ren was away touring as a boxer and Margaret would have children, his brother Eugene would more or less look after the family and if he was present for the baptisms he would name them Hughes, rather than Carlin. It is safe to say that Alphonsus was around for the other children's baptisms. Eugene always went under the name of Hughes which apparently was his fathers name. So the search continues! It is interesting to note that on Alphonsus death certificate, William Carlin is listed as the father and Grace Hughes as the mother. This information was supplied by Margaret after Al's death. Confusing isn't it? Which leads me into the realm of the big dark mystery! Grace from all indication may have worked as a domestic for the Hughes family in Drifton. Records indicate that the Hughes family were Welsh and the head of the house may have a mine superintendent.
After nearly 40 years of research that my maternal great grandmother Grace Carlin had been deserted by her husband William Hughes in the early 1890's Eventually she found him living in Cleveland Ohio and left her sons to go after him. She died in May 1908 and her body was returned to Freeland Luzerne County for burial. Thus the big mystery of my Carlin grandparents was solved, unfortunately neither my Mother of Aunts and Uncles lived to learn of the dark family secret. Desertion and abandonment. It seems the only plausible explanation, and may explain why the family did not wish to speak of it.