Friday, June 29, 2012

an excerpt from The Mulry Family History

The following is an excerpt from my work in progress, the Mulry Family History, which chronicles the descendants of the Irish immigrants to Indianapolis, John and Mary Ellen Raridan Mulry. This excerpt is the section on their son, my great-great grandfather, Lawrence Mulry (1882-1950). I love this section in particular, because it includes some wonderful memories of Lawrence and his wife, Nellie. (Shared memories are the best part of any family history!)

The information the first Mulry history has on Lawrence reads:

                   Born 1882. Switchman, Conductor, Yardmaster Big 4 Rwy. Married Nellie May Hitchcock 1902. They had six children. Died 1950 Dec. 28, buried Washington Park Cemetery East at the age of 68

          Of all of John and Mary’s children, Lawrence has by far the most descendants. In 1966 it was known that he and Nellie had 32 great-grandchildren. Who knows how many exist today? 

Lawrence and Nellie’s children were:
                   Lawrence A. Mulry, Jr. 1903-1993 (who wrote the history)
                   Raymond Charles Mulry 1904-1905 (pneumonia)
                   Louise M. Mulry 1906-1907 (malnutrition)
                   Mary Elizabeth Mulry 1913-1985
                   John Edward Francis Mulry 1914-1992
                   James William Mulry 1915-1975

           Many fond memories still exist of Lawrence and Nellie. Great-granddaughter Patty Mulry Shaffer has vivid memories, one of her favorites being the story Nellie told when asked how she met her husband. Apparently, she had been looking out her window when she saw him and said to herself, “I’m gonna get that man!” She succeeded!
          Other memories of Patty include her living with them for a time when she was young. She would always play Solitaire and cheat (a memory shared by great-grandson George Hayes as well) and shoo them away when they called her on it.
 Patty Mulry Higginbotham remembers “Mom Mulry” playing cards and Spoons with them, and also making “the best fudge.” Kathy Mulry Schmidt recalls: “[Grandpa] died when I was only 5 so I hardly knew him, but I was pretty close to Grandma. We used to play 500 Rum for hours and watch The Lone Ranger together on her 12 inch black and white TV.  She lived with us for awhile when I was about 11 and 12 and she would take my side when my mom yelled about something I had done.  Imagine that! What's a grandma for?”
The following memories are written by Patricia L. Mulry-Shaffer, who was cared for in many ways, by Nellie May (Hitchcock) Mulry and did spend a great deal of time with her while she was growing up until around 1957 then from the early part of 1960 or 1961 until she returned to Uncle John’s to live. “This is how the narrative of how Nellie May saw & won the affections of Lawrence A. Mulry, Sr. Nellie May was a card player, she played piano for ‘The Lodge’ women’s league (I think the Moose Lodge) and was saucy gal! While I was growing up she mostly lived with Great Uncle John & Aunt Elsie. She did live with me and daddy in the early sixties when my father bought a house in Southport and had custody of me. He needed the help of someone to care for me while he worked at night. By that time she was in her 80’s but still spunky and full of it. She finally went back to Uncle John & Aunt Elsie’s and remained there (I believe) until her longevity ended.
“Some of her antics and ways are well known to some of us older Mulry children and cousins. She could pound a piano’s keys with determination, mash potatoes with vigor & a cigarette hanging from her mouth (“don’t mind the ashes…. They look like pepper and won‘t hurt you!”….. Ha ha ha) and cheat at solitaire till “who tied it” as she would say.
“She had a sense of humor and a no nonsense way of doing things. She had been a very heavy woman at one time and had wattles under her arms…… when she talked she would use her hands and those wattles would swing back and forth. Look at the pictures of her and pop and you will see what I mean. She was short to Pop’s height but I don’t think she took any crap from anyone!
“Fat Grandma would tell me about when she had food on the table………… Pop would always say “more meat Ma” even when there was no more to give. Even working on the railroad for all those years, the depression did not let people afford much for their tables. Aside from that, I do not recall much more about my Great-Grandmother, Nellie May.”
               Mary Ann Fox, James’ future wife, wrote in her diary while she was dating him in 1935:  Went over to Jim’s home for supper and had a sweet time. Met a lot of his folks, all lovely. Mr. and Mrs. Mulry are grand. Played cards and made lemonade.

               Lawrence died in December of 1950. According to granddaughter Emma Mulry Prange, he and Nellie were living with their daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Ralph Bland, in Beech Grove at the time of his passing. Nellie passed several years later in 1966. They are both buried at Washington Park East Cemetery in Indianapolis.
            In conclusion, the first Mulry history tells of Lawrence: “The best story of all that I ever heard of all of them was the one about Grandma wanting to make a priest out of my father Lawrence. As you can plainly see, it is a good thing that she did not succeed because none of us would be here now as he was the only one to have any children to carry on the name.”

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