Perhaps the best thing about writing this book has been the connections I've made. I love how our Mulry ancestors came to Indianapolis in 1868, almost straight from Ireland, and Indianapolis is where most of us remain. I've formed special relationships with distant cousins all over the city and country, and they have supplied me with rich details and timeless photographs from their sides of the family. This has been a labor of love, and has taken many years to come to the point where it is now. I've copied the Introduction to the book below, which is about our common ancestors and should be the one part that is of particular interest to all. The rest of the book details individual nuclear families and their members.
There is an old Mulry family history that seems to have circulated between various families in our line. It was dictated by Lawrence Mulry, the grandson of the original Irish immigrants. It was given to me by my great-aunt Patty Mulry Higginbotham. Over the years I realized how lucky we are to have such an oral history to share, and I’ve also been surprised at just how much historical records verify it, with only minor exceptions. The majority of this introduction is taken from this history.
According to the history, the Mulry family hails from County Galway, Ireland. Historical records verify several Mulrys or Mulreys living in Galway. The name means “devotee to the Virgin Mary.” The trade of the family was blacksmithing, and it is reported that there is an old stone water trough in Galway upon which is carved Lawrence Mulry, 1752. The connection to this Lawrence is still unknown, though he was likely an ancestor of our John.
Our earliest known ancestor is James Mulry. He was from the townland of Toomard, in the Roman Catholic parish of Ballygar, civil parish of Killian, in County Galway, Ireland. He married Mary Dunn on April 12, 1837. The witnesses at their wedding were John Smith and Dermott Loughan.
In the Griffiths Primary Valuation in the 1850s we find James Mulry leasing land with an office and a house from John Garrard. He also has a neighbor named Laurence Mulry leasing from Mr. Garrard as well, also with a house and offices. James’ property is 1 acre, 2 roods, and 6 perches. (There are four roods in one acre, and forty perches in one rood.) Also in Toomard, we find a Luke Dunn, who is likely a relation to our Mary.
James and Mary had a son named John. According to the first Mulry history, John was born in 1842 in County Galway, but on his gravestone it reads that he was born in 1845. John came to Boston, Massachusetts in 1863 with his younger brother Lawrence, their cousin Thomas Mulrey (note spelling difference), and a man named John P. Crain, who remained a family friend for years.
In Boston John met a young woman named Mary Ellen Raridan. She was born in County Limerick, Ireland. The first Mulry history says she was born in 1843, but on her gravestone it reads 1848. Her surname has also been spelled Riordan and Reardon. The history says that she “came over on an old sailboat the same year, but not the same one that brought the others (1863). She told me stories about the sea being rough and they were locked in the hold for 30 days and the trip took 65 days.”
John and Mary Ellen were married in 1863, and in 1864 moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Their firstborn, James Joseph, was born there in 1866.
In 1868, John, Mary, son James, brother Lawrence and presumably John Crain, removed to Indianapolis. They settled in a house in the Fountain Square neighborhood, historically a very Irish area. Their house was located on the northwest corner of Olive and Willow (now Cottage) streets.
The house is gone now, but their later residence still stands. The history tells us they moved to a house on the southeast corner of Laurel and Terrace in 1890.This is the house at 1401 Terrace Avenue, and it was here that both John and Mary passed away, John in 1911 and Mary in 1922.
The rest of their children were born at the Olive Street address. In the 1930 census, there are two Lawrence Mulry families living in separate addresses on Olive Street, one of which could possibly their old house.
John and Lawrence set up a blacksmith shop in what is now downtown Indianapolis, as mentioned before, this was likely their trade in Ireland. The shop was located on South Alabama Street, across the street from the old police headquarters. The police station is still in use, but the site of the old blacksmith shop is now a parking garage. Many old Indianapolis directories list their blacksmith shop, and John is listed once as a “hostler” and Lawrence as a “horseshoer”. The address of the shop is given as 660 Washington Street.
The history reads: “They were all Catholics and they died Catholics and were all buried Catholics.”
John’s obituary reads that the family attended St. Patrick’s Church, which still exists, located on Prospect Street in Fountain Square neighborhood. He and Mary both are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.
This is our story.