Long Story Short:

They Quit after 13

We have no pictures of Anthony, Jr., Augusta, Patrick, Thomas the first or Edward. As you can see, we do have eight photographs of the others, from oldest to youngest: James Canavan, John Canavan, Mary Canavan, Austin Augustine Canavan, Thomas Canavan the second, Catherine Collette Canavan, my grandmother Ellen Frances Canavan and Margaret Elizabeth Canavan.

The first Thomas died in infanthood. The second Thomas was one of the 12 children that survived to adulthood. Anthony, Jr. was another who made it out of childhood, but he went missing later and was never heard from again. My mother in her book The Families reports that his mother Ann Hughes spent the last 20 years of her life distressed and grieving over his baffling disappearance.

Of the remaining children, we know next to nothing about Augusta, born in Philadelphia in 1850, and Edward, born in Kankakee 10 years later.

We know a good deal about the oldest James. James was apprenticed to a saddle and boot maker in Kankakee County. After learning his trade, he took a Lake Michigan steamship to resettle in St. Joseph, Michigan. His younger brother Patrick later followed James to southwest Michigan, where Patrick began work as a travelling boot and shoe salesman.

James, married Julia Kingsley and pursued life in St. Joseph as a cobbler, and later a postmaster. One of their 11 children, Mabel Canavan, married Edward Lecour of Kankakee. Now try to keep this straight. Mabel’s aunt, my grandmother Ellen Canavan Bowe, was James’s sister. So when Mabel’s daughter Julia Lecour married Ellen’s son, my uncle Augustine (Gus) Bowe, the Bowe family was basically surrounded by Canavans on all sides.

Back in St. Joseph, James’s younger brother Patrick’s daughter with Elizabeth Larkin, Elizabeth Canavan, married John Hanley and, in turn, became mother to daughter Mary, and sons John (Pat), William, Thomas and David Hanley. Their offspring brought along the McGillivary family.

After James in age was the second child of Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes, John Canavan. Both he and his sister, Mary Canavan the fourth born, moved around the same time to towns northwest of Des Moines in central Iowa, Grand Junction and Dawson. The attraction of Iowa over Kankakee County, Illinois was that farmland had remained less expensive there.

John Canavan married his cousin Anna Doyle (1852-1938). Her mother was Anthony Canavan, Sr.’s sister, Honora Canavan (1823-1901), one of nine children born to their common parents, Anthony Canavan and Catherine Kirby. The Hart family became related to the Canavan family when John and Anna Doyle’s daughter, Anna Delores Canavan (1855-1971), married James Francis Hart (1880-1954).

The McNulty family had first entered the Canavan realm when Anthony Canavan’s sister, Ellen Canavan (not to be confused with his daughter Ellen Canavan Bowe), married Michael McNulty. Their son Anthony married Mary Canavan, Anthony’s third child with Ann Hughes.