John Casey Remembers:

The Children of Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes

The 13th and last child of Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes was Margaret Elizabeth Canavan (1864-1938). She moved from the Canavan farm to Chicago when she married John Dominic Casey (1864-1915) in Holy Name Cathedral on January 5, 1898. They had two children, Mary Catherine Casey (1900-1982) and John Dominic Casey (1907-1989), whom I knew as my uncle John.

John was a cousin of the Bowes on his mother’s side, as his mother was a sister of my father’s mother, Ellen Canavan Bowe (1861-1943). He also had the good fortune to marry my mother Mary Gwinn Bowe’s sister, Martha Burns Gwinn (1910-1987). With my uncle John’s sister marrying Patrick Columbus Lynch (1893-1962), it wasn’t long before their children, Francis Lynch, John Lynch and Patricia Lynch (Heffron), firmed up the immediate inflation of my Bowe, Casey, Lynch and Heffron universe after the Big Bang brought about by the 13 children of our progenitor Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes. As was true of many of the men of his era, John Casey’s usual attire was more formal than is common today. His humor was plentiful, though understated.

I had great deal being the nephew of John and Martha Casey, as they were always kind and loving towards me. More importantly, they also took care to prepare me for the adult world that lay ahead. With my half-fare Chicago Motor Coach Company bus from my home on Elm Street to their home at 2512 North Lake View Avenue costing only a nickel, I would head by myself to their home for a filling dinner followed by instruction in the fine art of poker playing. They taught me important facts of life that any grown up should know, namely that a flush beats four of a kind or a straight any day of the week.

After Martha died, I would occasionally visit John on trips into the city. The inducement for my sons Andy and Pat to come along was that I would promise to take them to the car wash at Milito’s Amoco gas station on the northwest corner of Fullerton and Seminary. One day we took John with us to Milito’s one hot summer’s day. While we got out to watch the car wash through the plate glass windows inside, John said he’d rather stay in the car while it went through. Sadly, John forgot to roll the window down and he emerged at the exit with his suit completely drenched. He took it all in stride with good humor, but my guess is it was something he hoped we’d shut up about.

Not long before he died in 1989, I had a chance to ask him a few questions about the Canavan, Casey and Bowe families early on. That is the source of this interview and its constituent video clips.

     Children of Anthony Canavan & Catherine Kirby

       Children of Anthony Canavan & Ann Hughes

John tells the story of their nine-week sailing voyage from Ireland to Baltimore, their immediate relocation to Philadelphia and Ann quickly finding a job during Anthony’s serious illness. He explains that his mother, Margaret Canavan, was the last child born the Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes.

Austin Canavan, the son of Anthony Canavan and Catherine Kirby, was the first to settle in Kankakee County, Illinois. He encouraged his nephew Anthony Canavan, Sr. to move with his wife Ann Hughes and their family near him in Momence, Illinois.

John Casey remembers that Austin Augustine Canavan, the man he called his “uncle Gus” was born in Philadelphia, the 6th child of Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes.  Uncle Gus’s own uncle, his near namesake Austin Canavan, had already settled in Momence, Illinois at this point and later encouraged Anthony and Ann to leave Philadelphia and move their growing family near him in Kankakee County in Illinois.

John Casey has memories as a boy of visiting his mother’s sister, Ellen Canavan Bowe and her family when they were living on Albany Avenue. He later recalls their move to 3320 W. Fulton St. where they were able to purchase a home with a legacy from John Bowe’s father, Moses.

John recalls his aunt Cate, Catherine Collette Canavan, and her marriage to William Wallace Parish of Momence, Illinois.

John Casey remembers that Anthony Canavan’s 2nd born, John Canavan, who became an Iowa farmer, married his cousin, Anna Doyle. Anna’s mother, Honora Canavan, was Anthony Canavan’s sister.

The 4th child born to Anthony Canavan and Ann Hughes was Mary Canavan. John Casey tells us that his aunt Mary married Anthony McNulty and became the mother of 11. He also tells us that Anthony McNulty was a cousin of Mary Canavan’s, being the son of Michael Canavan who had married Anthony Canavan and Catherine Kirby’s daughter Ellen.

John Casey recalls that Anthony Canavan, Jr., “uncle Tony,” went away and no one ever knew what happened to him.