The Morro Castle was a luxury cruise ship that made regular runs between New York and Havana in the first part of the twentieth century. On September 8, 1934 disaster struck the ship, and my third great-grandmother, Kate Dulk, and her twin Michael were on board. They were 72 years old at the time.
My 2nd great-grandmother Sadie Donnelly Reilly was a nickle-snatcher – a subway token clerk in New York City. She was raising three children in Brooklyn, the youngest of whom as 2 years old when her husband disappeared. John Reilly was riding the ferry one day when he allegedly fell overboard. No body was ever recovered, and he was declared dead, leaving Sadie to raise their children alone.
I write about the USS Frank E Evans with admitted bias – my uncle Larry was one of the seventy-four men lost at sea that fateful night in June 1969, and my beloved grandfather was one of the ones lucky to survive. The repercussions of the collision of the USS Evans and the HMAS Melbourne have now spanned four generations of Reillys. I grew up with the accident – it colored many a family occasion.
Sister, Aunt, Great-Aunt, Great-great-Aunt, Teacher, Financial Consultant, Social Activist, Mentor, Leader, Friend
At Aunt Dotsie’s funeral services this weekend, it quickly became apparent that she had touched the lives of many, many people, in a variety of different ways. I learned so much more about her from listening to the stories and talking to the people who had been a part of her life. She was brillant and fair, loving and devoted. If you came into her circle, you became one of hers – she adopted a sense of responsibility for you.
I first began searching my family tree in the 8th grade for a school project. I traced my family back to my grandparents’ grandparents. At the time, I learned of two family “legends”….