by David Parmer
Bridget Flyn Tulley came to America around 1848 with her husband John Tulley, her sons, Patrick and John, and her daughter, Bridget. She brought fifteen more children into life after her arrival in America. She had weathered the travails of famine in her native country, the raging waters of the north Atlantic, and the uncertainties of a new land, including Civil War. She had seen illness and some of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren die while young. She had seen daughters marry and sons leave home for other, more promising parts of the country, never to be seen again. She had lived a full and productive life and a life of faith.
Right: the gravestone of Bridget (Flyn) and John Tulley.
Father Thomas Quirk sprinkled the holy water at the door of the church the evening before the vigil and reception of her mortal remains. At her funeral service the following morning the venerable parish priest offered up his prayer for the dead, as he had for her husband John, fifteen years before. Bridget Flyn Tulley, born on the soil of Ireland, was laid to rest in St. Bridget’s, the quiet Goosepen cemetery of her namesake, on a cold day in November 1911, joining her husband who had died in 1896.
This story is about how the Tulley family came to Lewis County and the Orlando area. A second installment of the story, to come later, will discuss the venerable life of Martin P. “Sandy” Tulley of Tulley Ridge.
The Western Maryland Hills
Because the well-watered steep, hilly terrain was in many ways similar to the land they had left in Ireland, Irish immigrants who arrived in summer to this land felt at home and immediately began clearing the steep hills of the virgin timber. However, not all of the immigrant Irishmen chose farming. Many found work building the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad which was snaking westward from Baltimore or digging the great canal being built from Washington, D. C. to the west.
The stay of many Irish immigrants in western Maryland was brief. One feature of western Maryland quite unlike Ireland was the long, harsh winter climate. Deep snows, sub-zero temperatures and freezing rains were for the most part unknown in Ireland and the Irish immigrants had trouble adjusting to those unforgiving conditions. As a result, many Irish families began to look for opportunities in other areas.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Left, above: the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston.
Left, below: George Jackson Arnold
Left: George Jackson Arnold
George Jackson Arnold was born of wealthy parents in 1816 in Collins Settlement District. An early teacher, Arnold soon became acutely aware that the law was the profession which promised greater financial rewards. By 1848, Arnold had become a lawyer and was serving as the Prosecuting Attorney of Lewis County and would later become a legislator in Richmond. With his political connections, Arnold acquired numerous land grants in his home county but the only problem was to find buyers for the hilly lands. The authorization of the construction of the Lunatic Asylum in Weston was heaven-sent as far as the sale of parcels from the land grants was concerned. Poor Irish immigrants flocked to Weston to work on the construction of the Asylum and were in need of land to resume farming when the stonemasonry work on the Asylum was finished. Many Irish immigrants were also employed in the construction of the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike and were similarly interested in owning land which could be bought cheaply. Since the Irish were without ready money to buy land outright, Arnold astutely sold parcels from his land grants to the Irish on a contract calling for a down payment and periodic payments thereafter. As soon as the purchase price for the land was completely paid, Arnold would then issue a deed for the land. If the payments were not completely made, Arnold could keep what had been paid without obligation to the original purchaser, and then sell the land to someone else. Although his methods may be seen as somewhat exploitative, Arnold had what the Irish wanted, and was willing to sell the land on terms the buyers could afford to pay.
The Tulley Family of Lewis County
Michael Tulley and Sarah “Sally” Tulley,
Their Other Sons, Michael and Martin, and
Their Daughters Margaret and Catherine
The records of immigration to America are replete with immigrants by the name of Tulley (also spelled Tully) and it is therefore difficult to determine the exact date of the arrival of Orlando’s Tulley family to America. Tulley is a common Irish surname as are the Christian names of John, Michael, Martin, Catherine and Sarah.
The earliest official record of a Tulley living in Lewis County which could be found by this writer was a record of marriage in 1852 of Margaret Tulley (the sister-in-law of Bridget (Flyn) Tulley) to Michael Feeney. Other records indicate that in 1856 Michael Tulley married Bridget Broadrick and in 1857 Mary Tulley married Thomas Gafney.
Records also show that Michael and Sarah Tulley were living in the Westernport, Maryland area in the late 1840’s because they were enumerated there in the 1850 census and living next door to their daughter Catherine and her husband Patrick Moran. Also living in the Moran household was Margaret Tulley, the daughter of Michael and Sarah Tulley and sister of Catherine (Tulley) Moran. So, between 1850 and 1852, the year Margaret Tulley became betrothed to Michael Feeney, the Tulley family had relocated to Lewis County.
In 1867, George Jackson Arnold deeded 184 acres to John Tulley, husband of Bridget (Flyn) Tulley, and 43 acres to Martin Tulley on the head of Ben’s Run. John and Martin were both sons of Michael and Sarah Tulley. At the time John bought his land, he had been a resident of Lewis County for at least ten years because he had filed papers for citizenship in Lewis County in 1857. One might assume that he had been paying for his land by installments during this interim period before he acquired his deed. The Moran, Sweeney, and Feeney families, all allied with the Tulley family by marriage, also acquired land in the nearby countryside around this same time.
John’s older brother Michael, aged 45, and married to the former Bridget Broadrick, was also listed as a laborer in Weston. He lived close to his niece, Mary and her husband Thomas Gafney, and their daughter Ellen. Mary was the daughter of John Tulley. Thomas was also a laborer on the asylum construction.
Martin Tulley, the younger brother of John and Michael, could not be found in the 1860 census, and must have been overlooked by the census enumerator because we know he owned land on Tulley Ridge as early as 1857.
In 1860,John, Michael, and Martin’s widowed mother, Sarah, also known as “Sally,” were living on John’s farm on Tulley Ridge, near Sally’s daughter Margaret and her son-in-law Michael Feeney, and their three children Thomas, John and Patrick, all under the age of 7 and born in Virginia. Other Irish families living nearby were John Nestor, John Gallagher, Cecilia McNeal, James McNeal, Michael Nihan, Daniel Ford, Owen Mobely, Michael Loghan, Thomas Cuff, Michael McDonald, John Gallighan, Michael Rush, Michael Dolan, Stephen Cox, and James McLaughlin.
Abandonment of the Soil
As a consequence of the testy tribulations of farming, many of the second generation Tulley children who settled Tulley Ridge in the 1870’s abandoned rural life and tilling the soil as a means of earning a living. Of the large Tulley family who settled on Tulley Ridge, by the early 1900’s only Sandy Tulley remained, his male siblings having taken up city life as an alternative to the uncertain and back-breaking life of a farmer.
Right: M.P. (Sandy) Tulley, Elizabeth (Greene) Tulley, Marguerite and Mary, Charlie, Genevieve and Joe.