In Irish Gaelic, the Sullivan name is spelled Ua Suileabhain (O Sullivan). Family legend has us as originally Celts from northern Spain.
Our family has been in Ireland from the time before Christ. The O before the name simply means 'descended from.'
Somewhere along the line our direct family dropped the O in the name. In other words, we are really O'Sullivans.
Throughout history and throughout the world today you will always see the name associated with leadership in
business, safety forces, military service, statesmanship, writing/publishing and the arts, to mention a few.
You all possess as much of the Sullivan genes as anyone else bearing the name - you have been passed the same genetic code.
The least expensive passage from Ireland was through Quebec, Canada. Our paternal Irish family came into the U.S. this way.
One of our paternal great-great grandmothers, Mary Cronin Sullivan, brought her son Daniel, our great grandfather, to North America
from either County Cork or County Kerry, Ireland. They came on a sailing ship, from the port of Cobh (Cove), Ireland.
Her husband, Patrick, either stayed behind in Ireland or had died. Allegedly there were children who did not emigrate.
As of this writing (September, 2001), we don’t know the burial place of Mary. We believe she might be at rest in the Erie Street Cemetery,
Cleveland. According to Sr. Mary Patrick Sullivan, SND, Mary also had another son, Peter. We don’t know what happened to him.
I did find a Peter Sullivan who enlisted in the Army in Cleveland at the beginning of the Civil War but he soon deserted. On Peter’s meager
military record, his occupation is listed as a sailor. We don’t know if this our Peter.
One of our paternal great-grandmothers, Elizabeth Cassidy, was born in Ballaghadareen in 1847.
In 1873 Daniel Sullivan married Elizabeth at St. John's Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio. Both lie at rest in
St. Joseph's Cemetery, Ashtabula, Ohio. (see her gravestone to the left)Elizabeth was very proud of her County Mayo roots.
Mayo suffered severely during An Gorta Mor, the Great Hunger. She was so proud, in fact, that on her stone is inscribed,
"Born in County Mayo, Ireland." Elizabeth "Cassidy" Sullivan
One of the oldest photos we have is of our great-grandmother Catherine (Nana) Kilfoyle Adams, born circa 1853.
She was born in Canada while the family was enroute from Ireland. In 1887 they gathered at the photographic studio of
E.B. Nock, 148 and 150 Ontario St., Cleveland, for this photo. On Nana’s right, (our left as we look at the photo), is our grandmother, Catherine Adams Sullivan. Nana is holding Charles Adams. Standing next to Nana
is John F. Adams and his sister, Catherine.
Origins in Ireland of our Maternal Family
John A. Rogers, born ca 1844, was brought from County Cork, Ireland to the
U.S. by his mother, Margaret. As of this writing that is all we know. In
the 1880 Kentucky census records, we find Margaret living with John in
Louisville. Her age at that time indicates she was born circa 1818.
Most of the Irish in Louisville, Cincinnati and St. Louis came upriver from
New Orleans via the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In Louisville they settled
into two neighborhoods, "Limerick" and "Portland." Our family lived in the
latter district, on Bank St.
For the most part, both sides of our family all emigrated during the 1850s,
the period of An Gorta Mor - the Great Hunger. It was a time when the main
staple crop of the Irish peasant diet, the potato, failed in successive
years due to a fungus they knew nothing about. Millions in Ireland died
while the fortunate escaped with their lives.
One of our maternal great-grandfathers, Jeremiah (Remmy) Foley, was born
circa 1851 in Hartford, Connecticut. His parents, Timothy and Mary, were
both born in Ireland, Tipperary we believe. They were shopkeepers in
Hartford. In the 1860 census they are shown to possess $2500.00 in real
estate. Timothy is shown to have been a laborer in 1850 and a grocer in
On our maternal side, we find Patrick W. Murphy (PWM) in the New York City
census of 1840. He went west, to St. Louis, at some point in time and
married Maryanne O’Brien, who was born in New York City, on April 6, 1838.
Maryanne’s surname is shown in the Rodgers family bible as Anderson but the
records from St. Bridget of Erin Church, Carr St., St. Louis (it’s still
there) indicate she was an O’Brien. They married on July 7, 1857 when he was
3 and she was 19. Sometime after the War Between the States the relocated
from St. Louis to Louisville.
PWM left the family in search of work and would write and send a little
money home to support the children who had survived the illnesses of the
time. The last letter was received from Texarkana, Texas (or Arkansas as the
town splits the border of the two states.) He was apparently a laborer at
the time with the railroad. We believe that work was probably available in
Louisville but PWM might have suffered from wanderlust. He was