James Deasy’s ledger

The following is a family history writtenin the front of a ledger by my great-grand-uncle James Deasy. James Deasy was born in 1867 in Co. Cork, Ireland and died in 1918 in Cambridge, MA. He was the eldest son ofJames Deasy and Honora McCarthy of Co. Cork. I included the bit of the ledger at the end; it seems to have been his budget, with notations. It serves as a sort of snapshot of six weeks in the life of an immigrant laborer in the 1890s. I have preserved his original spellings and abbreviations and columns, and indicated pagination with horizontal lines. I make no claim to the accuracy of this document, but it’s sort of interesting on its own.


June 10th, 1895, James Deasy 18 Willow St. Cambridgeport, Mass U.S.A.

Record of my past & present life. Also of my family & relatives already known & whatsoever I may learn in future. I shall give a true and honest account of what I have heard concerning my forefathers & their many trials & fortunes in the Old land in the dark days of the penal times. Also the present circumstances of those friends
that I know.

I have talked with many of the old folks concerning the family. Including my Granmother & Granuncle both well able to trace back more than 2 generations. Therefore I have decided that it may be interesting to some Member of the family in time to come to know something about their Forefathers.

June 10th, 1895 Cambridgeport U.S.A.

To whom it may Concern:

One morning in the year of our Lord, 1867, Was born the Author of these lines. But as fair fortune has not favoured me with Enough education to enable me to write a Family History while having Abundant material for the same I will write it in plain words & hope for some one that may be able to copy & correct this account if any misplaced words should occur. Such an account has been sadly neglected by so Old a family as ours has been. While I am sure there has been several in the family capable of writing a complete family History.

I will therefore relate as I find them the stories told by my father, Grandfather & Granduncle both now dead. My Granuncle was a fairly well Educated man and always took an active interest in the family. But for some reason or other he has never left us any information concerning our Forefathers or relations other than the fireside talks so common in the South of Ireland.

According to my Grandfather his Grandfather was one Bernard Deasy which in his youth owned a Farm in Carbery, County Cork, Ireland. But on account of his love of native land was forced to fly to France leaving a young Wife & 3 children to struggle for existance amid persecutions and Poverty which must surely follow.

Whether he was Shipwrecked or murdered is not known but . . . nothing was ever heard of the banished Bernard. The young Wife struggled to maintain the children. Until the Eldest a Boy grew to manhood, filled with hatred of his father’s Enemies. He Emigrated to America. There settled lived & died. His family or descendents must be living at present in Brazil or Mexico As it is to that part he first came. All trace of him is long lost. The Name must be changed ere this time to some Spanish one. So the family would not be known if there are any in existance.

The second a daughter became the wife of Robert Stanly from west of Bandon town With whom she turned Protestant. Became widowed & again became Catholic before death. Of her family nothing is known. I think She had 2 Children who must have remained Protestant As all of that name in Carbery are.

The 3rd Child from whom I am descended. He remained with his Mother through all her trials. His name was James. He married a woman by name of O’Hagan of West Cork with whom he had 9 Children 4 of Whom were sons. One died. Another went to Cork City where some of that name are still to be found.

A Third son by Name James. Was noted for his gift of Wit & Story. He married a Woman by name of O’Neil of County Limerick. After her father’s death she was left a large sum of Money. James bought a farm by the Bandon River. After some time he owned another at Innishanon, near the same town. To him was born 6 Children 4 Sons & 2 Daughters. Name of sons were George, Andrew, James, & Timothy. Daughters’ names were Margaret other
unknown. Such are the names of the Wife & Children of the Dacey-O’Neil marriage.

4th Son of the Deasy-O’Hagan marriage nothing is known. But as the Daceys of Bishopstown, Co. Cork claim relationship they must have descended from him. Other Daceys of Aghlish same County Claim their forefathers came from the West. Of the daughters, 5 in Number, I have heard but little. One by Name of Lizzie married one Albert Sullivan of Dashle town. Once Wealthy he ran out. He Emigrated to America where after a while all
trace of them was lost. The Sullivans were local Gentry. The Albert spoken of is said to be a sporting youth & fell in love with Eliza. Another by name Jane was the Wife of one Dennis Patterson of [Mimrirgove?]

He was Protestant but reformed with her. He owned a small farm from which he raised

Vegetables & peddled these same in Bandon towne. He died leaving Jane a widow & 5 children to survive him. They sold the farm & went to America. Nothing is known of them at present.

Of the 4 sons & 2 daughters of James Deasy & Miss O’Niell, James was the 3rd son & to him was given Innishanon Farm. George the Eldest was given the Bandon farm. But how long he held it is not known. But soon after we find him Emigrating to Australia. I think he settled in New South Wales. His family or some of his descendents must be scattered in that Country.

Timothy went to Cork City got married & lived there all his life. Had several Children. One by name James is at present living in Cork City. Where he keeps a saloon & several houses is Quite comfortable. A Sister of his I think is living some where in Black Rock.

Andrew the 2nd Son Emigrated to New York, U.S.A. He wrote to his friends in Ireland several times. He had 6 or 8 Children. Was wealthy, sent money to Ireland several times. Last account was by a neighbour who said he was Shot by a Portuguese on a train near Utica, N. York.

James who got the Farm at Innishanon married one Miss Ellen Crowley of Newcestown. After a short while he was Evicted from his farm. He worked around Newcestown for several years. To him was born 5 daughters & 3 sons. Daughters names

Mary, Ellen, Patsy, Margaret other unknown

Mary who emigrated first to Boston Mass then to California

Ellen also to California. Margaret to California. Settled there. Married one Mr. Brown a Blacksmith from Limerick Ireland. When last heard from had 4 children 3 Girls & One Boy.

Cate remained home married one John Sullivan from West Cork. To her was born 5 Sons & 2 Daughters. The Eldest Marg Emigrated to Clinton, Mass Married one Daniel Lehane of Knockingoul Co. Cork Ireland. There was born 3 Children Only one living.

The second a Son. Patrick is at present in Manchester England. A reckless boy. The 3rd a Son, in Boston Mass. Ellen the 4th Child is in Cambridgeport Mass. A fine young Woman . . . Is about 24 years old. Dennis the Youngest is a Smart young Man is 20 years old. Is a member of Fifth Regiment of M.V.M. & Other Organization. The family is comfortable.

James always lived with his parents until he was 30 years old. He then married One Nora McCarthy of Aherla, Co. Cork Ireland. With whom he had 9 children Six sons & 3 daughters. James the Eldest is the writer of these lines. I shall refer to myself later on.

Michael second son only lived to be 7 years was buried in South Kilmurray the family Burying ground.

Margaret 3rd Child Emigrated to America in April of 1890. Settled in Cambridgeport Mass. In April of 1895 Married one John Hegerty of Cork City Ireland. In January 1896 was born to them a Daughter named Ellen. She is at present in fair circumstances has a nice home.

Patrick 4th Child is at present (July 1895) in Cork City is now about 21 1/2 years old is a Reckless & Wild Youth.

Timothy 5th Child is about 19 years old (Nov. 1895). Joined her Majesty’s Navy about March 1895 is at present stationed in the Mediterranean. Is a sensible young fellow is Quite an Athlete.

Jeremiah 6th Child is now about 15 years old a Rugged young fellow. At present at home.

Honora aged 7 years (Aug. 1895) is at present living with Mother at Crookstown Cork Ire. The 8th Child Named Ellen died when only 1 1/2 old. Was buried in Kilmurray. 9th & last one died.

Father & Mother is living in Crookstown Co. Cork Ireland (June 24th, 1895).

I will name here all Cousins & Relations that I know of. On the Father’s side is 2 Aunts. One a Mrs. Sullivan now in Cambridge Mass U.S.A. Of her family there is James & Dennis in Cambridge. Many in same City. Ellen in Brookline Mass. Patrick in Manchester England. Other Aunt Name Margaret of Woodstead County California U.S.A. When last heard from had 4 Chilren names unkn unknown.

On the Mother’s side there is 3 Aunts Name Julia of Douglas Cork Ireland. Has Michael Eldest son at present in her Majesty’s Navy stationed off the Coast of Spain. Daniel at present in Melrose Mass U.S.A. In Feb. of 1895, he deserted from her Mjs Navy at Hallifax.

Polly or Mary at present in Lexington Mass. A pretty Girl–Unmarried. Patrick at home & 3 or 4 more . her husband’s name was Dan Kelleher at present confined in the Lunatic Asylum in Cork City.

Hanna at present living at Bellmount Co Cork is Married one David Donagau has 2 Children: Michael is home going to School. John second son going to School. Youngest Julia at home.

Catie at present in Charlestown Boston M.U.S.A. Unmarried supposed to possess a large sum of money.

Youngest a Son Name Jerry at present in Malden Mass. Married one Mary Burke of Macroom 1885 Cork Ireland has 4 Children.

Michael about 10 years, Attending School. John 2nd attending school. Daniel Also at home is about 6 1/2 y – ’95). I am his Godfather . . . a child.

I will here state that of all my
Aunts & Uncles of Jerry McCarty I think most. For amongst them all he has proved to me
the best friend. For in 1887 June 4th he payed my passage to America & proved a kind
friend on my arrival.


My Granfather on my Mother side was Michael McCarthy of Aherlow County Cork Ire. He had one Sister that I know. She married a man by Name Field. she still lives & has several Children. One by Name Dennis lives in Cork City. He also has several Children. My Granmother was by Name Callahan of Templemartin County Cork. Of her friends I know very little. She a Nephew by name O’Brien in Newcestown same Co.

My Granmother on the Father side was one Ellen Crowley of Newcestown County Cork and She had numerous Relations in that section of the County. Of whom I know very little. She was a woman of Medium stature of keen Wit & lived to an old Age being 98 years when she died. She was interred at South Kilmurray the Family burying Ground.

[In another hand: “The Author of the forgoing biography died Nov. 25th 1918 at the age of 51 years. James Deasy Born County Cork in 1867

Died Cambridge Mass 1918″]

A Brief sketch of my life from my Childhood to my arrival in U.S.A. Born at Carigtohill Parish of Newcestown County Cork Ireland. Remained in that section for 4 years I next resided in South Kilmurray for 2 yrs. I next went to Bellmount same County. First entered School at Kilmurray for 1 1/2 yr.

Then to Ahan [?] N.S. for 5 years. Reached first stage of fifth Class. I then moved to Roughgrove. first employment by John Farrell of Glennoughragd 3 months £ 1.00. Then for Richard Beamish of Riverview (12 months) then for Henry Goode of [Fanist?] Then for James Rumbley of Ballineadig Co. Cork for 4 years (£8 per yr.) for Con Riordan 1 1/2 £10 per y.

In Mar of 1887 Received my passage ticket from Uncle Jeremiah McCarthy of Camb. Sailed on May 28 on Board the Steamer Aroyania of the Gurion Line to New York U.S.A. Arrived on June 3rd. Took Fall river Boat for Boston. Arrived on the 5th. Met Jerry McC. at Old Colony Dept.

Came to Jefferson St. Cambridge, Mass. Rested. Struck first work at Graves A. Philips Frame Manufactory on Main St. Camgport. $9.00 per week worked for 2 M. Struck a job at F.A. Kennedy Biscuit Mf– $6.00 per week. After 2 M raised to -$7.50- Worked there for 2 years last 9 M received $9.00 per week. Resigned my job in September 1890. Loafed for 7 weeks. Got employment on the West End St. Railroad $9.00 per week. Worked for 3 Months afterwards worked at Union Glass Work at Somerville, Mass.

In March of 1890 went to Fall river in search of work. Got none. In May of ’90 Tramped to Boston. Engaged with one F. McGuire of Wood st. Lexington mass. for $20.00 per Month to work on a farm. Served 6 months received $116.00 on leaving.

Came to Cambridgeport. Got work in Glass Works– to Dec. at $9.00. On Dec. 18, 1890 Struck work on Malden Sandpaper Works at 9.00 first 4 M then 10 1/2 a week. Worked in Malden to Feb of 1891. Left. Got work from a florist of Malden Center w to April 20 — $10.00 per w.

On April 29, ’91, agreed with one T.H. O’Neil of Endicott Farms, Danversport Mass at $20.00 per month. Served him for 7 M.

account for 6 May


Danvers May 10 Rec.$10.00 June 24 1.75

July 3 Paid – Rec. 10.00

” 4 ” – Expense 6.00

” 20 ” – 1.00

August 24 ‘ 90 Account with Miss Ida C. Minnissero $25.00 Lawyers Fees 5.00

Aug. 30 Rec. $30.00

On Dec. 29th Account ends with O’Neil Paid $90.00 To Boston Drank Hard for 3 Weeks
robbed of $35.00 at Jerry McCarthy’s house at Camb. a Irish party being held I got drunk slept & Lost my moneyOn Dec. 30 1891 Received Work C.H. North P & Provision Co. at Sommerville Mass at  $8.60 steady for remaining 21 days.
Jan 1 January 1st 1892
Friday 1st Worked 14 hours.
Saturday 2″ ” 12 “ }to Boston took the sights to Museum
Sunday 3″ ” 2 “
Monday 4″ ” ” ” Got paid….$4.13 Rec.

Expended $4.35 Expen.

Tuesday 5″ Worked 10 “
Wednesday 6″ ” 10 “ }Went up st. met some friends. Enjoyed my self.
Thursday 7″ ” 13″ }A strike is Near at work.
Friday 8″ ” 13 “
Sat. 9″ ” 10″
Sunday 10″ to Church .20
Monday 11″ “15” Got Paid }To Boston drank 2 Beers/a Pint $8.95
paid Mrs. Sullivan 4.00
spent 0.15
Tuesday 12″ Worked 12 “
Wed. 13″ ” 10″
Thursday 14″ ” 10″
Friday 15th “10”
Saturday 16th “10”
Sunday Stayed in the house
Monday 18″
Got paid
…… $9.00
paid board …..$4.00
spent .12

Tuesday 19″ Worked –11 hours
Wed 20″ “– 10 “
Thursday 21″ “– 12″ To Malden had a good time home at 4 AM
Friday 22″ “– 10 “
Saturday 23″ “– 10 “ total work 64 h.
Sunday 24″ to Church 10¢ home stayed in the house after supper took a short walk
Monday 25″ Worked — 11 hours — Got Paid $8.52. Paid Mrs. Sullivan
4.00 spent 78¢ Enjoyed myself To bed at 11.
Tuesday 26″ “– 10 “
Wednesday 27″ “– 10″
Thursday 28 “– 12″
Friday 29″ “– 15″
Saturday 30 “– 10″ Total 68h
Sunday 31″ “to Church 10¢ home Enjoyed my self
To Sleep at 11 P.M.
Mon 1st
to work – 15 hours 
Got paid $9.00 Paid Mrs. Sullivan

4.00 to Boston spent 28¢

Tuesday 2nd W. — 10 h.,

to Boston to Howard Orpheum to See

Ivy Leaf .25¢ Car fare 10¢ Licquor

20¢ home To Bed at 10

Wed. 3rd W. — 10 h –

went up st. Bought Overalls & Jumpers

95¢ Suspenders 50¢ Stockings 75

Thursday 4″ W. — 11 h. Wrote letter

for Jerry McCarty To Bed at 11

Friday 5th W. — 11 To bed at 9

Saturday 6th” — 10 “” 10

to Boston to Palace Theatre 10¢ Beer”

Car fare 10¢ Weather fine

Sunday 7th to Church 10¢ out afternoon

to Jerry McCarthy Played cards

Monday 8th Work – 11 h. Got Paid

$8.92 Paid Board 4.00

Tuesday 9th W. — 14 h to Bed at 12

Wed 10th ” — 14 ” ” 12

Thurs 11th ” — 14″ “12

Friday 12th ” — 14″ ” 12

Saturday 13th ” — 11″ to

Boston Carfare 10¢ Beer 10 Whiskey

38¢ home to Bed at 10


Sunday 14 to Church 10¢ home

stayed in the house afternoon

[—-?] money 53¢ money due $4.00

to bed at 11

Monday 15 … Work
11 hours Got paid $9.00 
Paid Mrs. SullivanTuesday 16th … 14 h. to bed at 12

Wed 17th … 14 ………………….12

Thursday 18th ….14…………….12

Friday 19th……..14…………….12

Bought notepaper 25¢

Saturday 20th…..11…………9 pm

Sunday 21…..to Church at 10 AM Cost 10¢

Bought ticket for raffle 25¢ ticket for

Benefit 25¢ to Bed at 10 PM

Monday 22 Washingtons birth day

Work 7 hours – Paid from

noon $11.7 Paid Mrs. S.

$4.00 to palace theatre

40¢ expense Bed at 10

Tuesday 23. Work 11h to bed at 11

Wed 24 ” 10 ” 10

thurs 25 ” 10 ” 11

Frid 26 ” 10 ” 12

On this day John Foley runs off with $100.00 from Thom. Sheehan

Sat 24 10 to Boston

the howard orpheum

40¢ to Bed at 11


Sunday 28 to Church spent 10

Beer 40¢ to Bed at


Mon 29 Work 10 hours Paid Board $4.00
March 1st 1892
Tuesday 1st Work 9 h. to Boston Beer 20¢to Bed at 10 P.M.
Wed 2 Work 10 h. to Bed at 10
Thur 3 Work 10 h. read paper to Bed at 10
Frid 4 ” 10 ” 11
Sat 5 ” 10 to Boston at 7 Carf. 5¢ razor strap 35 ¢ mug & Brush 25¢ Beer

25¢ home to bed at 12 P.M.


Sun 6 to Church 10¢ played cards lost 35¢ to bed at 11 P.M.
Monday 7 W 10 h Got paid $8.80 paid Board $4.00 to Cambpt. bought soap 25¢

Bed at 11


Tuesday 8 W 11 h to Bed at 9 P.M.
Wed 9 ” 9 Dressed. Visited Mr. Kelly played cards for a watch 50¢

home in company with Tom Haly & Dennis Linsey to Bed at 12


Thur 10 Work 11 h to bed at 9 P.M.
Friday 11 ” 10 h ” 10″
Saturday 12 ” 10 Dressed went up st. to Boston to Howard theatre 10¢Car fare 10¢ to bed at [?]


Sunday 13 to Church spent 10 ¢ to bed at 10 PM

3 thoughts on “James Deasy’s ledger

  1. Hi, i am researching my wife’s family tree as part of the task of doing mine. She has a Gt Grandfather Daniel Lehane who was born in Cork City 1872,according to the Irish census’ of 1901 & 1911. His wife has the given name of Margaret, again according to the census’. Could this be the same couple as your Daniel Lehane and Margaret Sullivan?? Did they have a daughter in 1895 by the name of Kate??
    I would be interested to hear back from you.
    Andy Gorman

  2. I don’t have any documentation to support my Lehane info apart from this ledger and a family history done by a cousin for a school project in the 1950s. The school project version says that the Lehanes had 6 children and that the family emigrated to Clinton, Massachusetts, but they don’t give a source for that, other than talking to relatives. I don’t know any names of their children. I wish I could be more help.

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