Friday, April 10, 2015

James Brady (1878-1918) - Starting Down A Long, Long Path

This handsome gentleman is my great-grandfather, James Brady. He lived a fairly short life, dying in New York at the age of 40 during the influenza epidemic on 13 Oct 1918. His death came two days before that of his daughter, Rose Brady, who died just a few days short of 22 months old. They were buried in the same coffin at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Tracing his life story has been a bit difficult, for two reasons.

First, he lied about where he was born. In every document that he filed with the government, he said he was born in Rhode Island. The truth is far more interesting, and about 3,200 miles away from there. He was actually an alien pretending to be a United States citizen.

The second reason is even more fascinating. He lived in a number of odd places, including on a boat. Yes, on a boat, with a wife and eight children, including my grandfather.

Some proof is found in the 1910 U.S. Census below:

He worked as a hoisting engineer, and he lived on a boat moored in the Harlem River around W. 219th Street. When I found this evidence, my mother was amazed because she heard stories about him living on a boat, and I think she was a bit skeptical.

I have actually been able to put together a good deal of information about his life, and that of his mother Margaret and his sister Margaret, but information about his father, Thomas Brady, and his brothers Thomas and Joseph, is far more scarce.

I will post more about their story in the coming weeks.