According to family legend...

The McCarthy clan of Chicago started taking shape in 1852 with the arrival of Jeremiah McCarthy from County Cork, Ireland. Jeremiah had three cousins, Daniel, Dennis and Florence who made the trip to Chicago from Ireland at about the same time. They didn't arrive in Chicago together as they had to arrange for their own transportation that fit their limited budgets. After arriving in the United States and Canada, they had to work their way across the country to Chicago.

The McCarthys came from a Catholic farming community that didn't offer the experience or skills that were required in the urban area. But they were young, aggressive and healthy and they found a receptive Chicago community for practicing their religious convictions. They had suffered several years in Ireland during the potato famine; a long dehumanizing journey across the ocean; and months in a quarantined concentration-like camp in Canada in the middle of winter. Even though the conditions in Chicago along the Chicago River weren't the most luxurious, it appeared to the McCarthys as a bit of Heaven. With a large and expanding Irish population in the heart of the downtown area of Chicago, the McCarthy cousins found life in the big city enjoyable.

Proving this family legend has been a bit of struggle. There is some evidence that there is a connection between Jeremiah and Florence and a Mary McCarthy. However, I have not found any evidence of any connection to Daniel.

  • Florence McCarthy married Mary Mackey
  • Mary McCarthy married John Mackey
  • Florence McCarthy and John Mackey are neighbors in the 1860 Federal U. S. census.
  • John Mackey, son of John and Mary, was buried in Florence McCarthy's cemetery plot in 1869 and then removed to his father's cemetery plot in 1874.
  • Florence owned a saloon and Jeremiah, and several of his sons, worked on-and-off in saloons (but not Florence's saloon)
  • In the 1855 Chicago city directory, Florence and Dennis are both listed as residing at "N. Water bt Wells and Franklin"