Research from NEHGS Genealogist Chris Child:

Dear Jake –

In researching a family of one my friends I came across your blog post – https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/the-case-of-ellen-m-oneill/ – regarding Ellen M. O’Neill. You write about the Ellen M. O’Neill born at Blackstone 1 Dec. 1852 illegitimately to George Henry Southwick.

I can fill in some more details. Sally Ann O’Neil at Blackstone 3 March 1863 to James W. Rhodes. They moved to Bristol, Rhode Island and from there to Killingly, Connecticut where they were enumerated in the 1880 census. By this point, “Ellen M. O’Neill” is now listed as Ella M. Rhodes and as a daughter of James (her step-father). Ella married William Elisha Davison (1858-1929) and died in Putnam, Connecticut on 2 July 1933. I am friends with a number of Ella’s great-great-grandchildren who still live in the Putnam, CT area where I grew up.

Ella’s mother Sally, was the daughter of Tully “James” O’Neill and Eleanor Reed Taft of Uxbridge and Blackstone. Tully was born in Ireland around 1800 and probably died in Blackstone in 1873. He is listed as Tully on the births of his children but as James on the state and federal censuses.

Hope this helps with your O’Neill


Chris Child
Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press
New England Historic Genealogical Society

Jake Fletcher

According to the letter written by my second great-grandmother, Jane Barre, Owen O’Neill and Ellen Russell had a child named Ellen O’Neill in New york in 1852. When I found the O’Neill family in the1870 and 1880 Census, Ellen M O’Neill was listed there as being born 1852 (and respectively 1855) in Massachusetts in these two censuses.

I decided to check this out in the NEHGS database for Massachusetts Vital Records and I got a very interesting result:


The Record States: Ellen M O’Neill born 1 Dec 1852 in Blackstone (Millville), illegitimately born to George H Southwick, a scythe polisher, and Sally A O’Neill born in Uxbridge

I showed my case to David Lambert at NEHGS, because there is a good chance this could be my relative. It’s interesting nonetheless. He suggested I try the 1855 State Census for Blackstone. I found the family in Blackstone.

The record states:

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