Devitt HIstory by Robert A. Noon

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Page 1

7:29 AM 11/18/2005

According to Ellen Paladine, Neil Devitt was born in Ireland, and emigrated to the USA though the port of Philadelphia, early in the 1850's. Devitt grand-children were said to be proud of the fact that no Devitts came through Ellis Island. Neil stayed with relatives before venturing out west, returning to Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pa, after becoming involved in a murder case. Neil married Mary Mohan, daughter of Charles and Arretta Reed Mohan, who ran the "Mohan Hotel" in that city. It is thought that William, first born, was born in Minersville in 1865 or 1867, but by 1870, the family is found in Ashland. Neil was, at that time, listed as working on the Railroad, and lived with Mary,and children: William C, Annie, Susan, and Mary, and Anna Devitt. Neil's mother, Anna, also lived in that house-hold, while the Mohans lived and prospered in Minersville. It is mere speculation at this point, but that Neil had Devitt relatives also there.

A Winifred Devitt, born in Ballycastle, Ire. in 1829, married Valentine Poppert originally from Germany, a Minersville settler as well, and according to the Poppert records, Neil and his mother are recorded as sponsors of one of the Poppert children's Baptisms, in Ashland. Further making the case, Mary T. Poppert's bridesmaid was a Theresa Devitt, possiblly Neil and Mary Mohan Devitt's daughter. The Poppert/Ryan wedding took place in Philadelphia, in 1892; Theresa would have been in her early 20's.

William C. Devitt was the first born child of Neil and Mary Mohan Devitt.
He was born in December, 1865, in Minersville, according to his youngest daughter, Bernadette. The first record of him in the Census was in Ashland, in 1870. After William's mother died, sometime before 1875, Neil accepted a commission to travel to South America, with the Collins Brothers of railroad fame, and the female children- Annie, Susan, Mary, and Theresa were sent to live with relatives- the Mohans, and the Thomas D. Brennans; both families lived in Minersville. This is confirmned by the 1880 census. It has been written that the surname is spelled "Beritt", not "Devitt" on that Census, but it is a very understandable mistake, as the copies are very poor. However, William, then 14, is nowhere to be found in Minersville, and perhaps he joined his father in Bolivia, working on an illfated railroad project along the Amazon River tributaries- Whether Mary Mohan died before or after the expedition is mere guesswork.

It is known that William studied law, and became a member of the bar. For a time he was working for Mr. McLaughlin, the District Attorney for Schuylkill County in the courthouse in Pottsville, Pa.. He is described as a well known and much- admired member of the county.

William had clerked under Thomas F. Kerns, a lawyer and prothonetery also from Pottsville. Thomas was also the president of the Standard Publishing Company, and in 1874, was appointed to the Commission for the Antricite Hospital Assn, appointed by the governor. At the time, the state was in the process of building a hospital in Ashland for the care of miners.

William Devitt later married Mr. Kern's daughter, Anna Francis. The wedding took place in St. Patrick's R.C. Church, Pottsville, on Oct. 16,1901, and was described in the Pottsville newspaper thus:

" Devitt/Kerns
Quiet and unassuming was the wedding of W. C. Devitt and Miss Anna F. Kerns, which took place this morning at 8:30 o'clock in St. Patrick's Church. But a few of their most intimate friends were aware of the date set for the nuptual ceremony, and at the church this morning only the immediate members of the families and a few intimate friends were present. They desired to have a quiet wedding without any display and its attending excitement, and arranged to have the ceremony quietly performed, and then leave on a wedding trip. A few minutes before 8:30 o'clock they arrived at the church, and at 8:45 o'clock, they were passengers on the P & H Flyer, bound for Philadelphia and other points. They
will visit the Buffalo Exposition before returning home. They will make their home at Ashland, where they will go into housekeeping.
The bride is the daughter of T. F. Kerns, of Garfield Square, and is an attractive and popular young lady, of a lively and vivaciuos disposition and with the happy faculty of making friends and retaining them. The groom is a well known member of the Schuylkill Co. Bar, and resides at Ashland. He is Assistant District Attorney to District Attorney M.P. McLoughlin. He is very popular not only in Ashland and Pottsville, but throughout the
The bride was attired in a browN broadcloth traveling gown, with hat and gloves to match, and carrying a white prayer book. She  was attended by her bridesmaid, Miss Sue Devitt, of Ashland, sister to the groom, who wore a tan colored broadcloth and carried white chysanthmums. Thomas Brehony, of Phila., a relative of the bride, was best man. The marriage ceremony was performed by the
Rev. F.J. McGovern, after which the newly married couple left immediately for the depot. They have the best wishes for the consummation of a happy and prosperous life and properous future."

[This account was reprinted as it appeared in the Pottsville Republican,
October 16, 1901, Wednesday, page 3, column 4.]

This article was sent to me via email from a dear friend and distant relative from New Jersey, Barbara Bergfelder. Much of the information I have on the Kerns and Brehony families comes from her as well. Interesting to note, as Barbara points out, that it was Thomas Brehony's sister, Catherine, who married a Brennan. Much of the info comes from Catherine Brehony as well. I wonder how or if the Brennans were related to our Thomas D.Brennans from Minersville,Pa.

We found the obituary for William C. Devitt in the Pottsville newpaper, researched at the library of the State University at Bloomsburg, Pa. There were actually two articles, one announcing the death, and another, the funeral and burial in Ashland.

The articles appeared in the August 31 and Nov 5 editions of the newspaper,1945...

"Atty. W. C. Devitt, Ashland, Dies

William C. Devitt, attorney-at-law, 214 Centre Street, Ashland, died at his Summer home, Stone Harbor, NJ, where the family Had been vacationing Since early this month. He was taken ill Sunday night and died Thursday morning at seven o'clock.

Mr. Devitt was born in Ashland 78 years ago, a son of the late Neil and Mary Mohan Devitt, and lived his entire life there. He was a member of the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and had he lived until January first, he would have celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Schuylkill County Bar Association. He was the last member of his class, and was the oldest member of the local Bar Association.

During the years 1900- 1904, Mr. Devitt served as assistant District Attorney, Was chairman of the county Democratic Committee and was a delegate to the National Convention in 1916. In that year he was admitted to the Supreme Court. From 1933-1935 he served as the legal representative of the  Home Owners' Loan Corporation. He was one of the most active lawyers in the county during his many years as an attorney. He was a member of St. Joseph's Church.

Surviving besides his wife,are two sons and three daughters: The Rev. Neal Devitt, Of the Holy Ghost Order, serving as a curate in Philadelphia; Edward, Phila.; Mrs. Anna Paladine and Miss Bernadette, Phila., and Miss Claire Devitt at home. There are five sisters: Anna and Sue, Ashland, Mrs. John Noon, Brooklyn; Mrs. John McGuire, Asbury Park, NJ. and Mrs. Catherine Hester, Phila.

The funeral will be held Monday morning. Mass will be celebrated in St. Joseph's Church, and interment will be in the parish cemetery. M. J. Clarke, Girardville, is in charge.

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A Special Thanks to Mr. Noon for all the Research and Help He has Done.

Evan P. Chirst          Devitt History          Thomas J. Edwards         John Keim
  Isaac R Mengel            James K. Merkel Biography 1          Merkles          Schuman Family

John C. K. Balthaser Biograpy ] Evan P. Christ ] [ Devitt history ] Devitt history Page 2 ] Donat Biography ] Thomas J. Edwards ] Henry Huber Biography ] Patrick Kearney (Carey) ] PATRICK KEARNEY ] John Keim ] H. Kelly ] Letter about Keims ] David G. Mengle Biograpy ] Ephraim Mengel Biograpy ] Isaac R Mengel ] J Hain Mengel Biograpy ] Martin Mengel Biograpy ] Melanchton Mengel Biograpy ] Ralph Mengel Biograpy ] Solomon Mengel Biograpy ] Abraham Donat Merkel Biography ] Abraham Merkel Biograpy ] Abraham Merkel Biograpy 2 ] James K. Merkel Biography 1 ] James K. Merkel Biography 2 ] Merkles ] Jean George Merckel ] Patrick Monaghan Biography ] Noon history ] Schuman Biography ] Schuman Family ] Sweeney - Devitt history ] Sweeney - Devitt history Page 2 ] Patrick Francis Sweeney ] George Troutman ] Locus Mountain Hotel or Troutman Hotel ] bios/MERCKEL_Jean_Georges am.pdf ] bios/MERCKEL_Jean_Georges%20am.pdf ]

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