When I was finishing my book, I wanted to include a bit of family history of my grandfather’s first wife, Cleone O’Neill, whose parents were Joseph Patrick O’Neil and Loretta Bernice Cherry. Both Joseph and Loretta died young. Joseph was 28 when he died in a mining accident in 1917. Loretta remarried a few years later, but died in 1928 at age 38.
This past summer, I was looking through some photo albums at my Aunt Loretta’s house and saw this old newspaper clipping. It’s great because it has five generations of Loretta (Cherry) O’Neil’s family. It was published about 1932, probably in a Shullsburg, Wisconsin, newspaper.
Women in photo as related to Loretta (Cherry) O’Neill Boyle:
- Mary (Monahan) McKenna, Loretta’s maternal grandmother, seated right
- Mary Ellen (McKenna) Cherrey, Loretta’s mother, standing right
- Rose Alice (Cherry) Phoenix, Loretta’s sister, standing left
- Velma (Phoenix) Heim with her daughter Dorothy Alice, Loretta’s niece, seated left
You may have noticed differences in the spelling of the last name Cherrey/Cherry and O”Neil/O’Neill. These inconsistencies appeared within families; I’m using the spellings that are found on headstones and death certificates.
For clarification: The writing on the newspaper clipping refers to my Aunt Loretta and that her great-grandmother is Mary Ellen (McKenna) Cherry. It does not refer to Loretta (Cherry) O’Neil Boyle.
Transcription of text:
[picture]: Seated, front right: Mrs. Mary McKenna; standing in rear, right, Mrs. Thos. Cherry; standing, left, Mrs. John Phoenix; seated, left, Mrs. Wilbur Heim, and baby, Dorothy Alice.
Benton, Wis. – Special: Five generations were represented at the McKenna family reunion held in the Benton Park recently. Mrs. Mary McKenna, the great great grandmother is 87 years old. Seventy-five persons attended the picnic. Mrs. makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Allie Varing at Cuba City.