More than a wee bit of Irish…

Postcard009Margaret Mary Gallagher, my maternal grandmother, emigrated by steamship from Ireland to New York City in 1904 at the tender age of nineteen. Following her brother Stephin to a new life in a foreign country, I can’t imagine her horror when her anchor, her beloved sibling, died in a tragic accident shortly after her arrival.

Postcard005Did she return to Ireland? Not with her perseverance. She modeled at New York’s famed Wanamaker’s Department Store and worked as a domestic for the Gould family. The 1900 era Gould’s would be billionaires by today’s standards.

Fortunately, Jay Gould had died a decade earlier, as he’d been aptly titled the original ‘robber baron’ and most hated man in America from his shady business ethics during railroad development. I’d guess working in their household is how she ended up on the horse in the photo. Possibly at Hempsted House on Long Island?Postcard013

These vintage, turn of the century postcards and photos survived Margaret’s moving between multiple rooming houses in New York, a homestead in North Dakota (where she began her day sweeping rattlesnakes off the sunny front porch), and the Great Depression hitting Saginaw, Michigan.

This beautiful, spirited Irish lass didn’t lack for dates during her time in New York. Men mailed a postcard designating when they’d be in town to secure a dinner or dancing date. I’ve put the foot high stack of cards in chronological order–many by, ahem, suitor. I love the card featuring an angelic girl fishing for hearts-the overall tone on most messages alludes to Margaret’s coquettish nature.Postcard012

How I wish I’d have met my grandmother. She died from cancer in 1932, at age forty-seven, during the height of the depression. My mom was only ten and was raised by a father with a sixth grade education and her beloved half-sister, Shirley, Margaret’s daughter from a previous marriage. She kept a diary in later years-maybe where my writing gene originated. I’m determined to research more of her history and plan to write her story. It’ll be a romance with a happy ending, that’s what my mom would’ve wished. We’ve remained close to our Irish family–my husband met fifty-four of my Irish clan in a two day span during a past trip. Erin go Bragh-Ireland till the end of time.

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About Sally Brandle

Author, horse lover, gardener, pastry enabler, and thankful wife and mother. Very proud of both novels, The Hitman's Mistake and Torn by Vengeance, published by Soul Mate Publishing. The Targeted Pawn releases in March of 2020. Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense, motivating readers to trust their instincts. Growing up as a tomboy alongside brothers prepared her to work in a male-centric industry, raise sons, and create action packed stories featuring strong women. She thrives on creating unintentional heroines who conquer their vulnerabilities and partner with heroes to outwit cunning villains.
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3 Responses to More than a wee bit of Irish…

  1. sueberger3 says:

    That was fascinating. When you were a true story I want to read it. Thank you.

    • Sally Brandle says:

      Thank you, Sue. I have an old, black, metal travel tin full of postcards and a diary. I plan to write a couple period pieces once I do more research and finish publishing the two series I’ve written so far. I can only imagine what Margaret’s life was like. I watched Hello Dolly again and the clothes certainly match the ones in her photos.

  2. michjeanmarie says:

    How lovely that you have these stories and photos!

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