THE BYRNE FAMILY




The Byrne family was a reserved, educated, prosperous and strict Roman Catholic family from Ireland.

The furthest I've been able to go back in my search for my family ansestry of Byrne is to Patrick Byrne who married Ellen Mullen in Ireland where they had a son named Martin Byrne.

Martin Byrne was born in November of 1848.

Martin married Catherine Flannagan on May 18, 1875 in Milton, Massachusetts. Catherine was born in Ireland in 1848, the daughter of William and Mary (Farley) Flannagan.

Martin and Catherine Byrne had 5 children:

John J. Byrne "Jack" Born 1876 Died 1936 Age 60
William M. Byrne Born 1880 Died 1967 Age 87
Thomas E. Byrne Born 1884 Died 1918 Age 34
Mae Byrne Born ? Died ? Age ?
Kathryn Byrne "Kit" Born ? Died ? Age ?


Martin Byrne died in 1913 at the age of 65.

Catherine (Flannagan ) Byrne died in 1930 at the age of 82.



Martin and Catherine (Flannagan) Byrne's
OFFSPRING



John J. Byrne was born August 8, 1876 in Milton, MA. and went by the name of "Jack".
Jack London Web Site Award
This site has received the
"Jack London Excellent Site Award"
from Dave Hartzell of the
Jack London's Ranch Album: A Pictorial Biography.
John J. "Jack" Byrne

Click here for list of John J. Byrne's children.

Jack was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), who worked as an accountant, bookkeeper, and secretary. He was left-handed and had beautiful penmanship, which was often noted.
As a young man, Jack left Milton, MA and traveled to California, (it's said by hopping westbound freight trains).

It is noted in Charmain London's diary that on December 12, 1904 Jack Byrne and Ida London-Miller*, were invited as dinner guests to the home of Mr. Jack London** (and his soon to be second wife), Clara Charmain Kittredge (who went by her middle name, "Charmain"), at Glen Ellen, CA.
* Ida is the younger of Mr. Jack London's two older step-sisters.
    Ida had been previously married at an early age (1888) to F. H. Miller and had a son, Johnny Miller.
    She divorced him in 1905 after he deserted her.


** Mr. Jack London (1876-1916) was a famous author of many books, such as
    "Call of the Wild" (1903) and "John Barleycorn" (1913).

In 1905, Jack Byrne (age 29) married Ida London Miller (age 35) and became Mr. London's brother-in-law.

In 1906 Jack and Ida Byrne had a daughter they named Charmain Byrne, whom they nicknamed "Tommy". They settled in Oakland, CA.
Here's a picture of Charmain "Tommy" London-Byrne

This picture was taken in California

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In 1906 Jack witnessed and made it through the devastating San Francisco Earth Quake.

In 1909 Jack Byrne's 25 year old brother Thomas E. Byrne, traveled to Oakland, California to visit and meet his brother's new family.
In 1912 Jack Byrne's wife, Ida (London-Miller) Byrne, was admitted to the East Bay Sanitarium, a hospital for the chronically ill.

On March 23, 1913, Jack Byrne, who was recently out of work, was hired as a personal secretary to his bother-in-law, the author Jack London, and began handling all of Mr. London's correspondence and business matters. (Charmain London, would not allow her husband to have a female secretary.)

On March 3, 1914, 38 year old Jack Byrne and his 8 year old daughter Charmain "Tommy" Byrne moved from Oakland, CA into one of the cottages on Mr. London's ranch in Glen Ellen, CA, known as "Beauty Ranch".

Jack London Ranch Cottage

Living at the ranch would enable Jack Byrne to be handy to work for Mr. London.

Eliza London Shepard*, who lived at the ranch, would care for Ida and Jack Byrne's daughter, Charmain "Tommy" Byrne, while Ida was hospitalized and her father worked.
* Eliza London Shepard was Ida's oldest sister — and Jack London's oldest step-sister. She was estranged from her husband, James Shepard, who was a jeweler with a shop in Modesto CA
Eliza's estranged husband, James Shepard got upset with Mr. London because Eliza had left him and had moved onto the Ranch with her step-brother Jack London. Shepard felt that Mr. London had 'stolen his wife'.

Mr. Shepard appeared at the Ranch one night stating that he was going to kill Jack London.   He became furious when he discovered Jack Byrne having dinner with Eliza along with Mr. and Mrs. London. Mr. Shepard pulled out a gun and tried to shoot Jack Byrne. Mr. London jumped up and wrestled the gun away from Shepard.

It's believed that Eliza and Jack Byrne were just friends.
Here's a picture of Eliza cir: 1915


Ida (London-Miller) Byrne died on the operating table at the East Bay Sanitarium on June 2, 1914, leaving Jack Byrne a widower with an 8 year old daughter, Charmain "Tommy" Byrne.

Jack Byrne continued to live at the ranch with his daughter, Tommy, and worked for Mr. London, until Mr. London's death in 1916.

It was the morning of November 22, 1916, when a servant found Jack London unconscious. Eliza sent for Jack Byrne who went for a doctor who tried to revive Mr. London who was in a state of narcosis, morphine vials on the floor. Eliza London-Shepard, Charmain Kittredge-London and Jack Byrne were at author Jack London's side when he died at the young age of 40.

Mr. London's death truly devastated Jack, and he was deeply grieved. Mr. London had been his employer, his brother-in-law and his friend.

Jack Byrne continued to work in the Glen Ellen area for the next few years. He noted in a
letter he had written that he "wandered all over California for more than a year". Jack's daughter Charmain "Tommy" stayed with her Aunt Eliza London-Shepard at the ranch while her father worked.
In 1917, Jack tried to enlist in the Army, in San Francisco, wanting to serve during World War I, but was rejected due to his age of 39.

In 1918, Jack contracted influenza, during the Great Flu Epidemic. He was very ill for three weeks, but thankfully recovered.

Jack Byrne was working in Humboldt County, CA. It was while working there that he learned of his brother Tom's death.   Thomas E. Byrne, from Massachusetts, had died at age 34 from influenza, another victim of the 1918 epidemic.

Jack received a letter from his deceased brother Tom's widow, Effie Teed Byrne, and he responded with profound respect and spiritual comfort in a letter that he wrote to his sister-in-law, Effie, dated December 1, 1918.

Below is the letter:

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In 1919 Jack Byrne returned to Massachusetts leaving his 13 year-old daughter Charmain "Tommy" Byrne with her beloved Aunt Eliza London-Sheperd, the only "mother" Tommy had ever known.
Eliza London-Shepard wrote often to Jack Byrne with news of his daughter, Charmain "Tommy" Byrne.

After Eliza died author Jack London's widow, Charmain London, continued to write to Jack Byrne with news regarding Tommy.

Tommy rarely wrote to anyone herself. Once Tommy married and had a family (of at least two daughters) the correspondence faded.

Click here to read about Tommy's visit to Massachusetts in 1929.





On November 26, 1919, against his family's wishes, Jack Byrne, age 43, married Effie Teed, his brother's 30 year old widow, and became father to Tom and Effie's three young children.

Helen Byrne Born 02/09/14 Died 11/19/96
Alice Byrne Born 12/02/16 Died 01/05/93
Marjorie Byrne Born 12/31/1918 Died 11/11/65

Jack and Effie made their home in Milton, MA.
The Byrne family did not approve of Jack marrying his deceased brother's widow and they disowned him. They had not been happy when Tom had married Effie and now two of the Byrne sons had married the same non-Catholic girl. They also did not like the fact that Jack and Effie were having so many children. Jack and Effie saw William's family during occasional Sunday dinners but rarely saw the others, unless they would run into them at William's house.
Jack and Effie Byrne had six more children:
Martin Byrne Born 06/27/1920 Died 02/1976
Beatrice I. Byrne Born 06/21/1922 Died 02/26/2017
Mary Byrne Born 08/15/1924 Died 12/06/2006
Eileen Byrne Born 03/31/1927 Died 02/17/1991
Patricia Byrne Born 02/10/1929 Died 07/04/1997
Barbara Byrne Born 02/15/1934 Died 09/26/1980

Helen, Alice and Marjorie were never considered to be half-sisters or stepsisters. Jack and Effie Byrne raised their nine children as one, large, loving family.

(See the TEED FAMILY section)

Here's a picture of Effie (Teed) Byrne
and her husband John (Jack) Byrne

This was most likely taken in Milton MA.


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Jack worked at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Boston as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

In 1929 the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.
It was around 1929 when Eliza London-Shepard and her niece, Charmain "Tommy" Byrne (Jack Byrne's daughter from his first marriage to Eliza's sister, Ida [London-Miller] Byrne) traveled from California to visit Tommy's father, Jack Byrne, his wife Effie Byrne and their children in Milton Massachusetts.

It had been 10 years since Jack had left California and had seen his first born child.

Tommy was about 23 years old when she visited. Gifts were given to all of the Byrne children and an autographed book 'The Call of the Wild', written by Jack London was given to Jack Byrne's only son, 9 year old Martin Byrne (which he did not save).       The Call of the Wild - 1st edition July 1903

During this visit Jack's children ranged in age from infant
Patricia to 15 year old Helen.

The children were very excited about meeting the California visitors whom their father had told them of. Effie had done her 5 year old daughter Mary's hair up in rags so she would have curly hair. Mary looked like Shirley Temple with her curls and a pretty dress and entertained the guests by singing a song and dancing for them. Mary's gift was a doll with blond hair, (which she says her sister Beatrice threw in the brook behind their house).
In 1932, the family lost their house at 26 Sassamon Avenue in Milton. They moved to a rented house in Dorchester. After a short period, the family moved back to Milton and rented a large house.

Jack's 14 year old daughter, Marjorie, moved to Amherst, NH to live her her Uncle Duddy (Charles Teed) and Aunt Min.

His daughter Helen Byrne came down with Tuberculosis (TB) while living in Milton and had to stay in bed for one year.

Jack's daughter Eileen had been also been sick with rheumatic fever and polio. Jack would sit on her bed asking how she was feeling, and would read to her.

Coupon books were given to families for food. All of the children would have a coupon book, and go to the local Congregational Church for milk, cheese, peanut butter, flour and sugar. There is no memory of having meat during the year of 1932. None of the Byrne children were ever hungry, "just skinny".
Here is a picture of Jack Byrne.
Sitting to his left is his friend Jack Driscoll

Taken at Grandma Teed's House
Nahonton Avenue, Milton, MA
Mr. Driscoll was Mary Byrne's Godfather

Jack was a very strict and protective father. In 1935 his 13 year old daughter Beatrice had permission from her mother to go to the movies with a girlfriend. Though the theater was across the street from their house, Jack was not letting Bea out on her own and went to the theater and brought her home.

Jack turned 59 years old in 1935, was aging and had bleeding ulcers.
Jack had been accustomed to fine things when he lived in California at Mr. London's "Beauty Ranch" and worked hard now to support his large family. It was a constant struggle. Jack asked Effie if she would please consider moving to California but Effie was very close to her family and could not bear leaving them.
John J. "Jack" Byrne died On September 26, 1936 at Boston City Hospital from mercury poisoning, believed by his own hand, at the age of 60. Some say Jack was treating his ulcers and it was accidental after suffering for years with bleeding ulcers.

Years earlier, Jack Byrne's family had completely disowned him, as they did not approve of him marrying his deceased brother's widow. For many years Jack had no contact with his sisters, Kathryn "Kit" or Mae and very little contact with his brother William.

Jack's sisters, Mae and Kit, who had influence and were well-off, made special arrangements to have a Catholic funeral Mass for Jack at Saint Agatha's Church in Milton, MA.

Saint Agatha's Church-Milton MA Saint Agatha's Church-Interior Milton MA

Jack Byrne was buried in a consecrated grave, in the Byrne family plot, but his family would not allow his name to be placed on the headstone.

In later years, Jack's daughters arranged for his name to be engraved on the back of the family gravestone at his burial site in Milton, MA.

Patricia   Mary and Eileen Byrne

Taken Memorial Day 1943
at Milton Cemetary
       






William M. Byrne was born in 1880.

William married a woman named Winifred who was known as "Winnie".

Winifred was born in 1898. She was 18 years younger than William.

William and Winnie had at least 8 children.

William M. Byrne died in 1967 at the age of 87.

Winifred Byrne died in 1965 at the age of 67.






Thomas E. Byrne was born in 1884.

Here is a picture of Tom Byrne.



In 1909, at age 25, Tom traveled to California , to visit and to meet his brother
Jack's new family.

Tom returned to Milton, Massachusetts and worked as a street car conductor.


In 1911 Tom met a young lady named Effie Teed on the trolley, at Randolph Avenue, in Milton, MA   (he was the train conductor).   They fell in love and married. Tom was 27 years old and Effie was 22 years old.

Tom and Effie Byrne had four children:

Gertrude Byrne Born 1912 Died 1913
from whooping cough
Helen Byrne Born 02/09/1914 Died 11/19/1996
Alice Byrne Born 12/02/1916 Died 01/05/1993
Marjorie Byrne Born 12/31/1918 Died 11/11/1965



Helen age 10, Alice age 8, Marge age 5

Thomas E. Byrne tragically died May 1918, at the young age of 34, from influenza during the Great Flu Epidemic.

At age 29 Effie (Teed) Byrne had lost a young baby and now her husband a widow with two young children, Helen age 4 and Alice age 17 months, and was expecting another child, Marjorie, who was born December 31, 1918.

Effie (Teed) Byrne later married Tom's brother Jack Byrne






Mae Byrne married a man named Pendis and had at least one son.






Kathryn Byrne, who was called "Kit" married a man named Edward McGrath, who worked for the telephone company.

Kathryn and Edward McGrath had 2 children,
Edward McGrath became a pediatrician
Kathryn McGrath ?

Following the death of Kit's brother
Jack Byrne (whom she had years earlier disowned when he married his brother's widow), Jack's 14 year old daughter Beatrice came to live with Kit who now felt sorry for Bea's mother, Effie, "alone with all of those children" (Effie had 9 children when Jack died).

Kit said she was willing to take one of Effie's children, to her home to educate the child and would then send the child to college. Beatrice was chosen probably because she had skipped a grade.

Beatrice was given her cousin Edward's room, as he was away at college. After a couple of months she became so upset and so homesick for her family that she returned home.
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