9 - Mary L. Pelkey (1881 - 1950)

Mary L. Pelkey and her husband, John J. Madden
Photo courtesy of David A. Nims

Parents: Peter H. Pelkey (Pierre H. Pelletier) - Cordelia Roireau-dit-Laliberté

Born: Jun 1881 - West Boylston, MA
Died: 14 May 1950 - Newton, MA

Married: 8 Apr 1901 - Peterborough, NH
Spouse: John J. Madden (1876 - 1966)

Roland Kermit (1902 - 1956)

Notes: From David A. Nims:

Mary L. PELKEY was born in Jun 1881 in West Boylston, MA. I have no verification yet for Mary's birth as being in West Boylston. The town clerk can find no record of it, and Mass. State Archives has no listing of any birth for her. Yet the parents were there for a number of years, and birth certificates are available for Napoleon, Edmund, Emery and Blanche, all born in West Boylston between 1879 and 1895. Mary is 18 in the 1900 federal census in Peterborough, second oldest of the five children. Although I cannot locate a birth certificate for Mary, West Boylston is given as her place of birth on her certificate of marriage in 1901 and on the birth certificate of her son in April of 1902. She died on 14 May 1950 m Newton, MA. Mary died in the home of her son Kermit Madden, at 159 Tremont Sweet in Newton, MA on Sunday, May 14, 1950, after a long illness. The funeral was held from the McNamara Funeral Home in Brighton on Wednesday morning with a high mass of requiem at 9 o'clock in Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Brighton. Mary was buried in St. Peters Cemetery, Peterborough, NH, on May 17, 1950. Mary was the last Pelkey child for whom I found verification, a search which has been difficult. When I first began tracing her, no one knew where she was born, nor in what year. No one had knowledge of her date or place of death and burial. Only the husband's name was known, but not the date or place of marriage. My first check was at the Family History Center in Nashua, NH, to use LDS Church social security death records, thinking it would be easy to find this woman who had worked as a chiropodist. To my surprise, forty-one by the name of Mary Madden appeared, all from Massachusetts and all falling into the approximate time period I guessed her life would occupy. I chose a couple of possibilities and sent to Mass. State Archives for a birth certificate, but came up empty---no record of a Mary Pelkey born to Peter and Cordelia Pelkey anywhere in Massachusetts. A trip in March of 1996 to National Archives in Waltham provided the 1900 federal census of Peterborough, NH, which showed the family there, with Mary at the age of 18, single, and a cotton weaver. On the hunch a girl of this age might be close to marrying, I drove next to Peterborough on March 25, 1996, read vital statistics from town reports at the public library, and found her marriage date of April 8, 1901, to John J. Madden, along with the subsequent birth of their child in 1902. The town clerk provided a certificate of marriage as verification, together with a birth certificate for the son, Roland Kermit Madden, born April 25, 1902. His birth certificate lists her occupation only as “housewife.”

My wife Marilyn had recalled visiting “Aunt Mary” in Ayer, MA, accompanying her father Roger who came to be fitted for shoes occasionally. Earlier, Mary Madden had lived in Fitchburg with husband John for at least the years 1927-1941, where she is listed in street directories as a chiropodist. The first residence for perhaps a year or two was at 63 Grove St., but the bulk of the time was at 682 Main St., where she maintained her practice for a time. The 1935 Fitchburg street directory also lists at that address “The Old House Tea Room”, but I found no further references to that name. The obituary of her brother, J. Napoleon Pelkey, listed her address as Newton, MA, in 1946, confirmed by her own obituary indicating she had moved to Newton eight years before her death.

Earlier, while following the Peter Pelkey trail, I came across John I Madden as a boarder at Peter's home in Leominster from 1912 until 1918. 1919 found Madden “in USA, residence, inquire at 179 Pleasant St.” (Peter's home.) In 1920 and 1921, John Madden is listed as boarding at the Columbia Hotel, and then “removing to Southbridge” in 1922, prior to surfacing in Fitchburg in 1927. Records of that time paid little attention to listing wives who might be with husbands at a particular address. I now know that John J. Madden was born in Peterborough in 1876, the son of Edward F. Madden and Elizabeth B. Shea, both born in Ireland. Two Madden cemetery stones for this family are located behind St. Peter's in Peterborough. One is for John's parents, showing dates for Edward as 1850-1904, and for Elizabeth as 1854-1895. Thus, “Lizzie” Madden was dead prior to the marriage of son John. The second stone shows John J. Madden, 1876-1966, and “his wife, Mary L”, 1881-1950. A phone call to St. Peter's Rectory brought little additional information, in that records are quite incomplete. The single line about Mary, “died in Massachusetts; buried 5/17/50” allowed me to find her obituary in the Fitchburg Sentinel, but no other records exist at St. Peter's for either the husband or son Kermit. At the time of Mary's death, she was survived by her husband and son, her sister Blanche of Fitchburg, her brother Edmund of Peterborough, and three grandchildren whom I have not been able to document.

She was married to John J. MADDEN on 8 Apr 1901 in Peterborough, NH. John J. MADDEN was born in 1876 in Peterborough, NH. He died in 1966. Children of Mary L. PELKEY and John J MADDEN were:

Roland Kermit MADDEN was born on 25 Apr 1902 in Peterborough, NH. Vital statistics from a Peterborough town report for 1902 list this child as Roland Kermit Madden. His birth certificate shows the name as Roland Herwith Madden, while Fitchburg street directory references in the late 1920's and early 193O's show him as Kermit E. Madden. He is the only child of Mary Pelkey and John Madden, as far as I know. I have located him in Fitchburg street directories at 63 Grove St. in 1927, through 1941 at 682 Main St. with his parents. The 1935 directory mentions him as an engineer with Tel. Co., and with a wife, Collette A. According to the Mary Madden obituary, he is at 159 Tremont St. in Newton at the time of her death in 1950. Kermit E. Madden died January 2, 1956, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Boston, husband of Collette A. Hutchinson, son of John J. and Mary L. Madden