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My grandmother, Mayme Morrow (1898-1993)
was the daughter of Josephine Miller and Samuel F. McCoy. I have
been hearing stories about the McCoy's and Rooney's since I was
a small child. The following is what I have pieced together from
these stories and independent research.
On December 5, 1901, Dan Rooney purchased
Lots 26, 27 and 28 from the Allaire Land Company for $1050.00.
These lots are located in Monaca, Pennsylvania bordering Beaver
Avenue and Colonial Street. On May 26, 1904, Mr. Rooney purchased
Lot 29 in the same plan for $400.00. On September 26, 1904, Daniel
and his wife Margaret sold the lots (26, 27, 28 and 29) to Mr.
F.L Hasdorff from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for $16,000.00. On
the original deed it shows F.L. Hasdorff, no first name given.
This possibly could be Frederick L Hasdorff from West Virginia,
the treasurer of a brewery. Further research will have to be conducted
on this matter.
My grandmother's family lived up Mixture's
Hollow, which was located between McGovern Boulevard in Crescent
Township and Five-Points in Hopewell, Pennsylvania. The McCoy
family lived on one side of the street and the Rooney's lived
just opposite. It is unknown when the Rooney's moved there but
my grandmother was 6-8 years old so it would have been 1904-1906.
Catherine Rooney, Dan's mother ran a boarding house/tavern called
Rooney's Hotel and the rest of the family helped her run the business.
This hotel was located adjacent to the railroad tracks at the
end of Hindmarch Street in present Glenwillard. In those days
the area was known as Wireton and many old-timers still refer
to that area as such.
Josephine McCoy (1877-1954) and Margaret
Rooney (1881-1967) were neighbors and close in age. They were
both devout Catholics, and were involved in getting a Catholic
Church for the area. Catholics in those days had to go to Sewickley
for church services. When my grandmother was young, Dan and Margaret
Rooney were chosen to be her Godparents. The McCoy children were
Kenneth (b. 1896), Mayme (1898), Edna (1902), John (1904), Dorothy
(1906), Mary (1908) and Joseph (1910). The Rooney's were Art (b.
1901), Daniel (1903), James (1905), John (1908) and Vincent (1909).
My grandmother always said she felt bad
looking through the kitchen window and seeing the red-haired Rooney
boys crying their eyes out doing dishes. In those days everyone
had chores to do! She always used the term boys, so more than
one Rooney boy lived there at the time. Mayme and Kenneth would
often keep an eye on the young Rooney children. She said she would
often walk with Art to a little general store located on Jeanette
Street and McGovern Boulevard, a mile or two from Mixture's Hollow.
There they would buy penny candy and sit on a bench out front
by the old horse hitching post. She would tell Art stories of
how, when he would get older, he would own a train made of gold.
In these days the McCoy's were as poor as the Rooney's.
When meetings were held in 1910 to raise
funds for a new church, the committee would meet at the Neilan
House in South Heights, the Eberle Home or the Rooney Hotel. On
March 13, 1910 the building committee met in Rooney's Hotel and
it was decided a dance would be held to raise money in April.
Miss Neilan offered a diamond ring to the person who could raise
the most in cash donations. Agnes Rooney (Dan's sister) was awarded
the prize. Over $1000.00 was raised and a Woman's Auxiliary was
formed with Josephine McCoy as President. Josephine's brothers
Joseph, George, Edward, Guss and John were also involved. The
Rooney's were also one of the charter families. John Morrow (my
great-great grandfather) donated the stone for the foundation.
The church was to be named St. Catherine of Sienna after Mrs.
Catherine Hoevler who donated the alter. The first mass was held
at the new church on August 15, 1910.
Kenny McCoy would often hunt and trap to
help the family. He was out hunting rabbits alone when his gun
went off as he crossed a fence and killed him. Nobody could find
him for days in the deeps woods. My grandmother prayed and prayed
for a sign and one night she saw Kenny near a fence. She knew
right where that was and the next day they found Uncle Kenny.
Kenny McCoy's was the first funeral in the new church. My grandmother
was crushed by Kenny's death and never spoke of him without getting
Nobody can pinpoint the exact date that the Rooney's moved, but it must have been the summer of 1910. The area has changed and memories fade. The location of the Rooney Hotel is now a modern home. The hotel allegedly burned down many years past. When Duquesne Light expanded its facility and widened Route 151, the small cluster of houses were destroyed on Mixture's Hollow. The old general store is now a residence. Once in a great while someone mentions Wireton.
In a recent conversation with Al Kephart, a longtime resident of Glenwillard, he said Art Rooney would occasionally show up at Mariano's Bar (near St. Catherine's) and quietly sit in the corner smoking a cigar. Was he visiting the old neighborhood and reminiscing? Did he know that he was just two houses down from Mayme's sister or that my Uncle Jimmy Gilligan the boxer (featherweight, 1931-1942) lived just next door? I wonder if he remembered sitting at the store or the McCoy's and those hard days so long past. We may never know, but long ago our families crossed paths and to this day the Rooney's are fondly remembered by the old-timers in Wireton and of course the McCoy's.
Ruanaidh, The Story of Art Rooney and his Clan. Art Rooney, Jr., Geyer Printing Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2008.
Beaver County Courthouse, Recorder of Deed, Beaver, Pennsylvania.
Souvenir of the Pearl Anniversary of St. Catherine of Sienna Church, Wireton, Pennsylvania, 1942.
Al Kephart, Regina Morrow Riley and Mayme
Morrow Deaver, personal Communication.