This picture shows Fran (hidden), Leo, El, John, Gramp and Robert at Good Shepherd Convent at Peekskill, NY.


My grandfather, Michael was born in the Coyle House on Franklin Street, Somersworth, NH in 1869 to two famine immigrants from county Mayo, Ireland – Michael O’Malley and Bridget Hanagan. His father worked in the textile mills; the family relocated in a depression in the 1870’s to the coal mining area near Scranton, PA, and then returned to Somersworth where Bridget’s parents lived by 1880 after his father’s early death. To help support his widowed mother and younger sister "Onnie" and brother Tony, Michael went to work after the sixth grade.

As a young man, Michael operated a bakery shop on High Street – he was the baker. He was soon involved in Democratic politics – before he was 30 he was elected to the NH state legislature. He served several terms, was city Tax Collector for over 25 years, and was Chairman of the City and Strafford County Democratic Committees. Twice, he served as a presidential elector. When politics slowed down (after 65), he operated an insurance agency on High Street. He was active well into his 80’s but later did go home for lunch and a nap. He also walked a mile to the office in the morning and back up the hill at suppertime, he got rides at noon.

At 35, in 1904, Michael married Julia Keating from Rochester, her parents were also Irish immigrants. For their honeymoon in June, they took the train from Milton to the White Mountains. Their children were Leo, John, Robert, Eleanor, and Francis. Julia died in 1936 but Michael lived until 1955 (my junior year in high school) and was able to see his children marry, and have children. Eleanor became a Sister of the Good Shepherd, a then cloistered order; and was able to briefly visit during his last illness and entered his home only by special permission.Everyday, Michael dressed in a three piece suit with white shirt, tie, and gold pocket watch in his vest pocket. He also wore a felt or straw hat. My earliest memories were sitting in his lap and playing with the watch. In later years, I remember him playing checkers with Dennis or Tim and saying "you wouldn’t cheat your Gramp, would you." In later years, we moved from 3 Lincoln Street, to his house at 79 Prospect Street; we lived downstairs and he and his housekeeper, Stella Cormier, lived upstairs. Dennis says that he would come down to watch television, especially "Name That Tune" with fat ladies rushing to the finish line.

Gramp was a believer in education; his favorite saying was "save your money and go to school".

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