History of the Tierney/Tiernay and Lavell immigrant families from Ireland to Virginia in the mid 1800's

"A Working DRAFT" - Comments, suggestions and input appreciated


  • Notes from one of Mary's grandaughters, Beatrice Jones (b. Abt 1899) suggests "Mary Lavell - " was from "County Clare - ... with "Relatives - ... in Cincinnati - ... came to US by - ... boat with friends - .... prior to 1850 - .... Married Tierney - .... Later married - .... Sullivan - ...." . Paul Lipinsky

      Segment written in the margins of a document/record passed down to Paul Lipinsky from his grandmother, Mary (aka Mollie) E. Tierney Jones.

  • While our Lavells were immigrants of Ireland, the Irish 'Lavelles' are likely subsequent descendants of the French 'Levelles' perhaps originally inhabiting ....... of France/ Portugal in the 1500's? HTTP://genforum.genealogy.com/lavelle
  • The french meaning of Lavelle/Levelle is "The Valley" Lisa Level-Keene; 10-2-99

Family Lineage

The Early Years and Immigration

Laurence (AKA Larry/Loney? death register) Tiernay spelling marriage record (b. Abt 1816/1826 - 1871) first appears in the confederate states service records on 24 Sep 1861 working as a 'Guard' in a Hospital. If this is our Lawrence, this date was two months after the birth of his daughter, Catherine F. Tierney (25 July 1861-June 1904). For unknown reasons, he finally married Mary Eleanora Lavell (b. bet. 1829 1873 marriage - 1836 1862 marriage - d. Sep 1891directories, death record) , another Irish immigrant, on 16 Sept 1862 at St Peter's Catholic Church just two apparent days following the baptism of their daughter. Lawrence and Mary have yet to be located in the 1860 census, yet if he was the father of Catherine then they were together ca Dec 1860. The confusion surrounding the war outbreak ca April 1861, a few months following Mary's conception might explain the latency of marriage. By 1862, Laurence Tierney was working at the Confederate States (CS) laboratory on Brown's Island in Richmond (Photo below). He received a certificate of exemption (family record passed down) from the war from General Winder on April 15, 1862.

  • Untitled Papers & slips belonging to Conferderate Compiled Service records; Nat. Archives; RG#109, c112, stack area 7w4, row 8, compartment 7, shelf 5.
  • Certificate of Exemption; Tredigar iron works; Richmond VA; L.R. #8; Dept Henrico, Gen J.H.Winder; 15 Apr 1862
  • State Register of Marriage; Laurence Tiernay to Mary Lavell, 16 Sep 1862, St Peters Church, Richmond VA
  • Catholic Marriage Recording; St Peter's Church
  • Catholic Baptismal Recording St Peter's Church; Richmond VA; birth 25 July 1861; Bapt. 14 Sep 1862

    Lawrence was the s/o Paul and Bridget Tiernay of Ireland Marriage record and it is unknown whether they immigrated with him. However, there is a Bridget Tierney of the proper age (c1792; age 78) born in Ireland and presumably widowed listed in the 1870 census in Spotsylvania County, southern Fredericksburg, VA abt 40 miles from Richmond. She is enumerated in the house of her presumed daughter, Bridget Coughlin (c 1831; age 39, Ireland) and children but no spouses Census Roll 1679, 1870, p. 384. One child of Bridget C. is annotated born in New Hampshire suggesting migration from New England and perhaps a different family.

    Laurence's siblings are also unknown. There are considerable Tierneys in/around Richmond of the proper age to be kin to Laurence, born in Ireland and living in close proximity suggesting kin interaction. A Thomas Tierney (c 1818), age 52 is enumerated with his family two pages prior to the Bridget above in the 1870 census Census Roll 1679, 1870, p. 382. A Rev Edward M/J? Tierney who was the priest who married Laurence & Mary and baptized their daughter(s?).

    Mary immigrated as a young child and did not know her parents as indicated on various vital records. There may have been some obscure association with a Michael Feheley or a Michael Lavel who both gave sworn statements prior to Mary's and her daughter's marriage, respectively. Family legends suggests her ship had problems in route (possibly fire) and landed at Norfolk, Richmond or Baltimore. Legend further suggest her destination was Cincinnati, OH where she supposedly had relatives. Perusal of the immigration passenger lists of vessels entering Philiadelphia (the presumed port) documents a Mary Lavell, age 20 and matron with one chest entering Philiadelphia on Apr 5, 1849 aboard the Barque Wm Kennedy. The origination port of Westport, Ireland is a short distance from Co. Clare. Although her age is contrary to legend of her immigrating as a child, ages are frequently misrecorded in records. Recorded among the passenger lists of vessels entering Baltimore, there is another Mary Lavell recorded many times, albeit not consistently. The record probably is Mary Lavell, age 26 (Note: b. 1828), irish servant, accompanied baby (female, age 2) from Liverpool on 10 Oct 1854 aboard the ship Somerset.

  • Michael Feheley Sworn Statement 19 July 1873, City of Richmond
  • Michael Lavell Sworn Statement; 23 Jan 1884

    As most people did, Mary likely supported the confederacy during the war. Recorded among "Untitled Papers & Slips Belonging to the Confederate Compiled Service Records" in Apr 1864, a Mary Tierney worked as a 'Seamstress' annotated 'clothing B I...'.

  • Confederate Compiled service records; Manuscript # 6070; Apr 1864

    Marriage and Children

    Only four children of Laurence and Mary are known: Catherine F. Tierney (1861-1904), Paul nearly illegible Tierney born 2 Apr 1865 and died as an infant, Mary Ann 'Tiearnery' birth record/ Tierney St Peter's Bapt. record (20 Jun 1867) and Mary (aka Molly) Eleanora Tierney (1869-1953); Written recollection of the aging Bernard Jones after 1977 describes the day of 2 April 1865 as the birth of his mother's younger brother. Acct received from Nancy Desper, 11/2000.
  • Paul Tierney Baptismal Record
  • Mary Ann Tierney Tierney Baptismal Record; St Peters Church, Richmond VA
  • Mary Ann Tiearnery Register of Birth ; LVA Library; 20 Jun 1867
  • Bernard Jones Wriiten Acct; 1977

    By 1870 and similar to the year 1860, no census record of Laurence and Mary and their two young daughters have been located regardless of the end of the war. In the 1871 directory of Richmond, L. Tierney is listed as Laborer on Arch St. between 8th and 9th. After just a short 9 years of marriage and thru the turbulent war years, Larry is likely recorded as 'Loney' on the richmond city register of deaths on 2 Sep 1871. He is listed as married, born in Ireland, a merchant and cause of death as consumption in 2 September 1871. Mary Tiernay, widow of Lawrence is listed in the 1873 directory on Brown's Island (probably place of residence). This might suggest Laurence and Mary may have resided on Brown's Island in 1870 and following the end of the war and may further account for their absence in the 1860/1870 census if the island was in posssession of the confederate/ federal government. The same year on 20 July 1873, Mary E. Lavell Tierney married second to John Sullivan, an irish immigrant and s/o Patrick & Julia Sullivan of Ireland.

  • 'Loney' Tierney City of Richmond Register of Deaths; 2 Sep 1871
  • Register of Marriage; 20 July 1873, City of Richmond
  • Marriage recording; St Peters Church; 20 July 1873

    Photographs of Brown's Island and CS Arsenal from the website of Mike Gorman, Historian . During the war, this small Island in the Background (Top) with only a foot bridge (shown bottom) was the site of the Confederate States (CS) Laboratory and a military hospital. Laurence worked here during the war and his wife, Mary lived in one of these houses in 1873 (possibly earlier). The foreground of the top photo is the remnants of the old CS arsenal with a side view illustrated in the bottom photo.

    Click on Photos for enlargement

    John Sullivan was an acquaintence/ friend according to business or residence proximity in directories of Laurence and Mary and an irish immigrant. The year (1871) of Larry's supposed death, he is listed in the directory as a laborer on Byrd between 9th & 10th, just a few blocks from where L. Tierney was at least working. John was enumerated in the 1870 census with John & Bridget Connors, Irish immigrants, and their son Joe Connors (c. 1861-Abt 1890) 1870 Va census. John moved to Brown's Island with Mary where they resided thru Abt 1875 directory .

  • 1870 Census VA John, Bridget and Joseph Connors with John Sullivan; Madison Ward City of Richmond;

    In 1880, John and Mary Sullivan are residing at ca 622 Byrd St with Mary's daughters, Katie and Mary Tierney 1880 Va census. By 1886, the aging John & Mary were residing with his step-daughter, Katie Connors and husband, Joseph J. Connors at 519 Canal Bank. John Sullivan died Abt. 1889/1890. By 1890/91, his widow, Mary Lavell Tierney Sullivan resided with her daughter, Katie Connors (also now widowed) at 1219 w. Marshall (probably with her other daughter, Mary Eleanora Tierney Jones). Incidentally and coincidentally, another John Sullivan lived and died the same time period and whose widow, Mary Sullivan (b. 1839) resided at 209 "4th N??" St. [prob South 5th] 1889-1890 Richmond city directory on Ancestry.Com. This later Mary Sullivan is listed in the census of 1900 as widowed (age 59) living with her apparent step son, John Sullivan, Jr. and family at 310 South Fifth St., born in 1841 and an immigration in 1847 at age 6.

  • 1880 census, 2 June 1880; Dist No. 86; city of Richmond, Henrico Co.; p. 219

    Mary E. Lavell/Tierney Sullivan died after June1891 as that is the last observance of her in the Richmond directories. The death records indicate a Mary Sullivan died 9/6/1891 of Haemoptysis spelling?; age 56; born Ireland and married Reg Deaths Rich City 1887-1896. Mary died between 1891 and 1894 as Kate Connors [not Hunter] who married William Hunter in 1894 is on record as having purchased the plot for her mother Mt Calvary cemetery records. Her age at death further places her birth at the correct time of 1829/36. The annotation as 'married' is presumably in error. Mary Sullivan is buried at Mount Calvary cemetery in Richmond in the plot of her daughter, Mary (Molly) E. Tierney Jones and family with an inscription of "Our Mother, M. SULLIVAN". Cemetery records indicate the body had been moved from an earlier unknown location.

    Jones Family Sublineage

      The youngest and longest surviving child of Laurence and Mary Lavell Tierney was Mary (aka Molly) Eleanora Tierney (1869-11/4/1953). She married Chesley (aka Chester) Meredith Jones (1862-1941) in Richmond on 26 Dec 1888 marriage cert.. Chestley was the s/o Dr Chestley Meredith Jones and Martha Louisa Morris of New Kent County VA. Chesley and Mollie Jones produced Mary Lavelle Jones (abt 1892- ) married Joseph Gordon Grace], Chesley Meredith Jones (abt 1895- ) [married Nettie ...), Louise B. Jones (1896-1990), Beatrice A. Jones (abt 1899-) [married Frank Lipinski], Leonard A. Jones (abt 1901- ) [married Doretha Apt...], Maria A. Jones (abt 1904- ) [married Edward MacKey] and Martha F.Jones (abt 1907) [married Wiley Hudson] Bernard Jones (1889-1988) [married Ellen McDonough] 1900 VA census . Mary was living at 103 N Auburn Ave in Richmond in 1930, the time she became a member of the 'United Daughters of the Confederacy'.

    • Jones -Tierney Certificate of Marriage; 26 Dec 1988; St Patrick's Church; Washington DC
    • 1910 Virginia Census
    • 1920 Virginia Census
    • Obituary; Mary T. Jones; 4 Nov 1853; Richmond VA
    • UDC Certificate; 15 Dec 1930

        The Lipinsky lineage moved to Balimore MD and then to Ohio. Future descendants have since moved further west to seattle Washingtonyr 1999].

    There has been some confusion of the identity of the early Mary E. Lavell attributed to her subsequent marriage to a John Sullivan of which there are numerous John Sullivans and at least two Mary Sullivans in the same general locale in Richmond (1880 census) with similar birth dates and locations. The records at St Peter's catholic church in Richmond has her born in 1836 while the earliest census record (1880) has her birth in 1830 (age 50). The other Mary Sullivan (wife of John Sullivan) is reported born in 1839 (age 31) in Ireland and residing within a few blocks of our Mary Lavell/ Tierney Sullivan in the 1870/73 census [310 South 5th St; b. 1839]/ directory [Brown's Island; b.1830 ] & 1880 census [310 South 5th st vs. (??? cannot read) st.].

    Conners Family Sublineage

    Catherine (Katie) F. Tierney married first to Joseph J. Connors (aka Joe) (c. 1861-Abt 1890) on 22 Jan 1884 marriage record . Joe was the s/o John & Bridget Connors of Ireland who were further friends/ acquaintences of their 1870 boarder, John Sullivan, step-father of Kate 1870 census. Joe and Kate produced a child in 1885 followed by Mary (AKA Mamie) Connors (c. 1887-1944/45 ) 1900 VA census, second wife of Charles Lemuel Williamson, Jr. ). By 1886, Kate and Joe were residing with her aging mother and step-father at 519 Canal Bank. Following the presumed death of Joseph and her step-father between 1886-1890, Kate F. Connors and her mother, Mary Sullivan moved and resided at 1219 Marshall in 1890/91 probably at the residence of Mary (AKA Molly) E. Tierney Jones (sister of Katie Connors and daughter of Mary E. Lavell/Tierney Sullivan).

  • marriage recording; Conners - Tierney; St Peters Catholic Church, Richmond VA; 1884
  • Register of Marriage; Bureau of Vital Statistics; 22 January 1884; City of Richmond
  • marriage License; Conners - Tierney; 1884
  • Baptismal record child of Joseph and Catherine Tierney Conners; ca April 1885

    Hunter Family Sublineage

    Following Joe's death, Catherine (Katie) F. Tierney Connors married second to a neighbor William Allison Hunter (c1862 - Abt. 1935), in 1894 marriage record in Richmond city while residing on the city block surrounded by Marshall, Broad, Norton and Harrison st(s). William was born in Baltimore Maryland the s/o Henry J. (Harry) Hunter (c1833 - Aft 1880) and Elizabeth (perhaps Allison) (c1825 - ) marriage record, 1860 census. According to their marriage record, William was also widowed. His previous wife and exact date of relocation to the Richmond area are unknown . William and Catherine (Katie) F. Tierney/Connors Hunter produced Catherine Hunter (died as infant), Agnes Hunter (1895-1968) and Elizabeth Margaret Hunter (1898-1978) (aka 'Big Margaret' ) [married 1. George Freeland Jenkins; 2. Orman Joseph Preston] and Edith Allison Hunter (1903-1982) [the mother of our next generation]. William is believed to have rented his residences as he moved frequently throughout Richmond and into Washington DC later in life. He is listed living at 201 E. Canal in 1898, Bacon nr. Brook in 1899, 807 Brook Ave in 1900 directory & Census and a block from w. Broad st on Harrison Rd and Norton Rd. William is further listed as a clerk in 1898 (probably at his mother's furniture store at 220 & 305 E. Broad listed thru 1897), collector in 1899 and laborer in 1900 directories. Wiliam and Kate lived within a block and across the street from Kate's sister, Mary Jones and her husband Chesley at 1219 w. Marshall st where James T Reid, Jr was a neighbor at 1211 w. Marshall in 1900. James Reid's (s/o Mary V. Williamson Reid) son, John Roger Reid would later marry William & Kate's daughter, Agnes Hunter (1895-1968). William & Kate's other daughter, Edith Allison Hunter (1903-1982) would marry Lloyd Glend Williamson (1898-1991) in 1923 in Washington DC and reside in Portsmouth VA.

  • Hunter Family Lineage of Scotland, England, Maryland and Virgina
  • Williamson Family References

    Tierney/ Hunter Family References

    NOTE: For a detailed Reference listing, Click on the References hyperlink ABOVE. Also see the directory "/graphis/tierney" on this CDROM for other source documents that may not be yet linked


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