This is a look at the Johnson / Heffley Family history. I hope that this web page can become a collection of information and a resource for family and friends. I plan to update, and/or, correct this page as new information is discovered. Thanks for your help.In the late 1980's Tom Noland compiled information on the Langdon and Thomas families in a book he called THE HISTORY OF THE LANGDON AND THOMAS FAMILIES. He later visited Ireland and that prompted an addendum with more information about Ireland and these families. I have started a web page dedicated to this information and will, as time permits, continue to add his work to this web page. Here is the link to this web page:
Web site manager:Eugene (Gene) D. Johnson, son of Ellsworth and Rowena Heffly Johnson. Grandson of Adam LeRoy (Roy) and Wilhelmien (Minnie) Blum Heffley, g.grandson of George and Elizabeth Gillespie Heffley, g.g.grandson of Patrick and Margaret Clancy Gillespie, g.g.g.grandson of William and Mary Thomas Gillespie, g.g.g.g.grandson of John Thomas Sr. and Mary Gillespie Thomas.
This page was last updated March 23, 2005
THE HISTORY OF THE LANGDON AND THOMAS FAMILIES BY THOMAS M. NOLAND, DECEMBER, 1989
John Thomas, Sr. was born in 1781 and his spouse, Mary Gillespie, in 1793.
Six children were born in Ireland:
Mary (1813 -1889), our grandparent who Mwrried William Gillespie, immigrated to America 1843,
Bridget (1818 - 1900), immigrated to America 1840,
Catherine (1821 - 1904), immigrated to America 1846,
John Jr.,1827 - 1911), immigrated to America 1847,
Margaret (-1823 -1912), immigrated to America 1850.
No record has been found to show the emigration date of John Thomas, Sr., or Anthony Thomas however they are both of record in the 1860 Nebraska Census.
The John Thomas family first went to Illinois. Then, in August of 1856, the family left Illinois by covered wagon train and crossed the Mississippi River, Iowa, and the Missouri River and settled by the Elkhorn River in Sarpy County. They lived in a dugout the first year and then a log house was built.
Mary Gillispie Thomas died in December, 1858. John Thomas, Sr. donated land for the Thomas Calvary Cemetery. John Thomas, Sr. died at the age of 81, in 1862, and was buried in the Thomas Cemetery next to his wife.
Daughter, Mary Thomas, was born May 10, 1813, in County Mayo, Ireland. She married William Gillespie and a son Patrick was born March 10, 1833. In 1843 the family immigrated to America and first settled in Indiana. Five children were born in America:
The William Gillespie family moved to Joliet, Will County, Illinois and in 1856 joined "The Colony" moving westward by wagon train to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Here William Gillespie died of pneumonia and Mary took the family to Omaha and later to Forest City in Sarpy County. Late in 1857 they moved to Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska.
In 1862 they returned to Forest City and commenced farming. Mary died on February 24, 1889, at the age of 76 and is buried in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, Gretna, Sarpy County, Nebraska.
Son Patrick Gillespie married Margaret Clancy, b. 1843 in Ireland, d. 1881 in Gretna. Margaret's father was John Clancy and mother was O'Hara. They had five children:
Mary, m. James Dillon,
Elizabeth, b. Dec. 23, 1864, Gretna, m. Nov. 17, 1887 to George Heffley, Gretna, d. Oct. 7, 1937, Gretna.
Bridget, m. Archibald Momson
Nellie Ellen, m. Edward Heffley
Note: George Heffley is my g.g.grandfather. His brother Edward married our g.g.grandmother Elizabeth's sister. For more information on the Heffly family go to:
George Henry Heffley Family
George and Elizabeth had six children:
Adam LeRoy (Roy) Heffley, b. Nov.14, 1888, in Gretna, m. Minnie Wilhelmine Blum, d. Feb. 21, 1937, in Stanton.
Margaret, m. Bill Key
Gertrude, m. Weldon Lindahl
Sarah, m. Edward Zmmennan
Irene, m. Olderog
Adam LeRoy Heffley and Minnie Blum had four children:
Delbert, b. July 29, 1911, m. Elsie Weding, Aug 7, 1931, d. Aug 14, 1961, Stanton,
Rowena, b. Apr28, 1914, m. Ellsworth Johnson, Jun 10, 1935, d. Oct 24, 1969,
Phyllis, b. Oct 28, 1919,
Geraldine, b. May 6, 1916.
The following is an article, about our ancestor John Thomas Sr., published in the Gretna newspaper and written by Debbie Grayson:
When Gretna's new elementary school opens this August, it will boast the latest in technology, design, and innovative media connections. Everything about the school will be crisp, clean, contemporary and forward-thinking. The students attending this school will be challenged and encouraged to stretch their imaginations - much like the man whose name the school bears.The following is an article written about the Patrick Gillespie family:
Who is Squire John Thomas Sr.? And why is it so fitting that a learning environment carries his name?
Squire John Thomas Sr. was born in Roscommon, Ireland in June 1781.
Ireland's infamous potato famine in the late 1840s which ultimately resulted in the deaths of nearly a million people, led to a life-changing, and possibly lite- saving decision for Squire John Thomas Sr., when at the age of 66, he emigrated to America, along with one of his sons John Thomas Jr.
A year later, in 1848, Thomas Sr.'s wife, the former Mary Gillespie, came to America accompanied by the couple's other five children, and Thomas Jr.'s wife, the former Catherine Connor.
The families first settled in Joliet, Ill. Eight years later, in 1856, the families packed up their belongings and traveled by covered wagon train to Nebraska settling in Sarpy County near the Elkhom River. For the first year, the families lived in a dugout on the bluffs near the river. They later built a log cabin, making that their home.
Not long after the family settled into its new home, Mary Thomas died. In tribute to his wife, Thomas Sr. donated several acres of land to the nearby Catholic church for a cemetery, and Mary Thomas was laid to rest in Thomas Calvary Cemetery in 1858. The cemetery, located on Old River Road near the Elkhom River, is landlocked today, but still stands in memory of the spirit of the area's earliest pioneers.
Thomas Sr., along with his children and grandchildren, continued to farm the land, taking their wheat by wagon to Fort Calhhoun where it was ground into flour. Twice a year, they loaded their wagons with livestock for the trip to Omaha, where they would sell their livestock and purchase supplies. In those days a trip to Omaha was a major undertaking, oftentimes taking several days.
Devout Catholics, the Thomas' religious needs were met by mission priests who celebrated Mass in theirs or a neighbor's home.
The Thomas children and grandchildren attended a country school near the thriving town of Forest City, then located a couple of miles west of Gretna. The future looked bright for Forest City until the railroad made the decision to lay tracks closer to the rural community of Gretna.
John Thomas Sr. died in 1862, at the age of 81, and was laid to rest next to his wife in Thomas Calvary Cemetery.
The title, squire, carried by John Thomas Sr. and John Thomas Jr., who became the father of eight children, is thought to have come from the fact that both men were justices of the peace and performed many marriage ceremonies.
And so why is a new school being named for Squire John Thomas, Sr.?
"We wanted to choose someone from our past because it is important that we link our past with our present and future," said Bruce Sackett, a member of the committee charged with choosing the new school's name. Sackett said the school's location on the eastern side of the city also played a part in the decision-making process. "As we looked back at the individual's who settled in the Gretna-Forest City area, we tried hard to choose a prominent person in Gretna's history who has ties to many of today's residents of this community."
THE PATRICK GILLESPIE FAMILY
Patrick H. Gillespie, a highly respected citizen and a successful farmer of Forest City precinct, Sarpy County, Nebraska, was born in County Kayo, Ireland, in 1853.
Mr. Gillespie is a son of William and Mary (Thomas) Gillespie, who came to this country in 1850, locating first in Illinois, and later in Iowa. William Gillespie died in Iowa at the age of forty-five years. His wife then moved to Sarpy County, with her children. She was the mother of fourteen children, eight of whom grew up. Three brothers; Patrick H., William, and Michael J. were all early settlers of Sarpy County, and are now neighbors in Forest City precinct.
Patrick H. Gillespie, when a young man, spent five years in handling freight in Nebraska City, having a good team and wagon when he started. He had $5 in money also, but in a short time he added two yoke of oxen and broke the prairie-for his neighbors, thus getting his start. In the spring of 1869 he bought 80 acres of land in Forest City precinct, the east half of the northeast quarter of section 24. There he built a sod house, with dimensions of 24 by 14 feet, in the corner of his present yard. In 1870 he built a small frame house, which burned down and was replaced in 1887 by a large one. He also erected a good barn and other desirable farm buildings. In 1874 he began setting out shade trees, and some of his maples and cottonwoods have grown to be two feet thick. There was at one time a good-sized stream running through the farm, but this became smaller year after year until it was totally dry in 1896. He has a fine supply of water, however, from a 25 foot well. He set out four acres of orchard, with which he has been quite successful. At an earlier period he kept a considerable number of hogs and cattle, but now devotes his entire time to grain raising, sowing his land to corn, oats, millet, and wheat. He is a very prosperous man, and owns three 80 acre tracts, adjoining each other.
Mr. Gillespie was united in the holy bonds of wedlock with Margaret Clancy, a daughter of John Clancy. She was born in Massachusetts, reared in Nebraska City, and died in 1881, aged thirty-eight years. This union was the source of the following children:
Mary, wife of J. Dillon, by whom she has the following children — Margaret, Mary, Nellie, Patrick H., William J. Bryan, and James;
Elizabeth, who married George Heffley, and has five children — Roy, Sarah, Gertrude, Irene and Maggie;
Bridget, who married Archibald Morrison, and has two sons — Charles R. and Archibald H.;
Ellen, who is the wife of Edward Heffley, and has one son, Charles G.;
Thomas Francis, who conducts the home farm;
and Anna, deceased.
Mr. Gillespie was one of the organizers of the school board, and, beginning in 1871, served fourteen years as director. He also served as road supervisor for fourteen years.
Notes: Alice and Francis Howard Dillon were born after 1900.
Grace Heffley was also born after 1900.
Charles R. Morrison was known as Raymond or Kelly.
Archibald H. Morrison was known as Harold. He was a Vice President of the
Livestock Bank in South Omaha at the time of his early death.
The following letter was discovered and transcribed by Deborah Heffley who is a descendent of Patrick Gillespie.
NOTE AT BOTTOM OF FIRST PAGE:The following is information on the Clancy family. Mary Clancy married Patrick Gillespie. Her parents were John Clancy and Bridget O'Hara.
The above letter, written by Ann Flanagan and told to her by her Mother, Mary Gillespie – Flanagan, was evidently never mailed to her cousin, Alice Gillespie – Thiessen because it was found in the possession's of Father Bernard Flanagan – a grandson raised by Mary Flanagan and her maiden daughter Ann – when Fr. Flanagan died of cancer last February (1988).
NOTE AT TOP OF FIRST PAGE:
This letter contains a biography of Elizabeth Gillespie-Heffley’s father, Patrick Gillespie & his family.
Santa Anna, Calif.
July 29, 1945
Dearest Alice –
Your very lovely letter was most welcome – and we thoroughly enjoyed it – to say the least. It’s grand you’re feeling better and also that Gertie is well. We’re delighted too that Nell came over her operation so nicely. She and you are all that’s left of Uncle Pats grand family – and Gertie all of Uncle Bill’s. Mother is feeling just real well and has gained ten pounds in the last six months. She loves to go play Bridge and take long rides. Just now we’re returned from a trip to the beach about 40 miles round trip, and we stopped at Hazel Coleman Siegels – to see her, the husband and their lovely little boy Bobby (3 yrs old) also Margaret Ann. Her younger sister is here visiting. So we had a very fine time with all our gang.
Bernard is home for summer vacation and has a job in a Drug Store and is getting on nicely. He’s such a man (in size) 5 ft 10 1/2 in. tall – weighs 140 lbs. And will be in 10th grade next year. He’s just the age of Jerry Connors son and by the way, we’re so tickled over Clare’s new boy – good for her! We must write her – but oh I’m so slow as a correspondent. Have so little time since I work six days a week, and Sunday has so many things piled up.
Now about your mother’s birthplace. Massachusetts is correct. Some of the older sisters were born in Ireland but Uncle Pat said she was American born.
Mother was the only member of the family to attend their wedding in Nebraska City – Apr 28 – 1862. It was in the afternoon and the bride wore a flowered gown.
Uncle Pat was born in County Mayo – Ireland Mar 10 – 1833. And it’s true he didn’t come to America with his folks. He was a baby just two years old & his grandmother Gillespie wouldn’t let them take him as she said he’d die on the way – and ‘twas well they left him as the trip was made in a sailing vessel and they met many storms – and it took them 3 months to get here and no less than 12 babies died on the ship.
He (Uncle Pat) stayed in Ireland till his Grandma Gillespie passed away, which was 14 years later. He came to America alone in 1849. Grandma G. (his mother) sent him money 3 times to make the trip – but she not being able to speak the English language was duped out of it twice and the third time she went to a priest who forwarded it to Ireland for her and Uncle Pat started at once for America.
When he landed in New York he was exhausted after the trip and laid down in a tow-path, like a sidewalk would be here – to rest. He fell asleep and when he awoke – he’d been robbed besides losing all his clothes. Being just a boy he began to cry and some good Samaritan – a man of some means – came along and hearing his story took him to his home, gave him work and kept him several months till he’d earned enough to take him on to his folks who were then in Illinois.
The family lived there till 1856 – when Grandma decided, since they had 3 sons, they should go west where land was cheaper and more plentiful – so she talked Grandpa into immigrating west. They left in early spring (but Uncle Pat didn’t come with them). The trip took all summer. They didn’t arrive in Council Bluffs, where they first took up residence, till fall. Grandpa Gillespie had a team of horses & a wagon – so he did draying as a Business (and Uncle Bill – then 12 years old) helped him.
Just after election (Grandpa G. voted for Buchanan) he attended a parade – torchlight procession – on election night and he must have caught cold and developed pneumonia and only lived 6 days. We had no Doctor as none was to be had – and being strangers no neighbors to help out. We buried him there as we had no choice – there was no priest and no service at the funeral. The night of the funeral Grandma Gillespie gave birth to a baby daughter, Ann. The shock and strain had been too much for her. The baby, Ann, lived to be 5 months old before passing away.
When the baby was 2 weeks old Uncle John Thomas & Uncle William Langdon came from Forest City to Council Bluff and insisted on Grandma G. leaving there as she was too much alone with her big family of little folks. Uncle Bill wanted to stay there and hire a man & help him carry on the Business but the older men wouldn’t listen – so they packed the family up & took them right then to Forest City. On the way they had to camp one night and it was a terribly cold night and Grandma Gillespie naturally caught a severe cold & it took to her bed – that was in late Nov. (a sort of poison developed in her system) and she was never able to get out of bed till late May – shortly after the little one had gone – so mother was the caretaker of the baby (8 yrs old) and Uncle Bill was the father of the family (12 yrs old) Uncle Mike 5, Aunt Peg 7 and Aunt Katie 3. Mother always said Grandma would never have recovered but Uncle Bill made a trip on foot to Co. Bluffs for medicine – it took a week for the round trip and from then on she began to improve slowly – about in April he made this wonderful trip to save his mother’s life – and succeeded.
When Grandma got able she said it would be no use for her to try to get land with only a 12 year old boy and one team of horses, so she went back to Omaha with the family - and by boat they went to Nebraska City where she got work and had Uncle Bill get work with a man that was carrying food across the plains - and driving oxen to make the trip. The run was between Omaha & Denver. After he’d made several trips, the men mutinied (he was not one of them) and killed the wagon master (boss of the drivers) so Uncle Bill quit & would never go again.
In the meantime – about 1860 Uncle Pat drove out from Illinois bringing six yoke of oxen. He went to Forest City and for a time broke prairie for the settler (as a business, not for himself). Then he sold out to a partner and came to Nebraska City where he did dray work – and lived with the family till his marriage in 1862 – as were mentioned before.
Clancy- 0'HaraThe following is Patrick Gillespie's obituary printed February 18, 1910 in the Gretna Breeze:
We have no record of the O'Hara or Clancy first names or birthdays. It is thought that Clancy was an interpreter (There is an Irish name for it) of the Irish laws, until Queen Elisabeth imposed English laws and persecuted the Catholics.
Bridget O'Hara Clancy was born in Ireland in 1834 and came to America when 12 years old with relatives and friends. She landed in New York. It was thought when she left Ireland that she would land in Massachusetts and be with her brother. It was many years later that she saw him. She supported herself from the time she was 12 years old. She married James Trihy at Nebraska City July 4,1859.
Her Brothers- and Sisters- were:
1. Barney Clancy, lived in Cheshire, Mass. His Family:
2. Patrick Clancy, Lived in Chicago. His family:
3. Margaret Clancy, Married Patrick Gillespie. Their family:
Minnie, married James Dillon;
Bridget, married Arch Morrison;
Elisabeth, married George Heffley;
Catherine, married Henery McEvoy;
Nellie, married Ed Heffley;
Thomas, never married, Buried in Gretna;
Alice, married Herman Theissen;
Margaret, Died young, burried Gretna;
Annie, Died in childhood;
4. Catherine Clancy married John Carrol, Their children:
Johanna (Owen Ward.);
Michael (?) lived Mason City, NE;
5. Alice Clancey (Lindsay), Their family:
6. Mary Clancy, Never married, lived in Ireland;
7. Nellie Clancy (Partle) One child:
Edward, Lived in Ireland.
Patrick H. Gillespie died at his home south of Gretna last Satur- day evening at 5 o'clock after a long illness. He had been ill for a good long time and his death was not unexpected. The fu- neral services were held Monday morning at the Catholic church in Gretna, Rev. J.V. Wallace officiating. The interment was made in the Forest City cemetery. A very large number of sorrowing friends and relatives followed the remains to their last resting place.The following is the obituary of William Gillespie, brother to Patrick:
Mr. Gillespie was born in Ireland March 10, 1833, making him 76 years, 11 months and 2 days old at the time of his death. He came to America 61 years ago and settled near Nebraska City where he was married to Miss Margaret Clancy, April 28, 1861. She died about 3o years ago.
In 1862 he came to Sarpy County and resided here up to the time of his death. Nine children were born to he and his wife, eight daughters and one son. Two daughters are dead. The children who survive are:
Mrs. Mary Dillon,
Mrs. Elizabeth Heffley,
Mrs. Bridget Morrison,
Mrs. Ellen Heffley,
Mrs. Henry McEvoy,
Mrs. Alice Thiessen,
He also leaves several brothers and sisters. Mr. Gillespie was a kind father, a splendid neighbor and a good friend. He leaves behind him a heritage of good deeds he had done. Thus one by one the old settlers are dropping off to answer the roll call of "well done." He accomplished saving a snug competence and owned a fine farm. The Breeze extends to the bereaved relatives its sincerest sympathy in their great bereavement.
From: THE GRETNA BREEZE NINETEENTH YEAR Nov. 20, 1917 NO. 27The following is the obituary of Michael Gillespie, brother to Patrick and William:
The community was greatly shocked last Saturday evening when it became known that William Gillespie had died very suddenly about 5 o'clock. He had made his usual trip down town, and was taken ill late in the afternoon. He was immediately taken home and died in about an hour, the end coming peacefully, as if he had fallen asleep. The funeral services were held at St. Patrick's church Tuesday morning, high mass being said by Father Moran, and a short sermon by Father Dowd. The church was filled with sorrowing relatives and friends. The remains were laid to rest in the Forest City cemetery.
William Gillespie was one of the pioneers of Nebraska, the ranks of which are rapidly thinning out. He was born in Indiana, Fe- bruary 12, 1844, moving to Illinois when a lad, remaining there until the call of the west brought him to Nebraska, landing in Omaha June 30, 1856, and immediately came to western Sarpy County.
In 1868 he was married to Miss Sarah Connor. They at once went to housekeeping on his farm south of Gretna, where they lived happily until 1912 when they retired and moved to town.
Besides his grief-stricken widow, he leaves:
a son, Thomas V. Gillespie;
a daughter, Miss Gertrude Gillespie;
a foster daughter,Mrs. Lucy Miller;
one brother M.J, Gillespie;
and two sisters,
Mrs. P.J. Flanagan, of Snyder;
and Mrs. Margaret Lewis of Pueblo;
and numerous other relatives to mourn his loss.
He was a kind and loving husband and father, a splendid neighbor and friend, and a sterling and upright citizen. He was one of those sturdy pioneers who came to Nebraska at an early day, suffering all the hardships and privations of a frontier life that we who came after might enjoy the fruits of their labor. He lived a long and useful life and death ended a well-spent life of great activity and usefulness. We extend our heartfelt sym- pathy to the bereaved relatives.
The following is an article on the life of Michael Melia. I include this because he married Bridget Thomas who was a sister to our grandmother, Mary Thomas Gillespie. The article is also a very good description of the life and activity of the early immigrants from Ireland to America.
M.J. Gillespie was born at Joliet, Illinois, January 19, 1851, and peacefully passed away May 18, 1930 at the age of 79 years, 3 months, and 29 days.
In 1856 he with his parents, two brothers and three sisters, joined the colony moving westward by prairie schooner to Council Bluff, Iowa, where his father contracted pneumonia and passed away. His widowed mother with her young family crossed the Missouri River to Omaha. At that time Omaha was only a trading post. In the late fall of this same year the family moved to Old Forest City, which in later years was replaced by the rail road town of Gretna, remaining there until late in 1857 when they moved to Nebraska City, at that time the largest business center for freighters that crossed the country to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
During the year of 1862 they moved back to Forest City, Mr. Gillespie going to Omaha Where he entered the employ of Creighton & Stapleton, wholesale grocers. Mr. Creighton was later known as Count John A. Creighton. He afterwards accepted a position in a general store at Forest City. The store was owned and operated by Mr. Gillespie’s uncle Anthony Thomas. It was here he met and married Elizabeth Connor, May 2, 1875. The young couple took up farming and Mrs. Gillespie still owns a part of the farm she was born on in Sarpy County near the town of Gretna. This farm is where all thirteen of their children were born and reared. Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie leaving the farm in 1918. to this union thirteen children were born. Two boys preceded Mr. Gillespie in death. Leaving to mourn his death his faithful wife and eleven children as follows:
Dr. P.H. and Pearl, Hartington;
John V., Randolph;
Frank W., Randolph;
Dr. Edw., Plattsmouth;
Dr. Paul B, Grand Island;
Mrs. A.E. Koutney, Ravenna;
Mrs. T.F. Daily, Ashland;
All in Nebraska,
And five grandchildren:
John D., Ashland;
Mary E., Ravenna;
Margaret K., Ravenna (with daughter Madelen);
Madelen Koutney, Ravenna;
M.J. Gillespie Jr., Bloomfield;
Besides his immediate family he leaves his sister Mrs. Mary Flanagan of Omaha, Nebraska (Mrs. Flanagan is his senior three years to the day both having the same birthday)…
After his children were old enough to handle the farm work, Mr. Gillespie took up the insurance business to which he devoted most of his time. After leaving the farm in 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie moved to Wahoo, Nebraska and made their home with their daughters, Anna and Pearl. In 1919 they moved to Randolph, where they built a fine new home and where Mr. Gillespie passed away May 18, 1930…
The remains were laid to rest beside his two sons and Mrs. Gillespie’s brother in the Forest City Catholic Cemetery, near where the old inland town of frontier days, Forest City was once a trading center…
MICHAEL MELIA was born in Killala, Ireland, in the County of Mayo in 1798. BRIDGET THOMAS was born in 1818. They were married in 1851. Michael Melia's mother's maiden name was NEWCOME. Bridget Thomas Melia's mother's maiden name was GILLESPIE. This information is recorded in the back of Vol. I IRISH AND SCOTCH BY ANCESTORAL RESEARCH, by Margaret Dickenson and is recorded by the Mormons on microfilm.
were born to MICHAEL and BRIDGET MELIA in Ireland. This is also verified on pages 25 and 26 of the 1660 Census of Nebraska, Sarpy County, Forrest Ciity Precinct. The census taker evidentally interpreted the Irish brogue incorrectly and listed the family name as MALEY. Bridget had suddenly become ten years younger than Michael rather than 20 years younger when they were married. Oral history is sometimes more accurate than "documentation" at times.
MICHAEL came to America in 1837, according to Oral history, to work on widening the Erie Canal which was opened in 1825 but underwent a series of improvements authorized by the New York legislature in 1835 and completed in 1862. According to the documented history, he did return to Ireland for his wife and family in 1840 or 1841 and brought them to America in 1846. They landed in New York after six weeks on the ocean, They then went to Chicago and eventually settled in Morristown, in Grundy County, Illinois. The Peru Canal was being built near by and "Melia worked with shovel and wheelbarrow". To add factual perspective, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was completed in 1648.
Four more children were born in Illinois:
When James was only a few months old, the family came by covered wagon to Nebraska where oral history relates that they established a homestead north of Forest City and then returned to Omaha for the winter to live in a soddy near the present site of the Burlington depot on South Tenth Street in 0maha...
Their ninth child, Hannah, was born in Nebraska (according to the census of I860).
Their tenth child, Martin, was Also born in Nebraska.
The census records of 1870 and 1880 show a descrepancy in the ages of the people involved, but do agree on places of birth.
According to research done by William Eugene Love, a g.g.grandson of the pioneer couple, MICHAEL JOHN MELIA was born Sept. 29, 1798; married in 1831; and died Sept. 29, 1871. BRIDGET THOMAS MELIA was born July 9, 1818 and died July 1, 1900. They are buried in the Thomas Cemetery west of Gretna, Nebraska...
According to M.J. Welsh, a pioneer historian for the PAPILLION TIMES, Bridget Melia was the midwife and "doctor" for this early community of Forest City.