Alfred Emanuel Smith, Sr. and Catherine T. Mulvihill

Having followed the Mulvihill family as far we can and/or down to those living, whom I will not name for privacy resons, I am returning to the direct descendants.  Alfred Emanuel Smith, born in 1839, veteran of the first months and the first battle of the Civil War, former volunteer fireman, widower with a 5 year old daughter being raised by his in-laws in Brooklyn, is living in 1870 in the home of William and Catherine Wall at number 9 Hamilton Street between Catherine and Market Streets, 7th ward, occupation, cartman.  We know from research done by Christopher Finan, that Smith kept his horses in a stable at the rear of the Dover Street home of the Mulvihill’s, a family he would know through his association with Peter H. Mulvihill of the same Liberty Hose Company Alfred had served with prior to the creation of the paid FDNY in 1865.  Catherine Mulvihill was employed as a “hoop skirt maker” in 1870 and was 20 years old, ten year Alfred’s junior.  In Governor Smith’s biography, he recalls that his father as young man (early mid- 1850’s) has driven a team of horses at a mill on Front Street.  The Governor also recalled his mother remembering his father would take a stagecoach with friends to the vicinity of 24th Street and play (base)ball behind Bull’s Head Tavern. His work kept him busy 6 days a week, with only Sunday as a day or rest or recreation.  It is recalled that he was a good swimmer (perhaps something passed on from his seafaring father) and that he would swim in the East River.  He once rowed Catherine from Staten Island to south Brooklyn when they missed the last ferry home.

It is said in several biographies that their’s was a two year courtship.  In May of 1872, they married at St. James, with Annie Williamson and Timothy McConnell as witnesses. They rented an apartment on South Street above a barber shop owned by Charles Morganwerk.  It was here that they had their first child, Alfred Emanuel Smith, Junior on December 30, 1873.  Exactly two years later, a daughter named Mary was born on December 30, 1875.  In the 1880 Federal Census, they were living at 174 South Street, Alfred, age 48 (40); Catherine age 38 (30); son Alfred E. Smith, age 6, daughter Mary, age 4; and three boarders (really relatives) Maria Mulville (Mulvihill) age 82; Mary Mulville, age 33; and Thomas Mulville, age 5.  There are no occupations listed for any of the family, and the age and spelling mistakes lead me to believe the neighbors answered the census takers.  The rest of the page has occupations listed.

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