Evermore Genealogy

John Kearns and Catherine McNulty

John and Catherine KEARNS seem to have been Irish Potato Famine Immigrants who came to America around 1850, at the tail end of the famine which lasted from 1845 to 1850 or 1852. According to the 1860 census, John was born abt. 1820 in Ireland, and Catherine was born abt. 1822.

John KEARNS married Catherine/Katherine MCNULTY in Ireland in 1848. They moved to Liverpool, then to this country through New York, then to Toulmanville, AL (a suburb of Mobile) to link up with an uncle (or cousin), Patrick MCNULTY, who lived in Toulmanville. Chase Pollman provided the information, to Jack Kearns, in December 1998, on Patrick McNulty being either a cousin or an uncle to Catherine. I don’t have other information on his research as to his conclusions concerning this, as opposed to he being perhaps a brother, nor do I have document sources on their immigration.

John became a citizen in 1855, which corroborates the 1850 immigration date as one had to have been in the country more than 5 years.

I have found the below which I had thought may show John Kearns’ naturalization.

Name: John Kearns
Year: 1855
Place: Alabama
Source Publication Code: 1390
Primary Immigrant: Kearns, John
Annotation: Various nationalities, citizenship dates, and approximate dates of arrival, up to 1857. For passengers arriving at the port of Mobile, 1832-1853, see nos. 5203-5204, Mallon. Begun by the late Grace Scott and taken over by Crigler who moved to another stat
Source Bibliography: CRIGLER, ARTHUR D., GRACE R. SCOTT, ET AL., contributors “Naturalization Entries 1833-1871: Court Minute Books, Mobile County, Alabama.” In Deep South Genealogical Quarterly. Vol. 9:3 (Aug. 1972), pp. 19-25; vol. 9:4 (Nov. 1972), pp. 89-93.
Page: 20

Source Citation: Place: Alabama; Year: 1855; Page Number: 20.

Source Information:
Gale Research. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
Original data: Filby, P. William, ed.. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2009.

Seeking out entry data for a John Kearns is difficult as it could be John Kearns or Kearns. I’ve not observed any entries for a possible John Kearns with Catherine on the same ship as of yet. The only seeming possible I’ve turned up, as yet, who departed from Liverpool, is below. Perhaps he had family on board who isn’t listed.

Name: Kearns, John
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Embarkation: Liverpool
Ship: Garrick
Occupation: workman/woman [sic]
Passengers: 326
Native Country: Ireland
Destination: USA
Arrival Date: 3 Mar 1851

Catherine and John had 4 children:

  • Elizabeth (Eliza) Ann KEARNS b. 12 Oct. 1854, Toulmanville, Mobile Co. AL, married Peter REYNOLDS.
  • Michael “Buddy” TEARENCE KEARNS b. abt. 1856, married Mary MCANDREWS.
  • Timothy Willes KEARNS, b. 1 March 1859, died 10 Feb. 1938, Mobile, AL., married Abbey BERNARD.
  • John Edward KEARNS, b. 1863. John is given as 7 years of age in the 1870 census. Born 1863. Nothing else of him is known after 1892.

The 1860 census records John’s age as being 39. He was a gardener and the value of his land was $1600/40. Catherine Kearns was 31. Children listed in the 1860 census were: Eliza A., age 8. Michael, age 4. Timothy, age 1. All three children were born in Alabama.

The 1860 census also recorded a Patrick MCNULTY, age 30, a gardener. His wife was Elisa McNulty, age 32. Both were from Ireland. Their daughter was Mary A. McNulty, age 8.

The 1870 census records Catherine KEARNS as 40. Children listed were: Eliza age 16, Michael age 14, Timothy age 10, and John age 7.

Catherine is given as not having told the census reporters her true age for 1870 and 1880.

The 1880 census, at the Genealogy Library in Mobile lists (Page 14, E. Dist. No. 117) Catherine as 45 and a housekeeper, Mike as 23 and a farmer, Timothy as 21 and a farmer, and John as 17 and a farmer. “Farming. Lanes West of St. Stephans Rd., Toulminville.”

The 1900 Census gives a Patrick MCNULTY, born January 1823 in Ireland. He was then 77 and living in Mobile. Other members of the family living in the same household were: John M. BATTISTE, a son-in-law, born February 1854, age 46; Mary Ann BATTISTE, daughter, born December 1852, age 48; Loretta BATTISTE, a granddaughter born September 1883, age 16; Agnes BATTISTE, a granddaughter, born April 1885, age 15; Margaret BATTISTE, a granddaughter, born October 1889, age 11; and an Olivia BATTISTE, a granddaughter, born November 1892, age 8.

In the 1900 census, Catherine (McNulty) KERNS (notice the spelling) is given as living in the household of Peter REYNOLDS. Her date of birth is given as 1823, and that she was 77 at her last birthday. Widowed. She was unable to read or write.

Peter REYNOLDS, the head of the household, was 50 and had been married 27 years to Eliza (Kearns) REYNOLDS. He is given as born in 1849, that he had lived in the states 45 years and had immigrated in 1861(?), which doesn’t add up. He is given as a gardener and was able to read and write. Eliza is given as 47 and able to read and write. The children were listed as: Mary, 18; John, 17, was an apprentice machinist; Corine, 15; Charles, 11 (“at school” it seems to read); and Edward 5. All the children could read and write.

John KEARNS served in the Civil War in Company E, 2nd Battalion, Alabama Light Artillery, as a Private/Corporal. There is no record of his death, but seems likely to have died between 1860 and 1870. There is no record he died in battle. He was wounded, however, and perhaps he later expired as a result.

C. Pollman provides this story about Catherine, which once appeared in a Mobile newspaper “about the matriarch of this fighting Irish clan.”

It was during the Civil War and Catherine lost her mule, Pigeon, to the Federal forces, who occupied Mobile in 1864, for it was standard orders to collect all animals from the surrounding captured territories. The Union Army corralled all the horse and mules at Eight Mile, some 10 miles north up St. Stephens Rd. from where Catherine lived with her children while her husband was off at war. They had established a small farm among the Irish clan in Toulminville where many Irish (including the McNulty’s, McAndrews, McDonoughs, McDonalds and the Reynolds etc.) immigrated and staked their lots as farmers and sod busters as a result of the Irish famine in the 1840’s. While John was at war, Catherine took care of the kids who all helped with the routine chores of farming–growing crops and taking their harvests to the market in downtown Mobile. In order to keep the farm functioning, Catherine needed her mule, most importantly, to pull her heavily loaded wagon of vegetables to town to sell at the market place (old City Hall).

One day Catherine walked the ten miles to Eight Mile where the Union Army was encamped. She asked the Union captain (“boldly”) who was in charge of the confiscated animals if she could have her mule so she could get her crops to market. He said yes, if she could find it (not thinking she could) in the huge stockade where the animals were kept. As the story goes, she kept calling, “Here Pigeon,” until the animal heard and came to her. The captain reluctantly allowed her to take the mule, but warned her that Union soldiers returning from an evening of liquor in town might take the mule away or shoot her and the mule. She waited until it was dark, then walked the mule back to her home off St. Stephens Rd., taking refuge in the ditch and woods whenever she heard union soldiers approaching.

Catherine McNulty KERNS died of Senile Dementia at 7 Letty (?) Hospital, 900 St. Anthony. She is also given as dying at City Hospital, her residence having been in Toulminville for 50 years.

John KEARNS and Catherine McNulty KEARNS are given as buried on the old side of the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama, Section XL, Lot 3. The lot has no marker or stone.

The following information on the 2nd Alabama Light Artillery Battalion was taken from the Internet December 1998 (I didn’t make a record of where):

The 2nd Alabama Artillery Battalion, Companies “A”-“F”, was formed at Mobile in January 1862, with five companies later reduced to three. It was attached to the Department of the Gulf, and after January, 1864, the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. The unit was stationed at or near Mobile throughout the war and participated in the conflicts at Forts Gaines and Morgan, Spanish Fort, and Fort Blakely. With 64 officers and men, it surrendered on 4 May 1865.

Field officer: Lt. Col. James H. Hallonquist.

Armaments: Co. “A”, four 6-lb. Smoothbores (between 28 Nov 1863 and 5 Jan 1864); four 12-lb. Napoleons (between 1 May 1864 and 21 Feb 1865); Co. “E”, two 3-in. Rifles and two 12-lb. Howitzers (on 6-7 April 1862); Co. “F”, four 12-lb. Napoleons (between 29 March 1864 and 16 Dec 1864)

Historical resources:
George Little / A History of Lumsden’s Battery (Tuscaloosa, AL : UDC, 1905) [Co. F, 2nd Alabama Battalion]


A newspaper article titled Last of a Coterie of Pioneer Settlers provides some history of the early Irish community formed of the McNulty, McAndrews, Reynolds families and others. Some of the early settlers mentioned are Patrick MCNULTY, a relative of Catherine MCNULTY KEARNS; Thomas MCANDREWS, probable father of Mary who married Michael Tearence KEARNS, and Peter REYNOLDS, who married Eliza KEARNS.
It also gives, rather than John Kearns, a P. KEARNS as an early settler.

A Patrick KERNS is found in the 1840 Mobile census who lives near a TERRENCE. This may be of relevance. It may be that John KEARNS, though immigrating in 1850, may have had KEARNS relatives already in Mobile. I especially wonder if there is a connection because of George TERRENCE appearing in this same census and John and Catherine naming a child Michael Tearence.

1840 ALABAMA MOBILE CENSUS, Mobile Township
pg. 103
Peter FERON(?)
Patrick KERNS – 1 – 1 2 8 – – – – – – – |- – – – – 1…
One male between 5 and 10, 1 between 15 and 20, 2 between 23 and 30 and 8 between 30 and 40. 1 female between 20 and 30.
Appears as though for slaves had:
– 2 8 1 – – | – 1
2 slaves between 10 and 24, 8 between 24 and 35, 1 between 36 and 55 and one female slave between 10 and 24

1850 ALABAMA MOBILE CENSUS, Mobile Township
On page 285 is found the family of a Samuel KEARNS
1142/1113 Samuel KEARNS 37 laborer b. Ireland
Ann 47 b. Ireland
Mary 8 b. Ireland
A. 4 b. Ireland

1860 ALABAMA MOBILE CENSUS, Mobile Township pg. 98
861/669 Geo F. BOONE and family
862/670 Saml CRABTREE 22 Butcher RE value: 500. personal value: $200 b. AL
Margaret 21 b. MS
Louise V. 3/12 b. AL
Thos. BUSH 28 Labourer b. England
863/670 Rebecca FARRLER 60 RE value: 111,000(?) Personal value 40,000 b. AL
Helen E. BULLOCH 35 b. AL
865/672 John J. MERRMAN and family
867/673 Hourg L. MERRBOLD (?) and family
868/674 Dennis GREEN 28 gardener b. Ireland RE value: 1100 Personal value: 500
Sarah 27 b. Ireland
Mary 1 b. AL
Ellen QUINN 13 b. Ireland
Patrick SWEENY 20 Laborer b. Ireland
869/675 Michael MCDONALD 35 gardener RE value: 2200 Personal value: 500 b. Ireland
Mary 40 b. Ireland
Ann 30 b. Ireland
Michael MCNAIL 20 laborer b. Ireland
Terence OLAUGHLIN 22 b. Ireland
879/676 Jas. STEWART 45 personal value: 300 b. Ireland
Ann 48 RE value: 1500 b. Ireland
Mary J. 13 b. Alabama
James H. 12 b. Alabama
Margaret A. 10 b. AL
870/627 Patrick MCNULTY 30 Gardener RE value: 400 personal value: 500 b. Ireland
Elisa 32 b. Ireland
(pg. 99)
Mary A. 8 b. AL
Daniel KELLY 30 Laborer b. Ireland
NOTE: Patrick MCNULTY is a relative of Catherine MCNULTY who married John KEARNS in the next household.
871/678 KEARNS John 39 Gardener RE Value: 1400 Personal value: 400 b. Ireland
Catherine 31 b. Ireland
Eliza A. 8 b. AL
Micahel 4 b. AL
Timothy 1 b. AL
Frank ROMAN or RENAN(?) 45 Laborer b. Ireland
872/678 Thomas FINCH 40 gardener b. Ireland
? 35 b. Ireland
Ellen 2 b. AL Mary 1 b. AL Mary (?) 63 b. Ireland
873/680 Peter KEEGAN 50 Laborer b. Ireland
Michael FINCH 24 Gardener b. Ireland
Sarah 60 b. Ireland
Mary 19 b. Ireland
Ellen 17 b. Ireland
874/681 Edward RENE 38 shoemaker b. Saxony…

pg. 401
62/62 MCANDREWS Thomas 46 Farmer RE Value: 3000 Personal value: 500 b. Ireland
Catherine 30 b. Ireland
James 11 b. AL
Mary 9 b. AL
Thomas 6 b. AL
Patrick 5 b. AL
Catherine 11 b. AL
Martin 1 b. AL
NOTE: Mary McANDREWS, daughter of Thomas, is possibly the Mary McANDREWS who married Michael Tearance KEARNS who is at household 148 in this census.
MCDONALD James 50 Laborer b. Ireland
pg. 402
BRADFORD Robert and family
ALLMAN Michael and family
JONES Allen and family
SMITH Daniel and family
87/87 MCANDREWS Patrick 40 Farmer RE Value 1500. Personal value: 1400
Hanora 30 b. Ireland
John 11 b. AL
Mary 9 or 4 b. AL
Thomas 3 b. AL
Maggie 1 b. AL
NOTE: Patrick MCANDREWS is a brother of Thomas, probable father of Mary MCANDREWS.
88/88 MCANDREWS Martin 21 Farmer RE Value: 1000 Personal Value 300. b. Ireland
Mary 27 b. Ireland
James 80 laborer b. laborer Ireland
DUNANAN Patrick 24 laborer b. Ireland
pg. 19 ancestry.com, census page 406
148/148 KURNS Catherine 40 RE value $1000 b. Ireland
Eliza 16 b. AL
Michael 15 b. AL
Tim 10 b. AL
John 7 b. AL
RUNY Frank 65 laborer b. Ireland
NOTE: Michael married Mary MCANDREWS, who is probably seen at household 62 in this census.
149/149 STEWART James 50, Ann and family b. Ireland
150/150 GREEN Sarah 35 and family
151/151 MCNULTY Patrick 48 farmer RE value $600 personal value $100 b. Ireland
Eliza 45 b. Ireland
Mary 18 b. Ireland
NOTE: Patrick MCNULTY is a relative of Catherine (McNulty) KEARNS seen at household 148.
152/152 CARSON William 26 and Caroline and family laborer b. KY

The 1880 census now shows Catherine KEARNS and son Michael (future husband of Mary MCANDREWS) living a couple of pages over from Thomas MCANDREWS and his family.:

pg. 14 ancestry.com
165 MILLER Charles (b)
166 WASHINGTON ? and Eulia and family (b)
167 MCNULTY Patrick 50 farmer b. Ireland parents b. Ireland can’t read or write
Loyas? 40 wife b. Ireland parents b. Ireland can’t read or write
Mary Ann or May Ann 26 b. AL
168 OWEN? Rohn and family
169 CRABTREE Louis 25 farm b. AL parents b.AL
Maggie 28 b. AL
Edward? 4 b. AL Lizzie? 9/12 b. Aug. AL
STEWART Ann 72 b. Ireland
170 KEARNS Mike 23 farming b. AL parents b. Ireland
Catherine 45 mother b. Ireland parents b. Ireland can’t read or write
Timothy 21 b. AL works on farm
John 17 b. AL
JOSSIER? William 21 laborer b. AL parents b. AL
171 YORK Sallie (b) servant 28 widowed
WORK Willie (b) 3
pg. 16
148 MCANDREWS Thomas 47 farming b. Ireland parents b. Ireland
Cathern 45 b. Ireland parents b. Ireland
James 20 b. AL
Mary 18 b. AL
Charles 17 b. AL
Patrick 14 b. AL
Cuchina (f) 13 or 15 b. AL
Ann 8 b. AL
Martin 10 b. AL
Sarah 5 b. AL
149 MCANDREWS Martin 50 farming b. Ireland parents b. Ireland can’t read or write
Mary 40 b. Ireland parents b. Ireland can’t read or write
BOWMAN Kate 30 sister b. Ireland parents b. Ireland
DONALD or MCDONALD Thomas 50 laborer b. Ireland can’t read or write
152 EDWARDS Cleo or Cteo and family (b) works on farm
(I explored 11 to 32 of 32 census pages.)

In the 1900 census we see Catherine KEARNS living in the household of Peter REYNOLDS, husband of her daughter Eliza. Later in the census is a James KERN living not far from James MCANDREWS:

1900 Alabama Mobile Co. Kester District, Enumeration District 88
pg. 21 ancestry.com
REYNOLDS Peter b. 1849 50 married 37 years b. Ireland parents b. Ireland immigrated 1865 gardener
Eliza Oct. 1853 47 6 children 5 surviving b. AL parents b. Ireland
Mary Sept. 1882 18 b. AL
John Jan. 1883 17 b. AL apprentice machinist
Cozine Jan. 1885 15 b. AL
Charles Jan. 1889 11 b. AL
Edward Nov. 1894 5 b. AL
KERNS Catherine mother-in-law April 1823 76 widowed b. Ireland parents b. Ireland
pg. 24 ancestry.com
MCANDREW Martin July 1835 65 married 30 years b. Ireland parents b. Ireland immigrated 1852 Gardener
Maria May 1840 60 b. Ireland parents b. Ireland
MCANDREWS Thomas Jan. 1864 35 married 12 years b. AL parents b. Ireland Gardener
Mary Dec. 1867 32 3 children 2 surviving b. AL parents b. Germany
Ellen? Dec. 1888 11 b. AL
Barbara July 1895 5 b. AL
pg. 28 ancestry.com
WALKER Sarah (b) 1840 60 wd. b. AL parents b. AL servant
? WIlliam son Nov 1878 22 b. AL brick master
WARD Octavia daughter 1865 35 b.AL
REYNOLDS Eddie son in law Oct. 1887 13 b. AL
KERN (?) James July 1861 39 married 18 years b. AL parents b. Ireland gardener owns home
Mary b. April 1865 34 b. AL parents b. Ireland
James August? 1883 17 b. AL apprentice blacksmith
Minnie March 1885 15 b. AL
Annie March 1887 13 b. AL
Joseph April 1890 10 b. AL
William July 1891 8 b. AL
CAMINA? or BAMINA? Joseph Feb. 1845 55 b. Italy parents b. Italy immigrated 1869 gardener
HARRIS John Feb. 1842 58 married 27 years b. AL parents b. AL bookkeeper
Elizabeth b. 1852 47 (4 children shown in census)
ROBINSON Edward servant (b) April 1885 14 b. AL parents b. AL
Edna servant (b) April 1885 14 b. AL
HARRIS William b. 1873 and Georgia and family
MCANDREWS (can’t read name) head female April 1848 52 wd. b. Ireland parents b. Ireland
Martin son Jan. 1873 27 s. b. AL parents b. Ireland
Annie daughter Jan. 1875 25 s. b. AL 276/283
MCANDREWS James Aug. 1860 40 married 17 y. b. AL gardener
Katie nov. 1861 39 3 children 3 surviving b. AL father b. PA mother b. AL
Leo March 1884 16 b. AL grocery clerk
May August 1886 14 b. AL
Allen March 1891 9 b. AL
census pg. 15; pg. 29 ancestry.com
TUITE Elizabeth Aug 1840 60, wd. b. Ireland parents b. Ireland immigrated 1852, in U.S. 48 years, owns home
John son June 1869 31 s. b. AL parents b. Ireland teamster
BYONES? James brother May 1843 57 s. b. Ireland parents b. Ireland immigrated 1852, in U.S. 48 years, NA under naturalization
TUITE Frank June 1870 30 married 3 years b. AL parents b. Ireland, teamster
Sadie Feb. 1877 22 2 children with 2 surviving b. AL parents b. Ireland
John H. Sept. 1898 2 b. LA
Catherine V. April 1899 1 b. LA
KERNS Michael Jan. 1853 47 married 13 years, b. AL parents b. Ireland, foreman
Mary A. Jan. 1862 38 3 children 2 surviving b. AL parents b. Ireland
Rhett G. June 1888 12 b. AL
Claude Sept. 1895 5 b.AL
DOODY James 1870 30 married 5 years b. AL parents b. Ireland vegetable dealer
Mary Dec 1871 28 2 children, 2 surviving b. AL father b. AL mother b. NJ
James H. Jan. 1896 4 b. AL
Edmond C. May 1897 3 b. AL
(I only explored pages 8 to 30 of 30 of the census.)

Mobile Co., AL censuses
Many thanks to Chase Pollman for his research and articles!
Return of Death for Catherine MCNULTY



2 responses to “John Kearns and Catherine McNulty”

  1. Sean Ridgley Hess Avatar
    Sean Ridgley Hess

    My Father John Edward Ridgley was the only son of John Ridgley and Mary Catherine Reynolds. I am looking for more info on the Reynolds’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *