BRIDGET AGNES (TRAYNOR) MORAN
y Grandmother Bridget Agnes Traynor was born on September 5, 1885 in Knockfree townland in the Cloghans postal district in County Mayo, Ireland. She lived on a farm with a thatched-roofed, three room house. She was the fifth of thirteen children. Her parents were Martin Traynor and Mary Ellen (GALLAGHER) Traynor.
The three rooms consisted of a large kitchen area in the center of the house and a bedroom on either end. Her parents had one of these. They had a double bed, a dresser and a large table. The table was so the bedroom could serve as a dining room when they had guests. The other bedroom had two double beds and a double couch. In the large kitchen were located two of what were called settle beds for small children. There was no bathroom. All the bathing was done using water in the kitchen that came from a well. The land on the farm was about 20 acres, divided into two parts. One around the house and the other about a half hour's walk away.
Bridget's five brothers and father worked the farm. They grew potatoes, cabbage, turnips, onions, wheat and flax. They raised cows, pigs, and chickens. The Traynors also had a mare which produced several foals and they had a donkey. From the cows they got their milk and butter. The chickens provided meat and eggs. Pigs were slaughtered twice a year. The excess food produced on the farm was sold at market. The Traynors had plenty of food but not much money. The Traynors had to pay a tax to the English landlord, Lord Aran. This put a strain on the family. Bridget remembered Lord Aran as a kindly man who put on two parties a year. One for the farmers and their workers and one for their children. Bridget remembered playing on the farm with her brothers and sisters and going Sundays to fish for salmon, trout, pike and perch.Their father, Martin Traynor, had three boats which he would rent out to English gentlemen who would go fishing in the good weather.He would row one of the boats.The lake they lived very close to was Lough Conn.It was very large, three miles wide and nine miles in length.Their property was very near the junction of the River Deel which runs right by their property and Lough Conn.
School was a mile away and had two rooms. The one upstairs was where the schoolmaster taught the boys while a woman teacher taught the girls downstairs.School was through the sixth grade and all grades were taught in the rooms.Bridget Agnes was known as "Bea" to her family and "Ma" by her children and by me, her oldest grandchild. She was also called Ma Moran by her children's friends and later by the community at large. Her other grandchildren and their children called her "Nana." Though she was called by many names she was known, and she was loved by all knew her.
Below is an excerpt from a taped interview
with Bridget Agnes (TRAYNOR) Moran by Nancy Moran.
When I completed the sixth year of school,I stayed on as a teacher's helper for about five years. At age seventeen, I received a position as a mother's helper for the
landlord's steward. I only had that position for a month because the room Iwas living in was over the kitchen. About twelve o'clock every night, I'd hear noiseslike someone was going from the stove to the pantry, rattling pots and pans. At first, I hought it was the family, but on questioning my employer, Mrs. Davis about it, she said - "Don't let those noises bother you, we hear them all the time and they never alarm us. "That's when I quit!"
............................................................................................................Bridget Agnes Traynor at Eighteen
I helped around the house with cooking, the children and worked on the farm feeding the cattle and the chickens. We had to carry our water one half mile every day until we got a slide hooked on to the donkey to carry it. It wasn't an easy life, to get our drinking water was a quarter mile and two of us would have to carry two pails each.
Church was two miles distant and, of course, we walked.Once a week there
would be dances in the different homes, but I didn't get to many because my parents were strict. Consequently I looked forward to coming to America with my oldest brother when I was twenty. My older sister was already in New York, so she met us at the boat in 1906.
We came steerage and it was a good trip. We were used to the water and did not get sick although a lot of people did. There was no disease aboard. It was a very good time, good food, lots of fun on deck and not too crowded. There were just two people to a room and the trip was only eight days.
I stayed with a friend of my sister for two days in New Jersey, then started work as an upstairs maid for a wealthy family near where my sister worked. It was a very nice job with good employers and I stayed until I came to Boston as the bride of Patrick. I had met him in Ireland two years before I came to America. He was visiting in New Jersey when we renewed our acquaintance. He made just one more trip to New Jersey to see me and three months later we were married in St. Bridget's Church in Jersey City. The reception was held in my employer's home.
In Boston, the newlyweds set up in Patrick's apartment in Melrose. After a year and probably because they were expecting a family, they moved to 491 East Third Street in South Boston where their first child Francis Patrick was born. Not long after that they moved into a home at 28 Boston Street where my father, John J. Moran, was born. There next move was to a three decker they bought on 66 Gates Street in in South Boston. They now had four children and were expecting again which made it necessary to find a larger house.They bought another home at 35 Harborview Street in Dorchester and lived there long enough for one child, Rita to be born before they moved into the three decker at 58 Harbor View Street in Dorchester. Bridget Agnes Moran was pregnant sixteen times, she had eleven children. Several of the other pregnancies were carried full term. I remember asking her if she had any feeling for those babies, she told me she thought of every one of them just as she did her other children.
Ma and Pa Moran with their last two children Bernie on the left and Tommy.
The sixth child, Rita, was born with Cerebral Palsy and was not
expected to live into her early teens. Ma took great care of Rita to insure the life she did have was as enjoyable
as possible. Rita lived to be almost
75, I am convinced because of the care and love given to her by her mother.
< Ma and me in the backyard on Harbor View Street in 1945
Eileen on the left with Bernie in front and Kae on the right with Tommy in front >
Very active well
into her eighties, Bridget Agnes Moran always enjoyed people and a good
party.One of my favorite stories to
tell about her was when I was first married (1964) and brought my Texas bride
[Nancy (Christian) Moran] to Boston to meet my grandmother whom she had heard
much about.Ma was 79 then and I did
not have time to call before we came.I
was stationed at Fort Devens at Ayer in western Massachusetts and got an
unexpected weekend off shortly after we had arrived there.We got into Boston about 11 PM, my wife kept
telling me we couldn't go to my grandmother's house because it was too late to
call at anyone's house let alone a grandmother's!I assured her my grandmother would be up and that it would be all
right.When we got to the house the
lights were all off and it looked like I was wrong. Just as I was getting back into the car for an "I told you
so", a taxi pulls up with a bunch of loud, obviously happy people getting
out.It was Ma; her neighbor and
longtime friend, Coleman Lee; her sister-in-law, Annie Donegan; her brother
Patrick Traynor and Rita.They were
getting ready to play poker.We joined
in and played until 4 AM.I lost $25.00
to my 79 year old grandmother!
Ma was the matriarch
of the family and a very pious woman, who at ninety two would get me down on my
knees to say the rosary for her since she couldn't get back up.The Infant of Prague statue was always
dressed in very fine clothes sewn by Ma and Rita and church was very much a
part of their lives.In 1980, Saint
Margaret's Church in Dorchester honored her as one of their oldest
When she was 88 years-old she had a pacer put in her chest.It was an unusual age for the operation, the odds were against her surviving the operation.Because of her stamina the doctors risked it.She made Massachusetts if not New England history when she wore it out and again when they had to go back in to replace it years later.
Ma's 83rd Birthday Party surrounded by family
Starting with the bottom group sitting on the floor from the viewer's left: Jim Sullivan, Catherine's husband; Moya Moran; Bernie Moran; Peggy (Carr) Moran, Tommy's wife. Behind Bernie is his wife, the former Mary Dunn and on her left(viewer's right) is Claire (Moran) Peterson and then Tommy Moran.
Seated in the chairs from the viewer's left is Frank's wife, Nora (Gormley) Moran; Sister Patrice (Traynor); Rita Moran; Ma (Bridget Agnes Moran); Sister Joseph Bernadette (Mary Moran) and Catherine (Moran) Sullivan.
Standing behind them starting from the viewer's left is Bill Moran's wife, Peggy (Menadue) Moran; behind her is John Moran, beside Peggy is Eileen (Moran) Souza; Inge (Runte) Moran, behind her husband, Joe Moran and then next to Inge is Billy English and his wife Shiela (Moran) English, behind Shiela is her father, Frank Moran and to his right is Bill Peterson, Claire's husband and then the last one on the right rear is Jack Souza, Eileen's husband.
The doctors did
not believe she would survive the required surgery.They asked Kae and Sister Joseph Bernadette to sign a permission
slip for the operation to relieve them of any responsibility.While they were standing there in the
Emergency Room of the hospital debating the pros and cons and had pretty well
decided it was not in Ma's best effort to put her through the operation, Ma
asked the doctor for the papers and signed them.She survived the operation.
Not long after that
visit the family lost their matriarch, Bridget Agnes (Traynor) Moran died at
the age of 96 in March of 1982. What follows are the sermon at Bridget Agnes
Moran's Funeral Mass given by Father Ronald Coyne, and a Tribute poem by her
Granddaughter, Rosemary Souza.
Father Ronald Coynes Sermon:
Its really amazing that
human tears can be a sign of great joy and at the same time can reflect deep
sadness.The tears that have been shed
these past few days, this morning and in the future reflect both these
feelings.Bridget Moran, a queen, a
matriarch, a lassie, a saint, a mother, a neighbor, a friend, a Christian
those are some of the hats that she wore, those are some of the titles that we
have bestowed on this great Irish woman who at home in Ireland was called Brid.
It was only right that when
Bridget was unable to come to this Church which she loved somuch that the priests and sisters of the
parish would bring the Church to 60 Harbor View Street.I, among others, had the privilege of
bringing her communion.We celebrated
Mass in her home and in her back yard and when I say celebrate, I mean enjoy
ourselves.The anniversary Masses for
deceased family members were in the house and the birthday Masses were in the
yard.I loved to visit her because as
soon as you walked in shed her two arms outstretched for the hug and then
hands would grab your face for the kiss.All this with a big smile on her face.
Of course, Rita Moran had a
special relationship with Bridget.Rita
was not only a daughter, but a sister and friend.Time people spend together tends to cement their relationship.Because of that it is going to be very
difficult for Rita.But let me remind
you Rita, that you have been raised to believe in the God who was your mothers
strength in all her troubled times and dont for one moment think He wont be yours.He watched you care for and love your mother
and He knows how you feel.If you get
tired, dont be afraid to change places.Let Him carry you.And let your
brothers and sisters share with you their feelings as well as you share with
them your own- you need each other.
Bridget you may have been 96
years old, but to us you still died too young.
As a young girl just learning to walk
were many a home where I was taught.
and relatives are all alike
one was there all my life.
as strong as a lion yet her roar was a purr.
a guest in her home you were to call her MA.
eating at her table its like open bar.
More are her words as she brings Irish Bread,
going to Nanas everyone is sufficiently fed.
and kisses as you enter her door
as you leave there are many more.
is the day that our home is blessed
our table we have the very best.
the end of the day and were all laughing hard
know whats pulled out, the good old cards.
is her game, 45s and hearts are next
the last hand is dealt, shes always the best.
large family you say, a mother of eleven.
hardships were many for four are in heaven.
the strength in her has surpassed many,
seems as if troubles, she didnt have any.
As her time passed, her tribe grew
are diverse for theres forty-two.
loved, respected and wealthy in friends,
love is so infinite for it never ends.
now we all realize life must go on
though our Grandmother is gone.
wish her well and say goodbye
as were all lined up we cant help but cry.
one of a kind and no one can take her place
in her hand of life she drew her last ace.
Rita, Joe, Kay, Eileen, Tom and Bernie are all that are left,
as their mother, there could be no greater theft.
grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends
wish that her time would never end.
if you sit back and collect all the facts
our minds, thoughts and hearts shes packed.
lives in our homes, faces and hearts
For the beginning of the Morans shes the
time has come to say farewell,
we will all miss her well.
love for her is very deep,
from our hearts it shall never seep.
feel the pain and our loss is great
from now on shell watch our fate.
to Bea with her charming manner
love you and miss you our everlasting NANA.