We are searching for information regarding the parents, children and siblings of Jeremiah & Ellen (Haggerty) McDonald of Cork, County Cork, Ireland. Their daughter, Julia Agnus (McDonald)Prendergast-Fitzgerald, was born in 1827 at the city of Cork, County Cork, Ireland.
Julia, a pioneer of the Republic of Texas [prominently mentioned in "HISTORY OF TEXAS, TOGETHER WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF THE CITIES OF HOUSTON & GALVESTON, Lucas, 1895"] immigrated to Apalachicola, Florida in 1841 at the age of fourteen with her widowed mother, Ellen (Haggerty) McDonald.
Her first husband, Patrick Pendergrass sic. Prendergast was born in 1821 at County Mayo, Ireland. Patrick departed Liverpool, England aboard the vessel "Napoleon", arriving on June 27, 1820 at the port of New York. patrick removed to the city of Apalachicola on the northwestern coastline of Florida. Records indicate that in 1840, Apalachicola had a population of 1,030. Persons of Irish descent were the leading immigrant group; most of them living in the boisterous workingman's section called Irishtown.
Patrick Prendergast married Julia Agnus (McDonald) Prendergast on February 21, 1843 at Apalachicola, Florida. Seven (7)
children were born of their union: John Thomas Prendergast born in 1843, who married Annie (---) Prendergast, died about
1880, Captain James T. Prendergast born on February 19, 1846 at Apalachicola, Florida, Richard Patrick Prendergast born in
1847, Mary Elizabeth (Prendergast) Schillen who married a man surnamed Schillen, George M. Prendergast born on February
2, 1855, died on October 4, 1927 at Austin, Texas, Julia (Prendergast) Pond who married Edward Pond, and William Prendergast. All of the Prendergast children were born at Apalachicola, Florida.
Patrick & Julia Prendergast built and operated a hotel called the Alabama House near the port at Apalachicola, Florida.
Hotels thrived in the convivial atmosphere of Apalachicola. The riverside port with its deep draught was ideal for the steamboats and small schooners filled with cotton and sugar cane from Georgia and Alabama. Businessmen, seamen, merchants and sportsmen filled the hotels. The seamen were drawn to Apalachicola by the abundant fish, shrimp, oyster, and
sponge fisheries. Periodic boat races as well as regular horse races at the Franklin Course drew the sportsmen. Apalachicola became part of a racing circuit that included Tallahassee, Quincy, St. Joseph, and Mariana. Purses were often as high as $1,000.
The hotels held barrooms and separate rooms for billiards, poker, faro, and roulette. Many of the early hotels were noted for
their patron's disorderliness. A preacher staying overnight was later quoted, "there was so much cursing and noise that I could
not rest well… this is, in its present garb a cruel place; even the hostler was drunk."
At the time, Dr. John Gorrie, a physician living at Apalachicola, accidentally invented the ice machine while conducting research
to counter the effects of yellow fever; ice became a major commodity.
Ice shipments corresponded with increased mixed drink sales in Apalachicola's hotels. The local editor of the Apalachicola
Commercial Advertiser sympathized with the local temperance society stating "God give them the strength of resolution to resist
the temptations they must encounter. Ice, Sugar, Wine and Maderia!"
The 1850 Census of Franklin County, Florida, showed two persons living at the Prendergast's Alabama House Hotel at the
time of the count: William Gamble, 21, a sailor from England, and Matthew Mayo, 25, a merchant from Massachusetts, a member of the same Mayo family which is in the direct line of Patricia Ann (Craft) Prendergast. The census, dated December 5, 1850, listed the Prendergast surname as Pendergrast and also noted Julia's inability to read or write.
Like all coastal towns, Apalachicola was vulnerable to violent storms. Patrick and his family survived a series of violent
hurricanes during their years in Florida: 1842, 1844, 1850, 1851, 1856, and 1859.
The 1851 gale was considered worse than the three-day storm of August 29-31, 1837, which left ten to fifteen feet of water on Water Street, placed the shattered steamboats "Henry Crowell" and "Edwin Forrest" in the middle of the town, and filled the streets with logs and splintered lumber.
Fires broke out periodically, some the work of arsonists. The town was heavily damaged by fire in 1844 and 1857, even though all businesses were required to maintain fire buckets and citizens were required to keep their chimneys repaired. Patrick served in the Apalachicola Fire Brigade.
The Prendergasts attended the Apalachicola Catholic mission, which was served by a traveling circuit priest, Fr. Timothy
Burmingham. Fr. Burmingham was first appointed to the mission in 1845. By 1851, Fr. Patrick Coffey had been permanently
assigned to the mission and begun the construction of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
Patrick & Julia sold their profitable hotel in 1860, and removed to the extreme southern end of Padre Island, Texas across the
shallow estuary, the Laguna Madre, from the mainland. There they built and operated a horse and cattle ranch north of the mouth of the Rio Grande River at its outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement was initially named Brazos Santiago. Today, the town is Port Isabel, Texas.
In late 1861, the "U.S. Santiago De Cuba" blockaded the town. Many of Patrick and Julie's friends and neighbors removed to
either Brownsville, Texas or Bagdad, Mexico.
Brazos Santiago was a contradiction to the highly touted political and human causes of the Civil War. English, Mexican, French,
Confederate, and Union businessmen flocked to the Brazos Santiago port and its mainland component, Brownsville, Texas as well as its Mexican sister port of Bagdad, and mainland component, Matamoros. Their purpose was to profit through the sale and exportation of Southern cotton. The blockade at the port of Brazos Santiago by the Union navy, it was at best a half hearted effort. The Confederates simply ran the blockade or re-registered their boats as English, French or Mexican vessels. The French and British governments actually stationed naval vessels at the ports to protect freedom of trade on the high seas.
No government was really interested in stopping the flow of goods or restricting trade; even Confederate trade.
On November 1, 1863 after the Battle of Gettysburg, Union forces led by General N.P. Banks decided to seize the port. After
Gettysburg, the Union realized it would win the war, therefore partisan politics and European considerations could be set aside.
The Union forces seized the Prendergast ranch on south Padre Island and all of the livestock; using the main Plantation home as
an Officer's barracks and hospital, and placing all of the horses in the service of the Union Cavalry. The Prendergast's mainland
house at Brazos Santiago was accidentally burned to the ground by Confederate forces during the evacuation of the town, ordered by Major General Hamilton Bee. Later, Confederate forces retook the town and held it until the end of the conflict.
The Battle of Ranchos Palomitos, the last land battle of the Civil War, was fought near Brownsville, Texas a full month after
General Lee's surrender at Appomatox, Virginia.
Patrick & Julia's son, John Thomas Prendergast joined the 1st Texas Cavalry Regiment in May 1863. The regiment was
composed of ten companies comprising approximately 1,500 men. The 1st Texas was organized with a merging of the 3rd and
8th Cavalry Regiments with Colonel Augustus Buchel as the commander; a part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division under
the command of Major General Hamilton Bee. Colonel Buchel was a field officer with the Texas 3rd Infantry Division prior to
the formation of the 1st Texas. Buchel served in the Mexican War as an aide de camp to General Zachary Taylor
The 1st Texas was charged with the protection of Texas' coastal towns from Louisiana to Mexico. The 1st Texas regiment fought in the following engagements: the Battle of Matagorda Peninsula (Skirmish)on December 29, 1863; the Battle of Caney Bayou, the Texas Bombardment, on January 8-9, 1864; the Battle of Los Patricios near Brownsville (1 Company) on March 13, 1864; the Battle of Corpus Christi on March 17, 1864; the Red River Campaign, March to May 1864; the Battle of
Mansfield on April 8, 1864; the Battle of Pleasant Hill on April 9, 1864; the Battle of Yellow Bayou near Moreauville,Louisiana on May 17, 1864; the Battle of Eagle Pass (1 Company) on June 19, 1864; the Battle of the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana on September 17, 1864; and the Battle of Morgan's Ferry on September 20, 1864.
Long-term encampments of the 1st Texas Regiment included Harrisburg, the Sabine River, Niblett's Bluff in Louisiana,
Galveston, the Atchafalaya River, Morgan's Ferry, and Alexandria, Louisiana.
Following the war, John Thomas Prendergast married Annie (---) Prendergast. In 1881, John's widow, Annie (---) Prendergast claimed his Texas CSA pension under claim No. A43327.
Patrick & Julia's son, Captain James T. Prendergast began the conflict serving as blockade-runner. He operated out of the
ports of Brazos Santiago and Bagdad, narrowly escaping capture several times. The blockade-runners used the abandoned lighthouse at Brazos Santiago as a watchtower, and the Laguna Madre's countless coves and its very shallow draughts as their
refuge. James amassed a fortune providing supplies and munitions to the Confederacy; estimated in the tens of thousands of
dollars. However, his fortune was in the form of Confederate money, war bonds, and promissory notes that were secured by
cotton futures and the Confederate States. When the Civil War ended in 1865, the money which had earlier been devalued,became worthless leaving the twenty-one year old James virtually penniless.
James became a machinist and an engineer on a number of steamboats traveling the Mississippi River from New Orleans, the
Rio Grande River, and the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mexico. His first marine position was with the Allen, Pool, & Company. He served as an engineer and later, Captain, of the steamship "Matamoros" out of the port of Galveston, Texas from 1873 to 1886 while working for Irving & Beissner Lighterers Company. The primary cargoes of the vessel were liquor and ice.
It was during this period that James met and married Annie (Day) Prendergast of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Captain James T. & Annie (Day) Prendergast were married on September 10, 1876 at New Orleans, Louisiana. Annie (Day)Prendergast was born on February 13, 1850 at Brooklyn, New York. She spent a good part of her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. Five (5) children were born of their union: James Thomas Prendergast born on September 15, 1876 at New Iberia, Louisiana, died on May 29, 1964 at San Antonio, Texas, John Edwin Prendergast born about 1878, Richard
Patrick Prendergast born about 1880, Loretta (Prendergast) Bause born on March 16, 1883, died on December 12, 1966, and Vivian Prendergast born on December 3, 1886, died on September 26, 1967.
James Thomas Prendergast worked as a typograph operator, printer and composer for various newspapers throughout Texas. James Thomas & Sarah Ottelia (Treaccar) Prendergast were married in 1908 at Houston, Texas. James & Sarah renewed their vows in the Catholic Church about 1935 at Galveston, Texas.
John Edwin Prendergast married Eula (---) Prendergast about 1916 at San Francisco, California. Throughout his life, John
worked as a typograph operator, printer and composer for a number of William Randolph Hearst newspapers, including the San Francisco Examiner; from which he retired in June 1956. No children were born of their union.
Richard Patrick Prendergast married Anita C. (---) Prendergast at Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California. There were
no children born of their union. Although the couple bore no heirs, they adopted several children. In turn, Richard & Anita became the grandparents of four (4) grandchildren children: Richard R. Straub, Maxine Lawrence, Rita Robinson, and Robert Straub.
Richard worked as a newspaper typograph operator, printer and composer, and like his father and brother, James, suffered from insulin-dependent diabetes, which caused the gradual amputation of both legs and eventually his death.
Loretta (Prendergast) Bause married Raymond Bause about 1917 in San Francisco, California. Loretta was an accomplished
songwriter and featured opera star; touring with the San Francisco Opera Company in a variety of productions. Raymond Bause was a real estate developer from California. Loretta composed and published numerous songs during the 1930s using both her maiden name and married name. Her songs included The Song in my Heart is You, Somewhere in the West,
Monterey Rose, and others. She collaborated with Paul Corbell and Walter Smith on many of her published works.
Loretta and her husband, Raymond became world travelers, primarily as an offshoot of her opera singer career, often staying abroad for extended periods of time. Their journeys took them throughout Egypt, Africa, Europe, England, China, and the Middle East. When she retired from the Opera Company, Loretta and Raymond became permanent residents in San
Francisco. No children were born of their union.
Vivian Prendergast traveled extensively throughout the United States. She remained single throughout her life. Following the
death of her father at Phoenix, Arizona, she returned to Galveston, Texas with her mother, Annie (Day) Prendergast and her brother, James Prendergast. Vivian lived with, and cared for, her mother until Annie's death in 1938.
James & Annie's children were all highly educated. The children were very involved in many social and charity events and
functions during their youth.
Captain James T. Prendergast's position as master of his own ship combined with his investments in commodities futures, and
Annie's real estate investments, placed him and his family within the very wealthy merchant class of Galveston society. James
retired from his Captaincy in 1886 to concentrate on the import and export of liquor and wines, and to operate his own liquor
retail store at Galveston, Texas. He traveled frequently throughout the various inland ports on the Mississippi, Missouri, and
In 1887, James was shot in the leg as a result of dispute during a card game on a Mississippi River gambling boat. Being slow
to heal due to his diabetic condition, James & Annie decided to relocate their family to a drier climate, and moved to Phoenix,
Arizona in 1888.
Captain James T. Prendergast died several months later at Phoenix, Arizona, due to a complication of his diabetes, namely,
gangrene of his gunshot leg. At the time of his death, James was a member of the Tucker Lodge No. 167, the AF & AM Oleander Lodge # No. 139, and the Knights of Pithius, Galveston Lodge No. 2.
Annie (Day) Prendergast was widowed at the age of thirty-eight. She faced the problem of raising their children, James age twelve (12), Edwin age ten (10), Richard age eight (8), Loretta age five (5), and Vivian age two (2), at Phoenix; a location which was still, by any standard, a less-than-civilized frontier town filled with ranchhands, saloons, and frequent gun battles. Annie and her children boarded an eastbound train and returned to Galveston, Texas in 1888.
Annie Prendergast used her strong business acumen to became a shrewd businesswoman and skilled investor; dealing primarily in real estate. She used her widow's inheritance to purchase numerous parcels of undeveloped land as well as existing homes. Many of her real estate investment properties were connected with the history of Galveston, Texas. Annie's children and grandchildren were well educated and provided for.
Annie (Day) Prendergast died on March 12, 1938 at her 1824 G. Street home where she had lived for fifty years. Annie was interred at the old Evergreen Cemetery on Broadway Avenue, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas. She was eighty-eight at the time of her death
Patrick & Julia's son, Richard Patrick Prendergast began the war as a blockade-runner out of Brownville. He was captured by
Union forces and sent to the prisoner of war camp at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois. Camp Douglas' main focus was to turn Confederate soldiers and sympathizers into what was termed galvanized Yankees. Most of the men who changed allegiance were listed under assumed names to avoid possible retaliation from fellow Southerners. It is believed that Richard used the alias, Michael Prendergast. Eventually, Richard chose to support the Union cause and joined the Union Army. Richard served in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery B, commanded by Captain Ezra Taylor.
Following the war, Richard returned to Apalachicola, where he married Catherine "Kate" (---) Prendergast who was born in
1849. One (1) known child was born of their union: an unnamed infant born about April 7, 1870, and died on or about May 20, 1870. Richard & Catherine's baby was interred at the Old GraveYard, Apalachicola, Florida.
Catherine "Kate" (----) Prendergast died and was buried on April 21, 1879 due to the complications of childbirth. Catherine
was also interred at the Old GraveYard, Apalachicola, Florida. After Richard Prendergast buried his wife, Catherine, and four weeks later, their infant child, there are no further records of his presence in Apalachicola.
Patrick & Julia's son, George M. Prendergast married Sarah (McEvoy) Prendergast at Galveston, Texas. Five (5) children were born of their union: Rose Prendergast who removed to San Antonio, Texas, George Patrick Prendergast born about October 1880, died on December 13, 1941, Viola Prendergast, Maude (Prendergast) Ferrell, and Helen (Prendergast)Skeeler who married Frank K. Skeeler. All of the Prendergast children were born at Galveston, Texas.
George & Sarah's son, George Patrick Prendergast married Sue "Daisy" Dean (Anderson) Prendergast. Sue "Daisy" Dean
(Anderson) Prendergast, the daughter of William Allen & Virginia Katherine (Gant) Anderson was born on August 8, 1882 at
Ladonna, Texas. Seven (7) children were born of their union: George Patrick "Junie" Prendergast Jr. born on November 11, 1907, died about March 1973 at Galveston, Kathryn "Kat" Prendergast, Elizabeth "Liz" Prendergast, Ferdinand "Duckie" Prendergast, Louis "Toots" Prendergast born on January 15, 1911, who married Margie (---) Prendergast, died on August 26, 1926 at Franklin County, Texas, Daisy "Sis" Pearl Prendergast, and Rosemary (Prendergast) Carpenter born on February 27, 1917, who on June 20, 1933 married St. Elmo Milton "Dick" Carpenter, who was born on August 3, 1913 at Granger, Texas
and died on June 11, 1980 at San Antonio, Texas. The Prendergast children were born at Galveston, Texas.
Sue "Daisy" Dean (Anderson) Prendergast died and was buried on April 9, 1928 at Galveston, Texas
George Prendergast was licensed in 1874 as an assistant Marine Engineer at New Orleans; sailing the West Indies and Atlantic. Within two years, George returned to Galveston, where his mother and siblings had taken-up residency, as Chief Engineer for the Texas & New York Beef Packers; later thru 1895, becoming Chief Engineer of the Galveston Steamship Lighterage Company. In 1896, he was made Captain of the "Comstock", a U.S. Corps of Engineers dredge at the Port of Galveston. By 1920, George was promoted to Superintendent of Dredging and Repairs, inventing several dredging appliances during his career.
George M. Prendergast died on October 4, 1927 at the San Antonio, Texas home of his daughter, Helen (Prendergast)
Skeeler. He was interred at the Calvary Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.
Following the loss of the ranch and their home in November 1863 at the hands of the Federal forces, Patrick, Julia, and their
younger children moved to inland Brownsville, Texas to separate themselves from the fighting. They had lost everything
accumulated during twenty-three profitable years in business. Three months later, Patrick Prendergast died and was buried on
February 22, 1864 at Brownsville, Texas. It has been suggested that the stress related to the loss of the ranch and home
caused Patrick's early death.
After Patrick's death, Julia (McDonald) Prendergast and their younger children removed to Bagdad, Mexico, the port town for
Matamoros, Mexico, where she built and operated another hotel for three years. In 1866, while living in Mexico, Julia
(McDonald) Prendergast-Fitzgerald married her second husband, William Fitzgerald. Two (2) known children were born of their union: Jennie Fitzgerald, and Lillie Fitzgerald. When the Civil War ended, the Fitzgerald family returned to the United States.
They sailed first to Apalachicola Florida where they remained for a short period of time with her brother and his wife, James S.
& Elizabeth (Bush) McDonald. About 1868, Julia and her family removed to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she and William
operated another hotel.
William Fitzgerald died and was buried in 1875 at New Orleans, Louisiana. Following his death, Julia and her younger children
removed to Galveston, Texas.
Julia Agnus (McDonald) Prendergast-Fitzgerald died and was buried in 1880 at Galveston, Galveston County, Texas.
We are direct line ancestors of Julia's son Captain James T. Prendergast and have a full history of the family to share. Any help
would be greatly appreciated.
Charles & Patricia Prendergast
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