Wednesday, 13 June 2012

THE MEEHAN - O'LEARY CONNECTION

During the  1950's  the O'Leary sisters was a popular Country & Western singing duo.  The duo consisted of Mae O'Leary and her sister Theresa.  Mae played acoustic guitar and Theresa played the double bass and they both sang.  It should be noted that Theresa was quite short and the bass was about a foot taller than she was.

They appeared on a weekly radio programme called the Hayloft Hoedown on CKEY radio in Toronto.  The actor Lorne Greene was a radio announcer at the station and took quite a shine to the sisters, especially Mae.   They performed on WWVA radio in Wheeling, West Virginia on  the Wheeling Jamboree. They also performed in Chicago on the National Barn Dance. They were offered a 15 minute weekly radio program in Chicago and were told the next stop would be Nashville, but they turned it down.  Here's a recording of Mae and Theresa as the O'leary Sisters

My father James Meehan used to brag that he was related to the O'Leary Sisters.   His aunt had married an O'Leary and he claimed the O'Leary's as kith and kin.

My great  aunt Theresa Brigid Meehan (1886 - 1946) was born in Belleville Ontario. The family moved to Toronto between 1896 and 1901. She is recorded on the 1901 Census living with her parents George Meehan and Emma (Howson) Meehan at 373 Queen Street East.

Theresa married Norman Dunn(e) O'Leary in Toronto in 1909. Norman's parents were John O'Leary and Maria Dunn(e).   Norman was born in Lindsay, Ontario in 1886.

In the 1960's we moved to Silverbirch Avenue and guess who also lived on the street?  The O'Leary Sisters plus some of the rest of the family.  The sisters came from a large family, I believe there were 12  brothers and sisters.  I became friends with 2 of their nieces as we were all the same age.

We've tried to find a connection to the O'Leary's but we can find none so far.  The parents of the O'Leary Sisters were John Joseph O'Leary born 1890 in Toronto and Charlotte Lawrence.  They lived in the east end of Toronto as did Norman and Theresa O'Leary.  The families were both Roman Catholic and at some point both lived on Caroline Avenue in Toronto.  But that's as close as we've come to connecting the families.  My two friends and I still jokingly refer to us being related.

I think the connection is tenuous at best.  Once we moved to Silverbirch Avenue, I didn't hear my dad mention the connection again.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, what a small world!

    I just came across your blog while looking up some info. about my family, the O'Leary's.

    Mae and Theresa are my great aunts. Their brother Arthur was my grandfather.

    My dad Dennis, lived on Silverbirch for a short time with his mom and dad Arthur and Eileen, and his two older siblings, Elaine and Arthur, along with some of his dad's sisters who owned the house.

    There were actually 14 children in the O'Leary family. There was Arthur, John, Charlotte, Mae, Thomas, Roselie, William, Frank, James, Lawrence, Shirley, Rosemarie, Theresa, and Eugene.

    And yes, you're right. They lived on Caroline Avenue at number 52.

    If you're looking for anymore info. feel free to contact me at darlene.owen@ymail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do hope you get this. I have been trying to track down the O'learys. William O'Leary is my father. He married margaret robertson and they had three children. Robert Allan, Francis Margeret and Marie Kathleen. I was raised by my maternal grandparents and have had no contact with the O'Learys and would love to connect in some way. email is rallanrobertson@shaw.ca

      Delete
    2. I've forwarded your comment to one of my O'Leary contacts. Hopefully you can connect with some new cousins.

      Delete
    3. I don't have those names in my tree. When was William O'Leary born and where? What are Margaret Robertson's birth and location and her parents? Maybe that would help.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for getting in touch. I've sent you an e-mail.

    Jerri

    ReplyDelete