Today we will begin our look at the children of John Tunney and Mary McNulty. The eldest child was Bridget born 11/11/1862. Much of the information comes from the daughter of Honor Tunney Heil, Elizabeth, who learned about her Irish family from her mother. She knew and spent time with many of the people we will be talking about so this is a nice and fairly accurate picture of this family.
Brigit was called Bessie by her friends and family. As a girl she was sent to live with her maternal Grandparents, Mary Jeffers McNulty and John McNulty. While she was living there her Grandmother passed away and Bessie remained with her Grandfather and her maiden aunt. When her aunt finally married Bessie was brought back to her parent’s home, though she did not want to leave her Grandfather. She was much older than her siblings and, having lived so long away from home, she was more like a visiting teen-age relative than a sibling to them. She was unhappy in the home and wanted to return to Tierninny where her Grandfather lived but there was no room for her there. She was in her late teens when a friend of her Fathers told him about a young man of excellent character who was interested in meeting and marrying Bessie. A meeting was arranged and Bessie liked him so the marriage was arranged.
In the meantime a young boy by the last name of Davaney professed to be in love with Bessie and vowed that he would not allow the marriage. He threatened to kidnap her on the way to the church and take her for his own bride. Fearful that he just might make such an attempt, John Tunney arranged to have a large crowd of people to be with them at the church to protect Bessie and insure the marriage took place as arranged. Devaney did indeed show up with a crowd of his own friends, intent on keeping his vow. Alas for him, the Tunney crowd was larger and more resolved and so the wedding took place as arranged and Bessie became Mrs. John Rochford.
John Rochford’s home was at the top of a mountain from which one could look out over the land. Bessie could see her family’s farm from her new home. The road up to the new house was very steep, so steep that a cart could not be pulled up it and so one had to leave their cart at the bottom of the mountain and climb up on foot.
John Rochford had a farm but also worked in England and traveled back and forth often, leaving Bessie home to take care of the farm. John Tunney and his sons helped Bessie with the hard labor. When Bessie became pregnant shortly after her marriage, her father cautioned her about lifting heavy loads. Bessie did not listen to him. She was young and strong and thought she could do anything. Unfortunately she soon discovered her vulnerability when she suffered a miscarriage of her first child.
When she again became pregnant she was more careful and delivered a healthy baby boy; Michael Rochford . Michael was happy, healthy and always hungry. When he started walking and Bessie was expecting another baby, Michael was sent to live with John and Mary Tunney. Honor Tunney recalled that she would often be woken by Michael in the middle of the night demanding food. In order for anyone to get any rest Honor would have to scrounge around to find the boy something to eat each night. This came to an end after Bessie’s second child, a daughter- Mary began walking. One afternoon John Rochford stopped at the Tunney home on his way to town to check up on his son. When he heard about the nightly meal he decided to take the boy back home and send his daughter in his place. (Apparently this was a custom, though I am not sure if it was peculiar to this family or to the entire Irish people. The eldest son was supposed to remain home and the eldest female was often sent to be raised by relatives, as Bessie had done with her own Grandparents.) Mary was sent to live with the John Tunney family and remained there as a part of their family until she immigrated to the US in early adulthood.
Bessie Tunney Rochford had 10 children as follows:
Michael Rochford- moved to Chicago Married Marie Noone
Mary Rochford- moved to Chicago, met and married John Armstrog
Bridget Rochford- moved to Chicago
Patrick Rochford- remained in Ireland and Married Mary. They had 2 children; Beatrice and John
Sarah Rochford-moved to Chicago
John Rochford-moved to chicago
Nora Rochford- moved to Chicago
Margaret Ann Rochford – joined the convent became Sister Enda stationed in England near London
Katherine (Kate) Rochford- married at age 15 in Ireland
Thomas Rochford- joined the priesthood became Brother Fintan with Brothers of Charity- stationed in Philadelphia PA.
When Mary Rochford reached adulthood she traveled to Chicago USA to stay with her Aunt Honor Tunney who had recently married the distinguished John Heil (more on the Tunney’s later). Mary found work and moved from her Aunt’s home into her own apartment. Birdget Rochford and Michael Rochford followed her lead and also settled in the Chicago area, staying at first with Mary, finding work and moving out on their own. Mary met and married John Armstrong in Chicago. Shortly after their wedding Sarah Rochford , John Rochford and Nora Rochford all moved to the Chicago area.
Michael Rochford moved to Chicago and married Marie Noone. They had 3 children; John:. John joined the church and became Father John Rochford. He was the Pastor of St. Emeric’s Catholic church in Country Club Hills Illinois.
Rita: Married Bill Parad. While getting ready to move into their first home and welcome their first child Rita died suddenly of a blood clot in the brain. The doctors were able to save the baby; William Jr.. Bill Parad never remarried following Rita’s death.
and Tom: Married Henniatta. They had one daughter, Mary Lou.
Mary Rochford married John Armstrong in Chicago. They had two children;
Margaret: married George Taylor and had three boys; Robert, John and Bill. George Taylor served in the army and died shortly after WWII ended. Margaret remarried Woody Baker. They moved to Austin Texas.
John Armstrong married Mary Caffer and had three sons; John, Michael and Bill.
Bridget Rochford ( Bridgie) married Michael Leonard and had 2 children; John and Florence.
John Leanord married Kitty Keating and they had 4 children;
Michael Leanord: married Peggy Fahey and had 4 children; Michael, Catherine, Peggy Eileen, and one baby whose name is unknown to us at this time.
Jack Leanord: married Linda Tomczyk. They had no children
Kathleen Leanord , and Bob Leanord.
Florence Leanord: married John Shaughnessy and had 6 children; Mary Rita, John, Michael, Joan, Florence and Jean.
Patrick Rochford remained in Ireland, married Mary? and had 2 children Beatrice and John. Beatrice married Jim Goldrick and had 6 children (Mary, Brendan, Marina, Decklin, Michael and Noel)
Sarah Rochford married Thomas McGaldrick. They had no children
John Rochford worked for the railroad and had his ankle crushed in an accident. He lost his leg and spent a great deal of his life in and out og the hospital. He never married.
Nora married Michael McClarey and had 5 children ; Thomas, Veronica, Rose, John, and Noreen.
Well, that is a lot to digest for one day. Stay tuned for more installments of this Tunney clan. The Rochfords are clearly a Chicago branch of this large and interesting family. Imagine that all of the Rochfords listed above and those still yet unlisted all generated from one Tunney sibling. What a prolific family. Next time will we try to add a few more facts and information of the Tunney -Rochford clan before moving onto the rest of the Tunney siblings. If you happen to be someone from one of the Tunney branches drop us a line. I would love to hear from some of the living relatives. Until next time, May your days be filled with sunshine and your night be filed with laughter.