Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
One of the most emphasized safety lessons of our youth is that the police are our friends, but I wonder if Japanese-American and Japanese-Canadian families thought so after being ushered off to internment camps during World War II. This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt made me wonder if there were any friendly police in my family tree.
Good news - I have one.
Bad news - I have no photo.
John Nagle married my great-grandmother’s sister Margaret Sheehan in 1901. Both were born in Ireland but met in New York where they lived the rest of their lives. According to the 1900 census, John was son of Richard Nagle and Mary Singleton, and he was one of eight children, four of whom were still living at home.
The family apparently could not remember when they arrived in America. Whenever an enumerator asked when they arrived, their answers varied from 1885 to 1888 to 1890. The truth is, it was 1880.
John Nagle had been a resident for almost 15 years before Margaret arrived.
When John and Margaret married, he worked as a laborer. However, by 1910, he was employed as a “Bank Attendant.” The title changed with each census: Special Policeman in 1920.
Floorman in 1930.
Special Officer in 1940.
In other words, security guard. One census even reported that John was employed at Savings Bank. Unfortunately, WHICH Savings Bank was not stated.
It turns out that there were many banks in Brooklyn with “Savings Banks” as part of their name.
The newspapers are filled with stories of bank robberies in the various Savings Banks in Brooklyn. If John Nagle exhibited any heroic actions during a robbery, his name did not make the papers. Probably he was just an ordinary man doing what men do - work hard and provide for the family.
John and Margaret raised 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. They rented the same house at 123 Van Sicklen Avenue from before 1920 to after 1930. By 1940 they were the owners.
An interesting-to-me bit of genealogy trivia is that right next door at 121 Van Sicklen Avenue was the family of John P. Mulvihill, likewise a “Special Policeman” for Savings Bank. Did he own both houses and rent the one to the Nagles? Did he help John get on with the Bank?
Or is this just co-inky-dinky?
To see who else is standing guard at Sepia Saturday, follow the links. You may remain silent.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.