THE PHOTO...The photo is one of William Cletus Fagan
THE KNOWN...The family connection starts with Harry Morgan Beppus Fagan (b. 1899),
grandfather of the five "Cousins" who inspired this site. Harry married Ruth Janet Garroway and they had two children
and five grandchildren. Family lore has it that Harry and Ruth were from opposite sides of the tracks, so their relationship was NOT encouraged.
They ended up eloping during Harry's class reunion at Washington and Jefferson
College and were married in the manse of the college by its president who was also a minister. Harry,
born in Butler, Pennsylvania, was the tenth and last child born to his parents, William Cletus Fagan and
Sarah Jane Hughes.
William's father, Jeremiah (b. bet 1831-1833), and Sarah's father, Morgan (b. 1818), were early
residents of Cambria County so William and Sarah first lived here, later moving to Butler County, PA.
Over the years, Harry Morgan Fagan (the "Cousins" grandfather) related the following tragic story of the family history of the first five children, Cora, Emma,
Rhoda, Jeremiah and Oscar:
With five kids, William and Jennie (Sarah) figured that their family was complete. They lived in or
near Johnstown, PA. An outbreak of diphtheria occurred in 1888. One of the kids died. Amazingly, no one would
help bury the victims because diphtheria was so contagious. After great searching, William found an
undertaker, James, who was willing to help him bury his child. They set off "overland" (a day or more
trip) to lay this tiny person to rest at Lloyd's Cemetary in Ebensburg, PA. Sara stayed behind with the
other children. Upon William's return, he found that another child had succumbed. Again he and the
undertaker set off on this sad and arduous journey. He repeated this process (or one closely resembling
it) until all five children had died and been buried. All five kids died within a 19-day period. Not
being people to be trodden upon by life, William and Jennie set about to create a new family. The first
born of this "new" family was Rella. The Johnstown flood in 1889 forced them to leave their home and
all their possessions, but they fled with their newborn (three weeks old) daughter. They relocated to
Butler County, PA. In Butler, they finished their second family with Emmett, Irene, Edna and Harry.
AND THE UNKNOWN...While the descendants of Jeremiah Fagan are fairly well
established, little is known about his ancestors. Two sources show his father as either Tom or William,
both born in northern Ireland. However, there is a third possibility:
The 1840 U.S. Census shows that a Peter and Simon Fagan, ages 30-40 and 20-30 and listed on
succeeding lines in the census, were born in Pennsylvania and were living in Allegheny City, which
was what is now the northern part of Pittsburgh. Their families were the only Fagans then living in
Cambria County. (The 1830 and 1840 censuses only listed the head of household by name and
included the number of family members by gender and age categories.) Peter and Simon were probably
brothers. The Peter itemization also shows, in addition to the wives age category, a child, age 5-10 (the
right age category for Jeremiah) and a male and a female, age 70-80 (the parents).
The 1850 census shows only Simon and his family including Peter, age 1, possibly named after his
deceased brother, still living in Allegheny City but no elderly adults,. The census also shows that
Jeremiah, age 17, was the only Fagan in Ebensburg, Cambria County (about 50 or 60 miles east of
Pittsburg). Was Jeremiah the son of Peter Fagan and did the brothers' parents immigrate to
Pennsylvania from Ireland? Possible, but perhaps not probable.