Children of Mary Ann O'Neill and William James Major
Catherine 'Kate' Major (1871-1934)

Catherine "Kate" Major and William J. Dougherty (1869-1927) were married November 28, 1900. They lived in Hart Lot (a section of the Town of Skaneateles). He was a press setter in the McLaughlin woolen mill.

There may be a connection between his family and that of Patrick Doherty, who married Elizabeth McLaughlin (another branch of our family tree). Patrick may have been related to William J. Dougherty's father, but so far we've made no link. There were several Doherty families in Skaneateles in the late 1800s. There is no consistency in the spelling of the last name. William J. Dougherty's last name was often spelled Doherty. Indeed, that's how it is spelled on a Doherty family tree that was sent to me.

William J. Dougherty had at least ten sisters and brothers, some of whom also emigrated to the United States. His brother, John, died in 1908 of meningitis at the age of 24. He had been employed at the Solvay Process Company. His obituary said he had two sisters in the United States, Sarah and Mary Jane of Syracuse.

Catherine Major and William J. Dougherty had five children:

The above photos were cropped out of a picture taken at a 1930 Major family reunion. An educated guess — and this is a guess — says the people shown are Kate Major Dougherty and her children. From the left: Mary Dougherty Dowling, Margaret Doherty Perine, Kate Major Dougherty, Vincennt Dougherty and his wife, Elsa Sherer, and in the foreground, Catherine "Ceil" Dougherty Sutter. At the right: William "Buster" Doherty. Notice the different spellings of Dougherty/Doherty. Please send emails to Jack Major if this guess is incorrect.

1. Vincent F. Dougherty (1901-1952)
Vincent F. Dougherty married Elsa D. Scherer (1904-2000). They lived in Syracuse, had no children. Mrs. Elsa Dougherty died in 2000. She was 96 years old. She had retired in 1969 after working 17 years as Chase Lincoln Bank. She moved to Hawaii and remained there for ten years before moving to Marcellus, NY, where her brother, Jack, lived.

Skaneateles Press, July 11, 1952
Vincent F. Dougherty, assistant treasurer of the Syracuse Trust Company and a native of Skaneateles Falls, died in Syracuse Memorial Hospital last Wednesday (July 2, 1952) following an attack of coronary thrombosis on Monday.

Born September 1, 1901, he was the son of the late William and Katherine Major Dougherty of Skaneateles Falls.

He attended local schools, graduating from Skaneateles High School. He later attended the American Institute of Banking and the Graduate School of Banking, Rutgers University, New Brunswick,, N.J.

He moved to Syracuse in 1920.

He was a communicant of St. John the Evangelist Church, Syracuse, and a member of its Holy Names Society. He was also a member of the Pastime Athletic Club and the Men’s Club of the Syracuse Trust Company.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Elsa Scherer Dougherty; three sisters, Mrs. Herbert Sutter of Santa Rosa, California; Mrs. George Dowling of Warrensburg and Mrs. Eugene Perine of Stockton, California; a niece, a nephew, several aunts and uncles.

The funeral was held from the late residence, 3011 Grant Boulevard, Syracuse, at 9:30 a.m. last Saturday and from St. John the Evangelist Church, Syracuse, at 10 a.m. where the Rev. William Christian celebrated a Solemn High Mass of Requiem.

Bearers were all brothers of Mrs. Dougherty: Jack, Walter, Oscar, Henry, Robert and Frederick Scherer. Burial was in Woodlawn Cemetery.


2. Catherine Cecilia Dougherty (1905- ?)

Catherine Cecilia Dougherty married Herb Sutter. She was nicknamed Ceil. She and her husband moved to California in the late 1930s or early '40s. Both died in the 1980s. They had no children.



PHOTO: Herb Sutter, left, and his wife, Ceil Dougherty Sutter. In back is Gene Perine, husband of Ceil's sister, Margaret. The photo was taken in California in the 1940s.


3. William N. Doherty (1906-1951)

William N. Doherty, known as Buster, never married. Research any family and you'll most likely find its members had their share of tragic accidents. So it was with "Buster" Doherty, who left Central New York in the late 1930s or early '40s and moved to California where he operated a chicken farm and lived on a ranch with his sister Ceil and her husband Herb.

The photo of "Buster" Doherty at his farm was provided by his niece, Patricia Dowling Guernsey. Note that he changed the spelling of his last name, as did several of his relatives, though a few, including his brother, Vincent, preferred Dougherty and some, in fact, went back and forth on the spelling. (The story of his fatal accident, below, perhaps in the interest of simplification, uses the Doherty spelling for Vincent and for his father, William J.)

Skaneateles Press, January 19, 1951
William N. (Buster) Doherty, 44, a native of Skaneateles Falls, was killed in a train accident last Monday noon (January 15, 1951) in Santa Rosa, California, according to word reaching here yesterday. No details of the accident were available. The body was turned over to Bernie J. O’Neill & Son.

Born in Skaneateles Falls, October 28, 1906, he was the son of William J. and Catherine Major Doherty.

He has been in California for 10 years and has operated a ranch.

Before going west he was a resident of Syracuse for 15 years.

Surviving are one brother, Vincent F. of Syracuse; three sisters, Mrs. Herbert Sutter of Santa Rosa, California, Mrs. George Dowling of Warrensburg, and Mrs. Eugene Perine of Stockton, California; one niece and a nephew and several aunts and uncles.

Funeral services have been tentatively set for Monday at 9 a..m. from the home of Vincent Doherty, 2011 Grant Blvd., Syracuse and at 10 o’clock from St. Mary’s Church, Skaneateles.

Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

A week later the Skaneateles Press printed more details of Doherty's death which occurred in Richmond, California, when he fell in front of a train at the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot.

He had spent a few days in Los Angeles and had flown back to Richmond to take a train to visit his sister, Margaret (Mrs. Eugene) Perine, in Stockton, California, before returning to his chicken ranch in Santa Rosa. It was raining and foggy at the time of the accident.

4. Mary A. Dougherty (1908-1973)

Mary A. Dougherty married George Dowling (19??-1969). They lived in Warrensburg, New York, a small town in the Adirondacks. Mary and George Dowling had one child, Patricia.

Patricia "Pat" Dowling (1937- ) married John Guernsey in 1958. Pat was a teacher and worked in social services. She and John moved to Florida in 1983. they are retired and living in Oldsmar, between Tampa and Clearwater. They have two sons:
Kevin Guernsey
David Guernsey.
Thanks to Patricia Dowling Guernsey for furnishing
the information and the photos .
5. Margaret F. Doherty (1910-1963)

Margaret F. Doherty married Gene Perine (1901-1971), who was born in Switzerland. They lived in the Town of Salina, then moved to Arizona in the 1940s, later to California. They had one son, Gene, who was born in 1935 and died in the 1970s. He had one daughter, Kim, and three grandsons.

Siblings of William J. Doherty

Thanks to Jim Dougherty, with help from John M. McGraw (who is on the list, below), here is a branch of the family tree that begins with the siblings of William J. Doherty (or Dougherty) who married into the Major family.

William J. Doherty was the son of James Doherty and Margaret Catherine O'Donnell of Ireland. They had the following children, some of whom emigrated to America.

There may be no connection between this family of Doughertys/Dohertys and the one connected by marriage with Elizabeth McLaughlin.

On the other hand ...

1. William J. Doherty (1869-1927) m. Catherine "Kate" Major (1871-1934)
2. Sarah Doherty (1882-1909) m. John McGrory (18??-1915). Sarah and John McGrory lived in Syracuse, NY. She died about two months after giving birth to their only child; her husband was killed in a freak accident six years later. Their son was raised by McGrory's sister, Bridget (see below).
John J. McGrory (1909-1986) m. Rose Melnick
3. Margaret Doherty lived in Greenock/Greenseek, Scotland; later she married and moved to Australia
4. John Doherty (1884-1908). Born in Ireland, John Doherty emigrated to the United States about 1905. He was employed at the Solvay Process Company, died of meningitis at the age of 24.
5. Charles Doherty lived in Buncrana, Ireland
6. Hugh Doherty lived in Londonderry
7. Annie Doherty lived in Buncrana
8. James Doherty (1886-1953) lived in Scotland before emigrating to the United States. The 1940 U. S. Census spelled his name Dougherty; he was living at the time with his sister, Mary Jane Doherty McGraw (below). He died January 25, 1953 and is buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Dewitt, NY.
9. Patrick Doherty lived in Capetown, South Africa
10. Mary Jane Doherty (1887-1965) m. Walter J. McGraw (1887-1959). Born in Ireland, Mary Jane Doherty emigrated to the United States and for a while lived in Syracuse. She and Walter McGraw were married in 1912 in Port Leyden, NY.
Walter Leo McGraw (1913-1947)
Margaret A. McGraw (1917-1993) m. Jess Katz
Jerome J. McGraw (1921-1988) m. Mary Conroy(1920-1998); children:
~~ John M. McGraw
~~ Daniel P. McGraw.
11. Francis Doherty served in the British army, died of pneumonia, unmarried.

Their American dream: More like a nightmare
Catherine "Kate" Major, a member of the first generation of American-born Majors on our family tree, married into a large family. Her husband, William J. Dougherty (often spelled Doherty), a native of Ireland, had 12 siblings, three of whom also emigrated to the United States, settling in or around Syracuse, New York.

Unfortunately, two of those siblings died young. William's brother John, employed at the Solvay Process Company, died in 1908 at the age of 24. His sister Sarah, who had married another Irish immigrant, John McGrory, died in 1909, about two months after giving birth to their only child, John J. McGrory, who soon found himself in the care of McGrory's sister, Mrs. Bridget Doyle of Syracuse.

That situation became permanent in 1915 after tragedy struck again. That tragedy is described below in a newspaper account that misspells McGrory's name, but in view of later articles I found online he must certainly be the John McGrory who married Sarah Doherty and fathered John J. McGrory.

As for Mrs. Doyle, well, the death of her brother wasn't the first unusual accident that affected her life. The following articles illustrate some of the hazards of life in those so-called good old days.

As for John J. McGrory, the boy who was orphaned about six years after he was born, well, I've yet to find any stories about his later life, but records of St. Mary's Cemetery in Skaneateles, New York, where he is buried, list him as dying in 1986.

Syracuse Journal, June 21, 1915
Crushed to Death Under Engine
A man identified by Fred Carrington as John McGlory [McGrory] was run down and fatally injured by switch engine No. 122 of the N.Y.C. (New York Central) Lines at S. Clinton and W. Washington streets at 1 o’clock this afternoon. From all appearances, he was connected with the railroad, but he had no marks of identification about his person.

The engine was going slowly west on Washington st. when the victim and a companion started to cross south on the west side of Clinton st. The companion cleared, but the other man was hit by the fender and thrown back across the tracks. Traffic Officer Michael Barry saw the accident and shouted to the engineer, Michael Schmidt, to stop. Schmidt, however, failed to hear Barry, and the man was dragged along a distance of about 40 feet before the engine was brought to a stop.

One of McGlory’s [McGrory’s] legs was pinned under the front tracks and his head was crushed. When the engine was finally stopped, the man was unconscious, but owing to the peculiar position in which his body was wedged under the engine, it was impossible to extricate him. A hurry call was sent for an ambulance and physicians attempted to relieve the injured man’s suffering.

The wrecking crew was summoned and the engine was jacked up. McGlory [McGrory] was dead when finally taken out. Coroner Crane was notified and went to the scene to investigate. The body was removed to the County Morgue. McGlory’s [McGrory’s] companion, who started across the tracks with him, hurried away from the scene of the accident before his name could be ascertained, or before he could be questioned.

Coroner Crane found that the engine was going at a moderate rate of speed. Officer Barry said the young flagman stationed at the crossing saw McGlory [McGrory] and his companion attempt to cross the street, but thought that they saw the engine. An examination at the Morgue showed that McGlory [McGrory] had a fractured skull. This was probably caused by being dragged along the pavement stones for about 40 feet.

A large crowd gathered around the engine and it required several policemen to keep them sufficiently back to permit the wrecking crew and physicians to give what aid was possible. McGlory [McGrory] was under the engine for about 20 minutes. At no time was he able to talk. Coroner Crane had not finished his investigation late this afternoon. An inquest will probably be held.

[NOTE: A day later the newspaper changed the last name, but still had it wrong – McGoury. The article mentioned his sister, Mrs. Charles (Bridget) Doyle of Syracuse, and his son, John J., and also said he had a brother and four sisters in Ireland.]

Syracuse Journal, July 6, 1915
Mrs. Bridget Doyle, administratrix of the estate of her brother, John McGrory, applied in Surrogates Court today for $312 to pay the bills incurred for board and clothing by her five-year-old nephew, John McGrory. Mrs. Doyle has taken care of the child since July 5, 1912, nearly two years before her brother’s death.

Syracuse Journal, June 5, 1916
Mrs. Bridget Doyle received permission from Surrogate John W. Sadler to accept a settlement of $500 from the New York Central in her suit as administratrix of the estate left by her brother, John McGrory, who was killed in E. Washington st. on June 21, 1915.

In between the time Bridget McGrory Doyle began caring for her nephew and the death of her brother, she almost lost her husband ...

Syracuse Journal, June 17, 1914
Charles Doyle, 36, an employee of the Department of Public Works, was seriously and perhaps fatally injured at 8:30 o’clock this morning at the corner of Cortland av. and W. Kennedy st., when he was run into by a horse attached to a milk wagon. The force of the collision knocked Doyle down, resulting in injuries to his spine, neck and a concussion of the brain. He was rushed to the Hospital of the Good Shepherd, where it was said late this afternoon that his condition is very serious.

There were no witnesses to the accident. According to the story told by Doyle, he was engaged in putting a curbstone into place at the corner when a horse approached down W. Kennedy st. The animal was attached to a milk wagon and was proceeding along at a slow place, but nevertheless on a trot.

The horse was almost on top of Doyle before he saw that the rig was driverless, but just before the vehicle reached the place where he was standing, he attempted to stop the horse. As a result, one of the thills on the wagon struck him in the neck, inflicting an ugly gash. The blow caused the young man to fall over backwards and he struck his head. His cries for help were heard and several men ran to his assistance. A call was sent to Police Headquarters for an ambulance and the Hospital of the Good Shepherd was notified.

Doyle lives at 709 S. Geddes st. His wife was notified of the accident and at once went to the hospital. She remained at the bedside of her husband all day and would not leave.

Syracuse Post-Standard, June 18, 1914
The condition of Charles Doyle, 35, of No. 709 South Geddes street, who was run over by a milk wagon while repairing the pavement in Cortland avenue, near Kennedy street, yesterday morning, was reported to be slightly improved last night at the Hospital of the Good Shepherd, where the man was taken.

An X-ray examination of the man’s neck was made yesterday and Dr. Frank E. Eusten found Mr. Doyle did not have a fracture of the neck as was first thought.

Syracuse Journal, April 13, 1915
Whether Charles Doyle was nervous on account of the shock resulting from his injuries in an accident or whether he was merely excited over the outcome of his $10,000 suit against the city was a question discussed in Supreme Court before Justice Andrews today.

Doyle, while he was testifying, appeared to be excitable, and his attorney contended it was the result of the injury to the plaintiff’s spinal cord which had affected his entire nervous system.

Dr. Samuel Stewart was asked his opinion by Assistant Corporation Counsel Frank Hopkins. The physician did not believe Doyle was nervous because he was wondering whether he would recover several thousands of dollars. He said that he thought Doyle’s almost hysterical condition was the result of the injuries received.

Doyle was working on repair work in Cortland av. on June 17 of last year. He was run down by a milk wagon driven by Willis E. Rose. After being trampled on by the horses, Doyle was in serious condition which resulted in partial paralysis which he believes will be permanent. He claims that the city did not erect a barricade which would keep wagons from using that particular part of the street.

The defense – put up by the city – is that it is not imperative for them to erect a barricade or keep watchmen at a spot where repair work is in progress. Dorr & Seubert appear for Doyle with Mr. Hopkins and Assistant Corporation Counsel Frank Harris for the city. Doyle has another action pending in which Rose, driver of the milk wagon, is the defendant.

Syracuse Post-Standard, April 15, 1915
In the case of Charles Doyle against the city of Syracuse, in Supreme Court, yesterday, the jury failed to agree upon a verdict and was dismissed by Justice William S. Andrews.