Friday, November 13, 2020

Mary McLean, Mobile, Alabama 1860s-70s

Mary McLean was born in Mobile, Alabama on January 26th, 1851. She was the fourth of Susannah and James Bennett McLean's nine children. James was a butcher, a profession he passed on to his oldest son, James Madison. James M. was also the only one of the McLean boys old enough to enlist in the Confederate army at the outbreak of the Civil War, during which he fought with the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment, Company D.

In 1870, about the year this photo was taken, 18-year-old Mary lost both her father and her younger brother, Robert Benjamin. Her second oldest brother, John, became a butcher as his father and brother had, perhaps as a way to help support the family. James, who had married and continued his work as a butcher after the war, lived next door with his wife, Emma, and their two children. After Mary's older sister Elizabeth died in 1878, her four young children came to live with the McLeans. As the oldest surviving daughter, Mary would likely have taken on the responsibility of helping raise her nieces and nephews.

In 1888, 37-year-old Mary became the second wife of William Henry Farnell, a farmer and former Confederate soldier. From their marriage, Mary and William had daughters Carrie Ethel (born about 1890) and Susie Mae (born about 1893). William died in 1918 at age 82, leaving behind 67-year-old Mary and their two girls, who were then in their 20's. From what I could find, neither Carrie Ethel nor Susie ever married. Susie was the only one in the family to have a job, working as a railroad clerk to support her mother and sister. The two women continued to live with their mother until Mary passed away in 1940 at the age of 89.

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