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Shay, Jeremiah M. (1857-1937)

Jeremiah Shay, 1904Jeremiah Michael SHAY (SHEA) was born July 13, 1857 in Ireland. He was probably born in County Kerry to Patrick SHEA (later SHAY) and Elinor DRISCOLL. Jeremiah worked for several railroads, like many Irish immigrants did.


Jeremiah SHAY married Jane A. GRADY about March 1880. They were living with her parents in the village of Millport in 1880. They had 14 children:

  1. Patrick Henry "Pat" SHAY (1881-?)
  2. Mary Ellen "Mayme" SHAY (1882-?)
  3. Katharine M. "Kate" SHAY (1884-?)
  4. James Joseph "Jim" SHAY (1885-1948)
  5. Jane Loretta "Jen" SHAY (1887-1965)
  6. Helena Adelaide "Lena" SHAY (1892-1963)
  7. Elizabeth Lucille "Liz" SHAY (1893-1977) married Joseph Eugene DALY (1892-1945)
  8. Jeremiah SHAY (~1896-~1899)
  9. Arthur Leo SHAY (1897-1978)
  10. Francis SHAY (~1898-~1899)
  11. Margaret Francis deSalles "Desalles" SHAY (1899-?)
  12. Adrian Cyril SHAY (1902-?)
  13. John Paul "Paul" SHAY (1904-1973)
  14. Muriel Louise "Louise" SHAY (1905-1995)

Two children – Jeremiah and Francis – died young of summer's complaint when the family was living in Tioga County, Pennsylvania about 1899. 

Family Stories


A family story says that Jeremiah SHAY left Ireland when he was 11. He left with a brother whose name no one can remember. The story goes on to say that his mother wrapped her shawl around him because he had no coat.

There is no evidence that this story is true. I have not been able find Jeremiah or a brother in the available ship's passenger lists. I did find his sister Mary and mother Elenor living in Horseheads and backtracked the mother into Millport in the 1880 census. I haven't found his parents in the passenger lists yet.

Name Spelling

Another family story says he changed the spelling from SHEA to SHAY because there were 5 other Jeremiah Shea's living nearby and Jerry never got his mail. The "SHAY" spelling, however, seems to have appeared soon after they arrived in the United States.


COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND – July 13, 1857 – Jeremiah SHEA born.

TOWANDA, PENNSYLVANIA – 7 MAY 1930 – Jeremiah SHAY was working as the caretaker (sexton) for the Riverside Cemetery on Williams Street in Towanda. His grandson D. Philip DALY later recalled that his parents lived in the caretaker's house while Jeremiah kept the cemtery. Jeremiah lived with one of his daughters, possibly Lena, during that time.

TOWANDA, PENNSYLVANIA – July 2, 1937 – Long-time resident, Jeremiah SHAY, died today from an infection related to a recent surgery that removed his appendix. He was almost 80 years old. Jeremiah SHAY was buried next to his wife in the SS. Peter & Paul Parish Cemetery on James Street. (Headstone added decades later.)



  • 1880 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Millport (village), Veteran, Chemung County, New York. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Film Roll 817, Series T9. Enumeration District (ED) 88, Page Number 25 (5 of 5), Line 5. LDS Family History Library (FHL) Film 1,254,817. Enumerated 30 June 1880 by Bennet J. Denson. Household: Patrick GRADY 2nd (lines 2-6).
  • 1900 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, McHenry Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Film Roll 1,437, Series T623. Enumeration District (ED) 55, Sheet 8, Page Number 262A (16 of 23), Line 47. LDS Family History Library (FHL) Film 1,241,437. Enumerated 23 June 1900 by Claude A. Campbell. Household: Jeremiah Shay (47-57).
  • 1910 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Towanda (Ward 1), Bradford County, Pennsylvania. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Film Roll 1,319, Series T624. Enumeration District (ED) 40, Sheet 8A (15 of 27), Line 26. LDS Family History Library (FHL) Film 1,375,332. Enumerated 22 (unreadable) 1910 by (unreadable). Household: Jeremiah Shay (26-36).
  • 1920 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Towanda (Ward 1), Bradford County, Pennsylvania. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Film Roll 1,541, Series T625. Enumeration District (ED) 42, Sheet 7B (14 of 25), Line 95. LDS Family History Library (FHL) Film 1,375,332. Enumerated 8 Jan 1920 by Alice D McCabe. Household: Jeremiah Shay (95-100; page 8A, line 1).
  • 1930 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Towanda (Ward 1), Bradford County, Pennsylvania. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Film Roll 2,006, Series T626. Enumeration District (ED) 8-47, Sheet 12B (24 of 24), Line 65. Address: Third Street. LDS Family History Library (FHL) Film 2,341,740. Enumerated 7 May 1930 by Benjamin T Hea(unreadable). Household: addition to some household "line 55-8". Naturalized: 1888. Occupation: Sexton @ Cemetery.
  • Jeremiah Shay of Towanda, Pennsylvania (death certificate). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PA), Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. File Number 68256, Registered Number 180, Primary District Number 080641. Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, Bradford County, PA. Address: 512 Third Street Towanda PA. Wife: Jane Grady Shay. Birth Date/Place: July 13, 1857 Ireland. Death Date/Place: July 2, 1937 Sayre PA. Age: 79 Years, 11 Months, 19 Days. Parents: Patrick SHAY, Ellen _____. Cause: acute gangrenous appendicitis, perforated; appendectomy performed June 21.

External Links


Permanent link to this article: http://www.chanur.com/research/people/shay-jeremiah-m-1857-1937/

1914 Jeremiah Shay Diary

Jeremiah SHAY worked his way up from an immigrant with little or nothing to be the Supervisor of the Maintenance of Way for the Susquehanna & New York (S&NY) Railroad. The S&NY was a short line that ran from Towanda in Bradford County to Williamsport in Lycoming County. The southern part of the line used Pennsylvania Railroad …

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Jeremiah Shay Photos

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Jeremiah Shay Records

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