Margaret Dunne Hession

Margaret was born on 25 Apr 1902, the eighth child of Catherine Martin (35 years old) and Michael Dunne (38), in the townland of Ballaghduff, district of Glenamaddy, Galway.

In 1910, at the age of 8, she was enrolled in the Curraghmore National School as “Maggie Dunne.”

Family lore says that in 1923, it was “her turn” to join her sisters Helen and Bridget in St. Louis. However, something was going on that made her decide to stay. She gave her tickets to her younger sister Katie. (Whoever told me this — I have forgotten why she needed to stay.)

On 28 Feb 1927, she was the witness to her sister Lizzie’s marriage to Martin Kilmartin. Later that year, at age 25, she finally got on the boat to join her three sisters in America. When she arrived, she wrote this note to herself, which was found among her papers and sent to me by her son Jack:

31 oct. 1927. Margaret Dunne – Left home on Tuesday morning the 9th August 1927. And sailed from Queenstown on the S.S. Munchen on the 11th of August 1927. Landed in New York on Friday, 19th of August, took the train on Friday evening at 6 o’clock and landed in St. Louis on Saturday evening at 5 P.M. 20 August 1927. Signed Margaret Dunne, Cooloo Moylough.

handwritten note to self
S.S. Munchen

At the 1930 census, she was working as a maid for Mrs. Minnie Johnson. on 25 Portland Place, St Louis Missouri, with her sister Katie at her side. The widow Johnson also had a cook and chauffeur.

Enter William Hession, a fellow immigrant, who arrived in the U.S. in 1929, sponsored by his Uncle Patrick Hession (1882-1966, Ballyglunin, Abbey Knock Moy, Co Galway) and his wife Nora Stephens (1889-1965). “Aunt Nora” was Mary Dunne Stephens’s sister-in-law and grew up in Ballaghduff.

Bill Hession arriving in America, front row left (photo from J. O’Brien)

Through the magic of Irish family connections, Bill Hession was introduced to his aunt’s kin Maggie Dunne in St. Louis and the two fell in love. (Nora Stephens Hession, left Ballaghduff in 1907. She was about Helen Dunne’s age so would have know Helen and Bridget well.) From the 1934 newspaper notice of their marriage license, it appears Maggie was living with her sister Helen at that time.

Notice of Marriage License St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 28 Nov 1934, Wed  •  Page 22

On 23 November 1934, Maggie (age 32) and Bill (28) were married in Blessed Sacrament Church, in St. Louis.

Maggie and Bill get married.

Maggie moved to Chicago with Bill and had two boys, William (1936-2020) and John (1937-2019).

Maggie and Bill, undated photo

The 1940 Census has them living with their two boys at 270 W. 78th St, Chicago Illinois. Bill’s brother John Hession (32) was living with them. Bill Hession was working as a policeman with a packing company, fully employed during the 52 weeks of 1939.

Bill’s First Communion, with Maggie and Jack

Maggie became a naturalized US citizen on 4 Mar 1943.

She returned to Ireland on at least two occasions, in 1952 and in 1969.

Maggie in Ireland, 1952
1969, Dunne sisters. L-R, standing, Bridget Price, Maggie Hession; seated, Katie Collins, Mary Stephens (photo from Jackie Price Wilson)

Maggie’s beloved husband Bill Hession died 26 Dec 1977. Maggie followed on 13 Jun 1982.

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