A sad Irish tale in Quebec City.
The Morrin Center is one of the places I visited on a recent trip to Quebec City. It is now home to the Quebec Literary and Historical Society which have called this building home since 1868. Previous to this it was the city jail. I am particularly interested in this as I have found multiple records that indicate my great great grandmother Anne Reddy had been arrested starting the age of eight. On the tour, we were able to view the cells that the prisoners were housed in the basement of the building. When we descended to the basement and walked into the cells I found it stifling. I cannot imagine what it would have been like back in the 1860s with all the prisoners and the unwashed bodies. It would have been unbearable.
During the tour, our guide explained that the men were housed in this building and the women and children were actually kept across the street in a separate building.
My great great grandmother Anne Reddy was born in Quebec City to parents Thomas Ready/Reddy a labourer and Margaret Pendergast. Anastasia (Anne) and her twin sister Cecilia were baptized together at Notre-Dame Catholic Church on the 16th of February 1854. In 1862 at the age of thirty-five Anne’s mother Margaret died by ‘an act of god’ according to the coroner’s report, leaving five children, the youngest being the twin girls.
Searching through the Quebec Archives website I was surprised to see the Reddy name appear. It took a while before I did a search for each of Anne’s siblings and their names kept appearing under the Quebec Prisoners in the 19th Century. I ended up creating a spreadsheet so I could see if the information correlated with my tree. I have arrived at the conclusion that many of the Reddy arrests are my gggrandmother Anne and her siblings. According to what I have been able to glean off the archives site Cecilia was arrested nine times, mostly in 1865, Mary twenty-nine times, Bridget eight times, the father once and Anne herself nines times with seven of the arrests between 1865-66.
I am not sure what happened to the Reddy family but what I do know is that their mother Margaret died in 1862 and I can only assume that things quickly deteriorated in their home.
Anne died at the age of 26, she had given birth by this time to seven children, two of whom died within a day of each other at the age of two & five years old. Her only surviving children were Samuel & Peter Jordan. Peter who is my great grandfather lost his mother when he was two. I will continue to pursue this on his behalf and uncover more of the Reddy family’s story.
Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte has posted that there is a new book being released on the Morrin Center that I look forward to reading!
What I think is Anne’s & her children’s marker in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Quebec City. Sadly this is now gone and there is nothing at the cemetery to indicate her grave.
I did inquire if there was more information on these arrested at the archives but was told that there was not in the cases of ‘loose, idle & disorderly‘. I do think that there is more that can be explored here and I will post my finds on the Reddy family.
I have yet to discover where in Ireland Thomas Reddy the father was from but who knows what the records will reveal!
P.S. This was not the only ancestor in my tree that was arrested. Robert Jeffery who I have written appears to have actually spent time in this jail.