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​The Family



(Philadelphia, PA)


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I never knew my grandfather, John Aloysius Kane. For me, his history lives only only in the small bits and pieces that I've managed to find in various archives over the years. His legacy lived on in his children, all of whom went on to lead successful lives. When I was growing up, I don't recall him being discussed beyond an occassional quick reference at family gatherings. In fact,

after 18 years of searching, I remain dissapointed that I continue to be unsuccessful in locating his family line. The Kane surname is prevailent and the name of John Kane (with or without a middle initial) is a common as John Smith! Even his death certificate information for parents was too faded to read clearly; in certain lights at certain angles, it is possible that his father's given name was Peter - but I won't swear to that. I am confident, though, that, some day, I'll find the link that will enable me to fill in the blanks. For now, this is what I've found or remember having been said about him.

John Aloysius Kane was born on December 2nd, 1877 in or near Philadelphia, PA (as far as I know). As I wrote earlier, he and my grandmother, Rose A. Lamon, married in 1902 in Philadelphia. I don't know where they lived prior to the address shown on his draft card (pictured above) but in 1918, with their five children then ranging in age from 14 years down to 3 years, they had settled into their home at 2537

Oakford Street, Philadelphia, PA. From the overheard remarks made by my aunts, uncles, and parents, my grandfather was as devoted to his family as was my grandmother. He was said to have worked hard to provide for them and took pride in their accomplishments.

Although he registered for the draft, John Aloysius Kane, did not serve in the military. I had asked my dad if he had served and he told me he hadn't but that he worked as a civilian employee working as a foreman rigger at the U.S. Naval Yard, Philadelphia, PA. He gave me John Aloysius' actualy employment years but said that he was there "as long as I could remember." He

was working at the Navy Yard from at least 1918 until 1922. This much is confirmed from his draft card information and from this photograph taken by the Navy (photo file number 3140), which shows three men on board a ship at the conclusion of a propeller caisson test October 20, 1922. My grandfather stands at the far right.

John Aloysius Kane died at his home, 1231 So. 26th Street, Philadelphia, PA(click on the map), at age 52 on June 13th 1929 of asthma (death certificate, left). He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery Old Section), Yeadon, PA.

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When he passed away at that relatively young age, Rose was left to

finish raising and caring for her 4 school aged children. The youngest, Anna was 14, next was Rose M., age 17, then came James who was 18, and then my dad, John E. who was 19. The eldest, Mary, 25, had by then entered the religious life with the Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) and was living at the order's Mother

House in Immaculata, PA. To help support the family, the older children took on part time jobs and, when no longer in school, continued to live with and support their mother. Social Security hadn't been established until 1934, so Nanna didn't receive any government benefits through that venue when Grandpop died.

According to my brother, John, Grandpop died only shortly before his first pension check arrived the family. The pension, I was told, was such that it would end upon the death of the retiree. As he put it, "These people were poor as church mice..." but my grandmother, a woman of character and honesty, would not consider keeping the check. She took a bus to the Navy Yard and returned the check. "She said it didn't belong to her," John told me, "so she took it back! They had no money and she gave it back!"

It was a shame that he didn't have the opportunity to share tmore time with his family, to see them grow up to become the adults that they did. It may be "silly thinking" but I like to believe that on some level he does know and was proud.

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