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WHELAN/BROWN political connections, 1880s-1950s

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Posted by Jim Miller on April 10, 2006 at 19:23:14:

Seeking information on a WHELAN/WHALEN family involved in Jersey City politics for nearly 75 years... described by the NY Times in 1892 as "ward-heelers and wire-workers of the first water;" kept a saloon at 185 Washington St. in the 1880s and had a business hauling coal near the Morris Canal's Little Basin from 1870s - 1910s. Tied up with Robert Davis and Frank Hague.

William Whelan (1849? - 1928) chairman of the Board of Public Works in the 1880s (when?), arrested registering a fictitious voter in 1892 (not known if convicted), later an inspector and clerk for the city. Lived on Bright Street, Arlington Avenue. My great-great-grandfather.

His brothers:
1 - Joseph (b. 1864), Deputy Sheriff, county index clerk, member Robert Davis Association, county Democratic committee, "a trusted man in party councils."

2 - Peter, (d. 1892?) a policeman for the city, connected by marriage to "Boss" Davis.

3 - Francis (d. 1901), a clerk for the city, arrested after 1889 election scandal.

4 - John A., arrested after 1889 election scandal but later pardoned for his "general good character."

5 - Thomas (born 1850s, d. after 1930) who stayed out of jail and, possibly, out of politics.

William Whelan (1849? - 1928) married Maria Fleming at St. Peters in 1872 and had, among other children

1- Katherine Whelan Brown (1872-1942) State Legislature, 1920s (1st woman Democrat?) Hudson County Board of Freeholders, 1920s and 30s. Head of committee that built Hague Maternity Hospital. Vice Chair of County Democratic Committee at the time of her death. Reputedly a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt.

2 - William A. Whelan (1880s - after 1955) Transportation Supervisor for Hudson County Boulevard Commission in the 1940s

3 - Mary Elizabeth Whelan, my great-grandma, who became a teacher and moved to Newark.

If anyone has any information (or ideas on where I might find it) regarding the offices these folks held, what they did in office, or if anyone is related, please contact me at

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