Sherlocks of Cork, Ireland and St. Louis, Missouri

My grandma Martha “Maude” (Wirtz) Whitelaw

The mother of my maternal grandmother Martha “Maude” (Wirtz) Whitelaw was Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sherlock. She was born in County Cork, Ireland on March 30, 1863 and immigrated to America in 1866. She married Fred Wirtz on February 20, 1886 in St. Louis. His family was originally from Prussia (Germany). Lizzie’s baptismal record is below:

April 2, 1963 Baptism of Elizabeth Sherlock from the National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Microfilm Number: Microfilm 04993 / 01
Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915

Maude told the family that the Sherlock and Looby families were friends in Ireland and they came over from Ireland together because they were friends. Maude’s husband (my grandfather) was Thomas Rees Whitelaw. His mother was Johanna Looby (The surname was changed to Luby sometime after they were in St. Louis), and Johanna’s father was Peter Looby, and he was born in Ireland. So that means that my maternal grandparents’ grandfathers were friends in Ireland! I LOVE that!

John Sherlock

Lizzie Sherlock’s father was John Sherlock. He was baptized in Mitchelstown, County Cork in St. George’s Catholic Church (see photo below) on George’s and Church Street in Brigown, Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland, on August 27, 1826.

John Sherlock in the 1870 Census, St. Louis, Missouri, next door to John Cahill, his brother-in-law
1880 Census

John married Martha “Patty” Cahill on February 5, 1857 in Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland. John was naturalized in St. Louis in 1876. According to the 1870 census of St. Louis John was a stock trader. Stock meaning cattle. This is interesting because I now know that the Cahill family also were involved in the stock trade, as well as my Looby ancestors. Now the interesting thing is that The Sherlocks and Cahill were on my maternal grandmother’s side and the Loobys were on my her husband’s side of the family! So how is that possible? My mother told me that her mother told her that the Sherlocks and the Loobys knew each other in Ireland before they immigrated to the United States. And it just so happens that their descendants married each other in St. Louis. And what I also discovered is that they were ALL in the stock trade! And that is likely how they knew each other in County Cork, but also how they knew each other in St. Louis. Back then St. Louis was a big stockyard town.

James Sherlock

James Sherlock Catholic baptism record dated 31 January 1798 from George’s Street Parish, Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland listing his parents as Jame Shurlock (should be Sherlock) and Joanne Dillon.

The Mystery!

According to the newspaper article below, published on March 24, 1890, (see below) my James Sherlock (1782-1894) married in 1807 and they had nine children. She died in 1858. I believe that James is my 4th great-grandfather. I will refer to this James as James Sr.

Their son, my 3rd great-grandfather, James Sherlock, Jr. was born to James Sherlock, Sr. and Joanne Dillon on 31 Jan 1798. Could James Sr. have forgotten about an earlier wife when the information was obtained for the newspaper article? Could Could these two men be related in some other way?

I know that the family was involved with the cattle industry in Ireland. They raised cattle and owned butcher shops in Mitchelstown, Cork, Ireland and continued in that business after they immigrated to St. Louis. In addition, the Cahill and Looby family who married into the Sherlock family were also in the cattle business and they owned all the butcher shops in Mitchelstown, Cork, Ireland in the 1800s. A Cahill cousin told me they were involved in the cattle business from beginning to end. They owned a butcher shop at #2 Robert Street in Mitchelstown.

St. Louis Post Dispatch Tue, Mar 25, 1890

The first wife of James Sherlock, Jr. (1798-1888) was Catherine Murphy. A marriage record on FindmyPast has a transcript of their marriage record, which was in November, 1823 in the Cloyne Diocese, Michelstown Parish (Alternative parish names are Brigown, Marshalstown, Marshallstown, and Marshalstown.)

James and Catherine had two children: Ellen, born 1 Jan 1825, and John Sherlock, my 2nd great grandfather, in August 1826.

According to the newspaper article above, James Sherlock, Sr. married in 1807. However, in order for James Sherlock to have been my ancestor thru a son named James Sherlock, that means he married earlier. Records show a marriage between James Sherlock and Joanne Dillon

If you look above at the newspaper article that was published the next day in the paper it state that Michael Sherlock was not 77 years old, but rather 42 years old! He in fact, must have been 49 years old because his baptism in the Parish Register states he was born on 03 Oct 1841. See descendant chart for James Sherlock, Sr. below.

Questions: Could James Sherlock Sr. have a son born born in 1798 AND in 1841?

Above Catholic Parish Register, dated October (2nd?) 1841. Fifth from bottom: Michael Sherlock born (or Baptized). Parents: James Sherlock and Catherine Murphy. Listed also are Michael Dillon and Joanne Lane. They might be sponsors or Godparents.

Above St. Louis City Directory from 1875 shows:

James Sherlock, r. ns. Cook Ave. nr. Vandeventer av. (This is James Sherlock Sr.)

John Sherlock, stock, r. 1602 N. 9th. (my 2nd great grandfather

Michael J. Sherlock, trader, r. ns. Cook av. nr. Vandeventer av. (This is the son of James Sherlock Sr.)

James Sr. and Michael lived in the same household. See 1880 St. Louis census, below:

Above, FIRST 1880 Census. Michael Sherlock listed at bottom of page as cattle trader, age 37. Mother-in-law Ann Conway is listed, which proves Michael’s wife’s maiden name is Conway. 2nd page is below:
Above, 2nd page of FIRST 1880 St. Louis Census, listing James Sherlock, father, age 90.
Above: SECOND 1880 census, listing M. J. (Michael Jeremiah) Sherlock, age 35, stock trader, born Ireland and on last line in the family is James Sherlock, father, age. 90, retired butcher.
Death Register, James Sherlock, (4th from bottom, right), Oct. 28/29, 1894. age 111, born Ireland, lived at 4127 Cook Ave.

So, what is the mystery? The facts regarding James Sherlock, Sr. do not match up with the newspaper article. We know that Michael Jeremiah Sherlock WAS the son of James Sherlock, Sr. because he is listed on the 1880 St. Louis census with him. However, could my ancestor James Sherlock (Junior?) also be his son? James Sr. would have only been 16 when my James was born. Not impossible, but unlikely. And why do I think that my James is the son of James, Sr.?