Alex and Nell (Madigan) Sullivan

Alex and Nell (Madigan) Sullivan
Alex and Nell (Madigan) Sullivan in backyard of 18 N. Latrobe, Chicago, Illinois c1937

About Alex Sullivan and Nell Madigan

About Alex Sullivan and Nell Madigan

Alexander Aloysius Sullivan was born on March 24, 1880 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the seventh of ten children born to Philip J. Sullivan (1840-1915) and Ellen Connor (1848-1919). Ellen "Nell" Theresa Madigan was also born in Chicago, the second of seven children born to Patrick Madigan (c1850-1890) and Bridget "Bessie" Thompson (1855-1935). They married at St. Agatha's Catholic Church on August 20, 1907. They raised two children, Thomas Aloysius born July 7, 1908 (See also Sullivan/Carmody Blog) and Helen Mae born March 11, 1914 (See also McIntyre/Sullivan Blog), on the west side of Chicago. Alex, or "Al" as Nell called him, was a steamfitter his whole life. Al worked for Mehring and Hanson located at Jefferson and Randolph in Chicago. Mehring and Hanson eventually became Hill Mechanical which is still in business in Chicago today. Nell raised the two children and was a homemaker her entire life. Al was almost six feet tall, which for his time was quite tall. Nell, on the other hand, was only about five-feet-two inches and in her older years much shorter than that! Al and Nell both died at their home located at 18 North Latrobe in Chicago, Al on January 26, 1956 and Nell, ten years later, on January 21, 1966.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Al and Nell Sullivan in 1940 US Census

Alex and "Helen" Nell Sullivan are listed as living at 18 N. Latrobe, Chicago, in the 1940 US Census.  This is not a surprise to anyone in the family.  However, the other information provided on the 1940 census gives us a unique glimpse into their lives at the time.

Although it is noted Al was a steamfitter, he was not employed at the time of the census and had not been for 40 previous weeks.  I'm sure that was a very difficult economic time for the Sullivans.  The census additionally reports that he was employed for only 26 weeks in 1939 and had earned $2,200 during the year ending December 31, 1939.  $2,200 (using the CPI, about $34,500 in 2010 dollars) was a very decent salary for 26 weeks of work in 1939.

Al and Nell owned their home which was valued at $3,500.  Their tenants, Robert and Agnes Hutchison, lived on the first floor and paid $45 per month rent.  I remember my Mother telling me that Robert Hutchinson was also unemployed at some point during the depression, but in the 1940 census it states he was working as a teacher in the public school system.  When the Hutchisons moved from 18 N. Latrobe in the late 1940s, the McIntyre family moved in and stayed until 1967.

The census reports Al completed four years of high school.  He attended St. Ignatius High School (St. Ignatius College Prep today), which was called St. Ignatius College at the time.  In 1894, St. Ignatius College enrolled 400 students, most were first generation Irish, as was Alex.  This is the same school his grandson, Laurence McIntyre, attended nearly sixty years later.  To my amazement, Nell only had an eighth grade education.  She sure was smart for only having attended elementary school.  For those of us who knew her, I don't think one of us would have guessed she hadn't had more education.

Although Nell and Al were only 2 months apart in age, when they reported their age to the census taker, somehow Al suddenly became five years older!  In April of 1940, Al would have just turned 60 the week before and Nell would have been two month shy of 60 but she reported her age as 55!  Ah, the female privilege!

1940 US Census, Chicago, Illinois; ED 103-2329, page 2B
To enlarge the 1940 US Census, double click on image.

Source: National Archives, 1940 US Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, ED 103,2329, page 2B, T627.

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