The ancestors of James J. Coyle, Jr.

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

James Coyle Sr. (center) and Katherine “Sis” Slattery Coyle.

My Grandpa Coyle’s grandparents were all born in North America— two in Pennsylvania, one in Ontario, and one in Buffalo’s First Ward.

All but one of his great-grandparents were born in Ireland, and that one was born to Irish immigrants.

The Coyles

John Coyle was born in utter poverty and landowner-induced famine in County Donegal near Gweedore around 1849.

1841 Irish Census extract for Coyle family in Lunniagh, County Donegal.

He was around 12 years old when he left his parents Paddy Coyle and Cecilia McGee Coyle in Ireland to work in the coal mines of Eastern Pennsylvania.

In 1865, when he was 16, he married Mary Dugan. She was born in the mining camps of Beaver Meadows, PA to Martin Dugan and Rose Gallagher, both of whom came to Pennsylvania from Ireland.

John and Mary Coyle followed mining jobs around Pennsylvania from Janesville near Allentown to Jermyn and Mayfield near Scranton. They had eight children, including Patrick, the oldest.

John Coyle obituary, 1908.

Patrick was probably born around 1869, despite later documents which say 1872. That age change probably came as he left school to work in the mines at a very young age. He married Catherine Kilker at the Sacred Heart Church in Jermyn, PA in 1892.

Patrick Kilker obituary, 1904

Catherine was born in Pennsylvania to Patrick Kilker and Bridget Herrity-Kilker. They were both born in Belmullet, County Mayo, Ireland.

Patrick and Catherine had four children, including James J. Coyle, Sr., in 1897. They lived in the City of Scranton while Patrick was a fireman in the mines.

After the death of Patrick’s parents John Coyle in 1908 and Mary Dugan Coyle in 1916, Patrick’s whole family moved to from Scranton, PA to Wilson Street on Buffalo’s East Side.

Patrick went to work for the Lackawanna (later Bethlehem) Steel Company. The family would move to Lockwood Ave. in South Buffalo, and Patrick would go to work at Maritime Milling on Hopkins St. as a stationary engineer.

Patrick Coyle death listing, Buffalo Courier-Express, 1945.

Catherine died in 1942, Patrick died in 1945.

James J. Coyle’s first job in Buffalo was lineman for the New York Central Railroad. Later, he was an electrician for the Bethlehem Steel plant.

He married Kathryn Slattery in 1927.

The Slatterys 

Captain Thomas J. Slattery

Some time before 1863, Thomas Slattery and his wife Honora Kelley Slattery made the transatlantic voyage from Ireland’s County Tipperary to Prescott, Ontario, along the St. Lawrence River, just south of Ottawa.

Their son Thomas was born in Prescott in 1864. He grew up to be a sailor and worked his way through the ranks to become a Great Lakes captain based in Buffalo.

He married Bridget Norton of Buffalo in 1894. She was the daughter of Miles Norton, a First Ward grain scooper, who emigrated to Buffalo with his wife Catherine Bowe Norton around 1868.

Catherine Bowe Norton, widow of Miles Norton, death listing

Bridget Norton Slattery died suddenly while her husband was on the lakes in 1915. Their daughter Kathryn was only 13 at the time.

Slattery Family, c. 1906

Thomas Slattery died in 1926

Thomas Slattery obituary

Kathryn married James J. Coyle Sr. in 1927. The family moved around North Tonawanda, Seneca-Babcock, and South Buffalo frequently, mostly because of his alcoholism.

They had 5 children, including my grandfather, James J. Coyle, Jr., in 1929.

James Coyle Sr. died in 1957. Kathryn Slattery Coyle died in 1978.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.