Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday's Photo/Cpl. Harry J. McCabe & Sisters

Caroline, Grace, Harry and Florence McCabe

     This photograph was given to me by my cousin Rita. Pictured are four of the seven children of James McCabe and his wife Bridget Finnerty of Auburn, NY-- making them the grandchildren of my 3rd great-aunt Mary O'Hora and her husband Patrick McCabe.  I'm not sure exactly when the photo above was taken, though the uniform of a World War I soldier gives away the time frame.  The names of the individuals are written on the back of the photo, but I have my reservations about the young woman in the middle.  She is purported to be Grace, but I'm not so sure.

     Harry enlisted at Auburn in May of 1917 and was assigned to Company M of the 3rd Infantry which a few months later, became the 108th.  This enlistment is where the question arises.  Grace McCabe died in 1914, there is no question about that. Her obituary and funeral announcements appeared in the Auburn papers that year. But if her brother Harry didn't enlist until 1917, how is it that she is pictured with him in his uniform? 

     Harry, along with young men he had known since childhood, eventually found themselves in the nightmarish trenches of France, surrounded by mud, rats, and an enemy bent on their destruction.  Sadly, he watched several of his comrades lose their lives in the fighting. Harry fought in one of the most important engagements of the war, he was there on September 29, 1918 when the Hindenburg line fell to the Allies. That same day Harry was gassed.  His official record states he was "severely" wounded by this attack, but by the time of his discharge in 1919 had recovered.  In a letter home to his widowed mother Bridget shortly afterward, he makes light of his injury, clearly so as not to worry her, but it was obviously a serious matter.

Harry's military record

     Harry returned home after the war and worked as a prison guard at the Auburn State Prison in the city; he was there at the time of the 1929 prison riots.  Not so very different from trench warfare.  He and his wife Anna purchased a home in nearby Owasco where they and their son Paul lived until Harry's death in May of 1950 at age 54.

     Harry's sister Caroline, known as Carrie to her family, married Thomas Monahan in Auburn where she passed away in 1940.  Grace died at her parent's home at age 22 of heart problems while studying to be a nurse. Florence married Lawrence Dalton and they moved to Georgia where she died in 1985.  

     I can't help but wonder if "Grace" in the above photo was in fact her sister Sarah McCabe, born a year earlier than Grace. She married Carl Meyer, and lived until 1985.  It makes sense to me that before Harry went overseas, he posed for a snapshot with his three surviving sisters, but I don't supposed I'll ever be sure.


  1. Maybe one of Sarah's descendants will see this post and be able to confirm if she is in the photo or not, either way it's lovely to have it.

  2. It is a nice photo, even if I can't be completely sure who the young lady is.