This photograph of Mrs. Bridget Dooley was taken March 24, 1941, on the occasion of her eightieth birthday. She's seen here at her home, 802 West Mulberry Street in Bloomington. Born in Queens County, Ireland (now known as County Laois), she came to the United States when she was eighteen years old. In Alton, Illinois, she married Edward Dooley, general roadmaster for the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and the couple settled in Bloomington around 1890. In March 1904, Edward (who was also an Irish immigrant) was killed in rail accident in St. Louis, leaving Bridget a widow with eleven children.
For her eightieth birthday open house, her nine living children were present, including two daughters, now nuns in the Dominican Order. Sadly, Mrs. Dooley passed away five months later, August 30, after a one week illness. She and her husband Edward are buried at St. Mary's Cemetery on Bloomington's far southwest side, the traditional resting place for local Irish Catholics.
Interested in the story of the Irish in McLean County? Come visit our Museum and spend time in the exhibit The Greening of the Prairie: Irish Immigration and Settlement in McLean County. We'll see you there!