Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - O'Mara - Contents

Joe O'Mara

Joe O'Mara and Adelaide Sheppard.
Detail of 1905 photo.

Joe O'Mara,
Joseph Mary O'Mara, born 21 May 1878.
He was educ Clongowes, Co.Kildare. He is there as at letter of 8 Feb 1893 or 1895.
He was best man and witness at his brother James' mar Apr 1895, only age 16. Listed as living Hartstonge House.
"Joseph O'Mara" listed as grandson at funeral of James O'Mara Apr 1899.

Goes to Canada:
He went to Canada to run bacon factory in Palmerston, W of Toronto, Ontario, Canada (not far from London, Ontario).
[Lavelle, 1961] says: "grandfather bought a bacon factory in Palmerston and one of his younger sons was sent out to manage it". DIB thinks this was 1901.
He went back and forth the Atlantic a number of times.
He is listed as arriving at Ellis Island, NY, 2nd Apr 1904, on the Lucania from Liverpool. He is listed as single, living Limerick.
He is listed as arriving again at Ellis Island, accompanied by his brother James, on 14 May 1904 on the Campania from Liverpool via Queenstown. He is described as living London (as is James).
Joe held a dinner on 6 June 1904 in Palmerston to celebrate the opening of the Palmerston Pork Packing House. The toasts show that his brother James was still with him for the dinner.
He wrote letters in think Sept 1904 and Aug 1905 from Palmerston, Ontario, to his brother James.
He is listed as living Palmerston, Ontario, at mar.

He mar 9 Dec 1905 to Adelaide Sheppard [Adelaide May Sheppard, born 26 Feb 1881 in Toronto, NOT 1882, NOT "S. Shepherd"].
She was an Anglican. She was eldest dau of Thomas Sheppard by his 2nd wife Sarah Breen.
She appears as infant under 1 year old in 4 April 1881 census of Canada, family living St James Ward, Toronto. Her father listed as "Book Keeper". All family listed as "Church of England".
They later lived Orillia, Simcoe county, N of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Thomas Sheppard was Mayor of Orillia about 1898-1900.
Family listed in Orillia town in 1901 census. Adelaide listed as student.
Adelaide is listed at mar as living Orillia.
They mar in Orillia.
They visited Ireland after their marriage. Letter from his father from Limerick on 23 Dec 1905 says: "Joe and his bride arrived here on Wednesday". See photo in late Dec 1905 at Hartstonge House. The O'Maras had enough money to cross the Atlantic for visits.

They returned to Canada.
See entry for "Adelaide Sheppard", Elm Lodge, Orillia, in Joe's father's address book [P40/234]. Must be written in before she married his son.
Letter of 13 Sept 1908 says they are selling up the Palmerston business.
Letter of 5 Mar 1909 says Joe is finishing involvement in Palmerston.
Daughter born July 1909 in Toronto. Joe is decribed as a "manager" at birth. Adelaide's father registered the birth.
In 1911 census they were living with Adelaide's parents in Orillia.
[Donovan, 2012] says he is "Joseph O'Mara" who was Treasurer of the Irish Film Company of America, registered in Massachusetts, which distributed his brother-in-law Jim Sullivan's film Knocknagow (1918) in America.
As at 1920 Joe had summer house up on the Muskoka Lakes, N of Toronto.

K & S tyre company: He set up a tyre company in Toronto.
He was Managing Director of "K & S Tire and Rubber Goods Ltd", Toronto. Manufactured tyres and other rubber goods.
"K & S Tire and Rubber Goods Ltd" is listed in a 1921 Directory on Oak St, Weston, Ontario (then just outside Toronto, now part of greater Toronto, see map). Directory lists Joseph O'Mara as Treasurer and General Manager, Thomas H. Sheppard (presumably father-in-law) as President, both living Toronto proper, not Weston.
Joe listed separately as living Toronto in 1921.
Dick Humphreys, family friend of the O'Maras, set up motor business in Dublin 1922, importing Joe's tyres into Ireland as "O'Mara's tyres", later "K & S tyres".
A letter of 15th Jan 1923 from Joe to his brother Jim says "Adelaide and the children join me with love to you all".
His tyre business got into trouble in late 1920s. [Tommy O'Brien] recalled that Britain's control of rubber plantations pushed up price of rubber in US and Canada.
Dick Humphreys (who married Joe's niece in 1929) finally dropped O'Mara / K&S tyres in favour of Pirelli tyres.

Back to Ireland:
[John O'Sullivan] says Joe and Adelaide separated.
Joe went back to Ireland. Adelaide stayed in North America.
Joe was a Director of O'Mara's bacon company at time of O'Mara's centenary, 1939.

Agent for Christopher Lynch: In the early 1940s, Joe became the agent for Christopher Lynch, a young Irish Tenor.
Lynch (born Rathkeale, Co.Limerick, 1921) sang from the stage of a Limerick movie theatre in 1942. The O'Maras were in the audience. They arranged for him to study in Dublin.
Joe got Lynch a job singing on the weekly Radio Eireann program sponsored by Donnelly's sausages.
With Joe's help, Lynch moved to America 1946 to become the lead tenor on "The Voice of Firestone" radio show sponsored by Firestone tyres.

Joe dies, 1950:
Joe is listed at death as "company director", of Lisnamara, Corbally, Limerick.
He died 30th Dec 1950, age 72 yrs, at his sister's house, "Greenfields", Milltown, Co.Dublin [GROI].
See obituary in Irish Times, January 1, 1951.
Wake in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin.
Funeral at Church of the Assumption, Milltown, Co.Dublin, think 1 Jan 1951.
His wife and children (all living in US) were not at his funeral, but the President was represented by his aide-de-camp.
He was bur in New Cemetery, Limerick.
He is listed on Stephen O'Mara grave, Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.
See funeral report in Irish Times, January 2, 1951.

Adelaide is described as of New York at son's marriage Dec 1951.
As at 1953 she and her daughter were confined to a psychiatric hospital in Long Island. See below.
Joe and Adelaide had issue:

  1. Maureen O'Mara,
    Adelaide Maureen Sarah Eileen O'Mara, born 30 July 1909, Cottage Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
    See birth cert from here.
    She was bapt 29 Aug 1909 [Ontario RC Baptisms].
    She is recorded at arriving at New York on 10 May 1947. See record in [New York Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists]. She was then unmarried. Occupation is "writer". Last permanent address 27 Granby St, Toronto. Destination address 58 Barrow St, New York.
    Living in US as at 1950, when her father died in Ireland.

    Adelaide and Maureen in psychiatric hospital:
    Papers of Fr. Paddy O'Mara, J/552/68, show that as at 1953, both Adelaide and her daughter Maureen were confined in the massive Pilgrim State Hospital (psychiatric hospital), Long Island.
    Maureen's former address is listed as Albert Hotel, New York.
    See letter of shortly after 23 Nov 1953. This is copied to her cousin Stephen of Donnelly's. And also sent on to her uncle Stephen of Limerick.
    See letter of 24 Dec 1953 to her uncle Phons. This is copied to "Stephen" (probably her uncle) and her aunt Mary Rynne. This letter says about Maureen: "She professed to be at a loss as to the reason for her confinement and appeared optimistic about being granted release". However a recent letter from the doctor suggests this is unlikely. She is on the same floor as her mother: "She stated that her mother is perfectly normal".

  2. Michael O'Mara,
    born Joseph O'Mara, or Joseph Michael O'Mara,
    changed to Michael O'Mara, Mike,
    passport says "Michael Thomas O'Mara, also known as Joseph O'Mara",
    death cert says "Michael Joseph Thomas O'Mara",
    born 27 Dec 1918, Toronto, Canada. See birth cert.

Wedding of Joe O'Mara and Adelaide Sheppard.
Orillia, Ontario, Canada, 9 Dec 1905.
NOT 1910.
Adelaide Sheppard and Joe O'Mara are the pair on the RHS.
The pair on the LHS must be the witnesses Thomas Ray of Palmerston, Ontario (could this be Lad Ray?) and Priscilla Burns of Toronto.
See larger and full size.

Adelaide Sheppard and Joe O'Mara on colorised version of the 1905 wedding photo.
This version is colorised by AI by MyHeritage In Color.
See full size.

Adelaide Sheppard and Joe O'Mara on colorised version of the 1905 wedding photo.
This version is colorised by hand by The Photo Alchemist.
See full size.

Photo at the time of the wedding of Joe O'Mara and Adelaide Sheppard, 1905.
The 2 parents, the 9 surviving children, and their 4 spouses so far.
The O'Mara family did not go to Canada. Rather Joe and his wife made a visit to Ireland in late Dec 1905 after the wedding.
Back (Left to Right): Joe, Adelaide Sheppard.
Middle (Left to Right): James, Agnes Cashel, Stephen, Kat, Phons, Bill O'Sullivan, Norrie.
Front (Left to Right): Nell, Fr. Paddy, Ellen Pigott, Stephen O'Mara, Mary, Michael Rynne.
See larger and full size.

Photo 1905 at time of wedding of Joe O'Mara and Adelaide Sheppard.
Back (Left to Right): think Stephen, Mary, Stephen O'Mara, think Nell, Agnes Cashel, think Phons.
Front (Left to Right): Kat, Fr. Paddy, Ellen Pigott, Michael Rynne, think Norrie.
See larger and full size.

Joe O'Mara.

A metal sign for O'Mara "K & S" tyres.
See larger and full size.
See other shot and other shot.
See other side.


The Palmerston, Ontario, factory


The "packing house" at Palmerston, Ontario.
See larger and full size.
See back.

Dinner held by Joe O'Mara on 6 June 1904 in Palmerston, Ontario, to celebrate the opening of the Palmerston Pork Packing House.
See full size.
See menu and toasts.

Joseph O'Mara's "Pork Packers" on 1914 map of Palmerston, Ontario.
Though it is unclear where in the town this is meant to be.




Sources yet to be consulted


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