Thursday, March 25, 2010

What did the Fitzgerald Siblings Think of the Books

A few weeks ago, Charles, asked me a question.  I got a little side-tracked in answering.  I hope it's not too late.

I would like to begin by explaining that I do not have correspondence from many of the siblings.  The best way I feel I can answer this question is to write the answers I have and where they come from.  I will let each of you decide what you think.

On August 30, 1957, Allene Jensen, interviewed John and his sister Belle about the success of Papa Married a Mormon.  In the second paragraph she writes

John Fitzgerald in collaboration with his sister, Belle Fitzgerald Empey, wrote the recent best seller, Papa Married a Mormon.  Mrs. Empey says her name is not included on the book because of its being written in the first-person.  An account of their family's life in pioneer Utah together with a good-natured lesson in religious tolerance, made it an overnight hit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thomas P. Murphy


Thomas P. Murphy is no more, death coming to him in a most shocking and unlooked for manner at Salt Lake City last Friday night or Saturday morning.  Together with numerous persons from this section of the state, he had gone there to witness the reception to the nation's chief magistrate, and incidentally to look after some matters in connection with his business.  His taking away is perhaps best told in the following from the Evening Telegram:

Thomas Murphy

If Aunt Cathie was a mystery than her real life husband was an oversight - sort of.  

One of John's challenges in telling the story of the "miners, and the mormons" came in naming the characters.  Because the family history he had written before the books is no longer available, it's hard to see the challenge as an outsider.  John, however, saw the problem immediately and worked hard to carry over the purposefullness of the names and yet not confuse the reader.  Such was the case of Thomas.   In the Fitzgerald family there exist at least 4 Thomas'.  Thomas Fitzgerald of Pennsylvania, Papa's dad.  Thomas Fitzgerald of Adenville, Papa to T.D. and J.D. Fitzgerald, and Uncle Thomas Murphy, brother-in-law and business partner of Papa.

As I mentioned in the Aunt Cathie post, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, had moved to Price for Thomas consumption. Consumption is really tuberculosis.  Treatment of the time was to look for fresher air, dryer climates and hope for a successful outcome.  For a few years the treatment appears successful (note the photograph in Aunt Cathie post).  The Advocate wrote

Thomas P. Murphy is making some substantial improvements to his already comfortable home.

Throughout the years they lived in Price, the Murphy's were just as social as the Fitzgeralds.  When they weren't hosting parties, they were attending parties. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Are Beyond Average

I've begun to look at this blog as a collective.  Even though I write the posts, the comments and small conversations we have create a connection between friends I hadn't expected.

My husband is at a big technology conference in Texas, he texted me that "the average blog has 7 followers".  We are at least double that amount.  In short We Are Beyond Average.  

Thanks for making my blog so successful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Mystery of Aunt Cathie

From the books, we know that Papa wasn't the only Fitzgerald in Adenville/Price.  According to the books he had a sister named Cathie or Aunt Cathie, as we come to know her.  It is in the character of Aunt Cathie that researchers find the best compilation of fact, fiction, family, and time.

There were in fact two Fitzgerald sisters living in Price when J.D. was a boy.  An Aunt Josephine or Josie as the newspaper referred to her, and Aunt Isabelle.

Aunt Josie was single.  She worked in the clerk in the County Records office.  Many years later when Gerald, the youngest child of  Thomas and Minnie Fitzgerald, was asked to explain who the character of Aunt Cathie was, he gave the name of Aunt Josie.