Matthew L. Shea

Matthew L Shea was the first generation of Sheas to be born in the US. His father, Mathew Shea, was born in Ireland.

Born: October 1, 1875, Attleboro, MA [pg 138]

NOTE: 1900 MA census is missing the Shea-Ms

Married to Catherine Riordan on 12.8.1906, N. Attleboro, at age 31
12.9 Sun Chronicle missing, not in other dates.

Where They Lived:
1908 dir: 'jeweler', 18 Riley Ct, N. Attleboro
1911 dir: 'jeweler', at 13 Cross, N. Attleboro - Online Image
1920 MA census, East Street, N. Attleboro (V12 E165 S17 L81)
1922 dir w/Katherine: 'jeweler', house at Riley Court N. Attleboro - Online Image

His wife Catherine died on April 27, 1922 from food poisoning after 15 years of marriage. She was only 35.

1940 MA census - N. Attleboro (see below) 'jeweler' living with daughter Hellen Shea
1942 dir: 'silversmith' w/R Blackinton & Co, at 15 Broad, N. Attleboro - Online Image

DIED: 1945-1949, in Rhode Island. Would have been around 75 yrs old. Was living with Hellen C Shea.
BURIED: St. Mary's with Alice M Shea

Caroline L. Shea, 1907 (buried with mom) - married Mr. Connors
John F. Shea, 1908 married Genevieve Pesce - this is our line
Alice Mary Shea, 1909 North Attleboro MA married Edward G Fanning, 5 kids
Hellen C. Shea, 1912 - 1981 (buried with John F) married J. Eli Motham, 1906-80; no kids

From Rick Shea, born 9.9.31, son of Alice M Shea (yes, he kept her name) (compilations of various messages) -

I was a only child born out of wedlock from Alice. I never knew my biological father. I was raised by Matthew and all of the daughters for 7 years then my mother married Edward G Fanning from RI. I went to live with them, but kept the Shea name. I had 2 sisters and 2 brothers but all named Fanning one brother just recently died. I would be happy to answer any thing else you may ask in future E mails. I do know a lot about Matthew L Shea I would be glad to share with you, I have seen a picture of his wife Catherine it was taken when they married she was 21 he was 31.

Matthew was a very accomplished silversmith and worked almost all his life for RV Blackinton on NO. Attleboro MA. Got to stop for now to refresh my own memory, there is a excellent picture of Matthew that I took of Matthew it was just a snapshot but Helen had it enlarged and colored by a professional my youngest sister now has it, her name is Katherine Fannying, so you see the beat goes on. I and my first wife had 7 children 4 girls 3 boys all 100% Sheas.

Matthew my grandfather worked as a silversmith for RV Blackinton in N. Attleboro. He was the first person to come up with the idea for a seamless baby cup made out of high grade silver. He did not pattern it as this was just something you did for your employer.

In picture you sent [shown below], the cup on the left was the original design. What made it so special was the way Matt sodered the handle on the inside then it was covered with the cooper sheeting over it, this sealed the conection so no bacteria could contaminate the contents, till that time they were soldered on the outside which was left very rough, it had to be inside and very clean solder, that is polished smooth and covered. My sister has one of the first ones produced. She has a lot of Matt's stuff because she was taking care of my aunt Helen and her husband they lived in a house trailer on cape cod. when they both died she was made executor of the estate and she really kept a lot of things, but she will not part with it.

This image is from Blackinton - I will replace it with the actual image of the first one as soon as I get that.

Pictures from RV Blackinton - which was sold in the 1960s

I graduated from Cumberland High in 1949, I rember going to funeral mass [for Matthew L Shea] in N. Attleboro, I think I was about 14 yrs. old at the time, I really was quite upset. My mother was in the hospital having a baby (a boy my brother Edward Fanning). I did not know what was to become of me - we had all been living in a 15 room house in N. Attleboro, my step father had taken me to church, and it was very strange. My grandfather, my stepfather, and myself all had on the same neck ties.

I do think he died in 1945, but am not sure yet. Matt was very sick and living with his daughter Helen she was the youngest all the other siblings were gone or had moved away. It was so pitiful to see him he spent all day in a rocking chair, he had to be restrained or he would fall out, in a short time he took to bed and went silent until he passed away, it was so sad, he was a vibrant and kind and thoughtful person, I remember very well when we lived together every morning there was a man (his name was Bill Ray) he was partly crippled he would come to the door to have my grandfather tie his shoes, being so young I did not realize he could not tie his own. Then he would have a cup of coffee and leave, Matthew was always up early. He made big pot of coffee for everyone, (my aunt Helen always got hers in bed).

Matthew was a great cook he did all Sunday and holiday cooking, I would be at his side all the time, I learned a lot about cooking from him. I do all cooking in my house, and at one time had my own little resturant. My grandfather and I were very very close, he had a big bed in his room I had a smaller bed, but when he came to bed I would always climb in with him we did a lot together. I was born in 1931 this was in the depression times yet he welcomed me and my mom into his home, and I was his right away. This could explain how deeply I felt when he passed away.

My grandfather had a daughter Carol (Kay), she had a big house at one time in Attleboro Mass. When she moved it was her that got rid of a lot of stuff, but I managed to get hold of a Civil War bayonet.

In 2013 I heard from Rick's son, Captain David P. Shea, who was also interested in the genealogy!

Here are the 1940 census images for Matthew L. Shea. Click on each one for a larger version.

Full Page for the Matthew L. Shea. 1940 Census Image

Note there is a maybe-distantly-related Margaret Shea born in the same time frame, who moves into North Attleboro just before 1940.

Matthew Shea, his father
Caroline Kelley, his mother

Sheas in North Attleboro MA - main page