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Mary Jane (Lennon) Burgmeyer

July 6, 1891 - July 14, 1915

On July 6, 1891, James J. Lennon and his wife, Sarah Hopkins Lennon, welcomed a girl into their family. Born Mary Jane Lennon in Manhattan, NY, she was the couples’ 3rd child, following her older siblings Owen and Bridget (who was called “Della”).

At a rather young age (sometime between 1900 and 1903, so between the ages of 9 and 12), Mary and the rest of the Lennon family moved from Manhattan to Newark, NJ, where it continued to expand in size. By the time they were done having children, James and Sarah found themselves to be the parents of 8 children, 7 of whom had survived infancy. It was in that city where Mary eventually met her husband, a man by the name of Joseph Louis Burgmeyer, whose parents were western European immigrants from the German-French region of Europe known as Alsace. 

In the early part of 1909, Mary became pregnant with Joseph’s child and on August 1st of that year, they were married in Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Newark. Exactly 11 weeks later, the couple welcomed their son, George James Burgmeyer, who was born at 19 Wardell Street in Newark. George was followed by 4 siblings: Joseph in 1911; Mary in 1913, Dorothy in 1914 and Arthur in 1915, but an insurmountable tragedy struck the family in June of 1915 when Joseph and Mary’s 4th child, Dorothy, died. She was about a month shy of her first birthday, but broncho-pneumonia got the best of her and she lost her little life at 5 Foundry Street in Newark. Losing a child is any parent's worst nightmare, but this death seems to have triggered a series of awful events that absolutely crushed this family. 

When Dorothy died, Mary was pregnant with her 5th child, Arthur Francis, and was likely due sometime in the fall. However, Arthur was born prematurely, exactly 10 days after Dorothy died, on June 23rd, just a few hours before midnight. I have to believe that Mary was so distraught over the loss of her daughter, that she went into labor early and delivered Arthur as a premature baby. At that time, prematurity was a pretty likely death sentence and this was the case with baby Arthur. He lived for only 9 hours, before dying June 24th, at 6:40 AM at Newark City Hospital. Having just buried Dorothy on June 14th, the Burgmeyer family returned to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Orange 11 days later, on June 25th, to bury Arthur with his older sister and their paternal grandfather, Mathias Burgmeyer (who had passed away in 1908).

Mary and Joseph, who in a span of two weeks had gone from having a healthy family with 4 young children and a 5th on the way, to being a family with just 3 young children, were understandably devastated, but the tragedy didn’t end there. Complications from Arthur’s birth caused Mary to contract septic pointing and she was fighting for her life. In the end, she lost her battle and died exactly 3 weeks after Arthur’s body was buried, on July 14, 1915. She was only 24 years old. Joseph Burgmeyer, now a widower and a father who had buried two of his children and his wife over the last month, was clearly crushed by the situation and returned to the cemetery to bury his wife alongside their two children and his father. 

Life went on for the surviving family members and Joseph re-married a few years after losing Mary. Yet many years later, in January of 1941, Joseph took his own life. It's believed that his suicide was due to the loss of one of his large business accounts for the Burgmeyer Bros. trucking company, for whom he was Vice President, but I can't help but believe that the horrible events from the summer of 1915 played some role in his death, all those years later. 

As far as descendants are concerned, there are 33 known people, both living and deceased, who are descended from Mary Lennon Burgmeyer. This includes her 5 deceased children, 8 known grandchildren, 9 known great grandchildren, 7 known great great grandchildren and 4 known great great great grandchildren.

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