James Cronin of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland

This is a photo of James “Jamie” Cronin. He may have been one of the youngest of about eight children born to Ellen Roche and her husband, Michael Cronin of Glenanare (or Glenanaire), Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland. He emigrated to America with his siblings.

James Cronin of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, IrelandJamie had been everyone’s favorite in the Cronin household. I think he worked at a hospital, but I’m not sure.

According to stories, Jamie was engaged and soon to be married. Then, he contracted spinal meningitis and died suddenly. His death was a terrible loss, especially since it was so sudden. Everyone thought he’d be one of the most successful of the Cronin children.

In one version of the story — which was not true — he and my great-grandmother had a huge fight and weren’t speaking, and then he died before they could reconcile. In that tale, my great-grandmother committed suicide.

The fact is, Margaret Cronin Tormey (my great-grandmother) contracted tuberculosis and died several years later, in a hospital in the northern part of Massachusetts. (I can’t recall the location at the moment, but I’ll update this when I think of it.) So, the suicide story is very odd and I haven’t found anyone else in the family who’d killed themselves.

Jamie’s good looks continued in the family, and a later descendant of the Cronins — Robert “Bob” Holden — had a strong resemblance to this photo, in his youth.

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