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Monday, August 9, 2010

McLaughlin's Go West - Part 3

James McLaughlin did write to his sister-in-law, Katherine (Mahoney) Biche.  I have an excerpt from a letter.  I wonder if other letters are in existence.  Family letters can be so telling about the individuals struggles, happiness, and personalities.

James McLaughlin (Nevada) to Katherine Biche (New York) - 10 August 1891:

“I do not think now I shall return this fall as I expected. Frank writes me that I could not make a living there and he is ‘dissadisfide’ with the country, and says that Mike don’t seem to want him to have him stay there. He wants to come back here. I wrote him, Frank, I would send him $100. the first of Sep. and to come here. The boy wants to be doing something for himself. I shall try my best to send him to school here. If he had 2 years more he would be a good ‘schollar’. He learns easy and fast."

Just an aside here.....It is apparent to me that this generation of McLaughlin's could read and write.  Again, this is an important key to understanding more about my family and their lives.  I have had one researcher tell me that the earlier generation of either McLaughlin's or Maxwell's could not read or write.  They simply signed their name with an "X".  Hopefully, I have the opportunity to find out more about these past generations.  Since James and his older brother, my great-great grandfather, Thomas, were born and raised in Newport, New York, there would have been education available to them in that location.

Back to Austin, Nevada........Francis "Frank" Raymond McLaughlin was the oldest son of James McLaughlin and Julia Mahoney.  He was born in Newport, New York, had lived his young life in Austin, Nevada, moved back to Newport, New York, and returned to Austin when he was 16 years old or there abouts.  He worked on his uncle's (Michael) farm in Newport until he left for the west.

Frank had a tough life from what it sounds.  He lived in both Austin, Nevada and Boise, Idaho as an adult.  He apparently had a drinking problem.  He was tall and thin with the nicknames of "Slim" and "Highpockets".  He was a lead and silver miner.

The following is an excerpt from Mr. Capes research:

"The next news of Frank appears in the ‘Reese River Reveille”, the local newspaper in Austin, NV, dated 10
Feb 1917: “AUSTINITES TAKE LEASE ON CAMP’S OLDEST PROPERTY.” “ Frank McLaughlin and George Gordon have taken a lease on a vein system on the Austin Extension claim, known as the old Highland Mary property, owned by the Nevada Equity Mines Company.”   Shortly thereafter, on 17 Mar 1917, Frank continues in the news: “709 OUNCE ORE IN HIGHLAND MARY.” – “Gordon and McLaughlin, leasers on the Highland Mary lode property of the Nevada Equity Mines Co., have struck some high grade silver ore which closely resembles the surface high grade found on Lander Hill. An assay taken from across the vein where first struck yielded 709 ounces in silver.”  Again, on 07 Apr 1917, the newspaper reads: “GORDON & McLAUGHLIN TO MAKE SHIPMENT.” – “A shipment of fifteen tons of ore will go forward early this week to the smeltery from the Gordon and McLaughlin lease on the Highland Mary lode. The ore body carries a high percentage of lead and silver. The silver is being mined separately.”

Frank's Obiturary:

Saturday, 16 May 1931; “Car Over The Bank Results in Death of F. R. McLaughlin.” (He was thrown from the car and the body was discovered near the wreckage). “ It was discovered that the body was that of Frank R. McLaughlin, who was raised in Austin and for years has been a well-known miner and prospector in this vicinity. The body of McLaughlin was terribly mangled and there were a number of injuries, any of which might apparently have been the cause of death. “ An excerpt from his obituary on Saturday, 23 May 1931 reads as follows: “ The funeral of Frank R. McLaughlin, who lost his life in the terrible plunge of an auto into the gorge of Pony Canyon on Tuesday night last, took place on the following Friday from the mortuary establishment of H. A. Kearns. Frank McLaughlin had many friends and a large number of them were present at the interment. The deceased was aged 54 years. He was the son of James McLaughlin, who came here with his wife and children nearly fifty years ago. Young Frank for some years lived with Father Phelan, who was in charge of the Catholic Church in Austin at that time. His mother died here and is buried in the Austin cemetery. When he was about 14 years old his father took him, with his brothers George and Fred and a sister, all of whom are said to be surviving, back to New York and he did not come back to Austin until about 1918. Since that time he was engaged in mining and prospecting in this vicinity and made Austin his home. He at one time lived in Boise, Idaho, where he married and where a son and his mother still live.”

Frank did have a wife and a son.  He apparently was not the best family man as it would appear that he left them in Idaho and returned to Nevada.  I wonder if his family line is interested in knowing the extensive history about the McLaughlin's.  I wonder if they know what Frank lived through as a youngster and if they are even interested.

To be continued................


  1. I understand it has been quite some time since you've updated this blog. My name is Taylor Biche and Kate Mahoney/Biche is my 3rd Great Grandmother. To my understanding, she had two sons, Charles and Claude, with Frank Biche. She also appears to have adopted a Jay McLaughlin. I am a newbe at this and Kate is as far back as I have gotten. I would appreciate it if you could tell me anymore on Kate. I know she was born and immigrated from Ireland. I hope your ancestor search is still thriving and inspirational. Thank you for your time.

  2. Hello, Thanks for posting here. I haven't posted about McLaughlin's lately but I do know quite about. Jay McLaughlin was adopted by Kate Mahoney and Mr. Biche after Julia Mahoney McLaughlin (Kate's sister) passed away. I hope that you read all the parts about the McLaughlin's going west. It's a bit of a sad story for the parents of Jay Biche (McLaughlin). So, email me at and I can let you know if I have any specifics about Kate and Julia Mahoney. I need to dig out the info located on my external hard drive.

  3. Dear Anonymous, I probably only have a bit of info about Julia and Kate Mahoney but I can probably point your in the right direction for more Mahoney info. I believe that your Mahoney ancestors knew many of my ancestors as they lived in the same area in upstate NY and more than that, the same town.