Agnes Margaret Dougherty

Agnes Margaret Dougherty

Female 1877 - 1968  (90 years)

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  • Name Agnes Margaret Dougherty 
    Birth 5 Aug 1877  Allegany County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Death 13 Feb 1968  Hyattsville, Prince George's County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Mrs. A. M. Long, 90, widow of Nicholas Long, died Sunday at the Hyattsville Nursing Home. Mrs. Long was a former resident of the Midland area. Born August 5. 1877 in Allegany County, she was the daughter of the late Michael W. and Joanna (McKenzie) Dougherty. Surviving are five sons, Hubert Long, Riverdale, Md.; Merle Long and Carl Long, both of College Park; Eugene Long, Mt. Rainier, and Ferman Long, Bowie. The body is at the Gasch Funeral Home, Hyattsville. Requiem mass will be celebrated today in St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Riverdale. Interment will be in Hyattsville. The Cumberland News, February 13, 1968

      Agnes Margaret Dougherty Long

      Agnes Margaret Dougherty was born on her family's farm near Cumberland, MD on 5 Aug 1877. She was the 10th child of Michael and Johana Dougherty, who struggled to make ends meet with their large family and meager income. Agnes, like her siblings, was sent to school but worked on the farm in her limited spare time. Like most children of her era, she completed her formal schooling at the end of 8th grade and began working full time to help out her parents.

      The summer of 1898, Agnes' father Michael was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and he died in mid-September. Without the support of her husband, Joanna was forced to take on hired hands. She applied for Michael's Civil War pension, and was dismayed to find out that she was inelligible to collect one penny of the entitlement due to a clerical error in the recording of her husband’s name. Joanna engaged a lawyer to pursue the matter, and in the meantime, Agnes became romantically involved with Nicholas Long, a man 8 years her senior and the natural son of a local farm family that was considered rather eccentric. Early in 1899, Agnes discovered that she was pregnant, but she did not immediately consent to marrying Nicholas. She made an issue about his parents' common-law marriage, and insisted that they either marry officially or separate, and they opted for the latter. The couple was joined in marriage on 15 Mar 1899 in Sinclairsville, MD, and five months later, on 27 Aug 1899, their first child was born: a boy named Hubert. A few months later, they moved across the border to Nicholas’ home state of West Virginia, where they spent a year in Frankfort before moving back again to Maryland, Agnes’ home state. This time, they settled in the city of Frostburg, a small town about 11 miles due west from Cumberland.

      Over the next decade, four more children were added to the family: a boy named Merle (Sonny) in 1901, a boy named Eugene in 1903; a boy named Carl in 1905; and a girl named Dolores in 1908. Some time during this period, Nicholas left his job at the railroad and joined his brothers in the nearby coalmines. Another two children were born after 1910: Vause in 1911, and Ferman in 1918. (The somewhat unusual first names of some of the boys were taken from books that Agnes had been reading during her pregnancies.) During that same decade, Nicholas’ estranged parents also died (Isaac in Jul 1910; Mary Catherine in May 1916), as well as his older brother George, who was killed in a mining accident around 1911 and left behind a family of nine children. George’s untimely death left a scar on the family and played a role in Nicholas’ decision to abandon the coal mining business and region.

      By the time of Ferman’s birth in 1918, his older brothers were already getting ready to leave the nest. Hubert joined the Army headed southeast to North Carolina, where he married in 1918 and produced the family’s first grandchild, a boy named Douglas, in 1920. The next to leave was Eugene, who joined the Marine Corp in Oct 1922 rather than continue working in the coals mines with rest of his family. Eugene was sent to the island of Hispaniola during the American government’s attempt to improve living conditions in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the experience taught him that he could successfully work as a carpenter. When Eugene was discharged from the Marines in Oct 1925, he stayed put in Washington, DC, where he had already met his future wife and soon found employment there in his new trade.

      While Eugene was in the Dominican Republic, the first of three tragedies struck the family when 13-year-old Vause was killed in a car accident in Jun 1924. Carl Long had taken his father Nicholas, his sister Dolores and his brother Vause out for an errand in his relatively new car, and as they returned home, he recklessly sped up the vehicle. The car flipped over in a ditch, instantly crushing Vause to death but leaving the others relatively unscathed. Vause was buried three days later in the cemetery of Saint Michael’s Parish in Frostburg, leaving the family emotionally shattered, especially his closest sibling, Dolores. In 1923, 15-year-old Dolores had eloped on Christmas Eve with a 23-year-old Iowan named William Bowen, whom she married Christmas Day. Bowen was reputedly a Prohibition Era moonshiner who transported alcohol made in the Cumberland area to the mid-West, and Dolores accompanied him back to his hometown of Davenport. The marriage, not surprisingly, did not last more than five months, so Dolores had only returned home a week or so before the car accident.

      Dolores became increasingly despondent after Vause’s death and her failed marriage, in an era where only the very wealthy had access to treatment for clinical depression. Two and half years later, at the age of 19, she made the decision to take her own life. Like many suicide victims, her mood improved after making the decision, and she spent her last afternoon in good spirits. She played the piano as well as records on the Victrola, wrote a suicide note that placed no blame on her family, then went upstairs to her bedroom and attempted to shoot herself through the heart. The bullet evidently missed its mark but still inflicted fatal damage, and the family was able to attend to her for about five and a half hours as she slowly bled to death. The story of her suicide was published in the local papers, and to their credit, they reported the incident with an unusual degree of compassion. It would appear that a priest must have been called to Dolores’ bedside to administer last rites, as there was a Catholic service before she was laid to rest beside her brother Vause in Saint Michael’s cemetery.

      Nicholas stopped working in the coal mines some time in his late 50s, when he went back to farming. By that time, his son Eugene was working successfully as a carpenter in Washington and invited his brothers Merle and Carl to come to town and join him in creating their own family business, which they called Long Brothers Carpentry. Nicholas was not anxious to leave the Cumberland area, but was eventually persuaded to work with his sons, and in 1931, rented a home at 506 First Avenue SE in the Capitol Hill area. To help make ends meet, Agnes took in a couple of boarders to make better use of the spare bedrooms, establishing her future means of financial independence, as will be noted later.

      Nicholas had suffered a major concussion earlier in his life, which is often the precursor to profound mental illness. That injury, coupled with the loss of two children, a major job change and move from his familiar surroundings, apparently pushed him over the edge of sanity. In the early morning hours of 6 July 1932, Nicholas brandished a gun and took everyone in the house hostage. A neighbor must have notified the Washington police, and when they arrived, Nicholas began threatening to shoot them if they intervened. More and more police were called to the scene in an effort to end the hostage situation, and within two hours, almost 500 officers were surrounding the house. As Nicholas refused to give up, the police decided to use tear gas to clear the home. As the acrid gas began to fill the house, Nicholas was unable to keep control of his hostages, and they began fleeing through the front door, begging the police not to shoot the innocent. Nicholas stubbornly remained inside, however, and when several officers decided to go inside to arrest him, he fired at the group, mortally wounding a young rookie by the name of Elmer A. Swanson. Despite Swanson’s death, the police continued their push to seize Nicholas, whom they shot in the arm to subdue him before capturing and handcuffing him. As he emerged from the home, he sneered at the reporters on the scene, telling them that he had orchestrated the whole incident so that he could enjoy a few more fireworks after the Fourth of July. The afternoon edition of the Washington Post was emblazoned with a two-inch headline that read: “Barricaded Manic Kills Policeman and Wounds Another Before Capture”.

      After Nicholas was treated for his gunshot wound, he was taken into custody to await his trial. His wife Agnes, hysterical from the incident, blurted out to reporters that “he was always mean”, but cousins that had known him all his life said that such was not the case, and that he had undergone a significant change in personality after the death of his daughter. The criminal justice system of those days was swift and efficient, and on 2 Aug 1932, Nicholas was indicted of first-degree murder. As his victim was a policeman, his conviction would have certainly warranted the death penalty. However, after examination by a psychologist, Nicholas was found to be criminally insane, and on 19 Aug 1932, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Saint Elizabeth’s Asylum. Nicholas’ family did not abandon him after his incarceration, including his wife, who even took her grandchildren along for visits from time to time. The grandchildren were not told why their grandfather was in the asylum, and if they asked too many questions, Agnes would only mutter that he was just a crazy Englishman.

      In the meantime, the American economy was in throes of the Great Depression. Agnes still had a teenaged son to raise but did not want to unduly burden her other children with supporting her. Having worked as a maid before her marriage, she decided to open a boarding house in Washington, DC, as there was always a fairly large number of temporary residents who worked for the government and did not want to invest in a home or rent an apartment. She purchased a large home at 1435 Newton Street NW, keeping two bedrooms for her son Ferman and herself and subletting the others. Agnes cooked, cleaned and laundered for the residents, and soon had a thriving business. As three of her sons were professional carpenters, she also had help keeping the home in good repair, and so she kept active employed well into her 70s.

      Nicholas spent more than 19 years locked away in Saint Elizabeth’s, and at the age of 82, developed stomach cancer. He passed away in the asylum on 23 Jan 1952, and was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, MD, just outside the city limits of the District of Columbia.

      After Nicholas' death, Agnes decided to visit her younger sister Annie for the first time in perhaps 50 years. In 1905, Annie had married a man named Jacob Furlow from Cumberland and then moved out west in stages, eventually reaching California. Agnes decided to take her first airplane trip at age 75, and managed to cross the continent in 10 hours, much to her glee and amazement. (Having been born 26 years before the Wright brothers' historic first flight, Agnes witnessed the evolution in the speed of transportation from horse and buggies to rocket ships over her long lifespan, dying just a little over a year before the first moon walk.) Agnes spent severalweeks with Annie before flying back home to Washington, DC. Shortly after her return, Agnes experienced yet another tragedy when her two-year-old great-grandson, Scott Long, crawled out of his crib and onto the ledge of an open window, from which he fell two stories to his death. The accident occurred not far from Agnes' home in Washington, and she bravely attended the funeral and burial, a bitter reminder of what she had endured with the deaths of Vause and Dolores.

      Agnes enjoyed very good health for most of the remaining fifteen years of her life, and was able to live independently in an apartment near Washington until she was 89. She got around on public transportation for routine errands and visiting friends, but also took extended car rides to visit family members living out of state. Despite the hardships that she had experienced, she remained firm in her Catholic faith and gave no appearance of being embittered: she went through life with her chin up, full of energy and strength and a sense of humor to boot. Her heart began to fail in the last months of her life, at which point she entered a nursing home because she could no longer do her own housework. She passed away quietly of a heart attack in the early morning hours of 11 Feb 1968, and was laid to rest beside her husband on Valentine’s Day.
    Person ID I01013  McKenzie Genealogy
    Last Modified 29 Oct 2021 

    Father Michael Henry Dougherty,   b. 6 Jan 1836, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 14 Sep 1898, Allegany County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 62 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Johanna McKenzie,   b. 13 Jan 1838, Cumberland, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 8 Aug 1900, Cumberland, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 62 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Marriage 6 Oct 1859  Cumberland, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F00329  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Nicholas Long,   b. Abt 1872, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 23 Jan 1952 (Age ~ 80 years) 
    Marriage 15 Mar 1899  Sinclairsville, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Hubert Long,   b. 27 Aug 1899, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. UNKNOWN  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     2. Merle Long,   b. Abt 1901, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. UNKNOWN  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     3. Eugene Bernard Long,   b. Abt 1903, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. UNKNOWN  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     4. Carl Long,   b. Abt 1905, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. UNKNOWN  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     5. Delores Long,   b. Abt 1908   d. Abt 1927 (Age ~ 19 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     6. Vause Long,   b. Abt 1911   d. Jun 1924 (Age ~ 13 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     7. Ferman Long,   b. Abt 1918, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. UNKNOWN  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F00619  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 29 Oct 2021 

  • Photos
    Photo of Agnes Margaret Dougherty Long
    Photo of Agnes Margaret Dougherty Long

    Obituary of Agnes Margaret Long (b. 1877)
    Obituary of Agnes Margaret Long (b. 1877)

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