|Nellie O'Hare Barrett and husband Albert Patrick Barrett|
Nellie was the daughter of Michael O’Hare and Mary Temperance Mathis. Her father was an immigrant from Ireland. Her mother was born either in Tennessee or Illinois. Accounts of her birthplace vary on official documents. Nellie had an older brother, Thomas. She also had a half-brother, John, from her father's first marriage, plus three half-siblings from her mother’s first marriage, Joseph, Martha and Robert Burns. (Side note: John O'Hare later married his step-sister, Martha Burns).
Nellie married Albert Patrick Barrett of Mount Savage, Maryland, on October 18, 1893 in Belleville, Illinois. Between 1894 and 1906, Nellie and Albert had six children in Illinois, Julia Ellen (my great-grandmother), Martha Magdalene, Stephen James, Charles William and Bernard Theodore.
|Nellie Barrett with her son Bernard|
According to my grandmother, LaVerne Rutherfurd Smith, Nellie had terrible asthma, which prompted the family’s move west to a dryer climate. My grandmother told me that she remembered hearing stories of Nellie’s frightening asthma attacks, and that she burned and inhaled a powder called Asthmador to relieve the symptoms of asthma. It was made from ingredients that included belladonna and stramonium, both plants in the poisonous nightshade family. This commonly-used asthma medication was apparently quite effective for many asthmatics, but could cause hallucinations if ingested rather than inhaled.
My grandmother told me that she remembered Nellie being small, quiet and dark haired. Nellie died on February 9, 1942 in Los Angeles. I was always told she died from a stroke, like her daughter Julia, but her death certificate lists three causes of death: hypostatic pneumonia, cerebral hemorrhage and hypertension. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and cerebral hemorrhage seem to confirm the account of a stroke. Hypostatic pneumonia evidently occurs primarily in those such as the bedridden or elderly who are confined to a supine position for extended periods. Nellie was 66 at the time of her death.
Nellie is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.