1976 - 1978 Family Letters across America and across the Ocean

“It was the wish of my husband that you all get to know one another as you are all descendants of the McGrath family and the old home is still there.”

              Grace McGrath, widow of “Gaffee” oldest son of Jack McGrath 1978


John,“Gaffee” McGrath, Jack’s oldest child


                                            October 6, 1977

Dear Ellen,

    I am sending you copies of a letter and pictures of your cousins in Ireland.  Making these copies was one of the last things my dear husband did before his last illness.  He was very interested in his family and liked them to keep together.

    We visited them several times in Ireland. 
The Hacketts are very friendly and I believe, Tony, is related to you on his mother’s side.  I hope you, too, someday will visit Ireland and meet the Hacketts.  They have live close to the old family home in Limerick where Gaffey’s father, John J. McGrath, and his brothers and sisters were born and lived as children.  The Hacketts address is at the top of the letters I’m sending.
They would be very pleased to hear from you especially at Xmas time.  I called my husband “John” and they did too.  However they will get used to Gaffey, which was a family name on his mother’s side.  In either case he would be happy to know that you were keeping in touch.

    I miss my dear husband a great deal.  He was a kind and thoughtful person and in addition had a wonderful mind.  I think everyone who knew him loved and admired him.

    I hope your lovely family is well.  I can see that you are giving them a good education and love - which is the best.


                                                    Grace McGrath

P.S. As you probably know.  Garryarthur is the name of their home.  Kilfinane the district in County Limerick, Ireland




Ellen McGrath Gardiner was the daughter of Tom McGrath and the granddaughter of James.  Tom died when she was an infant. She lived in Massachusetts.

Grace was the widow of John, “Gaffee” McGrath. John was the Jack McGrath’s oldest child.   Ellen Gardiner’s daughter, Mary Wilson, shared these pictures and letters with us.



                                                                                       Co Limerick

                                                                        December 14th 1976

Dear John & Grace,

                                    I wish you both a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year .  I sincerely hope you both are keeping well. We are all well here.  The oldest girl Maria is still in Boston.  She was home for three weeks holidays in July.  The two girls that are married will be coming home for Christmas.

    One lives in Naas Co Kildar and the other girl lives in Mullingar Co Westmeath.  She has two boys and the other girl has two girls and a boy.  The next girl is now going to University since October.  She will be due home on Friday for the Christmas holidays.  The youngest is going to secondary school so she is the only one at home except when we have the others on holiday so we have a quiet house a lot of the time.  I’m enclosing a photo of Tony and myself and on of ourselves and the five girls.  I had meant to send them for ages. 

    The trouble is still raging in the North of Ireland and its very hard to see an end to it.  there is great bitterness between the Protestants and the Catholics.  We had lovely weather this summer and there was a great shortage of water in places but it has more than made up for it in the past couple of months it has rained so much.  We had a little snow last week.  Well that’s all my news for now.  With renewed good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from Tony myself and the girls.

                                                                                I remain

                                                                                      Yours V. Sincerely

                                                                                                Anna Hackett

Climb of the Galtees 1964

Anna Hackett, Patsy Moloney, Tony Hackett, Maria Hackett

picture from Annette Hackett

Other letters and pictures from Mary Wilson

granddaughter of Ellen McGrath Gardiner, great granddaughter of Tom McGrath, cousin to Mary Daly, Tony’s Mother