The Daly Family of Hingham

Historian John Richardson (1934-2011) was an avid collector of all things Hingham– its places, its buildings, its people. Among his collection in the Historical Society’s archives are 64 binders of material, gathered from families, purchased at estate sales, or sometimes rescued from homes or buildings facing demolition, that chronicle the lives of a disparate group of Hingham individuals and families.

Two binders are devoted to Daniel Daly (1825-1911), one of the town’s earliest Irish immigrants, and his descendants. They tell a story that takes the family from newcomers just prior to the Civil War to well respected members of the Hingham community by century’s end.

Portrait of John Daly, early 1900s(?), John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

Daniel Daly was born in County Armagh, Ireland and arrived in Hingham in 1855, soon after marrying Nancy Crowe (1835-1905) from the County of Tipperary. Daniel began as a gardener, hiring himself out to local families. After serving in the Civil War he started working as a gardener and florist with prominent Hingham families, such as Charles B. Barnes.

Photo of Daniel Daly and 2 others on Estate of Charles B. Barnes, early 1900s, John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

With the money he earned, he bought a house at 19 Green Street where he and Nancy raised their family. The Dalys had two children who survived to adulthood and who both attended Hingham schools: Daniel (1857-1900), who later moved to St. Louis and became a police officer, and Edmund (1866-1930), who started out working in retail stores in Boston and later became a businessman ins own right as a partner in the Hingham Bicycle Company and later as the sole owner of Edmund Daly & Co., Hatters and Furnishers, which had a store in West Hingham.

The interior of Edmund Daly and Co. store in West Hingham, 1910s(?), Edmund Daly (center), others unidentified. John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

The Daly Family materials include this floor  sample from Daly & Co.:

Sample hat(?) floor sample from Edmund Daly & Co. c. 1910 from John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

Because he was a well respected businessman, members of the local community urged him to run for public office, including for a seat in the state legislature in the early 1900s.

Political Poster supporting Edmund Daly for State Representative, Unknown, prior to 1910, John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

Though he did not win this election for state office, Edmund served on many town boards, including the Playground Commission. Meanwhile, he inherited the family house on Green Street after his father’s death in 1911.

Edmund Daly standing in the backyard of his home at 19 Green Street, 1920s? John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

His community standing and political connections allowed him to be appointed as Hingham Postmaster by President Wilson in 1917, a job he held until 1930 when he suffered a fatal heart attack walking to work from his home. The town was shocked and saddened in hearing the news.

Edmund Daly married Margaret E. Daly (1864-1952). They had one daughter, Annabel Daly (1900-1993) who also attended the Hingham schools. The Richardson Daly binders even include one of her primary school class photos.

Class photo in front of Primary School Building in Hingham, unknown date (circa 1912), Annabel Daly second from left in first row. John Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Society

She then attended Hingham High School where she graduated in 1918. In her adult life, she kept a scrapbook of her early years and her father’s career, through which most of her family’s history was saved.

Page from Annabel Daly’s Scrapbook, June 1918. John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

She not only kept items of a personal nature but chronicled important events in town as well. Among her materials is media coverage of the destruction of the original Hingham High School by fire in 1927.

Page from scrapbook of Annabel Daly, Oct. 1927. John P. Richardson Collection, Hingham Historical Commission / Hingham Historical Society

Annabelle Daly continued to live in the Green Street house until her death at age 92. She did not marry and had no children. She was buried in the family plot at the St. Paul’s Cemetery. Her collection was obtained by John Richardson, who organized the Daly family materials into binders. These Daly binders and other family materials collected by John Richardson will soon be greatly more accessible at the new Hingham Heritage Museum.

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