Mary Ellen LEE & James J. GLEESON

Mary Ellen LEE was born December 8, 1898 in San Francisco, or Colma, California, the first child of Thomas LEE and Margaret MAHONEY.

James J. GLEESON was baptized November 15, in 1888, in Garyyard, near Silvermines, County Tipperary, Ireland. He was the son of James GLEESON and Ellen HERBERT.

James Gleeson arrived in the USA in on September 19, 1910, arriving on the ship Arabic. The Arabic was built for the White Star and Dominion Line by Harlan & Wolff Limited, Belfast, Ireland, in 1903. See his parents page for more information about his arrival in the USA and the SS Arabic.

In the 1920 census, James Gleeson is listed as single, 31 years old, living with Frank Hanna, listed as married and age 35. Frank Hanna's wife was not listed in the 1920 census, so she may have returned to Ireland for a visit. They are living at 659 Moscow Street in San Francisco.

Mary Ellen LEE & James GLEESON had two children:

Mary Ellen GLEESON, born 14 August 1922 in San Francisco

James Thomas GLEESON, born 15 August 1923 in San Francisco

In the late 1920's Mary Ellen Lee GLEESON became very sick and the young Mary Ellen went to live with her aunt Bridget Sullivan and young James went to live with his aunt Nell Vanderleith for about a year.

In 1930 this family is living at 1280 Sanchez Street, San Francisco. They own their residence, valued at $5,000. James Sr is 41, born in Ireland, a cement finisher. Mary Ellen is 31. Their daughter Mary Ellen is 7 and their son James is 6.

In 1940 the family is still living at 1280 Sanchez Street and their residence is now valued at $3,500. James is listed as a cement finisher for the Board of Public Works.

Their son remembers many a Sunday driving to Santa Clara for mass at the little sisters convent. They would then have a picnic lunch in Milpitas with raw milk(unpastuerized). Then they would travel to Oakland for dinner with Uncle Billy(Mahoney) and Aunt Margery. Finally, they would take the ferry boat back to San Francisco late Sunday night.

Their son also says his father made bootleg alcohol during prohibition. He believes some of the alcohol was sold to his sister's husband Dan Sullivan for his "speak-easy". Once  prohibition ended James Gleeson lost this revenue source and Dan Sullivan opened a "restaurant" down the street from the location of the "speak-easy". Unfortunately, we have no proof for any of this.


James GLEESON passed on on 24 January 1948. Here is his gravestone from the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.
The birth year is off by 4 years. It is listed as 1892, but it actually is 1888. The year of death is actually 1948, but is listed as 1945.
When Mary Ellen Lee Gleeson was buried and a stone with her info added on the other side, they placed the wrong death date on
the stone for James. So per the stone he was 52, when in actuality he was 59.

Mary Ellen Lee Gleeson passed away on 6 March 1992 in Menlo Park, California. See her stone here.   

This page was last updated on August 10, 2014