We found something long thought unfindable today. The tombstone of Marianne’s great-great-great grandfather. Marianne was born Marianne Toy. Six generations ago, Daniel Toy left Donegal for America and came to work in the E.I. du Pont powder mills. He lived in Henry Clay Village on the Brandywine with his wife Rosanna (Coyle). Twelve years later, he was killed in an explosion at the mills.
A family genealogy completed in 1941 says that he was buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Wilmington, but a bit of research turned up the fact that St. Peter’s (now St. Peter’s Cathedral) long ago built over the old cemetery during a period of church expansion. All this is true, but we contacted the cathedral archivist, George Callahan, and found out that many of the old tombstones had been saved and were stored in the church basement. Mr. Callahan offered to give us a personal tour and of the cathedral and show us the salvaged grave markers.
In the basement of the cathedral are the original basement windows from the 1818 church, leading to the old burial grounds. Many of the stones have been pulled forward and are quite easy to view. Daniel’s was found in a convenient location and largely intact.
This stone does present some new mysteries to solve, like the name of Daniel’s wife, an implied birth year different from what I found in earlier research, and a Parish name that doesn’t appear with this spelling in Donegal, but I love new mysteries…
This is a significant piece of family history! Thank you Mr. Callahan and thank you St. Peters for maintaining this historic site.