View Full Version : Found Alive NY - Alice Hennesey, 7, & Julia Willan, 3, The Tombs prison, 1879

12-15-2010, 12:54 AM
A mother took her two daughters (half sisters) to The Tombs prison in New York after learning her husband had been arrested. Understandably she was upset and eager to see him. She was told by the guards that she could not bring the children in. Meanwhile a woman was leaving the prison and took a liking to the little girls. Seeing this, their mother asked if she would watch them quickly and the guard went elsewhere. The mother came back and the girls and the woman were gone. They don't know who the woman was or who she was visiting and no one remembered seeing her.


12-15-2010, 01:06 AM
This couldn't POSSIBLY be the kidnapper could it? Just a month later, same last name and appears to be older like the kidnapper was described (graying hair IE)


12-15-2010, 01:20 AM

I think this building is where the mother was living with her father after her daughters disappeared. I wonder if that is the same building? I know in Chicago that, if the building is an old building, it is probably original (from after the fire) or at least from the early 20th century. Right next to a post office, which was probably there at the time too. A church across the street.

PS - Chicago is busy but looking at this street I am REALLY GLAD I don't live in New York. Born and raised a city girl and I don't care for it!

ETA - OMG look how much one of those units goes for?!?!?! http://www.trulia.com/property/3025832674-431-14th-St-D3-Brooklyn-NY-11215

01-27-2011, 10:55 AM
I think it is probably a different Mrs. Lyons as this Elizabeth Lyons says she was from England. If she in fact was, she would have had an accent that Mrs. Willan would have mentioned. If they describe the woman's hair and clothes, they probably would have mentioned a particular accent. But maybe not.

I think I've found William and Kate (though here Katie) Willan in the 1900 Census. It seems like it should be them. William was born April 1857, Kat(i)e in December 1849. They are listed as living with a daughter Juliet Willian born October 1877. It says that William and Kat(i)e have been married 25 years, and for Katie it lists total number of children she has had as 4, and 2 as still living. So Juliet and one other. If this is the right people, it does seem strange to have a daughter named Juliet AND a Julia, though. I would think they're the same person but wouldn't have Juliet only been 2, not 3 in 1879?

I'm attaching the record page, go to line 65.

Also found Juliet marrying in 1893 (though I wonder why she was back with her parents in 1900 then?). It's definitely the right people. It lists Kat(i)e's maiden name as Hennesey. This means that 7 year old Alice Hennesey was an illegitimate child (I think maybe that Kate Willan had been married before). Kat(i)e's full name is Catherin Evangeline Hennesey.

04-02-2013, 09:16 AM
Does it seem likely for a family to have a daughter named Julia born 1876, and another daughter named 1877 about a year later? I've reread the stuff and it seems like they could just be the same person.

04-02-2013, 10:35 AM
Juliet's full name is Juliet Evangeline Willan. Her possibly ex-husband Ralph was Ralph Hardter, sometimes misspelled Handter, who died in 1923. Unfortunately census for New York for 1880-1900 are spotty, some of the state ones miss Manhattan.

Okay, looks like both Alice and Julia/Juliet were in fact recovered, as they appear on the 1880 census, which was taken in June 1880. Here they are:

Self William Willand M 26 New York, United States
Wife Catherine Willand F 24 New York, United States
Daughter Allace Willand F 8 New York, United States
Daughter Julia Willand F 4 New York, United States

I've checked parent's birthplaces for William and Kate/Katie/Catherine, it's the right people. Seems like Allace is Alice, and Julia and Juliet likely are the same child after all. So looks like a happy ending! No idea what happened to them later on in life, but at least they didn't stay missing.

04-03-2013, 08:33 PM
Nice find!!

04-03-2013, 08:41 PM
Wow- was I ever confused reading the title to this thread :)