James and Ethel

James and Ethel
by Keith Schmidt

In 1910, 16 year old James Irish was an errand boy for a drug store on Dominic Street in Rome, New York, where he had lived since arriving from England with his family in 1904.

16 year old James Irish center left (Keith Schmidt / John Irish)

In 1912 his mother, Bridget Ryan Irish died in Rome and in 1920 he was honorably discharged from the United States Army.

In 1922 he became a New York State Mounted Policeman. Trooper Irish was stationed in Oneida New York while the state troopers were in their formative years. The Wells Mills Bill, establishing the New York state police, was signed by Governor Whitman in April of 1917. Part of his patrol happened to be the Northshore of Oneida Lake.

The following was transcribed from Daily Sentinel Rome NY March 30 1922

James Irish Joins State Troopers

Rome man receives appointment and is stationed at the barracks in Oneida

James A Irish 306 Cottage Street, a well-known Roman, has been appointed a member of the New York State Troop and is now stationed at the Oneida barracks. He took up his duties on March 16th.

Mr. Irish is a native of Workingham, England and was born there on January 1 1895. His parents came to the United States and located in Rome in 1902. He has resided here since that time. He is the son of James Irish. He is a veteran of the World War. In July 1918 he enlisted in the United States Army and entered the ordinance department. He saw considerable service with his company in France. He is a member of Henry P Smith Post no. 24, American Legion Rome Council, no. 391, Knights of Columbus and Division no. 3 Ancient Order of Hibernians.

That same year, while on patrol one sunny July afternoon, he fatefully decided to buy an ice cream from an establishment called the L.F. Bitz Sons. He was served by a lovely young woman named Ethel, under the watchful eye of her aunt Lottie.

L.F. Bitz Sons – Store Front (CHS Archives)

Ethel Agnes Senecal was born August 1902 to Peter Senecal and Jeanette Schmidt. Ethel was born and raised in Cleveland, New York.  When she became of age, she was hired by her mothers’ sisters to work in their store. Her aunts, Rose and Lottie Schmidt, had married the Sons of L F Bitz.  They all ran the store together.

Ethel Senecal, I am told, worked in the store for four years.  She remembers very well serving that tall, handsome state trooper in his uniform and boots.  She told her children this story and my cousin John Irish was good enough to tell it to me.

Ethel’s Parents Peter and Jeanette Senecal (Keith Schmidt / John Irish)

James Irish and Ethel Senecal were married in Oswego County, 30 July 1923. Although they did not stay in Cleveland, they left to us a rather nice story.

Thanks go to John Irish for the story and the photo depicting his grandfather working as a young boy in the drugstore in Rome New York and for the one of my great aunt Jeanette and her husband Peter L Senecal.



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