Undated photograph of Elizabeth Maher McCormick (Ann McClary / Find a Grave)

Undated photograph of Elizabeth Maher McCormick (Ann McClary / Find a Grave)


Elizabeth "Eliza" Maher (also spelled Meagher) was baptized on May 26, 1836, in Duagh, County Kerry, Ireland. Her parents were Patrick Maher and Ellen Wolfe Maher. She had eight siblings: Margaret (b. 1829), Patrick (b. ca. 1831), Johanna (b. 1838), Honora (b. ca. 1844), Bartholomew (b. 1846), Mary (b. 1848), Ellen (b. ca. 1849), and Catherine (b. 1853).

In 1849, Maher's sister Margaret immigrated to the United States with her mother's brother Maurice Richard Wolfe. During the 1840s, many Wolfes left Ireland, including Elizabeth Maher’s uncle John R. Wolfe and his cousin Maurice, who sailed together in 1847; her uncle Thomas R. Wolfe, who sailed in 1848; her mother’s cousin Richard Wolfe, who also sailed in 1848; and her uncle Richard Wolfe, who sailed separately from her in 1849. A cousin, John E. Wolfe, also came to the United States, and all of these Wolfes, including Margaret Maher, settled first in LaSalle County, Illinois. Some went on to Clinton County, Iowa.

Elizabeth Maher is likely the same Eliza Maher who sailed aboard the Isaac Webb from Liverpool to New York, arriving on August 24, 1857. Like her sister and Wolfe relatives, she ended up in LaSalle County, where she married Richard McCormick, a native of County Longford, Ireland, in February 1860. They had six children: Elizabeth "Lyda" (b. 1860), John Patrick (b. 1862), Andrew J. (b. 1864), Richard "Dick" (b. 1866), Mary Ellen (b. 1867), and Margaret Mary (b. 1877).

The couple farmed in Grand Rapids Township, LaSalle County, for the rest of their lives. According to his obituary, Richard McCormick was "one of the wealthiest farmers of the county."

Eliza McCormick died at her home on March 5, 1900, in Grand Rapids Township, after an illness lasting several months. Her husband died on November 26, 1911. They are buried together at Saint Columba Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois.