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Holy Cross and Mount Olivet Cemeteries
Buffalo, New York

Known for over 100 years as the "Irish Cemetery", Holy Cross Cemetery in Buffalo, NY is the resting place for many of the Irish laborers and their families who helped build the industrial city on Lake Erie in the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the many occupants are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of former northern Pennyslvanians including those born in Sullivan County, PA. Drawn by the attraction of steady and better-paying work, the McDonalds, Sweeneys, Walshes, Sicks and Dempseys, to name but a few, left the farms and small towns of Sullivan County for the promise of the big city to the north. The cemetery contains over 130, 000 interments, dating back to 1849 and most are of Irish descent. For more information about Holy Cross and other Catholic cemeteries in the Buffalo area, including addresses and phone numbers, go to Catholic Cemeteries/Diocese of Buffalo.

One of their descendants, Mike Connors, a great-grandson of William Dempsey and Mary McGeever, has constructed a portfolio of photographs of Holy Cross, Mount Olivet and other local cemeteries of the emigrant Pennsylvanians, which we present here. You will find below pictures of the graves of Martin "Red" McDonald and several family members, his brother Eugene Patrick McDonald and family, Stephen Francis Sick and members of his family, a variety of photos of the cemetery itself, and a map to the cemetery layout. There are also pictures of the historic Our Lady of Victory Basilica, school and hospital facilities built by the noted parish diocesan priest, Father Nelson H. Baker, about whom you can learn more below. Finally, there is also a mystery picture of a grave marker for the Frawley family. We would be intrigued to know if this Frawley family was related to the large Frawley family from Sullivan and Bradford Counties, PA, later relocated to Elmira, NY, to whom the Sweeneys and other families of northern PA were related by marriage. The Sullivan County Genealogical Web Project is grateful to Mike for his effort and contribution. Mike can be reached at

Entrance to Holy Cross Cemetery
The cemetery has two sections divided by Ridge Road

Basilica of Our Lady of Victory at Holy Cross
Built by Monsignor Nelson H. Baker(1841-1936)
Consecrated in 1926
Reddish building to the left is OLV Catholic school
To the right is OLV Catholic hospital

A map showing the oldest (far lefthand side) and the newest part (to the far right) of Holy Cross Cemetery
There is an Annex section for addtional burials across Ridge Road

A panoramic view of the Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery
McDonalds, Frawleys and Related Families are Buried Here
Grave Marker of Eugene P. McDonald in Foreground

A map showing the Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery

Family Grave Marker at Holy Cross
Martin Anthony "Red" McDonald (1897-1966) and Helen "Budge" (Stocker) McDonald (1903-1976)
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery
Son of Michael McDonald and Annie Sweeney of Cherry Mills, PA
Also marks grave of Gerald McDonald (1932-1966), son of Martin and Helen
Died in an Automobile Accident in November 1976
The name "Metzger" refers to the married name of Martin's sister-in-law:
Dorothy (Stocker) Metzger (1901-1966), also interred at this spot

Grave marker for James McDonald (1924-1927)
Son of Martin McDonald and Helen Stocker
Died from Pneumonia
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery

Grave marker for James McDonald
Possibly the same James as marked by the previous stone
Dated August 4, 1924 (birth date?)
Placed in the McDonald family lot
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery

Grave marker for Robert Pease
Dated August 6, 1954
Placed in the McDonald family lot
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery

Family Grave Marker at Holy Cross
Eugene Patrick McDonald (1899-1957) and Catherine M. (Campbell) McDonald (1908-1983)
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery, Section #26, Lot #396
Son of Michael McDonald and Annie Sweeney of Cherry Mills, PA
Also marks grave of Robert Eugene McDonald (1933-1992), son of Eugene and Catherine
Fourth Space Reserved for Marion E. (Swankie) McDonald (1926--), Widow of Robert E.

Grave marker for Stephen Francis Sick (1887-1963)
His wife Mary A. "Mollie" (Walsh) Sick (1890-1975)
Son John Francis Sick (1923-1953)
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery (# 25)

John F. Sick also has a marker from the Veteran's Administration that reads:

John F. Sick
New York
Pfc., 15 Inf Regt 3 Division
World War II PH
April 14, 1923 - Sept 23, 1953

Presumably, this is for service in the Phillipines in World War Two.

Grave Marker for Frawley Family
Michael (1830-1928), Elizabeth (1864-1934), James J. (1888-1970) and Ann A. (1886-1975)
Behind the McDonald Grave Marker
The Annex section of Holy Cross Cemetery

The following picture from Mount Olivet Roman Catholic Cemetery shows the final resting places of a son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren of James and Bridget Jordan of Sullivan County, PA. The main marker in the first picture locates the graves of Thomas J. Jordan, the son, and his wife Catherine Bahl Jordan, as well as two of their children. These graves are in section B, Lot # 525. The other known children of Thoams and Catherine were Mary, Frank, Joseph A., Lawrence and an as yet unknown female Jordan who was married to Edward Gallagher. It is not yet known if this Gallagher is related to the Gallagher family of Sullivan County, as well. It is believed that the patriarch, James Jordan, was a brother or at worst a first cousin of Patrick Jordan, father of another large Jordan family in Sullivan County.

Family Grave Marker at Mount Olivet RC Cemetery
Thomas J. Jordan (1852-March 7, 1928) and Catherine (Bahl) Jordan (1856-December 21, 1942)
Also marks grave of their children: Clara H. Jordan (1882-October 1935) and Geraldine R. Jordan (1890-October 21, 1993)
Names on stone foundation at bottom of marker

Here are the funeral notices for Thomas Jordan and his wife Catherine (Bahl) Jordan:

Buffalo Evening News
Buffalo, Erie Co., NY
Tuesday, March 8, 1928
Page 60

JORDAN - In North Tonawanda, N.Y., March 7, 1928. Thomas Jordan, beloved husband of Catherine (nee Bahl); father of Joseph A., Frank A., Lawrence, Clara H. and Geraldine, Mrs. M.G. Cain and Mrs. E.M. Gallagher; brother of Mrs. John Marks and Mrs. William Kernan. Funeral Saturday morning at 8:30 o'clock from the late residence, 115 Vanderyoort Street and one-half hour later from Ascension Church, Robinson Street. Interment in Mount Olivet cemetery. Deceased was a member of the Holy Name Society of Ascension church.

Buffalo Evening News
Buffalo, Erie Co., NY
Tuesday, December 22, 1942
Page 34

JORDAN - Catherine B. Jordan, In Kenmore, N.Y., December 21, 1942, mother of Geraldine R. of Washington, D.C., Frank L. of Tonawanda, Mrs. M. G. Cain (Editor's Note: original says "Mrs. Ginn", but this must be incorrect), and Mrs. E.M. Gallagher of Kenmore, N.Y. Allan L. of Williamsville, N.Y. and the late Clara H. and Joseph A. (Jordan). Funeral will be held from the home of her daughter, Mrs. E.M. Gallagher, 71 Tremont Avenue. Time to be announced later.

Here is another picture from Mount Olivet in the Jordan area. It is a small stone with Joseph A. Jordan listed as "Father", with the dates of 1876 - 1929. He is also a son of Thomas and Catherine Bahl Jordan. His date of death was March 3, 1929. The two small graves for Leo J. Jordan (1896-1897) and Marie T. Jordan(1900-1908) next to the stone for Joseph must be his children.

Copyright 2001 Robert E. Sweeney and individual Contributors. All Rights Reserved. Prior written permission is required from Robert E. Sweeney and individual Contributors before this material can be printed or otherwise copied, displayed or distributed in any form. This is a FREE genealogy site sponsored through PAGenWeb and can be reached directly at ~Sullivan County Genealogy Project (

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