William Joseph DORGAN
b: 11 APR 1897
d: 22 FEB 1983
Biography

William John Dorgan is an enigmatic character.

William John Dorgan was assumed to have been named William Joseph Dorgan. His son is named William Joseph Dorgan, Jr. and I am his grandson, also named William Joseph Dorgan III. But his baptismal certificate says William John Dorgan. However, this may have been an error made by the person who entered the name into the church register.

In any case, I have retained his name as William Joseph Dorgan.

1900 US CENSUS:

Name: William Dorgan Age: 3 Birth Date: Apr 1897 Birthplace: Ireland Home in 1900: Providence Ward 3, Providence, Rhode Island
[Providence]  Race: White Gender: Male Immigration Year: 1898 Relation to Head of House: Son Marital Status: Single Father's Name: Patrick Dorgan Father's Birthplace: Ireland Mother's Name: Mary Dorgan Mother's Birthplace: Ireland Occupation: View on Image Neighbors: View others on page Household Members:
Name
Age
Patrick Dorgan
39
Mary Dorgan
29
Annie Dorgan
12
Michael Dorgan
10
Patrick Dorgan
8
David Dorgan
5
William Dorgan
3


1910 US CENSUS

Name: William Dorgan
[William Dorgon] 
[William Dergan]  Age in 1910: 12 Birth Year: 1898 Birthplace: Ireland Home in 1910: Providence Ward 3, Providence, Rhode Island Race: White Gender: Male Immigration Year: 1908 Relation to Head of House: Son Marital Status: Single Father's Name: Patrick Dorgan Father's Birthplace: Ireland Mother's Name: Mary Dorgan Mother's Birthplace: Ireland Neighbors: View others on page Household Members:
Name
Age
Patrick Dorgan
44
Mary Dorgan
39
Anna Dorgan
21
Mecheal Dorgan
20
Patrick Dorgan
18
David Dorgan
16
William Dorgan
12
Mary Dorgan
5
Mary Johnstone
50

William does not appear on the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Census for Rhode Island.

The 1905 Census of Rhode Island has his date of birth as May 21, 1897.
William Joseph Dorgan's death Certificate says he was born on April 15, 1905.
His application for a Social Security Account number says he was born April 15, 1900. The Social Security Death Index says he was born on April 11, 1897.

He was older than Helen Louise McIntosh, his wife, who was also born in 1905. His sister, Mary Catherine, was born on March 19, 1905 and she is the last born of Patrick Dorgan and Mary Hartnett. It seems that the SSDI is right. He was born on April 11, 1897. This date was also confirmed by William's Irish baptismal certificate.

His Rhode Island state file is #159 and his Warwick, Rhode Island file is #83-160.

William applied for a Social Security Account Number on January 29, 1940. At that time he gave his address as Division Road, R.F.D. 67, East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He stated that the business name of his employer was Moriarty & Kay Oil Company. The business was located at 164 Allens Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island.

Anne O'Donnell, wife of Thomas A. Dorgan, Sr. (the son of Michael Joseph Dorgan and the brother of William Joseph Dorgan) related the story that William Joseph Dorgan had made arrangements to enter the seminary of a Religious Order in France with one of his cousins. He never made it because he could not raise the funds for passage. This story was confirmed by Marc Rubio, a first cousin of Thomas Dorgan, Sr. In his e-mail correspondence with me, Marc wrote:

"Well, I am happy that our once separated Dorgan family searches concern now the same ancestors in Rhode Island and Ireland. Thank you very much for your message entitled "Family Tree Maker" : so many details are given and I'm sure it has required long hours to compile everything!
You wrote in your message about a seminary of a religious order in France. This story may have a link with my family : my great-grandfather Christopher Joseph King (1874-1917) , brother of Catherine King (spouse: Michael Joseph Dorgan), studied for the priesthood in Ellicott City, MD, and he apparently participated in an exchange study program in Lille, France. I was told he may have met his future wife while attending Sunday afternoon vespers at a local church on one of his free Sunday afternoons from the seminary. So he married Malvina Landrieu in 1900 and became consul of the United States in Lille. The couple had 4 children : Yolande, Madeleine, Roger and Edgar. The surname KING died out in France as Roger and Edgar didn't have children (neither did Yolande). My grandmother Madeleine KING (1906-1974) married Julio RUBIO (from Colombia) and got 2 children : my father Francis (1932-1998) and my aunt Yvette."

William Joseph Dorgan was an auto-mechanic and a carpenter by trade. He worked with James Moriarty, the husband of his sister, Mary, as an oil-truck driver. James Moriarty would also buy houses and hire William to restore them. James would then re-sell the houses at a profit. At one time, William built a large barn for James Moriarty in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Francis Maguire and Thomas Dorgan, Sr. would accompany James Moriarty and William to this barn in the middle of the Great Depression, around 1935-37. They rarely had enough to eat so they would poach corn from one of the farms in West Greenwich.

Unfortunately, William had a life-long problem with alcohol. He spent much of his money drinking with his friends.

Both his marriages ended in divorce. He married his first wife, Jessie Greig, a waitress, on June 9, 1917. They had a son who was born on October 9, 1917 and died on October 15, 1917. They separated in the summer of 1918. She initially petitioned for divorce on January 27, 1920. She was granted a divorce on January 4, 1923 which, after the customary six months lapse, became effective on July 6, 1923. She obtained the divorce on the grounds of "neglect to provide". She was also allowed to resume her maiden name of Jessie Greig. At that time she was 23 years old and lived at 369 Charles Street, Providence, Rhode Island.

Her deposition states that "(William) has never supported me. I have worked since my marriage in 1917 and have supported myself. He has failed completely to provide me with any of the necessaries of life for the past five years and five months. He is a chauffeur and earns about $35 a week. He could support me well if he wanted to. We separated five years ago through no fault on my part and have not lived together since that time. We have no children. I wish to resume my maiden name, Jessie Greig."

He married his second wife, my Grandmother, Helen Louise McIntosh on July 25, 1923 at 592 North Main Street, Fall River, Massachusetts before Joseph F. Delahanty, Justice of the Peace & Assistant City Clerk. The registration number was 811 and the intention number was 735. In those days, a couple had to record their intention to marry. They did this in Fall River, Massachusetts on July 3, 1923 and a certificate of intention was issued by the City Clerk, John Crowther on July 9, 1923.

William stated that he was 25 years of age at his last birthday and that he resided at 61 Bergen Street, Providence, Rhode Island. His father was Patrick Dorgan and his mother was Mary "Hartwell" (Hartnett). He also stated that he was born in Providence, Rhode Island, but this is not the case. He was born in Ireland. He listed himself as a chauffeur. This was his second marriage.

Helen Louise stated that she was 17 years of age at her last birthday and that she resided at 51 Pekin Street, Providence, Rhode Island. Her father was Charles L. McIntosh and her mother was Ellen L. Dwyer. She also stated that she was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She listed no occupation. This was her first marriage.

He abandoned Helen Louise and their three children in 1927. At that time, they were living in the Auburn section of Cranston, Rhode Island. Helen Louise Dorgan's mother, Ellen [Dwyer] McIntosh Connell, and her husband, Joseph Connell, took a taxi from Providence to Cranston to rescue Helen Louise and her children from homelessness. They brought Helen Louise, who was pregnant with their third child, Corinne, and her two other children, William and Helen Louise, to live at their home on 956 Chalkstone Avenue in the Mount Pleasant section of Providence, Rhode Island. William and Helen Louise attempted reconciliation a short time later, but it failed.

After the separation of William and Helen, William went to live with his mother in the Spring Green section of Warwick, Rhode Island. Later, he and his mother lived in a house owned by James Moriarty on Division Road in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

William and Helen were divorced in the Superior Court of Providence, Rhode Island on September 22, 1937 before Judge Sullivan on the grounds of "neglect to provide and willful desertion." Helen was represented by the law offices of Charles B. Coppen, 49 Westminster St., Providence, Rhode Island. William never contested nor was represented by counsel during the divorce proceedings. Helen was awarded "custody of the three minor children, William J. Dorgan, age 14; Helen L. Dorgan, age 13; Corrine H. Dorgan, age 9." "The question of alimony and support of the minor children" was "left for the future determination of the Court." There is no court record that Helen Louise persued alimony and child support. And there is no court record that William provided alimony or child support.


More about William Joseph Dorgan:

Baptized by: Rev. John O'Riordan, 15 Apr 1897, Ballycotton Church (actually Ballycotton Chapel down the lane from McGraw's Pub since the Ballycotton Church was not dedicated until 1901), Diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland. Sponsor: Margarita Roche (unknown relationship, perhaps a person in attendance since William may not have been expected to live. His baptism happened within three days of his birth. It is unusual to have only one baptismal sponsor, but not altogether unprecedented.


I want to relate a personal story of how I came to know my grandfather:

Amazing things happen!  

My brother, Eddie, found this photo hidden in a drawer of a desk he was about to throw away.

It is the only known photo of my grandfather, WILLIAM J. DORGAN, Sr. taken on 17 AUG 1969.  My grandfather was 72 and I was 20 ... almost 21.  He died 14 years later on 22 FEB 1983. 

At the time I met him I was heading for Novitiate (a spiritual year of study, prayer and reflection) with the Carmelites. 

He married twice: 

(1) He married his first wife, Jessie Greig, a waitress, on June 9, 1917.  They had a son who was born on October 9, 1917 and died on October 15, 1917.  They separated in the summer of 1918 and were formally divorced on January 4, 1923.

(2) He married his second wife, Helen Louise McIntosh, on 25 JUL 1923. They had three children, one of which was my father, William J. Dorgan, Jr.

I had never before met my grandfather. His name or whereabouts were never mentioned. Even as a child I always wondered what happened to him. After all, every boy had two grandfathers, except me! I was to learn later that he and my grandmother were separated in 1927 and formally divorced on 22 SEP 1937. Sadly, no one ever mentioned his name to his grandchildren. And it wasn't until 1969 that I found out about him by chance: 

One summer day in 1969, Ann O'Donnell-Dorgan came into the Shepherd Company in downtown Providence where I worked as a clerk in the men's clothing department. I noticed her charge card said DORGAN. I told her I was a DORGAN and she said her husband was my Dad's first cousin. First surprise: I never knew my Dad had cousins! 

We got into a conversation and I asked her if she knew my grandfather. She said, "Yes, I know him. He is my husband's uncle". I was flabbergasted. Second surprise: I did not know if he was dead or alive and here was confirmation that he was indeed alive!  

I asked her if she could put me in contact with him and she said she would have her son, Tommy Dorgan contact me. Within a few days, my newly discovered cousin, Tommy Austin Dorgan, Jr., contacted me and took me to meet my grandfather at the **Rhode Island Medical Center (colloquially known at that time as "Howard"). 

My grandfather was in the general hospital of the Rhode Island Medical Center because he was indigent. He was a surgical patient, not a psychiatric patient. He had fallen and fractured his hip. He was being discharged in a few days.

Despite what I heard about him, I immediately liked him, and I knew he liked me too. I could not get over how he looked like my own father, his son, and how all three of us resembled one another. It was uncanny, and a memory burnt into my brain forever.

At this meeting I spontaneously invited him to come to my father's home for a "cook-out" and he readily accepted. I picked him up at his home at 21 Beach Avenue, Warwick and drove him to my father's house at 85 Herschel Street in Providence. He was dandyishly  dressed in a white starched shirt, pressed slacks and polished black shoes with his white hair combed impeccably.

He and my Dad had been estranged since the late 1920s - early 1930s. In fact, I believe that my Dad only saw him once at the Providence Police Station in the 1950s. To this day, I am not too sure how my Dad really felt about this meeting that I had arranged without consulting him first or seeking his permission. We never discussed it. But, for me, it was a wonderful encounter indelibly ingrained in my memory ...  it was simply the right thing to do.

I never saw my grandfather again but I still think of him.

When he died, my own father, his son, had a funeral Mass celebrated and buried him properly. My father is an honorable man. Later on, my Dad told me that when he went to claim the body as next of kin, he noticed that on his bed stand was the Bible and a photo of me and him that I had taken at the Rhode Island Medical Center. This is the photo my brother, Eddie, found this photo in the discarded desk. I have posted it to my website.

I wish I had kept in contact with him, but I didn't.

The death notice of William J. Dorgan appeared in the Providence Journal on 24 February 1983, page C2.

DORGAN, WILLIAM J. Sr.

February 22, 1983. Son of the late Patrick and Mary (Hodnett) Dorgan. Residence 21 Beach Ave., Warwick. Private funeral from the Winfield Funeral Home, 94 Beach Ave.
Facts
  • 11 APR 1897 - Birth - ; Carrigkilter, Ballintemple, East County Cork, Ireland
  • 15 APR 1897 - Baptism - ; Church of Churchtown South, Diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland. Baptised by: Rev. John O'Riordan, 15 Apr 1897, at
  • 25 FEB 1983 - Burial - ; St. Francis Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island (Section 60, Grave #1480)
  • 22 FEB 1983 - Death - ; Warwick, Rhode Island 02889
  • Occupation - Oil Truck Driver, Auto Mechanic and Carpenter
Ancestors
   
Patrick DORGAN (DARGAN)
ABT 1820 - BEF 1886
 
 
Patrick J. DORGAN
26 APR 1860 - 9 DEC 1937
  
  
  
Johanna (Ann) (Nancy) FLYNN
ABT 1817 - 9 MAR 1895
 
William Joseph DORGAN
11 APR 1897 - 22 FEB 1983
  
 
  
John HARTNETT
1832 - 1893
 
 
Mary Catherine HARTNETT
22 NOV 1866 - 23 NOV 1950
  
  
  
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Patrick J. DORGAN
Birth26 APR 1860Carrigkilter, Ballintemple, East County Cork, Ireland
Death9 DEC 1937 Cranston, Rhode Island
Marriage26 NOV 1886to Mary Catherine HARTNETT at Cloyne RC Church, Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
FatherPatrick DORGAN (DARGAN)
MotherJohanna (Ann) (Nancy) FLYNN
PARENT (F) Mary Catherine HARTNETT
Birth22 NOV 1866Churchtown South, East County Cork, Ireland
Death23 NOV 1950 Warwick, Rhode Island
Marriage26 NOV 1886to Patrick J. DORGAN at Cloyne RC Church, Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
FatherJohn HARTNETT
Mother(Mary) Catherine DUHIG
CHILDREN
FAnne Theresa DORGAN
Birth24 APR 1887Churchtown South, Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
Death1 JUN 1975Warwick, Rhode Island 02888
Marriage26 JUN 1913to John Henry MAGUIRE , Jr. at Providence, Rhode Island
MPatrick Francis DORGAN
Birth28 MAY 1891Ballybraher, Ballycotton, County Cork, Ireland
Death8 APR 1969Providence, Rhode Island
Marriage12 JAN 1914to Sarah Violet WATERS at St. Patrick's Church, Providence, Rhode Island
Marriageto Edna FRECHETTE at New York, New York
FMary Catherine DORGAN
Birth19 MAR 1905Providence, Rhode Island
Death20 DEC 1996Cranston, Rhode Island 02920
Marriageto Raymond James MORIARTY
MTimothy Joseph DORGAN
Birth17 JUN 1902Providence, Rhode Island
Death17 APR 1903Providence, Rhode Island
MMichael Joseph DORGAN
Birth25 FEB 1889Ballybraher, Ballycotton, County Cork, Ireland
Death10 AUG 1967Hooksett, New Hamshire
Marriage29 JUL 1914to Catherine Josephine KING at Immaculate Conception Church, Warwick, Rhode Island
MJohn Joseph DORGAN
Birth16 DEC 1895Ballybraher, Ballycotton, Parish of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
DeathAFT 22 DEC 1895Ballybraher, Ballycotton, Parish of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
MWilliam Joseph DORGAN
Birth11 APR 1897Carrigkilter, Ballintemple, East County Cork, Ireland
Death22 FEB 1983Warwick, Rhode Island 02889
Marriage25 JUL 1923to Helen Louise McINTOSH at Fall River, Massachusetts
Marriage9 JUN 1917to Jessie GREIG at Saint Patrick's Church, Providence, Rhode Island
MDavid Andrew DORGAN
Birth9 SEP 1893Ballybraher, Ballycotton, County Cork, Ireland
Death4 OCT 1984Providence, Rhode Island 02905
Marriage5 NOV 1919to Ellen Margaret DOORLEY
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) William Joseph DORGAN
Birth11 APR 1897Carrigkilter, Ballintemple, East County Cork, Ireland
Death22 FEB 1983 Warwick, Rhode Island 02889
Marriage25 JUL 1923to Helen Louise McINTOSH at Fall River, Massachusetts
Marriage9 JUN 1917to Jessie GREIG at Saint Patrick's Church, Providence, Rhode Island
FatherPatrick J. DORGAN
MotherMary Catherine HARTNETT
PARENT (F) Helen Louise McINTOSH
Birth28 DEC 1905Providence, Rhode Island
Death6 NOV 1992 Roger Williams Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island
Marriage25 JUL 1923to William Joseph DORGAN at Fall River, Massachusetts
FatherCharles Leslie McINTOSH
MotherEllen Louise DWYER
CHILDREN
MWilliam Joseph DORGAN , Jr.
Birth7 JUL 1923Providence, Rhode Island
Death26 AUG 2006Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Marriage31 AUG 1946to Mary Anne GORMAN at Blessed Sacrament Church, Providence, Rhode Island
Marriage17 DEC 1987to Dolores CARBONE at St. Joseph's Church, North Scituate, Rhode Island
FHelen Louise DORGAN
Birth19 AUG 1924Providence, Rhode Island
Death26 JUL 2015Nashville, TN
Marriageto Thomas Francis MONAHAN, SR
FCorinne Hope DORGAN
Birth28 OCT 1927Providence, Rhode Island
Death7 APR 2015Greenville, RI
Marriage26 OCT 1953to Earl Earnest HERZOG ,Jr.
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) William Joseph DORGAN
Birth11 APR 1897Carrigkilter, Ballintemple, East County Cork, Ireland
Death22 FEB 1983 Warwick, Rhode Island 02889
Marriage25 JUL 1923to Helen Louise McINTOSH at Fall River, Massachusetts
Marriage9 JUN 1917to Jessie GREIG at Saint Patrick's Church, Providence, Rhode Island
FatherPatrick J. DORGAN
MotherMary Catherine HARTNETT
PARENT (F) Jessie GREIG
Birth26 FEB 1900Providence, Rhode Island
Death
Marriage9 JUN 1917to William Joseph DORGAN at Saint Patrick's Church, Providence, Rhode Island
FatherAlexander H. GREIG
MotherCatherine
CHILDREN
MBaby Son DORGAN
Birth9 OCT 1917Rhode Island
Death15 OCT 1917Rhode Island
Picture Gallery
 
Descendancy Chart
William Joseph DORGAN b: 11 APR 1897 d: 22 FEB 1983
Helen Louise McINTOSH b: 28 DEC 1905 d: 6 NOV 1992
William Joseph DORGAN , Jr. b: 7 JUL 1923 d: 26 AUG 2006
Mary Anne GORMAN b: 7 MAR 1925 d: 28 JUN 1982
Mary Ann DORGAN b: 29 SEP 1947 d: 29 SEP 1947
Daniel Patrick DORGAN b: 30 SEP 1958 d: 25 MAR 1959
William Joseph DORGAN III b: 6 DEC 1948
Edward Michael DORGAN b: 4 AUG 1950
Lori MORRISON b: 9 MAY 1957
Joanne Marie DORGAN b: 4 AUG 1953
John Michael DOOLEY b: 10 NOV 1950
Michael Matthew DOOLEY b: 21 AUG 1977
Meaghan Elizabeth DOOLEY b: 18 JUN 1981
Donna Marie DORGAN b: 9 JUL 1963
Timothy Neil PHELAND b: 3 MAY 1963
Timothy Neil PHELAND , Jr. b: 28 APR 1989
Kyle Patrick PHELAND b: 19 DEC 1992
Mackenzie Marie PHELAND b: 17 SEP 2001
Dolores CARBONE b: 27 FEB 1932
Helen Louise DORGAN b: 19 AUG 1924 d: 26 JUL 2015
Thomas Francis MONAHAN, SR b: 23 DEC 1922 d: 17 AUG 1988
Ellen Margaret MONAHAN b: 26 AUG 1946
Timothy William STAATS b: 23 APR 1967
Dylan Redmond STAATS b: 31 DEC 1993
Brandon Lorenzo STAATS b: 23 SEP 1999
Wendy Lynne STAATS b: 18 FEB 1969
Ramiro REYES b: 12 JAN 1970
Joshua Felipe REYES b: 20 FEB 1997
Kaitlyn Cecilia REYES b: 30 NOV 2006
Andrew Francis MONAHAN b: 8 SEP 1977
Matthew Jean MONAHAN b: 29 JAN 1979
Leslie Marie GAMEZ b: 8 AUG 1984
Madison Hope MONAHAN b: 17 AUG 2007
Dylan Chase MONAHAN b: 18 JUN 2009
Brandon MONAHAN b: ABT 1999
Lynne Ann MONAHAN b: 7 APR 1952
Lynne Ann MONAHAN b: 7 APR 1952
Kenneth Alan MONAHAN b: 29 JAN 1959
Corinne Hope DORGAN b: 28 OCT 1927 d: 7 APR 2015
Earl Earnest HERZOG ,Jr. b: 3 APR 1926 d: 17 SEP 2010
Richard HERZOG b: 16 MAR 1952
David HERZOG b: 12 MAY 1955
Donald E. HERZOG b: 4 JUN 1956
Robert HERZOG b: 29 SEP 1949 d: 25 JUN 2012
Jessie GREIG b: 26 FEB 1900
Baby Son DORGAN b: 9 OCT 1917 d: 15 OCT 1917