ELLA V. MAHONEY (1858-1948)
Tudor Hall in Ella Mahoney's Time
Ella V. Mahoney's father, Charles Wesley Harward, was the tenant farmer of the Tudor Hall property in Harford County, Maryland.1 She was born in 1858 on the property called Tudor Hall. She was the eldest of eight children. As a child, Ella played around Tudor Hall, and she wrote poetry and dreamed of living in Tudor Hall. When her mother died, she raised the younger children. Ella encouraged her fiancÚ, Samuel Alexander Stuart Kyle, to buy Tudor Hall. They were married in 1879. At that time he had been a widower for three years with no children. His deceased wife was Anna Fendall. Ella and Samuel had two daughters: Grace and Anna K. (Mrs. Amos H. Cooley). Mr. Kyle died on July 2, 1893 at age 74. In 1897, Ella married a blind musician, choir-master, music teacher, and organist, John F. Mahoney who died in 1916 at age 64. Ella died at the age of 90 in Tudor Hall. The Mahoneys are buried in the cemetery at St. Ignatius Church in Hickory, about three miles from Tudor Hall.2 Mr. Samuel Kyle and their two daughters are buried at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Churchville, a few miles from Tudor Hall.
Ella was always a creative person writing, collecting, and painting. Some of her poetry was reputed to be published in local newspapers. The book, Sketches of Tudor Hall and the Booth Family,3 was first published in 1925 by Mrs. Mahoney to sell to visitors to Tudor Hall. She wrote books titled Fifty Years at Tudor Hall and The Real John Wilkes Booth. The fate of those books is not known. James Wollon and Terry Alford have both donated fragments of books Ella was working on at the time of her death to The Historical Society of Harford County called The House That Booth Built and Crossing the Threshold.4 She is reputed to have provided much of the information used by her boarder, Stanley Kimmel, in his book, The Mad Booths of Maryland, published by The Boobs-Merrill Company in 1940 and by Dover Publications in 1969. It is reported that Ella objected strongly to the title.
While Ella was not able to do much research, it appears that she had a very unique perspective on important segments of the history of the theater and the Civil War. She corresponded and visited with members of the Booth family, their friends, and eyewitnesses to historic events for most of her 90 years. Her most important contribution was in preserving Tudor Hall and helping maintain interest in the history of the Booth family.
Ella, who was a poet, concluded Sketches of Tudor Hall and the Booth Family with the following:
"I sit this spring morning looking out on the grounds once so familiar to those whose history has somehow grown deeply into my own life. I see the old locust trees, the immense sycamore, whose branches would now have met over the old log house, if it were standing, those of the cherry tree. The oriole has come; I hear his joyous sound, as he and his mate flit back and forth, choosing a place to hang their nest on some far-reaching branch of the sycamore. The robins have already made their nests, and are hopping in pairs about the lawn. The wren is singing wildly, while his mate finishes her nest-making in the house that has been her choice for many years. And the peewit is building in her old place over a window on the porch. The martins are welcoming each additional pair of arrivals to their colony in their cheerful fashion. But they who held this peaceful scene in such fond remembrance are gone, and I shall be glad if I have done a little to perpetuate kind memories of those who in the shelter of this quiet home played at tragedy, and later went out into the world to experience it in real life.
"And may the memory of the patriotism of Richard Booth, the world-renowned genius of Junius Brutus, his son, and the undying memory of Edwin Booth, the brave in time of calamity, the gentle, good and lofty soul, who dignified the stage and is a source of undying pride to his native Maryland, cover with a mantle of charity the memory of the fanatical and misguided one who made the nation mourn."____________________
James T. Wollon (left), Mrs. Ella Mahoney's Great-grandson and a Historic Preservation Architect, and Henry Peden, the Most Noted Genealogist in Maryland
Photographed by Dinah Faber, August 11, 2006