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Arizona ghost hunter travels: Irish family ghosts

Sometimes you can find interesting stories about the 'ghosts' that are within your own family tree. Patrick John “Paddy” McMahon was born to Thomas and Mary McMahon of Omaha, Nebraska on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1888.

Patrick J McMahon in 1933 as a member of the Nebraska State Representatives
Courtesy of Nebraska Blue Book
Patrick J McMahon operated the elevator in the Douglas County Courthouse in Omaha, NE
courtesy of newspaper archives

From several old newspaper clips that were located it was found that Patrick and his other brothers Michael, Frank, and William--the McMahon brothers--were a rowdy clan that rival the 'McGinnes Brothers' on TV’s Hell on Wheels—always scraping in a fight in the saloons, brawling with local police officers, and conducting a bit of bootlegging in the basement. All the while they were trying to make an honest living working in the old South Omaha meat packing houses.

Now even though Patrick was arrested in 1923 for running two stills, having 9 and ½ gallons of moonshine and 250 of mash in his modest home across the street from the Catholic Church (surely he was merely providing wine for the Catholic Mass), McMahon later became a Nebraska State Legislator in in 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, and 1937.

He lived out his final years operating the middle elevator at the Douglas County Courthouse where he walked to and from work 10 miles a day!

Patrick died of a heart attack late in the evening on Christmas Day, December 25, 1939 after celebrating the holiday with his family and friends. He was only 51 years old. Patrick John McMahon is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska beside his beloved wife Anne. Do you have any St. Patrick’s Day ghosts in your family tree?

Arizona haunted sites examiner: Debe Branning

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