The Hayes Family History Site

Including Members Of The Hayes, Tierney, Lewis, Beattie, Sheehan, Yerks, Condos, Smith and Other Families

Archive for the 'Surname: Colwell & Gent' Category

Long time Erie Lawyer John G. Gent, age 82, died Friday, October 22, 2004, at St. Mary’s at Asbury. He was born December 14, 1921 in New York City, a son of the late Harold and Louise Colwell Gent. He graduated from All Hallows Institute in New York City, Georgetown University in 1942 and the University of Michigan Law School in 1948 where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was admitted to Pennsylvania bar in 1949 and was an active civil trial lawyer in all phases of civil litigation in Erie since 1948, most recently with the McDonald Group Law Firm. He was a member of the Civil Procedural Rules Committee of the Supreme Court of PA 1964-1986, a permanent member of the Judicial Conference of the Third Circuit, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the American Bar Association Foundation, a member of the American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Erie County Bar Association where he was president 1966-67, American Arbitration Association and was an associate member of the Collier County Bar Association in Florida. He was a former member of Presque Isle Rotary Club and the Choristers of the Danish Club. Mr. Gent was a Trustee of Gannon University, Director and president, Gannondale, president, Erie Club and president, Kahkwa Club. He is survived by his wife, Emily O’Brien Gent; three daughters, Anne Gent of Indianapolis, IN, Cathleen Gent of Burlington, VT, Joan Bilharz and her husband Robert of Exeter, NH; two sons, John G. Gent, Jr. of Milwaukee, WI and David Gent of Chicago, IL; two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Stephen Bilharz; and a sister, Mary Louise Blosser of Orange City, FL. Friends may call at BURTON FUNERAL HOME, 602 West 10th St., Saturday 3-5 pm & Sunday 2-6 pm and are invited to a Mass of Resurrection at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, 2801 West 6th St. Monday at 11:00 am concelebrated by Msgr. Robert Brugger and the Rev. James R. Conroy, S.J. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Gannondale, 4635 East Lake Rd., Erie, PA 16511 or Gannon University, University Square, Erie, PA 16501 or to a charity of one’s choice.

The Colwell – Tierney Link

December 20, 2008

When I first took over the family genealogy project from my Uncle Lloyd Lewis, there was one page of his notes that I ignored for some time because the notes he had on the names were scarce.

On the top of one page, he wrote the name Kate Sproul Colwell..  Next to it were the names; Lou Colwell Gent, Mary Lou Gent and John Gent.  Now, the name Spoul was familiar to me.  It happens to be the maiden name of my great, great grandmother, Mary Sproul Tierney (b. abt 1829 in Ireland), who married James Tierney (b. abt 1826 in Ireland).  I have seen several variations of the Spoul name including Sproul, Sproule and Sproull.

So, based on my Uncles notes, I assumed that Kate Sproul Colwell, is the sister of Mary Sproul, wife of James Tierney.  Several weeks ago, I decided to investigate this branch of the family a little more in-depth.  So, my first step was to talk to my Mom.  She remembers a Lou Gent being referred to as “Cousin Lou”.   She was a school teacher in New York City.  So with that small amount of information I was able to find Lou Gent in the 1930 census records.  She was married to a Harold G Gent and had twins; John and Mary Lou.  In this census, her occupation is listed as a “teacher”.  So at least I know I found the right Lou Gent.

Now that I found Lou, the rest of the family was fairly easy to find, working backwards.  Lou was the daughter of Louise and John S. Colwell. So obviously my next step was to pull the death certificate of John S. Colwell.  It was fairly easy to find, but here is where my trouble began.  It lists his parents as Catherine Tierney and Michael Colwell.  WOW.  My first reaction was to assume that this was a mistake and that the informant had taken the married name of Catherine’s sister and used it.  I’ve seen lots of mistakes like this on death certificates before.

So Michael Colwell (b. abt 1832 in Ireland) and Catherine (b. abt 1826 in Ireland) had six other children besides John S. Colwell.  I haven’t bothered researching all of them yet as I am still looking for resolution of Catherine’s maiden name. I soon found Catherine Colwell’s death certificate at the New York City Archives.  Awesome!  Now I can finally put things to rest.  Wait a minute, not so fast.   It lists her father as “Frank Tierney” and her mother as “Unable to state”.  Now I’m really confused.  I know there was a Frank who was the son of my gr, gr grandfather.  Could this also be a mix up?  Could Frank be the fathr of James and Catherine Tierney?

Based on her death certificate I was able to determine that Catherine was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Flushing, Queens, not to far from where Mary Sproul Tierney is buried.  James could be there too, but I have not yet confirmed it with any type of record.

The Colwell Grace At Calvary Cemetery in Queens

So, to try to put this issue to bed, I decided to pull the death certificate of one of Catherine and Michael Coldwell’s other children to see if it can give me a last name of Catherine.  His name was Thomas W. Colwell.  I just received it today.    It lists his mothers name as “CATHERINE TIERNEY”


Pending some further investigation, it does appear that instead of Catherine being the sister of Mary Sproul, she is the sister of James Tierney, my gr, gr, grandfather.  Since James Tierney died almost two centuries before Mary Sproul Tierney, it is conceivable that relatives, who passed information onto Lloyd may have had their facts a little mixed up. They may have thought Catherine was related to Mary because James had not been around for so long.  Who knows?  Whatever the reason, all evidence now is pointing to Catherine Colwell being a Tierney.  So it appears that all the Colwell’s and Gent’s are cousins through the Tierney side of our family.  I know there are members of those families out there.  Now I just have to find them.

The Hayes Branch Cemetery Headstone Photo Album contains pictures from various cemteries for the following surnames.

  • Lewis
  • Tierney
  • Beattie
  • Hayes
  • Hanley
  • Colwell
  • Gackstetter
  • Bishop
  • Graham
  • Hayes
  • Sheehan
Last Updated: December 7, 2008