Catherine (Kate) N. O'Neill, Julia and Annie's mother, was something of a mystery. Annie made a living at dressmaking. Kate and her brother Thomas both moved to San Francisco in the late 1800’s. It’s uncertain if they arrived together. Kate is first listed in the 1875-77 San Francisco Directory and both Kate and Thomas appear on the 1880 census, she in San Francisco and Thomas with wife Johanna nee Curtin O’Neill living in Alameda
Kate O'Neill was born in New York on November 15, 1854 according to her death certificate or 1849, according to the 1850, 1860 and 1870 New York census records. The census records were probably correct, she's listed in 1850 as being 11 months old. She was married three times; to Terence O'Connor (Julia and Annie's father), Sheen (last name unknown) and Joseph W. Bridgewood. She met and married Terence in New York. They were probably married in 1870 or 1871 (she was single in July 1870(on the census) and had her daughter, Annie, in July of 1872.)
According to the 1880 San Francisco census, a year after Julia was born; they were in San Francisco, without Terence, boarding at 1 Antonio Street with Patrick and Maria Furlong. She had no occupation and Annie was listed as being born in New York and Julia was born in San Francisco. She spent most of her life living with various family members, mostly with Annie and her husband, Ernest Medley.
Between 1881 and 1883, Kate married Joseph W. Bridgewood who was born in New York about 1850. He was the son of Samuel Bridgewood and Catherine Taaffe (from Sligo County, Ireland) and had 9 brothers and sisters. Joseph was a seaman then a fireman. He was still living at home in 1880 at age 30. Not soon after the 1880 census was taken, Joseph and Kate were married. Joseph died in 1883, leaving Kate a widow. It was the last time she married.
"My dad said that "Katie" was never married, that he knew of anyway. He said she was a "friend of the family". He said they used to get asked to go out into the "wilds" of the city looking for Katie. She would get lost in the woods west of Twin Peaks. They would find her, apparently lost out there. He said she was was @#$%^ nuts!... as he remembers it."
-Mike Hearne re: his father, Ed Hearne
"My Grandmother (Catherine) lived with my aunt (Annie Medley) next door to us when she died, right across from a firehouse (Hoffman Street). My mother’s mother was married twice. My mother’s dad was an O’Connor. I don’t know anything about him; they were all dead by the time I was born. The only one I remember was my Grandmother Bridgewood (Catherine). After my grandmother died, my aunt sold that house and went out to Monterey Blvd.; she bought a store out there, a dry goods store, for years. Then she moved in with my sister, Jackie, when my uncle died [Ernest]. She had no children. I was her favorite. I used to spend a lot of time up on Monterey Blvd. She lived in the back of the store. They had living quarters back there; two bedrooms and a kitchen. It was the 700 block of Monterey Blvd next to an empty lot; a gas station was her right across the street was a drug store. It was the end of the line for the 10 [streetcar], the switchback was across the street."
- Bill Hearne 2002
Kate died on June 17, 1924
"My mother’s mother (Kate O'Connor-Bridgewood) died when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I remember they didn't have funeral parlors in those days. They took her down and prepared the body then took her back home. I go down the morning for breakfast and seen the casket there. A couple of years later they got funeral parlors."
-Bill Hearne, 2002