My research into John's paternal grandmother had indicated that she was born Mary Maguire in Liverpool of Irish ancestry and was hired as a housekeeper by Jack Lennon after his first wife died. He called her Polly.
Jack and Polly were married and Polly gave birth to eight children, six of whom survived - five boys and one girl. The two babies lost at birth had been
baptized Roman Catholics owing to the fact that Jack was a Catholic. However, Polly ensured that her other six children were christened Protestants.
She couldn't read or write, but was said to be very witty and was reputed to be psychic.
When her husband died, Polly did not have the resources to keep the family together and had to place two of the children, Alfred and Edith, in the Bluecoat School, an orphanage.
This seemed to contradict Julia Baird's version. The minstrel group which Jack joined was not the famous Kentucky Minstrels. I was interested to know the name of his American wife and, if she died in childbirth, whether the child had died too.
All other reports seemed to indicate that Jack had been born in Dublin, but I haven't yet had concrete evidence of this so far. As a result I wrote to Charlie to see what he could recall. He replied:
"Very nice to hear from you.
"The wonderful story of Julia Baird Dykins is nothing that is worth writing about. Jack Lennon and his brother were born in County Fermough, Northern Ireland. Their mother and father immigrated to America with their two sons. Jack Lennon in later years got married to an American in America.
"Never at any time did my mother Mary Lennon Maguire ever enter America. It was my father who brought his American wife over here and it was she who died in childbirth. That is how our mother became Jack's housekeeper. Later on, of course, he married my mother. So I don't know where Julia Baird gets all this talk from, none of it is true. I don't know how my mother died after giving birth to her third child because after her so-called death, my mother gave birth to Alfred, my sister Edith and of course, young 70-year-old Charlie, born 25th November 1918, and to finish off I will give you the date of my mother's death. It was 30th January 1949.
"My family consisted of five brothers, one sister and the two in the Bluecoat School were Alfred and Edith, no one else...."
There were other questions put to Charlie as I wanted to know the name of Jack Lennon's brother, the name of his American wife and, if she died in childbirth, did the baby die too? I was aware of Alf, Charlie, Sidney and Edith but didn't have the names of the other two Lennon brothers.