Bessie Mae (Beauregard) O’Donnell

Today, I located the headstone of Bessie Mae (Beauregard) O’Donnell. Bessie was my great grandmother’s sister and is interred at Hillcrest Park Cemetery in Springfield.

Bessie was the oldest of three sisters born to Napoleon Beauregard and Hattie Beals. Napoleon was born in Vermont, but was of French Canadian descent. Hattie was of English descent with the majority of her ancestors being part of the Puritan migration.

Bessie’s two younger sisters were Hazel Ruth Beauregard (b. 1896, d. 1992) and Helen Irene Beauregard (b 1902). Hazel was my great grandmother and like Bessie, she also lived into her mid 90s. Helen, on the other hand, is an enigma. She married Chester Samuel Clark in 1922, but divorced in 1925. That is the last piece of solid information I have on her. Most relatives I have talked to were surprised to learn there was a third sister. The only potential lead I have is someone told me we had a relative who was abducted by pirates and never heard from again. I don’t know how true this is, but it certainly makes it more interesting.

Bessie’s husband was Patrick O’Donnell. According to her obituary, he died in 1924. I don’t have any further information on him. I do not know where he is interred, but it isn’t at Hillcrest Park Cemetery.

The other interesting tidbit of information in Bessie’s obituary is that “her father was a direct descendant of Confederate Gen. Pierre Beauregard.” While is is true that her grandfather was Pierre Beauregard, he clearly wasn’t the Pierre Beauregard, the Confederate General. I find it very interesting that this was included. Part of me says that Bessie had to know this wasn’t true, assuming she was aware of the assertion. Her grandfather died before she was born. Her father died in 1903 and her grandmother in 1905. She should have been old enough to understand that her French Canadian born grandmother and Vermont born father weren’t the family of a Confederate General. Then again, she may have had limited exposure to her father’s family and he may not have spoken with a French-Canadian accent.

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