Born in 1842 in Coleraine, Ireland, Annie Marie Mullin (also spelled Mullen) arrived in New Orleans on 29 December 1849 with her mother Sarah (McGuigan) Mullin, after the death of her father. As a young girl, Annie attended Visitation Academy School for Girls in St. Louis, Missouri.

Annie married John Kilby “J. K.” Cummings on 11 September 1862 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. To this union five children were born: John, Margaret, and James, were infancy deaths, Harry James became a doctor, and Constantine became a lawyer who loved ships and fishing in New Jersey.

Annie was very active in St. Louis in the early years of her marriage. She was one of the founders of the Society of the Queens’s Daughter in St. Louis, supported the School for the Blind, helped start St. Michael’s Parish Guild’s Needlework Club, and assisted with St. Vincent De Paul Society. She gave support to many Catholic charities.

Mrs. Cummings’ personal life was very different. She was not interested in housekeeping. Her mother, Sarah (McGuigan) Mullin lived with Annie and her family, so Sarah managed the home. Annie had a personal maid, Mary Ostermann, who traveled with her. Annie was never on time for anything, whether it was a Sunday drive, the theater, Sunday church, or sailing around the world. The family went to Atlantic City every year, but Annie was never ready.

In 1890, J. K. took Annie, their son, Constantine S. “Condy,” and Annie’s mother, Sarah, back to Ireland. J. K. tells the story, “When it was time to go to the steamer, Mrs. Cummings was peacefully enjoying a bath in the hotel. In spite of his [her husband’s] warnings to meet him on the dock, the steamer left without them. He had to engage a pilot boat to take the family down the river to board the steamer at the quarantine station.”

Annie was religious. She took her daughter-in-law, Jane “Dearie” Hawkins Hay Cummings, to task for sewing on the Lord’s Day. One evening while Father Burke was there for dinner, Jane asked Father Burke what his view was on “sewing on the Lord’s Day.” Father answered, “I do not see an issue, nor do I believe it is disrespectful to the Lord.” Mrs. Cummings never mentioned sewing again.

Annie Mullin Cummings
Annie Mullin Cummings
Photo in the collection of Abbie Bast
Used with permission

By the time Jane “Dearie,” her daughter-in-law, came into the family, Mrs. Cummings had become very careless in her personal appearance. She had lovely clothing, but she did not care. She had diamond rings, pins, earrings, gold chains, and bracelets, but she didn’t wear them. She let her friends fall away. Sadly, she didn’t care any more about anyone or anything.

Annie fell, fracturing her hip and saying she was “ready to go.” She passed away soon after on 3 October 1909 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Her body was returned to St. Louis for burial in the Cummings’ family lot at Calvary Cemetery.

(Sources include: Jane Hay “Dearie” Cummings’ notes; Arab ship passenger list 1813–1963; St. Louis Archdiocesan records film 63, item, marriage record, 1862, St. Francis Xavier Church, St. Louis, Mo.; Mo. State death certificates. Please note: Records for Annie are found with both spellings of her surname: Mullin and Mullen.)

Written by Abbie Hawkins (Cantwell) Bast
July 2017

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 21:18