Cornelius Edward Touhill was the eldest of Irish immigrants, Patrick and Johanna (Herlihey) Touhill’s, four children. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on 25 January 1867, the same year that construction began on the Eads Bridge.

If Cornelius had any formal education, it was brief. In one census the question “Attended School?” was answered “Yes.” In a later census, the adult Cornelius answered that question with a “No.” In the 1881 city directory, Cornelius was listed as a clerk for A. McElrath at 1110 Franklin Avenue. He was fourteen years old.

As a young man, Cornelius Touhill was a member of the Emerald Cadets, a highly regarded St. Louis drill team, formed in 1884 as a youth offshoot of the Emerald Council of the Knights of Father Matthew, a Catholic temperance society. The Emerald Cadets won a number of competitions and performed in parades and at parish events. In the late 1880s, the Cadets lost their practice yard when St. Louis University moved west to Grand and Lindell, and the drill team eventually disbanded.

A number of Cadets began playing amateur baseball as the “Emeralds.” The team picked up sponsorship from the Diel brothers, who were active supporters of local baseball. The team became the George Diel & Brothers Baseball Club, but they were also known as the Emeralds. Cornelius “Con” Touhill was their manager, and in 1892, he led the team to the city championship.

By 1890, Cornelius was bookkeeper for Joachim Abeles, and in 1893, he was bookkeeper for Simon, Elman & Co. His brother David was clerk at the same time for the latter. At that time the two brothers lived with their parents at 1007 N. 14th Street.

By 1895, Cornelius was in the grocery business and part owner of his store on Market Street, known as Touhill C. E. & Co., with John McGonigle. Between 1903 and 1910, Cornelius owned a grocery in the 4200 block of Finney Avenue. In 1912, his grocery was located at 900 N. Taylor, in 1914 at 6506 Delmar, in 1916 at 1065 Hamilton, and in 1917 at 5912 Delmar. Cornelius remained in the grocery business until his retirement a few years before his death.

Cornelius E. Touhill
Cornelius E. Touhill
Photo in the collection of Mary Dolan
Used with permission

Cornelius married Mary Farrell in 1894. At first, the family rented in the 1000 block of North Newstead. Then they purchased a home at 5660 Chamberlain, and later, they owned a home at 5755 McPherson.

By 1910, Cornelius and Mary had Genevieve, age fourteen, Joseph, age twelve, and Cornelius, age six. The 1910 federal census shows that Cornelius and Mary had extended family members living with them. In addition to their own three children, Mary’s brother Edward and Edward’s wife, Mary’s brother Joseph, and Cornelius’s brother Patrick were all enumerated together. In the 1930 census, Cornelius and Mary had their daughter Genevieve and her husband Alphonsus Montgomery sharing their household.

Cornelius died of cancer on 1 September 1939 with burial in Calvary Cemetery, section 12, lot 1536. His wife Mary (Farrell) Touhill, his son Cornelius “Neal” J., and members of his wife’s Farrell family all are buried there as well.

Written by Mary Dolan for Joseph Touhill
Submitted March 2019

© 2019, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 21-Jul-2019 15:29