Born in Caher Parish, County Tipperary, Ireland, John James Costello was a son of William Costello and Margaret Murphy. Christened at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on 7 January 1844, he grew up west of Caher Town, near the village of Lissava, on Mountain Road (property number 15), under the hostile supervision of British troops based nearby. He learned the carpenter’s trade.

British occupation still plagued Ireland when he sailed for America circa 1868, possibly with his sister Ellen. In North St. Louis, in the 1870s, he worked as a carpenter, specializing in building staircases with Michael M. Crotty, later with William J. Cohan. He lived at Catherine Brennan’s boarding house, 2215 Division Street, just west of Kerry Patch.

In January 1876, John married Margaret Costello, daughter of Francis Costello of Glin, Kilfergus, Limerick, Ireland, at St. Bridget’s Church in St. Louis. In November, their daughter Mary Ellen, known as Nell, was born, followed by Margaret in 1878. Neither daughter ever married. Catherine, born in 1880, married John F. Corrigan, whose plumbing business grew into a large mechanical contracting firm that continues to this day.

In July 1878, John Costello purchased a house at 1921 Maiden Lane, which, after the revision of St. Louis streets in the 1880s, became 2327 Maiden Lane (city block 2346). He lived there until the turn of the century, but the house remained in the family for decades after that. In 1882, he sponsored a nephew from Tipperary, William Sullivan, who became his apprentice.

Costello Family
The Costello Family
Photo in the collection of John Sullivan
Used with permission

Four more children were born in the 1880s: Teresa in 1882; William J. in 1884, Frank B., in 1887, and Anna T., in 1889. Frank became a carpenter and William went into real estate. Anna married John B. Fowler.

John Costello became a building contractor. About 1901, he moved to 2519 St. Louis Avenue, near a lumberyard. Here he lived until his death on 15 March 1931. His widow Margaret survived him until 14 April 1940. Their seven children lived long and prosperous lives, five of them to age 87 and beyond. All are buried in Calvary Cemetery.

John Costello was a member of Catholic Knights of America, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the Holy Name Society of Sacred Heart Church.

(Documentation includes cemetery and death records, census records, church records, city directories, fire insurance maps, Irish ordnance survey maps, Irish valuation records and maps, obituaries, passenger lists, and property records and deeds.)

Written by John Sullivan
March 2017

© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 17-Feb-2020 13:12