Guide to the Cooney Family Collection (1890s – 1930s) – History

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The Cooney family of Santa Cruz lived on Ocean Street and were “among one of the early families to build a mountain cottage” in Brookdale (S.C Sentinel 5/24/1944). John G. Cooney and Margaret Cooney, the heads of the family, had several daughters, among them were: Agnes C. Cooney, Mary E. Cooney, Martha Cooney, Emma Cooney, Julie Cooney (Mrs. Frank E. Baker), and Mrs. Daniel A. Ryan of San Francisco. The Cooney sisters were lauded for their contributions in teaching children of Santa Cruz County. The most information available about the Cooney sisters is regarding Agnes Cooney and Martha Cooney. Agnes Cooney was a second grade teacher for the Branciforte school district and during her time there was praised for leading her pupils in songs presented at the Branciforte P.T.A. gatherings (S.C. Sentinel “P.T.A. Notes”10/23/1937 pg.3). Martha Cooney taught at the Bay View School after graduating from Santa Cruz High School and San Jose State, where she prepared to become a teacher. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Martha taught at most of the local schools in Santa Cruz County and was much loved by her pupils. At Bay View School Martha would lead National Music Week where pupils would showcase their musical talents and be granted merit rewards or certificates for their participation (S.C. Sentinel “School Children Presenting Programs…” 5/5/1938 pg.3). Martha Cooney was active in the Catholic community as well, and her and her sisters would often showcase their talents as musicians for the Holy Cross Church. Until she passed away in 1944, Martha Cooney was still actively teaching. In 1944, Martha was taken ill after attending a party for a fellow teacher. The illness required an emergency operation from which Martha did not recover. Her funeral was held at Holy Cross Cemetery and she was survived by five of her sisters (Source: S.C. Sentinel “Martha Cooney of Prominent S.C. Family Dies…” 5/24/1944 pg.8).