For the descendents of Richard Dearie and his son John Russell

Mary Cluff nee Dearie
1845 to ?1917

Mary Dearie was the daughter of Richard Dearie and Elizabeth Hogg.  Her parents married in London but she was born in New York in 1845. Her mother Elizabeth Hogg was her father Richard’s second wife and Mary had five half brothers living in New Orleans, three of whom died young.

Mary had three older sisters:  Maria, born in 1838, Annie born in 1842, and Bessie born in 1843, all born in America, and an older brother called George, born in 1841, possibly in Philadelphia. She also had an older half sister Jessie:  her mother, Elizabeth Hogg’s daughter, who was 5 years old at the time of her mother’s marriage.

Mary’s half brother Jack was born at 115, Nichols Square a result of a relationship between her father and her half sister Jessie. Unlike her sister Annie, Mary was not removed the family at this point, or if she was we don’t know where she went.  She may have accompanied the family to Glasgow where her father ran three pubs. In March of 1856 her oldest sister Maria married Henry Bury at St. Mary’s Church in Glasgow.  In May of that year when she was 11 her father was fined a huge sum for running an illicit still and by March 1857 he was in debtors prison.

It is not known where she was living at this time.

Eventually released from prison her father Richard left for America with Mary and Bessie to return to New York on 15 August 1859. Neither George, Maria and Henry or Elizabeth her mother, are on this ship's passenger list.

Her brothers all fought for the confederate side in the civil war.
She may have stayed in New York with her father who can be found paying taxes there in 1865 and 1866.  Her sister Bessie married in New York in 1867, her father remarried in January 1868, and she married Burgess Cluff   born in England on 1 July 1868 in Manhattan.

Her son Burgess was born in May 1869 in New York and her second son Richard was born in 1870 in New York.

Her husband only lived another year before dying at the age of 43 on the 13 March 1871.

Left: Picture sent to her sister Annie in England after her marriage. The photographer’s address is 189, 191 Sixth Avenue corner of 13th street.



Her father lived in Wilkes Barre with her brother George during the 1870s.

On the 1880 US census at the age of 35,she can be found living at 118, West 49th Street, New York.  She is “keeping house” with her 2 sons aged 10 and 11. Her sister Elizabeth McCastline, already a widow, is also there, and her father Richard Dearie widower aged 80. She seems to be running a boarding house since there are 8 boarders one of whom is a schoolteacher and 2 servants. Her next door neighbour is a collar manufacturer living with his family.

She visited her sister Annie in the England and stayed with her at Beckenham. There is a newspaper record of Mrs. Mary Dearie Cluff and Richard Dearie Cluff from New York on board a steamship damaged by an iceberg travelling from New York to Glasgow in June 1894.(1) Mary also visited in 1909 for Annie’s granddaughter Madeleine’s wedding, and is in a photograph with Phillip Russell possibly taken on the same visit.

A Mary L. Cluff, age 74, died March 26, 1917 in Kings County, New York City , although this may not be her.

Her son Burgess died in 1912 in Kings County. Her son Richard Dearie Cluff seems to have died in 1964 in Virginia.  Gertrude Fox’s family tree says that he married and had a daughter who married a man called Loftus in New York.

Top right: Mary with Richard and Burgess

Bottom right: Mary seated, centre, with her sister Annie left, Annie's daughter Gertie right, Annie's granddaughter Theo, and standing her nephew Phillip Russell.


Her mother had 3 more children born in the UK who all died as babies, so she became the youngest living sibling.

Her father was a wine merchant, customs house agent, and innkeeper, although occasionally called himself a "gentleman" We know very little about her childhood except that there is a story that she and her sister Annie went missing as children and the search party was told to look for two small boys because of their short hair. 


In 1846 the family were in London. Between 21 June and 19 November 1846, when her brother Archibald was born the family lived at 60 Warren St, London, and from at least December 1850 to March 1851 they lived at Guildhall Chambers in the City of London. During 1851 and 1852 the family lived at 10 King Square in Islington, and from 1852 to 1855 at Nichols Square in Hackney.

On the 1851 census Mary, aged 8 on the census, but actually 6, and Bessie, aged 11 on census, but actually 8, can be found at a school in Croydon. A widow called Mary Smith at 8 Westow Street, Westow Terrace, runs the school. There were 5 other children there, aged between 4 and 11.

Left: Family tree written by Mary's older sister Annie.

(1) New York Herald – 17 June 1894 transcribed by Claire Grey

SHE RAN INTO ICEBERGS The Ethiopia Arrives at Moville with her Bow Stove In. NO ONE HURT ON THE GLASGOW LINER There were a large number of passengers on Board the Steamer. WAS SAVED BY BULKHEADS (BY CABLE TO THE HERALD) MOVILLE, June 16, 1894. - The Anchor line steamer Ethiopia, which sailed from New York on June 2 for Glasgow, arrived here to-day. She reports that a large portion of her bow at and above the water line is badly stove in and broken from her having come into collision with icebergs during her voyage from new York. The steamer’s bulkheads are watertight and all on board are well. NEW YORK AGENTS DO NOT BELIEVE THAT SHE WAS SERIOUSLY DAMAGED. A cable dispatch was received by Henderson Brothers, the Anchor Line agents in this city, from the commander of the Ethiopia, the words of which were: -Ran into iceberg. Bow damaged: bulkheads tight. All well.” As the advices received here by the United Press indicate the damage was mostly along the waterline, the agents said that they did not think the Ethiopia had been in any serious damage. The Ethiopia sailed from here June 2. Her fifty-one passengers were: - (List of passengers included Mrs Mary Dearie Cluff, New York; Richard Dearie Cluff, New York) The commander of the Ethiopia is Captain John Wilson. Her officers are:- John Bridges, chief officer; Robert Caldwell, second officer; William Cook, third officer; George Millar, fourth officer; T Wallace Collett, surgeon, and William Bryce, purser.