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Southwestern New London and neighboring Waterford became one parish in 1907 under Father William Fitzsimons, with parishioners attending Saint Joseph Catholic Church on Montauk Avenue and Squire Street.
St. Joseph Catholic Church, c. 1913

In 1920 throngs of mourners attended James O’Neill’s funeral mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Edward D. White, former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and longtime New London summer resident, was in attendance; as were theater people from New York and delegations from many Irish and fraternal organizations. To the consternation of the family, one of James’s two surviving sisters, Mrs. Margaret Platz of Cincinnati, demanded that the coffin be opened for one last look at her brother. After the funeral Mrs. Platz called on Ella O’Neill to inquire about her husband’s will. Upon learning that James O’Neill had left everything to his widow, Mrs. Platz immediately departed for Ohio. In a letter dated December 10, 1932, O’Neill told his friend Arthur McGinley, "The Old Man and I got to be good friends and understood each other the winter before he died. But in the days you speak of I was full of a secret bitterness about him—not stopping to consider all he took from me and kept on smiling" (Bogard and Bryer, SL, 408).


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