The sad story of James Goodbody Kearney may not have been the only tragedy for this family. James, the youngest child, had at least four brothers. Patrick appears to have died in infancy in Ireland. Edward died at age 21. John and Matthew, born in Ireland, settled in Jersey City, New Jersey, married and had families.
John married Margaret Finerty on 1 March 1870 at St. Peter’s Church in Jersey City. They had at least five children, Laura, Sarah, Mary, Mathew and John, born between 1871 and 1879.
Matthew married Eliza Grumley on 5 October 1873 at St. Michael’s Church in Jersey City. They had at least two children, Margaret in born 1876 and James born in 1879. The gap between the date of marriage and the date of birth of the first known child suggests that there may have been other children who did not survive.
Matthew died on 1 April 1890 of phthisis pulmonalis (a wasting disease; tuberculosis). John died on 8 February 1901 of exhaustion from chronic [illegible]. What did these brothers have in common? They both died at Snake Hill Lunatic Asylum! Their brother, James, died in 1910 at the facility previously known as New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum. Admission to these institutions was an easy process while a release was difficult to obtain. Patients were admitted for a variety of ailments and, in some cases, merely being difficult to handle was cause for admission.
Snake Hill is located on the grounds of the Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey. While the facility no longer exists, many patients who died at the facility were buried in a potter’s field on the grounds. A memorial plaque recognizes the many patients whose bodies were disinterred and re-interred during construction of the Secaucus Interchange of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Fortunately, these brothers were not buried on these grounds. John and Matthew were buried with their parents in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, while James was buried with his wife’s family in Princeton, New Jersey. It is comforting to know that they were not forgotten when they were placed in these dreadful facilities.
 Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, St. Peter:K:011, burial of Edward Kearney, date of interment 31 December 1871; letter from cemetery dated 29 January 2009.
 Return of Marriage, New Jersey State Archives, New Jersey, Hudson County, Jersey City, marriages May1869-May 1870, no. 118, marriage of John Kearney and Margaret Finerty, date of marriage 1 March 1870; microfilm transcription (4 November 2009).
 1880 U.S. census, Hudson County, New Jersey, population schedule, Jersey City, ED 2, p. 45D, house 85, dwelling 48, family 190, household of John Kearney; digital images online (www.ancestry.com : 31 May 2015) citing NARA publication T9, roll 782.
 New Jersey Marriages, 1678-1985, Hudson County, New Jersey, Jersey City, ref. 320: p. 27, marriage of Matthew Kearney and Eliza Grumley, date of marriage 5 October 1873; index (familysearch.org : 26 May 2010).
 1880 U.S. census, Hudson County, New Jersey, population schedule, Jersey City, ED 36, p. 60, house X, dwelling 441, family 618, household of Matt Kearney; digital image online (www.ancestry.com : 31 May 2015) citing NARA publication T9, roll 784.
 Death Certificate, Hudson County, New Jersey, Secaucus, New Jersey State Archives, 1889-90:42-K182, death of Matthew Kearney, date of death 1 April 1890; microfilm.
 Death Certificate, Hudson County, New Jersey, Secaucus, New Jersey State Archives, 1901: cert. 6194, death of John Kearney, date of death 8 Feb 1901; microfilm.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_Hill : 12 June 2015.