Concord New Hampshire Educator & Astronaut, Sharon Christa (Corrigan) McAuliffe (1948-1986)

January 28, 2021  marks the 35th anniversary of a tragedy–the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. [Note this story was originally written for 2016, the 30th anniversary.]

That event took the life of New Hampshire’s Christa McAuliffe (and six other astronauts).  But it couldn’t take her spirit–through education programs created in her name she continues to teach both children and adults. And so to mark that day, I am rep-osting this original story about Christa, with a few edits.

The earlier story was posted in September of 2007, when the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord NH [now called the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center invited the public to celebrate the anniversary of Christa’s birthday.

Many biographies and articles have been written about Christa, and not wanting to duplicate the effort, I will provide links to some of those articles below.  In addition I have researched her family tree (her Corrigan line).  Enjoy!



Answers Biography: Christa McAuliffe

Obituary of Christa McAuliffe


Patrick Corrigan, b. March 1836 Ireland; m. Bridget Cullum. She b. abt 1833 Ireland. She d. prob before 1900. Immigrated to the United States in 1880 aboard the ship, “Wisconsin.” In 1900 he is probably the Peter Corrigan boarding in Waterbury CT with Thomas Carney, shown b. March 1836, age 64 a widower, b. Ireland, occupation, Horse Shoer.
Children of Patrick & Bridget (Cullum) Corrigan:
1. +Peter Corrigan, b. March 1865/68 in Westmeath, Ireland
2. Ellen Corrigan, b. abt 1865 Ireland
3. Annie Corrigan, b abt 1869 Ireland
4. Mathew Corrigan, b Oct 1869 Ireland; m. Sarah F. –. She b. Aug 1872 in NY. Children in 1900 Census (Waterbury CT) are Mary F. (b Dec 1893 CT), Matthew (b Dec 1897 CT); children also in 1910 census of Waterbury CT are Francis L. (b abt 1904 CT), Agnes (b abt 1906 CT), and Genevieve (b abt 1909 CT).
5. Bridget Corrigan, b. abt 1872 Ireland
6. Margaret Corrigan, b. abt 1875 Ireland
7. Thomas Corrigan, b. b. Oct 1875 Ireland, in 1900 living with brother Mathew in Waterbury CT, single.
8. James Corrigan, b January 1878 Ireland, in 1900 living with brother Mathew in Waterbury CT, single

—–Next Generation—–

Peter Corrigan, son of Patrick & Bridget (Cullum) Corrigan b. March 1865/68 in Westmeath Ireland, immigrated [one source says 29 Sep 1880 NY, departure from Liverpool England and Queenstown Ire about the ship “Wisconsin] census says 1883 to the United States. Blacksmith, and d. 13 Sep 1909 in Waterbury CT. He married 1886 in Waterbury CT to Mary Smith, [dau of James & Catherine (Conlon) Smyth]. She b. Oct 1864 in [Althone, County West Meath] Ireland and immigrated 1882 to the United States. In 1900 residing in New Haven CT.
U.S. Census > 1900 United States Federal Census > Connecticut > New Haven > Waterbury > District 437
Corrigan, Peter Head W M March 1865 35 married 12 yrs Ire Ire Ire imm 1883, 17 yrs in US, naturalized, Blacksmith
Corrigan, Mary, wife W F Oct 1864 35 married 12 yrs 7 ch 7 living Ire Ire Ire imm 1882, living US 18 years
Corrigan, Catherine daughter W F July 1888 11 single CT Ire Ire at school
Corrigan, Nellie dau W F Jan 1890 10 single CT Ire Ire at school
Corrigan, William J. son W M Sept 1891 8 single CT Ire Ire at school
Corrigan, Mary F. dau W F Aug 1893 6 single CT Ire Ire at school
Corrigan, Peter C. son W M Apr 1895 5 single CT Ire Ire
Corrigan, John S. son W M Dec 1896 3 single CT Ire Ire
Corrigan, Elizabeth dau W F Dec 1898 1 single CT Ire Ire
U.S. Census > 1910 United States Federal Census > Connecticut > New Haven > Waterbury Ward 2 > District 473
Corrigan, Mary Head F W 45 widow 9 ch 8 living Ire-English Ire Ire imm 1882
Corrigan, Katherine, dau F W 21 single CT Ire Ire, inspector clock shop
Corrigan, Mary daugh F W 16 single CT Ire Ire, press hand, brass factory
Corrigan, Peter son W M 14 single CT Ire Ire, press hand, brass factory
Corrigan, John son M W 13 single CT Ire Ire
Corrigan, Elizabeth dau F W 11 single CT Ire Ire
Corrigan, Edward son M W 9 single CT Ire Ire
Smith, Michael, brother M W 36 single Ire Ire Ire imm 1882 press hand, brass facotry
[NOTE: Possibly some ch indexed twice, unsure if same family, Peter did have a sister Annie of about the right age]
U.S. Census > 1910 United States Federal Census > New York > New York > Manhattan Ward 12 > District 525
Weber, Fred, Head M W 41 Married 14 yrs Germany Ger Ger clerk Liqueur
Weber, Annie wife F W 38 married 14 yrs Ire Ire Ire
Murray, Thos A. nephew M W 26 single Conn Ire Ire clerk liquor
Corrigan, Jas [James] M. nephew M W 19 single Conn Ireland Ireland clerk fiber mfg
Corrigan, Chas A. nephew M W 17 single Conn Ire Ire clerk coffee imp.
Corrigan, John nephew M W 15 single Ire Ire Ire
Corrigan, Kathryn G. niece F W 13 single Ire Ire Ire
Corrigan, John J. nephew M W 23 single Conn Ire Ire
1908 Waterbury (CT) City Directory
Corrigan James F emp Jacques’ Opera House bds 132 E Main
Corrigan James J. emp O Co h 347 Grove
Corrigan Margaret wid Thomas h 132 E Main
Corrigan Matthew J emp W Brass Co h 355 Grove
Corrigan Patrick Mrs. h 33 Washington
Corrigan Peter F. blksmith h 97 Fuller
Corrigan Thomas A rem to Bristol
Corrigan Thomas F. emp Poli’s Theatre h 154 Baldwin
Children of Peter & Mary (Smith) Corrigan:
1. Catherine/Katherine Veronica Corrigan, b. 28 July 1888 CT; d. 18 Dec 1964; m. Michael Joseph Breen; had issue
2. Helen Cecelia “Nellie” Corrigan, b. Jan 1890 CT, d. 1978; m. Frank Burr
3. +William J. aka James William Corrigan, b. 3 Sep 1891 in Waterbury CT
4. Mary F. Corrigan, b. Aug 1893 CT; m. Thomas Edmund White
5. Peter Charles Corrigan b 24 Apr 1895 CT, d. 27 Nov 1972; m. Ida Augusta Brickett; had 3 ch, Peter Frances, Rita Joan and Mary Jane
6. John S. Corrigan, b. Dec 1896 CT
7. Elizabeth Corrigan, b. Dec 1898 CT; m. Edward Dewey Butler
8. Edward Corrigan, b abt 1901 CT; m. Mary Hardy

—–Next Generation—–

James William aka William James Corrigan, b. 3 Sep 1891 in Waterbury CT; d 17 July 1959 in Waterbury CT (CT Death Index); m. Stella Adams, dau of Burton & Elsie J. (?) Adams. She b. 28 Aug 1895 in CT, and d. 12 Feb 1984 in Framingham MA.WWI Draft registration shows occupation as bartender, although the 1930 census indicates he was a department store salesman.
1930 United States Federal Census > Connecticut > New Haven > Waterbury > District 265
Corrigan, James Head M W 38 married at age 21 CT Irish Free State, Irish Free State  Salesman, Store Dept.
Corrigan, Stella wife F W 34 married at age 17 CT CT CT
Corrigan, James Jr. son M W 9 single CT CT CT
Corrigan, Edward son M W 7 single CT CT CT
Adams, Benton, father-in-law M W 66 married at 31 CT CT CT
Children of James & Stella (Adams) Corrigan:
1. James Corrigan Jr. b abt 1921 in CT (prob. New Haven)
2. +Edward Christopher Corrigan, b 25 Dec 1922 in CT (prob. New Haven)

—–Next Generation—–

Edward Christopher Corrigan, b. 25 Dec 1922 in CT, and d. 25 Jan 1990 in Framingham MA. He m. Grace Mary George, dau of Stephen & Marion (Harder) George.  [Stephen George was b. abt 1897 in Syria.  Marion Harder, dau of Charles T. & Mary J. (?) Harder was b. 15 Aug 1901 in Manhattan NY and d. abt 1929 in Waterbury, New Haven CT.]   Edward was an accountant and Grace  was a substitute teacher. They resided in Framingham MA.  [see links above for ore info about Grace Corrigan]
Children of Edward C. & Grace M. (George) Corrigan [five children]:
1. +Sharon Christa Corrigan, b. 2 Sep 1948 Framingham MA
2. Betsy Corrigan, res. Venice California
3. Lisa Corrigan-Bristol; res. Marlborough MA
4. Steven Corrigan, res. Salinas CA
5. Christopher Corrigan, res. Framingham MA

—–Next Generation—–

Sharon Christa Corrigan, dau of Edward C. & Grace Mary (George) Corrigan, was b. 2 Sep 1948 in Framingham MA and d. 28 January 1986 in Space Shuttle “Challenger.”  She married 23 Aug  1970 to Steven James McAuliffe, and had two children, Scott and Caroline. She was a high school teacher in Concord, New Hampshire, and had been chosen as the first participant in the NASA “Teacher in Space” program.

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