I also received a reply from Watertown Daily News in NY. I sent an email looking for obits before the 1980's. They do have the hard copies. They have not been digitalized. So, the woman I need to speak with is on vacation this week. I will reach out to her next week to see if she can find the one for Catherine (O'Connell) Pratt. This should give me the info I need to actually tie her to John and Bridget O'Connell. Then we will have solid proof!
As for the NY letters, I truly hope someone responds. I would love to listen to some family stories of John O'Connell. Some of these cousins were around before he passed on. What a great interview this would be.
Will also work on the O'Connell cousin in IL to see if I can get any information from him.