Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Mother's Irish Ancestors

The birds are singing their spring songs outside and St. Patrick's Day marks the turning to the equinox. The days are lengthening and in my little garden, the tiger lilies are peeking out of the earth with bright green shoots. I am thinking about my Irish heritage. I was surprised to discover today that all of my known Irish ancestors are buried beneath my mother's family tree.

The first to step on American soil was my 7x great-grandfather David Calhoun, born in Dongeal in 1690. He settled and died in Connecticut. I feel I have to admit that David's grandfather was from Scotland, so his family blood was Scotch-Irish.

Thomas Riddle, also found spelled Ridel, was born in Ireland in 1739. He was my 6x great-grandfather. He hailed from Tyrone County, where he appears on a 1796 list for Irish flax growers. He fought for the colonies in the Revolutionary War as a Private in 1775.

My 6x great-grandparents John Berry, born in 1762, and Nancy Matchet, born in 1767, came to America from Ireland and settled in a small town called Mayfield, in New York. There are still Berrys in Mayfield.

My other Irish ancestors all immigrated to New York, where the Erie Canal was being planned. The unknown parents of my 3x great-grandfather Thomas Burke came to America via Canada, where Thomas was born in 1832. He is listed as living in Lockport in 1855 with his widowed mother Ann. He was employed in "boating."

My 4x great-grandfather Barney Dowd came over from Ireland with his daughters and their families, including my 3x great-grandmother Mary Dowd, born about 1837 in Ireland, as was her husband, David Conners, my ancestor, too.

My Lockportian ancestors all lived in the areas of Lowertown where the Irish who worked on the canal had set up their homes. So in honor of St. Patty's day, I'll set out a bowl of warm honey and milk over bread, and I'll pour a pint of ale for those who left their homelands for a country where they were treated like vermin, but where they persevered and planted roots.

1 comment:

  1. So very interesting. The geek in my has to point out that one of your ancestors was named Tom Riddle. If you find his diary, I would suggest not reading it. ;)


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