Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Paddys Day

I'm Irish. I know, I know- EVERYBODY is Irish on St. Pats Day.
But really- my heritage is somewhat Irish. (with a little dilution in the last year or so).
My Ancestor came to America in 1773 ish- from County Offaly in Ireland. His name was William and he was an indentured servant. Not much more is known about him, except he did his servitude and then promptly lit out for Pennsylvania. That was around the time of the Revolutionary War.

He moved around, going into the Appalachians and ending up in Illinois. He must have had a bunch of kids, cause there is a whole bunch of Berrys ( my maiden name) in Illinois. Somehow they migrated into Arkansas and there is a Berryville there somewhere. Since women were few, brothers and sisters married into the nearby families, and since no one liked the Irish except other Irish, I can only think that the families nearby were of the same or similar descent- Scotch Irish. Of course I've heard that someone along the line had a Native American wife, my Fathers Grandmother in fact- but no one will talk about that and everyone who really knew is long gone.

My very own Great-grandfather -Pridge- was born near there and his sons fought in the Civil War- a few on each side. Some lived and some died. Widows married brothers in laws, raised each other kids.
My Grandfather settled in Arkansas, but my own father had the same gene as his great grandfather- the wandering gene- and he ended up here in California.He met my mother- who is of German heritage and there is where the dilution of the Irish in me really took place.

I'm sure that a lot of you have the same kind of history- immigration, assimilation, migration, until you've ended up where and who you are. We should all have days that celebrate our heritage- but I don't know of many that are as -shall we say... public.... as St Patrick's Day.

Of course St. Patrick's Day began as a Catholic Holiday- but as things sometimes do, it has morphed in to a 'commonplace' drinking holiday.
Shame really.
(Green Beer and Soda Bread? Corned Beef? Couldn't we think of something better than that?)

So no matter what ethnicity you are , no matter where you came from, celebrate today as an extension of those happy coincidences that brought you to where you are and who you are with.
And of course-
Don't Drink and Drive, or I'll take my shalayleigh to ya!


Maia said...

I'm Irish, too, not completely but a bit. My Irish ancester's story is extremely romantic and very sad. My ancester was a school teacher who emigrated right around the time of the famine. Since Irish need not apply anywhere, he landed a job as a gardner for a well to do Philadelphia family. He met and fell in love with one of their daughters and you can imagine how well that went over.

So they eloped and bought a small farm in rural Pennsylvania. Suffice it to say, she was disinherited, but good. Along came the civil war and he enlisted. He told his wife that America had given him everything that counted in his life so he had to defend her. I've seen his letters and drawings and they are beautiful.

Well, unfortunately, like so many other young men, he was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness, and hearing the news, she died of a broken heart.

They had three children, two boys and a girl. The neighbors wrote to her parents and asked if they would take the children. Her father wrote back and said, "I have no daughter." So the daughter who was two at the time was adopted by a childless couple, the middle son who was nine went to an orphanage and grew up to be a doctor. All we know of the oldest son, was that he went west and went bad.

An interesting aside, my father's ancestor, who fought for the confederacy, was also killed at that battle.

May all of your clovers have four leaves.

Maia said...

PS: I'll take my camera out to the barn this weekend, and if I don't look like something that would scare a small child, I'll post the picture.

Cheryl Ann said...

My husband is Irish and his ancestors were from County Cork. "Fannie Murphy" was his great-grandmother. I've researched my roots and I can't find an Irish connection, but my grandmother used to tell me all kinds of Irish legends. Go figure.

Stephanie said...

Happy late St. Patrick's Day to you too!

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm told I'm Irish too but I have no idea about how that could be.

Hope you had a Happy St Paddy's Day.