Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

And a hearty Irish St. Patrick’s Day greeting from the SDWC!

At least, a 64% Irish greeting, according to my Ancestry.com Ethnicity Estimate, as we all celebrate the contributions that Irish culture and the descendants of Irish Immigrants made to our great nation.

Just a couple of snippets from my Irish story for your entertainment and amusement…

In 1855, my great great grandfather Nicholas Powers emigrated to America in the Boston Area, where he was a paper mill worker. His Wife, Honora Walsh, was an Irish maid who could neither read or write.

They had a pile of kids, 8 exactly, many of whom survived to adulthood. Their son Richard was a Cigar Mill worker, much petter paying and more prestigious than the paper mill.

Of Richard’s sons, Edward died a day or so after being born of “cellulitis” of his boy parts. Another son, Joseph, literally died at the dinner table one night at age 22 of Rheumatic fever, according to my grandfather.  Plop, right there.  (This is starting to sound like a Frank McCourt Biography)

The sole surviving son, my grandfather Charles, taught for a couple of years, became an attorney, and was eventually named as the attorney & lobbyist in New York State for the American Automobile Association.

On my mother’s side, one branch of my Irish heritage includes my 12th Great Grandfather, Sir Francis Bryan. He was an English courtier and diplomat during the reign of Henry VIII.

His nickname was the Vicar of Hell, for his rakish sexual life and his lack of principle.  Which obviously was not a hinderance in Henry the 8th’s court.

Sir Francis was made Lord Chief Justice of Ireland during the reign of Edward VI. He died at the age of 60, and it is said he was likely poisoned by my great, great Grandmother, Lady Joan Fitzgerald, because she wanted to (and eventually did) marry her cousin.

Think “Game of Thrones” kind of power politics.

While born an Englishman, at the time of his death, Sir Francis Bryan adopted the ways of his new Irish homeland, with his last words allegedly being “‘I pray you, let me be buried amongst the good fellows of Waterford (which were good drinkers)’”.

And that goes to show you that you can’t pick all your relatives.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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