Thursday, March 18

No Green Eggs and Ham This Year

Even though the proceeds were going to charity (Easter Seals Capper Foundation), this year I opted not to fight the crowds at the annual Blarney Breakfast at a Texas Roadhouse.

Nor did I entertain the notion that I, a mere mortal, could find a parking spot within 10 blocks of the St. Patrick's Day parade route downtown.

The Blarney Breakfast used to be held in the lobby of the building where I worked. Back when dyed-green eggs and ham (and everything else on the buffet table) didn't seem as unappetizing as it does now. Parking for the parade wasn't an issue either - our building was on the parade route.

Long before that, in the spirit of 'everybody's Irish on St. Patty's', I'd consumed my fair share of green beer.

Ah, youth! Soooo wasted on the young!

But except for an occasional margarita, I gave up alcohol in any form years ago.

Truth be told, even when I did celebrate St. Patrick's Day, no amount of green beer, green food, green clothing or leprechauns dancing in the streets could make me feel Irish.

Because I wasn't.

Growing up I was told my roots were "English, German, Swedish and Welsh". Recited as a litany, but only half true.

The German part was actually Austrian, and one grandmother believed she was Welsh only because the rural area where she grew up was predominately Welsh. There's not a single ancestor from Wales in our family tree.

Then the day came that I found an 1880s history of McDonough County, Illinois that said my McClellans were descendants of Robert McClellan "of Edinburgh, Scotland" and Nancy O'Connor "from the North of Ireland".

Oh, happy day! I had Irish blood after all!

Well, never take information in a county history as carved in stone.

Yes, Robert McClellan born in Scotland in 1764 was our ancestor, but his one-and-only wife was Elizabeth McLORG (McLurg), b. 1766, birthplace unknown but most likely Scotland too.

Married on New Years Day 1784 at Calley Field, York Co, Pennsylvania, they were parents of my ggg-gf, James McClellan, pictured at left with wife Abigail Cornwell, both of whom you met in an earlier post.

The McClellans of York County were thought to be Scots-Irish...Scots who'd fled to Ireland and then made their way to America.

Close, but no cigar.

Not that I was ashamed of my "new" Scottish heritage. Far from it. But settling briefly in Ireland before moving on to America was not the same as being Irish.

So there it stood for a decade or two. It didn't count that Jonathan, a distant Gatchell cousin, had gone to Ireland and ended up running the Waterford Crystal factory, or that Gatchell's, its award-winning restaurant, is named after him.

Imagine my delight then on learning my father's grandmother, Zerilda Jane CONN, was a great-granddaughter of "Fayette George" CONN, who was born in Ireland!

Snoopy dance!

After arriving from Ireland and living briefly in Maryland, George settled in Springhill Twp, Fayette Co, to two other men named George. Georges Creek, which ran through all three properties, was supposedly named for them, the Georges.

George and Lydia (Flintham) Conn's eldest daughter Lydia married Caleb FOWLER; Caleb and Lydia's son married Martha LEWELLEN.

And that's how I came to be related to the Fowlers and Lewellens of Point Marion, Fayette Co, PA, and Stewartstown, Monongalia Co, WV.

My "Irish" Cousins circa 1910,
Point Marion, Fayette Co, PA
(back l-r) Jacob "Jake" Fowler, Margaret I.
"Maggie" Lewellen, and Joshua Fowler.
(front) Maggie's father, James Daniel Lewellen,
and David J. "Dave" Fowler

The Fowlers were Maggie's uncles, brothers of
her late mother, Susan Luvina (Fowler) Lewellen.

By 1880, James and Susan Lewellen had moved from West Va
to Agenda, Republic Co, Kansas, where Susan died in 1892.
In 1893, James remarried to Martha PENTICO.

At the time the above photo was taken, James' daughter
Maggie was living in Kansas City MO, where she owned a
dress shop. I'm guessing being financially independent
was the reason this handsome woman remained single
until age 53 and then married a 43-yr-old widower.

Have a great day!

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Alan Burnett said...

Super post - a rumbustious tour through your ancestors looking for Ireland. Loved it.

JamaGenie said...

Thanks, Alan! You've probably figured out I'm now addicted to your superb (and hilarious) blog, News From Nowhere. (:

pinkpackrat said...

I'll stick to the green eggs and ham LOL I never did like green beer but I loved this post-- wonderful and I'm glad you finally found a bit of Irish somewhere

Steph said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! And for making me aware of the March 26 Climate Care Day!

Vicki Lane said...

Good looking woman, that ancestor of yours.

Thanks for stopping by my place -I wish you so beauiful!

KsCharles said...

You have handed us a plate of Green Eggs and Ham, taken our hands, and led us brilliantly into the fascinating story of your family history! Thank you! Now I'm hoping you will hear from the descendants of the Fowlers in the picture of Maggie Lewellen and her father, James Daniel Lewellen, my husband's gr-grandfather. Please keep your family stories and pictures coming!

Frieda Babbley said...

Fascinating. Hmh. Who knew. Now the question is, are you green Irish or are you orange Irish?

JamaGenie said...

Frieda, that depends on the DNA from George's male descendants. If the tests are accurate, his Conns were originally from Ayrshire, Scotland, and the answer would be ORANGE Irish.
Thanks for asking!

BaronessVonVintage said...

interesting post...congrats on finding your Irish roots! Thanks for your comment on my blog, too. PS: I really like your blog background!


amazing history!
The green eggs not so much...

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling so nice to see your comment on my blog and thank you for popping in for a visit, you are a good friend. Sorry I have been a bit absent lately! I am finally getting to catch up, I needed some me time to relax and to get rid of my migraines. I am so glad I was able to find the time to do so. Take care luv and happy spring to you.

Love & Hugs