When I was a little fellow, I got so much into my head about my family, and about what great big people they were in the world before I came among them, that when I grew up to be a man, I began to trace the genealogy of that family, and I actually did trace it up the generations through Ham, who was saved in Noah’s Ark, to Adam and Eve who lived in the Garden of Paradise one time. While at this work, I was for a few years in communication with John O’Donovan of No. 36 Northumberland Street, Dublin. He was professor of the Irish language in Trinity College. At the college, and at his house I met him whenever business would take me to Dublin. He had then seven children—seven sons, “an effort of nature to preserve the name” as he says in one of his letters to me. I don’t know—sometimes my thoughts are sad, at thinking that perhaps it was my acquaintance with those children when they were young, in the years ’54, ’5, ’6, ’7, ’8 and ’9, that brought them into association with me, and with my crowd of people when I came to live in Dublin entirely in the years 1864 and ’65. John, Edmond, and Willie were the three oldest of the seven sons of John O’Donovan. The three of them were put to jail in Dublin charged with connection with Fenianism. John was drowned in St. Louis, Edmond was killed in Africa, and I was at the funeral of Willie in Calvary cemetery, Brooklyn. I’ll come to them again. Now, I’ll get back to my genealogy.
Some of my friends may say: “To Jericho with your genealogy; what do we care about it! We are here in America, where one man is as good as another.” That’s all right, for any one who wants to have done with Ireland; all right for the man who can say, with him who said to me in New York, one day, twenty-five years ago: “What is Ireland to me now?” “Sure I’m an American citizen!” All right for him who wants to forget all belonging to him in the past, and who wants to be the Adam and Eve of his name and race, but it is otherwise for men who are no way ashamed of those who have gone before them, and who do not want to bury in the grave of American citizenship, all the duties they owe to their motherland, while it remains a land enslaved.
It would be no harm at all, if men of Irish societies in America, in introducing other men into these societies would know who were their Irish fathers and mothers. Any man who is proud of belonging to the old blood of Ireland, will never do anything to bring disgrace upon any one belonging to him. I don’t mind how poor he is; the poorer he is, the nearer he is to God; the nearer he is to sanctification through suffering, and the more marks and signs he has of the hand of the English enemy having been heavily laid upon him.
That hand has been heavily laid upon my race. I, even to-day, feel the weight of it on myself. When the lands of Rossmore were confiscated on my people, they moved to neighboring places, and were hunted from those places, till at last a resting place was found in the town of Ross Carberry. “My great-grandfather came into Ross Carberry with a hat full of gold,” said Peggy Leary to me the other night, “and the family were after being outcanted from seven places, from the time they left Rossmore, till the time they settled in Ross.”
Calling in to Dan O’Geary of Glanworth on my way home from Peggie Leary’s, I got talking to him about old times in Ireland, and I found that Dan had a family story much like my own. “I heard my grandmother, Sarah Blake, say,” said he, “that when my grandfather John Foley came into Glanworth, he had a hat full of gold.”
“A strange measure they had for gold that time, Dan,” said I—“a hat. I heard a cousin of my own make use of the very same words an hour ago.”
“When my great-grandfather came in to Ross,” said she, “he had a hat full of gold.”
“It must mean,” said Dan, “as much gold as would fill a hat.” And so it must. That is the meaning of it in the Irish language—Laan-hata, d’ore—as much gold as would fill a hat. “A hat, full of gold” would be “hata, laan d’ore.” The Irish tongue and the Irish language are not the only things that suffer by the effort to turn everything Irish into English.
That nickname “Rossa” comes to me from Rossmore, not from Rosscarberry. That great grandfather of Peggie Leary’s and mine was called “Donacha mor a Rossa.” The word “outcanted” that his great-granddaughter Peggy Leary used is very likely much the same as the word “evicted” that is in use to-day.
When the Cromwellian plunderers got hold of the lands of our people, they did not like that the plundered people would be settled down anywhere near them. That is how the desire arose of having them sent “to hell or Connacht.” Nor did the plunderers like that the plundered people would hold any remembrance of what belonged to them of old, and that is how it came to my notice that it is only in whispers my people would carry the name “Rossa” with them. The people would call my father “Donacha Russa”—leaving out altogether the name O’Donovan, and in signing papers or writing letters, my father would not add the name Russa, or Rossa.
I vowed to myself one day that if ever I got to be a man, I’d carry the name Rossa with me. And to-day, in the city of New York, in the face of the kind of people that govern that city, I find it as hard to carry that name as ever my fathers found it, in the face of the English governing Ireland.
Indeed it is not much amiss for me to say that it looks to me as if it was the same English Sassenach spirit that was prominent and predominant in the government of this city, and many other cities of America to-day.
My great-grandfather Donacha Rossa was married to Sheela ni Illean:—Julia O’Donovan-Island. They had six sons. Those six sons were married into the following families: Dan’s wife, an O’Mahony Baan of Shounlarach; John’s wife, a Callanan of East Carberry; Den’s wife, a McCarthy-Meening of East Carberry; Conn’s wife, an O’Sullivan Bua’aig; Jer’s wife (my grandmother), an O’Donovan-Baaid, and Flor’s wife, an O’Driscoll—sister to Teige oge O’Driscoll of Derryclathagh.
Those six brothers had three sisters, one of whom married into the Lee family of Clonakilty, one of them into the Barrett family of Caheragh, and the other into the O’Sullivan-Stuocach family of the Common Mountain.
My grandmother Maire-’n-Bhaaid had six sisters. One of them married into the Good family of Macroom; one of them into the Hawkes family of Bandon, one of them into the Hart family of Cahirmore, one of them into the Nagle family of Fearnachountil, and the other two into some other families between Bandon and Cork. It was through this O’Donovan-Baaid connection that my grandfather got the relays of horses between Bandon and Cork the time he had to make the run to the grand jury to save himself from the White-boy indictment.
Then, my grandfather, at the mother’s side was Cornelius O’Driscoll of Renascreena, and my grandmother was Anna ni-Laoghaire. My grandfather had two brothers—Patrick, who was married to the sister of Florry McCarthy of the Mall, and Denis who was married into the O’Donovan-Dheeil family of Mauly-regan. There were some sisters there also—one of them the mother of the O’Callaghans of the Mall, and the other, the mother of the Noonans of Cononagh.
One of my mother’s sisters is Mrs. Bridget Murray, No. 11 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, and wanting some information for this chapter of my “Recollections,” I wrote lately, asking her to answer some questions that I laid before her. These are the questions and answers:
Q.—What was the maiden name of the mother of my grandfather, Conn O’Driscoll?
Q.—What was the maiden name of the mother of my grandmother, Annie O’Leary?
Q.—What was the name of my aunt that died young?
Q.—What was her husband’s name?
Q.—What was the name of the wife of my grand-uncle, Denis O’Driscoll?
Q.—Had my grandfather any sister but the one that was Paddy Callaghan’s mother?
A.—Yes; Kate O’Driscoll, married to Denis Noonan.
Father James Noonan, the grandson of that grand-aunt of mine is now in Providence, R. I. I had a strange family reunion with him one time. I went to Washington, D. C., to attend the funeral of Col. Patrick J. Downing. His body was taken to the Cathedral, and after the Requiem Mass, Father Noonan came on the altar to say some kind words as to the worth of the dead soldier. There I sat between the two; the priest was the grandson of my grandfather’s sister, at my mother’s side; the dead man was the grandson of my father’s sister. And that is how we scatter, and how we die, and how we meet in the strange land—not knowing each other.
Another strange meeting at a funeral came to my notice here in New York one time. Dr. Hamilton Williams, of Dungarvan, had me to stand god-father for a child of his. The child died, and I went to the funeral to Calvary cemetery. Dr. Williams was not long in America at the time. It was the first death in his family, and the child was buried in the plot belonging to its mother’s sister. The next plot to the right hand side of it was one on which a tombstone was erected, on which was engraven, “Sacred to the memory of Denis O’Donovan-Rossa, of Ross Carberry, aged ninety years.” There is my godchild, belonging to Waterford, lying side by side with my grand-uncle’s son, belonging to Cork.
I often thought, while reading the tombstones of Flatbush and Calvary, what an interesting book of record and genealogy could be made from them; and from the information that could be derived from the people who own them. I often thought I would like to write such a book. I would like to do it yet, but circumstances are against the possibility of my doing so. How peacefully there, the “Fardown” rests side by side with his up-the-country neighbor, and how quietly the Connaught man slumbers side by side with the Leinster man. Neighborly, as in death, so should we be in life.
I spoke of Father Noonan at Col. Dowling’s funeral; it is no harm to let him be seen in my book, in this letter of his:
St. Aloysius, Washington, D. C.,
September 29, 1886.
My dear Friend—Sister Stanislaus was my sister’s name in Religion. I received an account of her death from one of the nuns. While I naturally regret the death of my only sister, I am consoled that she died in carrying out the end of her vocation, viz: charity to the poor and suffering. All my relations are dying out rapidly, but we mourn—not like those who have no hope. I would have answered at once, but was away from Washington when your letter reached here.
Yours most truly,
James Noonan, S. J.
If I traveled from New York to San Francisco now, and stayed a time in every city on the way, I could find a family cousin or connection in every one of those cities—scores of them in these two cities I name, among people who do not even know me. The mother of the children of Alderman Henry Hughes, of New York, was an O’Donovan-Maol; her mother was an O’Donovan Rossa, the daughter of one of my grand-uncles. The mother of Counsellor McIntyre’s children, of San Francisco, is an O’Donovan-Ciuin; her father is Martin Ciuin, of Sawroo, the son of my mother’s sister, Kate O’Driscoll.
I could go into any parish in the Province of Munster and find family relations and connections in it. Even in England I found relations in whatever city I entered. In London the member who gave me a ticket to go into the House of Commons in May, 1895, was one of my Old country cousins—Ned Barry, of Newmill, one of the members for Cork County.
Then, when I went up to Newcastle-on-Tyne, a man called on me who told me he recollected seeing me at his father’s house, in Dunmanway, when he was a child. He was a grandson of old Jerrie Donovan, of Nedineh, whom I met in my early days—Jer-a-Bhaaid, who belonged to the family of my grandmother, Mauria ’n Bhaaid. This New Castle Irishman was half a Tipperary man. His mother, before she married his father, Tim O’Donovan Baaid, was a Miss Doheny, the niece of Father Doheny, of Tipperary, who was a parish priest in Dunmanway.
The day before I left Chatham prison I had a visit from a man who was living outside the prison walls. He said I may want some money, and he put into my hand eight or ten sovereigns. He was Bildee Barrett, of Ross, the son of Ned Barrett, whose mother was an O’Donovan Rossa, the sister of my grandfather.
In 1894, when I was in Ireland, a double cousin of mine wrote me this letter:
The Arcade, Ross Carberry,
June 5th, 1894.
Dear Mr. O’Donovan—We regret very much not having the pleasure of seeing you in Skibbereen last evening, but we are glad to learn from James Donovan that you will visit Ross Carberry shortly, when we hope to give you a hearty welcome to your native town. If my father (Rick Donovan-Roe) lived, how delighted he would be to see you.
My husband is also a cousin of yours—a grandson of old Garrett Barry. I remain, your fond cousin,
When I think of how many ways that girl is related to me it looks like a labyrinthian puzzle to go through the relationship. I have to travel through all the bohreens of the barony to get to the end of it. Her father was Rick Roe; Rick Roe’s father was Paddy Roe; Paddy Roe’s wife was Margaret O’Driscoll; Margaret O’Driscoll was my god-mother, and she was the sister of my grandfather, Cornelius O’Driscoll. Then that Ellen Collins’ mother, Rick Roe’s wife, was an O’Donovan-Island—a cousin of that Ellen Collins, though she was her mother. Ellen Collins is also related to her husband, as he is the grandson of Garrett Barry, for Garrett Barry’s mother was an O’Donovan-Island, the sister of my great grandmother.
That Ellen Collins has bigger cousins in New York than I am. The Harringtons of Dunmanway are the biggest and the richest butchers in the city. I was going up Second Avenue one summer evening last year and I met Charles O’Brien, of Clare, at Forty seventh Street. He keeps an undertaker’s store. Two or three men were sitting on chairs outside the door. He brought out a chair, and invited me to sit down, which I did, for of all the O’Briens in New York, I love to hear this Charlie O’Brien speak of Ireland—he has such a pride in his name and his family, holding his head as high as the richest man who walks the earth. Among the neighbors I was introduced to, was a Mr. Harrington, about seventy-five years of age. When he spoke, and while he spoke, his tongue was sounding in my ears as if it was jingling on the hearthstone of my childhood.
“Where in the world, Mr. Harrington,” said I to him at last, “were you living when you were growing up a child?”
“I was living in Dunmanway,” said he.
“I have never met you before,” said I, “but your voice sounds to me as if I heard it before; I must have known some people belonging to you. What was your mother’s name?”
“My mother’s name,” said he, “was Donovan; she was a sister to Tom Donovan-Roe of Ross.”
That Tom Donovan-Roe was the grandfather of my correspondent Ellen Collins, and the brother-in-law of my grand-aunt and god-mother. The sound of the voice of Mr. Harrington’s mother must have sounded in my ears some of the days of my childhood. Mr. Harrington’s voice is to-day—after his fifty odd years in America—as Irish as my own.
The old Garrett Barry, Ellen Collins speaks of, was the grandfather of Edward Barry, the member of Parliament who took me into the House of Commons last year, and was the rent-receiver on the Lord Carberry estate when I was a boy.
I did not satisfy the desire of Ellen Collins-Sguabbera to see me in Ross, when I was in Ireland; nor did I satisfy my own desire either, of seeing the spots where I had the nests of the goldfinch, and the green-linnet, and the grey-linnet, and the wren, and the robin, and the tomtit, and the yellow-hammer, and the lady wagtail. I did not go into my native town. I specially avoided going into it, because I could not go into it, as I would wish to go. I knew I would meet many there who were broken down in the world, and I could not meet them in the manner I would like. I, too, like Terrie of Derry have had my dreams in the foreign lands:—
Still dreaming of home
And the bright days to come,
When the boys should all
Dub me “Sir Terrie;”
And flowing with cash
I could cut a big dash,
In the beautiful city of Derry.
But those dreams and many other dreams of mine have not been realized.
All this I am saying may be idle gossip, personal or family gossip, yet it may lead to something that may affect every one who is not ashamed of having an Irish father and mother, and of having every one and everything belonging to him, Irish. To those who would be ashamed of having it known who their father and mother and their family connections were, I have nothing to say, and I heed little what they say of me for having a little Irish family pride about me. My story is the story of many a decent father and mother’s son, cast out upon the world—the story, alas! of many a decent father and mother’s daughter too:
“Through the far lands we roam,
Through the wastes, wild and barren,
We are strangers at home—
We are exiles in Erin.”
When Cromwell ravaged Ireland; when the cry was to the Irish people of Munster, Leinster and Ulster—“To hell, or to Connacht, with you!” there were not enough of people left in those three provinces to till the land. Then propositions were made to the plundered, exterminated people, that some of them would return, and that others of them would go back to their lands under an agreement of paying rent to an English landlord, and some who even owned the land got a foothold to remain as rent-gatherers for the Cromwellians. The Barrys owned Rathabharrig—Castle Barry. The Frekes and the Aylmers and the Evanses came in, and changed the name from Castle Barry to Castle Freke, and the Barrys got a chance of living on their own lands, by becoming rent-payers and rent collectors for the Invaders.
Old Garrett Barry was the rent-agent on the Carberry estate. It was through his friendship and influence that my father was not crushed out entirely when he cut down the trees in the kitchen garden, and sold them to Mick Hurley.
I have said in a previous chapter that although our land was on the Carberry estate, Lord Carberry was not the direct landlord who received the rent. And here I will have to notice another trick or two of those English marauding plunderers in Ireland, and notice the habits of servility and slavery into which the writers of Irish manners and customs have fallen. There is the custom of “fosterage” and there is the custom of “sponsorship” between the plunderer and the plundered.
The plunderer knows that nothing kills the wrath of the Irishman so much as trust in his honor. The Cromwellian landlord has an heir born to him, and he goes to the tenant O’Donovan and tells him Lady Carberry is in very delicate health, and would take it as an everlasting favor if Mrs. O’Donovan would take the baby from her for a short time. Mrs. O’Donovan has had a baby of her own about the same time that Lady Carberry had her baby. Mrs. O’Donovan takes the lord’s baby, and brings it up with her own. The two grow up as “foster brothers.” The lord had heard that O’Donovan had been plotting to kill him for being in possession of the lands of the O’Donovans. But now the lord sleeps soundly at night, for he feels O’Donovan’s wrath is paralyzed by this confidence in his honor that the lord has shown in entrusting to his keeping the life of his son and heir. The young lord and the young O’Donovan grow up to be men. They are foster-brothers, “dearer to each other than full brothers,” as those Anglo-Irish story-writers say, who have no conception of Irish manhood or Irish spirit, and who write as if the Irishman and his wife felt it an honor to suckle the Sassenach robber’s child. No Irishman of the old stock feels such a thing as that an honor to his house, though the conditions of slavery may compel him to suffer it. That great-grandfather of mine that I have spoken of had six sons. I have named the six families into which they married. The mother of one of these families had one time nursed the young landlord of their land, and it was held to be a stain upon the name of a Rossa to make a matrimonial connection with any one who had an English landlord for a foster-brother.
How is it that you never read of the foster-brother’s coming into existence by his being the Irish boy who got from the English mother the suck that did not naturally belong to him. It is—that it is the Irishman who is in the condition of slavery, and that the English breed in Ireland would consider themselves degraded and disgraced at nursing an Irishman.
The second trick of the two tricks I have spoken of is the trick of sponsorship. The lands of the Maguires are confiscated, and are made over to an English surveyor who gets the title of Lord Leitrim. Young Andy Maguire has the name of being a Rapparee; he is out on the hills at night. Leitrim is afraid of him, and can’t sleep the nights well. Mrs. Maguire has given birth to a daughter, and the lord asks that he may be allowed the honor of standing god-father for the child. Then, he makes the child a present of some of the old Maguire lands that lie around the town of Tempo.
This is making a little restitution to the Maguires, and it appeases their wrath a little. Andrew Maguire of Tempo, living at No. 242 East 14th Street, is one of the most decent Irishman living in New York City, to day. He will not say I am far astray in what I an telling you. I said Lord Carberry was not our landlord direct in Ross. No, the mother of Dr. Daniel Donovan was our landlord; it was for her Garrett Barry used to collect the rent, and the story I brought from childhood with me about how she became landlord is that Lord Carberry stood sponsor for one of the O’Donovan-Island children, and made it a birthday present of the town and townland of Ross. That’s the childhood story that got into my head. It is, perhaps, possible to reconcile it in some shape with the following book story that I read in “Sketches in Carberry, by Dr. Daniel Donovan, Jr., published by McGlashin & Gill, Dublin, 1876.”
“In 1642 MacCarthy, of Benduff, captured the town of Ross, and laid siege to Rathbarry Castle (the ancient seat of the Barrys in Carberry), now Castle Freke.… Ross was garrisoned in the time of James II. by the Irish forces under General McCarthy, and was reconnoitered by a detachment of William III.’s army.”
“Large military barracks were formerly erected at Ross in close proximity to the site of St. Fachtna’s simonastery. These barracks, where so many warlike garrisons had been stationed from time to time during the stirring events of the last two centuries and which changed occupants as often as the fortunes of war veered from one side to the other, are now in a semi-ruinous condition. Here lived formerly, after the military had evacuated the place, a branch of the O’Donovan family (the Island branch), to which the town of Ross Carberry belonged, under a lease, from the end of the 18th century, up to within the last ten years; and here also was born in December, 1807, Dr. Donovan, Senior, of Skibbereen.” My childhood history is, that Lord Carberry stood god-father for that Dr. Donovan’s mother and made her a present of the town and townlands of Ross, and it is very likely there was a compromise otherwise of some kind, wherein my people came in for shelter, for, whereas they were hunted from place to place, since Rossmore was confiscated on them, the six sons of my great-grandfather now came into possession of about half the town and townland of Ross. And they must have been respected people, too, because those six brothers got six women to marry them who belonged to six of the best families in the barony. That is one thing that stood to me in my battle through life—my family record. I never was rich; I never will be rich; but I got some of the best and handsomest girls in the country to marry me—simply on account of myself and of my name.
One little story more will end this genealogy business of mine.
When I was in Cork city, in June, 1894, I was staying at the Victoria Hotel. Crowds of people were calling to see me. Councilor Dick Cronin spoke to me on a Monday morning and said: “Rossa, I have to take you away from these people, or they will talk you to death, and you won’t be able to give your lecture to-morrow night. Here, I have a carriage at the door, and we’ll drive down to Fort Camden.” I went with him. Passing by Ringaskiddy I told him I had some cousins living around there, and I’d like he would inquire for them. “Ask the oldest inhabitant,” said I, “where is a Miss Nagle who taught school here forty or fifty years ago.” He made the inquiry, and we found her living under the name of Mrs. Murphy, the mother of the present schoolmaster. I made myself known to her. I was her mother’s sister’s grandson. I asked her if there was any one around living belonging to another sister of her mother, that was married near Cork to a man named Hawkes. She said there was a grandson of hers, named McDonald, who kept chinaware stores, on the Coal Quay, Cork. I went to McDonnell next day. He was at his home in Sunday’s Well. I did not go further to see him. His bookkeeper gave me this business card. “John McDonnell (late T. & P. McDonnell), earthenware, china and glass merchants, Nos. 58 and 59 Cornmarket Street, Cork. Established over 50 years. (127 Sunday’s Well.)”
Mr. James Scanlan, the wholesale meat-merchant of No. 614 West 40th Street New York, is reading these “Recollections.” His grandfather was one of that O’Donovan-Baaid family to whom my grandmother belonged. This is his letter:
Abattoir, Nos. 614 to 619 West 40th Street,
Dear O’Donovan Rossa—It is forty years since I left Dunmanway, and did not bring with me much news about our family relations.
When I was a boy, our friends would come to town on market-day, and have their talk in the Irish language. It was a pleasure to hear them in their own soft tongue—the women with the long cloak and the hood thrown gracefully back. The times and the people all gone now, and none to take their place!
My mother’s name was Nora Donovan. She had one sister and three brothers. All came to the United States. One uncle lives. Their father was Pat Donovan of Bauhagh, four miles above Dunmanway. He was a Donovan-Baaid. He married a Kingston from near Drimoleague. Both died in Dunmanway about 1846. My mother married James Scanlan. He taught school in the town. The Teady Donovan you spoke about is second cousin to my mother. With my best regards for you and family, I am, yours truly,
And James Donovan of 36th Street and Second Avenue, another cousin of mine, writes me this letter.
Dear Rossa—The reading of your genealogical sketches has brought many circumstances connected with the history of your family to my mother’s recollection.
Donough Mor (your and her great-grandfather) died at Milleen, northeast of Rosscarberry, where he lived with his eldest son Denis. Donough and his wife, Jillen or Julia Island, were born the same year (according to the tradition of the family), lived to be over a hundred years old, and were buried the same week, dying in or about the year 1793. When the funeral of Donough Mor was departing from the house, his wife went to the door and exclaimed in Irish, “Donough, you led a good life and had a happy death. You have a good day and a good funeral. Good-bye for a short time; I will soon be with you.” Before seven days had elapsed her remains were laid beside those of her husband near the old Abbey.
A few years after, his son Denis was outcanted of the large farm he cultivated, which embraced the ploughland of Milleen and part of Froe. He moved to Ross, where he erected the most commodious house then in that town. Here he engaged in the grocery and liquor business, with much success for many years. In his house the monthly conference dinners of the priests of the diocese were held up to the time of his death, in 1823.
All the brothers combined on the manufacture of linen with farming. Five of the brothers, Daniel, Jeremiah, Cornelius, John and Florence, had adjoining farms further north.
During the time of the free quarters they were much harassed by the frequent raids of the English soldiers who plundered and burned at will. A party visited Daniel’s house while he was absent at Cork on business. They threatened his wife, (Breeda O’Mahony-Bawn), with dire vengeance unless she revealed where the money was hidden of which the Donovans were reported to be possessed. Finding their threats unavailing against the heroic woman, they set fire to the dwelling houses, loom houses, and barns, leaving ruin and desolation where industry and plenty reigned. When Daniel returned and heard the story from his wife he fell on his knees, and with uplifted hands, he cried, “I thank God, alanna, that you and the children are left to me.” This occurred in the summer of 1797. The state of terrorism increased to such an extent, and the plundering of the soldiery became so high-handed, that the brothers, who were marked as special prey by the marauders, to ensure the safety of their wives and children, removed to Ross. The money possessed in gold was sewed into the clothes of the women and children. After remaining a short time in Denis’s house, the brothers resumed the linen business in houses which they built for the purpose. They were the largest employers of labor in the town of Ross Carberry, where linen-weaving was in a flourishing condition. Your grandfather had between twenty and thirty looms at work for him; he had the reputation of being an upright and honest business man, and in disposition generous, but hot-tempered.
It was a noted coincidence that your great-grandmother, Jillen Island, had six sons, Denis, Jer., Dan, Flor., Patrick and Conn, and her brother, Dan Island, of Gurrane, had six sons Jer., Dan, Rick, Flor., Patrick and Conn. Dan, the father of Jer-Dan was a great genealogist, and knew the history of all the Donovans. His sister, Aunt Nell, (Mrs. Malony of Gurrane) whom I remember very well as a straight, pleasant featured woman, was similarly gifted. Donal was the name of the father of your great-grandfather Donacha More a Rossa. That Donal had a brother Donough who was an officer in King James’ Army; of him nothing was known after the Williamite wars. Yours truly,
James T. Donovan.
That ends my childhood story days. The next chapter will get me into the movement for the Repeal of the Union between England and Ireland.