Last week’s St. Patrick’s Day holiday was ever sweeter as I could proudly wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shamrock — knowing it was true…This was the first day of wearin’ the green that I knew for certain I’m a wee bit Irish. Recent research revealed at least two “gateway” ancestors who emigrated from Ireland. Both are through my Whitfield/Brown line. Both were probably from Northern Ireland’s Ulster – which probably makes them “Scotch-Irish.”
The first was Mollie Browne circa 1712 – 1824. Mollie Browne emigrated to Bedford, Virginia with her Irish husband John Browne. He died soon after their arrival leaving behind an orphan son Richard Browne. Mollie remarried soon after John’s death to Joseph Underwood in 1730 who later settled the family in Rutherford, North Carolina. I am descended from Mollie’s daughter Elizabeth Underwood. Mollie is my 7x-Great-Grandmother.
My second Irish ancestor that I’ve found is Samuel King, Sr. He married Elizabeth Underwood Davenport – Mollie Browne’s daughter. Her marriage to Samuel was Elizabeth’s second marriage. Samuel was born in 1746 and arrived to America from Ireland with his brother Joseph and sister Elizabeth.
In 1770 Samuel purchased 200 acres along the North Carolina/South Carolina border which had a high hill that became known as King’s Mountain. Later on October 7, 1780, the “Battle of King’s Mountain” occurred between Major Ferguson’s troops and around 1,000 southern mountaineers making this family namesake a pivotal location in the war. Samuel King enlisted December 9, 1776, as a Private in Co. K, 11th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army commanded by Col. Daniel Morgan. He was captured at Germantown and listed as a prisoner on a muster roll call October 14, 1777. He apparently escaped and appeared on the Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania muster roll on February 17, 1778, in Camp Valley Forge under General George Washington. Samuel is my 6x-Great-Grandfather.
I’ve spent more time learning about each of these ancestors and their families and taking in my Irish heritage and culture. I’ve always been a fan of Irish fare, drink and a good shanty being lucky to have some great Irish pubs here in Honolulu like Murphy’s (my fave), O’Toole’s and the Irish Rose… so I tried my hand at making my first Irish Guinness Stew and adapted several recipes I found online. The end product was a savory slow-cooked stew that packed lots of flavor with some interesting ingredients I didn’t expect like chocolate, brown sugar, and honey to counter the bitter potential of the single bottle of Guinness Extra Stout. The remaining bottles of Guinness were paired with a Single Shot Pale Ale to make “Black and Tans”.
To learn a little Irish language and song — I listened to a crash course of Michael O’Laughlin’s Hello Fada and also the Irish Song and Recitation podcasts. Here’s a favorite I discovered – “Oro Se” a 17th century standard and often a beginner’s first song to learn.