Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! March 17, 2015

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.
~old Irish blessing

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The first picture I am including was posted earlier today on Facebook by Rachel Shepard, the mother of this little fellow with the very Irish name of Kellan Shepard. He is one of the very youngest descendants of the Irish immigrants mentioned below.

My grandmother Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004) was the most Irish person I have ever known in our family. There are numerous persons in her family tree -- probably more than she ever knew about -- who were Irish immigrants who came to America long before she was ever born. Even though she was very Irish and proud of that fact, I do not remember her ever being particularly interested in Saint Patrick's Day. As a country girl from small town Arkansas in the early 20th century, her people were hard working, pious Baptists, who never got very excited about things.

Saint Patrick himself was Catholic, and the celebrations of his day are often given to excessive drinking, two things not highly valued in the lives of most of our Arkansas ancestors.

Even so, today is a day to celebrate our Irish heritage. Numerous ancestors of ours took great risks by sailing across the Atlantic and journeying to America with high hopes for a better life. They are folks like Thomas and Eigness Shannon who came from Londonderry about 1700, and James Alexander and family who came from Raphoe in northern Ireland in the late 1600s; and folks like John and Lucy Maxwell also from northern Ireland in the mid 1600s; and Robert and Mary Alexander who came from Scotland also in the 17th century.

And then there was William Henry Pickens (1670-1735) originally from La Rochelle, France, who crossed over to Ireland and married an Irishwoman named Margaret Pike. Then, from the town of Limerick in central Ireland, with several children in tow, William and Margaret sailed to America and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. The second picture has appeared in this blog before, and shows a descendant of these Pickenses, Samuel Pickens Shannon with his wife Finetta Dearien Shannon, parents of my grandmother Nola Shanon Gower.

Happy 16th Birthday this Thursday to Kaylan Shepard of Newcastle, Oklahoma. Kaylan is the youngest of the 21 great grandchildren of William and Bura Davis Shepard, and their last descendant born in the 20th century. 

Kaylan: "I am enjoying my sophomore year of high school by playing volleyball and bowling. I also love the art class I'm taking! Thank you so much for thinking of me! Hope you and your family are doing well! Thanks again, and have a blessed day."

Best wishes to Kaylan and to her family! This picture shows Kaylan (on the left) with a friend of hers, taken last month.
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Steve Shepard

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