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Catherine Graham
Catherine Graham
Mixed Media


Folklore has many a tale about “the Black Stunted Cattle” prized by the Gaelic Lords. How did they come to have such short legs? Myth has it the Banshee could fly only as low as the top of a man’s head. Through selective breeding the cattle were bred to be very short in the legs to protect them from being seen and wasted by malevolent spirits doing their nightly fly-bys.
Owen Graham’s bloodline on his mother’s side runs back to Gaelic cattlemen, the O’Neills and Mac Mahons.
Essex and the English planters came in the 1500’s to fortify “the Pale” and keep the Queen’s Peace”. Mac Mahon (the underpinning of the Graham clan) became the servitor to Lord Essex. This was “bad news” as Essex was a scurvy knave not a social superior of MacMohon. MacMahons also vacillated in their loyalties between Queen Elizabeth and the O’Neill clan. There ensued war, blood letting, breaches of ownership to make the story short by 1640 the Lion had the lion share of land.
Cromwell was putting a lot of nails in a lot of Irish coffins and By the end lands held by the Catholic Irish were declared forfeited. let us “fast forward” over oceans of tears, over serfdom, famines, fevers, and needless cruelties of humans to humans.
The year was 1872, when Owen James Graham was born in Ulster amidst a movement for “Home Rule”. He was born to the James John Graham family, tenant flax farmer. Owen was sent to work in a linen mill at age 12. At age 17 Owen was put out of work by a lockout and sent to the workhouse. Money was put together by the church to send him to North America in 1891.
Owen became a policeman in Chicago, Illinois. He married Catherine Hogan from Cork. My grandfather through his mother was related to Gov. Al Smith of New York the first Catholic to run for President of the United States. My mother, Catherine Agnes Graham was Owen Graham’s second child, born in 1918. I was born to Catherine Agnes in 1945 as mummy’s little heart-pulse.
My beloved grandfather died in July of 1949. He was one of the kindest men I have ever known, a joyful spirit with a big heart. He never once talked about life in Ireland