Linen and Lace
Out of the mists of time came the Scotti traveling to and fro, first blue Picts then mixed all with lowland pleat and plaid. Wellington asked them back to the “Old Sod” to plant their feet on Ulster soil. The Cahans Exodus sent 150,000 between 1672 and 1690. Hordes of kith and kin, all in knit and kilts crossed from Scotland to Ulster.
The Grahams that are blood to me came in 1690 and were fair-minded Methodists and Freemasons. It was love at first sight in the Methodists Church in 1869, when James John first saw Mary Eleanor, slender and fair of face with strawberry blond hair to die for, even on a “bad hair day”. The Jackson’s were rich and James was a poor farmer. The Jackson’s were fair minded and Masonic (all men are equal). Some men with money are more equal than others with little. The Jackson’s tried to dissuade their daughter from this heart pounding love match, but the good woman was having none of that. She married James 1870and her family disowned her.
Owen was born in 1872 and named for Robert Owen, who ran an enlightened industrial community in Scotland. James J. Graham, Owen’s father fell on hard times with the second “lumpier” blight and a flax crop failure. The Methodist Church, it is said and a secret donation from the Jackson’s sent Owen at 19 to North America.
Owen became a machinist for International Harvester in Chicago, Illinois. He married Catherine Hogan from Cork. My grandfather’s maternal side was related to Gov. Al Smith of New York and the first Catholic to run for President of the United States. My mother, Catherine Agnes Graham was born in 1918 to Owen and Catherine Graham as their second child. I was born to Catherine Agnes in 1945 as my mother’s plaid clad wee Lassie.
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.