A Wee Bit Irish



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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

According to my Ancestry.com DNA test, I am of 6% Irish heritage. That confirms that I am only a wee little bit Irish. My watered down Irish genes come from both the paternal and maternal sides of my mom’s family. Grab a Guinness and read my tale.

The McCalls

My 5th great-grandfather, Robert McCall was born in 1751 in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. In 1773, he brought his wife and infant daughter to America. There have been some wild tales told about Robert and how he happened to come to America. One says that his wife, Elizabeth Aiken, was of royal descent and her parents disapproved of her marrying Robert who was a commoner. So, he stole her out of a window and married her anyway. This has never been proven. Another even more far-fetched story is that Robert was a weaver by trade and could design anything. He designed a very fine linen table cloth with an American eagle on it and presented it to the king. The king took it as an insult, charged Robert treason, and ordered him arrested and beheaded. With the aid of some friends, Robert managed to escape with his wife and six-month old baby. Some say they put him on a ship and labeled him as potatoes. In a 2011 article in the Carolina Journal Online, McCall researcher John Hood dispelled this story reminding us that even if a commoner like Robert had been sympathetic to the American Colonists and had access to the king, the bald eagle didn’t become a symbol of American Independence until the 1780s, years after Robert migrated to America. Whatever the motivation, Robert and Elizabeth and their baby daughter, made the journey from Ireland to America and settled in Pennsylvania. They later moved to Virginia and finally to North Carolina. Their descendants eventually moved to Missouri, where my great-grandmother, Zelpha Lou McCall lived.

The Fawcetts

My 7th great-grandfather, Thomas Fawcett was born about 1683 in Ireland. He and his wife, Lydia Boyes, married in 1682 in the Parish of Shankill, County Armaugh, Ireland. In 1736, Thomas, Lydia, and family joined with other Quakers in the western movement to Pennsylvania. After living for about six years in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the family sought a place where land was cheaper and opportunity was more abundant. In 1743, the family joined other Friends in moving to what was then the most western frontier of Quakerism – the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They settled about five miles southwest of Winchester, Virginia in a place that became known as Fawcett’s Gap. Through the generations, their descendants moved to Ohio then Iowa. My grandmother, was born at Sac City, Iowa.

My maternal grandparents, Tom, with a McCall mother, and Lona, with a Fawcett father, married and brought together my two Irish lines.

Somewhere in me is that wee bit of Irish blood. My hair is red and I look good in green, so Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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