Happy St. Patrick’s Day from O’klahoma

March 17, 2011

Lost Creek Meeting House

The Lost Creek meeting house, in New Market, TN, that the Haworths attended. I believe the original meeting house burned during the Civil War and this one was rebuilt on its foundation.

Who doesn’t want to be just a little bit Irish on St. Paddy’s Day? When I was a kid, I thought having an Irish ancestor was prestigious. I remember when my dad told me about his great-grandfather John Haworth (the Civil War veteran I wrote about in the last post), he mentioned John had a wife was named Sarah O’Rella Hodges. At least that’s the way I heard it. I thought, “Yippee, I’m Irish!” Sadly, when I started researching last spring I discovered that Sarah’s middle name was Orilla and that her family was English not Irish. Darn. Another illusion shattered.

So in anticipation of writing this post, I started combing my tree for real Irish ancestors. Most of my immigrant ancestors came over in the 18th century, and I haven’t gotten back nearly that far in my research yet. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few Ulster Scots (Scots-Irish) in there, but I think they considered themselves Scottish, not Irish.

I did find an ancestor of John Haworth named Solomon Shepherd, who was an Irish Quaker. He came to America in 1729 to escape religious persecution. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an Irish Quaker! I did know that the Haworths were Quakers or “Friends,” but that line originated in England, not Ireland. It’s interesting that in spite of their religious beliefs, all four Haworth boys were Union volunteers in the Civil War. I would love to know the story behind that — the Society of Friends generally discouraged military service. Was there dissaproval from their family or community? Maybe someday I’ll find out.

In the meantime, I raise a pint to my elusive Irish ancestors. I’ll find you eventually!

—Nancy


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

One thought on “Happy St. Patrick’s Day from O’klahoma

  1. Hi Nancy,

    Well we can be sure our families traveled the same roads in New Market. Jacob Montgomery Thornburgh was my great-great grandfather. His second wife Laura’s daughter was my great grandmother, her daugher Florence (Laura)Sullivan-Delaney was my grandmother. I’m the fourth Laura, named after Laura Thornburgh the author of the GReat Smoky Mountains. I love visiting the family tree. Thank you for a wonderful letter and photo.

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