MY IRISH ANCESTORS include three families on my maternal side: The Scotts, the Dolans, and the Darmodys. The Scotts, the first to emigrate, arrived in Quebec Providence, Canada from Sligo, Ireland before 1759. Where they originally settled is unknown but they eventually settled in Chambly moving to Illinois in 1850 and to Corcoran, Hennepin county Minnesota in 1855.
The Darmodys of Tipperary County and the Dolans of Cork County were driven from Ireland by the potato famine of 1845-49 and became Minnesota farmers in the 1860s.
The Irish Potato famine was the worst known to history up to that time. The deaths resulting from it and the emigration which it caused, were so vast that, at one time, it seemed as if America and the grave were about to absorb the whole population.
The year 2009 is the 162th anniversary of “Black ‘47,” the worst year of the famine. After the autumn and winter of 1846-47, terrified and desperate, the Irish began to flee the land they deemed accursed. Many of today’s American descendants ascribe romantic notions to their ancestors’ lives. Nothing could be farther from the truth. (more…)