DEFINITION OF WHO IS IRISH
The definition of whom I consider to be Irish needs to be set forth for the reader to understand my thinking in the writing of this work. I did not use a compass, nor did I check to see if the candidates wore a cross or a crucifix. In my view, a person is Irish if they were born in Ireland, or descended from a person(s) born in Ireland. Ireland, for the purpose of this definition encompasses all thirty two counties of the island nation. People thus descended from those born in Ireland would not have been a part of human history if it were not for their Irish progenitors. While that sounds easy enough, it becomes a little cloudy when you consider people who, though born there, were not born of Irish parents. These children are, among whatever else, Irish. That is Irish law, and the law of most sovereign countries. This may only be technically true to diplomatic parents or other foreign parents of children born in Ireland, but it is Irish law.
Another, less difficult example, is a child who had an Irish mother, but a non-Irish father; and, therefore, a non Irish name. An example is the Countess Markievicz, her family, Booth, came to Ireland from England in the seventeenth century. She was born in Ireland in the 1800's. She married a Polish Count. She and her children considered themselves to be Irish, and rightfully so.
There is also the case of children born in other lands who had one or more Irish parents. Such was the case of the Irish patriot, Eamon De Valera, who was born in the United States. His father was Spanish, his mother, Irish. A case can be made for DeValera to be Spanish, Irish or American. For the purposes of this book, he is Irish regardless of what ever else he may have been. Were it not for his Irish heritage, DeValera would not have been as large a part of history as he was.
The term Scotch-Irish is another of those terms that over extend their original intent. The Ulster Scots, those Celts who left Scotland to occupy and rent the land confiscated from the Irish of Ulster by the English, were called Scotch-Irish. The descendants of this group who emigrated to America in large numbers, did so, by and large, after the families were in Ireland for more than one hundred years. By my definition that makes them Irish. The Anglo-Irish, Norman-Irish, and Scotch-Irish are all terms that should be used to describe the first of these peoples, or at the very most, the next generation. If it is carried beyond that, then you might as well refer to all the Celts as Kurgans (see Appendix II), a reference to a peoples from which the Celts developed that lived in what is now Russia.
Davy Crockett and Sam Houston spent time as young men in Virginia, and even later in Tennessee, and died Texans. Each state claims them but none as staunchly as Texas.
These men spoke of themselves as Americans proud of their Irish background. There are historians who refer to these men as Scotch-Irish even today. Scotland, Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas are all proud to call them sons, but as their father or father's father were born in Ireland, I call their ancestry- Irish, as defined above. A person, can of course, be of more than one ancestry. For the purposes of inclusion in this book, I was only concerned if they had Irish or Celts among their progenitors, in the case of these men and many like them, it was doubly so.
Semantics cannot disguise the facts. The real test of someone being Irish in my view is: if a person has/had an Irish progenitor, or was born in Ireland. The same is true of the definition of a Celt. It does get difficult when one considers a child born in Ireland, say of English parents. The Duke of Wellington was born in Ireland of English parents. He considered himself English. However, he may well have not been at Waterloo were it not for his Celtic connection. There are two sides to the point. Matthew J. Conway in his book, Highmarket "As you Were", makes the point when reviving a conversation between Irishmen about an Englishman born in Ireland. One claimed him to be Irish and the other responded,
And I tell you that because he was born in Ireland
does not make him an Irishman. Just because the cat
had her kittens in the oven, don't make 'em biscuits.
In most countries, unless the parents were diplomats, children born in that country are considered natives of that country. Even in the case of diplomats, many countries recognize dual citizenship for such children. At any rate, in the examples above they are all Celts in this book. To be sure, some people are more Irish than others. The point is the individual and his or her part in human history may not exist were it not for their Celtic connection.
My guidelines for identifying the Irish and other Celts who played a part in Texas history, came from official documents, descriptions of themselves, or from others, and by surnames. I was over cautious when I did the latter. I only used names that were most probably of Irish or other Celtic origin. If there was any doubt, I looked for another contributing fact such as the individual having arrived in the U.S. aboard a vessel that sailed from an Irish port, or from a port like Liverpool that became an Irish port to America.
Consideration was also given to where they or their parents lived, i.e., Irish communities or neighborhoods. Although I have found many people with an Irish heritage that contributed to Texas history, I know there were many more; but for one reason or another, I was unable to make the connection. Contributing to this were many factors. One of which was the pioneer's response to census takers when asked where he came from. He would reply in an Irish brogue his family came to Texas from the United States. If he wished to give more, he might say Louisiana or Tennessee. Eager to be a part of their new country, and often just as eager to put behind them a tragic past, many an Irish family got off the boat, Americans. There were many other reasons, an example of one was Patrick Dalton, the second in command of the San Patricios. He was from the barony of Tirawley, the home of my ancestors, near Ballina in County Mayo, Ireland. At the time he applied to enter the United States Army he was a deserter from the British Army in Canada. The U. S. Army had a policy to not accept Britsh deserters, so Dalton told the U. S. officials he was born in Quebec.
Some Irish changed their names or took the name of a less obvious Irish name. An example of the latter were some O'Briens who became Bryans. Another confusing issue were those Irish who said they were from England or from the United Kingdom, or British Empire. From 1800 until 1921, Ireland was considered part of the United Kingdom to most of the world. A part of it still is claimed by the English. Scotland and Wales still are. Another consideration is: Irish and Celtic surnames are more difficult to ascertain than you might think.
There are families that have been in Ireland for hundreds of years with names which Americans do not recognize as Irish. In my own family, one of the allied names is Lynskey, a form of Lynch peculiar to Mayo and Galway. The origin of other non Irish sounding names are from invaders, mercenaries, or migrants who settled in Ireland and founded families centuries ago. Some French examples are the Norman family names: Costello, Cruise, Cusack, Devereaux, Molyneaux, and Roche. Breton names include Brett and Britton. Hugenot families include: Lefroy, Gamble, Guerin, and Saurin. Other French names include: Bannister, Brocas, Disney, Foyle, and Mercier. Some German family names in Ireland are: Baldwin, Haberlin, Lipsett, and Meyer; and the Palatine names of Fizzell, Ruttle, Switzer, Tesky; and from the German colony in Normandy, Allman.
Irish family names with a Norse origin include: Alley, Broderick, Dolphin, Kettle, and Sigerson. Dutch named families, some of whom have been in Ireland since 1650 include: Drought, Fleming, Vandelear, and Vereker.
The English contributed names like Beck, Blood, Booth, Edgeworthe, and Fawcett. From the English Quakers, who found a refuge in Ireland, came such names as: Goodbody, Penrose, Pim, Shakleton, and Yarr. All are now a part of Irish surnames. From the Celtic areas many a name has come to Ireland to stay. From Scotland came names like: Bruce, Creighton, Dallas, and Dalzell. The Hebrides gave us: Begley, Neilson, and Nelson. Wales contributed: Brannock, Davis, and Taafe. Cornish names include: Bray, Clegg, Evans, and Jago. The tiny isle of Manx gave us the families: Casement, Crangle, and Curphy. These names. and the many, many more they represent, are just a few examples of Irish family names that may not at first appear to be Irish, but have been in Ireland for centuries.
Another complication was the anglicizing of Irish names by the English invaders which began with their invasion in 1169. An example is the name Mac an Bhreitheamham, which the English made MacEbrehowne, and then through further simplifying over a period of years to MacEbrehan, then to MacAbrehan, MacAbreham, and finally to the Jewish seeming Abraham. In 1465 the English Parliament "ordeyned" that "..every irishman....in the County of Dublin, Myeth, Uriell or Kildare... shall take unto himself an English surname of one towne as, Sutton, Chester, Trym, Corke, Kinsale; or colour, as white, blacke or brown; or art or science, as smith or carpenter, or office, as cooke, butler...under payne of forfeyting his goods." If an Irish name was just too complicated, the English anglicized the family name. Even if it was not long and complicated, many an Irish family name was massacred anyway. The family, O'Faich, was anglicized in different areas of Ireland as: Fee, Fye, Fey, Foy, and Fay. Sometimes the name was translated from Gaelic into the name Hunt. So you see, it is not easy to spot an Irish name.
The shame of all this is an Irish family name can be represented in a variety of ways due to corruptions in their use, ignorance, translation, and anglicizing. The best of example of this is in the book by Edward MacLysaght, Supplement to Irish Families, where he cites the case of a MacEnaney family. Six members of the same family, father, mother, and four children, had on their tombstones different spellings of their name: McEneaney, McAneaney, McAneny, Mc Enaney, McEneany, and the pseudotranslation, Bird. MacLysaght goes on to list 38 variants of the name in all.
Sometimes the English took many vaguely similar names and rolled them into one. My name, Moran, for example, can be traced backwards to include: MacMurrone, MacMouran, MacMoran, MacMorin, MacMorran, McMorran, M'Morran, Morayne, Moeran, Morren, Murren, Morin, Moarn, Moraign, Moraine, Morane, Mourn, Muran, Mughron, Morrin, Muiren, O'Moran, O'Morahan, O'Moghrain, O'Moirin, O'Mughroin, O'Murchadhains, MacMorine, O'Morone, Morran, and Moran. Further complicating things the family name, Moran, was brought to Spain and France hundreds of years ago by the Wild Geese (Irishman who wished to be free of English oppression and enlisted in foreign armies). One complicating result is found in the San Antonio, Texas, telephone book where you will find three pages of Morans, most with Hispanic first names. Similarly, if you were to look in the Montreal or Quebec City telephone books, you will find more than a few Morans with French first names.
There is no truth to that old saying that Mc's are Irish and Mac's are Scottish. They are all Gaelic, Celtic, and for that matter Irish, since it was the Irish who settled Scotland. The name, Scotland, comes from the Latin Scotus meaning Irishman. There are Mc's, Mac's, and the less known M', prefixing family names all over Ireland. As Scotchmen are kinsmen, they are included in this book. Where I knew they were from Scotland, I
have identified them as such. I have also identified Welshmen. As stated in the Foreword, the Celts were a large society made up of many tribes of whom the Gaels were one. The Irish, Scotch, and Welsh are further subdivisions of the Gaelic Celts. Saint Patrick was a Welshman or a Briton (the Britons, who gave Britain their name, were Celts who were driven out by the Angles and Saxons)! Scotland, the Hebrides, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany are all that is left of Celtic civilization besides Ireland. Each of them have had the surname problems as those described above for the Irish.
In Ireland there are also many pure Irish names not easily recognizable as Irish. Two examples are Qua and Zorkin. All this is to make the point, I am sure I missed more than I got, and that the true Irish and Celtic influence on Texas history, and U.S. history for that matter, is much greater than anyone imagined.
Finally, I wish to make an oblique Irish connection in the lives of some people. These are the people who carry an Irish name and are not necessarily Irish. This list would include people from other cultures who took Irish names for a variety of reasons. Examples include immigrants who came after the Irish, such as the Poles and Italians, who wanted to be a boxer or policeman when these fields were dominated by the Irish (and their complexion allowed for it).
Many Negro families have Irish names because of paternal connections, but some have the name for other reasons. When slavery was abolished and the need to have a last name became more important, many adopted a name they had been associated with, or admired. Often, they took the name of their overseer or plantation owner who was Irish. As they were previously known as Mr. Reynold's Bob, for example, the transition to Mr. Bob Reynolds was a natural. Wherever the name came from, for what ever reason, the fact is: a percentage of surnames in the Black community is of Irish and Celtic origin. Examples are found on recent past rosters of the National Basketball Association's Houston franchise, the Rockets: John Lucas, Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy, and Rodney McCray.
The last group in this category are the wives of Irishmen whose own families before marriage had no Irish connection. The custom throughout most of our history was for a woman to go by her husband's name, for example, Mrs. John Murphy, or more simply Mrs. Murphy. Though not Irish themselves, many of these women became, as they say, more Irish than the Irish themselves. In other cases they had nothing to do with things Irish, but just by carrying the name, there was an Irish connection. Still others had children who did have an Irish heritage. Those children that became prominent shed some of fame's light onto their mother. Though these mothers had an Irish last name, they had no Irish heritage save their own immediate family.
These people are included in this book because of the names they carried, where possible I have identified them as being Black, or having an Irish name by marriage.
Earlier I mentioned those who had an Irish mother, but a non-Irish father; and thus, a non-Irish last name. Examples of these Irish who played a part in history include nine United States presidents: Adams, his son John Quincy; Madison; Johnson (Andrew); Grant; Cleveland; Benjamin Harrison; Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
Incidentally, twelve U.S. presidents were Irish on the paternal side: Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Arthur, McKinley, Wilson, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton. The first three listed had a unique tie to Texas as described in the text. Twenty-one U. S. Presidents had an Irish connection including the Presidents Bush who have Shannons from County Cork in their ancestry.
Expanding that to include other Celtic connections, we can add Jefferson who was of Welsh descent, and Monroe and Hays of Scottish descent. President Garfield stated he believed he was of Welsh descent. Genealogical records show him to be of Scottish descent. That brings the total number of U. S. Presidents with a Celtic connection to twenty five. More than half of the U. S. Presidents had a Celtic connection. Two other presidents who may have had a Celtic connection were George Washington and Zachary Taylor. George Washington had very close ties to a McCarthy family (cousins). George Washington is descended in the paternal line from families in the west of England (North Lancashire), Celtic country. Taylor is another President whose ancestors are from the west of England in country that still has many Celtic families. Many historians list Lincoln as Irish through his maternal line (Moore). President McKinley in a speech about the Scotch-Irish included Lincoln in his list. My research has not been able to substantiate that claim.
In Texas, of those listed as Chief Executives of the State beginning in 1835 to the present from the list in Appendix IV, the number with a Celtic connection is 32 out of 53, or 60%!
To conclude, a person is considered Irish if they were born in Ireland or if they are descended from someone who was. The same applies to whom is considered a Celt. A modern Celt is someone born in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, the Isle of Man, or any of the Scottish islands of one or more Celtic parents; or descended from someone who was. The legal proviso would not apply in the case of other than Ireland as none of the other locations are a sovereign nation. A case can be made for proclaiming areas in Australia, Canada, and England as centers of Celtic populations. There are places in the United States that have or had high concentrations of Celtic people. Locales that come to mind are South Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and whole counties of Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
For an understanding of the ancients Celts, and of the Gaels see Appendix II.
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