Friday, April 11, 2008

Sarah and her young family: continued in Sarah's voice

         Soon I was a young mother. In thirteen years I had six children. Our first son, William Lloyd was born in May 19, 1839. We were such proud parents.  Then Hannah was born on February 27, 1842; John Devenish on January 18, 1844; Robert Charles on June 20, 1846; Nicholson Peyton on June 8, 1848; and George Cornelius on October 15, 1850. All were born in Mount Pleasant, Strokestown, in County Roscommon, Ireland.

         I was very busy with the children. You might say my life was easy compared to some of the other women in Ireland with six children. I had household help and we were able to live with William’s family in the big house in Limerick. Since William was a landowner he could not work. He did help me some with the children. There were cattle, horses, sheep, hens, ducks, and turkeys on the farm but the tenant farmers who rented from us took care of the farmland and animals.

         Hard times hit our family as well as the other families in Ireland when year after year the terrible potato blight caused our potato crop to rot in the ground. In a period of a few years, a time we called the Great Hunger, a million people died of malnutrition and disease. Our country’s economy was in ruin. Millions of people left Ireland to escape the famine in our homeland. Even though William is the oldest son and would inherit all of his family’s land, we decided we must leave Ireland. We emigrated and came to the United States in 1851. We were part of the largest number of people ever to leave Ireland in the same year. We, like many others, had family in America and they had told us of the beautiful land in America. We held off leaving Ireland as long as we could, but in the end we had to leave our home and travel across the ocean to make a new and better home for our family. It was leave or our family would starve. We chose life. 

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