Sunday, March 26, 2017

Visiting the Homeland, 1876 – Part 3: Robert and John Say Goodbye to the Howes, the Browns, and Ireland

In their final four days in Ireland, Robert J. and John I. Howe make rounds to see each relative one last time and bid them farewell. Much of the talk is about America, it seems, as the Howes and Browns and their friends want to hear all about what life is like for their kin who live there.

On Feb. 17, Robert and John have said goodbye to their family and become tourists for a day. They visit Bush Mill, Giant's Causeway, and other sites popular with tourists today. I wish we had the rest of the diary. What a treat it would be to have stories from the rest of their nine-month Grand Tour.

Monday, Feb 14th, 1876

We were aroused this morning by the clock striking 8. Dressed quickly and while the women were preparing breakfast we cleaned and greased our boots and cleaned our pants (the best we could) which had been very badly used. We got breakfast and started off at 9-45 to meet Uncle Geo. Hetherington. Arriving in town we called at the Post Office, found that a letter had arrived for us and had been sent to Uncle Joseph’s. We called at several other places but could not hear of Uncle George. Went into the tailor shop to have a button sewed on John’s coat, while there we spied Uncle Joseph across the street. Hailed him and he came over with our overcoats which he had brought us thinking we would need them for the rough weather. Uncle Joseph then went with us and we called on Mr. Robert Armstrong, one of Pa’s warmest friends, was very glad to see us, went with us over to the church. Just as we had procured the Sexton, Grandpa [paternal grandfather Robert Howe] came up and accompanied us. This was a place of great interest to us and we gave it a thorough doing-up. It is the neatest arranged church that we have seen in the neighborhood. Part of the church is very old, but there has been an addition built on the east side within the last few years, increasing the seating capacity to nearly double. In the new part is a tablet erected by the Rev. Dr. Burnside to the memory of his parents. In the graveyard we saw the graves of our grandmother [Margaret Hetherinton] Howe and several others of the Howe and Hetherington family. Leaving the church and going into town we found Uncle George. Mr. Armstrong now left us, giving us a cordial adieu and wishing to be remembered to Ma and Pa. We pretty soon left town with Uncle Geo. promising to go to Grandpa’s tomorrow for dinner and  Uncle Joseph’s tomorrow night. We walked out the Finton road through a hilly rolling country nearly 2 miles and stopped at Uncle Geo.’s only son’s (John’s) house. Found his wife a very pleasant and agreeable woman with a large family of little girls and one boy, 16 years old. (She called them “Wains.”) They had a man there doing carpenter work who had been 21 years in America, through many parts of it, took a good deal of interest in “blowing the country” and seconded anything we would say in its praise. We were compelled here, as usual, to take tea and bread finishing up with punch, after which we started over with Uncle George accompanied by his son’s wife, on the way meeting her brother (Mr. Trimble), he says “It’s a rough evening” (which it was); Uncle George then says “These is me America friends.” M.T. says, “I suppose yes thinks this country audd.” The above is invariably with slight variations the style of introduction, salutation, and interrogation which we have met in this part of Ireland. On arriving at Uncle Geo.’s through the mud and snow we found a building of about the same architecture we have met throughout the neighborhood, with horse and pig stalls at one end, cow and fowl apartments
Cows and other stock lived in Uncle George's house.
at the other, all built of stone and thatched. Ireland has taught us wonderful lessons of economy having seen what scanty comforts people can put up with and yet thrive in health of body. We never see more than a single door to a house and entering into the kitchen, a single window to each room just about large enough to mount a 64-pound cannon, doors so low that we invariably have to stoop in entering them and are always in danger of bumping our heads against some of the braces of the roof. Find the beds also too short and are obliged to keep our legs in a bow shape There is no way of poking them through the foot of the bed as both ends are tightly boarded up.

Here at Uncle Geo.’s we got a number of bumps against doors and braces. The above is not an exaggerated description of the farmhouses. There are of course a few modern ones which are built in tolerably comfortable style, but anything like a desire to depart from old customs is very rare. We found Uncle George’s a very helpful household, his daughter Mrs. Jameson is lying in bed with rheumatism and White swelling [hydrarthrus, which affects the knee joint] and nearly all the work devolved on her husband, a stout uncouth fellow, but a very good and agreeable one. Their little boy (John) is 10 years old and the Old Man completes the household. John’s wife got dinner for us which we finished about 3-30 p.m. and she returned home but came back with her husband and got tea (8-30). Uncle G.’s grandson, Wm. McCauley also came in and we all chatted until 11 p.m. when John & wife and Willie M. went home and we retired into a bed in the family room (after the fashion of Uncle Joseph’s) right next to Mr. & Mrs. Jameson and only divided from the cattle by a wall which did not keep out the stench. I must not omit saying that we found Uncle George the jolliest old fellow we have come across in Ireland. He spins his jokes and anecdotes like some of our old Kentucky pioneers making the evening (which was exceeding blustery and disagreeable outside) very pleasant and agreeable indoors.

Tuesday, Feb. 15th

Arose about 6-30, cleaned our pants and greased our boots with melted hog fat. As [grandfather] John H[owe]’s wife had to come over and serve breakfast, we did not get it until near 9 o’clock. About 10 we bid the folks goodbye and started off with Uncle Geo. to Hugh Hetherington’s. On our way called at Mrs. Irvine’s where the class meets that Uncle G. attends and whose husband Pa was acquainted with. She called up her family, consisting of a grown girl and boy nearly grown to see the “live America boys” and wonder at our watches which Uncle Geo. is very proud of having us show. We only spent a few minutes here and arriving at Hugh H.’s found no one in the house but his daughter who called up the men in a short time. The old man had very little to say, but the boys, Christy and John, were quite agreeable and on leaving went a piece of the road with us. After Uncle Geo. had left his family on the main road to Fivemiletown, he bade us a very affectionate goodbye and we parted. Arriving at town 12-15, we stopped a few minutes to rest and refresh ourselves and then started for Grandpa’s, where we took dinner and spent a short time, Bob [traveler Robert J. Howe] being busily employed gathering items of family history. We bade the old folks goodbye and started off for Aunt Eliza’s about 3 p.m. arriving there 4-40. After a short rest we went over with Sarah to Mr. Taggart’s (the gamekeeper on Sir Victor Brooke’s demesne). Started out with Mr. T. to see the demesne and castle. Went through the Deer Park. Saw the conservatory, laboratory, study, some of the bedrooms, etc., but most of the house was locked up (it being so late in the evening) and the keeper was gone. We saw enough to convince us that Sir V. is handsomely fixed up and must live well. When we got back to the gamekeeper’s house it was quite dark and showering a little. He presented us with a head of deer horns and some other specimens of horns taken from deer killed on the premises. Sarah brought Mr. T. along with us and we arrived at Aunt Eliza’s 6-30 p.m. and found Uncle Joseph over looking for us. We all took supper and then we started over with Uncle Joseph well loaded with articles of different kinds. Bidding Aunt Eliza goodbye, Mr. Taggart accompanied us to the mouth of Uncle Joseph’s lane. Then at Mr. Benson’s Uncle Joseph gave us a lantern to show us light up to the house. Even with the lantern we had considerable difficulty feeling our way as the road was most terribly muddy and we had to climb sloughs and jump over ditches. Bob got one pretty ugly fall across a ditch. We arrived safely, though with wet and dirty Lower Extremities, at Uncle Joseph’s; received and read the letter from Willie [their older brother William] which came last Saturday. Took off our boots, bathed our feet, and put on our slippers. When we had gotten comfortable, Uncle Joseph put at us to sing some for him. We sang a few hymns and he and Aunt Margaret sang some in the old time long note style after which we went to bed (10 o’clock).

Wednesday, Feb. 16th, 1876

Very early this morning we heard a stir about the house and presently Uncle Joseph came to us and asked the time, we told him “a few minutes past four.” He said (wanting to be up in time to let us away) they had thought about time to get up and he and the servant girl were dressed. Said he would not go to bed again but told us to go to sleep. We dozed until about 6 o’clock when he came back and told us it was time to get up. So we did so, putting on clean shirts and collars. By the time we were dressed Sarah Armstrong arrived with our washing. We then arranged everything in our trunk and valises and by the time we had finished packing up breakfast was ready. Sarah and a Mrs. McQuade ate with us. We got the cart ready and things all in and started right away after breakfast, bidding goodbye to Aunt Margaret. We walked down to the end of the land accompanied by Sarah, and Uncle Joseph rode and drove the cart. We changed carts at Mr. Benson’s, taking his in place of Uncle Joseph’s. At the mouth of the land we parted with Sarah; bidding her farewell we walked on into Fivemiletown. Stopped at Mr. Alexander’s but they were not yet in and we left our cards. We called at Mrs. Spence’s, bid her goodbye and took out Uncle Joseph’s Democrat which gave us news up to 29th Jan’y. Overtook Uncle Joseph waiting for us just outside of town. We got in and drove
Uncle Joseph's cart may have looked much like this one.
the cart and he walked. Almost two miles out we met John Hetherington (Uncle Geo.’s son). Leaving him we came to a mountainous country. Uncle Joseph now got in and we took turns walking for awhile until getting past the summit when we all rode. The day proved one of the prettiest we have met in Ireland, though we have had occasional showers during that day and going over the mountains we felt rather cold and uncomfortable.

We arrived at Fintona a little before 12, deposited our baggage at the station, and finding we would have 1 1/2 hours to wait for a train we set out to have our horse taken care of and hunt a place to eat a lunch that Sarah had brought us over in the morning. We got into a public house by a fire in the kitchen and there ate it, when we had finished washing it down with punch. We got our tickets to Londonderry (3d. class), bid Uncle Joseph goodbye and started off in a car. We were drawn up by horse to the junction and there were transferred (in a few minutes after arrival) to the train from Enniskillen. We made very good time and got a view of the towns of Omagh, Newtown, Steward, and Strahaine and the River and Loch Foyle on the route, arriving at Londonderry 3-30 p.m. We called up the bus driver and porter of the Northern Hotel, who took charge of us and our baggage, and were driven up one of the principal streets and through the wall to the house (a neat brick building just inside the wall) and were shown to a neat room on the 1st floor just overlooking the wall. When we had washed and brushed up we set out for a jaunt on foot to see the sights. Mounted the wall just at the hotel and walked up to see Walker’s monument then continuing along the wall to an old church, went in and examined the old tombs in the yard just on a level with the wall. From this side we had a fine view down the Foyle, but it would have been much better had the weather been clear, which it was not. We continued around past old cannon planted upon the walls which had been used at the siege of 1688. We hunted in vain for the monument and statue to Hugh Karin unless it should be the one in the Diamond to the “Apprentice Boys of Derry,” which has no inscription. We walked through most of the city west of the Foyle, passing through some fine wide streets and some narrow crooked ones lined with dirty hovels. After supper we wrote up some back time of the journal and Bob wrote a letter for the [Carrollton] Democrat, after which we paid our hotel bill which we must say is the only one on our travels with which we have found no fault and recommend the Northern Hotel, Londonderry, for its good accommodations and reasonable charges. J[ohn] retired at 11 pm. and Bob at 11-30 leaving orders to be called at 5-30.

Thursday, Feb 17th

Were called at 5-45, took breakfast, and started in the car (furnished by the hotel) for Port Rush depot, were driven across the fine iron bridge to the east side of the Foyle then along the principal street on that side down the Lough to the depot. The train started at 7 a.m., complimenting Derry as the 1st Irish city we had left without having had a dispute with Hotel waiter or car driver. We whizzed on down Lough Foyle for over 20 miles then inland up a stream, passing through 2 good size tunnels, changed cars at Coleraine where we had to wait 15 minutes and arrived at Port Rush a few minutes after 9, left our luggage with the station master and hired the Causeway Hotel car to take us out to the Causeway for 4 shillings and a fee to the driver. Were driven down to the Port Rush Hotel (which belongs to the same co. as the Causeway Hotel) in their bus and ordered lunch prepared for us on our return. We started off in the car well huffed up in rug and shawl as it was very chilly, hazy weather. We passed along the seashore getting a fine view of the town and Skerries and Harbor, stopped and looked at Napoleon’s Nose then Priest’s Hole, next Giant’s Head, then arches in the rock. The coast along the road the whole way is majestic and abounds in beautiful formations cut in the rock by the action of the sea. In a short time we passed Dunluce Castle and went through Bush Mills, admired its beautiful new market house built of black limestone (made blacker with a glossy black paint) and finished with white. We noticed a large number of buildings in this style in Derry and all parts of counties Derry and Antrim and we would further remark in speaking of buildings that there is no preference shown for large stone in the face of the walls, but the stone is placed in the wall seemingly just as they came handy, no care being taken to select them. This applies to buildings in all parts of Ireland we have visited. We also remarked today numerous fancy brick buildings made of beautiful red pressed brick set off in various designs with cream colored Blue and Black ones. Nearly all the stations we passed today are in that style, and the nearer we approached Belfast the more we have been reminded of America. With the exception of Dublin we have met with very few brick buildings until we came to Fintona [in County Tyrone]. From there on we have met them in large numbers — Londonderry abounds in brick buildings.
Dunluce Castle, County Antrim, Ireland.  The photographer, Tina Mitchell Boutall of Ghent, Carroll County, Kentucky, was there in the first quarter of 2012 and saw the castle on a hazy day, probably much as the Howe brothers saw it.
We arrived at the [Giant's] Causeway 11 a.m. and hired Alex Lafferty guide who for five shillings agreed to show us all the signs of the Causeway to be seen on foot. We could not see it in a boat as the sea was rough. We saw first
the “Giant’s Well” but refused to drink from it, then the Small Causeway, Large Causeway, Giant’s Organ, etc. Climbing by a circuitous route to the top of the bank, we walked several hundred yards and saw the amphitheatre, which is a large semi-circular opening in the rocky cliffs and like all the rest of the causeway on the edge of the sea. The next sight was the Plaiskin [Plaiskin Head, pictured here on a clearer day;], three triangular cliffs composed of various formations of stone and red clay and partly covered with the green grass. This is said to be a magnificent sight but as it did not look that way to us, we supposed it was on account of the misty weather.

So ends the Howe brothers' time in the homeland of their parents. From Sarah Eva Howe's scrapbooks and family stories, we know the brothers toured several countries in Europe before heading back home to Carrollton, Kentucky, USA. If you happen across their travel diary – in your own family treasures or in a thrift shop – please let me know. Our branch of the family would love to read it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Visiting the Homeland, 1876 – Part 2: Roast Duck With All the Trimmings

Robert J. and John I. Howe continue their visit with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends in Ireland. Rob and John had never met these relatives before. Still, they didn't consider them strangers. These American-born brothers had heard their immigrant parents tell stories about their Irish family, and the Howes in Ireland had received many letters from their emigrant son and knew much about his American-born family.
The Howe Brothers Who Traveled to Ireland
The photo of Robert (right) is from one of the scrapbooks compiled by his daughter, Sarah Eva Howe. The handwriting is hers. The photo of John comes from a Howe family album.

We pick up the brothers' travel diary as they rise and eat breakfast at Uncle Joseph Brown's cottage on a Friday market day.

Friday, Feb’y 11th

Got up just before 8 o’clock. Just at breakfast time Sarah A[rmstrong] arrived to get our washing, ate breakfast with us, when we started over to Aunt Eliza’s with her. John wrote a private letter to Ma, and Robert wrote to George [a younger brother]. After taking a lunch we and Sarah started to town on foot arriving there at 2 p.m. We found Uncle Joseph who had gone into town in the morning. As it was market day we found a large crowd of people, among them Grandpa’s wife, Hugh Robinson, Uncle Geor. Hetherington and daughter, and other friends. Called at the post office, saw Mrs. Spence, but found no letters for us. Called on the Misses Alexander, who were very glad to see us. After three hours very busily spent lunching and taking punch with our kinfolks, and shopping with Cousin Sarah, we started out home with Hugh Robinson. Arrived at his house (3 miles from 5-mile town) a little after 6 o’clock. After dinner and tea his brother-in-law Jas. West came in and we chatted about America, etc. until 1-30 when we retired in a very comfortable room to ourselves. We found here the same ground floors and furniture style of beds, tables, etc. as at other places but Mr. H. R. and wife appear to want no better and look fat and rosy as do the people everywhere we have been in the neighborhood.

Saturday, Feb’y 12th

Arose just a little before 8 o’clock, after breakfast John wrote up the Journal for yesterday and Bob read the [Carrollton] Democrat of 22nd ult. until 10-15, when we started out accompanied by Mr. Robinson, crossed over through his place to the Clabby and Tempo road, followed that out to Clabby. The front gates of the churchyard were closed but we entered by the minister’s gate, looked through the yard, saw the tombs and exterior of the church but could not get into the church until we went down into the village and got the custodian, Mrs. Morrow, who came and showed us through it. It is roughly arranged inside and poorly kept. We saw about a foot of rubbish in the Belfry, deposited by the jackdaws. At Clabby we met Francis Kirkpatrick, Andy Coulter, and other of Pa’s acquaintances. Leaving Clabby, struck out for Crieve Hill, which we ascended. The day was not clear and our view was obstructed; we spent a few minutes reflecting on the scenes of Pa’s, Cousin Irvine’s and the Hetheringtons’ schoolboy days, then descended on nearly a direct course for Mr. Robinson’s house. Arriving there 1-15 we found Grandpa awaiting us and in a short time Mrs. Robinson’s sister came in and we all started to partake of a good dinner consisting of roast duck, stewed potatoes and rice, finishing up with Punch. The duck tasted elegant, notwithstanding it was cooked on a bare turf fire, which is the manner of cooking everything here in Ireland. Each fireplace has an iron bar, or a chain, suspended from above upon the end of which there is a hook which can be lowered or heightened by means of holes in the iron bar or by the links in the chain. Pots, kettles, etc. are suspended form the hook. A very primitive and unhandy way of cooking, though the victuals can be cooked astonishingly well. When the balance of us were nearly through eating, Mrs. Robinson’s brother, James West, and his wife came in.

As soon as we could get away after dinner we started off with Grandpa about 6-30 p.m., found Grandma looking out for us. As soon as we got warm we had tea after which we sang some songs in the "Pure Gold" for the old folks, cleaned and polished our boots and brushed our clothes. When we retired about 10 p.m. into the best room and the only bed in the house, the old folks fixing a pallet in the kitchen. Going through the fields from Mr. Robinson’s, John had a fall, the only one he has had since leaving home. He dirtied his clothes some though does not feel much hurt.

While we like to think of Ireland's rolling green fields, the Ireland John and Robert saw in February 1876 looked more like this frost-covered landscape. (Image of winter Ireland courtesy

Sunday, Feb’y 13, 1876

After breakfast started up with Grandpa to a neighboring house (Mr. Emmerson’s) to Class meeting. The morning being very disagreeable the class was only attended by the Emmerson family, ourselves, grandpa, and the leader, Mr. James Shaw. We met in a very comfortable room, ground floor covered by a matting, very well furnished with cushioned chairs and sofas, windows curtained, walls hung with pictures, turf fire burning in a grate, the snuggest farmhouse we have been in since arriving in Ireland. The leader called the class to order and all kneeled in private prayer, after which a hymn was sung, then the leader led in prayer, when another verse of a hymn was sung, the leader spoke as is usual in beginning. He then addressed himself to one after the other hearing their experiences and giving each one good advice. We each spoke and were called on to pray, but declined; the leader then prayed and another hymn was sung and class dismissed. Were well pleased with Mr. Shaw, is a good religious man. Inquired about Pa, said he made clothes for him in Fivemiletown when living there. We came back home with Grandpa. Grandma made us eat another breakfast, after which we started off for Aunt Eliza’s in a very disagreeable snowstorm. Grandpa went across the fields with us to show us the road. We are amused at the custom here of calling every little stream a river. On leaving, grandpa picked up a pitchfork. We asked him what he intended to do with it. He said he was bringing it along to jump a river that ran through the fields. When we got to the stream we laughed at him and jumped across it. We arrived at Aunt Eliza’s (nearly wet through) about 11-45 a.m. We stopped a few minutes to warm ourselves, took some fruit, and then started off with Sarah Armstrong to Colebrooke Church. When we arrived the service had begun. We looked through the graveyard before going into the church, saw the tomb of Sir George Benghe[?] also saw the tablet in the church to Sir Arthur and also others to many members of the Brooke family who are buried in the vaults under the church. Rev. Wm. Burnside preached a sermon from the text, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” We thought a poor effort. Owing to the wet, disagreeable weather, the congregation was light. After service we went back through the demesne of Sir Victor Brooke, stopped at the gamekeeper’s house, and warmed ourselves. Arrived at Aunt Eliza’s about 2 p.m. took dinner (the best we have had in the neighborhood) about 3 p.m. We had intended to go to town to church but being disgusted with the weather, and Aunt Eliza’s insisting on our staying all night with her and Sarah, we concluded to rest the balance of the evening. We spent the time very pleasantly chatting and reading (a neighbor boy coming in occasionally). Took tea at 6-30, after which we read and sung in the “Pure Gold” [song book], bathed our feet in warm water and went to bed at 10 o’clock.

In the third and final segment of the diary, the Howe Brothers say good-bye to their Ireland ancestors and cousins.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Visiting the Homeland, 1876 – Part 1: Robert and John Howe Arrive in Ireland

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the birthplace of your immigrant ancestors, this series of posts might encourage you to start packing.

In early 1876, brothers Robert James Howe and John Irvin Howe left America for a nine-month grand tour of Europe. Their first stop was Ireland, the homeland of their parents John Howe and Sarah Brown Howe. I think this was the first time any of the Howes had gone "home" since John and Sarah left Ireland for America almost 30 years earlier, in 1847.

While Robert (father of scrapbooker Sarah Eva Howe) and John (Sarah's uncle) saw many of the same tourist sites that are popular now, they spent the majority of their days in Fivemiletown (County Tyrone) and in adjacent County Fermanagh. Their father was christened at Fivemiletown and married Sarah Brown at nearby Cavanaleck Presbyterian Church. The couple lived in County Fermanagh, and their first child (William Ficklin Howe) was born there.

The young travelers (Robert was 21; John was 23) kept a diary throughout their trip. The location of the full diary is unknown to our branch of the family, but we have a transcription of the portion related to the visit to Ireland. The stories are as entertaining as they are informative. As one present-day Howe descendant describes it: “The diary gives a fascinating picture of life in Ireland in the late 19th century. The Howes were of humble origin, as evidenced by the thatched-roofed cottages in which they lived. [I think they must have looked like the one in the photo below.] Some of the families the brothers stayed with gave up their own beds so their guests could sleep in comfort. The brothers complain of the smell of cows coming from the barn that was attached to one of the houses. The Irish referred to the U.S. as ‘Amerikay’ and were excited to have guests from the place where so many of their friends and relatives had moved.”


The transcription begins with a diary entry dated February 3, 1876, as the brothers arrive in the area of Blarney Castle in County Cork. They paid six pence to see the Blarney Stone, which they declared “a humbug.  ... We did not want to break our necks, so we did not attempt to kiss it.” They continued on to a hotel, arriving long after dark. “John wrote a letter home and Rob’t wrote one to the Democrat [a newspaper in their home town, Carrollton, Kentucky]. Retired at half-past eleven.”

On February 4, they went by Imperial stage to the Great Southern and Western Railway depot, taking second-class seats on the 6 o’clock train for Killarney. “On the way we passed many bogs and thatched roof houses and a few mountains and ruined castles. After a dinner at the Railway Hotel we engaged for 32 shillings a two-horse carriage, guide, driver, host, etc. for a five hours sight of the Lakes of Killarney.  ... Fortunately it was Fair day in town and as we drove through we saw crowds of real Irish people, men with knee breeches, and cattle and general merchandise for sale in the streets.” After touring abbeys and other sites, they spent the night before departing for Dublin.

Waiting for them at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin (fifth floor, Room 108) was a letter from Will (their older brother William Ficklin Howe). After supper in a “dining saloon” on Grafton Street, they went to Theatre Royal and saw “Dick Whittington and His Cat,” declaring “the scenery was the finest we ever saw, while the splendid pageantry of the drama could hardly be excelled.” The brothers wrote about dining and touring throughout Dublin on February 6 and 7.

What follows is the transcribed diary, with my occasional comments in brackets. Question marks in parentheses are those of the transcriber, likely either Robert’s daughter Sarah Eva Howe Salyers or Sarah’s daughter Mary Alice Salyers Hays. Names are in bold, with identities if I know them. I have added bits of punctuation for the sake of comprehension, but I kept editing at a minimum.

   The Diary

Tuesday, Feb’y 8th [the first day with their Irish relatives]
We took the [railroad] cars from Amiens Street station at 8-40 this morning for Maguire’s Bridge. The railroad runs along the sea as far as Dundalk, then out into the interior. Passed through Balbriggan, saw several hosiery mills. [Of course, the brothers would notice these mills. Their father learned tailoring in Ireland; in America, he worked as a tailor and owned a woolen mill and fashion retail store in Carrollton, Kentucky.] Changed tracks at Dundalk and Ballyboy, arrived at Maguire’s Bridge at 12-45. Found Uncle Joseph Brown and cousin Sarah Armstrong with a cart ready to receive us. Went up into the village, stopped at the inn, where after refreshments we started for Uncle Joseph’s, the luggage in cart and we walking. About two miles out the post car overtook us and John and cousin Sarah rode out to Aunt Eliza Braden’s house. Uncle Joseph and I walked . . . and stopped at Aunt Eliza’s. She had us take a lunch after which Sarah accompanied us across the fields and through a bog to Uncle Joseph’s house. Arrived at dark. Here we are at our own mother’s birthplace, a humble thatched roof cottage built of stone and plastered over as nearly all country houses are built in Ireland. Contains four rooms, two large and two small ones, all having cement floors. A turf fire was burning in three of the rooms and Aunt Margaret [likely the wife of Uncle Joseph Brown) met us with a blessing and words of welcome. Both ate six meals today including lunch and teas.
Wednesday, Feb’y 9th
Arose at eight and gave uncle Joseph and Aunt Margaret their presents after breakfast, and at ten started to see Grandpa [the older Robert Howe, father of the immigrant John]. On the way met Mrs. Hugh Robinson, and found Grandpa and his wife living in a small house by the roadside, at the foot of Grieve Hill. They were glad to see us. Uncle Joseph went with us. After dispensing their presents and taking a lunch we went to Fivemiletown. Started at half-past three and got to Fivemiletown at half-past four. Received three letters and the Democrat. Saw Mrs. Spence, W. & N. Gillespie, and the house where Pa and Ma first kept house and where William [first-born brother to travelers Robert and John] was born. After a long walk we got back to Uncle Joseph’s house about 7 o’clock. Mrs. John Cowan spent the evening with us until about 11 o’clock, when we retired.
Thursday, Feb’y 10th
Arose at an early hour and in company with Uncle Joseph and Cousin Sarah rode over to Maguire’s Bridge and went by [railroad or carriage] car to see Enniskillen and the fair. Weather sloppy and very disagreeable as we had a light snow yesterday. Arrived 11 o’clock. Went up to top Cole’s monument and got a view of the town and Lake Cerne. Walked through the town watching the crowds of people and seeing the sights until 12 o’clock, when we went to the Imperial Hotel for lunch. After that bought some papers and mailed them home, made other purchases. Took the train again at 4:25 and arrived at Aunt Eliza’s about 7 o’clock. After getting our feet warm, which had got very cold coming out from Maguire Bridge, we went over to Uncle Joseph’s. Ate a hearty supper and retired at half-past ten.

So ended the travelers' third day with their Howe ancestors. In the next post, we'll walk along with Robert and John as they visit more of their Howe-Brown kinfolks and family friends. The brothers wrote in their diary about the homes, the furnishings, the food they were served – and, most of all, the people, who, though of humble means, "appear to want no better and look fat and rosy as do the people everywhere we have been in the neighborhood."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bits & Pieces: Transition From One Century to the Next

So far, this blog has mined scrapbooks about Sarah Eva Howe’s ancestors and then about her own childhood and young-adult years. Soon we will be jumping ahead to Sarah’s life as a wife and mother. There is a gap in the scrapbooks for 1900-1910, when Sarah and Will Salyers courted and married. In transition, here are some final bits and pieces from the 1800s into the early 1900s.

Trip to Chattanooga, 1895

Sarah, like the rest of the Howes, was a member of the Carrollton (Kentucky) Methodist Church. As a teen, she was active in the Epworth League youth programs locally, regionally, and nationally. Here’s what she wrote about attending a national event:
The summer of 1895 was a notable one for me for we went to Chattanooga to the Epworth League National convention. It included the northern and southern branches of the church and the Canadian as well. We stayed at a boarding hotel with other delegates. A special thing I remember about the “fare” was eating my first huckleberries the breakfast before we left. But I certainly remembered well the Convention, the great hall put up for the occasion the speakers and singers, the new hymns [unreadable] and “[When the] Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” Then our trips to the Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Death of a Young Bride

N. Lucy Froman Howe, 1878
On 1 August 1879, at age 19 and still in her first year of marriage to Sarah's uncle John Irvin Howe,  N. Lucy Froman drowned in an accident on the Ohio River near Covington. A family servant also drowned.

A Carrollton (Kentucky) Democrat newspaper story about the tragedy is filled with the flowery language of the day, yet the writer didn't think to include Lucy's given name! To this day I do not know what the "N" initial stands for. The article also omits information handwritten in one of Sarah's scrapbooks: that Lucy was pregnant at the time of the accident.

I believe the photo shows Lucy in her wedding dress. Does she look wistful, or is there sadness there? Did she sense that happiness would last only a little while?
(On, A. L. Fisher)



 Family Baptisms

In Sarah's handwriting is this account of a few of the many baptisms within the Howe-Salyers family. The list begins with Sarah's parents. Unless otherwise noted, these were infant baptisms. Sarah, her siblings, and her children were likely baptized at the Carrollton (Kentucky) Methodist Episcopal Church.

Leaders of the Methodist Church, 1891

Prominent in Sarah's scrapbooks are clippings, leaflets, and other ephemera related to all levels of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This postcard-size piece presents 18 clergymen serving as the church's bishops in 1891:
William Taylor 
Randolph Sinks Foster
Stephen Mason Merrill
James Mills Thoburn
Cyrus David Foss
E. G. Andrews
Thomas Bowman
John Fletcher Hurst
Henry White Warren
John Morgan Walden
William Xavier Ninde
Charles Henry Fowler
Willard Francis Mallalieu
John Heyl Vincent
John Philip Newman
Isaac Wilson Joyce
Daniel A. Goodsell
John N. Fitzgerald

Cultural Pursuits

Throughout the scrapbooks are programs from cultural events attended by various members of the Howe and Cost families. Here are two of them: a program from a formal symphonic concert in Cincinnati (no date found) and an invitation to a gathering in the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. P.(?) Stucy of Ghent in Carroll County, Kentucky. The invitation directs RSVPs to Jessie Tandy, likely a relative of James Tandy Ellis (1868-1942), a nationally recognized soldier, politician, musician, author, and poet. Sarah's Winslow relatives, especially poet Louisiana Winslow Howe, were well acquainted with James.