NORTON COLUMN: A week to showcase your Irish heritage

Pioneer Publisher John Norton

My late grandfather was 100 percent Irish … John “Jack” Cavanaugh, from just up the road in Paris. I’ve written about him before.

His family came from Wicklow Parish, which is about 20 miles south of Dublin, Ireland. My mother has completed some genealogy work and recently gave me a copy. Interesting stuff.

Grandpa Cavanaugh grew up in Barton Township, about 10 miles west of Paris. His father Peter was one of 13 kids. Yes, they were very Catholic!

Can you imagine? So my great-grandfather had 12 siblings. And you thought the Waltons had a clan. I bet there’s some great stories. Wish we had them.

I know they were loggers and farmers. But with that big house full, wouldn’t it be neat to have great grandma’s diary, if she kept one? I bet there would be plenty of stories of challenge, heartache and happiness, like in all families.

So I’m 25 percent Irish, thanks to gramps, who married a Dutch girl. They met on a baseball field in Grand Rapids. My brother likes to say if it wasn’t for baseball, we wouldn’t be around.

This week, I’ll celebrate my Irish heritage. Love the corned beef and cabbage buffet at Schuberg’s! May even wash it down with a cold one, as St. Patty’s is on a Saturday this year. Owner Jeff says this will be the 38th year. It starts at 11 a.m. and ends when the food runs out.

Trust me, very yummy!

And Voelker Implement is having its spring auction the same day starting at 9 a.m., so I may have to check out something green, keeping with the Irish spirit!

Kermit the Frog sang, “It’s not easy being green,” but I beg to differ.

We Irish lads and lassies have all the fun.

Back to gramps, someday I need to find the homestead in Paris. There must be deeds and records that would help me find the place.

I’d like to walk the land … and picture grandpa working with his dad, maybe fixing a fence or clearing a field.

Maybe looking forward to playing in the baseball game in Grand Rapids, with hopes of meeting a gal. He got lucky and did.

Just the luck of the Irish, I guess.

John Norton is publisher of the Pioneer. Contact him at jnorton@pioneergroup.com.

2 comments on “NORTON COLUMN: A week to showcase your Irish heritage

  1. avatardanoneill

    My name is Dan O’Neill, whose greatgrandfather Paddie, immigrated to Barton Twp, via Wicklow Parish, Ontario and Owosso,mi. You’ll find most of the Irish in the Paris/Hawkins area took the same route. Wicklow was not subject to the Potato blight, but left for fear of it. Maureen Nelson, daughter of John Doyle (Doyle Forrest Products) in Paris, is the prime mover of our local Genealogy Center on 4th ave. Her family has been researched by her and she could probably answer any questions you have in discovering you families journey. Your paper published a picture of St. Ann’s Parish in Paris, mi in1889, with most of it’s members. I found pictures of John and Mike Cavanaugh, plus other family members. The picture was supplied by a Mrs. Frank Cavanaugh.

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