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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Ancestors

Since it's St. Patrick's Day, it seemed an appropriate time to write about my Irish ancestors.

My 3rd-great-grandmother Mary Nevins was born about 1835 in Ireland. By 1855 she was in Davidson County, Tennessee, where she married William Dow Gatlin. Mary had a very difficult life. She probably left Ireland because of the famine, and her marriage was not a happy one. Her husband physically abused her. She became close to a boarder in the family home, Samuel Haslam, and they had an affair. He was going to help her divorce her husband, but then he was murdered in their home, killed with an ax. William Dow Gatlin was tried for murder but was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. However, based on the newspaper articles, he sounded very guilty, and he had motive and opportunity. Mary remained married to him. Her oldest daughter Florence passed away in 1881 at age 24, which must have been a difficult loss for her. Mary died on September 9, 1888 in Nashville, Tennessee.

My 3rd-great-grandparents Michael and Mary Dyer were also born in Ireland. Michael was born about 1830, and Mary was probably born about 1835 (she kept getting younger in records as the years passed!) By 1860 they were living in St. Louis, Missouri, and by 1863 they were in Nashville, Tennessee. Michael had passed away by 1870. The family ran a saloon in Nashville. Mary married John Cox in 1871, and by 1880 she was widowed again, and raising seven children on her own. Mary died on November 10, 1906 in Nashville, Tennessee.

My 4th-great-grandparents Hugh Winters and Mary Bennet were both born in Ireland. Hugh was born about 1810, and Mary was born about 1814. By January 1831 they were in Leith (now part of Edinburgh), Midlothian, Scotland, where they married. Mary’s father, Peter Bennet, was living in Airdrie, Scotland at that time. Hugh was a clothes broker and fireman. Their son John Bennet Winters (my 3rd-great-grandfather) was living in Tonawanda, Erie County, New York by 1859, where he married Anna “Ann” Walker, who was born on February 28, 1842 in Ireland. They moved to Chicago, Illinois in the mid-1860s. Only one of their children lived to adulthood. Two infants lived for 2-3 weeks, and another child died at age 3. Ann died in Illinois on September 19, 1872.