Killeagh, County Cork

Cally was born and grew up on a small farm in southern Ireland near the village of Killeagh, pronounced “Cilla”. Between the Donnelly farm and Killeagh is a rare hilly forested area called Glenbower Wood, which from 1182-1933 (750 years!) was part of the estate of the de la Chapelle family (later called the De…

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The Donnelly and McCarthy Families

Ireland’s Great Hunger, 1845-1852, profoundly impacted the next generations, both through starvation and loss of property, and through mass emigration. Under British rule, most Irish land was owned by English landlords who raised crops through Irish tenant farmers. The famine didn’t affect the tenants’ other crops–wheat, oats, barley–but their own staple food, potatoes, were destroyed…

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The Malcomson Family

David Malcomson, founder of the cotton mill of Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland, was known as a devout Quaker. His eldest son Joseph, not so much. Check out how I depict Joseph in the Prologue of Horse Thief 1898 with his fictional son Peter. You can access the Prologue by signing up for email notifications on…

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Quakers in Ireland and America

For a group committed to nonviolence, the early Quakers in Ireland were surprisingly militant. No, they didn’t bear arms or compromise their Peace Testimony. But they were so opposed to what they considered idolatry—so convinced that both Catholics and Protestants had betrayed true religion—that they frequently invaded churches mid-service to loudly proclaim how wrong these…

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Jan Ignacy Paderewski

Jan Ignacy Paderewski Maestro Paderewski (pronounce the w like a v), 1860-1941, had four great passions: Poland, the piano, people, and his second wife, social activist Helena Paderewska. In each case, Paderewski’s love, hard work, and commitment—as well as his famous charm—allowed him to overcome huge barriers, traumas, and disappointments. His life can be viewed…

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Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906

In the 1830s and 40s, Susan could count her career options on one hand: 1. Get married and have children. 2. Teach. 3. Become a Quaker minister. Even though Quakers believed in male-female equality and received the same education as her brothers, college and the professions were closed to Susan. She rejected all suitors, not…

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Scott Joplin, 1868-1917

Scott was the second child of six born to former slave Giles (sometimes spelled Jiles) Joplin and freeborn Florence Givens. They were a musical family: Giles played the violin; Florence sang and played the banjo. All their children sang and played, but Florence recognized early that Scott, who had perfect pitch, was especially gifted. By…

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