On St. Patrick’s Day in 1764, somewhere in Ireland, a little baby boy was born. He was christened James. Born to a man named Boal and a mother whose name is lost.
It was a Saturday. An ocean away, in British North America, New York City had just begun the tradition of celebrating the day, the first five years without a parade.
Meanwhile, in Ireland, life went on for James. He became a linen and carpet weaver, trades probably learned from his father. James wed in 1787.
James left for America in 1790 with his wife Elizabeth and two children, Margaret and George. They left from Londonderry in the North.
Being poor, “the trip was made by the cheapest passage.”
It was not a pleasant journey.
“The voyage of three months was a stormy one, during which the ship sprang a leak, and much of the cargo, including some of the goods belonging to the Boal family, was thrown overboard.”
They were devout Presbyterians.
At least one grandson of James, John Shannon Boal, fought in the Civil War.
I doubt James could fathom the chain of events he had instigated with his decision to leave Ireland. How could he foresee that a descendant would write about him on the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth and that the day, a truly Irish one, would be so widely celebrated?