William, Margaret (Hunt) Gaughan and Family, Tallagh Hill, Belmullet to Ontario, Canada.
My 2nd Great Grandfather William Gaughan, and my 2nd Great Grandmother, his wife Margaret (Hunt) emigrated from Blacksod Bay on the S.S. Manitoban in May 1883. They had lived in Bellmullet and Tallagh. They emigrated with their children; son Michael, daughter Mary, son Thomas, daughter Margaret, who was age 13 and my Great-Grandmother, and lastly their daughter Annie. They traveled to Toronto Canada and settled in Milton, which is in the Halton region of Ontario, located approximately 25 miles West of Toronto. According to the 1891 Canada census record William was widowed and I do not yet know what year his wife Mary died. One unconfirmed source says they are buried side by side in Georgetown, Ontario.
My Great Grandmother Margaret married an Englishman named Robert Sills in 1891. My grandmother’s family actually called him “The Englishman”. They lived in Ontario in the Halton and Wellington regions. While living in Canada they had three children; Robert, Mary and Thomas. The family emigrated to Detroit, Michigan sometime between 1901 and 1903. They had three more children; George, Ethel and Joseph. My grandfather Robert Sills was a builder. He owned a building company and became quite wealthy during Detroit’s Golden Age.
Margaret’s daughter Ethel Irene was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1906. The family lived very well in Detroit until the Great Depression wiped out my Grandfather financially. He died destitute in 1944 and my Great-Grandmother died in 1932 during the Great Depression.
My grandmother Ethel married a man named Harold Stock in Detroit in 1926. Harold was also half Irish, his mother Katherine Manion’s parents, were Irish emigrants from Limerick. My grandmother Ethel had six children. My Father Lawrence Stock was their second child born in 1927. I am one of nine children, my parents sent us all to Catholic school and we grew up embracing my Irish heritage. Sundays after mass were spent at my grandparent’s house, where my Grandmother always made tea the old fashioned way and we had Irish brown bread with dinner. My grandmother spoke with an inflection that mimicked some of her Mother’s brogue. My grandparent’s lived in Detroit their entire life and my family lived in Detroit until 1983.
It amazes me how much cultural influence Ireland has had in the world and I am proud to be have Irish blood running through my veins. My youngest sister visited Ireland last year and had she known about the museum she would certainly have visited. We are planning a visit together hopefully in 2017. This has sparked a whole new path of research for me and I have been reading about the Land Wars and even have begun a short story loosely based on my ancestors. I have researched my family history for about 15 years now and I am eternally grateful to Rosemarie Geraghty for contacting me, for her amazing work on the research project, and also to the Ionad Deirbhile Heritage Center.
Photographs and article kindly sent in by descendant Maria Stock