Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 5

I went to the village school during this Winter, and probably some of the older children went with me. When Spring was well advanced a goodly portion of our household goods were packed up and we started by canal boat to Buffalo.  I was too young to have many regrets for leaving Pittsford, or to have any great anticipations for the future, yet 1 thought I would miss the village blacksmith, Mr Wolcott, to whose shop I carried many old horseshoes and scraps of old iron for which he always gave a big copper cent, which I immediately exchanged at the grocery for sticks of candy with red stripes around them.

          The children of our family in order of age were Margaret who died in Canada, Ann, Bridget, Michael, Martin, James, John, Thomas, Ellen, William, Joanna and Catherine. I have a list of them all in my father's handwriting in the old family Bible, and by the way, that old family Bible was purchased from a Catholic man who used to travel with one horse and light wagon selling Catholic books, pictures, beads, etc., through Western New York.  His name was Mr Paul Gillen, and later in life, though he was not young at that time, he went to Notre Dame, Indiana, joined the Order of the Priests of the Holy Cross and was ordained and did good work on the missions in that part of the West for many years. Mr Gillen also took subscriptions for the Boston Pilet which some called "The Irishman's Bible.”

          The Pilet certainly had a lot of Irish news to recommend it, and besides it had a column entitled, “Missing Friends.”  This was of interest to my mother for her favorite brother, William, had gone to Australia years before and had never been heard from by any of the family afterwards. She thought his name might be found there among those who wished to find the members of their families again.  However, it never appeared.

          My father was a poor correspondent and  seldom wrote to any of his family although he retained a strong affection for them. He named his children after them. His mother, Ann Williams, was a convert, and of his eight sisters, seven became nuns in the Presentation Order, and these were the ones he remembered in naming his own girls. His eighth sister was Mary, but he considered here [her] cranky and he never named a daughter after hers. His uncle Harry Williams did not become a Catholic, yet my father was very fond of him. He was a good man and at the time of the Rebellion in Ireland in 1798, he saved many a poor cropy from danger if not death. If he had become.a Catholic I would probably have been named Harry. In consequence my mother got the choice of my name. My sponsors were Patrick Gaffney and Mrs Ford.

View original here


This page has paths:

Contents of this path: