jerry writes "A letter from Mary Margaret Lam:
I have enclosed all of the documents I have on Francis McCrohan and Grace Mullin/Mullins/Mullane, their children, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren and great great great grandchildren. From the weight of the documents, it may appear as though the kitchen sink was also included.
My father, Maurice Patrick O'Leary and his brother David Michael (Uncle Mike), were wonderful story tellers and would tell us about their Irish ancestors who left Ireland on a sailing ship, went to Australia and then came to Whidbey Island because Whidbey reminded them so much of Ireland. Convicts, transportation, deprivation did not
enter into any of these stories because they had been raised on the same stories. You can see from the chapters I copied for you from books written on the history of the Irish on Whidbey Island, Francis, Grace and their children did a masterful job of erasing Francis' convict Status and transportation. I can understand Francis and Grace's desire to begin a fresh, new life on Whidbey Island for themselves and their children. I have shared the information with others in the family with varied results, my immediate family thinks it makes our family much more interesting, however, many other family members prefer the romanticized version of Francis and Grace's life.
My sister, cousins (Maureen and Kathy), and I grew up thinking we had very little family on Whidbey Island.
Our fathers would tell us about their Uncle Mike O'Leary who won a prize for being the best liar on Whidbey Island, or growing up and running wild on Whidbey as boys, about various cousins on their mother's side, but very little about their existing McCrohan, Nunan cousins. We later learned why. Their father, my grandfather, Maurice
David O'Leary who was born after his father's death by drowning in a canoe accident, had been married to the daughter of a prominent Whidbey pioneer and had a daughter from that marriage, Verelle O'Leary Jungbluth. My grandfather divorced Olivia Adams, and remarried shortly thereafter to my grandmother, Margaret Mawhirter
Brown O'Leary who was truly a widow. He added insult to injury to his strong Catholic family, by going to British Columbia, Canada, to be married and claiming to be a widower. I finally understood why he wasn't buried in Pioneer cemetery with his mother, father and grandparents McCrohan. Pioneer Cemetery was cared for by the
Catholic nuns for many years, and a divorced man was not welcomed. My grandfather who had been sick for many years, died when my father was 17. He loved to race horses, converse with the native Indians in their Chinook language and appears to have been a trial to his mother , step father and grandparents.
It was fascinating to read the City of Edinburgh's Convict Indent papers and find out that Francis' age was given as 26 in 1832, he was single, he was Roman Catholic, he could read and write (which if I understand Irish laws at the time was a crime), he was tall, 5'11 1/4", red haired, hazel eyes, was an indoor servant and coachman (I
wonder if his master saw to Francis' education or if he was a product of"hedge schools"), native place Kerry, crime sheep stealing and sentence for life. Upon arrival in Australia Francis was assigned to a Mr .Plunkett as a coachman and indoor servant. Francis participated in the capture of the notorious Bushranger Jacky Jacky, became a constable and farmer, emigrated to Whidbey Island with his family, died and was buried in Pioneer Cemetery. I hope with the posting of this information to find out if an account of his trial in Kerry was carried in an newspaper of the day which might mention his family or his place of residence or some clue to help find more about his family
Without the help of Ian McCrohon of Australia, Marg Morters of Australia, Lesley Ubel and others from various genealogy lists in Australia, I would still be staring at a brick wall. I have enclosed copies of their e-mails to me which include their e-mail addresses. Ian's e-mail includes a brief chronology of McCrohan/McCrohan arrivals in Australia, some of which may be useful to other McCrohan researchers.
Grace Mullen/Mullane/Mullins is perhaps more of a mystery than her husband Francis. Family legend has her coming from a town named for her father, Patrick Mullen. The Dingle Peninsula in Kerry was once under control of Lord Ventry, family name Mullin or desMolynes. However, I cannot find a Patrick mentioned nor a daughter Grace who would have been about 15 in 1831 when Francis was convicted of sheep stealing.
In August of this year there is to be a reunion of the descendants ofGrace and Francis McCrohan at the Pioneer Cemetery on Whidbey Island. I have enclosed the Pioneer Burial Association's mailing list. Every member on this list is a descendant of Francis and Grace.
Thank you for this opportunity to share the little amount of information I have accumulated.