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A History of McCrohan(James McCrohan of Texas, U.S.A.)


  
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McCrohan History & Diaspora
The NameJerry writes "From the research of James McCrohan, Dallas, Texas.

THE McCROHANS: THE EARLY TIMES

Several respondees to my initial letter were able to reference the McCrohans back a considerable period of time. A Massachusetts McCrohan, John by name, averred that he had heard of a McCrohan serving in the Imperial Guard of the late Julius Caesar...

That seems unlikely -Ireland, as we know, and unlike the Isle of Britain, was never conquered by the Romans -but it's certainly the stuff of legends. Other respondees report name sightings back to deep medieval times, the 11th and 12th centuries. Could be. One historian reports the origin and migration of the original McCrohans from the county of Kilkenny- roughly the south central area of Ireland -to the county of Kerry, which is of course in the far southwest of Ireland.

By our standards- Kerry can only have been a wild and. wooly place at that period in history. There was considerable bloody clan warfare between the principal families of that era, the O'Sullivans, McCarthys and Fitzgeralds among others.
Early McCrohans constituted a sept, or clan, that was associated with the major clan of O'Sullivan Mor (as distinguished from O'Sullivan Beare.) Indeed, to this day, every other Kerryman seems to be named: O'Sullivan or Sullivan. Two other clans similarly associated with the O'Sullivans Mor were the McGillicuddys and the McGlincheys, two names which like McCrohan are uncommon surnames, certainly in the U.S. (To the McGillicuddys, however, we owe the distinctive place name for the range of mountains in Kerry's mid-section which are known as McGillicudy's Reeks. (Great title! Eh!)

On social organization! We, or at least I, have got little to go by. Generally speaking, from sometime in pre-history the Gaelic, or Celtic families of Ireland ruled the native peoples they found there in the path of Celtic migration from Mainland Europe. The Celts were great Viking-like warriors who brought their own language and their own modes of social organization. However, it's also likely that foreign Celt and native Firbolg blended into a more or less homogenous society over the centuries, as did the Normans and Saxons in early Britain. And speaking of these early Englishmen they showed up in Ireland at roughly the year 1100 A.D. -Strong Bow was the first such rascal history identifies -and he commenced the 600 year long struggle by the English to conquer the island. Which as we will learn had its impact upon the McCrohan clan fortunes, and is probably the reason most of us are in the U.S. today.

McCrohans were identified in writings in the 15th and 16th centuries as being involved in the textile trade near the town of Killorglin, a southwest Kerry community today well known for its "Puck" Festival. These McCrohans were also identified as maintaining "fleets" of ships for trade with the Spanish, an enterprise which may also have had some smack of smuggling, depending on the interpretation. In any event, the evidence suggests that these were bourgeois McCrohans, somewhat distinct from the, feudal Gaelic clans that claimed most of Ireland at that time outside the English "Pale" surrounding Dublin.

During the course of the 17th century the final (almost!!) defeat of Gaelic Ireland occurred. Armed McCrohans participated in the battles of the Great O'Neil/O'Donnell rebellion, which ended in the defeat at Kinsale in Cork in 1602. In the rebellions in the 1640's and in the Cromwellian wars other McCrohans fought, and many fell, in the numerous battles that occurred in Munster, often indeed under the leadership of the famed Chief of the Gaelic forces, Owen Roe O'Sullivan. Towards the end of the 17th century the last battles were lost, and the infamous Treaty of Limerick signed in 1693. Along with the other 'Wildgeese' , many McCrohans left Ireland for service in the armies of Continental nations, especially France, Spain and Austria, and many McCrohan families relocated en toto to those parts, especially to Spain. Those who remained lost title to their lands and were condemned to servitude as tenant farmers at best, homeless wanderers at worst. The 18th century was a hard time in general for the Irish folk, and we have no reason to doubt but that the McCrohans suffered also.

Incidentally, it was about that time that the preferred spelling of the name began to fasten on "McCrohan" in the English, or the very close "McCrohon" there being many earlier variations such as Macrehan, MacGroghan and so. In the archives for the 18th century there are approximately 30 McCrohan families identified as residing in various parishes of southwest Kerry, all spelled properly. The name continues to spring up in numerous documents throughout the 18th and 19th century in its modern form.
Which brings us to the 1840's and the great famines which struck especially hard in Kerry and Cork in the southwest of Ireland, and forced the massive emigration that sent the McCrohans, and many others, to the U.S. and other
remote parts of the world. Exiles, the Irish today call these folks, and the term is probably accurate, for few probably would have left the country except for the multitude of ills oppressing it and the economic difficulties that overwhelmed it.

MCCROHANS WORLD WIDE
The modern diaspora of the McCrohans began in the mid 19th century. The earliest of these emigrant McCrohans that we have record of is Eugene McCrohan, the father of Dave McCrohan, early settlers in New Mexico and Texas. The most recent is the late James McCrohan, of Oakland, California, and other cities, who came out to this country from his home in Kerry around 1950.

The Bayless book of McCrohans listed about 150 entries of the name, including both husbands and wives. Which means of course that the name's exceedingly rare, occurring with a frequency somewhere between are in 500,000 to one in 1,000,000. In addition to these U.S. McCrohans of course we have reports of the name in Spain, Canada, Australia and England. There may.well be McCrohans in other countries of Europe and Latin America whose name spelling has been altered to meet the grammatical needs of the of the home language (just as McCrohan is the English version of the Gaelic pronunciation of the name - In fact, our surname sounds quite a bit different when you hear it pronounced in the native tongue.)


WELL KNOWN MCCROHANS
The author of the clan is Tomas O'Crohan, a resident of the Great Blasket isle, just a mile or so off the Dingle Peninsula. He wrote, with the skill of the true story teller, the book, "Islandman"' in the Gaelic which was published in the 1920's and later translated into English by Robin Flower, (Blaheen in the Gaelic), an English scholar. It's a beautiful book, though not likely to be a starring vehicle for James Bond. The life style he commemorated has totally vanished, and indeed the Blasket Isles are now abandoned.

Another literary clansman is Maxwell McCrohon, now general manager of United Press International and previously editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune. Maxwell, I understand, is an Australian, which country has spawned some strong journalists in recent times.
The Spanish admirals, Manuel McCrohan and Manuel, Jr., are cited in the materials put forward by Anna Fullam. And various other McCrohans in this country has achieved recognition if not celebrity for their efforts in commercial and cultural areas. However, I don't think the country is ready for, say, a president named McCrohan. It would put too great a strain on the collective national tongue to try to wrap itself around that identifier.

THE ANCESTRAL HOME: LETTER CASTLE.
As you'll observe in the various materials attached, there was a McCrohan castle in Letter, (a small castle, we're told, but that's still better than a mud hut) an area south and west of Cahersiveen, which was the home base of the ancient Clan. Alas, the castle was apparently destroyed and levelled by the Cromwelllans during the wars of the mld-17th century. There are standing ruins of a sister castle directly across the river Firth known as Ballycarbery which exist most picturesquely to this day, but I think Cromwell had it in for the McCrohans and so the Letter castle was evaporated. However, there are locals in the area, I'm told, who can still show you the site and identify the boundaries et al so don't fail to stop by if you're in that area. Remember also, it could be the ideal spot for a clan reunion, though somewhat off the beaten track.

MCCROHAN NAME ORIGIN
How did the McCrohan name originate? A good question. Deidre McCrohan out of San Francisco says it derives, she believes, from an early Gaelic term for fox. Well, l've known some foxy McCrohans. I do also recall reading several years back in an Irish paper that the clan named derives from a flower found only in the region of the Dingle and Iveragh peninsulas. Could be. I think we'll have to leave it one of those unresolved questions of history.

MCCROHANS AND MUSIC
Several respondees have noted, or alluded to the McCrohan proficiency in music. James McCrohon of Shrewsbury, Mass., operates a piano tuning business and also plays in an Irish folk music group. Jim McCrohan of St. Helena, California, plays the oboe with a symphonic group out west. My own father played the accordion. Maybe there's something to the claim. I myself am as musical as a platypus but perhaps others out there can give better testimony. Let me know.

CROSSINGS OF PATHS AND REDUNDANCIES
In the responses by various McCrohans we noticed in many cases copies of similar historic references and notes. So don't be concerned if we're not 100 percent accurate in our credits. It's just a matter of brevity. Also in some cases poignant tales emerged between the lines that became evident as we overlaid responses. For example, the situation of Pat McCrohan of Cahersiveen who wrote an extremely fine letter to Margaretta McCrohan on the family history just before going off to a Dublin hospital for heart surgery. And, as we learned from another respondee, a surgery from which he never recovered.

IN MEMORIAM:
I'm sorry to report the death of my first cousin, Timothy F. McCrohan, this past October, at the age of 51. He resided for some years in the Kansas City area, but most of his life was spent in Detroit, and he died there. Timmy had a deep interest in the background and traditions of his family, and over the years I had many conversations with him about our mutual roots.
Timmy, or Ty Og as he was sometimes called (translation: young Tim) was admired and loved by all who knew him, and will be sorely missed by his widow, Carol, his family and friends.

Note from Jerry McCrohan: I have begun to collate the data from James McCrohan's research, which you can access by clicking here.
"
Posted on Monday, 09 July 2001 @ 23:14:30 EDT by Admin

 
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