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James Oscar Byrne and the Luck of the Irish

March 17, 2016 1 Comment

James Oscar Byrne (1840 – 1879)
2nd great-grandfather
Sarah Helena Byrne (1878 – 1962)
daughter of James Oscar Byrne
Olga Fern Scott (1897 – 1968)
daughter of Sarah Helena Byrne
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Olga Fern Scott
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

My second great-grandfather was born in County Meathe, Ireland and immigrated to the United States during the potato famine with his family.  He arrived in New York at the age of 7 in 1848.  His family took up residence in Wilna, Jefferson County, in upstate New York.  I know from notes left to me by his daughter, my great-grandmother, that he and his brother Luke operated a saw mill in Michigan before they moved to Kansas.  She wrote that they sent all the wood to build homes in Kansas from that mill.  On the Kansas census of 1875 he says he moved to Kansas from Wyoming, which was pretty wild at the time.  He was married to Hattie Peterson, age 19, and her parents lived next door to them in that census.  James owned a large piece of property, much larger than Hattie’s family, and his profession was listed as farmer.

James and Hattie had 2 daughters born in Ladore, Kansas, where James is buried.  After all the adventures he endured crossing the ocean (a voyage during which two of his siblings died), lumber speculating in Michigan, making it to Wyoming, and settling on the frontier in Kansas he died in 1879 at the age of 38, when my great-grandmother Sarah Helena was less than a year old.  I don’t know the cause of death.  He was probably the only Catholic in his wife’s family, and maybe the only Catholic in my entire ancestry.  I was Catholic for a year when I went to boarding school because I didn’t like to go to long Moravian church services and being Catholic was the only way to get out of it.  My parents did not object.  I wonder if that was some kind of calling from clan O’Byrne that lead me to do that.  I will never know but on St. Patrick’s Day I feel proud of James Oscar and his adventurous spirit.

Erin Go Bragh!

Irish Love

Irish Love

Fors Fortuna, Triple Goddess

June 22, 2015 3 Comments

June 24th is the special day honoring the fates.  Fors, an ancient Roman goddess of luck was merged with Fortuna, the abundance goddess to create Fors Fortuna, the trifecta of luck.  In neutral aspect this goddess functions in three distinct ways:

  • Lachesis, the youngest, controls the length of the threads of life
  • Clotho, the middle sister, spins and weaves a tapestry of each individual life
  • Atropos, the eldest, keeps the scissors that cut the treads of life when it ends

These three show shadow aspects when they are not honored.  They become the Furies:

  • Alecto represents unceasing anger, driving victims to madness
  • Tisiphone is the avenger of murder
  • Megaera causes jealousy and punishes criminals

The fate sisters, in good moods and bad, share one eye and one existence.  The saying blind luck may come from this idea. Fortune, by its very nature, can go either way.  If it were stable rather than fickle it would cease to be luck.  You may have some rituals or beliefs about good and bad luck that you rarely examine.  This year on the 24th of June take some time to contemplate the role of luck in your life.  What does the phrase “There but for fortune go you or I.” mean to you?

Fors Fortuna

Fors Fortuna

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