Obituary: Harry Hannay

Harry Hannay, the husband of  Clan Hannay Society Membership Secretary Jacquie Hannay, passed away on the 30th of December, 2022. He was 81 years old and a long-time member of the Clan Hannay Society. We will all miss his good company and sense of humour.  The service will be held at Roucan Loch Crematorium on Monday 23rd January at 2pm.

For the full obituary, please click here.

Obituary: Michael Bennett

Michael K. Bennett
Died October 11, 2022.

We received the following obituary from Hanna Bennett concerning her father, Clan Hannay Society Life Member Michael K. Bennett.

Michael K. Bennett beloved father, brother and uncle died on October 11, 2022. He was 62 yrs. old.

Mike is survived by his daughter, brother and five nephews.

He was a Merchant Marine Officer and Chief Engineer. Sailing around the World, meeting and making new friends wherever he went. Always willing to give a hand when needed.

He will truly be missed.

Andrew Boyd Hannah (1864-1940) Scottish Footballer


Andrew Boyd Hannah was an early professional Scottish international footballer in the 19th century who played as a right back in both Scotland and England. Uniquely, he is the only player to have been captain of both Everton FC and Liverpool FC over his three separate spells in English football. He missed just two games in Everton’s 1890–91 English First Division title winning season.

He was born in Renton, Dumbartonshire, north west of Glasgow to Northern Irish emigrant parents from near Killinchy, County Down, Henry Hannah and Margaret Boyd. Henry worked in the Glasgow shipyards and eventually had his own dairy business to which Andrew was apprenticed. However, his penchant for the newly professional association football meant that he was signed for Renton FC.

He won the Scottish Cup twice with Renton and his team was even unofficial world champions after defeating English cup holders, West Bromwich Albion, in 1888. He was subsequently signed by WBA after they saw how good he was. By all accounts, he was an all-round athlete who also competed and won the ‘hop, step and leap’ in the Highland Games at Braemar.

Bizarrely, we also won a £10 wager by going into a Circus lions cage as a publicity stunt! He was married twice and had several daughters and a son. Some of his children emigrated to Canada. A few years ago his unmarked grave in Clydebank cemetery in Glasgow had a gravestone erected by representatives of Everton FC to which some of his descendants attended for its unveiling.

Shannon Bews from Canada is a Clan Member and his great, great, great granddaughter.

Obituary: MGen Jim Hanna

Major General James Eric Hanna, CD, BASc, PEng
Jun 19, 1926 – Dec 22, 2020.

It is with great sadness that Kathleen Hanna reports the death from congestive heart failure of her husband James Eric Hanna at the age of 94 at the Perley & Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Tuesday, December 22.

Born in Toronto, Jim Hanna was raised in Ottawa, receiving his early education at the Ottawa Model School and at Trinity College School, Port Hope. While a student at Ottawa’s Glebe Collegiate Institute, he began his military career in the Royal Canadian Artillery (militia) and subsequently enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force, completing training as a flight engineer in the spring of 1945. After the war, he attended the University of Toronto and obtained the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science in Aeronautical Engineering. During summer vacations, he continued flying training in the Royal Canadian Air Force (reserve), receiving his pilot’s wings in 1949.

Jim was appointed to the Royal Canadian Air Force (regular) in 1950 and served with fighter squadrons in Canada and the United States. He subsequently held the position of instructor in the All-Weather Operational Training Unit at North Bay, Ontario, and Cold Lake, Alberta. He attended the Empire Test Pilots School at Farnborough in 1956, travelling extensively in the Far East, enduring many inoculations, and enjoying a Singapore sling at Raffles Long Bar. The next five years were spent with the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment at Malton and Ottawa. He served as a test pilot slated to fly the Avro Arrow. When the program was cancelled, he was assigned to the staff of the Operational Requirements subdivision at Air Force Headquarters.

After completing the Royal Canadian Air Force Staff College course in 1964, Jim spent a year in the Middle East as Air Staff Officer to the Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in Gaza and walked the streets of Jerusalem. His most vivid memories of the posting included being stranded in the desert at dusk, guarding his broken-down truck with a rifle while his mechanic changed the tire, flying to the 15th century Basilica of St. Catherine monastery in the South Sinai desert to deliver barrels of sacramental wine for the Monks, and climbing 3,000 steps up the venerated Gebel Musa (Mount Sinai), where God spoke to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments.

Jim joined the directing staff of the Staff College in Toronto in 1965 and was named Commander of the Canadian Forces Base in Rivers, Manitoba in 1967.

In 1970, Jim, by now a colonel, and his family moved to Québec City to participate in the Federal Biculturalism Development program at Laval University. One year later, he was posted to National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa as Deputy Director-General, Bilingual and Biculturalism. In 1974 he attended the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, UK. Jim was elevated to brigadier general and appointed Canadian Defense Attaché in Paris in 1975. In August 1977, he assumed command of the Air Defense Group of the 22nd NORAD region, North Bay, while receiving a promotion to major general.

In 1979, he was appointed Commander, Canadian Forces Europe based in Lahr, Germany, the first pilot to hold this position, in charge of Canada’s army and air force commitment to NATO in the European theatre. It was here in 1980 that Jim had breakfast with Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who was deeply interested in viewing and discussing the Battle of Hochstadt/Blenheim, Gettysburg, Trafalgar, and the American Civil war. Military history was Jim’s favorite subject, and his flair for languages, especially French, satisfied the P.M.

Major General Hanna returned to Ottawa at the end of 1981, taking his well-earned, though brief, retirement: Jim soon joined de Havilland Aircraft for five years as Director of Government and Military Sales. When he finally truly retired – and with Jim, this could never be more than a relative term – he embraced passions for which he now had the time. He was a member and patron of Christ Church Cathedral and the Prayer Book Society. As a proud Canadian, he supported many Canadian foundations such as the Perley & Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian War Museum, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, The Ottawa Hospital, TVO, CBC, and other deserving causes such as the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) of Canada. He was a councillor and longtime member of the Clan Hannay Society, attending many of their gatherings in Scotland. Jim was a collector of antiques, military memorabilia, flags, and heraldry, gifted with a marvelous memory, passionate about erudite mysteries of the Spirit of God, and the spiritual dimension of his life. He would have been at home in the company of John Knox and the Cambridge and Oxford Independent thinkers of the 1870s. Jim served on the board of the Canadian Red Cross as Vice President and the Board of Commissionaires and was the eldest member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI) in Toronto.

Jim was the son of Mrs. V. Muriel Hanna (née Boyce, d.1991) and Major F.J. “Eric” Hanna RMC, LLB of Ottawa (d. 1969). His grandfather was Dr. James E. Hanna (d. 1936). In 1954, Jim married Madeleine Joan Ritchie, who was a steadfast partner until her untimely death in April 1981 in Lahr, Germany. Their son Jamie Edward, RMC, BEng, PEng, and MBA (Queen’s University), of Oakville, and daughter Brenda Christine Hanna, of Calgary, will always remember their journeys to many parts of the world. In 1992, Jim married June Purvis, who tragically died in 2003. Jim and June pursued many activities, travelling extensively, meeting old friends, and enjoying the company of stepdaughter and her husband Janine Purvis and Cameron Trollope and their young children, Jenna and Michelle, of Richmond Hill, and stepson Stephen Purves, of Thunder Bay. Jim married Kathleen MacIver in December 2006 in Ottawa. He is predeceased by uncle Dr. Herb E. Hanna (d. 1982), aunt Eileen (Hanna) Stavely (d. 1980), sisters Elizabeth Lawler, RN and Barbara Dore, and niece Leslie Doré. In addition to his widow, son and daughter, he is survived by his granddaughter Julia Madeleine Hanna, grandson Roland Hanna, nieces Kathryn Doré Hall and Heather Doré Grognet, and nephews Phil Doré, Michael Doré and Frank Andrew Lawler.

St Giles’ Cathedral and the Hannays

The history of St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh is a long and complicated one of saints, pilgrims, war, destruction and restoration.  St Giles lies right in the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town on the Royal Mile, which runs from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace, both ancient buildings in their different ways.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and the central location of the Cathedral, High Courts of the Justiciary and old Mercat Cross symbolise the three estates of Scotland (religion, justice and trade), all ruled over by the monarchy.  The Cathedral is still very much at the heart of Scottish religion and pageantry and the centre of parades for remembrance and  celebration. The Queen and the Royal Family regularly visit St Giles, which is the Church of Scotland’s High Kirk.  Its 15th century crown spire can be seen for many miles around Edinburgh. (Photo 1)

1) St Giles Cathedral with its famous 15th C crown spire

The Hannays played an important part in Scottish religious history in the 17th Century, and St Giles is well worth a visit for any Clan members visiting Edinburgh.

St Giles was a Greek saint who lived as a hermit in France.  How his relics came to Edinburgh is a mystery, but in the 6th Century Scotland was seen possibly as a safe haven for Christians escaping from the remnants of the Roman Empire and St Andrew’s relics also came to Scotland around the same time.  Pilgrimages to  saints’ relics were an essential part of religious life up until the Scottish Reformation in 1560, and King David I established many abbeys and churches across Scotland in the 12th century, which still exist today (although mainly in ruins).  Holyrood Abbey, next to the Palace, and St Giles were both founded by David I in 1124, and you can still touch the 12th century stone pillars and see the masons’ marks on the stones where they had marked off their work. (Photo 2)

2) Interior showing the beautiful stonework

The Scottish Reformation took place in 1560, when John Knox led the Protestants to overthrow the Roman Catholic church.  The Church of Scotland was established as a Presbyterian church and St Giles was stripped of all its statues, stained glass windows and anything which could be considered idolatrous.  John Knox preached in St Giles.  Knox’s sermons were very long, and it is said that Mary Queen of Scots’ husband Lord Darnley was not impressed at all as he had to miss his dinner!

In 1603 King James VI of Scotland became James I of Great Britain in what is known as the Union of the Crowns.  James, whose great grandmother was England’s Henry VIII’s sister, had been brought up a Protestant and was therefore accepted by England as the successor to Queen Elizabeth I.  He is possibly most famous for authorising the King James Version of the Bible and was King when William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth (a play a about a Scottish King haunted by witches).

The problem which James and then his son Charles I both had was how to bring the Church of England, which was Anglican and had Bishops appointed by the Kings, and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which refused to accept bishops, into line.  Charles eventually decided to introduce a Book of Common Prayer to try to standardise the two countries’ faith systems.  And this is where a Hannay appears in the history of St Giles as the cause of one of the most momentous riots in Edinburgh.

Dean James Hannay was in charge of St Giles in 1637 when King Charles I issued an edict that the new Book of Common Prayer should be read in all churches in Scotland and England.  On 23 July 1637 as Dean Hannay started to the read a woman called Jenny Geddes picked up her stool and threw it at him and then everyone else in the congregation joined in the riot.  The Dean had to run for his life!  There is still a plaque on one of the pillars in St Giles marking this event.  (Photo 3)

3) Plaque showing the spot where Dean James Hannay read from the Book of Common Prayer for the first and last time in 1637

As a result of the ensuing riot, many other Scottish towns followed suit and there was a general rebellion against the King.  In 1638 the National Covenant was drawn up as a petition stating very clearly that although Charles I was King of Scotland he was not to be the head of the Scottish Church.  This remains the case today where the Queen is head of the Church of England, but not of the Church of Scotland.  This document is one of the most famous documents in Scottish History and a copy of it can be seen in St Giles.  (Photo 4)

4) Copy of the National Covenant signed in 1638

The people who signed and supported the National Covenant were known as the Covenanters, and there followed a bloody and difficult period, which included Charles I being executed in 1649.  His sons Charles II and James II continued the suppression of the Covenanters in what was known as the “Killing Times”.  It was a brutal period, and  an example of the cruel punishments inflicted on the Covenanters two women were tied to stakes and left to drown at Wigtown Bay.  Many Covenanters were imprisoned and many who escaped emigrated to the Americas to start a new life.  After the exile of James II to France the new Protestant King and Queen, William and Mary, finally established the Church of Scotland in 1690.

After so many centuries of war and destruction, St Giles has been restored and extended, and has regular Sunday services, attended by the public as well as the Queen and Lord Provost of Edinburgh.  The stained glass windows have been replaced, and it is a beautiful cathedral to visit. (Photo 5)

5) Looking west to the stained glass window commemorating the poet Robert Burns

Susan Napier
14 June 2021

Gaelic Forms of the Family Name

Irish/Scottish Gaelic forms of Hanney/Hanna/Hannay/Hannah


{Note to the reader: For the sake of readability, ‘Hanney’ in this article is used to represent all forms of the surname Hanney/Hanna/Hannay/Hannah.}

  • Goidelic ( Gaelic ) languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from Ireland through the Isle of Man to Scotland. There are 3 modern Goidelic languages: Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), and Manx (Gaelg).
  • The Irish version of the name Hanney is Ó hAnnaidh( in the Nominative form ) and is one of the few examples of a Gàidhlig surname with “Ó” as prefix.
  • The vast majority of Hanneys in Ireland are descendants of 17th century Scottish Planters, especially in Ulster. These settlers eventually migrated to all parts of Ireland including areas where the main language spoken, was Irish.

Traditional forms of Irish Surnames

Those who have experience researching their family history, will be aware that different spellings of their surname have been used by their ancestors, even by the same individual, on different official documents. This happened often when the individual was illiterate and the surname was recorded by an official, as he/she thought it should be spelled.

In Irish, traditionally the surname ( Sloinne ) changes depending on the individual’s place in the household.


Gearóid      Ó hAnnaidh :
Bean         Uí Annaidh  : Wife
Róisín        Ní Annaidh  : Daughter
Seán         Ó hAnnaidh : Son
(Sometimes hAnnaidh is written h-Annaidh).

Therefore, when doing research using online Census Records from 1901/1911, if you have ancestors who lived in parts of Ireland where Irish used to be the main language, you need to be familiar with the above variations of Hanney in Irish.

I give below two examples of records taken from the online 1911 Irish Census. Due to the 100-year rule, details for any Census after 1911 are not yet online.


Whether your Irish-speaking ancestors had their names recorded in Irish may have depended on the person who completed the census form, knowing Gaeilge. The names may have been ‘transcribed’ ( correctly or not ) into English.

A further cause of these variations occurred when the National School system was established throughout Ireland. The national system actively discouraged any distinct elements of Irish culture within the school system, most notably the Irish language, until the early 1900s. Nor was Irish used as the medium of education. It is said that teachers who did not speak Irish were sent to schools in Irish-speaking areas and these would tell the children ( perhaps incorrectly ) what their surnames were ( in English ).

In a similar fashion, when Irish-speakers emigrated to an English-speaking country and were registered upon arrival, they were normally registered under an anglicised version of their name. A lot depended on the individual doing the recording, being educated and knowledgeable of the surnames in Ireland. Then, from that point on, that was the surname they had to use when dealing with authorities.


Please, take note of these surname variants that can exist in census records:

Ó hAnnaidh /  Ó h-Annaidh  / Uí Annaidh / Ní Annaidh

These same variants in Irish surnames will also crop up in other official documents in Irish speaking areas e.g. church records, gravestone inscriptions, journals etc.

Gearóid Ó hAnnaidh                     2021-04-28

Dance: The Hannays Return to Sorbie

Clan member Gerard Hanney sent us the following Scottish Country Dance created by Helen Russell.  It is intended to be performed while accompanied by The Hannays Return to Sorbie. You can listen to the chief playing this tune on the smallpipes here.

Gerard adds that Ms. Russell “composed the dance at my request when she came to Luxembourg to teach at a SCD workshop. She incorporated a H & S into the formation of the dance ( when seen from above ).”


The file can be downloaded here.

Gerard also sent this animation demonstrating the steps:

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Robert Hanna

Clan genealogist Keith Hanna recently sent me a link to a most intriguing item which had been up for auction at Christie’s, almost twenty years ago:

JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed (“Th:Jefferson”) to General Robert Hanna (1744-1821), Monticello, 16 January 1820. 1 page, 4to, torn and professionally repaired along two folds, but with loss of two or three words in center area. [With:] JEFFERSON. Autograph FREE FRANK (“free Th:Jefferson”) on portion of address leaf addressed in Jefferson’s hand to Hanna in Franklin County, Indiana, vertical tear with loss of several text letters, signature unaffected.


A letter from you, dear Sir, comes to me like one from the tombs of the dead, so long is it since I have had any evidence that you were still in the land of the living, and so few are now so who were fellow laborers in the struggle for the liberation of our country, and I rejoice to find that advancing years are the only assailants on your health mentioned in your letter. Time as well as ill health bear heavily on me. Immediately on the receipt of your letter I forwarded it to the President with the expression of the interest I feel for [your petition], and he will not be slow in giving his attention to giving [his atten]tion to revolutionary worthies. I tender you my best wishes for the continuance of your life and health as long as you shall yourself wish them, to continue….

Who was Robert Hanna?

Hanna was born in Virginia in 1744 and attended the College of William & Mary with Jefferson. He subsequently moved to South Carolina, where he seems at one point to have held the position of Surveyor General. He married Mary Parks (1744-1834) and had five children. As a soldier in the Revolutionary War, Robert saw action in ten battles within the colony and at least one in Vermont, and he rose to the rank of brigadier-general by the end of hostilities.  The family moved to Indiana in 1804. His son Robert, Jr. (1786-1858) was a delegate to Indiana’s state constitutional convention in 1816 and later became a U.S. senator.  At the time of Jefferson’s letter, Hanna was living in Brookville, Franklin County, where he died the following year. His tombstone reads:

In memory of Robert Hanna

Was born Dec. 10th 1744
And departed this life
The 24th of January 1821
He was A brave defender
Of his Country’s Rights
And lived and died an honest man


  • “Auction Results.” JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph Letter, Christie’s Auction House, 2003, Retrieved 1/28/2021.
  • “Robert Hanna Sr. (1744-1821) – Find A Grave…” Find a Grave, Retrieved 1/28/2021.
  • The American Revolution in South Carolina – Captain Robert Hanna, 2009, Retrieved 1/28/2021.
  • “Members of Indiana’s 1816 Constitutional Convention.” Indiana Historical Bureau, 15 Dec. 2020, Retrieved 1/28/2021.

Hannays in the 14th Century

Excerpted from The Hannays of Sorbie, 4th Edition, available on in paperback or Kindle. All profits from sales go to the Clan Hannay Society.

In 1329, when David Bruce succeeded his father Robert to become King David II of Scotland, Edward Balliol, the son of John Baliol, disputed the succession. The dispute went to Edward III of England, and in 1333 an English Army was sent to Scotland to place Baliol on the Throne. The men of Galloway still loyal to the Baliols supported him, but after a few months the Barons of Scotland forced Baliol out and restored David II. The Hannays, having supported Baliol, again fell on hard times.

By this time the Hannays were likely in occupation of the Wigtown area and possibly holding Sorbie.

In 1346, King David II, to assist the French after their defeat at the disastrous Battle of Crécy, decided to invade England. He crossed the border of Cumberland at the head of a large army, and advanced towards Durham, laying waste to many places and burning the famous Abbey of Lanercost on the outskirts of Brampton, near Carlisle. He expected an easy march south into England as the English army was away overseas.

Wigtown to Durham, along the Scots-English Border

But Edward III had a plan to deal with just this contingency: in recruiting his army for Crécy, he had deliberately not included men from north of the Humber. William de la Zouche, the Archbishop of York and Warden of the Marches, collected an army and faced David II just outside the walls of Durham at Neville’s Cross. On October 17, 1346, the Scots attacked and were decisively defeated, and King David II and many of his knights taken prisoner to London. There may well have been a Hannay among them on King David’s side—in fact, in the list of prisoners taken at the battle is a David Annand; he may well be a member of the Annandale family, but it is possible that with the free spelling of the period that he might be of Sorbie’s stock. Whoever he was, it was not until 1354 that the English Commissioners agreed to his release, together with Walter de Haliburton and Andrew Campbell, from Carlisle Castle without ransom.

Edward III was not satisfied yet. He sent an army into Scotland under Edward Baliol and Earl Percy in the spring of 1347. Baliol marched into Galloway and ravaged it.

Only eight years later, in 1355, Edward III entered Scotland once more, but the hostility of the people froze him out. He did, however, sack the southern part of the country.

The next Hannays that appear – and there are many in the Scottish records of the period, described as De Hannas, Hannays and A’Hannays – are two churchmen. Fynlaus A’Hanna on May 14, 1390 was granted by Antipope Clement VII[1], at Avignon, a benefice in the gift of the Bishop and Chapter of Whithorn. He is described as “Three years scolar of civil law and a Cannon of Whitherne”. In 1394, Brice A’Hanna, also a priest, was put up in the Bishop of Dunblane’s list for a benefice in the gift of the Abbot and Convent of Paisley. This was granted by Antipope Benedict XIII[2].

An Andrew Hannay of Sorbie is mentioned in 1416, when Archibald, Earl of Wigton, headed the Royal Archers of Scotland to France to fight the English. He remained for many years in the service of the King of France, probably as a member of the Garde Ecossaise, an elite Scottish military unit who were personal bodyguards to the French monarchy, and he likely fought alongside Archibald in the Battle of Baugé in 1421 when the Garde Ecossaise defeated the English. The regiment received precedence above all others in the French Army.

The Battle of Beaugé, 1421

Some years later, we find members of the family in the Scottish Archer Guard of the French army. In 1448 David Lamne (probably Hannay) and James Han are mentioned. When Robert de Conygham was Captain in 1469 in the reign of Louis XI, we find Andro Hannay listed in the Muster roll as an Homme d’Armes. In 1498, Hannay Bar Bancor is mentioned.

Appearing in the Muster rolls of the King of France’s Life Guards are Jehan Hanneste in 1452 and 1453, John Hannesle in 1453, and Andro Waneh in 1471. These are all probably variants of the family name.

[1] Antipope Clement VII, a rival claimant to the Holy See during the Great Schism of the Western Church, held office from 1378-1394.  France, Naples, Scotland and Spain recognized Clement VII (ruling from Avignon, in France), while Bohemia, England, Flanders, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Portugal supported Urban VI (ruling from Rome).

[2] Antipope Benedict XIII ruled from Avignon starting in 1394.

Across Opposite Oceans – Chapter 2

This is an excerpt from a work in progress.  Ren Hanámi Hanna is a member of the Clan Council.  She is an actress and author living in Los Angeles.


When I was a little girl growing up in suburban Huntington Beach, California, I didn’t think much about my family history or what it meant to be descended from two different races. I was taught that I was just American. It wasn’t until after 25 years of being asked, “What are you?” that I started to question, “What is my family history? How was it possible for such different people as my parents, from such different ancestries to come together?”

Looking through documents and photographs left by my parents and research on, I am beginning to uncover the stories of my family heroes. Many missing fibers of my historical tapestry leave it an unfinished weave, and my quest to put together the past continues. This is one small story of the journey to America and finding love told from my parents’ memories, conversations with relatives, letters, research, and my imagination.


Lord Glenelg

27 June 1847

“Will Mother be okay?” I asked my sea weathered father, forty-year-old, John Hanna. The sea had taken its toll on him and turned his usual pale pink complexion, a dull gray.

“I don’t think so, William, but keep that between us. I don’t want to worry your sisters.”

Besides my parents, I had traveled with my brother John, and sisters Matilda, Sarah Jane and Nancy across the Atlantic Ocean from Northern Ireland to Quebec, Canada, crammed into steerage for three months with hundreds, maybe even thousands of other Irish families on the Lord Glenelg. The ship was anything, but regal as its name would suggest. So many people had died on the journey that my brother and I nicknamed it the “coffin ship.” Now we waited in quarantine for at least two weeks in the hospital on the island of Grosse Île. Our eldest sister, Margaret and her husband were expecting their first child, so they stayed in Ireland. Mother was heartbroken she wouldn’t be able to see the birth of her first grandchild.

“We made it this far. Mother has to pull through,” I tried to reassure my father and convince myself. But the reality was that my mother’s condition had worsened in the last few days with a high fever. She hadn’t eaten much since the potato famine forced us to leave our farm in Ulster, which left her weakened and vulnerable to contracting typhus on the ship. I felt weak, but it was a miracle that we weren’t all as sick as Mother.

*          *         *

3 July 1847

The sun seemed to rise slowly this morning as if it was dreading the coming day as much as me. The doctor allowed us to carry our frail mother to a chair by the window.

“Look, mama,” I whispered gently in her ear. “This is Quebec. We’ll make a better life here. You can grow a garden full of roses.”

Sarah Jane stroked her wavy chestnut hair. Nancy dabbed her forehead with father’s handkerchief. John and Matilda held each of her hands, while Father stood next to the window with his eyes closed in silent prayer.

Mother gazed out the dirt smudged window for a few brief moments before gasping in and sputtering out her final six breaths, one for father and five for each of us, her children.

To be continued in chapter 3 (publication date pending).