Grandfather settled with his lovely, blue-eyed
Irish bride in Indianola, Nebraska in about 1886. Their first two
children died at birth, nor did their third child, Willie, survive.
(Perhaps my name, William, relates back to Willie, as well as to our
earlier Irish ancestor William Dorman.) Grandmother was later to have
two other children: Howard, born in 1888, and George, born in 1893;
In Ellens eyes, there were two kinds of Irish; she was a Protestant
from Northern Ireland, and she referred to the Catholics of Southern
Ireland as Blarney Irish, those that kissed the Blarney
Stone. From this it is clear that the current IRA conflict in Ireland
has deep, deep roots. The Protestants and the Catholics just didnt
take to one another.
But one thing all the Irish had in common was the jig. Even though
his mother died when Daddy was only a few years old, somehow he picked
up the Irish jig and could do a very creditable few steps. They still
dance the jig in Irelanda delightful custom that has survived,
particularly in the region around Belfast.
Before settling in Nebraska, Grandfather had saved a fair sum of money
so he bought an interest in a 40-acre farm, a black stallion and some
farm equipment. Within the next few years, because of a drought and
a recession, he lost his acreage. Then, the stallion died and so he
was almost wiped out. Having worked with horses a lot on his Missouri
bridge project, he had become a self-taught veterinarian. Eventually,
his veterinarian business was to reverse his misfortune and keep him
going for the rest of his life. In that business, he would sometimes
make good money; in times when hogs had to be vaccinated, some days
he could make as much as 200 dollars.
Daddy remembers one time an ailing horse was brought to him. Grandfather
had Daddy throw the horse down, twist and hold his neck while Grandfather
literally drilled a hole from the outside of the animals lower
jaw, up through the jaw thereby knocking out an abscessed ingrown
tooth. The horse started to perk up the very next day and soon was
back in health.
In 1895 Grandfathers Irish bride died shortly after the stillbirth
of her sixth baby. Grandfather never remarried because he could not
bear the thought of a second wife possibly slapping one of his children
as he had been slapped in his childhood by his foster mother.
Grandfather raised his two remaining sons close to the soil. He recovered
some of his property where he maintained a garden and some animals
for food. In high school his two boys received an education strong
in the classics. His elder son, Howard, left home to work in the New
Frontier of that time, the territory of Oklahoma. His younger 23-year-old
son, George (my father), was still living at home when Grandfather
died of a heart attack at the age of 71, a very traumatic experience