Monday, March 17, 2008

My Irish Connection


Sarah "Sadie" Kingston 1858-1906

Nora Belle Donaldson, Sarah Kingston Donaldson, Cornelius Donaldson, Hawley K. Donaldson

For years I knew I had ancestors from Norway, Germany, and England, but I only found my Irish connection in the last ten years or so. I get to wear green on Saint Patrick's day, not just the green and gold of the Green Bay Packers or John Deere.

My paternal great grandmother, Sarah Kingston, was pure Irish. In the photos she looks serious, not to be trifled with. Here's what I know.

She was from Muskego, the daughter of William Kingston (1813-1902) and Barbara Clark (1825-1888). Barbara grew up in Dunmanway, Ireland, and had a sister, Eliza. According to a pamphlet my mother passed on to me, Barbara and Eliza, described as "charming", married the Kingston brothers. Barbara married William in 1844, and Eliza married Thomas the same day. They farmed near Bantry, County Cork. In 1848 William and Barbara left Ireland and sailed from Queenstown to Quebec on a three-masted schooner,
The Crimea. No doubt the young couples were hurt by the Irish Potato Famine, which began in 1845. From Quebec they went south and settled for a time in Rochester, New York. William spent a year working digging the Genesee Valley Canal, and later worked on building railroads. Then they traveled west, relocating in North Greenfield, near Milwaukee. William worked on constructing eighteen miles of track from Milwaukee to the Fox River, and later worked on a line that was headed toward Whitewater and Jefferson. These ventures failed and were financially disastrous for Kingston, who then turned to farming in the town of Muskego. He did well farming, and was described as being civic minded and honest. He also fathered thirteen children, one of whom was Sarah, my great grandmother.

There isn't much information in my file about this woman. She went to school in Crestline, Ohio, and taught school for two years. I don't know how Sarah met her future husband, Cornelius Donaldson, but I have a photocopy of their marriage certificate saying they were married in Milwaukee February 23, 1886. I know they lived on the farm at the end of Marsh Road (later Pierce Road) in Sugar Creek Township in Walworth County. She went from being a farmer's daughter to being a farmer's wife. Sarah and Cornelius "Con" had two children, my grandmother Nora, and her brother, my Uncle Hawley. The only other thing I know is that she is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, not far from the farm where I grew up. I have walked the pretty cemetery more than once searching for their headstones, but have not been successful in finding them.

I wish I knew more about this woman, born only one generation away from Ireland. I can only imagine a life that must have been difficult, and was short. Certainly she must have had friends, things she enjoyed. Did she like music? Was she a reader? Of what illness did she finally die? I don't know the answers from the two photos, autograph book with a few entries, and obituary, which follows.

Mrs. Sarah Kingston Donaldson, daughter of William and Barbara Kingston, was born in Greenfield, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, September 13, 1858. Later she moved with her parents to Muskego, Waukesha County, where she grew to young womanhood. She attended school two years at Crestline, Ohio, and taught school several years.

On February 23, 1886, she was united in marriage to C.K. Donaldson, and soon after came to Millard, to the farm which has since been her home.

Mrs. Donaldson was a woman who endeared herself to all who met her. A woman with a keen sense of what was right, yet ever ready to overlook with a forgiving spirit the shortcomings of her fellow men, a kind neighbor, ever willing to assist those who might be in need, a true friend and a loving wife and mother. Her illness was borne with Christian fortitude and courage, and on April 17th she entered into eternal rest with faith and trust in her Savior, aged 47 years, five months and four days.

The funeral was held at the Baptist church, of which she was a member, Friday, April 20th, and was largely attended, befitting the memory of an earnest Christian woman. Rev. Hobbs, of Delavan, conducted the services, and a quartet composed of Mrs. Henry Brandt, Mrs. George Weaver, Edward Thomas and Emon Weeks sang appropriate selections.

The remains, amid a profusion of beautiful flowers, were interred in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Tibbetts, there to await Resurrection Day. She leaves to mourn her death a husband, a son Hawley, a daughter, Nora, besides a host of friends. Of her it may well be said "Her children will rise up and call her blessed."

1 comment:

Teri C said...

You do such a wonderful job on historical things. I love reading them.

Happy St. Paddy's day to you. Wearing of the green is truly Irish and Packerish :)