a Bit O' Erin in Almost Heaven
a bite-sized overview of the welsh of harpers ferry
P atrick knew it would be worth it. Honora wasn't so sure. Packing up her small family, sailing across the Atlantic, and making a new life far away from their beloved homeland seemed almost as daunting as their current situation. But, Patrick promised freedom, a better life, and an area reminiscent of Ireland. Harpers Ferry, and later Oak Grove [Bakerton], was that dream coming true.
The bustling industries of Harpers Ferry, bound on both sides with rivers from which mountains sprung was breathtaking. Emerging from the serene farmland of neighboring Oak Grove, limestone quarries, which were mining some of the most magnesium-rich limestone in the world, promised employment for the family's sons. The similarities to their beloved Kings [Offaly] County were eerily remarkable. It was almost like being home.
Patrick passed away soon after their arrival, leaving his family to create a new life in a new world. He had accomplished his goal of providing a better life for his family by guiding his family away from the difficulties of Catholic oppression and the extreme poverty of peasantry in their homeland.
Patrick and Honora's sons found work in the limestone industry as quarry laborers and boatmen, and occasionally could be found working for the railroad. The four sons were all known to have worked for William Flanangan, a fellow Irishman who was a highly respected Oak Grove farmer and limestone quarry proprietor. A loyal friendship flourished from their relationship, and the families soon became kin by marriage.
Through the years, the Welsh family of Harpers Ferry continued to prosper and multiply, with many becoming esteemed citizens of Bakerton -- the same Oak Grove which the immigrating family made home generations earlier. It was all because of them and their dream of a better life.
This website was created to share the contributions that the Welsh family made to their community. As descendants of this family, we hope that reading through these pages makes you feel as if you are sharing in their triumphs, heartaches, laughter, and dreams. While our main goal is to offer a glimpse into our ancestor's lives, we also enjoy spreading local and Irish history and offer our resources in belief that it may be helpful to other researchers or family historians.
A continually updated compilation of years worth of research, this is their story. The story of the Welsh of Harpers Ferry.