Left, A map of Antrim, Ireland which borders Lake Lough Neagh, the biggest lake in Ireland on one side and the Irish Sea on the other. Right, a photo of the Lake looking from Antrim.
At age 23, Thomas McNeill married Margaret McWilliams and they had 5 children born in Ireland, Eliza, Jane, Robert, William and Margaret. Their daughter Margaret is my direct line as she grew up to marry Grissom Stuart Edwards, my Grandma Nancy Margaret Edwards( Matherly's) father but more about that later. This line starts with Andrew McNeill but this story starts with Thomas. Here are the descendants of Thomas McNeil and Margaret McWilliams
Andrew McNeill (1763 - 1851)
my 4th Great Grandfather
Thomas McNeill Sr (1810 - 1879)
is my 3rd great grandfather
Margaret McNeill (1844 - )
daughter of Thomas McNeill Sr (my 2nd grandmother)
Grissom Stewart Edwards (1875 - 1967)
son of Margaret McNeill ( my great grandfather)
Nancy Margaret Edwards (1898 - 1992)
daughter of Grissom Stewart Edwards (my grandmother)
Betty Ann Matherly (1934 - 1995)
daughter of Nancy Margaret Edwards (my mother)
Darnell Mitchell Baker
daughter of Betty Ann Matherly
Margaret, born in 1844 was the last child born in Ireland to Thomas McNeill and wife Margaret before they came to America. Trust me , I know that's 3 Margarets in 4 generations. They were in Abbeville, South Carolina in the 1850 Census and daughter Margaret was listed as 6 years old. Based on that documented Census info, they came to America between 1845 and 1849. I have yet to determine exactly what ship they came on, but that is at the top of my "To Do" List. Many people from Northern Ireland left from the port in Belfast, Ireland which is not too far from Antrim, Ireland.
|This is the type of passenger ship typically used in the early 19th century to transport immigrants to the US, can you just imagine crossing the ocean on a ship like that? What an adventure that must have been!|
In my research of the area of Northern Ireland where both Thomas and Margaret McNeill were from I came across the most magnificent images of the area of Antrim. I can't believe anyone would ever want to leave such a beautiful place.
|Antrim Glens Coastline of Ireland|
|Dunluce Castle, County of Antrim, Ireland|
|Glens of Antrim, Ireland|
I mean who wouldn't want to live there? I have always wanted to visit Ireland because I've known all my life of my Irish Heritage but now it has really moved up pretty high on the Bucket List, like right at the top! A girl, can dream, right? A trip there would truly be a dream come true.
I will share more on Thomas and Margaret's life in Abbeville, South Carolina in a future post but for now here is a video that really shows the beauty of this magical place and the history about the area. I hope you will take the time to watch it and will enjoy it as much as I did. I would love to know what you think of it in the comments below.
Here is a cool fact. Shane's Castle built in 1345, is a ruined castle near Randalstown in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Castle is used extensively in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
I could be easily obsessed with Ireland. I feel lucky to have some real connection to such a beautiful place.