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19th Century

Dublin to New Orleans

19th Century Extract

Sister Mary Paul, Dublin, to Edmond J. Forstall, New Orleans

Concerning the five Edmond Forstalls,

To distinguish them one from the other it was the family custom to call my G.G. Grandfather: “Éamon Duff,” his son “Éamon Pierce,” and my Grandfather Éamon Bawn – Duff means Black, Bawn means white, in the Celtic. That was the way their descendants spoke of them. The name was spelled Edmond not Edward or Edmund (Éamon pronounced, Aymon, Irish for Edmond) by the last three Edmonds. It would make my grandfather very angry if anyone spelled the name otherwise. The sons of my G. Grandfather were sent out of Ireland for education to Catholic countries, and then placed when grown to manhood in the service of Catholic Princes, as, if they remained in Ireland they might lose the faith, and according to the state of the law, a son who became Protestant might deprive his father of his estate. My great grandfather who married Julia Keating, of Millicent, died young, in consequence of a wound received in battle, from which he never recovered fully, tho’ he lived for some years after. The burial place is in an old church yard called Kill-ma-ka-bogue, sometimes called Kill Toory, in the parish of Glenmore, between (New) Ross and Waterford, Barony of Ida, County Kilkenny. The family arms are engraved on the tomb. When I saw them last they were in good preservation. The road from Ross to Waterford passed by this burial place = Aylwardstown, where Mr. Strange lives is near to it.

Concerning the tradition of the Forstall’s, Knights of Malta, as far as I have heard: I always heard that my G. G, Grandfather was a Knight of Malta. This I heard in my early childhood, from the older members of the family.

I was shown an old knife, or what I would call, a dagger, which I was told belonged to him, & which was said to have been used by him for each day of his life, for the purpose of cutting a green sod of earth. It was meant as a preparation for death – as a ceremony for digging his grave. That he and his brothers were Knights of Malta, was repeatedly told to me. None of our family traditions were more often repeated in my hearing; particularly by my father Pierce Edmond, who said that Lyssy Forstall had often told him of it; she having heard it from her father. I was also told that the Knights of Malta, unless they aspired to the highest dignities of the order, did not take the three solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; & therefore my G. G. Grandfather when he left the service was at liberty to marry, as he did Elizabeth, sometimes called Betty Meagh.

-Extract From Sister Mary Paul Forstall, Presentation Convent, Richmond, Dublin, Ireland to Edmond J. Forstall, New Orleans, USA