The book flap notes: From linen weavers and grain mill operators of Aghadowey Parish in Northern Ireland to the cities and plains of North America came the descendants of Paul Orr and Isabelle Boyd. While some did stay in Ireland, many came to America between 1832 and 1864, some in the mid-1880s. They worked in steel mills in Pennsylvania, helped build churches in Massachusetts and Missouri, farmed throughout the Midwest, taught school everywhere, and fought in two world wars on behalf of their country. Some died in the U.S. Army or its Air Corps, others in the RAF. The grain mills on rivers and creeks became flour companies in Missouri and they moved from one-room school houses to universities. The index of nearly 2,400+ names and many locations tells you how to find them, the stories told by their descendants bring the people to life. They began life in America in Lawrence and Jasper Counties in Missouri, Allen County, IN, and the Philadelphia, PA and Boston areas. The Ozark Prairie Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon, MO is modeled after Aghadowey Presbyterian Church.
|Wilma Baker with her late husband Bill, 2004|
|Mary Lou Orr gives flowers to Mary Isabel Matteson.|
I wasn't sure what she had should leave Southwest Missouri, but her final point was compelling. She has no children and was the last of five siblings. "When I go, this will all be thrown away." Not on my watch.
It's more important to look ahead than behind, but it is rewarding to find out that a great grandfather and his daughters made some of the finest linens in their part of Ireland, or that a distant cousin is credited with many of General Electric's first advances in refrigeration technology. Not that they would have used the word technology.
Much of Wilma's material relates to the Stemmons family of Jasper and Lawrence Counties, MO, and some is handwritten from the late 1800s. It details family history back to the 1700s. Accepting such materials creates an obligation to share it, so I see more family history books in my future -- they will be shorter!
Note: Wilma Coffield Baker died in December 2012. It appears she was right to insist that I take the materials. She was a neat woman and wonderful musician.