When Catholics could not practice


Stories from my 2nd great grandfather

My 2nd Great Grandfather, Tadgh “Tady” Coyne and family came from Ballynakill Parish in western Galway. His parents were John and Ellen “Nellie” (Walsh) Coyne.. He had 3 siblings that I know of as they all came to live in Marcellus, NY. Patrick is the oldest I know of born about 1813. HE and his wife, Mary (also Coyne) had two children before they let Ireland in about 1850 Sarah Coyne married Philip Gannon in Ballynakill and came to Marcellus in 1854. Rodger Coyne married Ann Gannon (sister to Philip) and came over in mid 1850’s.

The Gannons and Coynes were neighbors in Ross and Tievegarriff townlands. Tady arrived here in March of 1862 with his wife, Catherine Lydon and my great grandfather, John Francis and his younger sister Bridget. Catherine’s parents were Patrick and Bridget (Coyne) Lydon in the same area around Moyard. Catherine’s sister Jane Lydon married Thomas Thornton in 1869 in Ballinakill Chapel and then left right after with her parents and came to Marcellus. Several siblings of the Lydons also came here.

My grandfather, John Francis II, was raised by Tady and Catherine as both of his parents died before he was 4 years old. He often talked about Tady and my favorite story Tady talked about was from the time when Catholics were not allowed to practice and the churches were closed. Tady said the people used to hide in the bushes along a back road and the priest would pretend to be taking a leisurely walk along the road and he would hear confessions as he passed the bushes and absolve them. He said Tady also used to say they were so far west in Galway that the next parish over was America! He and Catherine also used to speak Gaelic around the house when they didn’t want the kids to know what they were talking about.

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