The Life of John J. Kenny 2nd May 2007
There once was a man who lived in Ireland, who had the misfortune to be born in 1827.
He suffered through one famine with his family and then in 1846 started on through another. But this famine was his limit and he called it quits. Off to America for food, freedom and fortune.
The ship that took him across the Atlantic was not
exactly what the brochure said it would be like but he persevered and landing in New York City was a dream come true. The good life was before him and he
He took a lovely wife by the name of Jane, and established his family with four bouncing young children. But then, once again, fate intervened and instead of a famine that took him away from his family, it was a war.
He couldn't afford the $300.00 to stay out of the Civil War so he volunteered, fought bravely, and came home alive. He was able to enjoy his family even though the war had cost him his health.
But he perserved and worked as a mason enjoying life. But then, again fate intervened and another life lesson was upon him.
John developed eye problems and had to have surgery, resulting in the loss of sight in one eye. His job as a mason stopped like a bolt of lightening.
His family went from a comfortable status to poverty, in one stroke.
Was John ever to know happiness? A man who suffered
through the famines, the Atlantic crossing, the Civil War and finally an operation that cost him his eyesight and his job.
No, John never found the true happiness that the immigrants were told they would find, just across the ocean.
He died penniless and without ever seeing or experiencing the American Dream.
Was John's immigrant story different from hundreds of others? No, it was pretty much the same.
The only difference in John's story was that he was my great great grandfather, and without the perils and heartaches he went through, I would never be here to write about him.
Mariruth A. Kim
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