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Walter McEldowney letter of 1973

Irish tour 1999


Report on my trip to Omagh, Ulster, 12th May 1967.
By James E. McEldowney

UWM-1 Report on my trip to Omagh, Ulster, 12th May, 1967.

Mrs. (Ruth) McEldowney and I drove from Belfast to Omagh where we made a few inquiries and saw two cemeteries. We found Dramragh Farm some two miles short of the town and off the highway, following a winding road which leaves the main road about a quarter of a mile or so south east of the cemetery. The old cemetery on this turn-off road has two parts - one accessible and the other part is cut off by a wall which we crossed. Inside were many stones lying and moss-covered but within an enclosure that looks as if it might have been a chapel or building, almost in the center of the cemetery, we found a stone standing with the following inscription.

In memory of James McEldowney
  D 26th May 1850 aged 48 years.
  and his daughter Mary
  D. 23d January 1890 age 40.
  and his daughter Rebecca
  D 24th January 1892 age 42
  and his wife Marry Anne
  D. 15th May 1892 age 70

The stone is at the far left hand corner when approached what may have been the front opening. Other stones are lying covered and I was unable to se the inscriptions.

The stone which Mr. George McEldowney referred in his letter back in the 30ies. is in the Omagh cemetery not far from the entrance, to the left 25 or 30 ft. along the path - possibly the second or third path from the outside wall.

At Dramragh farm, which is a mile and a half beyond the old cemetery on the winding road, we met young Mr. Lowry. Apparently some members of the clan from Down Under (Australia) have tried to get part of the estate from him so he was not ready to talk. Once we assured him of our interest and that we had no other intentions he showed us the old section of the house, now used for grain, and gave us a gongs from off the fireplace.

In Omagh we met persons connected with the CONSTITUTION newspaper. I showed them a latin textbook which I have and they took down names and said they were going to publish an item of which they would send a copy. I have never received it.

The impression is that the McEldowneys no longer live in Omagh but after having gone on I saw one listed in the phone book and regret I was unable to contact him. Also, I failed to go to the Tully farm. I think it has more promise for our family then the Dramrugh farm.

In Glasgow I phoned R. G. Lawrie Ltd. 38 Renfield St. C. S. Glasgow and they informed me the McEldowneys in Scotland were related to four clans: Cameron, McGregor, Lamont and Maclean of Duart. (The Mc or Mac spelling is uncertain)

We returned to Belfast too late for me to go to the Public Records Office, Law Courts Bldg. May St. We understand that a Mr. Byron Traynor who has taken special interest in tracing persons who came from Scotland and are now located in North Ireland.

UWM-2 Ulster trip p. 2.

While at the CONSTITUTION office in Omagh, reference was made to the newspaper report we had of the prominence of Henry Clay McEldowney when he was president of the Union Trust Co., Pittsburg. They informed me that the family of Andrew Mellon had come from that part of Ireland and they raised the question whether this might have been what linked the two families later when they separately reached Pittsburg. They referred to a book written by Thomas Mellon that traces their family bact to Ireland but I have not seen this book yet.

Some of this information was passed to Mr. Henry McE Mathews (NY) during our luncheon May 17th in New York. On my trip west I stopped in Chicago Heights hoping to contact the McEldowneys there but their office was closed on Wednesday afternoon. My letter at a later date was not answered.

On June 25th we met Mrs. King, wife of the assistant pastor where my wife's brother is pastor - Christ Methodist Church, Kittering Ohio. Her maiden name was McEldowney and she came from West Virginia. She showed a picture of her father, recently deceased, but felt that there was a strong family resemblance to me. I thought he was almost the picture of Robert McEldowney Jr. of Clinton, NJ. She gave the following name of one who has information about that branch of the family. Mr. Walter McEldowney, Civil Defense, Berryville, Va. This address is not entirely reliable and may have to be corrected.

* * * *

In 1973 I found the address of Walter McEldowney and wrote him. This was not related to the reference in the paragraphs above. His address now is Millwood, Va. 22646.

He writes:

I was very much interested in your recent letter about the McEldowney lineage. It so happens that I've been working on the family geneology for some time, but without any notable success. Over the past year I've corresponded with your cousin Henry McEldowney of NY City, who I understand is your cousin, and he has furnished me with some data that has been helpful.

My known ancestry begins with Robert L. (Law or Low) McEldowney in Bedford County, Pa. Who was born about 1770. His son, Robert, Jr. was born about 1800, as far as I've been able to determine, both Roberts were born in County Tyrone. (I was interested in knowing that you visited Omagh. When I was in Ireland in 1967 I didn't know where in the country my people had come from, otherwise I would have done some searching myself.) Robert Jr. was my great grandfather.

I've done quite a bit of research in the National Archives (Census records) and Library of Congress, and have about exhausted the resources there, I think. Before too long I plan to assemble the family data I have, and would be glad to send you a copy of the result.

Incidentally, my father, Lawrence McEldowney was in the Methodist ministry in West Virginia for about 15 years, and then switched to the Presbyterian church. His last ministry was at the Seminole Heights Presbyterian Church in Tampa.

Perhaps one day I can visit you and we can go over the data each has collected. I visit my son in Blacksburg rather frequently (I'm retired) and Unionville wouldn't be very far off my usual road. This will have to await my return from a trip I'm beginning in about 10 days to West Africa. It was good to hear from you.

  [Quoted from a letter from Walter McEldowney in 1973 of Millwood, Va. 22646]

By James E. McEldowney, Report on my trip to Omagh, Ulster, 12th May 1967.

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