Sunday, August 31, 2008

I grew up on the other side of Mt. Barnabe...

I grew up on the other side of Mt. Barnabe, on the southern slope, in full sunlight. Barnabe's mule bones have long since slipped back into the earth. We used to loiter by the pools of Lagunitas Creek, Carson Creek, Devil’s Gulch, and Arroyo Creek when the salmon were running, we waited for that flash, coinage of silver, vermilion and green heralded the fall.

Though the Devil's Gulch route was the most direct route over the mountain, and was one of my grandfather's favorite hikes, it was such a long, hot and desolate ride over the summit of Mt. Barnabe to Camp Taylor, we kids avoided it.

Following the flat railroad bed from Lagunitas, or the creekbed to Tocaloma was the easiest route.

There was also a more northerly route over Mt. Barnabe that avoided the summit. It took us along the hogback ridges through abandoned apple and bitter pear orchards down to the deserted settlement of Devil's Gulch. I felt so far from home, thankful for the warm reassurance of my horse under me.

It was in Devil's Gulch where my mother, as a child, stumbled into a wasp's nest and was nearly stung to death. My grandmother cooled the poor child off in the creek and covered her stings with fine clay mud to draw out the poison. My grandmother said it was always a longer walk home. But when something went wrong, the road home doubled in distance.

Sometimes I made a circle up over Mt. Barnabe and down its steep slopes to Camp Taylor and then returned home up the railroad bed to Lagunitas and Arroyo Road. At one point or another, I've ridden most of what's left of the railroad beds from Woodacre to Tocaloma.

Early mornings, we'd race our horses along the flat stretches of railroad bed to the park gate. I always pulled out ahead at the quarter mile, but a two-mile course fatigued my quarter horse, and the nags would always pull ahead. Even Brenda Bullock's Icelandic pony, Helgar, or little Susie Mattsson's plug could beat my mare on the two-mile run.

Soon after that, my mare pulled up lame, but I was 15, and addicted to racing, I avoided the warning signals. Riding her bareback at breakneck speed was an unmatched thrill. She was pure verve and muscle, it was like riding a barrel down Class Two rapids.

One time when Becky Dart ran away with me at Kent Lake, I sawed on the bit until flecks of blood and foam decorated us, her tongue nearly cut in two by the metal snaffle bit. But still she ran, a Three Bars mare at heart. I just had to let her run it out.

It was spring, my sorrel mare was out to grass, but foxtails carpeted her wound. Every day I had to tweezer the stickers and oats out of the raw flesh, which I cauterized with silver nitrate. Daily I was reminded of what I'd done to this animal by racing her, firing her up like that. I was reminded that she came from a long line of champion race horses, it was in her blood to run.

Granddaugher of the fabled Three Bars, my mare had the thoroughbred lineage of kings in her blood. She was one degree removed from The Preakness, the Kentucky Derby, Sarasota Springs. When my aunt's friend Chuck traced her pedigree, at first, he thought it was forged, but he said, If this proves to be true, you've got quite a valuable mare there, she could beget champions even if her knees were bad.

It was like finding a secret treasure in the woods, or a Vermeer hidden under an artless painting. There wasn't another horse in the valley who could match her at the quarter mile, and no one would race me unless it was a long track.

It was precisely on those kinds of afternoons when you knew spring had arrived. We'd ride and ride for miles on the open road. Time took us on a curious echoing quality. I can still recall the poignancy of late afternoon rides and the dappled roads under tall trees. Bleeding hearts, checker lilies and false Solomon's seal nodding their heads. Trilliums spreading their tripartite wings.

Riding horseback was as natural as walking or breathing. My best friend Stephanie Stone and I rode everywhere. We grew up and lost touch. I hadn't heard from her in years. Her brother Eric said she had a horse in Arizona to ride and that helped to keep her sane through a loveless marriage. But that's when the drinking began. She kept it to herself. Held it in until the cancer ate her marrow.

At seventeen, after my mare tragically died of colic, from eating too much new spring grass in the Bianchi's pasture, I worked for the Lehman's training stable. I showed their horses at gymkhanas, I collected armloads of blue and red ribbons, but I didn't want to own another horse, losing her was devastating. She was big and beautiful, there was so more of her to love.

At nineteen, my other interests, my art—demanded that I move into the larger area of the world. I was at odds. Two worlds colliding. I had a chance to travel, a work-study job in Switzerland. I was sorry to leave, I almost didn't go to Europe, but Edie said, Don't be silly! It's a chance of a lifetime. Go! Have fun!

There were plenty of other girls, like Donna Lopez—who once unscrupulously kicked my horse right when I was in front of the judge, costing me the blue ribbon—girls like her were only too happy to step into my coveted job. And so she did.

I felt a crippling loss, separated from the horses like that. There was nothing much left of my childhood landscape. And so I sometimes dream of horses, and wake up with an inconsolable sense of longing. Everyone else moved into bucolic Marin. They came from LA, and from back east, they bought up the valley, they quickclaimed it and put up plywood palaces, they put up electric fences, they dammed the creeks and gated the roads.

They brought their urban nightmares with them. Runaway horses on the precipice.

When the invaders came, we lost more than our right of way. We lost our way.

The wild creature within me has slowly become urbanized with time. But I still dream of following the horses on endless fire roads running along the horizon.

Twenty years later, laid up with a bad knee, I am remembering it all as if it were yesterday. No point, no point of view. Merely Bob Hass's rivers running uphill against memory and time.

SF Caledonian Club Highland Games: silk painting

My silk painting booth in the barn opposite the Living History section at the 2008 Caledonian Club Highland Games in Pleasanton, CA. Games visitor Scott Peden from the Irish in California group, is the one with the beard...Scott swears he's smiling under all that foliage but it was at least 100° on Saturday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Walsh Home Ranch early photos 1920

My grandmother's first home in America was her uncle Patrick Walsh's Home Ranch in Austin, NV. She arrived from Ireland by boat to New York, took the train to Battle Mountain and was met by a horse & buggy for the long ride back to the ranch. Her brother Joe Walsh didn't have the train fare ($5.00) so he traveled south to Galveston by boat and eventually joined her in Nevada.

Walsh Ranch

My grandmother on a horse.

Loading hay.

John & Patsy Walsh (Patrick Jr.)
Shoshone hired hand
John & Patsy Walsh
My grandmother's Uncle Pat
My grandmother's Uncle Pat; his sons, John & Patsy Walsh
Coyotes & pumas

These coyote skins became fur coats for my grandmother and her aunt May but back in San Francisco, the dogs followed them growling so they had to abandon their new fur coats they'd made.

Map: courtesy of Bea Walsh Bible
Click on it to enlarge. Those are Bea's notes to a nephew.

From 1911 Reese River Reveille. Where it says Granma Walsh's, that's Bea's mom, not her grandmother... Walshes, Bowlers, Martin ranches, all related; Bowler was her grandmother's son-in-law, Martin was her brother-in-law (and also a Patrick!).

© 2009 Maureen Hurley & Jane Walsh Reilly

Note Bene: Joe Walsh has created a Nevada Walsh Website

Home Ranch, Reese River Valley

Breaking News: Joe Walsh has created a Nevada Walsh website.

These are working notes for a blog to be on the Walsh Home Ranch, in the Reese River Valley below Austin, Nevada. See family tree at When I get it completed, I will upload it to

In a nutshell. My grandmother's uncles Patrick Henry, David J Walsh and a half-brother, William Walsh came to Austin, Nevada in the late 1860s and founded Home Ranch. My grandmother's father Michael Walsh stayed in Bantry

Michael and William's father Joseph had a wife who died in childbirth. His father remarried to Ellen Cremeen on Feb. 25 1837 at St.Finnbar's Church in Bantry Bay and they had Patrick, David, Michael, (James? and two sisters Mary & Julia?)? Somehow having a family of only four boys would've stuck out as an anomaly where the norm was eight plus children in a family.

The Nevada Walshes raised grain: wheat and oats and they sold it to the (mostly Irish) miners in Austin, NV. Paddy said grain was more valuable than gold. And he was right. It was their grubstake.

When she was a young woman, my grandmother, Jennie Walsh Reilly, used to spend summers at Home Ranch with her aunt May Sullivan; her brothers Bill and Joe worked at the ranch as well. (Possibly another brother as well) Jennie's sisters Kitty and Peig also lived at Home Ranch. There were many other folks and not-so-distant relations from Bantry living at the ranch—many Bantry women married into the Walsh clan.

Home Ranch was the stopping off place, the safe place to land for many of those post Famine Irish who emigrated from Bantry Bay. Siblings sent passage for siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends of the family. All were welcome at Home Ranch. There was plenty of land and plenty of work too.

Home Ranch was her first home when my grandmother came to America. She talked a lot about her uncle Bill, Paddy and his son Wild Bill, her cousin. (Wild Bill, is my correspondent Joe' Walsh's grandfather—if I have it right.) Wild Bill & Jennie were cousins. Wild Bill's son Frank was her first cousin once removed and my mother's 2nd cousin.

Young Joe (tho he be my age) is my mother's second cousin. This is where my brain melts. What is my grannie's 2nd cousin to me? Either 2nd cousins twice removed, or third cousins, whichever comes first. Bases are loaded. Top of the ninth. I'll let Ancestry. com and figure it out. His kids would be my third cousins if I have it right. It's a generational thing.

Wild Bill stories abounded in my family. I will post some at one point. A few stories made their way into some poems I wrote during the early 1980s. Suffice to say Wild Bill was a gambler and a rogue—he once sold his truck in Ione for a barrel of whiskey and a good hand of was a long walk back home...I'm sure a late night hoor was involved as well...

The family lost the ranch when it fell into decline in the late 1920s. Some blamed the foreman who was sent to San Francisco to buy a prize bull for breeding, but he pocketed the money instead and bought an inferior (sterile?) bull and the herds failed....that was the beginning of the end. Did an empire fall for lack of a bull's sperm? Or so the story goes.

After the ranch was sold, my family settled in San Francisco-Bay Area, and some drifted south to LA. We lost touch with the ones who stayed.

What survived were the stories of some of the Nevada Walshes in Colorado, New Mexico—the Manhattan Project. What stuck in my mind were the tragic stories. I remember fragments—how one Walsh fell down drunk in the snow and died. One leaned over his horse to open a gate, and his shotgun blew his head off. Another was killed by a horse in front of his wife...

Then we lost touch with the Nevada Walshes—those who stayed. But my grannie would repeat the stories. They were fragments in my head that I could never sort out. The complex relationships. Cousins marrying cousins, etc....

My great-grandparents Michael Walsh and his wife, Jane Rose Sullivan Walsh of Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland. Michael's older brother, Patrick Henry founded Home Ranch with his brothers, William and David.

Most of Michael's children emigrated to Home Ranch from Ireland including my grandmother. That is how I came to be born in America, versus Ireland. Michael stayed home to run the family farm, Coomb an-nÓr in Bantry.

Michael's half-brother William was the impetus to go out west and strike it rich. Or to become cowboys. Or ranchers. And so they did.

Coomb an-nÓr in Bantry was eventually lost to lawyers when during an inheritance struggle, two brothers fought over possessions—a farm was lost to the lawyers' fees while two brothers fought over a plough... which two brothers, I know not. But because of it, the family was divided between two countries, two continents. And the connections scattered over the vast distance of America.

Photo courtesy of Joe Walsh, my 2nd cousin once removed. Walsh family gathering, ca. 1890s?

1. Young Mary Walsh—Not Patrick's first wife, Mary Mahoney of Bantry. A daughter?

2. Patrick Heny Walsh. Judging by the posture, I think that is Paddy.

3. Paulina Gloor m. to Patrick Heny Walsh (2) seated on wagon with arms folded. But she's got her arms threaded through # 6's arms—William Walsh.

4. Young Joseph F Walsh—a very popular man. Some great photos of him riding into Austin like a movie star. Only, he was the real thing.

5. Young William Reynolds Walsh. Wild Bill, himself, the rogue.

6. Brother of Patrick. William Walsh. Did he ever marry, have children? I think he was the unmarried brother. Or is this another woman, William's wife?

7. Katherine Walsh? Joseph's wife?

My great uncle Joe Walsh (who worked at Home Ranch) and his sister Jennie Walsh (my grandmother).

My grandmother's brother Joe Walsh who also worked at Home Ranch. She came from Ireland with Joe. He became a police captain in San Francisco. His son, Ed Walsh (Ranger) used to spend summers at Home Ranch as well.

My correspondent Joe Walsh (whose father Francis/Frank) said these are his father Frank's sisters, (his aunts) Mary and Florence Walsh—I don't recognize that name. I think we conflated Florence with her mother, Bantry-born Julia Mahoney (I had O'Leary—but I think that's wrong), Wild Bill's wife and a first cousin. That was a huge scandal.

My correspondent, Joe's grandfather was Wild Bill. (Son of Patrick Henry Walsh. David J Walsh was Patrick's brother).

The repetition of family names within the Walsh clan is absolutely maddening from a genealogical point of view. Walshes repeatedly named their children after themselves, their parents, their siblings, often reversing the order of names: there was John Joseph, Joseph John—sometimes with only a middle name or a nickname distinguishing cousins from each other—John Martin, Joseph Francis... Paddy (The Boss), Patsy, Pat, all variants of Patrick Henrys (there were several of them). I've no idea how they kept track of all the Williams—one moniker survives: Wild Bill.

And all the Mary Walshes! May, Mame, Mamie, Marie... Margaret, Maggie, Peg... Eleanor, Nellie, Nell, Lena... Sometimes there were spelling variations Kathleen, Kate, Cathleen, Catherine, Catharine etc....we're not sure if they were different people or merely the accidental byproduct of creative turn-of-the-century spelling.

Tillie Paulson Walsh McNett (she remarried Gail McNett (her son's father-in-law!) in her 60s, long after John Martin Walsh died. He was the one killed by a horse right in front of her).
(c 1981 Maureen Hurley Photo)

Some pix of Home Ranch, Reese River Valley, near Austin, NV, from Joe Walsh, a long-lost relative. We found each other on the internet.

Joe says Tillie Paulson married John Martin Walsh who was the son of Patrick Henry Walsh and Paulina (Gloor) Walsh. Paulina was his great-grandfather's second wife with whom they had two sons (John Martin and Patrick Henry, Jr.).

Joe's side of the family comes from the Patrick Henry and Mary (Mahoney) Walsh. Mary died in 1883 and Patrick remarried in 1888 to Paulina, a Swiss widow from New York. She had three children from her first marriage to a cigar maker. The girls came out west, the son did not...or so we think(there are quite a few unidentified young men in the big family photo). One was Clara and the other?

I know I'm related to Tilly's family through Patrick we've finally found the common ancestors. Joe and I, after two years of corresponding!

John Martin Walsh died about April 7th, 1928 at the age of 38 while driving cattle back from Stillwater where the Walsh kept cattle in the winter. He was chasing a bull on horse when they all got tangled up and the horse fell on him.

My grand-uncle William from Bantry, Ireland. The guy on the right is a descendent of my long-lost Nevada relations, Bill (Butch) Walsh of Concord. He looks just like his great-great uncle Bill. I remember hearing that I had relatives in Concord so this story jives.

We always referred to Tillie's family as the Nevada Walshes. But there were more.

Walsh Family crest card sent to my grandmother from her mother Jane Rose (Sullivan-Walsh) and her son, Mikie in Bantry, she was pleading my grandmother to please write sometime.

From Home Land: Ranching and a West that Works.
Ed, Laura Prichett, Richard L. Knight and Jeff Lee.
"Words Meet Deeds on the Land" by Paul F. Starrs.

The book had some silly twaddle about Home Ranch being merely a generic term. It later came to mean just that. But let me paint a broader canvas. Patrick and his two brothers settled in the Reese River Valley in the late 1860s, and called the first Walsh Ranch, Home Ranch. That was its name. Their home.

And we have it used as a proper noun as well from the oral tradition in 1912. My grandmother always referred to Home Ranch as a proper noun. Capital letters and all. The Walsh brothers then bought out the neighboring Hess Ranch, and other ranches including Blackbird. Paddy "The Boss" bought up every canyon ranch he could find, and even homesteaded a few.

At one point, Paddy Walsh was the largest single land owner in Nevada. And the idea of designating Home Ranch—as grand central station—became critical, if only to keep track of everything. But I digress.

Then there are the Malloys who are Walshes as well...I've met them. John Malloy was last living in Elko. He and his former wife Loretta ran the Wild Pony Canyon motel in Austin, we stayed there in 1985s, then they split up and we all lost track. His (grand?) mother Nellie Malloy was a Walsh—Paddy's daughter.

Jim Champie owns Home Ranch now. He knows many branches of our family as we—unbeknownst (and lost) to each other— keep making pilgrimages to Home Ranch over the years. Jim's related to the Marin—San Geronimo Valley Champies, MacBrides, and Bundchus—I went to school with all of them —at Lagunitas School and Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo. Small world.

When we visited Home Ranch in 1985, Jim would say, "Oh some Walshes came to visit"—he didn't know who they were, and we certainly couldn't even keep track of each other. Our family was scattered like blow-wife seedlings on the four directions of the wind. So how could he, a stranger. But he knew the names of our horses.

Poet Celia Woloch and I stopped by in 1991 and again, Jim said some Walshes stopped by... Who were all these phantom Walshes, anyway? He said they were different than the last lot. I counted up to three separate groups making pilgrimages—besides my own family, that is. So the pilgrimage continues to this day. And the ranches are lost sometime in the 1930s or 40s? The ties of the Irish to the land is strong.

The Walshes came to America because, under English law, all siblings had to inherit the farm—which led to the division of land until it was no longer a sustainable agricultural unit. Coomb an-nÓr in Bantry was once a large, prosperous farm. But it was being whittled down over the generations and that only served to heighten the need for land.

And so the Walsh brothers came out west like the three muskateers for adventure and to find their fortune and managed to get a parcel of desert scrub land—which was to grow into a vast cattle baron empire.

Patrick also owned ranchland in California. Susanville, and Alturas County. Joe sent me many documents which I've read but I'm still piecing together the relations story. The land stories will come later. Bea Walsh Bible and a nephew Pat Walsh have both contacted me.

Meanwhile, below are some correspondence notes between myself and Joe Walsh, from 2007:


I came across your posting on "Walsh Ancestor Registry" dated Sep 18, 2007 and was curious about the individual you mention who came to Nevada in the 1860's and founded a ranch in /near Austin, Nevada.
I had a great grandfather " Pat Walsh " who migrated to Nevada from Bantry Bay via New York - San Francisco - Eureka, Nevada in the late 1860's and set up a ranch somewhat later in Reese River. He married twice (Mahoney & Gloor) and had children via both marriages.

Long shot, but I was wondering if this individual would be related to you somehow.

Thanks for your time.

Joe Walsh

Hello Maureen,

It is such a pleasure when you stumble across a relative while surfing the internet. I am not sure how much genealogy I would try to do without the net.

Where to you start when you try to explain who you are and how you came to be? Since the Irish are at their best when telling a story, I will just jump in with events that took place in the past year or so. This story will tie in with 2 pictures that I have attached that I hope you enjoy.

Late last year I decided to get a mini–family reunion together of relatives in the Bay Area that I have had contact with many times thru the years, yet seem to see less as we get older.

By the way your asked how old I am. Just turned 53 this last October. Have 3 sisters (couple are a few years older and one is a couple years younger).
So, in October of 2006, we all met (about 60 or so ) in Pacifica, California (Walshes, Browns, Gonzales, etc etc etc ) to swap stories & memories. Many pictures where taken, enjoyed and then put away.

Jump to early this year when I made one of my 3 or 4 yearly visits to Reno, Nevada (I seem to always be drawn to Nevada - usually sorry to return to the bay area) to do some snooping around at the Nevada Geneology Center on Virginia just down from UNLV.

I never get my hopes up high and if I come across a picture or article, that normally suffices until the next time I stumble upon something. So there I am going thru large stacks of articles / photos which held little interest to me when I overheard the staff behind me using words such as, "Reese River", "old ranch house", & "Walsh". I waited a minute or so and then went over to inquire as to their conversation.

It turns out that they were just going thru a re-catalog process of much of the material on site and just happened to be going thru a binder labeled "Walsh" while I was there. I waited for them to finish on this material & they were then kind enough to bring it over so that I may review the contents.

Among the many items of interest (letters, documents, photo ) was a photo of a Walsh gathering that I date from around 1895 – 1905 based on some of the people who were labled on the reverse and dates of births and deaths that I have.

That photo includes (I believe) an individual that I think is one of the brothers of my great-grandfather. I have census records that indicate that a David .J. Walsh lived with for some time Patrick Walsh out at Reese River (was listed as his brother) and was killed in a mining accident.

I did not know when I first looked at the photo who this person was since he was not one of those identified on the back of the photo but I remembered seeing a photo from my own family reunion last year in which my cousin from Concord, William (butch) Walsh seemed to have more than a passing resemblance to this individual.

I still cannot be sure for certain - but based on his position in the picture of being right next to Paulina (Gloor) Walsh – he must be someone close to Patrick Walsh.

It is funny how even in family pictures, a sort of hierarchy exist. My grandfather was way down sitting below not in a position of authority which goes with how the Walsh ranch legacy played out.

It is this kind of research that has me looking for more. Current items I am looking for include a story from a second cousin in Santa Cruz that my dad’s middle name of "Cornelius" came from one of Patrick Walsh’s half brothers. His name is said to have been Cornelius W. Crowley (a person of that name lived in Reese River at the same time) but I have yet to find any more info on this story.

(NB half brother would be David and my great-grandfather Michael Walsh of Bantry. MH)

I always try to find at least 3 different ways to verify information or family stories before I put it in my family tree. I am in the process of putting all my info up on FLICKR (photos & documents) and will drop you an email when I am finished.

You mentioned in your email of meeting William (wild bill) Walsh. Perhaps you met my Uncle Joe Walsh (real name was William Joseph Walsh) since my Grandfather, William Reynolds (Wild Bill) Walsh died in 1946 and you mentioned that you were born in 1952.

Hope you enjoy the photos and look forward to speaking again and perhaps meeting in the future.

Second Cousin Joe – many times removed

Hi Joe

RE Patrick Walsh out at Reese River (was listed as his brother) and was killed in a mining accident.

I do remember hearing this story...from my grandmother and yes, I think the brother part is right... I'm gonna have to find that chart I did with my grandmother in the late 1960 as I don't remember all the details. The gravestones in Austin will help untangle some of the dates.

My 2nd cousin, Michael Collins' second wife, Laura, also did a later family chart in the 1970s as she was completely at sea trying to figure us all out.

What I'm trying to figure out is how/why your branch drifted away from ours...we're a huge, but fairly tight family... you might have to send me your family tree too so I can figure it the other Walshes in Santa Cruz don't ring a bell. Are you closely related to "Woolly" Bill Walsh, then?

I don't recognize the names, Gonzalez & Brown.... I know many of my 2nd cousins, some more than others. But there are also quite a few I don't know... If we're close to the same age, you'd think we should know each other.... Did you ever come to any family functions? Name some of your first cousins...see if that rings a bell.

It seems everyone moved to the Bay Area after the ranch was lost, and most of the Walshes had already moved to SF anyway. The ranch was not the only US landing point for the Walshes. From what I can remember, only 3 Walshes stayed in Bantry, the rest came here, and all were my grandmother's siblings, with the exception of her Aunt May and possibly that half brother or half uncle we're all so confused about. Patrick, himself.


My direct line to Pat Walsh of Austin, Nev is:
My father was: Francis Cornelius Walsh ( married to Stella Gonzales )
My grandfather was: William R. (wild bill) Walsh (married to Julia O'Leary )

My great-grandfather was: Patrick Walsh (married to 1st wife Julia (NB MARY) Mahoney)

I have first cousins in Concord California. We are trying to plan a visit back to Austin in the Spring of 2008 for their mom (Gertie Walsh ).

I also have a second cousin in Santa Cruz who I conversed with a few years back via email a couple of times and was nice enough to supply some wonderful information.

When I started to do my genealogy research sometime back, I realized that I would have to focus on just the immediate family since like good Irish Catholics, the list of connections just kept growing.

A quick note regarding Mary Walsh who worked on the Manhattan Project: She was my dad's sister, and when she passed, was layed to rest in the Bay Area (we had a traditional Irish wake in Concord, Ca an was enjoyed by all) I have attached for your pleasure a picture of my Aunt Mary & Aunt Florence when they were children. Hope your able to open the picture and view it.

I will send you a more detailed accounting of my current family and what I know of the Walsh's via the Pat Walsh connection It is not much but I treasure all that I have collected.

Your Second Cousin,
Joe Walsh

Hi Joe,

Believe it or not, you are my 2nd cousin once or twice removed. Pat would've been my great-granduncle. We've mostly lost track of the Nevada Walshes. No one was very good at keeping in touch.

My great uncle Joe came to Austin with my grannie, Jennie Walsh (Reilly) in 1912. They didn't have enough money for the train fare (it cost $5) from NY to Battle Mountain so Jennie took the train and Joe worked his way to Nevada by way of Galveston.

Someone from Home Ranch came to get her in a buggy—probably Pat or his son, Wild Bill who once sold a truck in Ione for a barrel of whiskey and a good hand of cards,

Most of the family moved to San Francisco when the ranch was lost. Someone went to San Francisco to buy a bull and decided to pocket the money and returned with an inferior the herd failed.

Before that, they made a lot of money selling grain—mostly oats—to the comstock miners in Austin as grain was more valuable than gold.

We still make pilgrimages to Home Ranch. My uncle John took the visiting Bantry cousins, Noel and his two sons, to Home Ranch last September. Jim Champie owns the ranch. Ironically Jim is related to people I grew up with and went to school with in West Marin—The San Geronimo Valley—Forest Knolls. The McBrides and the Bundchus (as in the wine, Gundlach Bundshu). Jim has some photos of our family—even knows the names of
the horses!

The last time we were in Austin with my grannie, in 1985 (I went back again in the 1990s), we stayed with the Malloys, who are cousins of yours. John Malloy's wife, Loretta was the one who stayed in touch until they got divorced. I heard he was in Elko selling real estate. We used to stay in touch with Tillie Walsh but lost touch when she moved to Reno. I heard she died years ago. I remember her when I was a child at weddings. I remember Wild Bill too. (This is wrong—I'm referring to my grand-uncle Bill.)

Do you know the story about my first cousin once removed, Marie/Mary Walsh who worked on the Manhattan Project? We got postcards from her from Los Alamos. I went there in the 1990s. They still talk about the ghost of her sister Julia (or Mother? Or Florence also went by Julia???) at the International Hotel in Austin....seems she's brewing coffee at odd hours.

There are other bootleg stories about my grandmother and her Aunt May, who would've been Pat's sister? When the coppers came, she took the bathtub gin they'd bottled and put it between herself and the baby, on the bed... She also smuggled guns out of the SF jail where my grandfather was under sherriff in her skirts. They smuggled guns to NY in suitcases, then onto Liverpool to Ireland for the revolution. My grandfather knew de Valera, and we've a photo of Liam Mellows, who was later executed, in our lower field.

One of my favorite stories was when May and Jennie had fur coats made from Home Ranch coyote skins (there's a photo of the skins on the barn wall). and when they wore them in San Francisco all the dogs followed them growling. They had to get rid of the coats fast.

Some of the Nevada Walshes moved to San Leandro and we had a reunion the 1970s but then lost touch again. My aunt Jane Reilly was going to school with Linda Ryan who knew some Walshes and sure enough, we were related.

One time I was teaching poetry up in the Alexander Valley, near Healdsburg. CA, and it was St Patrick;s Day. The mothers brought in food and we were all joking how everybody was Irish and started swapping names. I said, "I'm a Walsh." One mother said, So am I." I said my family came from Cork." She answered, "Mine too." Then it got fast and furious. Bantry Bay. The hairs stood up on my arms. Austin.

Yep. Home Ranch. Yep. Wild Bill was her relation. I'd been teaching her daughter and never knew we were related...but she and I had bonded as she was really talented (genius runs in the family along with everything else from alcoholism to depression).

Now it's your turn to fill in some blanks as we really have lost the information on Pat's families. I remember my grannie telling me about him and the two marriages. You've got hundreds of 2nd & 3rd cousins in LA and the greater Bay Area, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Carmel, Graeagle & the Sierra foothills; Bantry, Tralee; Manchester, Cardiff.

We just had two funerals. Ed Walsh (Joe's son) lived in Hawaii. If you ever go to the Big Island, Toad Hall (the victorian on the bluff by Napoopoo, overlooking Capt. Cook Bay was built by Big Ed or "Ranger" Walsh. We had a brilliant wake at St Ignatius. It was Big Ed's death that prompted me to get some family history down and send that fragment to the Walsh Family tree web page. Any your side was one of the holes...

All those Walshes in the graveyard below Austin are ours. Have you been there? The ranch was founded by several brothers including Pat. It was a joint venture. I don't know if he was the first to arrive. The date we have is 1867 for the founding of the ranch.

There is an oral history project through the University of Nevada of the people who owned it after it was sold...they got all the credit, and many of the facts were wrong.

Was Pat the one who was a half brother to the rest of them? Seems his father had two families, the first wife died, and there was a boy, it could've been Pat but he was raised as a full brother wit David and Michael.

Wild Bill was a blacksmith and made all the wrought iron fittings and barn latches that are still use use today.


PS I think we're actually 2nd cousins (once or twice removed?) as Patrick was my great grand-uncle...we've probably met over the years at weddings and funerals. I distinctly remember looking up to my granduncle Bill, and he seemed taller than the sky, it was after a funeral, maybe at Star of the Sea... he was one of my favorite grand uncles, kind (& shy).

(NB I think I've conflated two generations of Bills...which I've fixed...)

Walsh Tombs: Photos

These photos are of the Bantry Bay Walsh family plots in Austin Nevada. In 1985, I traveled with my grandmother, Jennie Walsh Reilly and my uncle John Reilly to Austin to visit Home Ranch, where she lived as a young wonan, with her uncles Patrick, David and Bill Walsh, (a half-brother .)

Joe Walsh has created a Nevada Walsh website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma

From Family Pix

Jennie Walsh Reilly, b. 1893, Bantry, Co. Cork, Happy Birthday.

From Family Pix

Note Bene: remember to write about Home Ranch, Reese River Valley....meanwhile here are some pix from a long lost 2nd cousin..(I think). Hmm, he took all his sites down.

Remembering Ronnie Drew, The Dubliners, Here's to You, Ronnie Drew

When I was about 16 or 17, the Dubliners came to San Francisco. After the concert, my whole family—3 generations—wound up singing till the wee hours in the Dubliners' suite at the Jack Tar Hotel.
My Corkonian grandmother, Jennie Walsh Reilly was off in a corner talking to her old friend, the tall, gaunt John Whooley, Irish emissario, and radio show host of "Bits of Blarney." John was the man responsible for bringing the Dubliners to town. Later, John also brought The Chieftains and The Wolftones to San Francisco. Much more formal events. John Whooley also ran a travel agency, Hibernia Travel—and Aer Lingus charters.

John Whooley always made sure my grannie got front row seats. That's probably also why we were invited to the after-hours post-performance party. That's where the real craic was at. Not in the formal ballroom downstairs stuffed with old bluehaired matrons bedecked in pearls and laced in stiff corsets, sitting ramrod on even stiffer chairs.

The party was in full swing. The whiskey flowed like the River Shannon, everybody burbling at once. Nobody my age to talk to. I was hiding out in a corner. Ronnie Drew, whom I’d just met, thought I should meet a bandmate who was hiding out in a corner. Ronnie was trying to fix me up with Luke Kelly, it was oil and water at first sight.

We stood awkwardly and had nothing to say to each other. I was shy as a fencepost. My world was horses. I blurted to Luke Kelly that I was trying to learn the cords to a new song. Not that I was any good at playing guitar. Didn't know what else to say to him. He had the most startling red afro and palest watery green eyes I'd ever seen. I was mortified, we were standing in a sea surrounded by a drunken after-party who didn’t want the concert or craic to end.

Luke, seeing an easy way to get rid of me, set his banjo down, and led me back over to where gravelly-voiced Ronnie Drew was still holding court. Before I knew it, Ronnie had me perched on his knee. He was nursing a drink in one hand and fretting his guitar in the other hand—as he was showing me the tune…and the gossip began. I was so mortified, I couldn't even fret a G chord. No idea what tune it was.

Everyone wanting to know who that chit of a girl was sitting like that in public on the knee of the man with bedroom eyes, like that, shameless— in front of God and everyone. It was the late 1960s.

Ronnie couldn't help how his eyes looked. He did have bedroom eyes—but he was a perfect gentleman.

Rescue came from an unexpected source. My great-aunt Peig Walsh Collins, a former head nurse, a chain-smoking tower of a redhead who took no interference from anyone, raised herself up to her full six feet, and bellowed, "That's MY grand-niece yer slanderin' there. I'll have none of that!" Other words followed and the nosy gossip drifted away…

Here's to You Ronnie Drew.

Ride on Ronnie. Ride on.

When This Blog Really Began—Aug 2008

An anniversary of sorts. I've been on Blogger since January 2007. That's when I created this blog. But I let it lay fallow. However, I didn't begin actually begin blogging until August 20, 2008. My grandmother's birthday—because I had stories to tell. See the backstory at Cybernalia and LITERRATA or Veritas and the art of Memoir.

Laid up with an injured knee, I began this blog in mid-August. But in 2009, I discovered that I could backpost to January of 2007 and so I madly filed poems and news articles thematically. Mistake. Eventually it all came to loggerheads when the old and new writing collided. A mess.

I still have some poems filed more or less alphabetically during 2008. I'm trying to move them into their correct filing years. See, in Feb. 2014, as I was moving those poems around in the 2008 field, I mis-typed a posting date and typed 2000. I thought I had lost my post for sure. But imagine my surprise when I discovered Blogger had changed its structure and allowed retro posting long before Blogger had invented itself.

Then in February of 2014, again laid up with an injured knee (the other one). I experimented with posting dates and discovered I could create decades' worth of backposts all the way to 1980. Yeowee! That's before the internet was even invented. I'm still wrapping my mind around that one.

BTW, the backpost limit is 1970, when I was in high school. I tried 1883, and 1901 (Apples favorite default date). I could make some backposts all the way to 1970, but since I really didn't start writing until 1978-79, it'd be pointless. I'll post this in 1979, just to show you that I can do it.

I always meant to get back to uploading old poems (and occasional prose}, and finish the job—like that ever happened. Some of the problems trying to resurrect old files have been so great, I never finished the task. I will have to either scan or retype some of my old poems—if I can find hard copies (that's another story). I've uploaded what I can of the folder: Poems 1980-85. Next up is Poems 1986 to 1988, then Poems 89-92, Poems 93-97, Poems 98-present and so on. Apparently I was from the lump sum filing school. That's digital horizontal filing.

Missing dates on old poems also means I can't repost them in the correct order until I find out when to post them. Alphabetical order was easier. So there are poems clustered around 1980 and 1986 (terminus post quem) with no creation dates. Another project for a later (unfortunately I've misplaced my hardcopy mss folder (like a large clippie with boards) that had most of the poems, dates and publishing track records. I'm trying hard not to freak out. But losing that mss folder certainly has my guts in a knot.

Another motivating factor is that I've discovered my old files are no longer compatible with time present software so this is a HUGE a salvage job of sorts. (Of course, this too will become incompatible—but it's sure easier to move work across platforms using Blogger.)

I've been rescuing old poems from original Appleworks files. When I say original, I mean really old. Not that modern version of Appleworks, but Appleworks 1.0  that came on floppy floppy disks. Not rescuable, apparently.

Of course, some the work that was originally created in MicrosoftWorks 1. It too is  hopelessly locked away as little grey Unix files. Luckily, I converted most of my work over to SimpleText, and if I really liked it, to Word 1-5. The only files that will open are the ones saved in SimpleText. Rescuable! But loaded with artifacts. Forget line breaks.

The artifact and ascii code riddled piece are hard to rescue. First, can I open them? If I compressed them with DIskDoublr, then no. If I didn't move them over to SimpleText, or Word 5, then the answer is still no. Sometimes I did save them in SimpleText and yet I have pages of little square boxes in the shapes of poems.

If I can open the documents, then which program is least intrusive? I try several programs: Word, TextEdit (SimpleText is its ancestor), Bean, tEditor. Then the tedious cleanup process begins. (If there are typos on some of these, it's because I missed an ascii orphan or two. Surprisingly, my early writing was pretty clean. No typos. Shaky beginnings, middles, ends—or pointless perspective, yes...but I clearly took my craft seriously. 

A curiosity, is when I try & move the poems over to Blogger, and only a third of the poem will transfer during copy and paste. Very surreal. At first, I couldn't find a workaround. Then I discovered that I have to save piece as a PDF, and copy and paste it again. Sometimes a piece just goes up in smoke after I've cleaned it up.

I've no idea if many of the pieces were poems or prose. Sometimes I can guess from the random letters, weird punctuation, dashes and ascii code that a piece was a poem. Other times, I'm lost at sea. So these pieces will necessarily reinvent themselves in the digital format.

On an undated poem (posted 1/1/1980), Random Access Memory, ca. 1980, I wrote:

The ultimate dada experience:
to write the manuscript of a lifetime
on a floppy disk, not make a hard copy,
& run a magnet across it.
The ferrous molecules would then attain
perfect enlightenment.

OK, that's a little too close to home for comfort....

It's been a trip stumbling cross my orphaned oddities. The most pleasant, by far, are frightened herds of old poems I never got around to finishing/posting. I've been pleasantly surprised. I found 50-60 poems that have never seen the light of day—and there may be no hard copy anywhere because I probably never printed copies 30 years ago (gulp!) I'm making them all 1/1980. There's a slew of 7/794 poems that are all probably 1970-84 poems. Hopefully I'll find my lost MSS binder to date some of the poems. Otherwise there's no hard copy of most of my work for 3.5 decades. Yikes. See Culling Old Files July 29, 2013.

Well, Day 2—I opted out of posting every piece and made  a couple of long posts with short poems in alphabetical order because I was going  insane. It's a slow process, this. I also chickened out and deleted the erotic poems as they made me too squirmy—and not in a good way.

On the origin of my blog, and blog name please visit (yeah, I know I said I created it in August, but I moved everything around) I talk about it here:
January 2007

For information on my news articles, see:
The Paper and the Stump Since I've discovered that I can now backdate my old blog posts that were crammed into the years 2007, and 2008, when I first began blogging, I've been rearranging old posts. However, they no longer have context. So here's a bit on the newspapers I worked for during the 1980s and 1990s, to give you some kickoff perspective...

If I hadn't injured my knee in 2008, then I never would have begun this blog. If I hadn't been laid up with my other knee injury during 2013-2014, then I wouldn't have gotten the bright idea to resurrect all my old work. Idle hands. Idle elevated knees... it was a veritable devil's playground of words. Let's just say, that lately I've spent a lot of time ion my back. If 1969 was the Summer of Love, then 1979 was my Winter of Writing. Mea culpea! So you could say that I gave up both my knees in order to create this blog. How's that for penance?


—Maureen Hurley July 12-14, 2014
(Must've been last night's supermoon that got to me...)

Note bene: about 50 of the poems that are double-labeled "poems, CPITS" were either written in class while I was teaching or when I was observing other CPITS poets, or they were modeled after my CPITS lesson plans (so far, they're from 1980 to 1994). I never considered them to be real poems. A case of the writing itself being out of control, and my inability to wrestle them down squarely on the page. But I cared enough about the poems to make sure there were no typos—even if they never saw the light of day. It's fitting that they get aired now as CPITS is celebrating its 50th anniversary! 50 poems for 50 years. Imagine 50 years of teaching poetry to kids. Imagine. Next up, is culling three file boxes of CPITS lesson plans, and I'm sure even more poems will emerge.

Note bene 2: I wonder if I can use the empty blog years 1970-79 to post some art? If only I had access to my art. (Sigh). Another project. So little time.

Poem titles are in CAPITAL LETTERS, and you can search the blog, using the word 'poem" in the search box at the top or clicking on the word "poem" on
the hotlist below the dates. Other poetic categories too: haiku, ekphrastic poetry, collage, etc. Some poems also sorted by region: from the Andes to the USSR, and Zenia too.

See also:
Old work, new vision

There're still a lot of poems filed in 1994 that are dateless—1994 was the last file date I could find. All the dateless poems that were filed in 2008 have been moved to approximate dates, usually Jan 1, 19xx. A task for later.

Note Bene: I thought I began writing poetry in 1979 (when I began to hit my stride), as I was culling old papers, I found poems from Fall 1978, so I've had to backdate this blog by yet another year. They're all hand-calligraphed, and mostly regrettable. But I'll post a few, to keep it all in perspective. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Elemental Portraits Performance, Maureen Hurley, Kirk Whipple, Marilyn Morales, Cape Cod

Maureen will be performing with Unconservatory pianist duo Kirk Whipple and Marilyn Morales at the Cranberry Coast Concert series in Cape Cod, MA.  
We read at several venues, Onset Community Church, Onset Chapel, Wareham Bank, Wareham School, and the Wareham Library.

Performing Elemental Portraits: Nocturnes for Two Pianos (2 performances), Muddy Cove tabernacle, Onset, MA. Festival organizer and composer, Kirk Whipple and his wife, pianist duo Marilyn Morales.


 Festival organizer and composer, Kirk Whipple and his wife, pianist duo Marilyn Morales and Maureen Hurley.

 Second performance of my poems for Elemental Portraits: Nocturnes for Two Pianos, composed by Kirk Whipple, and played by festival organizers and piano duo, Kirk and his wife Marilyn Morales, Muddy Cove Tabernacke, Cranberry Coast Concerts, Onset MA, 2008.

Eastern Bank performance in Warham, MA. — with Neil O'Neill. We did several performances at the Cape Cod Cranberry Coast Music Festival this August. We performed in churches, tabernacles, banks, libraries and a school.

 Reading poems to kids at the Warham Library

 Neil O'Neill, Maureen Hurley, Kirk Whipple, Caterine and Marilyn Morales.

Elemental Portraits with Kirk Whipple and Marilyn Morales, Florida  May, 2004

Elemental Portraits Reading, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, and Santa Rosa, Maureen Hurley, Kirk Whipple, Marilyn Morales 3/7/2014  
Kirk Whipple, Marilyn Morales, with special guests...

added 4/24/2016