old horseshoe from my backyard
old horseshoe from my backyard

My Great-Great Grandfather, John Patrick Hooben, lived on a farm in Gurteen, Ireland, near Galway. His Uncle lived in Australia on a farm, but did not have any children, so John Patrick traveled down to buy the farm. He and his Uncle went out to the pub, but upon their return to the farm a horse cart tipped and killed the Uncle. John Patrick had not yet purchased the farm and returned to Ireland where he married Sarah Elizabeth Hooban. Together they traveled to America. Their reasoning is not clear, but my Grandfather believes John Patrick was doing whatever he could to leave Ireland. John Patrick was the elder son, but he was paid off for giving up his inheritance of his family's farm, so when he arrived in Ellis Island, New York, he had more money than the average immigrant. John Patrick and Sarah settled in Brookline Massachusetts, where he worked for the Atkinsons, a wealthy family, caring for their horses. He could not have been happier. The horseshoe is not only symbolic of his love of horses, but also his ability to change his life until he is where he is meant to be: in Massachusetts working with horses. At our house outside Boston this horseshoe hangs above our front door. Before my Grandpa told me about John Patrick and Sara, my family found this horseshoe in our backyard which dates back to the general time that they lived in the area. Although it is probably not a horseshoe John Patrick worked with, I feel a connection to him every time I look up at the horseshoe.

Place(s): Gurteen, County Galway, Ireland; Ellis Island, New York Harbor; Brookline, Massachusetts

– DH

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more