The Story of James McCone

My informant for this story is the same as my entries about the world’s smallest church and Smorum. He is “Bohemian but technically 1/4 German” as he puts it. The context is the same; living room of my informant in Benson, MN. My informant is very interested in family history, so he visits people in various towns and looks up archives to collect the family stories. He has been accumulating more stories and more details of the stories since my mother was a young girl. This story is about James McCone and how he came to Iowa from Ireland. My informant’s wife is related to James McCone, but my informant is an active bearer of the story.

Informant: James McCone came over from County Dairy, Ireland as a 6 year old orphan

Me: James McCone was Great Grandma’s grandfather?

Informant: yes. And his father died. And his mother went to the poor house.

Third Party: No she wasn’t, they turned her away.

Informant: Well they turned her away, she wasn’t poor enough, but she died, maybe she wasn’t healthy enough. Anyway, she died and so the priest, Father Duvont put him on the boat to come to this country. So he went to his cousin Sarah fall Holand in upper New York. So then he worked for the Civil War taking care of horses and then he followed the Railroad when they were building that, taking care of the horses, coming West. And Landed in Lawler as the blacksmith.

I think it is interesting that my informant is the active bearer of this story because he is not even related to James McCone. James McCone is related to his wife. My informant is very invested in our family tree and family history, even on the side of the family that are not technically related to him. As I discussed in my other entry, my informant is an active bearer of family stories. I looked online for more information on James McCone, and I found an obituary online that cited my informant as a source. Other people go to my informant to get these stories. My informant tells them because he thinks they are interesting, like putting a puzzle piece together with all of the parts of the story coming together, and he likes them because they are within the family. I find this story interesting because it is family lore and shows insight on how my ancestors came to this country.