On Easter Sunday of 1883, James (Big Jim) Colohan, age 19, arrived at the New York City harbor where he was met by his older brother, Thomas. Almost immediately, Big Jim headed west for Blaine, Kansas, a robust Irish colony (with a Potawatomi Indian reservation nearby). Jim soon spotted and got the “Big Eye” for the beautiful Elizabeth Guerin one fine, soft day (see picture), and the American Colohan clan was born. T-God. Big Jim and his lovely wife had 14 children and a grand but very busy life on their large farm/ranch near Plainville, Kansas.
Great Grampa Colohan had his cattle range about 15 miles from their first home. He would spend the week in the sod house on the range, and then come back home to his family for the weekends.
That had to be a darned hard life, but it beat the bejabbers out of living in Ireland under the iron fist of the British overlords.
Only 127 years later in 2010, 17 Colohans and Keatings gathered together for the first time at Anita and Dave’s home in Arlington, Texas, to get acquainted. We all had a grand time and nobody got hurt or arrested, so we decided to get together again the following summer.
That worked out just fine because in 2011, when Orla Colohan (the daughter of Padraig and Honor Colohan) was married to Kevin Dolan in Clontuskert Parish, County Galway, Ireland, many of the American cousins attended the wedding. “It was brilliant.” By the way, Orla and Kevin moved into their newly built home around the first of July, 2013, near their parents’ homes.
The third gathering of the clan was held in Portland, Oregon in June of 2012, where even more cousins joined the celebration, and once again, everyone had a grand time and were glad that they attended.
The fourth reunion was held at the beautiful home and compound of Gail and Cindy Boller in Norton, Kansas. Our cousins from Ballinasloe, Padraig and Honor Colohan plus Meehal Calaghy, joined in the 130th anniversary celebration of Big Jim’s arrival in America. First they visited New York City with our favorite daughter, Kathy, and her husband Joe Menino, then came west to Texas to visit with Anita, Dave and Mike to do a bit of shopping and shooting at the rifle and pistol range. Cousin Gail flew them from Texas to Norton in his beautiful Piper Mailbu airplane, and then brought them back to Texas four days later. The Keatings were well represented by Sean and Myra, Debbie Spicer and her mom, Sheila Bowen. The Oregon Colohans, Tim and Lori and their spouses were there, plus several more newly found cousins. Little nippers were everywhere and once again, it was great fun, especially meeting several more cousins that no one knew they had.
The fifth Colahan/Colohan reunion was celebrated at the elegant Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Kudos to Meg Messman and Mike Finnesy who created order out of chaos. Meg got the ball rolling by helping to select the hotel, and Mike made all of the arrangements at the hotel. We had something for everyone beginning Friday night with that fabulous buffet dinner, introductions of each of the families present, and a brief description of how each fit into the Colahan/Colahan mosaic of the 14 children of Big Jim and Elizabeth Colahan. Saturday, many enjoyed the Olympic sized hot mineral spring pool and baths, the spectacular gondola rides to “Adventure Park” at the peak of Iron Mountain with clear views to Loveland Pass and Vail. Some thrill seekers even went rafting (gasp!) on the tumultuous Colorado River. A picnic Sunday rounded out the festivities.
We feel sorry for any of our clan who could not attend. However, nine new faces included (a drum roll please): three children of Raymond Colahan; Dorothy, Nick and Steven Pier; Debby Spicer’s sister, Lynn Greene; Johnny Jacobs; and Kathy Rhodes Daves.
The sixth reunion will be at beautiful, historic Bend, Oregon with Tim Colohan (email@example.com) and Lori Cheek (firstname.lastname@example.org) on the weekend of June 18, 19 and 20, 2015. Check that neat little town and the beautiful surrounding countryside at (Google) Bend, Oregon. Try it, you will love it.
Watch this space for further developments.