Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pic from a great book "Ireland" by Paul Johnson

Maud Gone MacBride, Barry Delaney, and Annie McSwinney (right) on hunger strike at Mountjoy Prison in 1922.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Travis Dulaney and The Black Walnut Tree

The black walnut, at first, isn’t black at all but is green. In most cases in the life the walnut, the covering only turns black after the nut has detached itself or has been detached from the tree limb and dried out on the ground for a good week or more. We would sit in old refurbished lawn chairs that my mom acquired from someone. She had purchased a roll of the plastic strapping to completely re-strap the chairs. We were "high class" sitting in those chairs. They looked like new and no one would know that we had cut and fastened the new straps to old frames unless we told them so.

Often we would sit under the old tree and shoot the walnuts out of the tree with our Red Rider B B guns. Later in life we graduated up to a .22 rifle as long as an adult was out there to make sure we didn’t shoot each other, a chicken, a neighbor’s dog or most important of all, the windows. Many hours were passed shooting walnuts out of that tree.

Once they were down in sufficient numbers, we would gather them up as ammunition for wars we would fight as we pretended to be men. It really didn’t matter who was visiting at our house and didn’t matter how many people participated but once the idea of a “war” was hatched, it was every man for himself. The semi-soft outer covering of the green walnut would provide a limit to the damage one could inflict with a projectile but not much. In most cases one of the younger of the competitors would get hit and begin to cry which signaled an end to the conflict and the beginning of the evasion and escape portion of our war. I do not remember many times that a victor was declared which forces one to question what the point was to begin with. My first cousin Travis, the oldest son of my Uncle Jimmy Dulaney and Aunt Nell (Plunkett) was 3 years older than me. He was the one who had the honor of christening me between the eyes on a late afternoon one spring. As I recall, and as usual, he wasn’t playing war. He wasn’t playing anything, but was annoyed with me because I had failed to keep up with him while shucking corn. As a pickup load had been piled up under the tree, the designated corn shucking area, it was our job as kids to shuck the corn and pull the silks out from between the kernels of corn. A tedious and boring task for a kid with too much energy became unbearable when something of interest captured my attention. Travis, being the older and wiser of the crew, was also the enforcer of unspoken laws and did not hesitate to bring my focus back to the task at hand. He didn’t want a “whoopin” and he knew that if one of us got it, we both would.

Once, Travis and I were tasked with fixing a barbed wire fence around our 11 acres. We were using a staple puller to pull old staples out of the cedar posts. The staple puller resembles greatly a crowbar but is only 10 to 12 inches long. Travis found that I wasn’t working hard enough and suddenly decided to pop me in the top of the head with it. A knot instantly arose at the point of contact on my head and I instantly broke and ran for the house. My dad saw me running across the back yard and met me to see what was the matter. When I told him, he picked up a broken hoe handle from a pile of rubbish that was close bye and proceeded to whip me all the way back to the barn. His words of comfort came in the form of “quit acting like a widder woman and get that fence done." From that day forward two things were clear to me. 1. I didn’t really like Travis anymore and, 2. Never, ever, run to dad for help.

Ken Dulaney, 2003


Being addicted to alcohol is an illness, being addicted to cigarettes is a crime? What is a drunk smoker?

The Dulaney Name

The cantred of Aghaboe, aka Upper Ossory, included the traditional lands of the Ui Duach. About 1150 A.D. the northern section of Aghaboe held the septs of the Ua Dubhslaine (O'Delany) of Coill Uachtarach (barony of Upper Woods, Co. Leix), chiefs of Tuath-an-Toraidh, as well as the Ua hUrachan (O'Hourahan) of Ui Fairchellain (parish of Offerlane in Co. Leix) The southern section was occupied by the septs of the the Ua Bruaideodha (O'Broe, or O'Brody), as well as branches of the Ua Faelain (O'Phelan). The Fitzpatrick (Mac Giolla Phadraig) clan were noted in Upper Ossory, particularly following the Norman settlement, and later became earls of Upper Ossory.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cedar Trees in a Cemeteries Aren't Just Coincidence

Since my first posting, I have been researching the origins, if there are any, of the practice of planting cedar trees around graves. It is interesting to explore all the different thoughts on the subject; however, I conclude that there are too many to list. I do believe there is much to the practice. It seems that the practice dates back to the dawn of time in some cultures to include Christianity.

An old Ozark superstition says that when any cedar tree which you planted grows tall enough to shade your grave, you will die. So commonly has cedar been planted as ornamental in cemeteries, it is sometimes called graveyard tree.

Many of the cedar trees found in North America were mistakenly classed cypresses, and cypress has been associated with grieving since the times of the ancient Greeks. There was a legend that the Greek Cyparissus accidentally killed a stag which had been his friend and companion, and prayed to Apollo that he might grieve forever, and was turned into the tree. Aside from that, because of the wood's resistance to corruption and the strong, spicy smell when it is burned, both cypresses and cedars have been used to build coffins or funeral pyres for the great and powerful, not just in the cultures around the Mediterranean, but throughout Asia as well. The trees were sometimes used to build the gates to temples, as their wood was said to guard the passage between life and death.

I found this explanation also:

The majesty and glory enjoyed by the cedar tree is of biblical proportions, figuratively and literally speaking. No other tree type has been mentioned in such high regards in the Holy Scripture than cedar family.

The cedar tree was described in the Book of Ezekiel as the only tree that could sustain the Israelites as they travel through the desert. In many instances in the bible, this tree type was also used as a symbol for prosperity, what with its long life and elegant growth.

The tree wasn't mentioned in the Book of Revelations, though such might as well have been so since many millenniums after its first mention in the bible, the cedar tree remains as enchantingly marvelous as it was when it was first observed in human history.

Shaped like a cone with rich, dark green foliage, cedars are often observed in cemeteries in this day and age. There is an underlying reason for this, something which is more than the aesthetic merits of the elegance that cedars can provide.

Native Americans held strong beliefs about the cedar tree. Cherokee legends tell of a time, during the beginning of existence, when people prayed to the gods that night be taken away so that they could enjoy perpetual day. The gods obliged. Soon enough, the people realized the terrible evil they have prayed for, as many members of their rank suffered, and even died, due to the ceaseless heat brought about by perpetual day. They pleaded to the gods once more, begging to return things to the way they are. After a few years, the gods obliged once again, only this time, the gods left something on earth to remind the people of that chapter... the cedar tree. Hence, ever since, the Cherokees believed that cedars contained powerful spirits, namely, the spirits of the departed whom they should never forget.

This is the reason why this tree type is also used as a symbol for death. Ever watched Six Feet Under? Notice that the opening credits picture a cedar tree above a grave.

Harmonizing the biblical mentions of the tree type, that which makes it a symbol of prosperity, with local folklore that associates it with death, we can say that cedars are also representative of the duality of life. We may prosper while we are alive, but once we leave this plane of existence, all is not lost. We can also leave memories behind, memories which may help other people prosper as well.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Footprints in the southern soil

Today was a good day. Simply put, it was one of those days that when you finish it you are exhausted and just want to find a quiet place to rest your bones and reminisce.

In today's world it is all to common to hear myself complain of work, issues, aches and pains, and recent "drama". As I get older I seem to find my days to be more mundane than interesting but today was not one of those days. Today I learned what a "graveyard rabbit" is and what it means to "run one", thanks to my youngest brother Don Dulaney, the soon to be famed author who writes at If you haven't already done so, you really should go there and read some of his postings.

As we trekked around Itawamba County Mississippi, Don explained to me the experiences of the past few months endured by himself and Mona Robinson Mills ( as they pieced together numerous puzzles related to genealogy in Itawamba County. It seems that it has become a great sport for these two "rabbits" to see just how fast they can link anyone, and I do mean ANYONE to anyone in this county. I must say that I was impressed and somewhat awestruck as the day progressed.

We visited numerous cemeteries down the north road, Mt Pleasant road and up highway 25. My head is still spinning from the whirlwind of information and ancestors. I learned of countless grandparents and relatives and found the entire experience to be very refreshing and interesting. Points like one of my grandfathers being buried sitting up in a rocking chair was a highlight that I won't soon forget.

I also found it interesting that at each of the old cemeteries we visited there were always a number of very large cedar trees some of which you could hardly reach around. These were some of the largest cedars I have ever seen in Mississippi and I couldn't help but wonder if there was some significance to them being placed around the graves. I hope to do some research to find out. Kim Wells of Belmont Mississippi pointed out that it may be because the root systems of the cedar grow more in a downward direction and wouldn't disturb the graves like an oak or other hardwood might. Don suggested that it might also be because they remain green throughout the year. No matter what the case may be, I hope to find out soon.

So today was a good day and a day to remember. I would like to thank Don for the great tour and the time spent educating me on the history of the county. I look forward to many more days like this in the future.