When I was writing the entry on X D thought I would write about the positive side of the family in the handling of Xenophobia. I was thinking about that today and thought I would go back and start over on that one.
Again on my O’Connor side of the family we have so many examples of how our ancestors handled the Xenophobia of others. Starting with Daniel my gr gr grandfather who emigrated to Canada in 1823. Daniel settled in 1830 at Long Point and was faced as his family grew with great efforts on the part of the protestant community to convert him to their way of thinking. Catholics were not highly thought of but Daniel was well educated and knew his faith, had his bible and could discuss with the various protestant ministers where he was coming from in his beliefs. He welcomed these gentlemen into his home and had great conversations with them.
In the community around Long Point there were many Orangemen who were Irish protestants, they were wary of Catholics but Daniel would not stand aside and allow that to go on. What he did was win them over with this helpfulness, his willingness and openness to those of different beliefs. He had learned well from him parents on how to relate to others not like himself.
That appears to have been handed down from generation to generation. His son Charles lived in harmony at Long Point with his neighbors and they were great friends and would go to each others funerals and weddings and did not allow the prejudice of others to influence them.
Charles son Fergus, my grandfather, grew up and after marrying and settling in Gananoque Ontario in 1916 he became the Mayor of Gananoque. He was the first Catholic to be elected Mayor which says alot about his relationship with the protestant majority in the town. When it came summer and time for the Orangeman’s Day Parade, his Catholic friends and relatives said, “You are not going to lead the parade for the Orangemen are you?” He just smiled and said “When I am the mayor my religion is not a factor. The Mayors job is to lead the parade and I will do that as all Mayors before me.” He was a man of great character.
Recently I learned about a letter my uncle wrote to his bride to be about my mothers pending wedding in 1935. The Archbishop of Kingston called my grandfather into his office for a chat. He told my Grandfather that he had to stop my mothers wedding. The O’Connors could not allow their daughter to marry the son of a protestant minister. My grandfather let the Archbishop know loud and clear that his daughter was going to marry this fellow and if they had to they would go somewhere else to get married and the family would be with them. As the time grew near I guess the Archbishop discovered my Grandfather was serious so he backed down. They could get married in the chapel with no flowers or music. I am not sure if that was the end of it because I know my mother carried flowers and whether the chapel was decorated with flowers or not I don’t know but I am so proud of my grandfather. He knew what was the right thing to do and did not back down. He learned that from his father and grandfather.
I never understood why my father was so angry about anything religious. One of the good things about genealogy research is that sometimes you find out what was behind some behaviour that carried forward into a family. I also think my father totally appreciated my mom’s family and what they had as a family since his was so very different. But that is for another day. I feel so lucky and blessed to come from this line of great men.