Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thanks, Dad

Here's Marc Monroe Dion, the worst "writer" in America, bumbling through a cliché-ridden minefield[sic] of grammatical embarrassments, "writing" about the most important family in Fall River: MINE. (Your mileage may vary. Of course.) Remember, the quote below is Dion's "work" which can be found among other similarly awful examples at the Herald News, which I link here.


In an old cemetery, just off Brightman Street, Civil War veteran Cornelius McAvinue sleeps, with wife Susan, under a grave stone that notes his service. It was not always so or, actually, it was, but McAvinue’s original stone was worn away by wind and weather in the decades after his death in 1885, so it was hard to tell where he slept his long sleep.“It was very weathered,” says McAvinue’s great-great grandson Jim Carroll. “If you were very patient, you could make it out.“It all started with me doing a little genealogy on my family,” Carroll said.
Carroll hit a “brick wall” when he got to Cornelius, but got lucky in finding the grave of Susan McAvinue, wife of Cornelius who, as fate and custom would have it, was buried in St. John’s Cemetery next to the sought-for Cornelius, under the weathered, nearly illegible stone.“The girls at St. Patrick’s Cemetery were very helpful and very patient,” Carroll said, describing the search for Cornelius and the part played in it by those who keep the diocesan cemetery records.photo by Jack Foley. Not THAT Jack Foley.
Here then, is the life of Cornelius McAvinue, Irishman, American, sailor, Civil War veteran. Born around 1812 Ballyconnell, County Cavan, Ireland, there is no exact record of his birth.“According to family legend, the church was burned by agents of the queen,” Carroll said of Cornelius’ baptismal records.
What is known is Cornelius married Susan in Ireland and then fled the country, as did so many others. They wound up in Liverpool, where Cornelius became a sailor aboard the Collins Line.Three children later, they came to America via New York, and by April of 1863, the family was in Fall River. The Civil War was raging.“He was 51,” Carroll said of Cornelius. “He told the Navy he was 41 when he enlisted.”After training in Boston, Cornelius was assigned to the U.S.S. Iron Age, which he helped to blow up when it ran aground off North Carolina. Two of Cornelius’ sons also joined.Cornelius returned to Fall River, and Susan.“He was a watchman in some of the mills,” Carroll noted.When he died, Cornelius’ obituary said that he was “very good friends with Patrick Murphy, a local saloon keeper.” The two men had served in the Navy together.Carroll’s search for Cornelius McAvinue took him to Ireland, where he spent some time with 80 year-old Paddy McAdam, a distant relative.“It was 172 years since the families had last met,” Carroll said.Jim Carroll belongs to the American Legion. One day, reading an American Legion publication, he became aware of a Veterans Administration program.“It’s a program to replace broken, weathered or stolen gravestones of veterans,” Carroll called and the stone arrived in a couple of weeks.The stone reads, “McAvinne,” the name under which Cornelius McAvinue served.“We’ve found 21 ways to spell the name,” Carroll said.There was a bagpiper and a ceremony when the new stone went up, back in October and there was a corned beef and cabbage dinner st McGovern’s Restaurant. The Carrolls visit the grave often.“After all these years of no one paying attention to him, it’s seems like the least we can do,” said Jim Carroll.

Now, the "Oh, you're THAT Carroll" will commence.

8 comments:

karie said...

Wow! After getting over my mix of jawed-dropped astonishment and erratic belly laughter at the extreme bad-ness of the writing, I realized there is something really pretty cool here! The stories of the past can inform who we are today. It is interesting to know some things about our ansestors, and read stories of how they may have played a marked role in our nation's history. And certainly, I have spent many moments alone staring down at a headstone and wondering even more about mine. In an odd way, it is nice to know where they are buried.
(that whole "sleeping" thing really freaks me out through.)

bigsam27 said...

It was not always so or, actually, it was, but McAvinue’s original stone was worn away by wind and weather in the decades after his death in 1885, so it was hard to tell where he slept his long sleep.

that sentence hurt my brain

ThirdMate said...

Thank you, bigsam, for wading through that killing field. I wish someone would invent eye gargle.

Large said...

the proofreader had the day off or called into sickbay that day,....

I am glad this "Gentleman Journalist" ( 2 words sailors despise and together well...
"Award Winning,..would make it an unholy trinity of a perfect storm under which we would all get wet under...." )

Man,..he did that to a friends ancestor,sailor and a veteran make that 2 perfect storms...

he needs to be sent to Sable Island to live with the ponies....

in February

I am however glad that Thirdmate was able to learn of his roots and yes maybe Cornelius was there with us that night off New York.

This might answer why it seems all these years you have had someone standing watch with you that you sensed but never saw...

Virginia Lee said...

Well, this Tarheel born and bred Southern Studies degreed lady is mighty thankful to your ancestor for his efforts in the War of Northern Aggression. (And yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek, thanks. Well, except for the Tarheel and Southern Studies bits, of course.)

Karie's right, btw. The whole reason I ended up with my seemingly silly degree was due to my desire to understand my family's history. I never imagined it would end up giving me a wholistic view of the planet.

And gad, hon. Why in holy heck did you not write that piece? It's not nice to make your friends' eyes bleed and brains hurt.

Andrew Weiss said...

Just imagine if Kevin Cullen wrote it:

Cornelius McAvinue is your average dead joe, sleeping in a average dead joe's grave...

A fascinating story, nonetheless.

ThirdMate said...

Cullen already used that quote about a firefighter. Or was it a cop? Cab driver?

Large: Iron Age and two other ships (one Union, one CSA) are still under Lockwood Folly (short cruise west of Cape Fear River) since it's a CivWar historical battlesite. Locals just call it a hazard to navigation, apparently.

Oh, Miss Virginia. I just couldn't jeopardize my amateur standing by writing for a fishwrap. Plus, they never acknowledged receipt of my resume and samples sent in 1984, 1986, 1989, 1992, and 1997. I guess they didn't want some magazine writer/editor to sully their Chicago stylebook.

Anonymous said...

Well put.