March 15, 2012

My Tinge of Irish Heritage: The Googins Family



     What do the names Bonython, Foxwell, Rogers, Welch, and Googins have in common? What Irish heritage is found in these Maine location names: Pepperrellborough, Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Kittery, Trenton, and Lamoine?


     While sitting in my brother-in-law’s hospital room at the end of February I shared information from my files about my ancestor Patrick Googins, which I was reviewing to write a St. Patrick’s Day post. We discussed the United States region he emigrated to as a young man in the first quarter of the 1700s: Saco and Biddeford, Maine, then Pepperrellborough, Massachusetts (between 1762 and 1805). I read from my files that the Saco River emptied into the seacoast at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

     Not long after that, Monte entered the room after taking a walk in the hospital corridor. He seemed excited, saying he had something to show me. On the wall in the corridor, among a number of paintings, was a picture of the Saco River flowing in New Hampshire, speeding to its destination, the Atlantic Ocean at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.


     Today is the day the Chicago River turns green.

     It’s St. Patrick’s Day.

     My Irish ancestry is so washed out as to be nonexistent. However slight it is, I still claim it, especially on March 17th each year.

     It began about ten generations ago in lower Maine. Patrick Googins, a woolen weaver by trade, emigrated from Ireland and entered the service of William Pepperrell, a native of Kittery.

     Pepperrell studied surveying and navigation before joining his father (a shipbuilder and fishing boat owner) in business. Young William Pepperrell expanded their enterprise to become one of the most prosperous mercantile houses in New England with ships carrying lumber, fish and other products to the West Indies and Europe. The Pepperrells sunk their profits into land, and soon they controlled immense tracts.* Thus, Patrick must have abandoned his wool weaving training to enter the mercantile business.

     Through the influence of William Pepperrell Patrick obtained the hand of Mary Rogers, the daughter of Richard Rogers, Jr. Richard’s ancestry includes the names of Bonython and Foxwell. They settled on a one-hundred acre tract of land given to him by his father-in-law at Pepperrellborough (now Old Orchard, now Ocean Park, named after the orchards planted by the Rogers family). Patrick died there on February 17, 1784, at the age of eighty-four.** 


     The union of Patrick and Mary Rogers Googins produced six sons and one daughter. Their fifth son, Roger Googins, was born in January 11, 1738. He wed Elizabeth Welch of North Yarmouth, Maine (then Massachusetts) on November 20, 1760. The couple relocated to (ancient) Trenton about 1768, where he became the first town clerk in 1790.

     Roger and Mary were the parents of eight children, four daughters and four sons. Their seventh child and fourth daughter, Mary, was born in Trenton on April 3, 1775. On September 11, 1796, she married a handsome French settler, Louis Des Isles.

     With Mary’s marriage to Louis the Irish name was erased from my ancestry. However, it is this couple that gave rise to my writing a historic romance novel, which is an ongoing project interrupted by life happenings—a subject for another post.


        Young people not so ‘green,’ surveys find, read the March 16th newspaper headline.***  They’re missing something, I thought briefly, until I read further and realized the not so green referred to environmental issues.

      Are Young people not so ‘green in terms of celebrating their Irish heritage? I truly don’t know. All I know is that I will adorn myself in green this March 17th and celebrate my tinge of Irish heritage.

     I hope you will join me.

     Happy St. Patrick’s Day!



The Greening of the Chicago River:

Googins Island, Maine: An Osprey Sanctuary:

A Sense of Place

Ocean Views: The New England Coast


THE OVENS on Mt. Desert Island, Maine:

Sunset Photos at THE OVENS on Mt. Desert Island, Maine



** The Googins Family in America, pp 7

***Tribune-Review, Greensburg PA, March 16, 2012, pp A3



    Comment by Joan — March 17, 2012 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

    • Yep—dined at Ligonier Tavern tonight with tiny green braids, green floral sweater and blinking shamrock necklace. It was fun.

      Comment by carolyncholland — March 17, 2012 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

  2. I was at Old Orchard beach several times with my kids. The water is cold, even in August, but crystal clear.

    Comment by Cynthia Lipsius — March 17, 2012 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

    • Cynthia, I neglected to comment that this heritage is on the maternal side of the family Therefore, it is also your heritage!
      Your older and wiser Big Sis

      Comment by carolyncholland — March 17, 2012 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

  3. […] is the home of my 1791 ancestor, Louis and Mary Googins des Isles, and their son William. Read My Tinge of Irish Heritage: The Googins Family. It is also the setting of the third section of the historical novel I’m […]

    Pingback by Deep Water Along the New England Coast | Carolyn's Online Magazine — January 31, 2015 @ 4:43 am | Reply

  4. […] My Tinge of Irish Heritage: The Googins Family […]

    Pingback by Of Course I’m Irish. Aren’t You? | Carolyn's Online Magazine — March 16, 2015 @ 1:30 am | Reply

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