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On this page,
I will post various pieces of information, legends, and plain old rumors
that we have come across in our research. Most of these have yet
to be substantiated, and cannot yet be fit into any particular line at
this time. If you have any loose ends you'd care to add to
the page, just drop me and E-mail.
There is an undersea feature known as a"McGrail
Bank" (Fathom Bank). A bank is an elevation, typically
located on a shelf, over which the depth of water is relatively shallow
but sufficient for safe surface navigation.
- In the 1920's/1930's, there was a welter-weight prize fighter
in NYC by the name of "Johhny McGrail".
His mother was adamently opposed to his choice of profession, and he made
her a promise that he would only fight until he won the Championship title
Belt, and then retire from the sport. This he did, to the great disappointment
of his fans. A movie was later made based upon his story, which starred
James Cagney in the title role. Years ago, in midtown Manhattan,
I met an old time boxing fan who had actually seen Johhny fight, and had
followed his career. (If anyone has any info
on Johhny, or has access to old boxing records, please let me know.)
- Abraham Lincoln's White House cook was Mary McGrail. (more
-In the 1880's/ 90's in the Old West , one or more of the McGrail
boys seem to have fallen afoul of the local sheriff in a big misunderstanding
regarding unauthorized, gun-point, cash withdrawals from various banks
and stagecoaches. It also seems that at least one brother was feted
to lodging and accomodations for a number of years; courtesy of the
State Penitentiary System. (If anyone has any
knowledge of circumstances or individuals involved, please write
-There was supposedly a "McGrail Ranch"
in Southern Montana, which operated under that name at least until
the 1930's/ 40's. A woman I met in the early 1960's, when I was a
kid in Denver, told me that she had been born on the ranch, and still remembered
the owners; two elderly sisters and their brother. She said that
she believed that the brother's name was "Stephen", and that none of the
three had married. If this is accurate, then these McGrail's might
be the children of my grand uncle Stephen McGrail, who, with my grandfather,
had been cowboys in the 1880's. Stephen remained in Montana and became
a rancher, while my grandfather moved on to Chicago in the 1890's, and
later to NYC. (any help on this one will get you
top honors in the "McGrail Researcher's Hall of Fame"!)
-In the 1798 Uprising in Ireland, a McGrail was killed fighting
with the French against the English invaders. (more
-In the 1600's , the influential MacNeill (Mag Reill) family
of Armargh was threatened with imprisonment, death by immolation, and the
confiscation of their lands by the English invaders, if they did not renounce
their Catholicism and convert to Henry's religion. They refused,
and fought off the English until they were eventually outnumbered by enemy
re-inforcements. Seven of the MacNeill brothers gathered their families,
and, with prices on their heads, fled to various parts of Ireland.
As they relocated, they changed their
names in an attempt to eluded the pursuing English. Some escaped
to Co. Monaghan where they changed the name to "MCGRAIN", and others went
to Galway and Mayo, where the name became "MCGREAL". Two of the brothers
settled in the remote mountains of Leitrim, where they took the name "MCGRAIL".
It should be noted that all the above
names-MacNeill, McGrail, McGreal, McGrain- are Anglocized
linguistic varients of our original Gaelic name, "Mag Reill".
Thus, in a very clever manner, our anscestors confounded and escaped their
English persecutors with their own language, while keeping their own clan
-Many Thanks to Ronnie Leger
(Vcl@aol.com) for submitting this
exciting piece of our history!
(If anyone has
access to the "McNeill Family Chronicle and Notes (1400-1900)"
that are in the Records Office in Belfast, or knows of a repository in
the US that might contain them, please let me know.)
-If anyone has information concerning clan members who lived
through, or may have perished in the "Great Hunger" (1847-1851), please
let me know. I'm planning an addition to the "Famine Immigrants"
page, and I'm interested in any stories or ancedotes about our Clan during
those horrific times.
-The Richard J. McGrail Substation (Wakefield, Massachusetts)
The Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light
Department (WMGLD) commissioners dedicated the "Richard J. McGrail Substation",
in memory of the Chief Substation Operator and Assistant Manager,
who retired in 1986. He had been associated with WMGLD for more than
45 years, and began his career as a member of the street crew and meter
A permanent stone commemorating the
event is placed at the substation, as is a picture and plaque inside the
-There is a McGrail Avenue, in Niagara Falls, Canada. (who
was the McGrail who was honored by the nameing of this avenue?)
-There is a McGrail St. in Las Vegas NV. off E. Owens Ave. (thanks
to Mae Lynn Zimmer for this info) Does
anyone know who the McGrail was that this street was named for?
I am a civil engineer, so was my late brother
Dan. Dan lived with me for
about a year in Las Vegas in 1978. He worked
for a local civil engineering
firm and designed the subdivision mentioned
in the question. As designer he
chose the street names, McGrail street
was not really named after him
personally, he told me that it was named
to honor all McGrails.
-There is a memorial to Robert
"Whitey" McGrail ("The South Boston Town Greeter") in Carson
Beach, in South Boston.
-There is a McGrail Opera Company
in Pittsburgh, Pa.
- J. McGrail laid a gold claim in Hunker Creek, Alaska
during the Great Gold Rush of 1896. (ref: http://www.familychronicle.com/klond_m.htm)
-Dr. Matthew McGrail of Altoona, Pa.,and a life-long railroad
enthusiast, was one of a select group of people invited to ride the last
steam powered train on the Eire Rail Road (October 5, 1950) Dr. McGrail,
an Altoona native and the son of a railroader, had earned his way through
medical school by firing locomotives on the Pennsylvania and
around the Altoona's famous Horseshoe Curve.
The scene is repeated nearly five years
later on May 3, 1955 when the last B & 0 Railroad steam locomotive
passed into history. Dr. McGrail was also on board for that
last run as well. (http://www.bradford-online.com/np/landmark/capsules/last_steam_train.html)
-The NYC obituary of Irish Nationalist leader James McGrale,
from "The Irish American" newspaper, dated March 3, 1888.
(many thanks to John Blest,
editor of "Drumkeeranfolk"e-group
and newsletter for contributing this article)
The following is a very sanitized description
of the gangs of english storm troopers who rampaged and terrorized their
way through Ireland during a two year period in the early 1920's.
The atrocities they commited upon our families rank among the most dispicable
acts in history.
As a child, my
father told me how this pack of degenerate butchers merrily sang "Marching
to Pretoria" as they proceed from village to village; torturing, murdering,
and destroying the property and lives of the innocents. The
murderous pigs of the "Black and Tan Regiment" were, in fact, recruited
from england's prisions and slums . It's little wonder that
so many of our immigrant anscestors were reluctant to speak of their former
lives in Ireland. My own grandfather would only tell his children
that "times were very bad over there...."
If Hell has a
national anthem, it's sure to be "Marching to Pretoria".
BLACK AND TANS- members of an auxiliary force of constabulary
serving in Ireland during the disturbances of 1920-21, so called from the
colors of their uniform. They were recruited in England from unemployed
veterans of World War I to carry on a ruthless campaign of counter-terrorism
against Irish revolutionaries. Inadvertently, however, the Black and Tans
actually aided the cause of Irish independence by uniting the general population
of southern Ireland against British rule. Their tactics also aroused public
opinion throughout England, thus influencing the British government to
grant dominion status to the Irish Free State in 1921.
ST. COLUMBEILLE (6 th CENTURY)
Seven years before the last day, the sea shall submerge Eirin
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