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Updated on May 1, 2018

A murder in Ireland

Between 1845 and 1852 there was a famine which spread throughout the farmlands of Ireland. An outbreak known as "blight" or Phytophthora infestans attacked the soil and left most of the potato crops uneatable. Ironically the government was still exporting food to other countries which caused a somewhat sporadic movement of civil unrest. on top of this, most landowners in Ireland were English lords who hardly ever set foot in the country thereby remitting a large portion of money to England.

The family has speculated that My Great-Great grandfather Alexander Herron took part in one of the political murders of that day. No one knows much of why this happened, but one day a member of the Herron family Murdered a Lord, and his two coachmen, stole sixteen of his horses, and quickly fled to America. (As the story goes.)

Alexander pursued a farming life in Pennsylvania. However, the last sixteen years of his life were spent in bed with his daughter Maggie waiting on him constantly. When he was eighty years old a strange thing happened to him. He was shoveling coal off a wagon when several pigs gathered around and were trying to eat some of the Coal. Alexander tried to chase them away and in the process hit one of the pigs with a shovel. The pig then turned on him, and bit him. The medical history is unclear, however as a result he lost his mind from some kind of poisoning or perhaps an infection. In this mental state he fell down some stairs and broke both of his legs. He never recovered and was bedridden until he died at the age of ninety six.

Alexander had the following Children; Mary, William, Margaret, and Anna. The Herron Family in America starts in Allegheny, Pennsylvania; which is where Alexander spent the remainder of his days.
There is some speculation that Alexander is actually related to the family of a man named John Herron born 1802 in Ireland who resided in the same area of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, however one of John’s children Samuel, was mentioned in the will of Alexander’s wife Anne. Through further investigation it was discovered that the living descendants of Alexander and John Herron share a close DNA connection.

Alexander's cousin Robert
Alexander's cousin Robert

The nurse

Nancy, Bob, Alec, Mary, and Bill Herron
Nancy, Bob, Alec, Mary, and Bill Herron

The foreman

William Herron the son of Alexander was employed by the Mckeesport Tube Mill in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where he stoked furnaces twelve hours a day and seven days a week. Every other week he would get an extra twelve hours when they would change shifts, but would have to make it up on the following week by working a twenty four hour shift. Soon after he moved up to the despised rank of foreman. these people were known to possess the characteristics of Egyptian task masters in the industry. See "Out of this furnace" by Thomas Bell.

My grandfather spoke of an ingenious nonlethal rat trap which this man invented. Then because he was completely dissatisfied with the outcome, he smashed his invention to pieces.

William married a lovely nurse named Nancy Stewart The daughter of William Irwin Stewart, and Mary Ann Black. She was born in Braddock Pensylvania in 1833. Nancy bore William eight children and died stress-fully after delivering the last one, who followed her to the grave a few months later.

William was a hard worker and he dearly loved his father. Unfortunately after Alexander lost his mind he seemed to resent William very much and started throwing everything that he could get his hands on at him, and from that time on he couldn't see William without going into a rage.

William himself started to become ill with a condition known as pernicious anemia. This was a fatal disease before about the year 1920, when Dr. George Whipple suggested raw liver as a treatment. After verification of Whipple's results in 1926, pernicious anemia victims ate or drank at least 1/2 a pound of raw liver, or drank raw liver juice every day. This continued for several years until a concentrate of liver juice became available after 1928. This later turned into vitamin B-12 shots. But William lived in the era when it was suggested to drink Cod liver oil. The medication however, did not have the effect which William hoped for and he soon died.

The Herron children were William, Robert, Alexander, Marry Ann, Margaret, Paul, Minnie, and John.

Flora, Christine Bill, holding his niece Nancy Herron,
Flora, Christine Bill, holding his niece Nancy Herron,

The postman

William was the oldest brother he fought in world war one. His brother Paul volunteered to knitt socks for the soldiers and for his brother during this time.

Bill was potentially a very intelligent person, he had a photographic memory and could memorize the entire phone book. He married his wife Flora Wakefield while living in Pennsylvania. They eventually moved out to Pasadena California where he worked in the post office as a mail sorter. Bill and Flora had one daughter named Christine Herron who was born in 1940 in California. Bill and his wife stayed in Pasadena for the remainder of their lives until he passed away in 1974. After twenty five years Bill received a pension and a silver membership in the post office.

The miner

Robert Herron married Evelyn Sutton in 1921 in Detroit, Michigan, but the two eventually ended up living out their lives back in Mckeesport, Pennsylvania where he was born.

Bob was a coal miner and a farmer, as a result of long term exposure to the mines and a chewing tobacco habbit, he lost a lung and had a tracheotomy.

Bob lived until he was 79 years old when he unfortunately died in a car accident.One day Bob's son became stranded in the snow. Bob responded to his sons phone call and went to help pull him out. Unfortunately on his way to pick up his son Bob was hit by another car which took his life.

Alec Herron
Alec Herron

Alexander Herron

Not much is known about Alec Herron. He was born in Mckeesport, Pennsylvania on 20 June 1899. He was drafted during World War one, and lived the remainder of his life out in Detroit. He never got married or had any children that we know of. Appropriately the only picture of him that I could find was a small head shot of this mysterious member of the family in a group photo. the censuses that he appeared on show that he was an auto mechanic.

Mary Ann Herron

On the 4th of June 1920, Mary Herron and Estil Beets got married in Detroit. The two had a room and boarding house on the West side of Detroit about two blocks away from Naven field where they raised their two daughters June and Marjorie. After Estil passed away Mary decided to move down to San Berdino, California with her daughter June where she stayed until she passed away at the age of 88. The children called her granny tippy toes and said that she was a quick witted person.

Roland and Margaret Seal. One child is their son and the other is unknown.
Roland and Margaret Seal. One child is their son and the other is unknown.

Margaret Herron

William and Nancy's second daughter was Margaret Herron. She married Roland Seel [Seal?] in 1924 in Detroit, and later moved to Chesapeake city, Virginia. While living in Detroit she was a telephone operator. She and her sister Mary were told to hand over their savings to their Aunt Margaret while they were living with her. This devious woman took all of the Herron kids money and used it to pay off their large house, and then left all of the estate to her daughters, leaving the Herron kids with nothing to show for it. Mary, Margaret, and Bob decided to sue their cousins for property rights but in the end they got nothing.

Paul Herron
Paul Herron
Rachel (Simms) Herron
Rachel (Simms) Herron

The Hobo

The youngest living Son of William was Paul Herron who like so many others of his day lived a somewhat relaxed life in a big comfortable abode. With plenty of servants around to pick up the mess after a flurry of children would storm through the house, Paul had it easy living with his single dad and six siblings.

But the day came when their father William finaly succumbed to his ailment and the Herron children found themselves orphaned. To avoid poverty, Paul and his brothers were forced to quit school and start work. The man literally had dozens upon dozens of odd jobs throughout his lifetime. One job in particular was at the Ford Motor company in Detroit.

Amid the union riots he saw several public lynchingsof strike breakers. The scene was dramatic as in one instance A woman took an over sized hat pin and stabbed a man to death. Paul watched as the man was dragged into a local shop, hearing his dying words; "This isn't a hospital."

After allot of rail riding and touring around the country, Paul landed a job at a Naval shipyard in California where he became an electrician. Paul was afforded the opportunity to go on sea trials aboard small diesel powered submarines to perform operational trouble shooting maintenance.

Paul, with his wife Rachel, had a son Who they named Barnett. The doctors of the day during the depression were not always very useful to the human family as they refused to afford their services to the Herron family due to lack of funding. The baby was born with a blockage in the esophagus prohibiting food to be digested. Little Barnett starved to death in a month.

Soon after they enjoyed the company of a little girl they named Nancy and then a boy; David who was mistakenly named after his great uncle Michael.

Minnie Herron

Minnie was the youngest of the Herron siblings who lived. There was one other named John who died shortly after he was born. According to Paul Herron it was due to neglect from his aunt Lou.

Minnie married Andy Ronnie in Idaho. Andy was a Scotsman and my father noted that his accent was so prevelant that it carried over to his children who grew up in the States. He was a surly old Scott who took up boxing in his early carrier.

when she was older Minnie came to visit her brother Paul and my parents noticed that she had the worst case of arthritis in her hands. Arthritis is a trait that has been passed to several members of the family including my father.

David Herron
David Herron
Patricia (Drozic) Herron
Patricia (Drozic) Herron

The mortar

David Herron living the American dream, got to grow up near the beautiful sandy beaches of Southern California. But like most high school graduates of his day, he was afforded the opportunity to travel the world, particularly "Sunny Southeast Asia," as he was inducted into the United States Army, and hauled off to Vietnam.

"The stupidest thing I ever heard someone say was, 'we'll park here for the night, they'll never mess with us here.' that night was the worst fire fight of my life."

My father shot mortars at enemy Vietcong soldiers into the night.

David was in the Army for a very short time. After the war in Vietnam he went back to his job at Mare Island Shipyard and married My Mother Patricia. When the first war in Iraq ended, several shipyards across the country were closed due to Naval downsizing. Subsequently David and his family were forced to move to the state of Washington where he resumed his duties as a Rigger at Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard. 


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    • Onusonus profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from washington

      Rodrick, Good luck on your search. I know African American history can usually come to a dead end, and I have several lines that are the same. Keep trying.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      This is great. I am doing my family history right now. So far am stuck with my oldest ancestor on record born in 1805. The rest were slaves before that or slave owners. I cannot wait to catch a break and find out more about my ancestors.

    • Onusonus profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from washington

      John born in 1807 that is.

    • Onusonus profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from washington

      Hey Rodney. I think it could have been John Herron too. I wrote this article quite a while ago, and added to it after I found out that John was Alexander's dad.

      Thanks for reading,


    • profile image

      Rodney Herron 

      6 years ago

      A murder in Ireland


      This is a rumer in my family line I have a John Herron b:abt 1822 d:after 1853 the birth of his last son John Adams

      The 1822 John Herron was born in Pa.

      he was in the 1850 Gurensy county Ohio cencus

      by 1860 his wife Mary and 4 boys where alone

    • Onusonus profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from washington

      Well David I almost fell out of my seat when I saw your message. My father David W Herron recently had a Stroke and can not read or write.

      It is tough to make any family connections especially when trying to search in Ireland. Perhaps your family was in Pennsylvania??? Let me know.

    • profile image

      David Herron 

      7 years ago

      Hello, I'm from the Virginia branch and found this very interesting. We seem to share many of the same given names. Surely, we are related at some point. DWH

    • Onusonus profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from washington

      Thanks for stopping by Andrea!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good Job Shawn!


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