BOOK: “Rising from Obscurity” retraces the 19th Century life of Wicklow resident Harriet Susannah Ellis
Second-cousins-twice-removed Kim Burkhardt from Seattle and Brian Ellis from Dun Laoghaire wrote the biography of their great-great grandmother, Harriet Susannah Ellis. although born in Co. Sligo, Harriet spent most of her life in Shillelagh and Carnew from the ages of seven to fifty.
BOOK SYNOPSIS: Rising from Obscurity chronicles a rural Irish woman’s life from 1863 – 1939. Details about Irish life and genealogical research are woven into the narrative. Book website: http://www.HarrietSusannahEllis.wordpress.com
LIFE OVERVIEW: Harriet was born in Co. Sligo the day the U.S. Union Army reorganized during the U.S. Civil War – meaning she was born in Yeats Country two years ahead of William Butler Yeats. Ireland’s emerging railroad system allowed her family to move all over Ireland as her Schoolmaster father moved from job to job. She married in Dublin the year James Joyce was born in that city. Her father and her husband’s father had served together as vestryman at their church in Shillelagh when Harriet and her future spouse were yet children. Harriet spent the longest period of her life in Co. Wicklow, principally living in Shillelagh and Carnew from the ages of seven to fifty. She spent forty years raising her ten surviving children (of thirteen born) with her blind spouse (the first child, born just eleven months after her marriage, died two hours after an unattended birth). Stories survive of her reading turn-of-the-century news about the Boer War to an illiterate neighbour in Carnew, Co. Wicklow. She emigrated the year after the Titanic sank (three years before the 1916 uprising). She died the day the Soviets invaded Poland. Two grandsons participated in D-Day, while another participated in the invasion of Japan.