header image

Gladneys in America

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | January 14, 2019 | No Comment |

One of the most satisfying aspects of my job come from the people who seek me out as the director of Irish and Irish American Studies–strangers who are, as the proverb says, friends you haven’t met yet.  Last summer, Janice Sakash invited me to speak at the annual Gladney family reunion dinner, held last year at the parish hall of Old St. Andrew’s on Ashley River Road.  I knew nothing about the Gladneys but gladly agreed to talk about the Irish experience in South Carolina.

Though I know a little more than most on that subject, I am (like Socrates) wise about my ignorance.  I came away from the dinner with a stomach full of fried chicken and knowing a whole lot more than I did when I arrived.

Slemish Mountain, not far from Skerry Parish in Antrim

The Gladneys were Presbyterian Scots who settled in  Kinbally, County Antrim, sometime after the Battle of the Boyne.  In the mid-eighteenth century, they migrated to South Carolina.  Scores of people–more than twenty different families–gather each year from all over the country to celebrate their ancestors and to renew their ties.  Every other year, they descend on Winnsboro, where the old family cemetery is located.

Jane (or Jeannette) Gladney is buried there.  She came with her four Irish-born sons, Samuel (1737-1799), Richard (1741-1793), Joseph (1747-1776), and Thomas (1749-1820), whose graves can also be found in the old cemetery, and the story of their lives and their descendants will fascinate scholars some day–if we can preserve their history.

The Gladney family has already done a ton of that historical work.  (Their website is remarkably various, from recipes to an account, with photo, of the family Bible, printed in Scotland in 1775. If you’re trying to organize a big, extended family, you might check out what the Gladneys have done as a model.)  The crown jewel of their historical and genealogical work is an amazing volume called Gladneys in America, representing an unbelievable amount of careful research compiled by Mildred Lee Gladney Arnold.

Janice Sakash signing a deed of gift to the College of Charleston. “Gladneys in America” is in the foreground.

This past Fall, Janice Sakash, representing all four branches of the Gladney clan, donated a copy of this book to the Addlestone Library, to be added to our nascent Irish Heritage Collection.  The College of Charleston’s Irish and Irish American Studies program is proud to be linked now to this old and distinguished Irish American family.

[Joe Kelly speaking at the 2018 Gladney Family Reunion.]

under: Heritage, Uncategorized

Leave a response -

Your response:


Skip to toolbar