Sunday, 22 February 2015

The John Wayne Saga

Davy Agnew, true to his word recently went with me on a mission to Andraid and The Caddy in search of more links to John Wayne's kinfolk. The first stop was to the site of the former cottage of Wullie John Morrison: the old stone white-washed, thatched roof dwelling where Davy Agnew had once carried out renovations. This cottage had probably been built in the 1600's and was most likely the homestead of John Wayne's ancestors.

On this excursion through the peaceful rolling hills of Andraid and Caddy, close to the banks of the River Maine, Davy introduced me to several of clan related to the Morrisons.   We met members of the Mann family who are closely related and also James Walker of The Caddy took some time out from herding cattle to talk to us. He was able to produce an old family document that referred to a Marion Mann, born 1883. James felt this was possibly significant as perhaps it suggested that the name Marion was a common old family name { John Wayne was born Marion Morrison].
As well as Manns and Walkers other family names related to John Wayne's Morrisons were Smalls, Raineys and McAuleys .  Davy and I have concluded that although the Morrison  homestead was in the townland of Andraid there is definitely also some legitimacy in the folk of The Caddy and the Randalstown area claiming John Wayne as one of their own as well.  In fact in conversations we had it seems that the broader family connection spread even as far as the Dreen near Cullybackey.
Davy Agnew also asserted that such was the extent of the conviviality and carrying on, in the byres and stables and in behind the haystacks in days gone by that "There's gey few folk in Andraid nor The Caddy that John Wayne wudnae a bin related tae"
In advance of Issue 8 Davy and I plan to search some more the lane ways and homesteads of Andraid; in search of more links to John Wayne. In particular we are led to believe that a photo exists of the old stone and thatched Morrison homestead.
Willie Drennan

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