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November 15, 2012

Irish presentation to help St. Pats

CORNING — Maggie Delaney will step out of the annals of history Saturday to share her story of indentured servitude with area residents.

Penniless and homeless, Maggie and her husband fled their native country to join the ranks of many Irish, Scottish and English immigrants taking passage to the American colonies hoping for a new life free from starvation.

Those too poor to pay for their passage sold the only thing they had left — their labor — so they could travel to America. But they soon found the life of an indentured servant was worth very little in the eyes of those who bought and sold them.

The one-woman, 30- to 45-minute show, underwritten by First Federal Savings Bank, will begin at 1 p.m. in St. Patrick Catholic Church Chapel, Corning. There will be Irish music beginning at 12:30 p.m., and the rectory will be open for tours. Cost is $20 per individual or $35 per couple, and lunch courtesy of Arby’s is included.

The living history presentation is a fund raiser for the Daviess County Historical Society and the Corning Heritage Center, which is working to preserve the St. Patrick rectory building and the history of the Irish community in Daviess County.

Coincidentally, land in the Corning area is owned by Delaneys, and Vince Sellers, executive director of the historical society, said Wren Lake is named for “Wrenny” Delaney, whose brother, Pat Delaney, worked on Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area near their home place just off CR 600S and suggested the name. However, Carol Jarboe, who plays Maggie Delaney, knew nothing about the Daviess County Delaneys when she created her character, Sellers said.

He explained Jarboe believes the lives of the poor are often overlooked in history books. So she developed the Maggie Delaney character and presentation to bring a fragment of their plight to life.

“I hope that people will enjoy the show and also continue to support our efforts at preservation, not only in Corning, but in other areas were working on,” Sellers said, adding the mission is to preserve buildings and artifacts as well as the written history of the county.

Daniel Gahan, head of the history department at University of Evansville, who wrote a history of the Irish in Daviess County, will be a guest at Saturday’s presentation.

Tickets may be purchased at the Daviess County Historical Museum, 212 E. Main St., or reservations may be made by calling 257-0301 and paying for tickets at the door.

Sellers said a reservation or advance ticket purchase is required to get a head count for lunch.

He recommended driving to St. Patrick Church Chapel from the south to take advantage of blacktopped roads. It can be reached by taking U.S. 50 east to Sportsmans Road, he said, and following that to CR 600S, then taking that to CR 800E and traveling north 1 mile to CR 500S.

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