Friday, June 21, 2013
On April 30, 1783, when Robert Darrah of East Nottingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, died and left a will, he created an extended family group for us.
Robert identified his cousins Henry and Bartholomew Darrah and their children. He also implied an earlier generation of two brothers, possibly three, the fathers of these three cousins. Either there were three brothers, each with a son, or else the father of Henry and Bartholomew was the same person. Additional research might clarify this point later.
Robert himself evidently had no surviving children, since he left his estate to cousins, friends, and his sister Jane. At this point we have three families: Robert Darrah and his sister Jane; Bartholomew Darrah and his children William and Jane; and, finally, Henry Darrah and his sons John, Henry, Robert, and Joseph. [There is also the Loney family, Richard and Margaret, and Margaret’s sister, Elizabeth Cunningham, whose identity and connection to Robert is unknown.]
A Bartholomew Darrah died in Chester County in August of 1766, according to the Probate records, so he may be the cousin mentioned in Robert’s will, or he may be one of the earlier three brothers, given the 17-year time span involved. A John Darrah died in Chester County in August of 1773. In the 1740’s, 1750’s, and 1760’s, there was also a James Darrah on the Chester County tax rolls, so we may have the three brothers implied in Robert’s 1783 will.
As a point of conjecture, we may speculate that a family containing three sons, Bartholomew, John, and James, landed in Philadelphia from Antrim ca 1740 and proceeded to settle and to propagate. Our Henry Darrah could have been the son of any of these three. Hopefully, future research in Pennsylvania and elsewhere will resolve this speculation.
Friday, June 14, 2013
The name Darrah indicates an allied family of the Scottish Clan Donald. The Darrah name originated from the Gaelic “Dair” meaning Oak, and the earliest members of the family lived on the Scottish islands of Islay and Jura in the southeast county of Argyl.
Being lowlanders many members of the Darrah family undoubtedly migrated to Ulster during the Plantations of the 17th century, locating mainly in Glenarm Parish of County Antrim and becoming part of the immense Presbyterian resettlement of that area.
When the English turned against the Ulster Scots in the 18th century, a number of the Darrahs probably migrated to the American Colonies, concentrating mainly in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Nearly every Darrah immigrant that I have found who arrived in the Colonies prior to or immediately after the Revolution came from County Antrim.
Several great waves of Ulster migrations occurred prior to the American Revolution, and I speculate that our particular Darrah branch landed in Philadelphia in the mid-18th century.