It took a while, but a tea service is back home in Ireland's County Cork. Three sisters from Erie were pictured in the Southern Star Irish newspaper, presenting a gift of heirloom silver to the citizens of Dunmanway.
Kathleen Whipple, Lucinda Maurer and Susan Morse went to London in April to catch a glimpse of the royal wedding, then they continued on to Ireland for the presentation.
The silver service had been given to Martha and Katherine Cox in 1846 by the Rev. James Doheny on behalf of the tenants of the Cox estate in Dunmanway. The women significantly slashed the rents for their tenants in a bid to alleviate the effects of the famine in 1845.
When the Cox sisters moved to America in 1846, they brought the service with them. They came as single, young women along with their widowed mother, who originally came from York County. The Irish silver was handed down through the generations in America.
"We are very proud of our heritage," Maurer said. From their earliest years, she and her sisters heard Irish stories from their mother and grandmother.
It was Morse, the youngest sister and the family genealogist, who decided to take the silver back to its place of origin. Morse resides in Merritt Island, Fla., near their brother, William Schenley. Eleanor Balinsky, the eldest sister who has made countless trips to England, regretfully, was unable to join them on this pilgrimage.
The silver collection was presented at a ceremony at the Famine Memorial Chapel at St. Anthony's Hospital to the chairman of the Dunmanway Historical Society, Tommy Collins.
The pieces went on display last month at Dunmanway Heritage Centre. The Cox family traces its roots to Mary, Queen of Scots.