If my adventuresome spirit comes from anywhere, it comes from my great-grandfather, Fred Montrose. What a perfect month to share his “moving” story.
Born in Ireland, Fred Murphy must have kissed the blarney stone. As a young man he moved to England to seek his fortune and adopted the aristocratic name of Montrose to find a job (as the English had no use for the Irish in those days). In England, he used his gift of gab to talk his way onto a sailing ship, assuring the captain of his vast experience on the high seas. He ended up in Ohio, marrying my great-grandmother and my grandmother, Grace Montrose was born.
Not one to stay in one place, he took journalism jobs in Ohio, Boston, Massachusetts and Colorado. When my grandmother’s mother died, this king of blarney took my grandmother to see the Montrose Castle where she could experience her “English” roots. She died, never knowing her maiden name was really Murphy.
In his later years, Montrose sent his uncopyrighted sheet music to Hollywood. He never heard back from the film industry but to his surprise, he would hear his music being played from the silver screen as he sat in a darkened theater. Oh those missed royalty checks!
A widower for many years, he finally moved to California’s Central Valley where he shaved 10 years off of his age and married his second wife. He lived out the rest of his life with his second family in the beautiful orange groves of Porterville, California.
Fred typifies so many immigrants who came to this country. Armed with optimism, he, like many, looked for a better life for their family. They moved with a greater purpose and at great cost, leaving those they loved back in the old country.