Still, when it came to the original of the species, sure, he’d appeared on screen wearing the green, when he played Irish boxer Willy Grogan in the 1962 film Kid Galahad, but trying to lay claim to the Presley seed was always going to be a tough one for little ol’ Ireland.
And Elvis knows we try and pull anyone and everyone who’s famous onto our dirty big family tree.
So, there was much whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ when, way back in 2013, Carlow historian Michael Purcell claimed Presley’s forefathers fled from Hacketstown after a local row over land, arriving in America more than 200 years ago. And now, documents from 1775 have emerged – and they’ve unearthed a twist to Purcell’s claim.
The 1775 Presley document
The Presleys were from our neck of the woods. Which means that Elvis’ ancestors, when it came to the final curtain, did it The Wicklow Way.
To be auctioned in a Dublin saleroom on May 14th, the newly-discovered document concerns legal proceedings brought by William Presley, the King’s great-great-great-great-grandfather.
From the townland of Stranakelly, near Shillelgagh in County Wicklow, William Presley, a farmer, had been ‘violently insulted, assaulted, beat and abused’ by a group of Wicklow men whilst he was in the neighbouring Hacketstown. In Carlow Court of Assizes on August 25th, 1775, it was recorded that this gang used their ‘whips and fists, dragged him down by the legs’ and, when down, had given him ‘several kicks in his body and face’, all ‘without any provocation’.
Presley told the court that the men were ‘swearing they would take his life’, and he was consequently in ‘great dread and fear of his life’. Those responsible for the beating were listed as ‘Andrew Morris of Mullannashea; Francis Morris of Whiterock; Samuel Morris of Cross; Thomas Morris, William Wilson, Thomas Matthers and Several Other Persons whose names Deponent knoweth not’. The magistrate agreed to list the case for a further hearing.
There is no current record of that next hearing, but William Presley left for America later that year, with his son, Andrew, settling first in New Orleans before moving to Tennessee, where he died in 1802.
According to auctioneer Ian Whyte – whose Whyte’s Auctioneers Eclectic Collection sale onMay 14thhas an estimate on the document of €500-€700 – William Presley’s great-granddaughter, Rosella [daughter of Dunnan Presley Jr], ‘never married but had several children, and one of these was a son called Jesse Presley. In 1913, Jesse married Minnie Mae, and they gave birth to one Vernon Elvis Presley on April 10th, 1916. Vernon married Gladys Love Smith in 1933, and their son, Elvis, was born on January 8th, 1935.
And the rest, as they say, is rock’n’roll hysteria.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.