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.
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behaviour or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
Functional Always active
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.