Thursday, 17 May 2018

Ken Whiteley's "That Other Shore" Inspires Pride in Michael Sullivan's Michigan Descendants

Note: Photos of Allison Bosshart and family, Ken Whiteley and Reggie Harris, included with permission.

Introduction

On July 25, 2016, I published a leithpeterson.ca post about Ken Whiteley and my great-great grandfather, Michael Sullivan (1813-1886).  Below is a link to this post.

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2016/07/ken-whiteley-and-leith-petersons-great.html

I explained that Ken is a "multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter [and] record producer" whose "musical journey has taken him from jug band, folk and swing to blues, gospel and children's music."  He has won a Canadian Folk Music Award and a Genie Award for best original song, among many other accolades.

Like me, Ken grew up hearing the story of how Michael Sullivan changed his surname from O'Sullivan to Sullivan, after he got on the wrong side of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.  Michael ended up moving to Cambourne, in the Cornwall area of England.  He courted a widow named Jane Trevillion (1816-1895).  Her husband had been killed in the mines, and she was raising four children on her own.

Jane told Michael that if he wanted to marry her, he would have to become a Methodist, and he complied with her wishes.  Around the 1840 to 1845 period, they wed in Cambourne, and subsequently had two children: Ellen Sullivan (1846-1922) and Thomas Sullivan (1849-1920).  Thomas is Ken Whiteley and my great-grandfather.

Michael was employed in the tin and/or copper mines.  Around the late 1840s, copper was discovered near Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Canada.  The centre of the find turned out to be Bruce Mines.  This led to a call for experienced miners, including those in the Cornwall area of England.  Michael, Jane and their six children crossed the Atlantic, ca. 1851, to seek a better life.

Ken Whitely's "That Other Shore" About Michael Sullivan

In my July 2016 post, I explained that Ken wrote a song, entitled "That Other Shore," about our great-great grandfather, Michael Sullivan.  The song is on his Freedom Blues (2016) CD.  This CD can be purchased from kenwhiteley.com or via borealisrecords.com

On July 16, 2016, I enjoyed hearing Ken sing "That Other Shore" at the Home County Music & Art Festival Main Stage in London, Ontario.  A couple of photos of Ken and my meet-up can be found in my July 25, 2016 post (link below).

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2016/07/ken-whiteley-and-leith-petersons-great.html

Allison Bosshart, the Great-Great-Great Granddaughter of Michael and Jane Sullivan

In July 2017, Allison Bosshart, who is the great-great-great granddaughter of Michael and Jane Sullivan, contacted me via my leithpeterson.ca blog.  Allison is descended from Ellen Sullivan (1846-1922) who was the oldest daughter of Michael and Jane.

Below is a chart that explains the connection between Allison, Ken and me.

Connection Between Allison Bosshart, Ken Whiteley and Leith Peterson



















Ken Whiteley Performs at Michigan Concerts, May 4-5, 2018

I helped Allison connect up with Ken.  She was thrilled when he informed her he was playing twice in Michigan in May 2018.

The first Michigan gig was on May 4, 2018 evening, and was entitled "Reggie Harris and Ken Whiteley - in Celebration of Pete Seeger!"  It was part of the Ten Pound Fiddle Concert (tenpoundfiddle.org) at MSU Community Music School in East Lansing.

(For further information about Reggie Harris, visit www.ReggieHarrisMusic.com)

Below is a photo of Ken and Reggie at this event.

Ken Whitley and Reggie Harris at Ten Pound Fiddle Concert, May 4, 2018


In attendance were:

- Allison Bosshart and her husband
- Allison and her husband's children: Max and Ava (twins), 8, Ella Ruth, 10
- Allison's mother, Carole Bosshart, who is the great-great granddaughter of Michael and Jane
- Allison's cousin, Jan Yeaman, who is the great-great-great granddaughter of Michael and Jane


L-R: Jan Yeaman, Max, Ken, Ava, Allison, Carole, Ella Ruth, May 2018


In a May 8, 2018 email to me, Allison described it as a "magical performance. . .We sang with a whole group of people about my great-great-great grandparents AND my children's great-great-great-great grandparents!!  Wow!!

Then on Saturday, May 5, morning, Ken performed at the "Fiddle Scouts Concert," which was the children's segment of the Ten Pound Fiddle event.

Allison said she was "beside [herself] with joy and fellowship of music" when Ken invited her children up on the stage with him.  She "kept wondering what would Michael and Jane Sullivan think?"

Ken Sings "That Other Shore" at Smales Pace/Change of Pace Reunion, London, Ontario, May 5, 2018

On Saturday, May 5, evening, I was happy to be entertained by the music and camaraderie of Ken, Brent Titcomb, Liam Russel Titcomb, Fraser & Girard, New Cumberland with John P. Allen, and Nora Galloway.  This was at the 8th Annual Smales Pace/Change of Pace Reunion at Aeolian Hall in London, Ontario.  As Ken sang "That Other Shore," and dedicated it to me, I felt gratitude that my July 25, 2016 leithpeterson.ca post had widened the circle of Michael and Jane's living descendants.

Below is a photo of Ken and me after the Smales Pace/Change of Pace Reunion Concert, at the Aeolian Hall.


Ken Whiteley and Leith Peterson, London, Ontario, May 5, 2018


Bibliography

aeolianhall.ca

Belanger, J. (2018, May 2).  "Reunion concert pays tribute to London's legendary folk "'hotbed.'"  London Free Press

Bowman, D. (2013, December 16).  Ken Whiteley.  canadianencyclopedia.ca

kenwhiteley.com

ReggieHarrisMusic.com

tenpoundfiddle.org

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