John and Margaret (Meg) McBride came to America with their four sons; Tom, Sam, Al and John Jr., from Belfast Northern Ireland in hopes to have a better quality of life for their family.

Under the sponsorship of John’s sister and brother-in-law (Lil and Al Bergdall), John came over on the Winchester Castle ship on August 11, 1953 to find a job and a place to bring Meg and the kids home to. John acquired a small apartment on Beaty Avenue in Waynedale, where Meg and the boys came to on April 19, 1954. Another son, Mike, was born while living there. Leaving everything and everyone you had ever known was not an easy thing to do. Good ol’ Waynedale neighbors, like Betty and Gene Royer became lifelong friends and helped with the transition into the U.S.

In the late summer of 1955 they all moved into a house on Sandpoint Road, which they bought and would permanently stay. Two more children Patty and Dave were born. John and Meg had 7 children, 12 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren. John is a member of the Avalon Missionary Church on Lower Huntington Road, and a retired brick mason. Two sons and one grandson also became brick masons. Meg passed away in January 1999 never becoming a U.S. citizen, which she had always hoped to do. Tom and Al received their citizenship on October 9, 1986. John Jr. passed away while in the US Marine Corps in 1969. All but one of John and Megs’ children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren live in the Fort Wayne area. Son, Dave, and his family moved to Florida in 1999.

Sam was 10 when they came to the U.S. He attended Waynedale Elementary and Elmhurst High School. He also played baseball for Elmhurst Little League. Sam became a brick mason after finishing high school, married Sue Boxberger in April 1963 and had three children; Jeff, Kevin, and Christine. Sam and Sue now have 7 grandchildren.

After so many years of being here in America one would think you automatically become a citizen, but that is not so. They had to call immigration for the application forms, mail them and the fees and wait. They were mailed study sheets for the test they would have to pass, and were notified when to go to the immigration office in Indianapolis. On November 14, 2001 John and his son, Sam went to Indy, took their test, and again had to wait for word as to when they would be sworn in as American citizens. Since the September 11th attacks we wondered if that happening would interfere with them becoming citizens. Finally in the last week of February they received notification that they would have to go to Goshen, IN on March 22, 2002 to be sworn in as U.S. citizens.

John and Sam are and have always been grateful and proud to live in the U.S. and to have the opportunity to prosper and the rights, freedom and privileges that living in this great country offers. The entire family is proud of their decision to become official U.S. citizens.

A celebration will be at John’s house on Friday, March 22, 2002. Everyone is welcome.

More Stories You'll Enjoy!