North Street, Newry, County Down

North Street, Newry, County Down
North Street, Newry, County Down

Monday, 6 July 2015

Catherine Lucas [Abt. 1798-1834]

Catherine Lucas was born, probably in 1798, at Woodlodge, County Cavan. She was the daughter of Edward Lucas, also known as Edward Clements, a descendant of the Lucas family of Castle Shane, County Monaghan, and his wife Elizabeth Clements, and was named after her maternal grandmother, Catherine Cope.
In 1833 she married Nicholas Biddulph of Congor, Co. Tipperary and of Fortal, King's County, now County Offaly.
Catherine died on the 6th of June 1834.  An incomplete and unidentified newspaper cutting describes the melancholy event:

Deaths. On Thursday last, in Portarlington, after giving birth to a son and heir on the preceding Sunday, Catherine, wife of Nicholas Biddulph, Esq., the melancholy and premature death of this lady is sincerely regretted by a large and respectable circle of acquaintances...

Four days earlier, on 2nd June 1834, she had given birth to her first and only son, Francis Edward Biddulph.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

John Bray [c. 1755-1826], Galbertstown, Thurles, County Tipperary

John Bray was the son of Luke Bray of Galbertstown, Holy Cross, County Tipperary and his wife Mary Phillips. He was the eldest of seven children. His father, Luke, died before John reached his twenty-first birthday,

Luke Bray, bequeathed his interest in Galbertstown Co Tipperary to his Executrix his wife Mary  Phillips in trust for his son John Bray - and to herself £40 p. a. - until her son (John) is 21 yrs of age - and thence to Samuel Edmond Luke and Robert., to each of whom he leaves £200. [Will of Luke Bray].

Whereas testator’s niece Mary Bray otherwise Phillips, and wife of Luke Bray, gent, hath a provision made for her life from the death of said Luke Bray, if she survive him to issue out of the lands of Galbertstown, which the said Luke Bray holds for the term of his own life and the life of the said James Max. £20 per annum to Mary Bray out of the lands of Doggstown and Farrenlyny if she remains a widow after the death of Luke Bray and James Max.
[Will of John Max. gentleman, of Killough, Co.Tipperary Date: probably 1769]

John Bray and his wife Mary Fogarty are both buried at Holy Cross Abbey, Thurles , County Tipperary.
The gravestone reads:
Erected by John Bray, Esq. of Thurles, for his wife, Mary Bray nee:Fogarty, died July 12, 1799, aged 43 years

John Bray died in  1826 aged 72.
After John’s death who inherited Galbertstown?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Luke Bray [1780-1837] Ballycarrane, Thurles, County Tipperary

Luke Bray was born in 1780, the son of John Bray and Mary Fogarty of Thurles, County Tipperary.  He married Ellen Ronayne, the daughter of William Ronayne, in Ballindad, County Waterford, on the 23rd May 1810.

26. Ennis Chronicle Wed. 30 May 1810, Married on Wednesday at Ballindad Co. Waterford Luke Bray Esq. of Thurles to Ellen, daughter of Wm. Ronayne.

They had eight children.

1821 Census. Ballycunane.
Mr. Luke Bray, 39, farmer.
Mrs Ellen Bray, wife, 31.
May, dau, 9
Fanny, dau, 7
Catherine, dau, 6
Ellen, dau, 4
Johanna, dau, 2
John, son, 2
54 acres held by Luke Bray in this townland.

Anna Bray is not listed in 1821 census in Thurles because she was staying with her grandmother Ann (Anstace) Ronayne (nee Power) in Waterford at the time. She is listed there. She was the eldest child and would have been about ten years old.

Luke died in Thurles in 1837 aged 57. Ellen survived her husband by 27 years.

Mrs Ellen Bray : North Riding : Thurles : Ballycarrane . (Commons/Glengariff/Thurles Town Parks Main Street.) (Griffith Valuation 1855).
Townland : Ballycarrane, 238 acres, North Riding, Tipperary. Barony : Eliogarty. Civil parish : Thurles.PLU : Thurles,  Munster.

She died in 1864.

October 22, at Thurles, Ellen, relict of Luke Bray, Esq.-May she rest in peace. Cork Examiner 4 October 1864

Luke and Ellen are buried at Holy Cross Abbey, with four of their daughters.

   Luke d. 1837 aged 57.
   Luke's widow Ellen Ronayne 1864 aged 76
   and their daughters Anna Bray d.1866, Mary Ann d. 1876, Ellen Mary Clare d. 1900 aged 84, Catherine    1902  aged 87

Frances Agnes Bray married Francis O’Brien of Thurles. She died on 12th January 1874.  Francis died Ist November 1870 aged 64. Both are buried in St. Mary's Graveyard, Thurles along with other members of the Bray O'Brien family.
Johanna Maria Bray married Daniel Corley Jennings of Newry.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Johanna Maria Bray [1818-1908], Ballycarrane, Thurles, County Tipperary

Born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Johanna Maria Bray was a twin sister of John Bray.

Lately, the lady of Luke Bray Esq., of Ballycarrane, county of Tipperary, of twins - a son and a daughter. It is remarkable that about a year back this lady had the same good fortune. [Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 4, 1819. P. 509]

She was one of eight children of Luke Bray of Ballycarrane, Thurles, County Tipperary, and Ellen Ronayne, of Tramore, County Waterford. Both of her parents are buried at Holy Cross Abbey, Thurles, County Tipperary.
She married Daniel Corley Jennings of Newry, County Down c. 1847, and they had nine children. Daniel Jennings was a County Inspector in the R.I.C. For some time they lived at 6 Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin, where two of their children died, Ellen Sophie Mary Jennings in 1878, aged 26, and John Bray Jennings in 1881, also aged 26.

Death Certificate states that John Bray Jennings, Bachelor, aged 26 years, Physician and Surgeon, died of phthisis (6 months certified), D.C. Jennings present at death, 6 Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin, registered May 25th 1881. (GRO 1881 no. 155)

They later moved to 18 Morehampton Rd., Dublin where Daniel died on the 15th of November, 1896.
After Daniel’s death 1896 Johanna lived at 23 Waterloo Place, Dublin with her unmarried daughters Mary and Kate Jennings until her death in 1908. She is buried with Daniel and other members of the Jennings family in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Andrew Allen Kennedy [1788-1821]

Andrew Allen Kennedy was born in Ballyrainey House, Newtownards, in 1788, the son of Hugh Kennedy of Ballyrainey and Susannah Kennedy of Ballymaglaff, Comber. He married Annabella Campbell on the 15th September 1808 in Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland. The witness was Robert Kennedy Esq., of Comber, County Down. Annabella lived at 40 Dame Street, Dublin where her father, John Campbell was a stock broker

Andrew Allen Kennedy, of the British and Irish Fire and Westminster Life Offices, Having been duly appointed a Stock Broker, respectfully requests from the Friends of his late Father-in-law, Mr. John Campbell, a continuance of their favours. 40 Dame-street, 2d August, 1820. [Freeman's Journal, Aug 02, 1820 and Aug 09, 1820]

They had five children, two of whom, Hugh and Martha, died in infancy. They are buried in St. Werburgh’s, in Dublin. His daughters, Catherine and Susan, both married. His son, John Campbell Kennedy, became a solicitor.
Andrew Allen Kennedy, of Mount Pleasant, died young in 1821, aged only 29. He is also buried in St. Werburgh’s.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Lusitania Postcards


What follows is a fictional account of the sinking of the Lusitania on the 7th of May 1915. It is based on the written account of Amy Biddulph who helped to nurse some of the survivors. Her name has been changed to Vicky. Her mother, Annabella Biddulph and Violet Biddulph, her sister-in-law, also assisted. The watch was given to Violet Biddulph.

“You’ve been very ill, young woman. This flu is not to be treated lightly.” The doctor’s face was grave as he looked at Vicky. “You are debilitated and this terrible war does nothing to help your spirits. You need a change and a rest. Is there somewhere you could go for a holiday?”
Vicky looked her mother.
Rose thought for a moment. “Yes,” she said. “I know the perfect place. There’s a hotel near the sea in Queenstown. I’ve been there before with Arthur. It should be very comfortable.”
 Rose and Vicky travelled down together to Queenstown on the train and by the last week of April were safely ensconced in the white fronted Queen’s Hotel. The proprietor of the hotel was a man called Humbert, a naturalised German. Blossoms hung on the cherry trees and the sunlight sparkled on the sea.  Postcards were sent home to James, Arthur and Ellen, with a cross marking the window in the front of the Hotel which was their room.  After two weeks of good food and rest Vicky was almost returned to her old self.
The 7th of May dawned a glorious day. Vicky felt so well she persuaded Rose to accompany her down to the harbour to see the ‘Wayfarer’, a very large transport ship that had been torpedoed a few weeks before. It had only got in with great difficulty, and the loss of seven men, though half the side of the ship was torn away.
“Look, it’s half full of water.”  Vicky pointed the damage out to Rose.
“The iron deck looks like a switchback railway.” Rose was horrified at what she saw. Part of the iron plating from the bottom of the ship was torn off and lay in the upper deck where it had been blown by the force of the explosion. “Did you know all the horses on board were landed safely?”
“Let’s go. We’ve seen enough.” Vicky was uneasy now that she could see the reality of war at first hand.
“God help the seven who died. We must remember them.”
They began the walk back to the Hotel. But Vicky couldn’t stop thinking about recent events.
“What do you think about the rumours? Do you think they could be true?”
For several days leading up there had been rumours of a submarine just outside the harbour. Rose was inclined to brush them aside.
“Some people think it is waiting for the Lusitania.” Vicky was not so easily calmed.
“Some of the Naval Officers are saying that the Lusitania will not come near Queenstown. I’m sure they know what they are talking about. I don’t think you need to worry.” Vicky shivered. She had heard them. Their comments had done nothing to calm her fears.
Rose was more sanguine. “She’s a passenger liner. Why would they harm her? Even if she were torpedoed she would not sink. And even if she did it would be so slowly everyone would be saved.”
At the front door of the Hotel they were greeted by the dreadful news. About ten miles from Queenstown the Lusitania had indeed been torpedoed.
Everyone had a different story.
Some said, “I’ve heard she’s coming in under her own steam and all are safe”. Others said “No, it’s not so, she’s gone to the bottom”.
But no one knew for sure.
At dinner that night they were a sad party. The good food did little to lift their spirits, and there was hardly any conversation.  The meal had only just been served and they had scarcely begun eating when Adjt General Colonel Du Croix, sitting at their table, received an urgent message. Turning to his table companions he told them they might expect 50 of the survivors into the hotel.
“I can help,” offered Vicky at once, surprised at the unexpected news and glad that there were survivors. “I’m a nurse.”
Du Croix looked at her. He had not expected this. To him she seemed small and frail and he knew she had been ill.  “We’ll need you. You’ll be busy. But are you sure you are strong enough?” he warned.
“Yes, indeed. I’m well now. Just tell me what you want me to do.” She was glad to be active and involved. It was easier to be doing something than to be idle.
Rose, though not strong, was not to be outdone, and also offered to help to get things ready for the survivors. They found blue aprons for themselves in the kitchens and tied them on, marked out now as part of the official team of helpers.
Du Croix took charge of every one and they set to work. They got ready 50 beds. Shook out sheets and blankets, made up the beds with mitred corners, plumped pillows. The staff of the hotel opened linen cupboards and storerooms, and ran up and down the stairs with armfuls of bedding. Chambermaids unlocked empty rooms and aired them, letting in the evening sun.
Hardly had they finished but Du Croix returned and ordered them to prepare for 100 more. Though all the other ladies in the hotel joined them and helped them they still hadn’t finished when the survivors began to arrive.
A scene of chaos unfolded in the lobby of the hotel as they came in, dripping, pale, and exhausted. Their clothes were wet, encrusted with salt, stained with blood. Some were unconscious. Others were on stretchers injured in every possible way. Rose and Vicky, along with all the other helpers, watched in horror. There were children crying for their mothers. There were husbands looking with anxious eyes for their wives and families, and wives looking for their husbands who they were never to see again.
As she watched Vicky realised that almost every nationality was represented there, Greeks, Americans, Belgians, French and Cuban. All came under Vicky’s notice and many others. As quickly as she could get their names registered in the Hotel, this formality insisted upon by Du Croix, she hurried them up to their rooms. Once there their dripping clothes were torn or cut off them. Most of them had been in the water for four hours or more so were in a deplorable condition. They were rolled in blankets and put them in bed with hot water jars. As many as five shared a room and some even shared a bed. Du Croix called in the local doctors to assist, and army doctors from Spike Island. With them came the local nurses, the Protestant clergyman and the Catholic priests. And the undertaker, for there were many bodies and many deaths.
Rose took it upon herself to run around with a bottle of brandy. She gave everyone she came across a drop. Medicinal comfort, she called it, as she handed round the glasses. In all cases it was received with gratitude. Vicky later believed that this was the means of saving a good many lives.
It was only now that the kitchen staff were free to return to their kitchens. They made gallons of hot soup and tea. Waiters rushed hither and thither with trays. Vicky spooned hot soup into the mouths of the weak, held cups for small children, comforted the dying, supported those who had lost loved ones, spoke gently to the shocked and distraught. Never once did she stop for a rest, never once did she spare herself.
The hotel was a hive of activity until long into the night. Nurses and doctors walked the long corridors endlessly tending to the wounded, the delirious and the dying. Rose sat with a child who could not grasp that her parents were lost.
“They’re coming on the next boat,” she said, and Rose could not persuade her otherwise. Vicky cleaned wounds and applied bandages until her back ached from leaning over and her head was dizzy. But still she worked. There was to be no respite.

The following morning was fraught, but somehow Vicky managed to find a space and a lull in which to walk down to the sea wall and gaze out at the calm and sunlit sea. Below her five white lifeboats rocked at their moorings. Each bore the name Lusitania in black lettering. They were filled with life preservers, many of them bloodstained, bearing witness to the fact that this had been no ordinary shipwreck. As she watched trawlers came into the shore, bearing the bodies of the dead. Ahead of each one came a crowd of screaming gulls. The crews of the trawlers described how the wreckage of the ship spread across the sea for miles, boxes, basketwork, deckchairs and floating amongst them the bodies.
Vicky felt the shadow of war reach out and encompass her, here in the sunshine, so far away from the battlefields of Europe. The Cork Examiner carried the story on pages 7 and 8. Rose and Vicky had barely time to glance at it before they returned to their posts. But Vicky folded it up and kept it in her suitcase.

On a warm summers day six weeks later a package arrived at Marie Lodge. Hearing the dogs barking, Vicky came in from the garden where she had been deadheading the roses and took it from the postman at the front door herself. She could see Du Croix had sent it. The sinking of the Lusitania seemed already far in the past, a nightmare best forgotten. She brought it into Rose in the kitchen turning it over and over in her hands.
“Open it?” suggested Rose, drying her hands on a tea towel.
Vicky tugged at the wrappings, tore open the paper, opened the carton inside and lifted out a small velvet covered jewel box. Opening that she saw a gold watch, feminine, dainty. A green ribbon. She turned it over in the palm of her hand. There was an inscription on the back.
Ellen took it from her and strapped it to her wrist. She waltzed around the room holding out her arm and admiring it. “I wish Daddy could see it,” she said. But James was in Dublin, having at last been granted a Commission in the Territorials in May. Vicky had been forced to accept his absence.
Arthur had come into the room behind them, curious to see what had caused the sudden uproar. He took the watch from his granddaughter and examined it in the light from the kitchen window.
“For great kindness” he read,” from a survivor of the Lusitania.”
“But who?” she asked. “There’s no note. Only a card from Du Croix.”
“Who knows," he said handing it back to her. “ Someone who appreciated your care. Keep it safe. Keep it for your daughter.”
[Extract from an unpublished novel Who is Vicky Hamilton?]

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Henrietta Elizabeth Blake [c.1858-1940]

Henrietta Blake was one of six children, five of whom survived to adulthood, the second daughter of James S. Blake and Cornelia Ronayne of Ballinamona, Thomastown, County Kilkenny.
On April 22nd, 1884, at the Roman Catholic Church in Thomastown, she married Ignatius Ronayne Bray Jennings, DIRIC, son of the late Daniel Corley Jennings, CIRIC, of Newry, County Down, and Johanna Bray of Thurles, County Tipperary. They had ten children.
They lived variously at 1 Catherine Place, Limerick.;  Howarden, Mullingar; The Mall, Armagh;  Elysium, Waterford c. 1898.; and 38 Lady Lane, Waterford from 1903.; subsequently moving  to 70 Eccles Street, Dublin. Ignatius Jennings was by the time of his retirement County Inspector, Royal Irish Constabulary.
Henrietta Jennings founded the Penny Dinners in Waterford in 1904. She received a testimonial and clock for her work on the Penny Dinners in 1911.
After the death of her husband Ignatius, she moved from Eccles Street to Maplebury, Seafield Ave., Monkstown, Co. Dublin in 1931.
She died on the 28th of January 1940, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Blakes of Waterford and the West Indies

The leap across the ocean to the romantic Caribbean began as long ago as 1655 with the destruction of the city and merchants of Galway by Cromwell and Charles Cootes. When John Blake was dispossessed of his lands and wealth he looked to his four sons for the restoration of his fortunes. Thomas, the eldest son, remained in Galway.  Henry, the second son, left his wife and children behind, and set out for Montserrat, the Irish island, that tiny volcanic island in the Antilles. Here he made his fortune with a sugar plantation, returning subsequently to buy estates in Lehinch, Co. Mayo and Renvyle in Co. Galway. John, the third, and apparently not quite so reliable, son, followed him to the Caribbean but chose Barbados instead of Montserrat. There were letters home from Henry to his brother Thomas in Galway complaining about John’s behaviour, how he had brought both his wife and his mistress to the Caribbean with him thus incurring Henry’s deep disapproval. These were quickly followed by letters from John attempting to justify himself.
John did not do well in Barbados.  After the great hurricane of 1675 wrecked most of the plantations on the leeward coast, he complained that “provisions were very scarce and deare” and went on the following year to take over Henry’s sugar plantation in Montserrat. Here he was successful in making his fortune. He never came back to Ireland.
 Nicholas’ movements are harder to trace because he was a mariner. He also went to Barbados, known then as Tobacco Island, soon to be called the Sugar Island, whose symbol is the twisting dolphin and where the Carib Indians once held sway. Nicholas may have owned the ketch the NICHOLAS AND REBECCA which is recorded as departing Barbados for New York with Nicholas as commander in 1679. Barbados had become a hub, from where so many Irish dispossessed and enslaved by Cromwell made their way to the Carolinas, never to return to Ireland. The story of the Irish in the West Indies is unlike that of the English, as most of them were not merchant adventurers in the truest sense but were forced onto the seas by fate, Cromwell being the catalyst that dispossessed them. They came from all walks of life, landowner, labourer and servant alike, uprooted, disenfranchised and dispersed.
 Nicholas’ descendant James, almost one hundred years later, appears to have come back to Ireland, to the port of Waterford and settled there. Following in what seems to have been the family tradition his son, also called James, became a mariner and master of the sloop the MARY AND JOHN of Waterford, owned by Thomas Power, another mariner. He married Thomas’ beloved granddaughter Mary Walsh in 1769.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

James Blake of Waterford [b.abt 1744-1826]

James Blake [b. abt 1744-1826] married Mary Walsh in St. Patrick and St. Olave’s, Waterford, on the 3rd of April 1769. Mary Walsh was the granddaughter of Thomas Power of Waterford, Mariner. James Blake was master of the sloop MARY AND JOHN of Waterford which was partly owned by Thomas Power. The relationship between the three is confirmed in the Will of Thomas Power, Waterford, Mariner, made on the  20th of May 1771.
 To be buried in the Church of Faithlegg. To sister Ellen, Ann, wife Mary Galgey, daur Elizabeth Walsh, orwise Power, son Edmond Power ...until he return home.
Hold half interest in the good sloop or vessell called the MARY AND JOHN of Waterford, 70 tunns burthen, of which James Blake, mariner is now master. Bequeath one-fourth of said sloop to my daur Elizabeth Walsh and other fourth to my beloved gd daur Mary Blake orwise Walsh for her own sole and seperate use. Son - safe arrival - last quarter in said sloop to my said son.
The inscription on Thomas Power’s gravestone in Faithlegg cemetery, County Waterford reads as follows: 
Here lieth the body of Mr Thomas Power of Waterford who departed this life June 4th 1771 aged 65 years. Also the body of his wife Mary Power alias Gallegy who departed this life (blank) aged (blank) years. Also six of their children.
Tho blusterous winds of Neptune's waves / Have tost me to & fro / In spite of both by God's Decree / I harbour here below. / Requiescant in pace Amen.

The sloop  MARY AND JOHN is recorded as sailing the Irish Sea.
Deal, June 22, Wind S.W., Arrived... the MARY AND JOHN, Blake, for Waterford. (General Evening Post, June 22, 1773. Issue 6193).
Portsmouth, 2 June 1774 arrived, MARY AND JOHN, from Waterford. [Hampshire Chronicle, 6 June 1774].
Cowes 3 Sept 1774 arriv'd the MARY AND JOHN,  Blake. Sailed MARY AND JOHN, Blake, for Waterford. [Hampshire Chronicle, 12 Sept 1774].
On the 19th of this inst., the MARY AND JOHN, Blake, for Waterford, was well at Deal. [Hibernian Journal, 27 September 1775]. 

James Blake, is listed as a shipowner in the Freeman List for Waterford City. 1 November 1796. [Waterford City Archives, Freeman List 1700-2012].
In 1804 he purchased the lands of Kilmaquage from the banker William Newport Esq, Waterford, the brother of Sir John Newport, Bt., Newpark, County Kilkenny. He is described as a merchant. In 1807 he is again described as a merchant when he voted for Sir John Newport, Bt. [How they voted in 1807 - Waterford Mirror].
By 1821, in the Census extracts, we find him living in no. 29, King St, Waterford where he  describes himself as James Blake, 70, gentleman, with a servant, Mary Farrell, aged 27.
The Blakes  had a business on the Waterford Quays and in Blake’s Lane they had a Rope Walk:
James Blake & Son. Rope and Sail Maker. Quay. (Pigot & Co., City of Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory 1824 p. 322).).

In his will, proved at London 25th of October 1826, James Blake called himself James Blake of the city of Waterford, Rope Maker.  He owned the freehold estate of Kilmaquage in the Barony of Gaultier, [the land which he had bought from William Newport],  Hennessy’s Road and the Rope Walk with all the houses and buildings, a house in King Street, houses in Clinker Street, interest in the large new house built by his son Andrew, other houses and buildings in the City of Waterford or its Liberties. His sons Thomas and Andrew are named in his will, along with his granddaughters Mary and Olivia Hurley. He left the rents and profits of Kilmaquage to his grandson James son of his youngest son Andrew, ’for his maintenance, cloathing and education and in forwarding him in life or binding him to some genteel trade of business’,  James, when he reached the the age of twenty one , was ‘to take and receive to his own use all the rents, issues and profits thereof for and during his life.’

But who was James Blake and where had he come from? The names of his parents are uncertain but they may have been James Blake, and Brigid Haugherin. Had he returned to Ireland from Barbados in the West Indies? Was he, as has been suggested elsewhere, the descendant of Nicholas Blake of Galway and Barbados?

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Thomas Charles Higginson [1821-1898]

Thomas Charles Higginson, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Royal Artillery was married to Frances Daniell in Dublin in 1870. His father was William Higginson.
In 1859 he was a witness at the marriage of Charlotte Wilhelmina Kennedy to William Walker in St. Peter's Church, Dublin. William Walker was a Captain in the Queen's Body Guard. Charlotte Kennedy was the daughter of John Campbell Kennedy and Margaret Higginson. How was Thomas related to Margaret Higginson? Were they siblings, or cousins?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Saturday, 3 January 2015

John Campbell Kennedy marriage

John Campbell Kennedy [abt 1810-1846] married Margaret Higginson in Dundonald, County Down on the 5th of November 1828. They lived in Upper Buckingham Street, Dublin and had four children, Susan, Frances, Annabella and Andrew. Who was Margaret Higginson and who were her parents? Was she from Dundonald? Where and when did she die? And where is she buried?