Nineteenth Century

The Children’s Christmas in Midleton Workhouse

Through the second half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century Christmas brought with it an expectation of charitable aid to the poor around the town, manifested through initiatives like the Christmas Coal Fund, which aimed to help those less fortunate in meeting the added burden of heating their homes during Winter. The unfortunate inmates of Midleton Workhouse (now Midleton Hospital) were another group who benefited from Yuletide initiatives, offering an all too brief respite from the desperate conditions in which they found themselves. During the late 19th century, one of the biggest Christmas events in the town was the annual event held for the Workhouse children, when presents and entertainments (such as music, magic lantern shows and even hypnotists) were laid on by the town’s more fortunate inhabitants.

Midleton Workhouse, now Midleton Hospital (workhouses.org)

Midleton Workhouse, now Midleton Hospital (workhouses.org)

One of the earliest references to Christmas in Midleton Workhouse appears in the Leinster Express of 25th December 1852. At the conclusion of the Famine, the paper noted that the poor in Waterford Workhouse were being given 1lb of beef each for dinner on Christmas Day, while at Midleton “the paupers have been treated to reduced rations.” Later Christmases did bring some respite, as noted by the Cork Examiner on 20th December 1875. By that date the tradition of giving gifts to the Workhouse children each year had been established. On 23rd December 1875 some of the most notable people of the locality– including Mrs. T.S. Coppinger, Mrs. Ashlin, Mrs. S. Coppinger, Miss. Fitzgerald, Miss Power, Rev. D. Lynch and the Rev. PJ Horgan– arrived to distirbute the gifts. They were handed out in the girls’ school room, which was decorated for the occasion with laurels and “appropriate mottoes” including a “Caed-mille-failthe” display made from ivy leaves intertwined with shamrocks. One of the boys in the Workhouse read out an address, which thanked Mrs. Coppinger and the Board of Guardians for their interest in the children’s welfare. Father Lynch responded to express his:

“satisfaction…at the good order and regularity which they saw exhibited by the children; exhorted them to be always kind and forebearing to each other; obedient and respectful to their superiors, and by doing so, to merit a renewal of the favours shown to them by Mrs. Coppinger and the other kind ladies who had come forward so generously to contribute to their happiness at this holy season.”

children_at_crumpsall_workhouse_circa_1895

Children at Crumpsall Workhouse in England, c. 1895. The Midleton children likely presented a similar appearance (Manchester Archives)

In line with Victorian concepts of the deserving poor, Father Lynch also exhorted the children to:

“pay the greatest attention to their school studies and the other duties appertaining to their station in life, reminding them that they were in possession of advantages denied to a great many poor children in the world. By doing so they would make themselves respectable and useful members of society…”.

Following the speeches Mrs. Coppinger distributed the gifts, which included sweetmeats and toys, while the children also sang a number of songs. The newspaper noted that:

“The joy shown on the faces of the little ones as each new and wonderful toy was presented, created the greatest amusement to the visitors, who, when departing, declared themselves highly gratified with the day’s proceedings, which wound up with a three times three for the ladies.”

Victorian Christmas Tree

A Victorian-era Christmas Tree. The gifts for the Midleton Workhouse children were placed on the tree and a draw was held to see who received what. There were usually different gifts for girls and boys, and in addition sweets and exotic fruits were often also to be found on the tree (Harper’s Bazaar)

Christmas entertainments for the poor children remained a common theme at the Workhouse, and Mrs. T.S. Coppinger maintained a long association with it. More than a decade later, the 24th December 1887 edition of the Cork Examiner recorded that she had brought the children tea, sweets, sweetcakes, toys and books, and noted that she:

“has never forgotten to visit the Midleton Workhouse at this festive season of Christmas, and her efforts to afford the juvenile inmates of the Midleton Workhouse a happy Christmas will bring to herself many happy returns of the coming New Year.”

The tradition of giving to the children was still alive in the 1890s. On 11th January 1896 the Cork Examiner reported that the poor children of the Workhouse had been given their Christmas treat “through the generosity of the kind-hearted people of the town,” and a Christmas tree laden with “dainties and nick-nacks” was also provided for them. The children were allocated their gift from the tree via a draw (among the exotics that adorned it were fruits, such as oranges).

Christmas also saw the annual erection of a crib in the Workhouse Chapel. There was often additional charity for the older inmates of the Workhouse as well. In 1897 all the Workhouse residents were able to enjoy an evening of vocal and musical entertainment, together with a magic lantern show of continental scenes put on by P. Hallinan of Avoncore. The room in the Workhouse where the show was held was festively decorated, and during intervals songs and piano forte solos were given by local amateur musicians. A similar gift-giving exercise for the children in 1897 also included the distribution of tobacco and snuff to the aged and infirm inmates, though bad weather that year meant that the “kind ladies and gentlemen of the town, who annually patronise the workhouse entertainments were precluded from attending on this occasion” (Cork Examiner 9th January 1897, 11th January 1898).

lanternslideshow1897b

In 1897 P. Hallinan of Avoncore put on a magic lantern show at the Workhouse. This was an extremely popular form of entertainment in the late 19th century. This image shows a magic lantern show in the United States in 1897, where an image of St. Peter’s Basilica is being shown to the audience (T.H. McAllister Company)

The Christmas Fete at Midleton Workhouse continued into the 20th century. One wonders what became of many of these children who, at least for one day, found themselves a focus of attention. To give readers a flavour of how the event was reported, below is a full transcript of the article on the proceedings from the Cork Examiner of 9th January 1901:

FETE AT MIDLETON WORKHOUSE

The annual fete and entertainment for the enjoyment of the children at the Midleton Workhouse came off in the schoolroom of that institution on Sunday last, in the presence of a large number of the townspeople. The general attendance also included- the Very Rev Canon Hutch, PP, DD, VF, Midleton; Rev CS O’Connor, CC, do, and the Nuns of the Workhouse. The room was tastefully decorated with evergreens and suitable mottoes, and in the centre was a large Christmas Tree heavily laden with a fine selection of toys and other gifts for the children, kindly provided through the generosity of the townspeople. When the proceedings began at two o’clock the whole surroundings presented a very pleasing aspect, and one could not fail being struck by the bright and happy faces of the little ones as they filed into their allotted seats under the care of their teachers, Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan, their school-teachers. A beautiful supply of cake, tea, and fruit was distributed amongst them by the good nuns, and whilst engaged in the agreeable occupation of doing justice for the good things provided, the entertainment of vocal and instrumental music was proceeded with. The first item was a song with chorus, “The Holy City,” by Mr W Ronayne, who was heard with much pleasure, and being loudly encored he sang with much feeling and expressions, “The Tempest of the Heart.” Mr D O’Sullivan, a Cork baritone of great promise, sang tastefully, “Savourneen Deelish,” his rich deep voice and fine intonation being highly appreciated. Mr John Bastible acquitted himself well in the rendering of “Queen of the Earth,” and was followed, by Mr William Cashman, whose fine tenor voice was heard in the singing of “When other Lips,” for which he was deservedly encored. The selections from “Les Cloches de Cornville” played on the violin by Miss Fitzgerald, with piano accompaniment by Mr C Byrne, was admirably performed, the uniqueness of touch and execution displayed by this youthful performer being much appreciated. The principal feature of the entertainment was the hypnotic exhibition given by Mr P C Leahy, Midleton, which was simply marvellous, the audience being amazed at the many strange feats in the hypnotic trance. This concluded the entertainment, after which the different prizes on the Christmas Tree were drawn for and distributed by the nuns. The Rev Canon Hutch then addressed a few felicitous remarks to the children, congratulating them on the success of the entertainment, and on their behalf he thanked the Nuns, the Master (Mr Daly) Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan, and also the various gentlemen who contributed to the entertainment. Three hearty cheers were then given by the youthful audiences for all the visitors who had so kindly attended, and did so much brighten and relieve the monotony of their Workhouse lives, and lusty cheers were also given for the esteemed Pastor, the Nuns, and the Master, Mr Daly, to whom much credit is due.

Hypnotism Show

Hypnotism Shows were popular forms of entertainment at the turn of the 20th century. PC Leahy of Midleton put on such a show at Midleton Workhouse in 1901 (Extravagance of Hypnotism).

Further Reading

Workhouses.org: Midleton Workhouse

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Midleton and Cloyne Tramway, 1884

Lartigue Rail, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry (National Library of Ireland)

Lartigue Rail, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry (Ref: LROY 4275, National Library of Ireland)

In the mid-1880s proposals were being put forward for the construction of a tramway between Midleton and Cloyne under the Tramways Act. While many local business people seem to have been in favour of the scheme, there was also considerable opposition to it, as it would have led to an increase in rates. The latter would appear to have won out. There were a number of newspaper articles about these proposals in 1884. One in particular provides some detailed information on both population and trade in Midleton, Ballinacurra, Cloyne and Ballycotton, and is worthy of reproduction in full here. It recounts evidence that was provided in support of and in opposition to the scheme, and gives a fascinating insight into certain aspects of life in the area; how important Ballinacurra was as a port, the size of the fishing population in Ballycotton, and the population difference in the 1880s between Cloyne and Midleton.

THE MIDLETON AND CLOYNE TRAMWAY

Mr. Atkinson, QC (for the promoters), stated that this was an application for the construction of a tramway between Midleton and Cloyne, to run about seven miles. The project was promoted by a number of local gentlemen, including Mr. Penrose Fitzgerald, Dr. Reardon, & c., and it was stated that £16,000 of the capital had been placed locally in case of the line not paying. Only a sum of some 7d or 8d in the £1 would fall on the barony which would be taxed. As an instance of the popularity of the line he might mention that every elected Poor-aw guardian was in favour of it. The Government had made a proposal to grant a sum of £16,000 for the construction of a new pier at Ballycotton, on condition of a sum of £4,000 being subscribed locally. this £4,000 was forthcoming, and with the construction of the pier the fishing there would be greatly developed, and a large traffic would result from it.

Mr. Savage French deposed that he was a promoter of the line in question. The population of Midleton last census was 308, and there were a large number of good business houses there. It was proposed to have sidings connecting the premises of the Cork Distillery Company, several business stores and mills, and the gas company, with the main line. At Ballinacurra the line would run down to the pier. He estimated the imports at 21,400 tons to Ballinacurra, which estimate did not include the private lighter trade. The seaboard traffic–inward and outward–was represented at something over 40,000 tons. This traffic principally went to Midleton. The population of Cloyne was 11,026. Cloyne was six miles from Ahadagh, and five from Midleton Railway Station. Between Ballinacurra and Cloyne the traffic would likely be 14,000 tons, which would be in addition to the other traffic referred to. At Ballycotton there were 147 men and some forty boys engaged in fishing and their fish traffic would be very large. The new pier would greatly develop the fish traffic. Witness had made an estimate as regards the passenger traffic, and he had put down the number as 3,000 passengers a year. Calculating this at 6d a head it would come to about £2 per day. The line would enable the buyers to come to the farmers for their corn. A sum of £1,500 had been already taken up locally. He confessed there was a good deal of opposition.

Cross-examined by Mr. Roche–He had himself entered five hundred of the fifteen hundred pounds he spoke of. He was aware of the fact that the grand jury of county Cork had held two meetings in regard to the question of this guarantee. At the first meeting a resolution was passed to the effect that the line was approved, subject to the promoters giving a ten years’ guarantee. At the second meeting, held some days subsequently, this requirement was passed over, and the line approved of.

The Lord Chancellor remarked that there was nothing extraordinary in this. The grand jurors had thought at first that they could better secure matters by requiring such a guarantee, but, finding that they could not legally exact this, they had given up the idea.

Mr. Connolly, Harbour Master, Ballinacurra, gave evidence regarding the imports and exports at his harbour.

Mr. James Penrose Fitzgerald, agent to Lord Midleton and to his brother, Mr. R U Penrose Fitzgerald, a director of the company, gave evidence in support of the proposal.

Mr. Murphy and Mr. Daniel Cronan, residing in the district, also gave evidence.

Mr. Custian, publican, explained that the estimate of trade traffic was framed on statistics supplied at a meeting of the traders of Cloyne specifically assembled for the purpose.

Mr. Stevenson, CE, who had drawn up the plans and laid out the line, gave evidence regarding the route and particulars as to estimate. This close[d] the case for the promoters.

Mr. Roche, QC, for the opposing ratepayers, contended that the proceedings before the grand jury showed that a great uncertainty prevailed regarding the desirability of this scheme. Twenty-three grand jurors had at one meeting refused to pass the scheme unless a ten years’ guarantee was given, and at a subsequent and a smaller meeting this resolution had been set aside.

The Lord Chancellor said they had nothing whatever to do with that circumstance now. It was sufficient for the committee that the grand jury had passed the scheme, and their business now was simply and solely to inquire into the merits and see if they could recommend it to the Lord Lieutenant for approval.

Mr. Roche, QC, continuing, stated that the figures given regarding the traffic were not strictly correct, but were based on wrong assumptions.

Mr. Smith, JP, was called in support of the appeal, and stated that he had land in the district the valuation of which was £459. He had a memorial against the scheme signed largely by farmers representing land to the amount of £15,817 valuation. Speaking as a farmer, he did not believe the line would pay. The Midleton board of guardians on two occasions dissented to the proposition as well as the Town Commissioners.

Cross-examined by Mr. Atkinson–He was not in a position to contradict the statement that with but the exception of three guardians–one of whom was himself–all the guardians representing the taxed area had assented. The memorial was signed after a statement by witness that the county cess would be increased if the line was constructed. The statement was not a conditional one.

Mr. Dennis McCarthy, shopkeeper, Midleton, presented a memorial signed by appellants representing £2,647 valuation in Midleton.

The committee adjourned at this state till half past eleven o’clock to-morrow morning. (1)

The Morning News, Belfast, 7th August 1884

The division that existed in the area surrounding the tramway was typified by the note in the Cork Examiner of 28th June 1884, which notified that readers that “in consequence of a meeting having been called in Cloyne for Tuesday, July 1st, on the above tramway, the meeting of cesspayers in opposition to same, will be held in the Courthouse, Midleton, on Thursday, July 3rd, at 12 o’Clock, which all cesspayers from the proposed area of taxation would find it to their interest to attend.” (2)

Though the tramway was never constructed, plans do appear to have been drawn up, which would be fascinating to see. We hope to do more research into this– if any readers have any more detail on the proposed scheme we would love to hear from you.

(1) The Morning News, (Belfast) 7th August 1884; (2) The Cork Examiner, 28th June 1884;

Image Credit: National Library of Ireland Flickr Page

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The “47th Sheep Stealers” of Thomas Street, Midleton

During the era of the Famine detachments of British units were to be found throughout the country providing aid to the civil power. In 1847, a Company of the 47th (The Lancashire) Regiment were quartered at Thomas Street, the first reference we have come across to troops being stationed on the street at this time. Apparently the sight of a prize ram in a nearby field was too much for some of the soldier’s to resist– but their deeds were exposed thanks to the testimony of one of the town butchers. The irony that the troops were based in Midleton in order to protect property was not lost on the local correspondent who related the story:

MILITARY SHEEP STEALERS

In the course of the last week a gentleman residing in the vicinity of Midleton, near Killea, (Mr. Welland) engaged a prize ram for breeding purposes for £20 which, with two sheep, was left our at night to pasture in a field about a mile distant from Middleton. On missing them one morning, information was conveyed to the police, who made every effort to discover their whereabouts, but with no success. The secret, however, soon transpired. A knife, lost by the depredators, was found, and on its being shown by the police to a butcher resident in Middleton he instantly identified it as his property which on the previous evening he lent to a few of the soldiers of the 47th Regt., a company of which is at present stationed in Middleton, with a view to the protection of property, as well as the preservation of the peace of the country. The constabulary instantly proceeded to Thomas Street, Middleton, where the military are quartered, and on examination discovered portions of the carcasses of the slaughtered animals safely deposited in a coal hole. Suspicion strongly attaching to three of the gallant corps, they were arrested and taken before the sitting magistrates, who decided on receiving informations against them; and they now await their trial at the ensuing sessions in durance.

It is to be regretted that the conduct of a few scoundrels should have the effect of bringing into disrepute a gallant body of men, such as unquestionably is the 47th Regt., who, since the unhappy occurrence, are denominated by the people here– “the 47th sheep stealers.”– Middleton Correspondent. (1)

A Prize Ram (The Mark Lane Express, Wikimedia)

A Prize Ram (The Mark Lane Express, Wikimedia)

A postscript to the incident was reported in the Cork Examiner of 8th January:

THE MILITARY SHEEP-STEALERS

It is said that Capt. Armstrong, lately commanding the party of soldiers stationed at Midleton, has left the regiment in consequence of the disgrace incurred by the recent conviction of three privates of the party at the Fermoy Sessions. At the same time, the gallant detachment have got the route, “for the protection of life and property.” (2)

It would be interested to discover what became of both the soldiers and Captain Armstrong, and also to discover if the coal-hole used to conceal their misdeeds on Thomas Street still exists.

(1) Cork Examiner 1st January 1847; (2) Cork Examiner 8th January 1847;

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chasing the Oval: Historic Reports of Rugby in Midleton, 1889-1967

For those interested in international rugby, exciting times are back as the 6 Nations Championship is once again in full swing. Midleton is a town that is now steeped in the rugby tradition, with strong links to the game through the town’s AIL club Midleton RFC, and also with Schools Rugby, notably Midleton College. We decided to take a look back through the pages of the Irish Examiner and gain a historic perspective on the game in the town, which stretches back into the 19th century.

Dave O'Callaghan (Munster Rugby) and Clive Ross (Ulster Rugby), both products of Midleton College, where rugby has been played since the 19th century

Dave O’Callaghan (Munster Rugby) and Clive Ross (Ulster Rugby), both products of Midleton College, where rugby has been played since the 19th century

More than 120 years before producing the likes of Dave O’ Callaghan and Clive Ross, Midleton College was fielding rugby teams. The Cork Examiner of 9th April 1889 brought news of an “interesting football match, under the Rugby rules” which took place between the College and the second fifteen of Cork Queen’s College. Unfortunately for the Midleton boys, the Cork students “displayed their superiority” from the moment of “the leather being put in motion” and emerged victorious by 1 goal and 2 points to no score.

9 April 1889 (Irish Examiner)

The report of the match between Midleton College and the Cork Queen’s College second fifteen, 9 April 1889 (Cork Examiner)

Midleton College faired much better in a game against Cork Grammar School in 1892. The Midleton ream “rushed to the front” and showed some nice “give and take play” to score a try, which was soon followed by another. However, despite some “well-concentrated rushes” in the second half they failed to add to their tally, but luckily held on for the win, by 1 goal and 2 tries to 2 tries.

19 October 1892 (Irish Examiner)

The report of the match between Midleton College and Cork Grammar School, 19 October 1892 (Cork Examiner)

Midleton College’s Gloster, who had been a standout in the 1892 game, was still going strong in 1895, when Midleton took on Tipperary College. The strength of the Tipp team left Midleton dependent “almost entirely on the swiftness of their forwards,” but apparently they were ” not able to show on the soft ground.” Whenever “the oval” came into a Midleton forward’s hands, the “would not have gone twenty yards when he made the acquaintance of mother earth.” When the final whistle sounded, Midleton had been defeated by four tries to nil.

29 November 1895 (Irish Examiner)

The match report of Tipperary College and Midleton School, 29 November 1895 (Cork Examiner)

Outside of Midleton College, the town’s first Rugby Football Club was founded in the 1927/28 season (for a summary of the history of clubs in the town, see the Midleton RFC site here). It only survived for a few years, but despite that made an impression on the community. The Cork Examiner brought an advertisement on 29th September 1928 for the First Annual Dance to support the club, which was due to take place on Tuesday 2nd October in Midleton Town Hall. Perhaps in an effort to attract the ladies, women enjoyed a reduced entrance fee, while a discount was available for couples. A running buffet was planned, with dancing scheduled from 9 pm on; musical accompaniment was to brought by Brierley’s Dance Band.

29 September 1928 (Irish Examiner)

Advertisement for the First Annual Dance of Midleton RFC, 29 September 1928 (Cork Examiner)

We are fortunate that some images of this iteration of Midleton RFC are left to us. The Cork Examiner of 27th March 1929 ran a photograph of the team that had put Dungarvan to the sword by 16 points to 3.

27 March 1929 (Cork Examiner)

The Midleton RFC team who defeated Dungarvan 16-3, 27th March 1929 (Cork Examiner)

Despite the demise of the first Midleton RFC, the town was not left without a team, as there was separate entity called the Midletonettes taking the field. As explained by the present-day Midleton RFC website, it was this team that is regarded as the direct antecedent of the current club.

8 February 1932 (Cork Examiner)

Rugby results, included the score of the Conettes and the Midletonettes, reported on 8 February 1932 (Cork Examiner)

 

29 November 1932 (Cork Examiner)

The Mideltonettes defeat the Covettes, reported on 29 November 1932 (Cork Examiner)

The modern Midleton RFC played their first game against Bandon in 1967, the beginning of a long and proud tradition. The “oval ball” still gets a consistent outing in the town, drawing crowds today much as it did more than 125 years ago. The story of the game, and indeed of the town’s history in other sporting codes, is something we hope to return to in future posts.

Categories: 20th Century, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Portraits of Midleton People in New York Poorhouses, 1875-1915

The topic of Midleton people who emigrated away from the town and parish is one we have returned to a number of times. Many of those who left succeeded in improving their lot in life, uncovering opportunities that were unavailable to them at home. However, such was not the case for everyone. Many Midleton people faced times of struggle at some point after their departure. For some it would prove only a temporary setback, but for others it represented a permanent reduction in fortunes. In order to capture vignettes of some of these people’s lives, we have been looking at the records of residents in New York Poor Houses and Alms Houses, the State that likely took more 19th century Midleton emigrants than any other location on the planet. Below you will find details on almost 50 Midleton natives for whom hardship lay in store after their departure from Ireland. 

Underground lodgings for the poor of New York around 1869. Many people who ultimately ended up in Poor Houses would have been familiar with such scenes (Library of Congress)

Underground lodgings for the poor of New York around 1869. Many Midleton people who ultimately ended up in Poor Houses would have been familiar with such scenes (Library of Congress)

The topic of Irish dependents in New York Poor Houses has previously been examined on another site (see here). From 1875, these institutions were required to record details about those in their care, filling out forms that provide information on things such as age, marital status, emigration date, literacy, employment and cause of dependency. They also offered an opinion on whether or not individuals might escape dependency in the future. These records have been used to compile the brief biographical portraits you see below.

What is immediately apparent when reviewing the records is how easy it was to become dependent in 19th century New York. An inability to be able to earn a living was highly likely to leave individuals reliant on charity. Many of those below– such as men like Michael Humphrey– had suffered injuries which prevented them from working. Others, like Margaret Barry, were suffering from degenerative conditions such as the onset of blindness, which was a common physical reason for admission to Poor Houses.

The records not only tell us of hardship but also allow us to look at the trades of those admitted, and in many cases those of their fathers in Midleton. Many are typical of the working classes– laborers like John Colbert and John Hyde, or domestics like Mary Buckley and Mary Murphy. Some were tradesmen, like carpenter Patrick Brown, or worked as seamstresses, like Eliza Mead[e]. But there are also those who you might think less likely to find themselves in such straightened circumstances, such as John D. O’Brien, an engineer. Aside from trades, we can also gain an insight into differing literacy levels, which ranged from those who were able to read and write, like Michael Pomfrey, to people who could only read, like Hannah Mahony, or were completely illiterate, like Mary Collins.

As noted above, the onset of old age was a major factor leading to the dependence of many working-class people. Even where elderly individuals had adult children, those children often had families of their own or were too poor to be able to help with their parent’s support, resulting in their reliance on institutions. The reality for some– like William Ronan– was that they simply did not know where their children were. We often associate emigration with youth, but that was not always the case in the 19th century. Necessity often forced older people to uproot themselves from the place they had lived all their lives to cross the Atlantic. Thus we meet people like Ann Corcoran, who emigrated aged 50; Eliza Maher who left Midleton at 53; and Mary Welsh who left Cork forever at 60. Mary Keefe, who was 65-years-old, had only been in New York for a year and three months when she found herself in the Poor House.

The institutions were careful to note whether those in their care were of intemperate character, and went so far as to explore if that had been the case with their parents. In most instances where intemperance was recorded, it refers to alcohol abuse. The morality of the time also played a role on admittance. A number of young Midleton women were forced to seek aid in the Poor Houses for having children out of wedlock. It is in this context that we encounter the sad stories of 24-year-old Mary Ahearn, 23-year-old Mary Buckley and 26-year-old Mary Hayes. In their cases they had their children with them in the Poor Houses, and they were far from alone. It was not uncommon to have entire families admitted; for example all of Hannah Daley’s three children were in the Alms House with her.

It is important to recognise that going to the Poor House did not mean the end of the road for everyone. Some, like William Anderson, were there because of sickness or short-term/seasonal employment difficulties, and were expected to leave soon. But prospects of escape reduced for the elderly, the permanently disabled or the gravely ill. The record of Daniel Keller stated bluntly that the 30 year-old “will die here.” Each of these portraits has its own story to tell, and it is often a sad one. They serve to remind us that many thousands of Midleton people through history lived out their lives not in East Cork, but formed part of Irish emigrant communities around the globe, just as they continue to do today. You can explore each of the individuals researched in more detail below, where they arranged in alphabetical order by surname.

The New York Alms House Buildings on Blackwell’s Island (New York Public Library Record ID 706081)

The New York Alms House Buildings on Blackwell’s Island, where a number of the Midleton emigrants discussed below found themselves (New York Public Library Record ID 706081)

Mary Ahearn, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester County Poor House on 3rd March 1892. 

Mary was a 24-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York from Ireland four years previously. Both her parents were from Midleton, where her father had been a laborer. Mary was a domestic, and could read and write. The cause of her dependence was that she was pregnant. It was felt that she may recover from her dependency.

William Anderson, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 13th December 1880.

William was a 37-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland ten years previously and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, and William, like his father, was a laborer. He was able to read and write. William was admitted due to chills and a fever, but was able to carry out light work. He was expected to leave the institution soon.

James Barry, Midleton. Admitted to Seneca County Poor House on 8th January 1891.

James was a 51-year-old single man on his admission. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 24 years previously, and was now naturalized. He worked as a laborer, as had his father- both his parents were also Midleton natives. He had a common school education. The cause of his dependence was “intemperance.” He was deemed capable of light work, but not to a great extent, and it was noted that he “should take care of himself and probably will soon.”

Margaret Barry, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 25th August 1875.

Margaret was a 30-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York 22 years previously from Ireland. Both her parents had also been born in Midleton; her father had worked as a tailor. Margaret herself worked as a domestic, and was unable to read or write. The cause of her dependence was near blindness. Unable to perform work of any kind, it was determined that she would remain permanently dependent.

Patrick Barry, Midleton. Admitted to Wayne County Poor House on 11th December 1884.

Patrick was a 50-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived into Canada from Ireland 37 years before, and had been in New York for 20 years. He was a naturalized citizen and worked as a laborer; his father had been a carpenter. He had four children still living. The reason for his dependence was that he had injured one of his eyes, but he was able to carry out light work. It was expected that he would recover.

Patrick Barry, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 14th January 1887.

Patrick was a 71-year-old married man when he was admitted. He was a naturalized citizen of the United States, having emigrated 44 years previously, landing in New York. Both his parents were also from Midleton; his father had been a tailor. Patrick himself worked as a stevedore. He had one brother and one sister, both of whom still lived in Ireland. Patrick also had a son of his own in New York. The cause of his dependence was given as homelessness and destitution. He was deemed able to carry out light labor, but it was deemed doubtful that he would ever recover from his dependency.

Michael Barry, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 7th January 1889.

Michael was a 43-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 20 years previously and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, where his father had been a laborer. Michael himself was a shoemaker; he was able to read and could “write a little.” Of his siblings, one brother was dead and one was still in Ireland, while he had four sisters in Ireland and one in New York. Michael also had three sons of his own. He had spent time in an institution before, in Mount Loretto on Staten Island. The reason for his dependency was given as paralysis, homelessness and destitution. He was deemed incapable of pursuing any labor, and it was thought doubtful he would ever recover from his dependency.

Patrick Brown, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 1st April 1886.

Patrick was a 70-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 30 years previously, and was now naturalized. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where Patrick’s father had been a laborer. Patrick was himself a carpenter, and was able to read and write. He had three children still living. The reason for Patrick’s dependence was old age and infirmity. Two year prior to his admission he had spent time with the Little Sisters of the Poor, but was discharged from there because of his “disobedience of orders.” It was thought probable that he would remain dependent.

Mary Buckley, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 16th November 1885.

Mary was a 23-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had landed in New York three years before. Both her parents were also from Midleton, where her father had been a father. Mary worked as a domestic. She had one child, who was with her in the Alms House; the child was the reason for her admission, which was given as “bastardy.” She was able to carry out chamber work while in the Alms House. She had previously spent time in Kings County Hospital, and it was noted that “this young woman has stated particulars of her case to the Commissioners.” It was felt that she may recover from her dependence.

Margaret Carroll, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 10th April 1882.

Margaret was a 50-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Ireland some 33 years before. Her parents, who were both described as having been “intemperate”, had been from Carrigtohill. Her father had worked as a laborer- Margaret was a peddler. The cause of her dependence was given as an old fracture of the left arm, being nearly blind in the left eye, and “disorderly conduct.” Her habits were also described as intemperate. She had previously relied on charity twice and been admitted to Bellevue Hospital once. Her future was deemed “doubtful.”

Charles M. Carter, Midleton. Admitted to St. Lawrence County Poor House on 10th January 1878.

Charles was a 65-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had landed in Boston 31 years before, and was now naturalized. His father had been a farmer in Ireland. Charles was able to read, but apparently not to write. No further information was provided.

John Coleburt (Colbert), Midleton. Admitted to Chemung County Poor House on 5th November 1879.

John was a 63-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 20 years before, and was naturalized. He was a laborer like his father before him, and like his father was also described as intemperate. The cause of his dependence was having no work. He had received three weeks of Out-Door Relief. It was felt he had a good chance of recovery- as he was a state charge he was going to be sent to the state Alms House.

Mary Collins, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 24th September 1895.

Mary was a 60-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had landed in New York 43 years previously. Her father had been a laborer in Ireland, Mary worked as domestic in New York. Mary had no education, and had two children still living. No reason was given for her dependence; her daughter’s address was given as 128 Cherry St.

John Connell, Midleton. Admitted to Orange County Poor House on 2nd December 1886.

John was a 47-year-old married man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 25 years before from Ireland, and was a naturalized citizen. John worked as a laborer, as his father had before him. The reason for his dependence was given as destitution; he had been in the Poor House the previous winter for the same reason. He was deemed to be unable to undertake any labour, but it was though probable that he would be able to leave again once the spring had arrived.

John Conners, Midleton. Admitted to Orange County Poor House on 7th October 1879.

John was a 41-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 26 years before and was now naturalized. He had a common school education, and like his father worked as a laborer. The cause of his dependence was his inability to get work. It was determined that he would recover.

Ann Corcoran, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 24th July 1883.

Ann was 70-years-old on her admission. She was married, and had arrived in New York 20 years before from Ireland. Both Ann’s parents had been born in Midleton, where her father had been a farmer. Ann was able to read but not to write. She had no children but did have a brother in Boston. The cause of her dependence was homelessness, destitution, and bruising to her face caused by a fall. She had already been in an institution three times previously, and she was deemed as having little prospect of recovering from her dependence.

Hannah Daley, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 29th December 1885.

Hannah was a 37-year-old married woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York 7 1/2 years previously. Her parents had both been from Midleton, where her father was a farmer. Hannah could read and write, and was a housewife. She had three children, all of whom were with her in the Alms House. The cause of her dependence was destitution due to her husband being out of work. It was thought that she may recover.

Jeremiah Daly, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 15th December 1880.

Jeremiah was a 32-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York 11 years previously. Both his parents were from Midleton; like his father, Jeremiah was a laborer. He was able to read and write. The cause of his dependency was rheumatism, and he was able to undertake light work. It was expected that he would soon be able to leave.

Cath Donnovan, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 25th September 1877.

Cath was 26-years-old when she was admitted. She was married, and had arrived in New York 13 years previously from Ireland. Her father had been a laborer, Cath herself was a servant. She could read, but not write. Cath had two children, one of whom was in the hospital and the other who was with her in the Alms House. She was dependent because her husband had deserted the family. She had previously spent four weeks in hospital in 1877. Cath was able to contribute towards her own support in the Alms House through nursing, and it was deemed probable that she would recover from her dependency.

John Donovan, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 22nd September 1884.

John was a 64-year-old widower when admitted. He had been in the United States for 30 years. Both his parents had been from Midleton, and John, like his father, was a laborer. He could read and write and had two living children. The reason for his dependency was old age and infirmity- he had spent time in Kings County Hospital four years previously. His prospects for leaving were classed as “doubtful.”

Michael Fitzgerald, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester County Poor House on 17th November 1896.

Michael was a 43-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 17 years before and was naturalized. He was able to read, and worked as a Rock Man. His father had been a laborer. His mother was still alive, and he had three brothers. The cause of his dependence was sickness, and at the time he was not able to work. It was thought that he may recover from his dependence.

William Foley, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 26th December 1883.

William was 60-years-old when he was admitted. He was a widower, who had arrived in New York 16 years previously and was now naturalized. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, where his father had worked as a laborer. WIlliam was a shoemaker, and was able to read and write. He had sisters who lived in New York, and one son, William, who was 24-years-old and was then at sea. The cause of his dependence was homelessness, destitution and having no work. He was able to pursue shoemaking while in the Almshouse, and it was thought likely that he would recover from his dependence.

Mary Hayes, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 20th April 1877.

Mary was a 26-year-old single woman when she was admitted. She had arrived in New York from Ireland 12 years previously. Bother her parents were from Midleton, and her father had worked as a blacksmith. Mary was a servant who was able to read and write. She had one child living, who was with her in the Alms House. The cause of her dependence was given as “bastardy”, and during her time there she was able to work at nursing. She had previously spent three months in hospital in 1877, and it was felt that she would recover from her dependency.

James Herin, Midleton. Admitted to Putnam County Poor House on 5th February 1885.

James was a 70-year-old married man when admitted. He had landed in New York 50 years previously, and was a naturalized citizen. His father had also been from Midleton, and like James had been a laborer. He had no education, and also like his father, James was described as intemperate. He had seven children still living. The cause of his dependency was old age and lack of employment, and he was unable to do much work. It was felt he would probably not recover, and the following was added: “This man was brought here from Phillips town is quite feeble has worked in the west point foundry for nearly fifty years the probability is that he will remain a county charge as long as he lives.”

Michael Humphrey, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 11th December 1877.

Michael was a 38-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 25 years previously, and was now naturalized. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, and his father had worked as a blacksmith. Michael was also a blacksmith, and was able to read and write. The cause of his dependence was a sore leg, and at the time he was unable to work. It was felt that he would likely recover.

John Hyde, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 2nd January 1885.

John was a 56-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 35 years before, and was a naturalized citizen. His parents were both from Midleton, where his father had been a farmer. John was a laborer, and was described as intemperate. He had no education and had three living children. The reason for his dependence was given as intemperance. He was able to work, and it was felt that he may be able to recover.

Mary C Keefe, Midleton. Admitted to Saratoga County Poor House on 26th November 1889.

Mary was a 65-year-old widow when admitted. She had only been in the United States for a year and three months. Although she was born in Midleton, her parents were from Co. Waterford (her mother from Newtown). Her father had been a steward. Mary had no education, and was engaged in housework. She had two children living. The reason for her dependence was destitution. She was unable to do any work, and had previously received a few days of relief. No opinion was offered on her prospects for recovery.

Daniel Keller, Midleton. Admitted to Greene County Poor House on 10th August 1915.

Daniel was a 30-year-old single man when admitted. He had been born on Christmas Day 1884. Daniel had arrived in New York 8 years before, but was not naturalized. Both his parents were from Midleton, and he had a common school education. He worked as a laborer. The cause of his dependence was sickness. He had previously been to hospital and was a county charge. With respect to his probable destiny, it was noted that he “will die here.”

Ellen Kelley, Midleton. Admitted to Saratoga County Poor House on 25th January 1887.

Ellen was a 70-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had arrived in Quebec from Ireland 55 years before, and had made her way straight to New York. Her parents were both from Cork, and her father was from Midleton. He had worked as a shoemaker. Ellen had carried out housework, and she had no education. The reasons given for her dependence was destitution. It was thought probable that she would remain dependent.

Daniel Leahey, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 18th January 1883.

Daniel was a 50-year-old married man on his admission. He emigrated to New York 30 years previously. Both his parents and been from Midleton, where his father was a peddler. Daniel was a tanner, and was able to read and write. He had two sons still living. The reason for Daniel’s dependency was destitution, and a fracture of the hip which left him lame. He was able to carry out light labour. Daniel had previously spent time in Bellevue Hospital- it was felt that he would likely recover from his dependence.

Michael Leahy, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester County Poor House on 11th September 1894.

Michael was a 53-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had emigrated to New York 27 years before, and was now naturalized. He was a laborer like his father before him, and was able to read and write. The cause of his dependency was sickness, and at that time he was unable to work. He had spent some time in an institution before, and it was felt that he “may recover.”

George Lee, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 2nd December 1880.

George was a 38-year-old single man when admitted. He had emigrated to New York 6 years before, and was naturalized. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a boot and shoe maker. George was a laborer, and was able to read and write. The cause of his dependence was “fever and ague” and George was able to undertake light work. He had previously spent 10 days in hospital. It was expected that he would recover from his dependency and be able to leave the Alms House soon.

James Lenden, Midleton. Admitted to Yates County Poor House on 2nd November 1885.

James was a 45-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had been in the United States for 20 years, and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents were from Midleton, where James had received a common school education. His father had been a laborer, as was James. He had two brothers. The cause of James’s dependence was intemperance. He was able to work, but his outlook was bleak, as it was anticipated that he would remain dependent.

Eliza Maher, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 16th July 1883.

Eliza was a 70-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had emigrated to New York 17 years before. Both her parents had been born in Midleton, where her father had been a steward. Eliza had no occupation and no education and did not have any living children. The cause of her dependence was destitution, and four years prior to her 1883 admission she had relied on the charity of the Little Sisters of the Poor. She was given no chance of recovering her independence, with it deemed probable she would remain dependent.

Hannah Mahony, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 28th June 1876.

Hannah was a 60-year-old widow on admission. She had emigrated to New York from Ireland 43 years previously. Both her parents were from Midleton, where her father had been a Master Hostler. Hannah was a servant, and was able to read but could not write. The cause of her dependence was old age and rheumatism. Hannah was able to carry out needle work. She had been in and out of the Alms House for 8 years, and in and out of hospital over the same period. It was anticipated that she would remain dependent.

Charles McCarthy, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 18th August 1894.

Charles was 51-years-old when he was admitted. He was married, and had emigrated to New York 47 years before. Now a naturalized citizen, both his parents had also been born in Midleton. His father had been a farmer, Charles himself worked as a peddler. He had at least one child, but was now dependent as a result of blindness. He had previously received $37 from the City, and had spent time in Bellevue and Presbyterian Hospitals. The probability of him ever escaping from dependency was described as “hopeless.”

Michael McCarthy, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 6th January 1899.

Michael was a 59-year-old widower on admission. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 33 years previously, and was now a naturalized citizen. Michael followed his father’s profession of tailoring, and he was able to read and write. He had two brothers living in the United States and one sister in Ireland. He also had two sons still living, both of whom worked as laborers and lived at 371 Broome St; James, who was single, and Charles, who was married. The cause of his dependence was destitution. He was able to carry out ordinary work, and had spent time in hospital the previous November. It was thought that he would probably recover.

Eliza Mead, Midleton. Admitted to Kingston City Alms House on 22nd November 1886.

Eliza was a single woman of about 46 when she was admitted. She had been in the United States some 28 years. Her parents had both been from Midleton, where her father was a farmer. Eliza was a seamstress who could read but not write. The reason for her dependence was that she had no home. She was able to carry out sewing work, but despite that it was deemed likely that she would probably remain dependent.

Mary Murphy, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 3rd November 1887.

Mary was a 60-year-old widow on her admission. She had landed in New York from Ireland 35 years previously. Both her parents were from Midleton, where her father had been a farmer. Mary had no education and worked as a domestic. Her brothers (who lived in the U.S.) and sisters (who lived in Ireland) were all dead. The cause of her dependence was debility, homelessness and destitution. She was unable to work, and had spent time in Bellevue Hospital. It was deemed likely she would remain permanently dependent.

John Murray, Midleton. Admitted to Westchester Alms House on 8th November 1890.

John was a 60-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in the United States 30 years before. His parents were also from Midleton; John, like his father before him was a laborer. The cause of his dependence was that he had been a vagrant for the previous 6 months. He was capable of light work, but it was thought he would likely not recover from his dependency.

Richard Nugent, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 31st October 1878.

Richard was a 69-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had come to New York 50 years before, and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been born in Midleton, where his father had been a laborer. Richard had no education, and worked as a carman. The reason for his admission was given as heart disease and destitution. unable to work, his potential for escaping dependency in the future was described as “doubtful.”

John D. O’Brien, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 4th December 1894.

John was a 42-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had emigrated to New York 25 years previously, and was now a naturalized citizen. His parents had been from Cork, where his father had been a laborer. John had a school education and had risen to become an engineer. He had three brothers and three sisters. The cause of his dependence was paralysis and destitution. He had previously spent time in Randall’s Island Hospital and it was thought that he may recover.

Michael Pomfrey, Midleton. Admitted to Kings County Alms House on 28th January 1881.

Michael was a 42-year-old single man when he was admitted. He had landed in New York 20 years before and was now a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a horse shoer, the same trade that Michael followed. Michael was able to read and write. The cause of his dependence was a sore leg, as a result of which he was unable to work. He had previously spent three weeks in hospital, and he expected to leave the Alms House as soon as his leg was well.

William Ronan, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 13th December 1881.

William was a 59-year-old married man when he was admitted. He had emigrated from Ireland 16 years previously. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a fisherman. William, who could read and write, worked as a laborer. His brothers and sisters were still in Ireland. He had four living children but did not know where they were. The reasons for his dependence were paralysis of the right side and destitution. He was unable to work, and had spent time more than four months and 9 days in various homes and in Bellevue Hospital. His future was deemed doubtful.

John Shanahan, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 19th April 1895.

John was a 65-year-old widower when he was admitted. He had arrived in New York from Ireland 45 years before, and was now a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, where his father had been a shoemaker. John, who could read and write, followed in the same trade as his father. He had one daughter living, who was in the Home of the Good Shepherd. Te reason for John’s dependence was destitution. He was able for only light work, but his future prospects were deemed favourable.

Thomas Sullivan, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 14th November 1887.

Thomas was a 43-year-old married man on admission. He arrived in New York 20 years previously and was a naturalized citizen. Both his parents had been from Midleton, and Thomas, like his father before him, was a laborer. He had two sons a daughter, who were apparently living in Pennsylvania. The reason for his admission was homelessness, destitution and partial blindness. He was unable to work, and had previously spent time in Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. It was thought that he would recover from his dependence.

Mary Welsh, Midleton. Admitted to New York City Alms House on 1st May 1888.

Mary was a 90-year-old widow when she was admitted. She had emigrated from Ireland 30 years before. Her parents had both been from Midleton, where her father had been a farmer. Mary had no education, and worked as a housekeeper. The cause of her dependence was debility, homelessness and destitution. She could do no work, and had previously been in a Charity Hospital, from where she had been taken to the Alms House. It was considered likely she would remain permanently dependent.

These are far from the only people with Midleton connections who ended up in these institutions; indeed it is likely only a small sample. Others who are known but for whom records were not accessible include Daniel Cunningham, who was around 49 years-old when he was admitted in 1897, and Maggie Ford, who was 38 when she was admitted in 1897. Many more people with a parent from Midleton ultimately found themselves reliant on charity.

Inmates of the Poor House on Randall’s Island, East River, New York, forming in line for dinner, 1875 (New York Public Library Record ID 692408)

Inmates of the Poor House on Randall’s Island, East River, New York, forming in line for dinner, 1875 (New York Public Library Record ID 692408)

References

New York. State Bord of Charities. Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1835-1921. series A1978. Microfilm 225 rolls. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Accessed via ancestry.com

NYPL Digital Gallery Record ID 692408

NYPL Digital Gallery Record ID 706081

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Searching for Midleton’s Missing 19th Century Emigrants

In a previous post on the site (see here) we looked at advertisements placed in the New York Irish American Weekly newspaper seeking information about East Cork immigrants. In an era where many people were illiterate, and communication often difficult, it was easy for families and friends to lose touch with one another. One way Irish emigrants tried to find loved ones was through placing ‘Information Wanted’ advertisements in Irish immigrant newspapers in the hope that the person they sought might hear of it. In this post, we have compiled the significant number of Information Wanted ads from the Boston Pilot, looking specifically at people from Midleton.

The Midleton advertisements range in date from 1841 to 1911, and are organised chronologically. Many are extremely poignant, as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers sought to find each other, often after many decades apart. Here we discover Midleton people who had tried to make new lives, like James McSwiney who became a farmer in California, or Daniel Sullivan, who likely followed gold to New South Wales. John Buckley, who lived on Midleton’s Main Street, hoped to find his brother in New Jersey, while James Dexter was wondering why his brother had never returned to Boston following a visit to their mother on Chapel Street four years previously. The influence of the Pilot was far reaching– one of the most poignant advertisements sees Midleton’s Thomas Denehy, then living in Wollongong in Australia, seek to make contact with his brothers and sister who had emigrated to America 50 years before. Why not take a look through the ads (arranged chronologically) and see if you recognise any of the family names.

How the 'Information Wanted' advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

How the ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

6th November 1841

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN COTTER, a native of Middletown, county Cork, Ireland. When last heard from he was in the employ of Charles Stark, Grocer, Charleston, South Carolina. His brother Edmund, who lives in Rockbottom, Ms., is anxious to hear from him. Should this meet his eye, he is requested to write immediately. Catholic Miscellany please copy.

5th November 1842

INFORMATION WANTED OF BARTHOLOMEW KEEFE, of the Parish of Carrictouhal, co. Cork, when last heard from was in Newport, R.I. His wife’s maiden name is Hennessy, a native of Middletown, co. Cork. They had one child when leaving home named Donnell. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by Jeremiah Hennessy, addressed to 249 Ann st. Boston, Ms.

5th October 1844

INFORMATION WANTED OF BARTHOLOMY WALSH, a native of Middleton, Co. Cork, Ireland- when last heard from, was in Norfolk, Va.; any information respecting him would be thankfully received by his niece Ellen Sheehan, (alias) Mrs. Cody, Hartford, Ct.

25th January 1845

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MARA, a native of parish of Middleton, co Cork. He left Boston on the 11th day of June last, and is about 27 years of age. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his sister, Mary Mara, care of Robert Garnett, 13 North Square, Boston, Ms.

17th May 1845

INFORMATION WANTED OF TIMOTHY LEAHY, formerly of Kilmountain, parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who came to this country about 8 years ago. When last hear from he was in Louisville, Ky, two years ago. Any information in relation to him will be thankfully received by his brother, Maurice Leahy, addressed to the care of Michael Leahy, No. 17 Hamilton street, Boston, Ms, or at this office.

6th February 1847

INFORMATION WANTED OF PHILIP CARRAUS, a native of Ballinthontis, parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who emigrated in 1844, and landed in New York, and is now supposed to be in Middleton, Ct. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by Richard Shea, care of Mr. O’Hern, West Stockbridge, Berkshire Co., Ms.

18th September 1847

INFORMATION WANTED OF ABIGAIL FITZGERALD, who was married to a man by the name of Simon Welsh. She is a native of Middletown, co. Cork. They are supposed to be in Albany or Troy. Her brother, Patrick, is anxious to hear from her. Address him, Randolph, Ms.

6th November 1847

INFORMATION WANTED OF CATHERINE HARTNET, from Middleton, co’y Cork, who formerly lived as cook with Mrs. James Murphy in Middleton, and who left Liverpool in April, 1847, for New York, will write to Ellen Cannovan, care of Rufus Perkins, No. 51 Summer street, Boston, where she is to be found, she will get intelligence much to her advantage.

10th March 1849

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL COTTER, a native of Middleton, co. Cork, who left Ireland about 8 or 9 years ago, – when last heard from he was in Montreal, L.C. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother, Edmond Cotter, care of Mr. Benjamin Dayton, corner of Leveret and Brighton streets, Boston, Ms.

15th September 1849

INFORMATION WANTED OF DAVID AHERN, who emigrated to this country about 7 year ago and landed in Quebec. He is a native of Middleton, co. Cork. When last heard of was in Port Trent, District of Victoria, Upper Canada. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother, Mr. John Ahern, Hyde Park, Lackawana Iron Works, Luzerne County, Pa.

4th July 1851

INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. LANE and Family having emigrated from Middleton, co. Cork, to the United States, some time since, – a friend in Charleston, South Carolina, wishes to hear from them. Should this meet their eye, they will please address J.B., Charleston, S.C.

16th August 1851

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN DALY, from parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who emigrated to this country 13 or 14 years ago, – was in New York when last heard from. Also, his daughter, HONORA DALY, who landed in Quebec 4 years ago last April. Also, PATRICK DALY, Sadler, who was in Quebec, when last heard of. Any information of them will be thankfully received by his son, JOHN DALY, care of Edmond Ryan, Montpelier, Vermont.

23rd August 1851

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL MCNAMARA of Middletown, co. Cork, who got married to Catherine Doyle, at Ireland Depot, Ms, in June, 1848. His brother-in-law, PIERCE DOYLE, wants to hear from them, and will thankfully receive any information directed to Indianapolis, Ia.

24th August 1850

INFORMATION WANTED OF SAMUEL WALSH, (gardener), and Abigail Walsh, otherwise Fitzgerald (his wife), natives of Middletown, co Cork, who left Ireland in 1831; when last heard from they were in Albany, N.Y., about 11 years ago, and supposed to be at present in Virginia. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by her brothers, James and Patrick Fitzgerald, Randolph, Ms.

2nd October 1852

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL & MARY GOLDEN, from parish Middleton, who sailed from Cove in July, 1847- landed in New York. When last heard from were in Quayekey N.Y. He is a tailor by trade. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by his brother, DANIEL GOLDEN, Baker, – or by BARTHOLOMEW TAYLOR, No. 87 Ann street, Boston, Ms.

2nd December 1854

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN CRONIN, of Middleton, co Cork, who left home 2 yrs ago and was year since in Jago, near Buffalo, NY. Information will be received by his wife Honora, care of A A Cody, Middletown Conn.

6th October 1855

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL FITZGIBBON, of Middletown, co Cork, who landed in New York in 1850; when last heard from was in Rockett, Worcester co, NY. Please address his sisters Margaret and Ellen, care of John White, 58 Liverpool st, East Boston, Mass.

13th October 1855

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK & MARTIN BARRY, of Middleton, co’y Cork, who were last heard of in Corning Steuben co, NY, and are supposed to be in Michigan. Information received by their brother John, Floras Depot, Dinwiddy co, Va.

24th November 1855

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN, Mary and Bridget MOORE, of parish Middleton, co’y Cork; when last heard from John was in Albany 7 years ago. His father is anxious to hear of him or his sisters. Please address John Moore, care of Mr P Doyle, Arcade, Toronto, CW.

5th January 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF MARGARET AHEARN, of parish Middleton, Cork, who came to this country about 6 months ago, and landed in New York city, where she was last heard from. Information received by her sister Ellen, care of Miss. Eliza Ahearn, 23 Joy st, Boston, Mass.

16th February 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN and JOSEPH SCANLIN, native of Midletown, Co Cork, when last heard of John was some four years ago, was in Pittsburg. Information received by their sister Mary; address, care of Mathew Lians, No 54 Light St, Baltimore.

8th March 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF MARY FAILY, (then her maiden name) of parish Middleton, co Cork, who when last heard of, 3 years ago, was in Catherine Slip, No 27 New Market, N York city. Information received by her brother William, Galena, Ill.

28th June 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF ELLEN and JOHANA SHEA, of Middletown, who sailed from Cork 4 years ago last September; when last heard from , about 2 years since, were in Columbus, Ohio. Johana is married to John Hinchy, of the county Clare, who was last heard of in Toledo, O. Information received by their brother Michael, Little Valley, Catteraugus county, NY.

18th October 1856

INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. OLIVER, (maiden name Mary Fitzgerald,) a native of Middleton, who came to this country in 1836; when last heard from was in Dark county, Indiana. Information received by her sister, Bridget Burns, Zanesville, Ohio.

3rd April 1858

INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIIS O’BRINE, painter by trade, formerly of Middleton; when last heard from he was living in Sea Street, Boston. Information received by his sister, Mrs Elizabeth O’Sullivan, Jackson, Miss.

23rd October 1858

INFORMATION WANTED OF JAMES FITZGIBBON, native of parish of Middletown, who landed in Boston in 1854, and when last heard from was in Missouri, in June, 1856. Any person knowing his whereabouts would confer a great favor by addressing his sister Catherine, Roxbury, Mass.

11th December 1858

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK KEEFFE, from Middleton, who came to this country 3 or 4 years ago. Information will be thankfully received by his brother Owen, Woodberry, Baltimore county, Maryland.

2nd April 1859

INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIS O’KEEFE, a native of parish Middleton, who went to England about 13 years ago, came to America shortly after, and was last heard of in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Seventh street. Should he or any one acquainted with him see this, he will hear of something to his advantage by addressing his brother John’s wife, (maiden name Ann Fitzgerald) or Thomas McDonough, Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois.

28th May 1859

FIVE DOLLARS REWARD. INFORMATION WANTED OF DENNIS O’KEEFE, of Middleton, parish of Middleton, county Cork, who went to England 11 years ago and came to America a short time after; when last heard of he was in Seventh street, Cincinnati, Ohio. There has been a certain amount of money willed to him by his uncle. The above reward will be paid for any information of him, dead or living. All particulars can be learned by addressing Mrs. Ann Foy, or Thomas McDonough, Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois. [Advertisement was again repeated on 20th August 1859]

10th March 1860

INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIS BUCKLEY, who came to this country in April, 1857, and, when last heard from, was living in New Jersey. His brother, John, who lives in Main Street, Middletown, county Cork, Ireland, is anxious to hear of him, care of his cousin, Denis Conway, Middleton, Mass.

22nd September 1860

INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS FITZGERALD, of parish Middleton, who left Nashville, in October, 1858, for Cincinnati. Please address Helen Fitzgerald Nashville, Tenn.

13th July 1861

INFORMATION WANTED OF JEREMIAH CASHMAN, who left the parish of Middleton in 1854, and is supposed to have gone to Chicago or Kentucky. His mother and friends are anxious to hear from him at 270 North Eutau street, Baltimore, Maryland.

13th December 1862

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN WALSH, a blacksmith by trade, native of the parish of Lisgoold, Middletown, county Cork; when last heard from in February last, had landed in Boston, and began working at his trade. His age is about 20 years. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his sister Eliza Walsh, No 3 Clark st, Newport, RI.

13th October 1866

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MULLINS, of Middleton, county Cork, who sailed from Liverpool for this country in 1859. He is supposed to be in some of the Western States. Any information concerning him will be thankfully received by his brother, Jeremiah Mullins, Burlington, Vermont.

13th July 1867

INFORMATION WANTED OF GARRET BARRY, (butcher) a native of the parish of Lisgool, county Cork, Ireland, who left Middleton, county Cork, for this country in the year 1844 or ’45, and has not been heard from since. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, John Barry, No 6 Lawrence street court, Charlestown, Mass.

22nd February 1868

INFORMATION WANTED OF DANIEL SULLIVAN, a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left Ireland about 15 years ago and came to Boston. he left Boston about eleven years ago, and went to New South Wales; when last heard from, about seven years ago, he was in Munderlow Bridge, New South Wales. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his father, Daniel Sullivan, No. 42 Billerica street, Bost, Mass. New South Wales papers please copy.

24th October 1868

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK DEXTER, a native of Chapel Road, Middleton, county Cork, Ireland. He went home from Boston about four years ago to see his mother, and left there to come back to Boston. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, James Dexter, 128 Albany street, Boston, Mass.

5th February 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF JAMES McSWINEY, a native of Middleton, county Cork, Ireland; when last heard of was in San Francisco, Cal; he wrote to his sister Jane in September, 1859; said he had a farm of one hundred acres in Penola Valley, Contra Costa country, Cal. He is about 28 years of age, and has been to sea some time after leaving Middleton. Any information of him, dead or alive, will be thankfully received by his sisters, Jane or Bessie McSwiney, Main street, Middleton, county Cork, Ireland; or by John Mahoney, Co. G, 3d Regiment U.S. Cavalry, Fort Union, New Mexico. California papers please copy.

26th February 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF EDMOND O’LOUGHLIN, formerly of Middleton, county Cork, now living in Boston, will oblige a cousin by sending his present address to C.R., Post-office, Montreal, Canada.

28th May 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF MARGARET SCANLAN, a native of parish of Middleton, county Cork, who married a man by the name of Michael Hennisy, about 20 years ago; when last heard from, about 10 years ago, she was in Springfield, Mass. Information will be received be her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stark, Brown county, Minn.

2nd July 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF FANNY CALLAHEN, from Middleton, county Cork, who came to this country about 10 years ago, she got married since, but don’t know her husband’s name; when last heard from was in West Constant, outside of Boston. Information of her will be received by her brother, John Callahen, Onota, Grand Island, Lake Superior, Mich.

16th July 1870

INFORMATION WANTED OF WILLIAM O’CONNELL, a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left Charleston, Kinawa county, West Virginia, in June, 1869, and has not been heard from since. Information of him will be received by his wife, Mary O’Connell, Charleston, Kinawa county, West Virginia.

22nd April 1871

INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS WHITE, baker by trade, son of John and Margaret White, a native of Middleton, county Cork; when last heard from was in Melbourne, Australia. Information concerning him will be received by his sisters. Address Hanora White, care of John Flynn, No. 5 Mystic Place, Charlestown. Mass.

17th June 1871

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL LOMASNEY, a native of Castlmartyr, county Cork, who emigrated from Middleton, of said county, in 1869; aged 26 years; when least heard of he was in Savannah, Georgia, January, 1871. Information of him will be received by his brother, Thomas Lomasney, Portland, Middlesex county, Conn.

14th October 1871

INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS CONAL, or his wife (maiden name Nellie McCarty), born in Middleton, county Cork, who came to Boston 26 years ago; they moved from Boston to Norwich, Conn., where they lived about seven years; when last heard from, about 18 years ago, they were in the State of New York. Information of them will be received by her brother, Timothy McCarty, No. 1 Foster place, Boston, Mass. [an advertisement of 21st October corrects to ‘born in Churchtown, near Middleton’]

27th June 1874

INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MCDERMOTT, Middleton, co. Cork, who left Ireland about four years ago, and landed in New York; from there he went West. His brother heard a short time ago that he was in New Hampshire, but left there for Maine or Massachusetts. Any one knowing where he is will confer a great favor by addressing his brother, Patrick McDermott, corner of Warren and Jefferson streets, East Cambridge, Mass.

12th September 1874

INFORMATION WANTED OF COLMAN and MICHAEL SISK, of Midleton, county Cork, who are supposed to be residing at present in some one of the Eastern States. Any person knowing their present address will confer a great favor by communicating the same to William Kidney, corner of Compton and Clark avenue, St. Louis, Mo.

21st August 1875

INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK, COLEMAN and MICHAEL SPLAIN, sons of Patrick Splain and Johanna Day, parish of Midleton, county Cork; they left Ireland 25 years ago; when last heard from Michael and Patrick were in Washington county, Vermont, and Coleman somewhere in Massachusetts. Information of them will be received by Lawrence Splain, Putnam county, N.Y.

14th January 1877

INFORMATION WANTED OF ANDREW HYDE, formerly of Middletown, county Cork; when last heard from was in Portland, Conn. Information of him will be received by his sister, Minnie Hyde, 374 Main Street, Charlestown, Mass.

24th January 1880

INFORMATION WANTED OF OWEN O’KEEFFE, son of Owen and Ellen O’Keeffe (maiden name Coleman), a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left home about 28 years ago, and went to England; left there for this country; when last heard from was in California. Information of him will be received by his brother, John O’Keeffe, Hingham, Mass.

21st May 1892

INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. MARY COTTER, (born Mary Upton), a native of parish of Middleton, County Cork, who came to this country when young. It is known that she settled in Boston, and that her family are at present living in this city, Boston or vicinity. Any information of her, or any of her family, will be thankfully received by Miss Maggie Upton, a niece of Mrs. Cotter. Address 2256 North Ninth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

22nd April 1905

INFORMATION WANTED OF ELLIE KENEALY, daughter of John Kenealy, hardware merchant of Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, who I think is now in Boston , or vicinity, will communicate with John Walsh, of East Berlin, Conn., she will hear of something to her advantage.

23rd December 1911

INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL and DENIS and HONORA DENEHY, brothers and sister, born near the town of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland, went to America about 1860 or 1861; last heard of was at Boston Mass. Brother Thomas, address Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, would like to hear from above or any of their family.

References

Harris, Ruth-Ann M., Donald M. Jacobs, and B. Emer O’Keeffe, editors. Searching for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in “The Boston Pilot 1831–1920”. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1989.

Categories: 20th Century, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Searching for East Cork’s 19th Century Emigrants: New York ‘Information Wanted’ Ads

Modern technology means that today’s East Cork emigrants can stay in almost constant contact with their families at home. Such was not the case in the 19th century. When people took the ’emigrant boat’ to the United States in the 1800s, it was entirely possible that parents, brothers, sisters and friends would never hear from them again. This problem of communication was accentuated by the fact that so many were illiterate. What to do then, if you were seeking to find friends and loved ones in America?

How the 'Information Wanted' advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

How the ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

Many Cork people arrived in the United States following in the footsteps of family members, and often had to try to find them. One of the most common ways of attempting this was by taking out a ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement in Irish newspapers like the New York Irish American Weekly and the Boston Pilot. In the 1850s you could have your ad placed in four issues of the Irish American for $1. These New York advertisements have been gathered together by Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh in their book ‘Irish Relatives and Friends’. We decided to look at some of the New York entries of people from East Cork, arranged by location below. The advertisements from the Boston Pilot have been made available online for free by Boston College, so you can explore them here. Through these ads we gain a glimpse of the realities of emigration– people like Dan Flavin from Killeagh, searching for his parents who went to Louisiana 15 years before him; like Ann Dunlay of Lisgoold, who was searching for her sisters who had been in New York’s Deaf and Dumb Institute; and people like Mary McGrath from Cloyne, who was being sought by an admirer who met her on Hudson River boat.

Ballymacoda

21st July 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Patt Shanahan, Parish of Ballymacody, County Cork, Ireland. Address Thomas Carroll, Orderly of Ward 28, Ward’s Island, N.Y.

Carrigtwohill

18th April 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Spillane, of Carrigtwohill, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from he was in Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut]. Information of him will be gratefully received by his brother, Cornelius Spillane, who has just come to this country, at 62 Fayette Street, Lowell, Mass. [Massachsetts].

Castlemartyr

3rd February 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Norrey Connell, daughter of James Connell, a native of Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland. She will confer a favor by calling on Jeremiah McCarthy, Mo. 15 Thames Street, New York.

28th May 1870

INFORMATION WANTED of John Harnett, a native of Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland, who left New York for Alton, Ill. [Illinois], in 1850; or his wife Anastacia Ryan. Any information concerning them will be thankfully received by Mrs. Mary Hynes, No 310 E. 49th Street, New York City. Alton, Ill. [Illinois], papers please copy.

Cloyne

9th August 1862

INFORMATION WANTED If Miss Mary McGrath, a school teacher by profession, and formerly of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, will make known her address, through the Irish American, or the “personals” of the New York Herald, she will hear from a friend whom she met about two years ago on board a Hudson River Passenger boat, while in company with another young lady named Maggy.

12th May 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Ellen Fitzgerald, daughter of Michael Fitzgerald and Ellen Wallace, of Kilbree, Parish of Cloyne, Barony of Imikelly, Diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, who arrived in New York two weeks ago in the City of New York, from Queenstown, Ireland. Her uncle’s son, David Wallace, of Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut], would be thankful to any one who would inform him of her whereabouts. Any information of her will be received at the office of this paper.

15th February 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of John and Thomas Lewis, who left Ballintrim, near Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, twenty-seven years ago. When last heard of, they were in New York City. Maurice Lewis, their brother, would be thankful for any information of them – He resides at Eagle Mills, Rensselaer Co., N.Y.

7th November 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of Thomas Finn, a native of the Parish of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard of he was in Richmond Iron Works, Mass. [Massachusetts]. Intelligence of him will be thankfully received by his brother, William Finn, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut].

6th March 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of John Hogan, son of Michael Hogan and Ellen Wheelihan, a native of Ballywilliam, Parish of Cloyne, County of Cork, Ireland, who left Albany, N.Y., about thirteen years ago, and went to Chicago, ILL. [Illinois]- Any information concerning him will be thankfully received by addressing his cousin, Catherine Battersbee – maiden name, Catherine Higgins – as he will hear something to his advantage. Address John Battersbee, West Merriden, Conn. [Connecticut]. Western papers, please copy.

4th September 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Margaret Cullinane, of the commons of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, who came to this country April 21, 1854, from Queenstown. When last heard from she was in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 11 years ago. Any information of her, dead or alive, will be thankfully received by her sister, Hanora Cullinane (who came to this country 4 years ago), in care of Patrick Curtis, Dedhan, Mass. [Massachusetts].

Cobh

23rd June 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Fitzgerald, a native of Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, John Fitzgerald, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut].

4th March 1871

INFORMATION WANTED of Robert Miller, a butcher by trade, and a native of Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Information of him will be thankfully received by his daughter Catharine. Address Mrs. McCloskey, 180 Lorimor Street, Williamsburgh, Long Island, N.Y.

Dungourney

21st May 1864

INFORMATION WANTED of Coleman Ahern, a native of Ballyknock, parish of Dongourney, County Cork, Ireland. He left Ireland 11 years ago. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, Michael Ahern, by addressing him care of Thomas Downing, to No. 335 West 26th St., New York.

Killeagh

26th May 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Daniel Flavin, of the County Cork, Parish of Youghal, near Killeagh, or of Johanna, his wife, who is about fourteen or fifteen years in this country; supposed to be in New Orleans; when last heard from about twelve years ago were in New Orleans. Any information from them will be thankfully received by their son, Dan Flavin, who arrived in this country a few weeks ago, and wishes to hear from his parents. A line can be addressed to Thomas Egan, Waterford, Saratoga County, New York.

18th January 1862

INFORMATION WANTED of Richard Maguire, of Killeagh, County Cork, Ireland, will be thankfully received by his brother James, of whom he may hear something to his advantage by addressing James Carroll, No. 3, Catherine Slip, New York.

9th October 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Wm. Kalerher, who left Danning, Parish of Kileagh, County Cork, Ireland, and came to Boston, Mass. [Massachusetts], with his aunt Mary Smiddy, about 17 years ago, and was not heard from for the last two years. Information of him will be thankfully received by his brothers, Simon and Patrick Kalerher, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut], or by P.H. Hodnett, Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut].

Lisgoold

26th August 1854

INFORMATION WANTED of Denis O’Brien, from the parish of Lisgoold, County Cork, Ireland, who left Chicago a year ago last Spring and went to Minnesota Territory. When last heard of he was in St. Paul’s. Any intelligence of him directed to this office will be thankfully received by his sister Mary.

2nd October 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Elizabeth and Mary Dunlay, natives of the Parish of Lisgold, County of Cork, Ireland, who emigrated to this country about thirty years ago, and lived fifteen years in the Deaf and Dumb Institute, New York. They are daughters of Edward Dunlay and Mary Cotter. Information of them will be thankfully received by their sister, Ann Dunlay. Inquire of Stephen O’Reilly, 44 Essex Street, New York.

Midleton

17th December 1853

INFORMATION WANTED of Jeremiah Hegarty, Tailor, of Middletown, Co. Cork who left Cork, Ireland, about August, 1850. Any information concerning him will be very thankfully received by his last employer of the Brickfields, Cork, (Wm. F.) who now follows business in North Orange, Essex Co., New Jersey, who would wish to see him as soon as possible.

4th September 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Mary Draddy, a native of Loughaderry, Parish of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland, who emigrated to America about 15 years ago. When last heard of she was in New York. Information of her will be thankfully received by her brother, John Draddy, at Wm. O’Leary’s, 318 East 11th Street, New York. Western papers, please copy.

Youghal

10th February 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Walsh, of Youghal, and his wife, Catharine Clooney of Waterford, Ireland, by Johanna Clooney, her sister, and Ellen Clooney, her niece. When last heard from was in Buffalo, but is supposed to be now in Canada. Address Johanna Clooney, in care of Michael Comber, 20th Street, between Walnut and Georges Sts., Philadelphia.

13th June 1863

INFORMATION WANTED of Timothy Whealan and Mrs. Whealan, of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from (13th June 1862), they were in Boston, Mass. [Massachusetts]. Any information of them will be thankfully received by writing to Eliza Canty, Elizabethport, New Jersey.

27th June 1863

INFORMATION WANTED of John Hennessy, of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, who left Liverpool for Boston in 1852, aged about 49 years. When last heard from was in the state of Illinois. Any information of him will be most thankfully received by his old friend, Catherine Foley, 939 North Second Street, Philadelphia, PA [Pennsylvania].

9th July 1864

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael O’Keefe, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from (seven years ago0 he resided in New York. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, James O’Keeffe, by writing to him to 116 Cedar Street, New York.

3rd March 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Ellen Hannon, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, who was married to William Healy, of the same place. When last heard from, five years ago, she resided at Greenpoint, Long Island, N.Y. Information of her will be thankfully received by her brother, Richard Hannon, by writing to him in care of Mr. John Kane, 79 Roosevelt Street, N.Y.

9th April 1870

INFORMATION WANTED of John Griffin, a basket maker, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his first cousin, Johanna Griffin, daughter of James Griffin, by writing to her husband, Martin Hurley, Waverly Heights Post Office, Montgomery County, PA [Pennsylvania].

References

Laura Murphy DeGrazia & Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh 2001. Irish Relatives and Friends: From “Information Wanted” Ads in the Irish-American, 1850-1871.

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hanoverian Riflemen & Black Brunswickers: Midleton Barracks During the Napoleonic Wars

As this year is the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, our previous post looked at some Midleton men who served during the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. One of the reasons that many locals enlisted was the fact that they had a military barracks on their doorstep. During the Napoleonic Wars Midleton was teeming with soldiers of different nationalities, many stopping off on their way to and from the Iberian Peninsula where they were taking on French forces. We are very fortunate that the building these men were housed in still survives today- and forms a key part of what is now the Jameson Distillery. We have spent some time looking into the history of this Barracks, and some of the very interesting units that spent time there. 

The Barracks in Midleton with later attached waterwheel http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34083)

The Barracks in Midleton with later attached waterwheel http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34083

The barrack building within the Midleton complex did not spend long in army use. In fact it had already become a distillery by 1825, when it was purchased by the Murphy Family. It still forms a major part of the Jameson Experience tour, where visitors can view the impressive cast-iron waterwheel that dates to 1852. Neither did this building start life as a purpose-built army structure. It was constructed in 1793 to serve as a woollen mill, run by the Lynch family. With the renewed outbreak of war with France in 1803, and the army’s need for more accommodation around Cork Harbour, the mill was sold to the military. So began its brief but fascinating life as a military barracks. Remarkably, during the course of research, we discovered the original advertisement for the sale of the equipment from the Mill building, which you can see below. (1)

The Advertisement in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle of September 21st 1803 Announcing the Sale of Lynch's Equipment

The Advertisement in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle of September 21st 1803, announcing the sale of Lynch’s Equipment

We were interested in exploring just who served in Midleton during the conflict. In order to ascertain this with some degree of surety it would become necessary to travel to archives in locations such as the Public Record Office in Kew, to extract details concerning the British garrison in Ireland. This is (unfortunately!) currently beyond the scope of the project, but as an alternative we took to contemporary newspapers and a number of online sources to see if we could discover references to the types of troops stationed in the town. Although newspaper accounts have to be treated with caution, they nonetheless do give us an insight into the important military hub that Midleton became during this period. Indeed the first references to troops we come across relate to increased militarisation as a result of the 1798 Rebellion. To give a flavour of this information, we have created a table which chronologically lists the references we have uncovered:

Unit Date Details
Carlow Militia 1798 Stationed in Midleton (2)
Caithness Highlanders 1798 Public Meeting, 12 March, to express thanks to Regt for 2 years quartered there (3)
Barrymore Legion 1803 Entertained at Midleton’s Globe Inn following manoeuvres in the Deerpark of Castlemartyr (4)
96th Regiment 1804 No details (5)
62nd Regiment 1805 The regiment, quartered in Midleton, was to embark for foreign service. Convoy of HMS Narcissus, Sloops of War Favourite and Argus (6)
8th Regiment 1805 Marched from Cobh to Midleton, and embarked on transports at East Ferry (7)
50th Regiment 1805 Understood to be marching to Midleton from Clonmel (8)
German Regiments 1806 15 transports arrived in Cobh to take some of the German Regts, 2 battalions understood to be in Midleton, for embarkation to Gibraltar (9)
Hanoverian Rifle Corps 1806 The 2 battalions of Hanoverian Rifle Corps who had been at Tullamore are marching for Midleton where they will be quartered until transports arrive to take them with the 59th and 82nd Regiments, presently in Cork, for foreign service (10)
Donegal Regiment 1807 The remainder of the Donegal Regiment marched into Cork from Midleton (11)
26th Regiment, 3rd Battalion 1808 The 3rd Battalion of the 27th Regiment arrived at Midleton (12)
71st Regiment 1808 Quartered in Midleton (13)
27th Regiment 1808 3rd Battalion of 27th Regiment embarked at East Ferry from Midleton (14)
German Corps, Duke of Brunswick Oels 1810 Arrived from Jersey and Guernsey, light troops landed at Cobh and proceeded to Midleton (15)
Kerry Militia 1811 Earmarked to replace Longford Militia at Midleton (16)
Longford Militia 1811 To be replaced by Kerry Militia at Midleton (17)
Roscommon Militia 1813 Arrived in Cobh in ten transports from Plymouth, disembarked and marched to Midleton (18)
Londonderry Militia 1813 Marched into Cobh from Midleton to head for Ramsgate (19)
28th Regiment 1814 Reports 28th are ordered from Birr to Midleton preparatory to sailing for service in America (20)
34th Regiment, 2nd Battalion 1814 No details (21)
3rd West York Militia 1814 Marched into Cobh from Midleton to go to England (22)
26th Foot 1822 Stationed in Midleton (23)
Members of the King's German Legion, who were in Midleton in 1806, by Charles Hamilton Smith

Members of the King’s German Legion, who were in Midleton in 1806, by Charles Hamilton Smith

Some of the men station in Midleton even left an account of their views on the barracks and the town. Lieutenant Francis Simcoe of the 27th Regiment recorded in 1808 that ‘Middleton Barracks are much larger & handsomer than Enniskillen, the town very small & neat about 7 m. from Kilworth.’ (24)

The Totenkopf badge of the Brunswickers (Wikipedia)

The Totenkopf badge of the Brunswickers (Wikipedia)

Two of the units that stand out among those we know to have been quartered in Midleton are the Hanoverian Rifle Corps in 1806 and the Brunswick Corps of the Duke of Brunswick Oels in 1810. The Hanoverian Rifle Corps (who are the same unit as the ‘German units’ in the previous table entry) were better known as the King’s German Legion, an expatriate force of Germans who fought throughout the Napoleonic Wars and at Waterloo. The Brunswick men had fought in Germany from where they had fled in 1809, and were known as the ‘Black Brunswickers‘. They were passing through on their way to service in the Peninsula and ultimately Waterloo. Many of the other regiments of foot would later develop names that are familiar to us today- the 71st Foot were known as the Highland Regiment, while the 50th Regiment of Foot would become known as the ‘Queen’s Own’ later in the 19th century.

Brunswick Infantry in Action at Quatre Bras, 1815 by Richard Knötel

Brunswick Infantry in Action at Quatre Bras, 1815 by Richard Knötel

It is interesting to note that troops used Midleton as a staging area while heading to or returning from theatres such as the Peninsula. Also of note is that a number embarked from East Ferry; one can imagine the bustling route from Midleton to the Ferry, via the busy port at Ballinacurra- surely quite a sight during the Napoleonic Wars. This quick newspaper review offers us just a glimpse of the hidden history of the brief period when Midleton served as an important military base. There is little doubt that many other units were stationed here during this period, and that much historical detail remains to be uncovered. We hope to carry out more much more work on this in the future, and in the meantime would like to hear from any readers who can add to the story of Midleton’s Napoleonic Barracks. Although, as the table shows, military units would continue to use Midleton both before and after the Napoleonic Wars, the town would never again see the cosmopolitan military traffic that it grew accustomed to during the wars with France. Shortly after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, the British Army sought to reduce the number of barracks it held around the country. Although there is some evidence to suggest they may have initially considered keeping Midleton, ultimately it appears they decided to offload it, as the advertisement below suggests. By the 1820s it would become part of a new story, one that it still shares with locals and tourists alike today, as part of what would ultimately become one of the world’s major whiskey distilleries.

The Freemans Journal of 24th December 1816 which lists the intended sale of Midleton Barracks

The Freemans Journal ad of 24th December 1816, which lists the intended sale of Midleton Barracks

References

(1) National Inventory of Architectural Heritage Record; (2) Online History of Carlow Militia; (3) Aberdeen Journal 24th March 1800; (4) Cork Mercantile Chronicle 17th October 1803; (5) 96th Regiment of Foot, Wikipedia, drawing on National Archives records; (6) Belfast Newsletter 25th April 1805; (7) Finns Leinster Journal 11th May 1805; (8) Hibernian Journal 24th December 1805; (9) Belfast Newsletter 15th May 1806; (10) Caledonian Mercury 13th October 1806; (11) Hibernian Journal 8th July 1807; (12) Finns Leinster Journal 16th August 1808; (13) Online Record of Service of 71st Foot; (14) Mary Beacock Fryer 1996 “Our Young Soldier”: Lieutenant Francis Simcoe, 6 June 1791- 6 April 1812, pp. 95-6; (15) Freemans Journal 5th June 1810; (16) Freemans Journal 20th November 1811; (17) Ibid.; (18) Freemans Journal 30th April 1813; (19) Freemans Journal 3rd November 1813; (20) Centinel of Freedom 11th October 1814; (21) Online Record of Service of 34th Foot; (22) Freemans Journal 12th May 1814; (23) The Naval and Military Magazine, Volume 4, 1828, p. 56; (24) Fryer, op. cit.;

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stories of Midleton Veterans of the Peninsular Campaign & Waterloo

We are currently in the midst of the 100th anniversary of World War One, but recent years have also marked the 200th anniversary of the Napoleonic Wars, a conflict in which tens of thousands of Irishmen fought. As anyone who has been on the tour of Midleton Distillery will be aware, part of that site was in use as a military barracks around this time. Unsurprisingly many men from Midleton and the surrounding parish ended up in the army- it is likely that recruiting parties were a regular sight around the town during the wars with France. Those that joined up embarked on lives that took them from East Cork to far flung locations, like the West and East Indies, to battles in Portugal and Spain, and even to Waterloo. After their service some went through soldier’s homes, such as the (still famous) Royal Hospital in Chelsea or the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. The records of these institutions allow us to have a look at the service of some of these local men, many of whom were born well over 200 years ago. Here are the stories of 21 of them; some enlisted as young as 13; some were wounded multiple times, often in one of the great battles of the 19th century; some served in famous regiments, like the 95th Rifles (made even more famous by the fictional character Richard Sharpe); some stood in square while being charged by French cavalry at Waterloo. All had extremely hard lives. You can find out more about them below.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Wikipedia)

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Wikipedia)

Private John Condon, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in the parish of Midleton around the year 1790. On the 9th February 1806, at the age of 15, the shoemaker enlisted in the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in Midleton, for unlimited service. He remained in the regiment for the next 12 years. In 1808 the regiment went to Portugal with Arthur Wellesley and fought the Battle of Vimeiro on 21st August that year, where the 50th participated in a number of bayonet charges which helped to win the engagement. During the fighting John was shot in the right leg. He recovered but suffered another gunshot wound in the Pyrennes on 25th July 1813. He was discharged in 1818 at the age of 27, when he was described as 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall, with dark brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Private David Glissane, Kilmainham Pensioner

David was born in the parish of Midleton around the year 1790. The butcher enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the 1st Royal Scots Regiment in Killarney, Co. Kerry on 11th September 1810, for life. He served for a total of 8 years and 55 days. At the Battle of Vitoria, Spain on 21st June 1813 he was hit in the right leg by a musket ball, and he was again shot at the Battle of the Nive, France on 10th December 1813. During Napoleon’s Hundred Days he fought at Quatre Bras, and at Waterloo stood in square formation with his regiment as they repulsed French cavalry attacks. He was discharged on 4th November 1818 and travelled to Kilmainham with his wife and child. He was then 28 years old, 5 feet 9 inches in height, with fair hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private Pat Leonard, Kilmainham Pensioner

Pat was born around 1795 in Midleton parish. On 14th July 1808, the 13-year-old laborer enlisted in the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) at Maldon, Sussex. He signed on for life and would ultimately serve for more than 14 years. During the Peninsular War in Portugal and Spain he was a drummer/trumpeter, and was a private for the last two years of his service. He also served in Canada, and participated in the march to Paris with the army of occupation, where the regiment served until 1817. He spent 12 years as a drummer/trumpeter and two years as a private. He was 27 years of age when he was discharged, having suffered an injury to his elbow. He was described as 5 feet 6 1/4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.

Private John Mullany, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in Midleton parish around 1791. Like John Condon he enlisted in the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in Midleton. The 15-year-old carpenter signed on for unlimited service on 12th February 1806. He would spend the next 12 years in the army. Like John he was wounded at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21st August 1808, when he was shot in the left leg. He was again shot, this time in the right leg, during the Battle of Corunna on 16th January 1809. He received a third wound at the Battle of Vitoria on 21st June 1813 when he was hit in the cheek. Along the way he found time to get married, and when he was eventually discharged he was 27-years-old. He was described as 5 feet 2 inches in height, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Sergeant John Ring, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in Midleton parish in 1781. On 7th January 1800 the laborer enlisted in the 68th Foot, better known as the Durham Light Infantry. He served with them in the West Indies between 1801 and 1806, and was present when it was converted to a Light Infantry unit in 1808. He participated in the 1809 Walcheren Expedition in the Netherlands and then served through the Peninsular War, a campaign in which they lost 364 men dead. John spent 7 years as a Sergeant in the 68th, and was wounded at the Siege of San Sebastián in Spain on 31st August 1813, when a musket ball entered his right cheek, before exiting his head behind the right ear. John recovered, and stayed with the regiment until 24th January 1820, when he was discharged due to disbandment. He joined the 3rd Regiment of Royal veterans on the 25th January 1820, staying with them until the 1st June 1821. John had spent 7 years as a Sergeant in the 68th Foot and was discharged due to disbandment. When he was discharged he was 40-years-old and was descried as 5 feet 7 inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He had been released as he had suffered a paralytic stroke, as a result of which he was described as being in a ‘state of insanity’. His submission went on to state that ‘his truly deplorable situation (which is easier felt than described)’ would lead to him being admitted into a ‘public asylum for lunatics’ as he was unable to care for himself.

A British square defends against French cavalry at Waterloo (Wikipedia)

A British square defends against French cavalry at Waterloo (Wikipedia)

Private Michael Walsh, Kilmainham Pensioner

Michael was born in the parish of Midleton around 1781. The weaver enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd (The Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot in the mid 1790s. After 10 years service he was discharged on 9th May 1806 as a result of bad sight and general bad health. He was given a bounty of 19 shillings and ten pence so he could get home from England.

Private John Crottie, Chelsea Pensioner

John was born in Midleton around 1791. The laborer enlisted in the 71st (Glasgow Highland Light Infantry) Regiment when they were stationed at Midleton on 11th May 1812. He was then 21, and signed on for unlimited service. The 71st left Ireland for the Peninsula in 1808 and served throughout that conflict. They were also present at the Battle of Waterloo, where they lost 16 officers and 198 men killed and wounded. They remained in France until 1818. John served the regiment for 17 years and 294 days until his discharge on 7th August 1829 at the age of 39. He had contracted pulmonary disease two years previously and it had now become too severe for him to continue in service. He was described as 5 feet 11 1/2 inches tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and a brown complexion. He had pulmonary disease of two years standing by the 7th August 1829.

Private Dennis Donovan, Chelsea Pensioner

Dennis was born in Midleton around 1772. He enlisted for unlimited service in the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot in Midleton on 14th August 1803. He was then a 31-year-old laborer. They sailed for Portugal in July 1808 and later participated in the Netherlands expedition in 1809 before returning to the Peninsula where they fought in various battles and sieges until their return to Ireland in 1814. During their campaigns in Spain Dennis contract rheumatism, which was the cause of his ultimate discharge. In 1815 he transferred to the 3rd Garrison Battalion where he remained for 1 year and 119 days before his final release on 20th September 1816, at the age of 44. He was 5 feet 5 inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion

Private Frans Edborough, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1791. The laborer enlisted in the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry Regiment in Ennis, Co. Clare at the age of 19 on 2nd May 1809, for unlimited service. He may have participated in the 1809 Walcheren Campaign in the  Netherlands but would certainly have gone with the regiment to the Peninsula in 1811, where they first saw action at Fuentes de Oñoro. They suffered severe casualties in the assault on Fort San Christobal and were sent home to recruit, returning to the Peninsula in 1813. They headed for North America in 1814. Edborough was transferred to the 3rd Garrison Company in 1815, until he was discharged on 24th August 1816 suffering from chronic asthma. He was then 25 years of age, and was described as 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, with light hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.

Walcheren, Netherlands (Wikipedia)

Walcheren, Netherlands (Wikipedia)

Private David Farrell, Chelsea Pensioner

David was born in Midleton around 1791. He also enlisted in the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry in Ennis, Co. Clare on 2nd May 1809- the same day as Frans Edborough. David spent a total of 18 years in the service, leaving the regiment on 31st July 1831.

Private Owen Farrell, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1788. The 18-year-old laborer enlisted in the 16th Regiment of Lancers at Castlmartyr on 10th May 1806, for unlimited service.He served throughout the Peninsula Campaign and was also present when the regiment charged at the Battle of Waterloo to cover the withdrawal of the Heavy Brigade. He spent 16 years and 138 days in the army, eventually being discharged due to pulmonic disease on 10th April 1822 at the age of 34. He was described as 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private John Foley, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1781. The laborer enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) at the age of 27 on 28th September 1808. He served for 2 years 255 days, and would have at the Battle of Busaco where the 88th charged the French with bayonets. His spine became diseased as a result of an accident while on duty in Portugal, forcing his discharge from the army on 6th June 1811. He was then 30 years old and was described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private Edward Gallaghue, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1797. He enlisted in the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot in Midleton in on 15th December 1815. He was then an 18-year-old laborer. The regiment arrived in the Peninsula in 1810 and he may have served at Waterloo. He eventually went with the regiment to the East Indies. He was discharged on 26th February at the age of 29 after 10 years and 94 days service. The reason given was amputation of his left forearm which resulted from a gunshot wound in action. This may have occurred during the First Anglo-Burmese War. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair, hazel eyes and fair complexion.

The Battle of Vimeiro (Wikipedia)

The Battle of Vimeiro (Wikipedia)

Private John Hennessy, Chelsea Pensioner

John was born in Midleton around 1795. He enlisted in the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) at Fermoy on 12th January 1814, when he was 19 years old. He served for 12 years and 335 days but was described as an ‘indifferent’ soldier. He was discharged due to pulmonary problems and a liver complaint on 20th July 1826. He was then 32, was 5 feet 7 1/4 inches in height, with brown hair, hazel eyes and fresh complexion.

Private Richard Long, Chelsea Pensioner

Richard was born in Midleton around 1790. The tailor enlisted in the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot at Portsmouth on 7th September 1811 at the age of 21. Shortly after his arrival in Portugal in 1812 he had an attack of rheumatism while at Abrantes. This would eventually result in his discharge years later, on 8th November 1818, after he had spent 7 years and 120 days in the army. He was then 28, 5 feet 4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion, by occupation a tailor.

Private Michael Nash, Chelsea Pensioner

Michael was born in Midleton in 1775. The 25-year-old laborer enlisted in Captain Darling’s company of the 68th Regiment of Foot (later the Durham Light Infantry) around 1800. He served 5 years and 5 months with the regiment and had previously served 4 years and 7 months in the Meath Militia. He was discharged on 31st May 1805, as he was incapable of further service due to lameness in the left foot.

Corporal William O’Brian, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Imokilly, Midleton around 1776. He was a 24-year-old laborer when he enlisted as a private in the 95th Rifles, the green-jacketed regiment that would become famous (and in which the fictional character Richard Sharpe served). He was a member of the regiment from the 25th December 1802 until the 27th July 1813, serving throughout the Peninsula Campaign. While back home as part of a recruiting party he deserted on 14th June 1810, but surrendered himself on 4th May 1811 and returned to service in the unit. While on campaign in Spain in 1808 he contracted a disease of the heart which was what ultimately led to his discharge.He ended his service with 294 days a Corporal in the 2nd Royal Veteran Battalion before leaving the military on 14th May 1816.

Reenactors of the 95th Rifles from the Napoleonic Era (Wikipedia)

Reenactors of the 95th Rifles from the Napoleonic Era (Wikipedia)

Private Richard Quinlan, Chelsea Pensioner

Richard was born in Midleton around 1782.He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 43rd (Monmouthshire Light Infantry) Regiment on 7th May 1804. They went to the Peninsula in 1808 and took part in the retreat to Corunna, and then the Walcheren Campaign in the Netherlands before returning to the Peninsula. Richard left the regiment on 21st July 1810, joining the 4th Garrison Battalion on 22nd July 1810. When he was discharged on 12th December 1810 he was nearly blind. Now 38 years old, he was 5 feet 3 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.

Private Thomas Sage, Chelsea Pensioner

Thomas was born in Midleton around 1766. The 28-year-old served in 1st Battalion of the 82nd (The Prince of Wale’s Volunteers) Foot for only 9 months. Aged 28. He caught cold while on the march to Shrewsbury, which brought on consumption and made him unfit to earn a livelihood. He was discharged on 15th September 1794.

Private Jacob Towell, Chelsea Pensioner

Jacob was born in Midleton around 1764.He served in the 85th (Buck Volunteers) Foot from January 1792 to December 1794, before joining the 60th (Royal American) Foot in December 1794 and staying with them through to June 1804. Jacob joined the 4th Royal Veteran Regiment in August 1807, staying with them until August 1810, before serving in the 12th Royal Veteran Regiment until June 1814.

Private Thomas Vanston, Chelsea Pensioner

Thomas was described as being born in Glouthaune near Midleton around 1787. The weaver enlisted for life in the 37th (North Hampshire) Foot at Boyle, Roscommon on 5th May 1812, at the age of 25. He served in the regiment for 10 years and 227 days, before his discharge on 24th October 1822 as the result of a fractured arm.

The Storming of San Sebastian on the Peninsula (Wikipedia)

The Storming of San Sebastian on the Peninsula (Wikipedia)

References

Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Royal Hospital Chelsea records (original document scans viewed on FindMyPast)

Fletcher, Ian 2005. Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles 1808-1815

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Midleton’s Most Famous Forgotten Son? General John Joseph Coppinger

Many of Midleton’s men and women have emigrated down through the years, settling all over the globe and becoming part of the Irish diaspora. Some went on to become relatively famous abroad- for example Nellie Cashman– a woman who will be the topic a future post. However one man, although his family name remains closely associated with Midleton, is not well-known in the town of his birth. This is despite the fact that he is undoubtedly one of the town’s most successful and colourful emigrants. His name was John Joseph Coppinger.

Coppinger was born in Midleton on 11th October 1834, into the powerful Catholic landowning family. He was one of six children of William Joseph Coppinger and Margaret O’Brien. We don’t know much about John’s early life, until he begins his first associations with the military- associations that would continue across more than half a century. He first tested out the military in the 1st Regiment of the Warwickshire Militia- The London Gazette of 12th October 1855 recorded that ‘John Joseph Coppinger Gent.’ was to be an Ensign from the 29th September. However, his life of adventure really started in 1860 when he became a Captain in the Papal Battalion, a group of Irishmen which travelled to Italy to defend the Papal States from the ongoing efforts to reunify Italy. During the fighting there the young Midleton man performed well- his defence of the La Rocca gateway that September earned him the position of Chevalier and two Papal decorations. (1)

Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede (For the Chair of Peter) awarded to members of the Papal Battalion, including John Joseph Coppinger (Robert Doyle)

Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede (For the Chair of Peter) awarded to members of the Papal Battalion, including John Joseph Coppinger (Robert Doyle)

When the Papal War was lost, John Joseph Coppinger was one of a number of men in the Battalion who elected not to return home permanently. Instead he travelled to the United States. According to one account, upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, Archbishop Hughes of New York sought advice from clergy in Ireland as to young Irishmen of influence who might come to America to become officers: …’Bishop Keane, the patriotic prelate of Cloyne, who had been parish priest of Midleton, recommended [Coppinger]…and he was one of six young Irishmen who came to the United States as commissioned officers.‘ (2)

So began John Joseph Coppinger’s long an extremely successful career in the United States military. In September 1861 he was appointed to the rank of Captain in the 14th United States Infantry. Joining the Union Army of the Potomac in July of 1862, he was severely wounded when he was shot through the neck at the Second Battle of Bull Run on 30th August. Lucky to survive, it took him six months to recuperate. John returned to active duty and in 1863 participated in the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. (3)

General Torbert and his staff during the American Civil War. John Joseph Coppinger is seated at the front left (Library of Congress)

General Torbert and his staff during the American Civil War. John Joseph Coppinger is seated at the front left (Library of Congress)

During the Civil War Coppinger was brevetted a Major for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Trevilian Station on 12th June 1864, and brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel for the same reason after the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19th October that year. At the time he had been serving on the staff of Cavalry General Alfred Torbert. Recommended for promotion by men such as George Armstrong Custer and Phil Sheridan, Coppinger was appointed Colonel of the 15th New York Cavalry on 19th January 1865, a position he held until the close of the war. (4)

Detail of the Civil War photograph showing Midleton's John Joseph Coppinger (Library of Congress)

Detail of the Civil War photograph showing Midleton’s John Joseph Coppinger (Library of Congress)

After the war Coppinger returned to the rank of Captain in the regular army and was transferred to the 23rd United States Infantry, with whom he served on the Western Plains. He earned another brevet, this time to Colonel in 1868, for ‘energy and zeal while in command of troops operating against hostile Indians in 1866, 1867 and 1868.’  In 1871 he returned to Cork to attend to family business resulting from a bereavement, and took the opportunity to visit Egypt. However, it was always his intention to return to the United States, and he was soon back in the American West. The Midleton man had a reputation as a dashing officer, and after his return to America he landed in hot water, when he was accused of seducing another man’s wife in California. Described by his accuser as ‘a gay Lothario in epaulettes…a…bold, unprincipled adventurer …a serpent’, Coppinger was outraged by what he described as ‘infamous falsehoods’, but whoever was in the right, the incident eventually died down. It did not hurt his military career, as John was promoted to Major in 10th United States Infantry in 1879 and Lieutenant-Colonel in the 18th United States Infantry in 1883. 1883 was also the year he finally married, tying the knot with Alice Stanwood Blaine (25 years his junior) in Washington D.C. on 6th February. The wedding was attended by President Arthur and his cabinet, a mark of how high Coppinger had risen. The couple would go on to have two sons, Blaine and Conor, but Alice would die tragically young just seven years later, during an influenza epidemic. (5)

John’s march through the ranks of the army continued. He was promoted to  Colonel as a result of service rendered against hostile Native Americans between 1886-1888, and took command of the 23rd United States Infantry in 1891. He finally became a Brigadier-General on 25th April 1895. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, the Cork native took charge of the 1st Independent Division in Mobile, Alabama. He later served as Major-General of Volunteers commanding the IV Corps. John Joseph Coppinger retired from his 36 year career in the U.S. military on 11th October 1898. The Midleton man died in Washington D.C. on 4th November 1909, where he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (6)

General Coppinger during the Spanish-American War, 1898 (National Archives)

General Coppinger during the Spanish-American War, 1898 (National Archives)

Today John Joseph Coppinger is all but forgotten in his home town. Indeed he is one of the many hundreds if not thousands of men from around Midleton and East Cork who fought in the American Civil War and who are no longer remembered at home. Surely one of Midleton’s most successful and noteworthy emigrants, remembering John Joseph Coppinger’s life is hopefully something that will improve in the future.

The grave of General John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery (Brian C. Pohanka via Find A Grave)

The grave of General John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery (Brian C. Pohanka via Find A Grave)

*The most comprehensive research on John Joseph Coppinger to date has been carried out by the late Brian C. Pohanka, who’s work is referenced in this article and should be rightfully acknowledged.

(1) Pohanka 2013, London Gazette 1855, Tucker 2009: 135, Irish Nation 1883; (2) Irish Nation 1883; (3) Foreman 1943: 125, Tucker 2009: 135; (4) Foreman 1943: 125, Hunt 2003: 84; (5) Foreman 1943: 125, Pohanka 2013, Irish Nation 1883; (6) Foreman 1943: 125, Tucker 2009: 135;

References

The Irish Nation 17th February 1883. Colonel Coppinger.

The London Gazette 12th October 1855. Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Warwick.

Foreman, Carolyn Thomas 1943. ‘General John Joseph Coppinger Commandant Fort Gibson’ in Chronicles of Oklahoma Volume 21, No. 2.

Hunt, Roger D. 2003. Colonels in Blue: Union Army Colonels of the Civil War: New York.

Pohanka, Brian 2013. Defender of the Faith and the Union Cork Born John Joseph Coppinger 

Tucker, Spencer 2005 (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars

John Joseph Coppinger Find A Grave Memorial

Categories: Famous Links, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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