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

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

The Castles of Midleton

This week we were delighted to have Jenny O’Brien of Christ King Girls Secondary School in South Douglas working in Rubicon’s Midleton Office. Jenny is a Transition Year student, and was with us to learn more about the work we do in archaeology and heritage. As part of that, Jenny undertook a project for the Midleton Archaeology & Heritage blog to look at some local castles in the area. Jenny spent time researching a number of them before writing up her findings. Today she took to the field to photograph the sites and to share what she found with readers. Jenny has prepared the post below for us; everyone at Rubicon would like to thank her for her help, and for exploring the story of some of these sites for us!

Location of the Castles discussed in the text (Hannah Sims)

Location of the Castles discussed in the text (Hannah Sims)

Ballyvodock West

Ballyvodock West is a roughly square tower. Only the ground floor remains, except in the South-East corner where the first floor wall survives. (1) The Hodnetts, William and John Oge, were in residence here in 1582. John fitz Edmund Oge died in 1597 in possession of Ballyvodock West, which was then inherited by his son, William. In 1621, William mortgaged the property to Ludovic O’Cahill. (3) How Ballyvodock West came to be in ruins is something of a mystery. Some sources say it was destroyed by gunpowder in the last decade of the 17th century. (3) Other sources say it was blown up in the 1640s, during the Eleven Years War. (6)

Ballyvodock West Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballyvodock West Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Cahermone

Cahermone is a rectangular tower. Today, it is four storeys tall, although it was originally higher. It has an early 17th century appearance. (1) Cahermone was built around 1450 by John Fitzgerald.(8) In 1571, John fitz Edmund of Cloyne acquired the land and took up residence here. (3) In the farmyard, there is an arch stone inscribed with the date 1579, when John fitz Edmund may have renovated the house. (2) John fitz Edmund of Cloyne was then driven into Cork City by his cousin and namesake, John fitz Edmund of Castlemartyr, Seneschal of Imokilly. He returned to Cahermone in 1583. He later abandoned Cahermore for Ballymalloe. (3) In the 1650s, Cahermone was passed to Sir John Broderick. It is now situated on the private grounds of a farm. (8)

Cahermone Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Cahermone Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Coppingerstown

Coppingerstown is located in a farmyard. It is four storeys tall, with a conjoined one storey structure. It is connected with the Coppinger and Cotter families. (1) William Shane Cotter lived at Coppingerstown in the mid-16th century, but owned a lot of land elsewhere. The Cotters mortgaged the bulk of their land to John fitz Edmund of Cloyne, who occupied Cahermone. By 1589, Shane Ode MacCotter, brother and heir to William, had only Coppingerstown and Gearagh to leave to his son. In 1638, Shane’s grandson, William, mortgaged Coppingstown to Charles Caldwell, an Anglican clergyman. William’s lands were confiscated by the Cromwellian administration in the early 1650s. (3) Unfortunately the surviving elements of this castle appear to have recently collapsed.

Coppingerstown Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Coppingerstown Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Ballintotis

Ballintotis is a small, four storey tower. There is no door to the second floor, and it was probably entered through a manhole from below. Very little of its history is known. (4) Some consider the theory that the tower may have been part of the ‘outer defences’ of nearby Castlemartyr. (5) The tower was granted to George Moore in 1579, but was recovered soon after by the Fitzgeralds. (6)

Ballintotis Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballintotis Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

Castleredmond

There is no visible surface trace of Castleredmond. (1) The site has been excavated, starting in June 2001 when three test-trenches were dug. They revealed a 1 metre section of the wall, 0.7 metres in height, made of limestone blocks. In December of that year, three more test-trenches were excavated and they exposed the limestone bedrock. Most of the remainder of the site has been filled with stone. (7)
This castle was ruinous by 1625. It was written by a man called Lewis in the 1840s that Castleredmond was built by a Redmond Fitzgerald during the reign of Henry VIII. Lewis then contradicted himself by saying that the last pre-Reformation Roman Catholic bishop of Cloyne was born in the castle. The bishop he refers to appears to have been part of a family living in Castlemartyr. Several sources say that Castleredmond may have been part of Corabbey. Corabbey was then owned by the Barry family, who seemed to be very connected to the Redmond family, as their names appear together often. (3)

Castleredmond Castle (Site Of) (Jenny O'Brien)

Castleredmond Castle (Site Of) (Jenny O’Brien)

Ballyannan

Ballyannan was a two storey, fortified house with an attic, and is now roofless. (1) The first building on the land was owned by the Hodnett family. (8) By 1601 the Hodnetts appear to have lost control of Ballyannan. Edward Gould, a Cork merchant, had the land in his possession by 1641. (3) In 1653, Sir John Broderick, a Cromwellian settler, took possession of the estate and rebuilt it into the fortified Tudor mansion that we see in the ruins today. (8)

Ballyannan Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballyannan Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

References
1. “Archaeological Inventory of County Cork. Volume 2: East and South Cork”
2. “The Old Castles around Cork Harbour” – J. Coleman, 1915
3. “The Chronicles of Midleton” – Jeremiah Falvey, 1998
4. “Antiquarian Remains and Historic Spots around Cloyne” – J. Coleman, 1913
5. “The Castles of County Cork” – J. N. Healy, 1988
6. “The Castles of South Munster” – Mike Salter, 2004
7. http://www.iamlai.com – Sheila Lane, Consulting Archaeologist
8. http://www.castles.nl

Categories: Midleton Archaeology | 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

‘Few Families…Suffered As We Did:’ War of Independence Pension Files Associated with Midleton

The Military Archives have released another tranche of material relating to the Easter Rising, War of Independence and Civil War. Included among them are some more pension files that connect to service during the War of Independence around the Midleton area. There will be further releases in the coming months and years, but already there is much to interest us locally among what is available. The pension files in particular can contain great insights into the War of Independence in East Cork. Take for example the statement included in the pension application of Christina Ahern, of Cumman na mBan, charting her experiences during the conflict:

From the inception of the volunteers in East Cork, our house, situated midway between Carrigtwohill and Midleton, was a recognised clearing house for all Volunteers activities. We also had a business in Cobh and maintained daily communication for volunteer purposes there. As stated in my claim our house was burned and my eldest brother brutally killed and things got so bad that we could not engage a farm labourer as they would not stay any time with us. Actually some members of the A.S.U. [Active Service Unit] were sent to us from time to time to assist in the farm work and to provide protection. Both my mother and an invalid sister died shortly after the Truce and their deaths can be attributable to a certain extent to the strain they had undergone. My younger brother who was a very active volunteer officer and a member of the A.S.U. died in 1923. As a result of all our activities our farm property had eventually to be sold and our prosperous market gardening business at Cobh had to close up. I think I can honestly say that few families in the South of Ireland suffered as we did. I am not claiming from a sympathetic point of view but for my service as O/C [Officer Commanding] of the Cumann na mBan and the statements made in my claim can be fully verified.

The burnt cottage at Clonmult, where 12 members of the local Flying Column were killed (a further two were executed later). Many of these men had participated in the Midleton Ambush.

The burnt cottage at Clonmult, where 12 members of the local Flying Column were killed (a further two were executed later).

All of these files are free to access and we would encourage you to explore them. Those currently available with direct links to Midleton are as follows (click on the hyperlinks to access the file):

 

Categories: 20th Century, War of Independence | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cork’s Darkest Day of World War Two? Cork Losses on HMS Glorious, 75 Years Ago

The 8th June 2015 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the Royal Navy’s costliest engagements of World War Two. This date also has significance for Cork, as it almost certainly represents the worst single day’s loss of Cork men serving in Allied forces during the entire conflict. On that day at least 22 natives of the Rebel county were killed when HMS Glorious, HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta encountered the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the coast of Norway. The vast majority of them were in their late teens and early twenties. 

HMS Glorious in May 1940 (U.S. Naval Historical Center)

HMS Glorious in May 1940 (U.S. Naval Historical Center)

In early June 1940 the Royal Naval Aircraft Carrier HMS Glorious had been sent to Narvik to assist with the evacuation of British forces from Norway. Early on the morning of 8th June, she set through the Norwegian Sea for her return trip to Scapa Flow, accompanied by her two destroyer escorts, HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta. Around 4 o’clock that afternoon the Glorious spotted two vessels on their western horizon. Disastrously for the isolated vessels, these proved to be the extremely formidable German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

HMS Ardent was the first to close with the Germans as she sought to identify the ships; she came under fire from them just before 4.30. In an effort to protect the Glorious from the enemy, Ardent released smoke to conceal her charge. Before the smoke took full effect, Glorious was struck for the first time. The distance at which the Scharnhorst hit her– 24,000 metres, or some 24km– illustrates the extreme range under which naval combat could commence. Over the course of the next two hours the Glorious sought to escape while the Ardent and Acasta tried desperately to protect her. Their efforts were doomed. Ardent was the first to be sunk, going down at around 5.25 pm. Glorious was sent to the bottom around 6.10, followed by Acasta some ten minutes later. There were few survivors; for those who did succeed in getting off the ships, the failure of the German vessels to pick up survivors consigned many to death by exposure. Only around 45 men survived– a staggering 1,519 sailors were lost. (1)

Each of the three Royal Naval ships carried Irishmen among their compliments. Below are details on the 22 Corkmen and 15 other Irish sailors from the 26 counties who we have identified as being lost that day. Where possible we have sought to uncover more detail about their origins through baptismal records and Census returns, but we are eager to hear from readers who may have additional information on any of them. Behind each of their names are individual stories of life and, ultimately, loss. Among their number are young men like 19-year-old Patrick Pearse Murphy from Cork City, a boy clearly named for the 1916 Revolutionary leader, who ultimately gave his life fighting for the British against Nazi Germany. Tragically the list also includes brothers James and Joseph Regan; it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for their family in Leap, Co. Cork, when word came through that both had been lost aboard Glorious, 75 years ago next week.

The Scharnhorst (German Federal Archives)

The Scharnhorst (German Federal Archives)

HMS Glorious 

Barrett, James. Leading Seaman, age 26. Son of William and Margaret Barrett, Bandon. Co. Cork. The 1911 Census records James’s father William (34), a shoemaker, living with his wife Margaret (26), son John (3) and daughter Elizabeth (2) at 24 Cavendish Quay in Bandon.

Calnan, Timothy. Stoker First Class, age not given. Son of Timothy and Hannah Calnan, Lispatrick, Co. Cork. Timothy Senior was recorded as a39-year-old fisherman in the 1911 Census. He lived at a house in Lispatrick Lower, Ballymackean with his new wife Hannah (31) and niece Maggie (16).

Daunt, James. Chief Petty Officer, age 37. Son of Thomas and Teresa Daunt of Rostellan, Co. Cork. The 1911 Census records the Daunt family at house 12 in Farsid, Rostellan. James was then 9-years-old and living with his 28-year-old mother Teresa and 2-year-old sister Emily. 

Hayes, Denis Anthony. Able Seaman, age 22. Son of Timothy and Helena Hayes, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

Holland, James Christopher Holland. Stoker First Class, age 25. Son of James and Mary Holland of Kinsale, Co. Cork.

Kelly, Joseph Patrick. Petty Officer Writer, age 23. Son of Patrick J. and Helena M. Kelly, Summerhill, Co. Cork.

McCarthy, John David. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Timothy and Mary McCarthy, Kinsale. Co. Cork.

Minihane, Denis John. Stoker First Class, age 23. Son of Denis and Mary Minihane, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork. The only Denis Minihane on the 1911 Census was a 21-year-old agricultural labourer and is likely Denis John’s father. He lived in Downeen.

Murphy, John Stanislaus. Stoker First Class, age 22. Son of John T. and Sheila Murphy, Youghal, Co. Cork.

Murphy, Patrick Pearse. Able Seaman, age 19. Son of Patrick J. and Ellen Murphy of Cork. Born in Cork City in 1920. 

O’Brien, James Francis. Stoker First Class, age 25. Son of Denis and Mary O’Brien of Cork.

O’Leary, Joseph. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Daniel and Mary O’Leary, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. In 1911 Joseph’s parents Daniel (a 30-year-old agricultural labourer) and Mary (20) had just celebrated the birth of their son Michael John who was 6 months old. They lived with Mary’s parents and siblings at a house in Knockskagh, Clonakilty. 

Regan, James. Leading Stoker, age 24. Son of Jeremiah and Margaret Regan, Leap, Co. Cork. His brother Joseph died with him. As far as I can establish the Regan’s father Jeremiah was originally from Brulea, Co. Cork.

Regan, Joseph. Stoker First Class, age 22. Son of Jeremiah and Margaret Regan, Leap, Co. Cork. His brother James died with him.

Regan, Timothy. Able Seaman, age 33. Son of Jeremiah and Mary Regan, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork.

Roche, John Michael. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Nicholas John and Margaret Roche, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork.

Russell, Denis Augustine. Stoker Second Class, age 20. Son of Jeremiah and Catherine Russell, Cork. Denis was born in Cork City in 1919.

Stack, Thomas. Petty Officer Stoker, age 36. Son of Michael and Hanna Stack, Youghal, Co. Cork. In 1911 the Stacks lived at 4 Foxes Lane, Youghal. Thomas was (incorrectly?) recorded as a 2-year-old boy living with his father Michael, a 34-year-old general labourer, his mother Johanna (30), sisters Mary (3) and Ellen (1).

Thornhill, John. Able Seaman, age 19. Son of John and Mary Thornhill, Watergrasshill, Co. Cork.

HMS Ardent (Imperial War Museum FL870)

HMS Ardent (Imperial War Museum FL870)

HMS Ardent

Hegarty, Michael John. Able Seaman, age 28. Son of Michael and Anne Hegarty of Castletownshend, Co. Cork.

Lucey, James Joseph. Leading Seaman, age 26. Son of Denis and Mary Lucey of Cork.

HMS Acasta (Wikipedia)

HMS Acasta (Wikipedia)

HMS Acasta

Kiernan, Francis Augustin. Supply Assistant, age 25. Son of Francis R. and Margaret M. Kiernan of Cork. Francis was born in Cork City in 1914. 

Kevin Myers has noted that 65 men from the island of Ireland died as a result of the sinkings of Glorious, Ardent and Acasta. Aside from the 22 Cork men outlined above, I have identified a further 15 men from the the 26 counties who perished on that June day. Their names are recorded below. (2)

The Gneisenau (German Federal Archives)

The Gneisenau (German Federal Archives)

Other Irish Casualties

Byrne, Patrick William. HMS Glorious. Stoker Second Class, age 23. Son of Peter and Mary Byrne, Dublin.

Collins, James. HMS Glorious. Stoker First Class, age not given. Son of Michael and Mina C. Collins, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare.

Doyle, Benedict Leo. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 24. Son of Michael and Mary Doyle, Dublin.

Duggan, Dermot Harry Tuthill. HMS Ardent. Surgeon Lieutenant, age 27. Son of Captain George Grant Duggan (Royal Irish Fusiliers) and Dorothy De Courcy Duggan, Foxrock, Co. Dublin. Dorothy not only lost her son in World War Two, but her husband in World War One. George, an Irish international cross-country runner, was killed in Gallipoli on 16th August 1915 and is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

Fogarty, Marcus. HMS Glorious. Leading Sick Berth Attendant, no age given. Son of William and Ellen Fogarty, Killenaule, Co Tipperary.

Forsyth, John Thomas. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 20. Son of John and Amy Forsythe, Sandycove, Co. Dublin.

Keogh, Patrick Kevin. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 19. Son of Mary and Jane Keogh of Dublin.

Koyce, John. HMS Acasta. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Patrick and Hannah Koyce of Limerick.

Langan, Maurice. HMS Glorious. Stoker First Class, age 33. Son of Peter and Anne Langan, Tarbert, Co. Kerry.

McGhee, Edmond. HMS Glorious. Ordinary Seaman, age 18. Son of John and Elizabeth McGhee, Kilkenny

Pearse, George Passmore. HMS Glorious. Surgeon Lieutenant, age 31. Son of Charles Perrin Pearse and Ellen Gertrude Pearse, Glenageary, Co. Dublin.

Pender, John. HMS Glorious. Ordinary Seaman, age 19. Son of Mrs. C. Pender, Gorey, Co. Wexford.

Porter, William. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 26. Son of William and Mary Porter, Annamore, Co. Wicklow.

Stuart, Francis. HMS Glorious. Petty Officer Stoker, age 31. Son of James and Alice Stuart, Marino, Co. Dublin.

White, William Patrick. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 27. Son of Christopher and Catharine White, Dermotstown, Delahasey, Co. Dublin.

(1) Howland, McMurtie; (2) Myers;

References

Howland, Vernon M. Loss of HMS Glorious

McMurtie, Francis E. 1946. The Tragedy of HMS Glorious

Commonwealth Wargraves Commission

Myers, Kevin., 9th June 2010, Irish Independent. Let Us Not Forget Irish Deaths in Calamitous Events of 1940. 

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Cork Men Who Died at Dunkirk & in the Fall of France, 75 Years Ago

On 10th May 1940, 75 years ago, the German army swept into the Low Countries and France. It was a campaign that culminated in Operation Dynamo– the famed evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk a little less than a month later. The Irish Free State remained neutral during the conflict, but despite this large numbers of Irishmen served in Allied forces during the war. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary we have been looking at local men who were involved in the 1940 fighting, and also taking a wider look at the impact of the Fall of France on Cork families.

The Commonwealth Wargraves Commission records 14 men with Cork connections who died during the campaign. There are undoubtedly many more– if you have details of any please pass them on to us. They include Private John Cashman of the Leicestershire Regiment, formerly of 12 Railway Terrace in Midleton. He was killed in action on 26th May 1940 and is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial. Another is Stoker Patrick Stanton of H.M.S. Havant, from Rostellan. He was killed during a Stuka attack on 2nd June 1940. It is worth sparing a thought for these and the other Cork men who lost their lives trying to stem the Nazi onslaught in the summer of 1940, 75 years ago.

British troops wading out to a destroyer to evacuate at Dunkirk © IWM (HU 41240)

British troops wading out to a destroyer to evacuate at Dunkirk © IWM (HU 41240)

2nd Class Aircraftman (Wireless Operator) Patrick Aherne, 110 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Age 20. Son of William Aherne and Bridget Aherne (Shanahan) of Youghal. Died 14th May 1940. Buried Sedan-Torcy French National Cemetery. Patrick served on a Bristol Blenheim light bomber and died when his plane was taken down while attacking German forces around Sedan. You can find more details on his plane here.

A Blenheim of 110 Squadron in August 1940 © IWM (HU 104641)

A Blenheim of Patrick Aherne’s 110 Squadron in August 1940 © IWM (HU 104641)

Private Patrick Daniel Foley, 7th Royal Sussex Regiment

Age 21. Son of Richard and Hanna Foley of Cork. Died 20th May 1940. Dunkirk Memorial. Patrick served in A Company, and died in the battalion’s first encounter with German troops. You can read about their experiences facing German tanks and infantry on 20th May in the battalion War Diary here.

Flying Officer (Pilot) Francis Derek Bird, 59 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Age 23. Son of John Bowyer Bird and Elizabeth Mary Bird of Buttevant. Died 22nd May 1940. Winner 440 yards and equal first in the Long Jump, Inter Services Athletic Meeting, 1937. Francis’s father John appears on the 1911 Census living as a boarder in the Nice residence at 150 Davis Street, Mallow. He was a Detective Inspector in the R.I.C. Like Patrick Aherne, Derek flew a Bristol Blenheim. His aircraft was shot down near Fricourt.

Blenheims of 59 Squadron taking off in France in 1940 © IWM (C 1166)

Blenheims of Francis Bird’s 59 Squadron taking off in France in 1940 © IWM (C 1166)

Guardsman Brian O’Flynn, 2nd Irish Guards

Age 20. Son of William and Kate O’Flynn of Cork. Date of death unknown, but between 23rd May and 4th June 1940. Buried Outreau Communal Cemetery.The 2nd Irish Guards were particularly heavily engaged around Boulogne. You can read more about that engagement here.

Fusilier William Joseph Steele, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers

Age 20. Son of William and Annie Steele of Cork, husband of Kathleen Josephine Steele of Spangle Hill, Cork. Died 26th May 1940. Buried Dunkirk Town Cemetery.

The 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1940 © IWM (O 159)

Joseph Steele’s 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1940 © IWM (O 159)

Fusilier Michael Keating, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers

Age 22. Son of Michael and Christina Keating of Carrigrohane. Died 26th May 1940. Buried Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

Men of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers manning a French anti-tank gun in France, 1940 © IWM (F 2149)

Men of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Michael Keatings regiment, manning a French anti-tank gun in France, 1940 © IWM (F 2149)

Private Timothy Patrick Cronin, 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment

Age 27. Son of Stoker 1st Class Christopher Cronin, Royal Navy and Christine Cronin of Cork. Died 26th May 1940. Dunkirk Memorial. Christine Cronin not only lost her son at Dunkirk– her husband Christopher had also died on active service while serving on H.M.S. Swindon on 30th November 1919. He is buried in Lyre Catholic Churchyard. You can read about the Dorsetshire actions along the La Bassée Canal where Timothy was killed here.

Inspection of men of the 2nd Dorsetshires in France, 1940 © IWM (F 2572)

Inspection of men of the 2nd Dorsetshires in France, 1940, the regiment in which Timothy Cronin served © IWM (F 2572)

Private John Cashman, 2/5th Leicestershire Regiment

Age 31. Son of Thomas and Margaret Cashman of Midleton. Died 26th May 1940. Dunkirk Memorial. The 1911 Census shows the family living at 12 Railway Terrace in Midleton. Then 3-year-old John was living with his sisters Mary (7) Margaret (6), mother Margaret (30), father Thomas (40) who worked as a carrier, and grandfather John (70) who was a retired groom. You can see a photo of John and details of his service here.

Stoker 1st Class William John O’Shea, H.M.S. Pangbourne

Age 28. Son of Dennis and Maria O’Shea of Drishane. Died 31st May 1940. Dover (St. James’s) Cemetery. The 1911 Census shows William’s parents Dennis (34), a farmer, and Maria (22) living with Dennis’s brother Cornelius (26) and parents William (69) and Margaret (68) at 13 Drishane More. William died as a result of wounds inflicted during a Stuka dive bomber attack on his vessel as part of the evacuation. For an extremely graphic account of this attack and its impact on Pangbourne click here.

HMS Pangbourne © IWM (FL 17237)

HMS Pangbourne, the vessel on which William O’Shea suffered his mortal wound © IWM (FL 17237)

Able Seaman Harry Vincent Hazeldene, H. M. Tug St. Abbs

No age given. Son of William and Elisabeth Hazeldene of Blackrock. Died 1st June 1940. Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Harry lost his life when the St. Abbs was sunk by German aircraft off Dunkirk during the evacuation. You can see details of where the St. Abbs now rests on the seafloor here.

Leading Stoker Patrick Stanton, H.M.S. Havant

Age 40. Son of Patrick and Bridget Stanton of Midleton. Died 2nd June 1940. Plymouth Naval Memorial. Patrick was killed when Stukas bombed the Havant during the Dunkirk evacuation. The 1911 Census records Patrick aged 12 living at 21 Ballynafarsid, Rostellan with his parents Patrick (42), a coachman, mother Bridget (43) and large group of siblings; Margaret (17), Bridget (14), Sarah (11), Christina (7), Daniel (6), Richard (5), Thomas (4), William (3) and baby Francis. You can read about the Havant here.

HMS Havant (Wikipedia)

HMS Havant, on which Patrick Stanton died (Wikipedia)

Sapper John Healy, 2nd Stevedores, Royal Engineers

Age 46. Husband of Ellen Healy of Spangle Hill. Died 3rd June 1940. Buried Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.

Sapper David Fox, 2nd Stevedores, Royal Engineers

Age 40. Son of Patrick Fox and Catherine Fox (Helleher) of Cork, husband of Mary Fox (O’Connor) of Cork. Died 3rd June 1940. Buried Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre. The 1911 Census shows 12-year-old David living in an apartment at 41 Boyce’s Street in Cork with his mother Kate (54), laborer brothers William (23) and John (21) and sister Bridget (15). It is interesting to note that David served in the same unit as John Healy, they died on the same day, and are buried in the same cemetery.

Lance Corporal Robert Allen, 1st Supply Base Depot, Royal Engineers

Age 26. Son of John George Allen and Susan Allen of Cork. Died 17th June 1940. Dunkirk Memorial.

Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1939 © IWM (O 758)

Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1939 © IWM (O 758)

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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

The Story of Ambrose Haley: The World War One Australian Digger Buried in Midleton Graveyard

On 30th December 1918 a party of mourners were led by Canon O’Connor to an open graveside beside the main path at the Church of the Holy Rosary cemetery in Midleton. Those in attendance had walked to the church from the railway station at the other side of town, where they had met and formed a cortège behind a flag-draped coffin. The elm casket had been carried to the church by Timothy Murphy undertakers, who were based on the Main Street. Passers-by would have noted a number of unusual aspects to the funeral; the flag was not the Union Jack, as might be expected, but rather was adorned with the Southern Star. As well as that, the soldiers in attendance wore the slouch hat that marked them not as British troops, but men of the Australian Imperial Force. The young man in the coffin– Ambrose Augustine Haley– was laid to rest in the cemetery following a requiem mass. But he was not a local; indeed he had been born and raised on the other side of the world, thousands of miles away in Tasmania. How was it that he had come to be buried in East Cork? We decided to explore his story. (1)

Gunner Ambrose Haley (Australian War Memorial)

Gunner Ambrose Haley (Australian War Memorial)

Ambrose Augustine Haley was born to Thomas Haley and Mary Ann Haley (née Fox) on 7th December 1892 in Portland, Tasmania. Thomas worked as a clerk, and not long after Ambrose’s birth the family moved along the coast to St. Helens. There Thomas ended up working for J.C. Mac Michael & Co. General Merchants and Importers, who had branches in both St. Helens and Lottah. As Ambrose grew to adulthood he embarked on a career as an accountant, but also found time for more martial pursuits, spending a year in the cadets. (2)

Ambrose was not among the first rush of volunteers for service in the army; indeed he was not the first of his family to join the colours. His younger brother Jack enlisted in the recently formed 40th Battalion at Claremont, Tasmania on 8th March 1916. The 21-year-old shop assistant must have looked forward to heading to the seat of action, but he was to be disappointed. After just over a month Jack was discharged as medically unfit. The reason was the impaired vision he suffered in his left eye, the result of an accident with a whip when he was a child. Ambrose decided to take the plunge only a few months after his brother. On 7th November 1916, at the age of 23 years 11 months, the young accountant entered a Claremont recruiting office; when he emerged he was a gunner in the Australian army. The following year a third brother, Urban, would make the same journey. He enlisted on 23rd March 1917 at the age of 20– as he was under 21 his parents had to sign a permission slip for him to be deployed overseas. Thomas and Mary Ann consented, but his father stipulated that the consent was predicated on the fact that ‘he goes in a clerical position as promised by the Minister of Defence in the case of Military Staff Clerks.’ By this point in the war, everyone was aware of the risks. (3)

Australian artillerymen laying an 18 pounder at Maribyrnong in 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

Australian artillerymen laying an 18 pounder at Maribyrnong in 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

Ambrose spent the first few weeks of his service in Tasmania, before leaving his island home for what would prove the final time in January 1917. On the 9th of that month he sailed for the mainland, where he joined a pool of artillery reinforcements based at Maribyrnong near Melbourne. Here he waited for his deployment overseas while training continued. On 11th May Ambrose boarded the troop transport Ascanius, bound for Devonport, Plymouth. The young Tasmanian was off to join the Australian Imperial Force in Europe. The arduous journey to the other side of the world took more than two months, and Ambrose didn’t have a good time of it. He had to spend a day in the ship’s hospital en-route, and was no doubt delighted to finally arrive in England on 20th July 1917. (4)

The Ascanius which brought Ambrose to Europe (Australian War Memorial)

The Ascanius which brought Ambrose to Europe (Australian War Memorial)

It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like for the young Tasmanian arriving in England for the first time, but whatever his feelings, Ambrose was given little time to acclimatise. He was immediately whisked off to Larkhill in Wiltshire, home to the School of Instruction for Royal Horse and Field Artillery. For nearly eight weeks he continued his training as a gunner with No. 3 Battery, Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery, before word finally came that he was on the move again– this time to the Western Front. The 18th September 1917 found Ambrose in Southampton, boarding a vessel bound for France. (5)

Australian artillery in action in Passchendaele, October 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

Australian artillery in action in Passchendaele, October 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

In France Ambrose initially formed part of the 12th Reinforcements of the 15th Field Artillery Brigade, but within a few days he received his permanent assignment. He became a gunner in the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, which formed part of the artillery compliment of the 1st Division, Australian Imperial Force. When he joined his new unit in Belgium on 5th October, they were in the midst of the bloody slog that was the Third Battle of Ypres, better known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Having spent months in training and traveling, Ambrose was finally at the front. It was not an environment he would experience for very long. (6)

Shell dump for Australian artillery at 'Birr Crossroads', near Ypres in October 1917, the mnth Ambrose was wounded © IWM (E(AUS) 1991)

Shell dump for Australian artillery at ‘Birr Crossroads’, near Ypres in October 1917– the month Ambrose was wounded © IWM (E(AUS) 1991)

Only six days after joining his unit, on 11th October 1917, Ambrose was shot in the left arm. He was rushed to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance at Wippenhoek, which was described as ‘an old and very well designed rest station to accommodate 300 cases.’ Among the facilities were a number of rudimentary buildings, including a hospital nissen hut and a small kitchen. Ambrose was one of 23 men admitted to the Field Ambulance on the 11th, which at the time was caring for 249 patients. (7)

Members of the 13th Australian Field Ambulance at Passchendaele © IWM (E(AUS) 839)

Members of the 13th Australian Field Ambulance at Passchendaele © IWM (E(AUS) 839)

From Wippenhoek, Ambrose was moved to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station. By the 12th October he was a patient in the 7th Canadian General Hospital at Étaples, the major depot area for British and Commonwealth troops in France. His long road to recovery was only just beginning. He was still in hospital in February 1918, four months after he was hit. Shortly thereafter it appears he had recovered sufficiently to be given some leave. It was probably at this time that Ambrose traveled to Ireland, although he may have done so when he initially arrived in Europe. The reason he visited is also the reason that would ultimately see him buried in the town. Midleton had been the home of Ambrose’s grandmother, Mary Josephine Lynch. Mary had apparently been one of the first pupils of Midleton’s Presentation Convent, before she emigrated to Colebrook, Tasmania in the mid-19th century. Ambrose’s mother Mary Ann Fox was her daughter. Apparently no fewer than six of Mary Josephine Lynch’s grandchildren and a son-in-law enlisted in the Australian military during World War One. According to the Irish Examiner, the same Midleton Lynch family also had men serving in the American army in France. Ambrose’s grandmother had lived on William Street (now the New Cork Road), and the young Tasmanian Digger still had Lynch relatives living there. The 1911 Census records them at No. 51, where 79-year-old Margaret Lynch resided with her daughters Helen and Elizabeth, granddaughter Eileen O’Sullivan and boarder Daniel O’Flaherty. Ambrose supposedly stayed in this house during his visit. (8)

Notification that Ambrose had been wounded in 1917 (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

Notification that Ambrose had been wounded in 1917 (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

Eventually recovered, Ambrose was finally able to rejoin his unit on 31st August 1918. However, the unfortunate young man’s front line service was to again prove brief. He reported sick on 27th September, apparently suffering from slight deafness, no doubt caused by the noise of the guns. On 29th September he was sent to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen, before being shipped back to England aboard the Hospital Ship Essequibo on 2nd October. Ambrose finally ended up in the Graylingwell War Hospital in Chichester, where his condition continued to worsen. His parents, who had initially been informed that his condition was not serious, must have been shocked to receive a communication in Tasmania on 19th November that simply stated: ‘Now reported Gunner Ambrose Haley dangerously ill condition stationary further progress report expected.’ Ambrose’s brother Urban, who was serving as a Warrant Officer at Australian Imperial Force Headquarters on 130 Horseferry Road in London, likely tried to visit his stricken brother. It transpired that Ambrose’s body was ravaged with cancer; the disease had taken control of his pancreas lungs, spleen and ‘other organs.’ The 26-year-old Tasmanian succumbed to the illness on Christmas Day 1918. (9)

Notification of Ambrose's Death (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

Notification of Ambrose’s Death (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

So it was that five days later Ambrose’s brother Urban (who would soon receive the Meritorious Service Medal for devotion to duty during the period from September-November 1918) joined Australian Imperial Force representative Sergeant C.E. Hunkin in Holy Rosary cemetery, Midleton. The Haley’s Midleton relatives had offered their family grave as a final resting for their Tasmanian Digger cousin. One of those relatives– Timothy Christopher O’Sullivan– was of an age with Ambrose and probably attended the funeral. Less than three years later he would be the next person remembered at the plot, when he was killed while serving with the I.R.A. at the Clonmult Ambush on 20th February 1921, at the aged of 28. Military tragedy had not steered clear of the family for long. It is unlikely that Ambrose’s parents ever made it from Tasmania to Midleton to visit their son’s grave, but it must have given them some comfort to know that he rested with family. The story of their son, and that of the Lynches and O’Sullivans, is just one of thousands preserved in stone in the Midleton cemetery. (10)

The grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

The grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)


Close up of inscription on the grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

Close up of inscription on the grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

(1) Irish Examiner, Haley Service Record; (2) Tasmanian Births, Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (3) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record, John Marshall Haley Service Record, Urban Aloysius Joseph Haley Service Record; (4) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (5) Larkhill Camp, Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (6) Ibid.; (7) Ibid., 3rd Australian Field Ambulance War Diary; (8) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record, Irish Examiner, 1911 Census of Ireland; (9) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (10) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record, Urban Aloysius Joseph Haley Service Record;

References

Irish Examiner 2nd January 1919. Southern Items

1414 John Marshall Haley Australian War Service Record

34423 Ambrose Augustine Haley Australian War Service Record

3441 Urban Aloysius Joseph Haley Australian War Service Record

3rd Australian Field Ambulance War Diary, October 1917

Diggers History: Larkhill Camp

Tasmanian Births in the District of Portland, 1892

1911 Census of Ireland, 51 William Street Midleton

Categories: 20th Century, World War One | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Commonwealth Wargraves in the Church of the Holy Rosary Graveyard, Midleton

We went to the main Catholic graveyard in Midleton to have a look at the Commonwealth Wargraves related to World War One and World War Two, and to see if we could find any details on the men themselves. Of course there are numerous military-related graves in the Church of the Holy Rosary cemetery, from the I.R.A. volunteers killed and executed following the Clonmult Ambush during the War of Independence, to veterans of the armies and navies of both Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Below are those men buried in Midleton who died while in British service, and who are recorded by the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission. We supply short biographies of each one, but are eager to uncover more detail on their lives from readers. One of these men, Tasmanian Ambrose Augustine Haley, will be the subject of a more detailed post over the weekend.

Shipwright 2nd Class William Froyne, HMS Roxburgh

William died of disease on 24th May 1915. He was 33 years of age and served aboard HMS Roxburgh, an armoured cruiser. He was the husband of Mary Froyne of 10 St. Mary’s Road, Midleton. William was originally from Kilmore, Co. Wexford, and had married Mary Ballick of Midleton.

Shipwright 2nd Class William Froyne, HMS Roxburgh

Shipwright 2nd Class William Froyne, HMS Roxvurgh

HMS Roxburgh (Image via Rootsweb)

William’s ship, HMS Roxburgh (Image via Rootsweb)

Mechanician Patrick Lynch, HMS Revenge

Patrick died at sea at the age of 35 on 10th November 1918, the day before the armistice. He was serving aboard the dreadnought HMS Revenge. Patrick was the husband of Norah Lynch of Avoncore Cottages in Midleton. He had been born in Carrigtohill on 28th December 1881.

Mechanician Patrick Lynch, HMS Revenge

Mechanician Patrick Lynch, HMS Revenge

Patrick's ship, HMS Revenge (Wikipedia)

Patrick’s ship, HMS Revenge (Image via Wikipedia)

Gunner Ambrose Augustine Haley, Australian Field Artillery

Ambrose died at the age of 26 on 25th December 1918. He was from Australia and served in the Australian Imperial Force. We have carried out research into Ambrose’s life, and what led to him being buried in East Cork. His story will be the subject of the next post on the site.

Gunner Ambrose Augustine Haley, Australian Field Artillery

Gunner Ambrose Augustine Haley, Australian Field Artillery

Able Seaman Peter O’Reilly, HMS Marlborough

Peter died of disease at the age of 30 on 12th February 1919. He was serving aboard the battleship HMS Marlborough. He was born in Killorglin, Co. Kerry; his father Edward was from Ballyera, Ballincurrig.

Able Seaman Peter O'Reilly, HMS Marlborough

Able Seaman Peter O’Reilly, HMS Marlborough

Peter's ship, HMS Marlborough (Image via Wikipedia)

Peter’s ship, HMS Marlborough (Image via Wikipedia)

Private Edward Hayes, 6th Connaught Rangers

Edward (sometimes referenced as Edmond) died at the age of 27 on 25th September 1919. He was the son of Mrs. Bridget Hayes, Upper Mill Road, Midleton. The 1901 Census showed that he grew up in Broomfield West with his mother Bridget, grandmother Norah O’Callaghan, aunt Julia, uncle Stephen and older brother Christopher. As yet we know little of Edward’s service. The 6th Connaughts served in France and Flanders with the 16th (Irish) Division from 1915-1918, taking particularly punishing casualties at engagments such as the German Kaiserslacht Offensive of March 1918.

Private Edward Hayes, 6th Connaught Rangers

Private Edward Hayes, 6th Connaught Rangers

Private William Bridgeman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps

William died on 26th October 1940. Born in Ireland, he lived in London before his enlistment. We currently know little regarding his service or death.

Private William Bridgeman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps

Private William Bridgeman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps

Sergeant Stephen Joseph Coleman, Royal Army Service Corps

Stephen died on 15th October 1942. He was 42 years of age and had also served in World War One. He was the son of Hannah Coleman of Midleton. We find them in the 1911 Census living at 5 Park Street, with Stephen’s father Thomas working as Town Watchman. Stephen was the eldest of six at the time; he had three younger sisters and two younger brothers. He served as a driver in the army.

Sergeant Stephen Joseph Coleman, Royal Army Service Corps

Sergeant Stephen Joseph Coleman, Royal Army Service Corps

Categories: 20th Century, World War One | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘I Have Secured Your Name & Address Off An Egg’: A Midleton Woman’s Letter From An Aussie Wounded in Gallipoli

100 years ago the Gallipoli campaign was in full swing. Many Midleton men were there, and the local newspapers were keen to keep those on the home front informed. For example the Examiner reported details when Lieutenant T.D. Hallinan of Avoncore and Second Lieutenant Michael Moloney– the son of well-known Midleton lawyer John Moloney– were wounded. Not all of these men would come home. Private Patrick Egan from Park Street, a member of the 6th Royal Munster Fusiliers, was killed in Turkey on 14th August 1915. He has no known grave, and is today remembered on the Helles Memorial. But the men at the front proved not to be Midleton’s only link with the soldiers of Gallipoli. On Saturday, 11th September 1915, the Examiner carried an extraordinary story of how one ‘Australian bushman’, wounded at Gallipoli, came to write a letter to Mrs. Fitzgerald of Ballyannan, Midleton– a woman he had never met. The reason behind the correspondence all boiled down to one thing– an egg…

WW1 National Egg Collection (Library of Congress)

WW1 National Egg Collection (Library of Congress)

TRAVELLED 13,000 MILES TO FIGHT

Midleton, Friday.

The following very interesting letter, written by Melrose Mailer, a Lancashire Fusilier, wounded in the Gallipoli, and now in Stepping Hill Military Hospital, Hazel Grove, near Stockport, Lancashire, has been received by Mrs. Fitzgerald, of Ballyanon, Midleton, wife of an agricultural labourer, in the employment of Mr. Michael Buckley, J.P. The letter has come to be written by the wounded soldier to Mrs. Fitzgerald under extraordinary circumstance, and the incident is one worthy of mention. For months past Mrs. Fitzgerald has been giving regularly every week a small contribution of eggs for wounded soldiers in hospitals to the Ladies Committee of Midleton in charge of the collection of such welcome gifts. In common with other donors of eggs Mrs. Fitzgerald’s name and address are usually written on the eggs so given by her, as her humble war contribution. In this peculiar way the wounded soldier in the Lancashire Hospital got the name and address of Mrs. Fitzgerald, which were written on the shell of an egg that happened to form an item in the rations served to him on a morning recently. The letter, which speaks for itself, is as follows:-

“Dear Mrs. Fitzgerald- These few lines to you are from an Australian Bushman, who has travelled 13,000 miles to do his duty to the mother country. After arriving here in February last, I enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers, and went to the Dardanelles, where we fought side by side with the famous Irish regiments, the Dublins and Munster Fusiliers. God bless them. I, as one soldier, will never forget the bravery displayed by these dear Irish boys. I have, indeed, something to long remember. I was myself wounded in a bayonet charge on the 4th June last, and that day I shall never forget. All the boys fighting for their lives, and we had a splendid gain on the day, killing many Turks. After two operations I have had two fingers and half the palm of my left hand removed. I was also hit in the breast, but luckily that was not serious. I have no regrets for my sacrifice– many are worse off. I am only glad to be on Australian, serving as I am in an English regiment. I have no friends here in this part of the world, but my people are always thinking of me, and that is some satisfaction. I have secured your name and address off an egg, so excuse me for writing you these few lines. I enjoyed eating that egg, and I thought it only right that you should know it. If you feel disposed to write back to me, I shall be only too pleased to receive a line from you. Believe me, yours faithfully,

Melrose Mailer.

WW1 Poster for the National Egg Collection (Copyright Imperial War Museum)

WW1 Poster for the National Egg Collection (Copyright Imperial War Museum)

Mrs. Fitzgerald had been giving her eggs as part of a campaign drive across the UK and Ireland– the National Egg Collection– which sought to provide eggs for the wounded. The grateful recipient of her charitable efforts, Private James Melrose Mailer, appears to have initially enlisted on 11th May 1904. He was discharged from the Lancashire Fusiliers due to his Gallipoli wounds on 20th April 1916. It is not clear if Mrs. Fitzgerald ever did decide to enter into correspondence with the wounded Aussie.

Medal Index Card James Melrose Mailer of the Lancashire Fusiliers (National Archives)

Medal Index Card James Melrose Mailer of the Lancashire Fusiliers (National Archives)

References

Examiner 11th September 1915

Imperial War Museum Image: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30089

Library of Congress

Categories: World War One | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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