Friday, June 28, 2013

64. John and Esther's First Three Children

Section 1A: Hugh O’Neill

Hugh, born June 7, 1755        Died in 1773
 The first born of this large family was named Hugh in honor of the child’s grandfather. This birth is recorded in the old bible in these words: “Born June 7th, 1755, at ye Houre of Six in the Morning.”
This son died at about the age of eighteen years and just a few months before the birth of the eighth child, which was also a son. So this newborn addition to the family was given his dead brother’s name.  
             I made contact with Jeff O’Neill in Canberra, Australia, a descendant of Morgan O’Neill, and Jeff said that Hugh died on 16 Mar 1773. I have found no information to date as to where the family was living at the time, but we may presume in the proximity of Dunleckney, as this was where the family was located on the Tithe Applotment Books of 1824.
            We do not know Hugh’s cause of death or location, but again may presume Dunleckney, or in the Barony of Idrone East, until we find out differently. I do not think the average Irish resident of this era moved as extensively as Americans are accustomed to assume.

Section 1B: James O’Neill

James, born January 24, 1757 

            The marriage range for James should have been 1775 (age 18) to 1787 (age 30). Sean O’Neill [Ibid.] lists one James born in 1757. This James was listed on page 103 as being 70 years old, with a wife 20 years younger plus one other female and one other male, living on 42 acres as a farmer. This must have been in 1827 for him to be 70. He is described as James “of the Road,” whatever that means. This James was listed as being in Kilpipe.
            In “Schools of Kildare and Leighlin,” by Rev. Martin Brenan [Gill and Son, Dublin, 1935], the author lists a James O’Neill as a schoolmaster in Old Leighlin in 1824. Since our James would have been 67 at the time, this is probably not him, but we can’t rule it out. Perhaps it is a son or nephew.
            There is no mention of a James O’Neill being married on LDS film roll 0100171, but Jeff O’Neill of Australia has him married and the father of Humphrey O’Neill [source unknown].
            The Carlow Grantor Index of 1813-16 has one “Jas.” listed as conveying land to a Cary. No James is listed on the Tithe Applotment Books of 1825, although several of his brothers seem to be.
            In the index for the 1850 Griffith’s Valuation, there is one James in Carlowtown, living on Brown Street. If this is “our” James, he would have been around 93 or so, which is possible but not probable. He is also out of the Leighlin-Dunleckny axis, which seems to figure in the O’Neill family there. No other James’ are listed in County Carlow.
            At this time my conclusion is that James probably died prior to 1825, when he would have been 68 years old. A less likely conclusion is that he moved to another county or emigrated.

Section 1C: Catherine O’Neill

Catherine, born May 24, 1760

            Girls usually marry between the ages of 16 and 30, so this gives us a range for Catherine of 1776-1790. So far I have found no marriages for any Catherine anywhere near these dates, after searching “The O’Neill’s of Leinster,” or LDS film roll 0100171.
            I did find a marriage of a Catherine to George Saville in 1807, when this Catherine would have been 47 years old. This could be her, but it’s a stretch. The three other Catherine marriages, in 1824, 1836, and 1840, would make her even older.
            At this time I do not know if Catherine died unmarried, moved away from Carlow (possibly with a husband), or emigrated with one of her brothers.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

63. John and Esther O'Neill (Chapter One)

[The following passage is from my book, "The Hugh O'Neill Family: From County Carlow To Ohio," published in 2005.]

The O’Neill Book
Chapter One: The Story of John and Esther O’Neill

            One family of O’Neills, at least, and there may have been several, settled just outside the city of Dublin. They may have constituted a part of that “wild, barbarian horde” which so offended the finer sensibilities of that proud English lord [Clarendon].
            A decade after the visit of Lord Clarendon to Dublin [1686], a son was born to a family of O’Neills near Dublin. Little is known of this Hugh who was born in 1696. We feel safe in saying that he married and raised a large family; for such was the custom of the Irish of that day, and more especially so of the O’Neills.
            This Hugh had a son born to him in 1729, and he named the child “John.” We would guess he was named for his grandfather. This last statement is somewhat speculative; but to make it seem probable, I wish to notice a peculiarity that ran through the family for several generations: I have called it the “HUGH-JOHN” line of O’Neills. This evidently started with the Earl of Tyrone, whom we think, must have been the original Hugh. For a period of eighty years we have not record, but in 1696 a Hugh was born. In 1729 a son of Hugh was named John; in 1773 a son of this John was named Hugh, and at New Town, Ireland, in 1797, a son was born to this last named Hugh, who was named John. This John, in turn, had a son Hugh, born in Summerfield, Ohio, in 1830, and this Hugh had a son named John Henry, for several years a physician at Morgan City, La. Dr. John H. O’Neill had two sons but no Hugh. It seems almost a pity that he had not named one of them Hugh.
            This Hugh, born in the year 1696, of unknown parentage, died probably in the home of his son John, at the remarkable age of 94 years. He died in 1790.
            This John, son of Hugh O’Neill, was born near Dublin, Ireland, in the year 1729.  Although descended from the “Savage Old Irish,” accounted too lazy to work, or from the “Wild Barbarians” that English history speaks of, yet this John O’Neill was a remarkable man in many respects. He was a fine type of the Irish gentleman of the Old School, an ancestor of whom any member of the family may justly feed proud. He was the original owner of the old Bible that came across the Sea in 1806…From the fact that he owned a Protestant Bible, at all, is sufficient evidence that he was not longer a Catholic.
            …his “Confession of Faith”…reads so much like the tenets of the Methodist Church that he surely must have been a disciple of the celebrated John Wesley. To make our surmises seen the more probable, we wish to notice that Wesley began preaching in Dublin in 1746, at which time John O’Neill was seventeen, a very susceptible age. Many have wondered why this branch of the family are not Catholics, as most other O’Neills are. The reason is simple: John O’Neill renounced Catholicism and joined the Methodist Church under the preaching of the Wesleys.
            Now the third and last inference we wish to make touching the old Bible is this: Its owner was a man of some educational advantages; otherwise he would never have cared to own a Bible. A book of any sort would be worth but little to a man that could not read. From the records and other writings we discern the touch of the hand of a scholar. It is depicted in his diction, and correct orthography, and in his specimens of penmanship that adorn almost every available space on the blank pages of that sacred old book.
            This John was united in marriage with Esther Ashmore on the second day of June, 1754.
I contacted Dr. Raymond Refausse of the Church of Ireland Church Body Library in Dublin and he stated that no parish registers for Old Leighlin exist prior to 1791, so we may never be able to verify this marriage.
To this union ten children were born, as follows—
                        Hugh               1A
                        James              1B
                        Catherine        1C      
                        John                1D
                        John(2nd)         1E
                        Morgan           1F
                        Luke                1G
                        Hugh(2nd)        1H
                        George                        1I
                        William            1J
            [Code letters following names are my additions.]       

            Of the seven living sons of John and Esther, but little is known, except of HUGH, who is in the ancestral line leading to our own branch of the family. This Hugh received an education that might have been considered liberal for Ireland at that time.
            Had we the time and the ability and the data sufficient to trace the genealogy of the other six sons, it would not be prudent, for it would be of but little interest to the descendents of John and Anne O’Neill here in America.
            Esther, wife of this John, died in December, 1803, after a married life of forty-nine years and six months. A few days after the death of Esther, Grandmother Ashmore, Esther’s mother, died, having reached the age of ninety years. In November of the year 1804, John died also, aged seventy-five years.

            The above passage by G. W. O’Neill in 1937 makes many statements about the early Irish O’Neill line, but nowhere can we find the documentation that G.W. used to create this book.
            Hugh and Deborah O’Neill must have left Ireland immediately after the death of his father John, and that event may have precipitated their immigration.