Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What happened to the Widow Anne Gleeson?

On Wed Oct 17th 2012, Dad and I drove down to Killoscully, stopped in Moneygall at the Obama Cafe for lunch, took a photo with Barack, and then continued on to Killoscully where we met John "Rocky" McGrath, who had sent us John Ryan’s book “Playing with the Hill” in the post. This book documents the early days of Martin M Gleeson who founded the Ballinahinch Killoscully GAA Club in 1886 before heading over to Baltinglass. Rocky was very generous with his time and drove us around the area, introducing us to various local residents and showing us where Anne Gleeson lived before and after her marriage to Paddy Ryan Soldier.

Summary of Family History
The 1865 church marriage record of my great great grandparents indicates that John Gleeson was living in Shallee but there is no record of the address of Anne Gleeson. However, they were married in Ballinahinch, presumably the bride’s parish. All the children were born in Shallee, Longstone, or Killoscully (neighbouring townlands).

After John died in 1885, Martin founded the GAA Club by 1886 (possibly 1884 in Killoscully) and then left for Baltinglass in June 1888 (the date of his first diary). No year is known for the emigration of the other siblings, but in 1885 they would have been the following ages: Martin 19, Catherine 17, Bridget 14, Timothy 12, Winifred 8, Nora 6, Paddy ~4, and Mary 1. In the 1901 Census, Mary is living with Martin in Stratford-on-Slaney, and there is a Patrick Gleeson aged 21 living with Anne Gleeson and Paddy Ryan Soldier in Ballyhourigan. Presumably the other siblings had emigrated at that point.

In 1895, widow Anne Gleeson married Paddy Ryan Soldier who had previously been married to Catherine Hayes and had 5 young children of his own – Martin 13, Mary 10, Thomas 8, Patrick 6, and Annie or Hannie 4. On their church marriage record, Paddy’s address is given as Ballyhourigan and Anne’s as Barnabaun. In his earlier marriage record to Catherine Hayes, Paddy’s father is named as Martin Ryan (this is in keeping with the Valuation Office Cancelled Books from 1886 onwards – see below). It seems that after the death of her first husband, Anne Gleeson moved from “Shallee” to Barnabaun, but we don’t know when.

Townlands and Families
Griffiths Valuation was conducted in 1850 in the Civil Parish of Killoscully, which incorporates various townlands including the various Shallee townlands (Shallee Coughlan, Shallee White, Shallee Upper and Lower) as well as Longstone, Ballyhourigan, Barnabaun, and Maryglen (see map below). In Griffith’s Primary Valuation, the main families in Maryglen are the Ryan’s (Ryan Dick’s and Ryan Johnnies, according to Rocky), in Ballyhourigan are the Mara’s (later O’Mara’s), and in Barnabaun are the Mara’s. In the subsequent Cancelled Books, Paddy Ryan Soldier’s cottage appears in Ballyhourigan suggesting it was built between 1850 and 1886. We haven’t examined the Cancelled Books for Barnabaun or Maryglen as yet.

Townlands around Shallee
In both Barnabaun and Ballyhourigan, large tracts of land were owned by the local landed gentry, the Bloomfields (and later the Kingscote’s), whose seat was Ciamaltha House in Gaurenbeg beside Maryglen. Rocky showed it to us from the car as we drove down to the widow Anne Gleeson’s old house. Apparently it was built by Lord Bloomfield in the late 1830’s and passed to his daughter Harriott who married Thomas Henry Kingscote of Gloucestershire in 1833. In the early 1900’s it was occupied by her grandson, Col. Randolph Kingscote, until 1922. Rocky pointed out a row of sandstone cottages that Lady Bloomfield built for her workers – she appears to have been quite progressive.

It may be that our John Gleeson was a “labourer’ on the Bloomfield/Kingscote estate and the Estate Papers (if they exist) might contain some info on him. It could be very helpful to view these as they may contain some useful additional information.

The House of Widow Anne Gleeson in Barnabaun
Rocky first took us to the house where Martin is supposed to have lived. John Ryan states in his book: "Martin Gleeson lived a short distance beyond Maunsell's cottage in Maryglen. His mother, who was widowed, later married Paddy Ryan (Soldier). Through this marriage he would be related to the O'Meara's of Bearnabawn." The house/cottage is now owned by a very industrious young woman from Belgium and her husband. The two of them have about an acre of land at the back which they have fashioned into a beautiful terraced garden (clearly visible on Google Maps) working mainly with their own hands! It is a delightful 2-storey white-washed cottage with red window frames and a slate roof.

Widow Anne Gleeson's cottage
(she probably lived here some time between 1885 and 1895)

The present owner was kind enough to exchange a few words with us and she told us that she and her husband had lived there for 10 years. She did not know much about the previous owners but apparently it was bought by Coillte (from whom they had bought it) so they may have records in their Limerick office (or the Land Registry Office). Coillte had boarded it up (bricked up the windows and put in a steel door and corrugated iron roof) because people used to steal the chainsaws. The roof used to have big stone slates before that, said Rocky. She recalled that there was a Mara or an O’Mara there previously but that might have been before the Gleeson’s. She said the name Gleeson Rabbit rang a bell. They had looked up OSI maps and these had a list of the people who had paid rent previously.

In Griffiths Valuation (1850 in Killoscully parish), there are 2 houses in Barnabaun, both owned by Mara’s (Denis & Dermott) and valued at £1 7s – these would have been substantial houses. From the 1880’s map it would appear that there are still only 2 dwellings in Barnabaun. By going thru the Valuation Office Cancelled Books for this townland, it will be possible to see if and when the widowed Anne Gleeson moved in there. The period of interest is 1885 to 1895 (from the death of her husband to her remarriage). 

The House of Paddy Ryan Soldier – “Maunsell’s Cottage”
When she remarried to Paddy Ryan (Soldier), she moved up the road to his house in Ballyhourigan – the so-called Maunsell’s Cottage (below, from Google). In Griffith’s, it would appear this was not built at the time of the Primary Valuation in 1850 but was by 1886. The Cancelled Books from the Valuation Office (which I have from 1886 to 1968) show that Martin Ryan owned “House, Offices & Land” valued at £1 5s on site 4a (this valuation never changed, all the way up to 1968 – see below). This passed to Patrick Ryan between 1899 and 1902 who appears to have bought it in 1915 via LAP (Land Act Purchase). He is actually named as Paddy Ryan Soldier in an entry for 1924. Then in 1935 it passed to Martin Ryan, and in 1949 to Denis Maunsell (and hence, presumably, the name Maunsell’s Cottage).

Maunsell's Cottage today
The only other building in Ballyhourigan (a substantial dwelling, valued at £8 4s in the Primary Valuation and then downvalued to £6 13s by the subcommissioners on appeal – see below) was owned by Thadeus Mara (?related to the other Mara’s of Barnabaun). By 1886, this was valued at £5, and had passed to Johanna Mara who bought it via LAP in 1916 and remained there until 1924 when it passed to Tim O’Mara (note gaelicisation of name). Apparently the Mara’s of Ballyhourigan sold their farm to a man called Flaherty, and then the Land Commission took it over. Over the years, the Mara’s house fell into disrepair and was eventually flattened as it didn’t have a roof on it.

Paddy Ryan Soldier’s family
Rocky took us to meet a very sprightly Nonnie Healy and her equally sprightly new dog Oscar, a cocker spaniel. Before her marriage, Nonnie was Ryan Stack (a Ryan Stack was the head gardener to the local landed gentry, the Kingscote’s of Garaunbeg). She was also very good friends with Mary Doogue (nee Ryan). Mary’s siblings included Bree, Winnie, and several boys who all worked in Guinesses. There is a connection with botany.

Nonnie also told us that she didn’t know when Paddy Ryan Soldier died; but his eldest son Martin married a Kilkenny woman; his son Paddy never married; and his youngest daughter Hannah got married and lived over in Dollas. The Ryans are buried in Killoscully churchyard because Nonnie remembers that Mary put down a kind of a marker in the graveyard some years ago.

I later found the death notice of Mary Doogue on the Irish Times website. Sadly she passed away in 2005 and was survived by her husband Eamonn, sisters Bree (Hourihane) and Winnie (Hogan), brother Michael, daughter Marian (Coffey) and son Declan – the latter is a botanist and I was able to make email contact with him. He said he would ask his uncle and aunts if they remembered their step-grandmother Anne Ryan (nee Gleeson). The questions I posed are below. If anyone else has any information and can attempt to answer any of them that would be a great help:
  • Anne Gleeson married Paddy Ryan Soldier - Soldier was the family nickname to differentiate one Ryan family from another. But does anyone know the nickname of Anne Gleeson's family? and what about that of her first husband John Gleeson? does the nickname Rabbit or Thaddy or McEvaddy ring any bells? How about Kitt or Cooper or Helper?
  • Did Paddy Ryan have any other children apart from the 5 mentioned above? Did Paddy Ryan have any brothers and sisters? Perhaps a Daniel, Johanna, or Anne?
  • We have the 1895 church marriage record of Paddy Ryan and Anne Gleeson but never found the Civil Registration Record - des anyone have it? it would contain the names of Anne's parents. Des anyone know who they are? Des anyone know if Anne had any brothers and sisters?
  • Does anyone know where Anne is buried? Does she have a headstone? Does anyone know where her first husband John Gleeson is / or might be buried (ie which graveyard)?
  • Did anyone ever receive any correspondence from any of the children from Anne's first marriage? does anyone know what happened to any of the children from Anne's first marriage? did anyone ever hear of Ruby Kathleen Gleeson?
  • does anyone have any old photos of Anne or her children from her first marriage?

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