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Irishmo

Family History

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Through a series of events that would take a whole thread to explain, I recently became acquainted with my first cousin and his family on facebook.   It turns out his wife had done an extensive search on ancestry.com on my fathers family.   I have mentioned on here before that his parents left Ireland somewhere between 1916-1921/22, with his father said to have been sneaked out of the country.   These were just rumors and whispers in our family my entire life, as it seemed they did not want their activities in Ireland known.   While now I have learned details that confirm my thoughts.

Both my grandfather (my dads father) and my grandmother's (dads mother) brother have files in Ireland intelligence profiles 1914-1922, described on ancestry.com as a collection of intelligence profiles on leading Irish Nationalists.  My grandfather's file is from 1916 and contains information on him and a co-worker both postmen in Clogher, Co. Tryone.   Some of the highlights of the file state that they were Irish Volunteers or Sinn Feiners very active in the recent rising in Dublin (that part was underlined in red) they also apparently were involved in a sham battle under the leadership of a James O'Connell, in Ballysealy (some of the entries are hand written and hard to decipher).   This so called sham battle took place the 15 -17th July, 1915.   They were also seen wearing Republican badges and attending a memorial service for the executed leaders of the Easter Rising in July, 1916.   The service was said to have been attended by approximately 40 people, including 12 young women one of whom was a (can't read the first name though it appears to have an i in it) Connolly said to be a daughter of James Connolly.

There is no further record of what happened to them, no arrest or imprisonment though there were letters to the Postmaster General stating both men should be dismissed from their positions, they were also described as the two most dangerous men in the district as their positions afforded them the opportunity to pass huge amounts of seditious material.   The file is 32 pages, many of which are blank though there does appear to be faint writing on them, it is illegible.

I believe that this proves my grandfather did leave Ireland in the latter half of 1916, I do know that he had an uncle already living in the town in NY I come from and he came here and worked with him on a huge estate in the town.  The owner of the estate (a woman by the name of Mary Clark Thompson) actually left him $5,000 in her will when she died and sold them the house my father and his siblings were raised in.   I will post the information on my grandmother's brother in the next post.

 

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My grandmother's brothers file is from January 1919 and contains information on his activities and subsequent imprisonment.    In August of 1918 he lead the Drumanness Sinn Fein band on a parade.   He was stopped by the RIC and asked for a permit, he told them he did not have a permit but intended to take the band out anyway and it was a religious thing and not political.   Consequently he was charged with being guilty of a 9AA D.R. (Defense of the Realm?) offense and fined 5 pounds, which I assume was a huge amount of money at the time.  

He appealed the charge and lost and a warrant was issued for recovery of the fine or imprisonment.  On November 6, 1918 a Sargent and two constables went to collect him and found him walking towards his mothers house, when they appealed to him to halt he pointed a loaded revolver at them and stated he would shoot if they came any closer.  They failed to execute the warrant and the next evening his brother-in-law paid the fine but by this time he was tried by court martial and found guilty of carrying arms without a permit and endangering the safety of a police constable in the execution of his duties. 

The next time they came after him, he was found working in a potato field and he went after them with a pronged instrument.   At some point he ended up H.M. Prison Belfast awaiting sentencing.   He was housed in a section of the prison reserved for prisoners awaiting sentencing but on the morning of Dec. 22, 1918 he attended Divine Service (their words) in the Catholic chapel and left with a group of D.O.R.A. prisoners.   They then proceeded to the block these prisoners were held in, apparently they were afforded some sort of political status as a result of previous hunger strikes.   They barricaded the entrance to the 3 wards assigned to them in anticipation of the authorities removing my great uncle back to the section of prison he was meant to be in.  

The prison authorities appealed for help from the police and military as the protest continued.   The Lord Mayor's of Dublin and Belfast as well as the Bishop of Connor and Down  were consulted as the thought was any action in the prison would lead to riots across the country.   There was a shortage of police and military at the time due to (I assume) the Christmas Holiday and the election of Dec. 28th was also mentioned.   They cut off their food, water and heat supply though on January 1, 1919 this action was stopped and he was returned to the appropriate section of the prison.

That is all the file contains, I do know that this brother did not emigrate to America though I don't recall ever hearing anything about him.

 

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So this is the legacy I can pass on to my children and grandchildren, though when I tell them they look at me with a mix of surprise and dread but I couldn't be prouder.  :fighting_1:

I would be curious if anyone would have more in-depth information about any of these incidents.   I also found out my paternal great-grandmothers maiden names were Walsh and Redenahn.   The latter is a name I have never heard and wonder if it could be a misspelling.

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10 minutes ago, Irishmo said:

So this is the legacy I can pass on to my children and grandchildren, though when I tell them they look at me with a mix of surprise and dread but I couldn't be prouder.  :fighting_1:

I would be curious if anyone would have more in-depth information about any of these incidents.   I also found out my paternal great-grandmothers maiden names were Walsh and Redenahn.   The latter is a name I have never heard and wonder if it could be a misspelling.

Redenahn sounds like Renighan which is a common name in S Ulster 

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