Where was Patrick Killeen born?

Different Sources, Different Birthplaces

In a history of Ottawa published in 1927, A.H.D. Ross wrote that “the first white child born in the Township of March was Patrick Killean, whose father, Denis Killean, was in Captain Monk’s employ, and the second was Benning Monk.”1 Perhaps Ross was relying on Mrs. M.H. Ahearn’s earlier “The Settlers of March Township,” which was first read before the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa on 10 March 1899, and later published by the Ontario Historical Society. According to Mrs. Ahearn:
The first settler to locate [in March township] was Captain John Benning Monk, of H.M. 97th Regiment, who arrived in June, 1819, having been paddled and portaged in boats from Montreal, where he had the misfortune to lose his baby daughter. Leaving his wife in Hull, Captain Monk proceeded by river to March, where, with his soldier servants, he constructed a rude shanty, to which he brought Mrs. Monk, and which was aptly named ‘Mosquito Cove’ by the much-tormented occupants…
…Captain Monk had ten children, and among his numerous descendants are several prominent citizens of Ottawa. One son is G.W. Monk, ex-M.P.P. for Carleton County, and Mrs. Chas. McNab, a well-known member of our society, to whom the writer is indebted for many details of this sketch, is a daughter. The eldest son, the late Benning Monk, was the second child born in March; Patrick Killean, whose parents were servants of Captain Monk, and who afterwards took up land in South March, being the first.2
It’s not clear where Mrs. Ahearn got her information about Patrick Killean/Killeen’s birth, although it may have been part of the detail supplied to her by Mrs. Chas. McNab (Frances Amelia Monk, daughter of Captain John Benning Monk and Elizabeth Fitzgerald).

In any case, so far, so good. According to two local histories, Patrick Killeen (sometimes Killean) was born in March township, and (inferring from the date of settlement of that township) probably around 1819 or 1820. Patrick Killeen was the eldest son, but probably second child, of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn. His father Denis (born around 1786 in the parish of Meelick in East Galway), had served under Captain John Benning Monk in the 97th Regiment of Foot; had apparently then followed Monk to March township as some sort of domestic (or “soldier servant,” in Mrs. Ahearn’s words); and later received a patent from the Crown, in 1828, for 100 acres at Concession 3, Lot 11, March township.
On his Ontario civil death record, however, Patrick Killeen’s birthplace is listed as Ireland. The death informant was John Andrew Sloan, parish priest for both St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield and St. Isidore, South March, and the record contains a good deal of useful (but not necessarily wholly accurate) genealogical information:
  • Name and Surname of Deceased: Patrick Killeen
  • When died: 18th May 1890
  • Sex–Male or Female: Male
  • Age: 72 years
  • Rank or Profession: laborer
  • Where born: Ireland
  • Certified Cause of Death and duration of Illness: Old Age
  • Name of Physican, if any: None
  • Signature, Description, and Residence of Informant: J.A. Sloan, P.P.
  • When Registered: 30 Dec 1890
  • Religious Denomination of Deceased: Roman Catholic
  • Signature of Registrar: Thomas Richardson3
Father Sloan (a great-uncle of Emmett Patrick Sloan, by the way, whose “Memories of the Morans” can be found here) also wrote and signed the church burial record for Patrick Killeen, although, as the record makes clear, he did not actually witness the burial:
The undersigned witnesses, who have declared that they can not sign, certify that on the twentieth of May, one thousand eight hundred and ninty [sic], the body of Patrick Killeen, the lawful husband of the late Bridget Gilligan [Galligan], of this Mission, who died on the eighteenth of the same month and year, at the age of seventy-two years was buried in the R.C. Cemetery of this mission. The witnesses present were John Lahey and John Nash who have declared they cannot sign. J.A. Sloan, pp4
Note that Patrick Killeen is here identified as the “lawful husband” of a woman who had been dead for
nineteen years (“the late Bridget Gilligan” [should be Galligan], who died in childbirth in June 1861). Never mind “Until death do us part:” for Father Sloan, “married for life” apparently included the afterlife too! (he was not alone in this, of course, and it’s a sentiment I’ve come across in older family members).
I have not yet found Patrick Killeen in the 1871 and 1881 Canadian census returns. Nor have I found his elder daughter Mary Ann in either of those enumerations. His younger daughter (and my great-grandmother) Bridget Loreto Killeen is found in 1881 in the household of her paternal aunt Margaret Jane [Killeen] Lahey, aka The Widow Who Wasn’t, where Bridget is listed as “Orphant.” But that “orphan” designation is presumbly a census-specific reference to her surname, which differed from that of the other members of the household (Killeen instead of Lahey, that is).
For certainly (or almost certainly, at any rate), Patrick and his daughter Mary Ann were in the vicinity of March township in the early 1880s, though not recorded in the census. Mary Ann Killeen died of consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) on 23 December 1885, and her father Patrick Killeen was a witness to her burial (30 December 1885, at St. Michael’s RC Cemetery in Corkery), with Michael Galligan (probably an uncle of Patrick’s deceased wife Bridget Galligan) serving as the other burial witness.
In the 1851 and 1861 census returns for March township (Carleton Co., Ontario, Canada), Patrick (or Patt) Killeen’s birthplace is given as Upper Canada or Canada.
So where was Patrick Killeen born? Well, at the moment I strongly suspect March township, which would mean that his Ontario civil death registration is in error about his birthplace. When it comes to death and burial records, the subject of the record is of course not available to correct any mistakes or misinterpretations, and the accuracy of the record is only as accurate as the information supplied by another informant.
1 A.H.D. Ross, Ottawa: Past and Present (Ottawa: Thorborn & Abbott, 1927), p. 39.

2 Mrs. M.H. Ahearn, “The Settlers of March Township,” Ontario Historical Society, Papers and Records, vol. 3 (Toronto: 1901; reprint, Millwood, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1975), pp. 98-99.

3 Patrick Killeen, Ontario death registration (Carleton, 18 May 1890), digital image, ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 27 May 2010), Ontario, Canada Deaths, 1869-1936, citing microfilm MS935_56, Archives of Ontario.

4 St. Isidore (South March, Ontario), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1861-1968, p. 28, S.3, Patrick Killeen, digital image, ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 27 May 2010), Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967.