M.C. Moran

Sued for Slander?

I’d be interested in learning more about this case (and whether it ever got anywhere as a court case). From The Ottawa Journal, 20 October 1896, a notice that Robert and Eliza Jane Hemphill of Huntley had filed an action against Thomas E. and Mary Moran, also of Huntley township.

The “Thomas E.” almost certainly refers to Thomas Edwin Moran (1860-1942), son of Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy, and the inheritor of the Moran homestead at Concession 1, Lot 11, Huntley township. But does the “Mary Moran” refer to his new wife Bridget Mary McDermott (1876-1964), daughter of John McDermott and Mary O’Neil (the couple had married on 26 September 1896), or to his mother Mary Ann [Leavy] Moran (1832-1907)? The action was for “slander and wrongfully destroying and trespassing on plaintiff’s land and dwelling house,” and the Hemphills were asking for $2,500 in damages (a huge sum of money in 1896!).

The Ottawa Journal, 20 October 1896

The Ottawa Journal, 20 October 1896

William Killeen and Lucy Armstrong

William Henry Killeen (1857-1904) was a son of Denis Benjamin Killeen and Ellen O’Brien, and a grandson of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn. In November 1885, he married Lucy Armstrong (1863-1956), a daughter of James Armstrong and Bridget Kelly, and a granddaughter of Joseph Armstrong and Catherine Smith.

Lucy Armstrong was the first cousin of my 2x-great-grandfather John Lahey (1837-1899). And Lucy Armstrong’s first husband William Henry Killeen was the nephew of John Lahey’s wife, my 2x-great-grandmother Margaret Jane Killeen (1835-1913). From the “Relationship Calculator” function at the family history database (Ottawa Valley Irish: A Genealogy Database), the relationships can be depicted like so:

 

Relationship between Lucy Armstrong and John Lahey

Relationship between Lucy Armstrong and John Lahey

Relationship between William Henry Killeen and Margaret Jane Killeen

Relationship between William Henry Killeen and Margaret Jane Killeen

Courtesy of one of their descendants, here is a wonderful photograph of William Henry Killeen and Lucy Armstrong, with the first six of their nine known children:

William Killeen and Lucy Armstrong and family, ca. 1896

William Killeen and Lucy Armstrong and family, ca. 1896

I believe this photograph was taken in 1896 or 1897. And I have to love the stylized backdrops of 19th-century studio portraits. This family lived and farmed at Sebastopol, in Renfrew Co., Ontario, Canada. But from the background of the above photograph, you might think they dwelled amidst the ruins of ancient Tuscany! or something like that.

William Henry Killeen died in August 1904, leaving his wife Lucy Armstrong a widow with nine children. About five years later (in May 1909), Lucy Armstrong Killeen married Albert Austin Massey, a British Home Child who was about twenty years her junior. The family moved out west, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Albert Austin Massey fought with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I, as did at least one of his stepsons, Francis Joseph Killeen.

Our Roots/Nos Racines: Canadian local histories

Our Roots/Nos Racines is an online collection of Canadian local histories in both English and French. Well worth searching if you are looking for ancestors in Canada. I have certainly found a few good leads in a couple of local Ottawa-area histories that I’ve discovered at this site.

A word of caution on local histories: while local histories can be extremely valuable (they can help to establish or confirm the whereabouts of an individual or a family, for example), their information can be a bit loose and vague. Wherever possible, you should verify the information by consulting church records, vital records, census records, and so on.

But on the other hand: the vague and possibly inaccurate information that you find in a local history can offer valuable clues, which can point you in the direction of more reliable sources to pursue.

For example:

When I first found a reference to the marriage of Pat Killeen and Bridgit Gallaghan in Garfield Thomas Ogilvie’s Once Upon a Country Lane: A Tribute to The Gaelic Spirit of Old West Huntley, Carleton County, Ontario, Canada (which I discovered at Our Roots/Nos Racines), I didn’t even know that the surname Gallaghan (Galligan) belonged in my family tree. I was searching for Killeen; and Galligan/Gallaghan hadn’t yet crossed my radar screen. And while the approximate marriage date (circa 1846) given in Ogilvie’s local history was off by about 13 years (Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan were married on 28 February 1859, as I was later to discover), that reference to a Bridgit Gallaghan opened up a whole new line of inquiry, and led me to the discovery of another branch of my family tree.

Marriage of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan.

Marriage of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan. Fitzroy Harbour Mission, 28 February 1859. Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 at ancestry.ca.

Btw, Appendix H (“Irish Proverbs, Folklore, Maxims and Humour”) of Ogilvie’s Once Upon a Country Lane includes a maxim that my dad (a father of four daughters, but no sons) sometimes used to cite: “Your son’s your son ’til he takes a wife; your daughter’s your daughter all of your life.” However, I’m pretty sure my dad used to render it as: “A son is a son ’til he takes him a wife; but a daughter’s your daughter all the days of your life.”

 

“she & her infant family are left totally destitute”: the Widow Hourigan petitions the Crown (part I)

LAC’s Upper Canada Land Petitions (1763-1865) database is an index to the petitions, with the actual (that is to say, the digitized microforms of the actual) petitions found elsewhere at the LAC site. Somewhat annoyingly, there is no direct link from the index to the digitized microforms of the actual petitions.

In order to locate a petition, you will need to first consult the index. From the index listing, you will want to note the microform number, the bundle number, and the petition number.

Here is how I found the petition of Mary Lahey, widow of Timothy Hourigan.

Who was the Widow Hourigan?

Mary Lahey was born about 1790 in Ballymacegan, parish of Lorrha, Tipperary, and was one of seven known Lahey siblings who emigrated from Ireland to Upper Canada in the 1820s and early 1830s. She married (in Ireland) Timothy Hourigan about 1815, and the couple came to Canada (to March township) in the summer of 1824, with their children Michael, Mary, and Patrick (a fourth child, Thomas, was born in Canada about six months after the death of his father).1

On or about 26 August 1825 (26 August 1825 is the date given in her petition), Mary Lahey’s husband Timothy Hourigan was “killed by the falling of a tree whilst working for the support of his large family,” which family “have been left,” her petition adds, “destitute by his death.” Elsewhere in the paperwork that made up her petition: “her husband having been killed by the falling of a tree, she & her infant family are left totally destitute.”

Well, perhaps not totally destitute. As her brother Patrick Lahey explained in a letter to Peter Robinson (see “The Queen vs. Kelly [Part I]“), when “me brother in law [Timothy Hourigan] was killed by the fall of a tree,” the “widow and three children fell in charge to us.” She was not without some family support, in other words. But her case was dire enough: she and her brothers had only recently arrived in Upper Canada; and her brothers had not yet acquired lots of land, and were still trying to get established. If her brothers would not see their sister and her children starve, they were scarcely in a position to offer generous assistance to a widow with three young children (and with a fourth child on the way). Hence her need to acquire a lot of land “for the support of herself and fatherless Children.”

Finding the Widow Hourigan’s Petition

Searching the Index: Given the many spelling variations for Hourigan (Horahan, Horgan, Horhan, Houroghan, to name just a few), I decided to begin with a search for Name: Ho* in Place: March:

finding_uppercanland_hourigan_6

 

I figured Ho plus the wildcard character (*) would call up most, if not all, possible surname variations (Hourigan, Horgan, Horhan, Houroghan, and so on).

This brought up a listing for HORHAN, Mary in March [township] in 1827. Bingo! Clicking on the listing brought up this Item Display:

finding_uppercanland_hourigan3

I now had the information I needed — Microform no. (C-2050), Bundle no. (H 15) and petition no. (15) — to find the actual petition (the digitized copy of the actual petition, that is).

Finding the Petition: To find the petition, I went to ARCHIVED – Microform Digitization, and found Upper Canada Land Petitions as Title no. 21. Again, the petitions are at:

Clicking on that title brought me to the hyperlinked display of all 327 available digitized microforms (from c-1609 to c-2985). I knew that I was looking for c-2050 (see the Item Display for HORHAN, Mary, above).

This is a hefty file, containing 1075 pages (or images). I  knew (again, from the Item Display above) that I was looking for Bundle H 15, and then for petition no. 15 of that bundle. Scrolling through the file (not page by page! with a thousand-page file, I search by 100s — page 100, page 200, page 300, and so on — to narrow things down), I found it at pages/images 789-795:

finding_uppercanland_hourigan4

finding_uppercanland_hourigan5

It probably took me less than 15 minutes to find the Widow Hourigan’s petition (online, digitized sources: they are amazing!).

To be continued…

  1.  Thomas Hourigan married Julia Moran, daughter of James Moran and Margaret Jamieson.

The Barley Grain For Me (O.J. Abbott and Pete Seeger)

seeger-abbott_newport

O.J. [Oliver John] Abbott, Home Child, singing “The Barley Grain For Me” with Pete Seeger, at the Newport Folk Festival, 1959-60:

How/why did this English orphan from Paddington, London know so many of the old Irish tunes? Because when he was sent to Canada, as an 8- or 9-year old boy, he was placed with some of the Irish farmers of South March (and apparently learned some of his songs from the Laheys of March).

(More on O.J. Abbott in a future entry…he is one of Canada’s most notable folk singers).

First Man Born in the Township [of March]? (Patrick Killeen/Killean)

As noted in an earlier entry (“Where Was Patrick Killeen Born?”), different sources give a different birthplace for Patrick Killeen (1820-1890), son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn. While his Ontario civil death registration lists his birthplace as Ireland, several other sources (including the Canadian census returns of 1851 and 18611) give his place of birth as Canada. Most interestingly, 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.”2

The Ottawa Journal, Friday, 22 July 1887, p. 4.

The Ottawa Journal, Friday, 22 July 1887, p. 4.

Here is another source which claims that Patrick Killeen/Killean was “the first man born in the township [of March].”

It is an item published in The Ottawa Journal (Friday, 22 July 1887), with little tidbits of news (note the emphasis on agricultural news) from South March:

Mr. Patrick Killean, who is now sixty-eight years of age, and the first man born in the township, has forked over forty tons of hay this season for Mr. Boucher, and Paddy is just as fresh as ever.

So does this mean that I can conclude with absolute certainty that my great-great-grandfather was born in Canada, in the township of March? No, not really. Not without a baptismal record (a civil birth record will not exist, since civil registration, both in Ireland and in Ontario, Canada, did not begin until decades after his birth). But it certainly offers convincing evidence that Patrick Killeen himself understood himself to have been born in March township (and I’m pretty sure, though not absolutely certain, that he was right about this).

  1. I have not yet found Patrick Killeen in the 1871 and 1881 Canadian census returns.
  2.  A.H.D. Ross, Ottawa: Past and Present (Ottawa: Thorborn & Abbott, 1927), p. 39. Ross may have been relying on 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.