On Sunday last, a man named John Kelly, was lodged in gaol on a charge of murder, in having in the township of March, on the Friday previous, stabbed one Michael Horrogan, his brother-in-law, in an affray, from the fatal effects of which he did not recover.We are informed it was committed whilst in a state of intoxication.1
It was on Good Friday, 9 April 1841 that John Kelly killed his brother-in-law Michael Hourigan.
According to an account published in the Bathurst Courier (28 May 1841), the two men had spent the afternoon drinking at Henry Smith’s brewery, where they had been overhead quarrelling “warmly” over a child, but had then seemed to make it up. After leaving the brewery in the late afternoon, however, Kelly and Hourigan got into a fight “on the road near Captain Bradley’s.” Kelly stabbed his brother-in-law several times with a knife, and the injuries proved fatal.2 It was, in the words of the Bytown Gazette (see inset, right), a “shocking murder” and a “sad catastrophy.”
Who was Michael Hourigan?
The following account of the Hourigans is based on the (extremely thorough) research of D.T. Lahey.
Michael Hourigan was the eldest son of Timothy Hourigan and Mary Lahey (sister of my 3x great-grandfather James Lahey). Born about 1816, probably at or near Ballymacegan, in the parish of Lorrha, Co. Tipperary, Michael emigrated in the summer of 1825 with his parents and his siblings Patrick and Mary. Shortly after their arrival in Upper Canada, the family met with grave misfortune when Timothy Hourigan was killed by the fall of a tree (an occupational hazard for early Upper Canadian settlers).
Mary (Lahey) Hourigan was now a widow with three young children and a fourth child on the way (Thomas Hourigan, born late 1825 or early 1826, who would marry Julia Moran, sister of my 2x great-grandfather Alexander “Sandy” Michael Moran). The unhappy circumstances of the family were related by Mary’s brother Patrick Lahey in a letter to Peter Robinson, written in a desperate (and failed) attempt to prevent the family’s eviction from Lot 8, Concession 2 in March township:
Sir. At my coming to this Country which is now four years this faul I stoped in the township of March and paid Frederick W. Richardson ten dollars for his goodwill of Lot No. 8 in said township the north west half.
I could have sat on many a better lot that was vacant at the time. But he tol’d me as I was not able to pay for it that any other man could throw me out and he tol’d me it was a Crown lot and that he got provision of leave from John Burk and would make good same to me. But he having cut away all the oak was in a hurry to part with it.
Me self, me brother [probably my 3x great-grandfather James Lahey], and brother in law [Timothy Hourigan] settled and improved on it until the following summer me brother in law was killed by the fall of a tree. The widow and three children fell in charge to us.2
On 8 January 1826, Mary Hourigan submitted a petition to the Crown, asking for a piece of land for “the support of herself and her fatherless Children:”
Petitioner with her husband Timothy Horahan and children arrived in this Country in the year 1825, the 26th August, of which year her husband was killed by the falling of a tree whilst working for the support of his wife and large family, who have been left destitute by his death.
Petitioner has four Children, 3 boys & 1 girl, one of whom was born six months after her being deprived of her husband.
Petitioner most humbly begs that a lot of land may be assigned to her for the support of herself and her fatherless Children, her husband having been killed before his being located to any Land, and yr Petitioner shall ever pray. Mary X [her mark] Horahan.
The petition was supported by a character reference (25 September 1826), which certified “the deceased husband and his Widow to be persons of very good character and worthy of the Commiseration of His Excellency the Governor in Chief,” and which was signed by four members of the local elite, including Tory landowner and politician Hamnett Pinhey and Captain John Benning Monk (under whom my 3x- great-grandfather Denis Killeen had served in the 97th Regiment of Foot, and for whom he worked as a “soldier servant” in March township).3
The Widow Hourigan’s petition was successful, and on 4 July 1827 she moved her family to Lot 19, Concession 2 of March township, for which she received a Crown patent on 24 February 1831.
In 1835, Mary (Lahey) Hourigan made a payment of £5 toward a piece of land for her eldest son Michael. Unfortunately, the record of this payment got lost, and it took Hamnet Pinhey ten years to recover the money. “The poor woman now seeking restitution of her money,” wrote Pinhey, “is in great affliction — purchased this lot through me for her son, then a young lad, and just as he had become the support of his mother was by some ruffians most brutally murdered.”4 By the time she finally received a refund of her money, in July 1845, her son Michael had been dead four years, the victim not of “some ruffians” but of his own brother-in-law John Kelly.
Who was John Kelly?
I know very little about John Kelly.
He was born about 1813, very probably in Ireland, and was a resident of March township by 1838. Unfortunately, the record of his marriage (Notre Dame, Bytown, 20 August 1838) to Mary Hourigan, daughter of Timothy Hourigan and Mary Lahey, and sister of Michael, does not supply the names of his parents. At his trial, he was described as a “shantyman,” which term might refer specifically to someone we would now call “a lumberjack,” but which might also be applied more loosely to an Irish labourer. The designation suggests that he was not a farmer/landholder. Apparently some of his neighbours, not to mention his mother-in-law, thought he was a “dangerous character.”
Indeed, so concerned was his mother-in-law Mary Lahey, aka the Widow Hourigan, over Kelly’s propensity to violence that she took custody of his young daughter Ann, who was both her grandchild and her goddaughter:5
(To Be Continued…)
- Bathurst Courier, 16 April 1841. ↩
- Patt Lahey to Peter Robinson, 10 July 1828. Cited in D.T. Lahey, The Laheys of March Ontario (Guelph, Ontario: 1991), vii-viii. Part of this letter (from Crown Lands Township Papers, RG I, C-IV, Lot 8, March, Archives of Ontario) is also quoted in Bruce S. Elliott, Irish Migrants in the Canadas: A New Approach (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1994), p. 349, n. 92, where Pat Lahey is identified as “an Irish Roman Catholic immigrant” who may have later become a “migrant” (which is more or less accurate, I think). ↩
- Cited in D.T. Lahey, The Laheys of March Ontario, pp. 14-15. ↩
- Cited in D.T. Lahey, The Laheys of March Ontario, p. 15. ↩
- Baptismal record for Ann Kelly, who was baptized 25 September 1839, “aged 5 months, lawful child of John Kelly & of Mary Hourogan. Sponsors Michael Nash and The Widow Hourogan.” Ottawa (basilique Notre Dame/Notre Dame Basilica), Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1836-1840, image 57 of 80, database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca/: accessed 20 May 2010), Ontario, Canada Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967. ↩
Once upon a time (but not so very long ago), parents didn’t run around with cameras snapping candid shots that would document every phase of their children’s development. To have one’s picture taken, to have one’s children’s picture taken, was a rare event and a special occasion. It’s not just that people got dressed up in their Sunday best, but also that their photographs had a different purpose and meaning.
Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran (1830-1892) and Mary Leavy (1832-1907) had the following children:
- John (1854-1921)
- Margaret Jane (1856-1873)
- James (1858-1899)
- Mary Ernestine (“Tina”) (1859-1943)
- Thomas Edwin (1860-1942)
- Julia Amanda (1864-1941)
- Ellen Elizabeth (“Nellie”) (1866-1947)
- Mary Eugenie Gertrude (“Minnie”) (1868-1953)
- Anne [or Anastasia?] (“Annie”) (1871-?)
- Alexander Michael (“Alec”) (1872-1939)
- Mary Emelia [sometimes Emma] (“Em”) (1874-1963)
Back row: Annie [Moran] Sullivan; Thomas Edwin Moran; Sarah Jane Dooley?; Mary Eugenie Gertrude (“Minnie”) [Moran] Fagan. Centre Row: Unidentified; James Moran; Unidentified. Front Row: Alexander (“Alec”) Michael Moran; Mary Emelia (“Em”) [Moran] Delaney.
|Google News Archive
I can’t find the specific page at the moment, but I know that I first read about Google News Archive at Al Lewis’s Bytown or Bust, an absolutely indispensable resource for those researching Ottawa Valley ancestors. An online archive of historical newspapers sounded promising to me, so I googled my grandfather.
My paternal grandfather Allan Jerome Moran (1897-1978) was born and raised in Ottawa, and lived in the Ottawa area all of his life (mostly in the city of Ottawa, though he also spent a few years in the Gatineau region of Québec). So when I searched for him in the Google News Archive, I little expected to find him in a Pittsburgh newspaper (or in any American paper, for that matter). And yet I didfind several items in American papers, which had to do with his early career as a hockey player.
Photograph of Al (Allan Jerome) Moran, “Al Moran a Hockey Speeder,” Pittsburgh Press, 6 December 1916.
Henrietta Moran caught my attention when I noticed how often she turned up as a sponsor at her nieces’ and nephews’ baptisms. For the Morans of Huntley (but also for the Laheys of March), she seems to have been on the A-List of potential godparents.
- Thomas Hourigan (1857-1899), son of Thomas Hourigan and Julia Moran, born 8 Mar 1857, baptized 15 Mar 1857 (St. Patrick’s, Ottawa), godfather John Lahey
- Thomas Alexander Lahey (1864-1945), son of John Lahey and Margaret Jane Killeen, born 7 Jun 1864, baptized June? July?* 1864 (St. Isidore, March township), godfather James Hourigan
- Francis Charlebois (1862-1924), son of Arsene Charlebois and Margaret Moran, born 19 Mar 1862, baptized 27 Apr 1862 (St. Phillip’s, Richmond), godfather Thomas Moran
- Mary Moran (1886-1947), daughter of James Moran and Sarah Jane Dooley, born 15 Apr 1886, baptized 23 Apr 1886 (St. Michael’s, Corkery), godfather Thomas Moran
- James Lambert Charlebois (1895-?), son of James Lacey Charlebois and Bridget Ellen O’Neill, born 7 Nov 1895, baptized 24 Nov 1895 (St. Isidore, March township), godfather Fr. John Andrew Sloan (parish priest at both St. Isidore and St Patrick’s, Fallowfield)
- James Allan Armstrong (1892-?), son of Thomas Armstrong and Henrietta Charlebois, born 6 Oct 1892, baptized 30 Oct 1892 (St. Isidore, March township), godfather Joseph Newsom**
Found in the household of James Moran and Sarah Jane Dooley in the 1891 census (Ontario, Carleton, Nepean, p. 5, family no. 23), a domestic servant named Daniel Driscoll, born in England about 1878:
- Name: Driscoll, Danl
- Sex: M
- Age: 13
- Relation to Head of House: Dom [Domestic]
- Country or Province of Birth: Eng [England]
- Place of Birth of Father: Eng
- Place of Birth of Mother: Eng
- Religion: R.C. [Roman Catholic]
Thomas Edwin Moran was born at Huntley township on 1 March 1860, the fifth child and third son of Alexander (‘Sandy’) Michael Moran and Mary Leavy. Bridget Mary McDermott was born at Fitzroy township on 7 March 1876, the eighth of ten known children of John McDermott and Mary O’Neil.
Emmett Patrick Sloan (1920-2007) was the son of John Percival Sloan and Mary Lillian Fagan, and a descendant, through his mother’s side, of James Moran and Margaret Jamieson. He was also a family historian who spent years constructing a very detailed family tree, which involved tracing any number of Morans and Leavys across North America. A few months before he died, he sent me his memories of my great-grandparents Alexander (‘Alec,’ ‘Alex’) Michael Moran (1872-1939) and Anna Maria (‘Annie’) Benton (1871-1947). He also gave me a big, thick binder of his Moran family history research notes, for which I am extremely grateful.