Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cahertubber Eviction 1848

Poor Law
Ireland was a poor country for centuries. Before the Poor Law was enacted in 1838. It had been up to individual parishes to provide relief for poor. The Poor Law Union divided the country into 130 different ‘unions’ and each would have its own workhouse. Families were separated once they entered the workhouse.

In June 1845 serious reports of blight was discovered in Belgium. It had been believed that blight had originated in South America two years previously. Thousands of people died across France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands because of huge crop failures. People who lived in parts of Europe were not as dependent on the potato as those in Ireland.

Sir Robert Peel & The Relief Commission 
Potatoes doubled in price in December 1845, which coincided with the cost of living. The Member of Parliament Sir Robert Peel decided to purchase £100,000 of Indian Corn from America because it was cheap but unfortunately it was not popular because of it being hard to digest and its colour it became known as ‘Peel’s Brimstone’.
Peel also decided to set up a relief commission which formed local committees of landowners, their agents, magistrates, clergy and residents of importance. The purpose of the relief commission was to set up food depots throughout Ireland.

Sir Randolph Routh 
Sir Randolph Routh, who was originally the senior officer of the Commissariat department, which supplied food to the British Army was appointed as Chairperson of the Relief Commission in 1846. It became his duty to supply Indian Corn because he had extensive experience in feeding large bodies of people in sudden emergencies.
He was answerable to ‘The Treasury’. Any expenses would have required sanction by the Treasury such as famine relief. The ‘The Treasury’ was Charles Edward Trevelyan who is synomous to the song ‘The Fields of Athenry’.

Charles Edward Trevelyan 
Charles Edward Trevelyan was the Assistant Secretary and was also the head of Treasury. Trevelyan was a deeply religious man as he was known to ‘read the bible aloud’ and he firmly believed that the Great Famine in Ireland was ‘Punishment by God, on an idle, ungrateful, rebellious country’.
When Sir Robert Peel’s government fell. Trevelyan changed his scheme. Trevelyan and Charles Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, decided that, in the second failure there was to be ‘The provision of food for Ireland was to be left entirely to private enterprise and private traders’.
This causes consternation between Sir Randolph and Trevelyan, 
 as Sir Randolph did not like private enterprise to import food.

Second outbreak! 
The second failure of the potato crop happened in 1846 and rapid reports of distress and deaths quickly followed.

Evictions Begin 1846?
There were different reasons for evictions.  Landlords were liable for rates of tenants paying under £4 in rent under the Poor Law. When tenants could not afford to pay the landlord on their estates. The only way to collect money was to clear the poor of their small plots. 
Some landlords evicted tenants so they could 
 modernise their land for agricultural purposes for Bullock Pasture such as the case in the evictions Ballinglass, Co. Galway on Marcella Gerard’s estate in 1846.
It is not know how many were evicted before 1848. The police began to keep records between 1849 and 1854, were 49,000 families were dispossessed. There were thousands of ‘voluntary surrenders’ where tenants surrendered possession of their patch of land and began to beg, usually heading for the nearest town.
Tenants were also cheated into thinking the workhouse would take them, where they had been persuaded to accept a small some of money, and sometimes they helped tear down their own dwellings themselves.
Emigration was also and option for landlords where they would give their tenant enough money for a passage to America and Canada. Some landlords hired ships to transport them. Other tenants got aid from charities or had been sent money by family members who had already gone.
Many evicted families would shelter in ditches until bad weather drove them to the workhouse.  Emigration was an option whereby landlords gave their tenants enough money to emigrate other emigrants got charitable aid, and some family members abroad sent money for emigrants to emigrate.
Sometimes the land would be let to middlemen. Profit would be made by sub-letting the land to tenants, smallholders and cottiers.
As population grew the demand for land increased. Landlords and middlemen availed of the opportunity to increase their income by allowing holdings to be divided and sub-divided and by letting holdings ‘at-will’. This reduced the security of tenants and enabled rents to be raised from year to year, a practice known as ‘rack-renting’.

Black ’47
Black ’47 was known as Black ’47 because it was the worst year of the Great Famine in that same year the death toll of the county of  Galway was 5,556 in 1846 which then rose to 12,582 in 1848. For the town of Galway the death toll in 1847 was 1, 919, which rose to 2,000 in 1848. Over 11,000 inmates died in Galway workhouse.

Religious Society of  Friends ‘The Quakers’ 
The religious society of Friends were known as the ‘Qaukers’. In 1847 a group of ‘Quakers’ cam to Ireland. They established soup kitchen’s across the country. One of the ‘Quakers’ stated that the Irish children were ‘Like skeletons, their features sharpened with hunger and their limbs wasted, so that there was little left but bones, their hands and arms, in particular being much emaciated and the happy expression of infancy gave from their faces, leaving the anxious look of pre-mature old age’.
 In June 1849, the Quakers gave up relief work on June 2nd.  Thomas Larcom of the Relief Department reported to London that the system could not be continued. Little of value ‘had been created at a vast expense, labour had been diverted from cultivation and masses of rural poor were dying physically incapable and some new scheme would have to be take its place.’ 

Eviction Act 1848

I have tried my best to put the following paragraph’s of the 1848 Eviction Act into layman’s terms from this link

1.     You could not evict a person on Christmas day, Good Friday, two hours before or after sunset.
2.     You must give forty-eight hours notice of eviction for a tenant to the relieving officer.
3.     You must give the notice directly to the relieving officer or postmaster of a post office.
4.     It  is lawful for tenants who become destitute to seek relief off their relief officer electoral division for shelter, the workhouse, food, lodging, medical attendance.
5.     Every occupier should be served a notice.
6.     If a landlord does not abide by the Eviction Act 1848 giving an eviction notice to the relieving officer he must pay £20 pounds as a penalty.
7.     The sheriff or his office must be allowed to pull down, demolish, or unroof dwellings if anyone else it will be seen as a misdeameanor.
8.     This Act applies to all estates, possessions, of the crown in Ireland.

Ø Cahertubber East 1841 pop. 47 and Cahertubber West has a pop. of 185.
Ø Cahertubber East in 1851 pop. rises to 168 but decreases in Cahertubber West to a pop. 101.
Ø Houses inhabitants also rise in Cahertubber East from 8 to 27 houses while Cahertubber West decreases from 28 houses to 18.

Cahertobber and it’s meaning
Cahertobber means ‘Quarter of the Well’ from Oliver Cromwell’s time.

Cahertobber Families 1821

Atchinson; Brennan, Burke,  Cahilan, Ceary,Clasby, Coffey, Connelly,Connor, Coppinger, Culk; Daly, Delany, Fahy, Fallon,Gamen,Geraghrty,Gibbons,Glynn;
and  Grady. Hacket, Hart, Healy, Helay, Henew; Hession, Jordan,  Kelly Kendrigan,  Larkin, Lawless,Loughnane, Mackey; Mahon; McGennis,Monaghan, Moran;Murray, Nobles,Nolan, Qualter,  Quinn;Rowlan, Ruane, Ryan, Shaughnessy; Slamen, Taylor, Wall, and Ward.
 Athenry was desribed as a very run down place in the 1830’s by a German traveller  writer named Pucklar-Muscow was more poverty-stricken than any Polish village. I was pursued across ruins and brambles by a huge crowd of half-naked beggars who tried every possible flattery on him including the cry ‘Long live the King!’. When I threw a handful of coppers among them, soon half of them, young and old, lay in the mud grappling bloodily while the others rushed off to the shebeen to drink their gains.’

Family names in 1855-56
Family names that were record during the Griffith's Valuaton (A land valuation between 1855-1856 in Athenry):

Kealey, Hanly, Slamen, Mealy, Connor, Quinn, McDonagh, Connelly, Ward,
Ryan, Jordan, Dowd, Keane, Loughnane, Brennan, Kendrigan, Bourke, Skehill,
O'Brien, Callanan, Laffy, Shaughnessy, and O'Brien.
It would be the head of the household who's name would be record for the Griffith's Valuation.
I could find no census for Cahertubber West and East in Athenry 1901 and 1911.
(I was informed that night that it is under the DED of Aughrim see

Hon. Col. Bermingham Sewell
Thomas Bermingham Daly Henry Sewell was a son of Elizabeth Bermingham and Thomas Bailey Heath Sewell and grandson of Thomas Bermingham 1st Earl of Louth and Baron Athenry. His claim to the baronetcy of Athenry failed in 1800. At the time of Griffith's Valuation the Sewell estate was one of the principal lessors in the parish of Athenry and the representatives of Colonel Sewell also held land in the parishes of Clonbern, barony of Ballymoe and Dunmore, barony of Dunmore.
Hon. Col. Bermingham Sewell had area’s of Ballydavid Middle, Carrowntobber West, and Carrowntobber East, Knockbaun,

The Eviction Scene at Cahertubber
"A few days ago the sheriff of the county paid a visit to the lands of Gurrane, in the neighborhood of Athenry, on the estate of a man calling himself the Honorable Col. Bermingham Sewell, and demolished the entire village of Cahertubber, leaving but two houses stranding, one of which was converted into a depot for the remnant of roofing of those that were not committed to the flames.
The wretched and unhappy victims are to be found squatted upon the road side, presenting the most frightful appearance of destitution. In vain have those beings looked for compassion from the Honourable Col, although all their gardens are well cropped, and a few short weeks of bounteous Providence would have left them in a situation to discharge the trifling demands of this most Christian landlord, who liberality, generosity and hospitality are in perfect keeping with his honourable cognomen" .

I went into NUIG and looked at the following occupational directories of who was the High Sherriff of the county.

Almanac Registry Directory 1848 - Michael Joseph Browne.

Dublin Almanac 1849 – High Sherriff 1848 Thomas A. Joyce and 
Sub-sheriff Joseph McDonnell Galway. I have found out that Thomas A. Joyce was the High Sherriff of Galway City but in the newspaper Freeman’s Journal 22nd of January Captain Shawe Taylor had been elected High Sheriff of the County. 

Post- Cahertubber Eviction

Tuam Herald Saturday September 16 1848

‘Last week a man named Newel a bailiff in the employment of Col. Sewell, on part of his property, near Athenry, in a conflict with some of the persons named Ryan, about a thatch of an old house from once they had been ejected and which they alleged the gallant colonel gave them permission to take away, Newell was so severely injured as to cause his death in a few days after. 
On Saturday last an inquest was held by Thomas Walsh Esq., 
 Coroner, who committed the two Ryan (brothers) to abide their trail for manslaughter at the next assizes of the county.’

I would like to acknowledge Mr. Finbarr O’Regan, Mr. Adrian Martyn, Dr. Conor McNamara for their help with this research. Jarlath Ryan for the projector,  the Raheen Wood s Hotel for the Screen and Matthew for the use of the Town Café as a venue for my talk.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Railway Trouble (revised 2014) by Ronan Killeen

The coming of the railway in the 19th century created employment for many in the vicinity of Athenry which was then connected to Tuam, Ennis and Limerick. In 2010 the link to Ennis and Limerick re-opened with plans for the Athenry -Tuam link to follow.
While the railway brought prosperity to Athenry town it also had a dark side to it. The following series of anecdotes has been compiled by Ronan Killeen and is the first of a series of historical commentaries from that era.
In 1860 a lady from the neighbourhood of Athenry was returning by rail from Dublin, and failing to find accommodation for the night at Athenry decided to walk home to Ryehill four miles from the town. After a time she noticed that two men were following behind her and as she was alone she became alarmed. Deciding to run along the road as fast as she could she found that she was being pursued by the men. She hid in a potato furrow which belonged to the plantations of General Hall, Knockbrack with her two pursuers passing several times within a few feet of her. Hearing the noise of a vehicle passing the road she screamed at the top of her voice. Fortunately, the driver was the rector of Athenry, Rev. Mark Perrin, who stopped and helped the woman into his car. The Irish Times reported that; 'This is not the only occurrence of the like nature which has lately taken place in the neighbourhood, owing entirely to the number of bad and lawless characters employed, or hanging about the works of our Tuam and Athenry Railway'.
8 February 1861
A trader named Mr. Reilly sued the Midland Great Western Railway (now the Galway-Dublin route) for false imprisonment. Reilly was a trader on Abbey street. On 13 August 1860 he took the Galway excursion train, which stopped at Athenry and other places. According to the excursion bill of this era which 'allowed the person on to return on any train'. Reilly was to return on the Galway train and was then to return to Dublin on 14 August and according to class up to 27 August.
On the 11th of August the plaintiff decided to return to Dublin and got into one of the company’s carriages. The train was fairly crammed and he was obliged to kneel on the floor as he could not get a seat. After the train stopped at Athenry he stepped out in order to find a better seat. He then thought that he lost his ticket until one of the porters told him that the ticket was in the band of his hat. However the train had just pulled off. The stationmaster then told Reilly that he had broken his journey and should give up his ticket for the 'sum of one shilling'.
The plaintiff was then obliged to go along with one of the M.G.W.R. porters before a Magistrate where the case was dismissed. Following the Magistrate’s inquiry he was brought back to the stationmaster where the his name and address was taken and he was informed that the solicitor of the railway company would deal with him. Reilly did not make it to Dublin that night so he was forced to stay in Athenry overnight. Before he returned he was informed that 'The defence which was but partially gone into when the court rose, was that the party, by getting out, broke the journey and violated the bye-laws of the company'.
21 October 1873
An express train collided with an ordinary passenger train at Ballyglunin station. Although there were no deaths a number of people were injured.
19 December 1873
Thomas Burke, who was a navvy on repairing the Athenry & Tuam line of the railway was killed near Ballyglunin station. 'Returning on an empty lorry to Tuam after completing the day’s work, a sudden jolt having occurred he was thrown forward on the rails under the wheels and when taken up was found quite dead'.
28 January 1888
The M. P. Mr. Cox on his Dublin-Ennis journey was greeted with enthusiasm at Athenry station with the Athenry brass band playing national airs. Suddenly the police (R.I.C.) started attacking the people. Thanks to the efforts of Canon Thomas and his curate the Rev. F. Colgan most of the people were 'induced to retire'.  Many people had injuries. One woman had been thrown down onto the railway platform and had been badly trampled on. Mr. Cox was arrested and the empty carriages were filled by the brass band serenading the prisoner all the way to the next station!
29 March 1904
A goods clerk employed in the company of the Midland Great Western Railway, Seamus O'Grady was charged at the Southern Police Court by Detective Officers Lonegran and McKeogh for embezzlement £2 0s and 5d (two pounds no shillings and five pence), the property of the company.    
The prosecutor was Mr. Gerald Byrnes. The then station master of Athenry, Mr. William Smith, stated in court that the prisoner was employed under him as a goods clerk, and his business was to take in goods and receive the money. He should enter the amount of money given into the cash book and hand it up to the witness at night. On Saturday night at 9 o'clock he came to the witness’s office, with the cashbook and handed in the sum £57 3s as the money received.
On looking through the book the witness found that £2 0s and 3d was not accounted for by the prisoner. The prisoner had said he would make it up later, but he did not do so. The witness had not seen him since he was not arrested that morning.
Bryne stated that another clerk had been arrested at the same time, and although the charges were separate he asked that the other prisoner now be brought forward. Mr. John Doble was brought forward and charged with having embezzled £5 1d the property of the Great Southern and Western Railway company. Mr. Smith the Athenry station master deposed that the duty of the accused was to receive small parcels and the money for the carriage. He was to enter the amounts in the cash book and there was a sum of 5s 1d for which he could not account.
Detetective Officer McKeogh stated that on the previous morning at Kingstown he arrested O'Grady as he was about to embark on the mail boat.  He said his name was not O'Grady but that it was John Walsh of Castlebar, and that he was of no business. On being searched there was £16 8s 0 1/2 found on the accused.
Detective Lonegran stated that he arrested Doble on the same occasion. He gave the name of Stephen O'Grady, but subsequently he stated his real name was Doble.  A sum of £11 7s 0 1/2 was found in his possession.' The Irish Times report concludes: 'The prisoners were remanded until Wednesday, when an application would be made to send them to the Athenry Petty Sessions.' 
30 November 1907
Five miles from Athenry a shooting occurred at Craughwell Railway Station. A Mrs. Ryan had just got off on her return journey from Athenry when two shots were fired in her direction from behind a thicket close to the station. Two policemen were very near Mrs. Ryan at the time. A possible reason for the shooting was that Mrs. Ryan had bought land from which tenants had recently been evicted.

Elopement in County Galway by Ronan Killeen

Back in 2013 i printed of a newspaper article from the 19th century it was to do with an 'Elopment' 'Elopment in the County of...