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THE HAGERTIES OF KILMEEN PARISH, SOUTHWEST CORK

 


In the early 1820s, probably in 1823, William Haggertie and his younger brother Jonathan left Kilmeen parish, county Cork Ireland, with their families, sailing across the Atlantic for a new life in Canada. In 1827 younger brothers James and George and their families followed their two elder brothers. The Haggerties settled in Hastings County in what was then called Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario), a few miles north of Lake Ontario. James established a farm there that is still occupied by his descendants. Within a few years George and his family moved on to Mercer county, Pennsylvania, where their three sisters had settled. When James came to Canada, he brought a number of documents with him that survive to this day. Thanks to those documents, we have been able to learn more about the Hagerties of southwest Cork. Perhaps a note is necessary concerning the spelling of the name: The name was spelled Hagertie in the Kilmeen parish register. In addition, the parish registers for the Bandon area (a few miles to the east) show that many Hagertie families lived there. There are many, many alternative spellings of the name in those registers (baptisms, marriages).

          My ggg grandparents, William and Elizabeth Haggertie, lived in Kilmeen parish before Elizabeth died and William and four children emigrated to Upper Canada in 1823. William was the fourth child in a family of 14 children whose parents are unknown. He was an elder brother of James. Marriage records for most of those children are included in the surviving Marriage License Bond lists for Cork.

 

William HAGGERTIE: b 18 Dec 1771, County Cork, Ireland; m 10 November1803 Drimoleague, County Cork, Ireland; d 5 Apr 1848, Rawdon Twp, Hastings County, Canada West (now Ontario)

Elizabeth BEAMISH: b abt 1780; d abt 1819, County Cork, Ireland

Little is known about William Haggertie or Elizabeth Beamish. After returning from Ireland in 1997 I discovered that there had been a book written in Ireland about the Beamish family which indicates that William and Elizabeth married in Drimoleague, County Cork in 1803, but has no further information on Elizabeth. This was probably Elizabeth's home. Unfortunately, the parish records for Drimoleague prior to 1800 are no longer available so I have been unable to learn anything about her family or origins. Family stories indicate that Elizabeth had a brother, Captain Tom Beamish, who came to Canada at the same time as William and his children, i.e., in 1823.

          The Kilmeen Parish Registers I examined covered baptisms and marriages that occurred after 1806. Neither John nor Mary's baptism was listed, but William's (28 April, 1816) and George's (15 May, 1819) were, revealing that both were born at least a year earlier than is reported in my grandmother's 1942 book about William's descendants. William and Elizabeth may have lived in another parish when John and Mary were born. Grandma reported the following delightful story about William and Elizabeth in her book:

William Haggerty's wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Beamish, died in Ireland when their son, George was born. His son, John often told how his father raised the baby, who slept with him, and how the child's mother came back each night and tucked the baby in bed and admonished him to take good care of him. He also told how, as he rode to town on Saturday nights to get the provisions for the family, she would come and get on horseback behind him, and ride till they came to the River Shannon, when she would slip off and disappear, not being able to cross water. One night he tried to keep her by force, but she got away from him. That night, she came to tuck the baby in as usual, but told him he did very wrong trying to hold her, and if it happened again, her companions would kill him, and then she disappeared, and did not come back anymore.

When George was christened William and Elizabeth lived in Maulatanvally. Kilmeen Parish is quite a distance from the River Shannon, and so it must have been another river. I have looked at a map of the area and believe it may have been the Argidene River that was on William's road to town and the town may have been Rossmore or Ballygurteen. In 1816 when William was christened the family lived in another townland a few kilometres north--Kildee. I assume Elizabeth must have been buried in the Christ Church cemetery of Kilmeen parish. Unfortunately, neither a tombstone nor a burial record survives. The church is still in use, one of four in the Kinneigh Union served by a single rector. More photos taken in the parish are attached.

          I was surprised when I discovered that William and Elizabeth had married in 1803, as John, apparently the eldest son, was not born until nine or ten years later. Therefore, there must have been other older children. Whether they survived or not is anyone's guess, although there were Hagerties in Kilmeen and that area well into the 1800s. In addition to the ten year gap, the fact that John was named John rather than James seems to support the notion that there must have been at least one older brother. The Irish tradition of naming the eldest son after the paternal grandfather was almost always adhered to in those times. Two of William's brothers (Jonathan and George) are known to have named their eldest son James. There was also an Adam Haggerty who lived nearby whose first son was James and who also had a son Marmaduke. I had originally thought it likely that this would be the Adam who was a brother of William, Jonathan and George (see below); however, his age at death indicates this is unlikely.

          James Haggertie (William's brother) brought a letter of introduction from the Kilmeen rector when he came to Canada in 1827. It reveals that James, "Farmer and Weaver," was "going to Canada to seek a Settlement, his trade here [i.e., in Kilmeen] having failed, and the lease of his farm expired." Books about conditions in West Cork at that time reveal that this was a common occurrence. Families held very small plots of land and rents often increased, especially when tenants made any improvements on their land. It was apparently common practice for landlords to offer to rent land to the highest bidder with no regard for the existing occupants. It was also common for men to take work weaving linen to help make ends meet, but about this time it was becoming increasingly difficult to find that sort of work as linen weaving was becoming industrialized. Records for James' family reveal that in 1815 they moved from Kildee, settling in Ballygurteen.

          In the Kilmeen parish register, I also found baptism records for one child of Jane Haggertie and James Boyd (Dorothea, baptised 18 February 1816), then living in Maulatanvally; and several children of George Haggertie and Mary Shannon, living in Ballygurteen: Jane, 23 September 1821; Anne, 23 March 1822; James, 22 September 1824; and Martha, 9 October 1825 or 1826. Another sister, Amelia, married George Webb in Kilmeen parish 24 July, 1810, and at the time she was a resident of Kildee. Unfortunately, her parents were not named in the marriage record. Thus it appears that at least some of the family lived in Kildee until about 1815, at which time some moved to Maulatanvally and others to Ballygurteen. The Webbs apparently lived in another parish after they were married as there were no further records of Amelia. I have found burial records for George Haggertie and Mary Shannon and for another sister and her husband, Sarah and George Forbes, in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. We do not have confirmed records for the remaining brothers and sisters of William.

          However, there were other Haggerties in the Bandon area at this time who had the same names and who I assume must have been related. Among them the names Adam and Marmaduke seem to be particularly good markers.

          An Elizabeth Hegarty married a Charles Bateman in 1788. Charles and Elizabeth lived a few miles from Kilmeen, in Rathclaren parish (south of Bandon). Among the baptismal sponsors for their older children were Ann, William and Mary Hagerty. If the eldest in our family (whose name was not legible in the records maintained by the James Haggerty family) were Ann, then these names would fit our family. Elizabeth and Charles immigrated to New Brunswick probably about or just before 1820, along with many other Batemans. Their daughter Dorothy married Thomas Nagle and they later moved to Caradoc township, Middlesex county, Ontario (then called Canada West). Dorothy and Thomas's daughter Ann married John Hagerty, a son of George (the youngest son of William and Elizabeth) and Elizabeth Morgan.

          I also have found records for Adam Haggerty and Susannah Kingston, married 30 January 1823, in the city of Cork. Birth records are available in the IGI for six of their sons: James 1822, Samuel Stanley 1823, Marmaduke 1829, Richard George 1830, Adam 1832, and Henry 1834. Probably daughters were born between Samuel and Marmaduke and for some reason were not listed in the source of this information. There are two records for each of the five eldest sons, one for Bannon (probably should be Bandon), Cork, and the other for Bannow, [County] Wexford. Henry is only recorded for Wexford. I suspect the family moved to County Wexford between the births of Adam and Henry so that there were parish records available for the eldest sons in both counties. The names of the first, third and fifth sons (the alternate sons would have been named after their mother's family) suggest that they were part of our family. I have been in contact with a descendant of this family and found that Adam and Susannah are buried in the Clontarf cemetery in Dublin and that most of their children emigrated to Australia.

          We know even less about the generations of Haggerties who came before William and his 13 siblings. One of the documents brought to Canada by James Haggertie was a 1766 petition to the Bishop of Cork and Ross, which noted:

James Hagertie Senior now 84 years old is Lisenced as Church Clerk for the parish of Kilmeen 56 years, that his Father, Grandfather and all his Ancesters in a hereditary Line since the Reign of King William have officiated as Church Clerks in the respective Parishes of Kilmeen and Ballimony, as by the Records and Registry may appear. [James Sr.] being now superannuated and a vacancy for both Church Clerk and School Master being in said parish at present, Memst. Humble conceives himself fit for both and entitled at least to the office of Church Clerk according to your Lordships Pleasure and goodwill as his Father and Ancesters have been in succession Church Clerks since the conquest. . . he is a poor honest industrious young man with a heavy charge of a wife and five children and nothing to support them but his labor.

Among those who signed the letter was George Hagertie. A letter from the Bishop of Cork and Ross, still retaining the wax seal and dated 15 October 1766, confirms that James was appointed Parish Clerk. A third document indicated that James Hagertie was Church Warden in 1788. The surviving parish vestry minutes confirm that James Haggertie was the parish clerk from at least April 1798 until March 1826.

          Parish records indicate that in 1699 "Kilmeen Church is something out of repair." On May 27, 1700 it is noted that it is in "indifferent repair" and "Divine service [is held] once a fortnight." . . . "Sir Richard Cox, Mr Abbott and the Ld. Archbishop of Dublin, have the greatest part of the lands of the parish." It is also noted that the church had a pulpit, table and one pew. As well, "There is a parish clerk at Kilmine; he does not get above 30 s. out of this parish and Drinagh. The clerk teaches school. " Given the information in the 1766 petition cited above, it seems likely this clerk was a Hagertie (Source: Brady, W.M.  "Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross," Vol. 3, p. 523, published in Dublin in 1863).

          A history of Kilmeen and Castleventry Parish written by Daniel O'Leary reproduced the following item from the Cork Evening Post dated 14 March 1794:

The Minister, Churchwarden and principal inhabitants of the Parish of Killmeen think it their duty now at the eve of the Assizes to return their thanks to the Government for the aid afforded them when their lives and property were at the mercy of a vicious deluded mob. To the timely appearance of the military and to that alone, they attribute their safety, and they earnestly hope that the necessary protection may not be withdrawn 'till the frenzy which had seized the lower classes and from which every danger was to be feared shall be somewhat subsided and 'till by a few well applied examples they shall be taught that the Law is all powerful and that the mildest Government, when roused to a certain degree, must punish. Signed: Isaac Watkins, Rector, James Hegertie and Sam Bateman, Church Wardens, Francis Bennett of Letter, John Wright and Benjamin Wright, William Norwood, John Wallis, Jeffry Wallis, Thos. Northridge, Adam Hegertie, John Wolfe, George Fuller, Daniel Chambers, Pat Murrihy, Pat Boohane, Can Boohane, Owen Noonan, Robert Birchinell, Jeremiah Donovan, Daniel Connell, Cors. Dwyer and Cors. Cahalane.

The Flax Growers' List of 1796 records three "Heagertys" in Kilmeen parish: James, Daniel and Patrick. Perhaps one of these "Hegerties" or "Heagertys" was the father of our ancestor William and the others cousins, brothers or a father. I'm guessing James was the father (based on the naming patterns of the families), but we may never know.

          A final document brought to Canada by James Haggertie, dated 24 April 1827, indicated:

the Minister and Church wardens of the Parish of Kilmeen in the County of Cork certify that we have known James Hagertie of this Parish, Farmer and Weaver, for many years, that he has always been well-conducted and industrious and is, as we understand, going to Canada to seek a Settlement, his trade here having failed, and the lease of his farm expired.

          This is the extent of the documentation we have concerning documented members of our family in Ireland. The genealogy of the family from about 1682 until the early 1800s is presented here. However, there is additional information available about Hagerties and about Kilmeen Parish and south west Cork, that gives us more insight into how our ancestors lived in those times. Here are some additional links to other web pages containing a variety of records about Cork Haggerties.



EARLY TIMES IN KILMEEN PARISH AND COUNTY CORK


        I have a copy of a letter written in 1877 by a man named Eedy who lived in New Brunswick and had been born in County Cork. The letter was to John Wolfe Eedy and tells some of the history of the Eedy family. The letter indicates that Jonathan and Nicholas Eedy came to Ireland with Cromwell, and that Jonathan "settled at Killdee with Sir Michael Cox." The writer, born in 1815, was a great-grandson of Nicholas Eedy, who "settled at Kildee near Clonakilty on the estate of a Colonel Allen who lived in England" (Clonakilty is a few kilometres south-east of Kilmeen parish). Note that there was a John Wolfe who signed the 1794 letter quoted above, and a Charles Edey signed one of the assessment notices that James brought over from Ireland. This provides us with some more names to search for!!! If we could look up records for land owned by Michael Cox and Colonel Allen we might be able to find more information about our Haggerties.

        Now I would like to look back to earlier times. A wall plaque that I purchased in a tourist shop in Ireland gives us the following information:

Although now associated principally with County Cork, Munster Hegartys are descended from an ancient sept established in Ulster, along the border of Derry and Donegal. These counties are still the homeland of many of the name today. O hEigceartaigh, the sept from which they stem, was of illustrious lineage. A family of the Cinel Eoghain, their ancestor, Eoghan, was the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, king of Ireland from 379 to 406. Although they were subfeudatory to the O'Neill Princes of Ulster (the "Annals of the Four Masters" noted that Maolmuire O'Hegarty fell at Kinsale in O'Neill's army), they held a considerable territory including Loughinsholin and Tirkeeran baronies, County Derry and Inishowen barony on the other side of Lough Foyle in Donegal. In the middle of the 15th century, a branch of the sept migrated southward to County Cork, where they prospered. When Petty's Census was compiled in 1659, the Hegartys were listed among the principal landowners in the baronies of Barrymore and Carbery in west Cork. [Kilmeen Parish is in Carbery]

This information is fairly consistent with that my Grandma noted in her booklet on the history of the Haggerty family.

        As noted above, Daniel O'Leary wrote a history of Kilmeen Parish and I will now turn to that book for further information. O'Leary begins his story with the prehistoric people, but I will pick it up with the end of the 16th century:

West Cork was devastated having been ravaged and plundered in turn by both parties in the war [i.e., Irish and English]. Ibane, being Barry territory, received enemy treatment from the forces of O'Neill and Carbery the land of McCarthy Reagh [including Kilmeen] received similar treatment from the forces of the Queen.

Now that military victory had been gained, the way was clear for the enforcement of repressive legislation against the Irish . . .

The English considered land divisions as being very important; they could not grant land to settlers unless there were definite land units and fixed boundaries. The actual size and shape of the country were still being discovered in the 16th century even though the land had been divided into political regions much earlier. The Normans had introduced counties and baronies. The other Irish unit, the townland or ploughland was an area large enough to support a number of small farmers and its borders were usually determined by streams, bogs, mountains and ancient roads.

We know little about the lives of the ordinary people. Farming was the main occupation. The days were passed minding cattle, milking them and making butter. Cooking was simple, the people lived on milk, curdled sour milk, bread, soft cheese, beef and pork. They had home brewed beer and whiskey was becoming very popular.

The men wore their hair long with fringes cut straight across the forehead. They had long flowing moustaches. The women wore long brightly coloured gowns and a folded head-dress. Mem and women, rich and poor wore the "Irish Mantle," a thick woollen cloak fringed at the edge. (p. 31)

        The Catholic Irish took up arms against the King in 1641. Meanwhile, in England Parliament was challenging the King as well. In 1649 Charles I was executed and Cromwell was declared Lord Protector of England and Ireland. Before the year was out Cromwell travelled to Ireland intending to settle his soldiers on land there as payment for their service during the English Civil War. Extensive lands were confiscated by Cromwell and his followers. O'Leary notes:

The atrocities of Cromwell and his soldiers, from the time they landed in Ireland in 1649, are well known in Irish history. He came as far as Bandon, where, in 1650 he spent a few days in a house in North Main Street. . . the knocking down of the battlements of Ballinvard Castle [located in Kilmeen parish] probably happened during Cromwell's visit to Bandon in 1650.

Irish landowners, primarily the aristocracy, who had their land confiscated included the O'Hurley family which had owned much of the land in the area of Kilmeen parish. Among those who received land was Francis Beamish. Many of the English settlers knew nothing about farming and soon sold their land at bargain prices to those who chose to stay. Beamish was one who benefitted from this. According to O'Leary, "The Beamish family were landlords for two hundred and fifty years, until the Land Act of 1903."

A survey in 1654 described Kilmeen as follows:

The quallity of the Land consists of Arable and pasture, intermixt with bogg and mountaine--It containes these following towne Landes, Kildee, . . .There is standing within this Parish at Ballinward a Castle and on the Gleabe Land a Church.

O'Leary continues,

There is no mention of a village at either Rossmore or Ballygurteen. Total acreage including 12 acres of “Gleabe” was given as 4,512 - 0 - 9. Profitable acreage was given as 4,085 - 1 31 and unprofitable, 426 - 2 - 18.

At that time Dermot Mac Daniel Carty was identified as the landowner of Kildee.

        By the late 1600s the Irish were again fighting to regain control of their lands. They were firmly defeated by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This is the William who was mentioned in the documents brought to Canada by James Haggertie. Haggerty is an ethnic Irish name, and so we must presume at some point our ancestors converted from Catholicism to Protestantism. I was told that there are records of all those who converted, but could find no records of Haggerty conversions listed.