Thomas' father may have been named John, as he named his eldest known son John. The Maryborough register records a John Clark who was buried July 1794, and a John Clarke buried 13 Sep 1832, aged 82 years.
Thomas and Elizabeth Clarke were said to be residents of Ballinderrin when their children were baptised in 1802, 1804, 1806 and 1810, and of Cappakeel in 1808--both located in Coolbanagher Parish. After that time they lived in Meelick in Maryborough Parish, probably until Elizabeth's death. In 1850 the Griffiths Valuation shows Thomas as occupying land in Meelick, both in Borris and Kilcolmanbane parishes. Lord Congleton is the land owner. In Meelick, Borris he occupies house, offices and land in Block 4 and is the landlord for Block 3. Thomas was also the occupant of block 23 in Meelick, Kilcolmanbane parish, and the immediate lessor of block 24 in which Mary Donohoe was the occupant. Thomas Clarke was one of two Clarkes listed in the 1850 Griffiths Valuation in Meelick. The other, William Clarke Esq., may have been a brother.
Thomas was a resident of Grague, Lea Parish at the time of his death. He was apparently living with his daughter, Rebecca, wife of William Hughes, after his wife's death. A letter from William Hughes to Eliza Vanston, Jane Clarke's daughter, written 13 July 1854 notes: "Your grandada is very ill - Dr Fisher was with him three times, he has an enlarged liver attended with severe inflamation producing a tendency to Dropsey. I do not think you will ever see him drink again in Maryborough as he has been obliged to give up whiskey altogether his stomach not being strong enough to retain it. I do not say but he may so far recover as to go to Maryborough but his drinking days are over." Thomas died less than a month later.
From all we have been able to find, there was only this one Thomas Clarke living in Queen's county in the early to mid 1800s. Therefore, I believe the following excerpt from ch. 17 of: "Laois: History and Society" (edited by Lane, P.G., & Nolan, W., 1999, Dublin: Geography Publications) may be about this Thomas Clarke:
In the early 1800s there was extensive unrest, secret societies such as the Whiteboys and the Rockites–this latter group would post anonymous threatening notices and send threatening letters, signed "Captain Rock." Tithes to the English church were a source of much malcontent. Houses and farms were burned–in QC the winter of 1822/23 was very bad. By 1827 things had become more peaceful, but there was an increase in uprisings again in 1829. In 1832 anyone who paid their tithes was threatened with violence. The County MPs at the time were Sir Henry Parnell and Sir Charles Coote. In 1832 there were 226 "illegal notices" posted and 215 attacks on homes; in 1833 320 illegal notices and 622 home attacks.
[The following excerpt describes one such instance which occurred in 1832, and may refer to Dr. William Clarke, son of Thomas, who in 1837 immigrated to Canada West. Biographical information on Clarke refers to his being forced to leave Ireland because of political unrest.]:
"Thus one Thomas Clark sent his son to Ballylinan to arrange for a piece of land to be ploughed. The property had been in Clarke’s possession for ten years. The son, on his arrival, found a notice attached to a stick thrust into the soil:
"To Thomas Clarke
Sir - you are requested to take notice to resign the four acres of land held by Andrew Byrne of Mullamore to his son Dennis Byrne and never dare to put a plough on the same land again this is the first and last notice reark if you do not comply with this you will be sorry when too late for, if not plenty of powder and fall awaits you.
"The Andrew Byrne referred to had in fact sold all interest in the land not ten, but twenty years previously, the purchaser on that occasion being at least one owner anterior to Clarke. On the next morning the notice was followed up. Four men called at the house where the younger Clarke was staying. He was told in no uncertain terms to leave the area that day and warned that the threats in the notice would indeed be executed if the instructions were not heeded. One of the men drew a pistol and fired it into the air, after which they departed." (pp. 503-504)
By 1837 things were somewhat quieter, but there was still a considerable level of crime in the area. By the late 1840s the famine was being used by the government as a means of clearing people out, landlords assisted by evicting tenants and by forced sales.
"Much of this criticism was founded on [Lalor’s] vehement detestation of the family who represented the bastion of conservatism in the Queen’s County, the Cootes of Ballyfin" (p. 544).
This incident was reported in the Leinster Express of March 10th 1832: "A son of Thomas Clarke, who resided near this town, having----------------, was ordered to leave the county that day."
Also from the Leinster Express, Sep 24th 1831: "A Foundling named Bazzil apprenticed to Mr Clarke of Meelick in endeavouring to stop a horse running away with a car of which he had charge was knocked down by the side of the car striking him in the back. He survived only very few minutes."
And the Leinster Express, Feb 25th 1832: "Since our last the houses of twelve farmers have been attacked and deprived of fire arms in different parts of the county. If we gave a minute detail of each of the outrages that occur every week they would occupy the greater part of our journal. Murders, breakings, abductions, taking of arms, etc. are all so prevalent that accounts of such awful occurances seem to be looked on with no more than ordinary concern in this hitherto peaceful county."
In 1844 Thomas Clarke of Meelick, farmer, was among those licensed to carry arms; he was allowed three guns (pistols were licensed as a separate category).
Thomas married Elizabeth Wilkinson 1 daughter of Queens County Wilkinsons in 1800 in Diocese of Kildare, Ireland. Elizabeth was born about 1781 in Ireland. She died 2 on 1 May 1849 in Meelick, Maryborough Parish, Queen's County, Ireland.
Burial record says Elizabeth Clarke of Meelick, Maryborough parish was 68 when she died.
They had the following children:
2 M i John Clarke was christened 1 on 20 May 1801 in Maryborough, Queen's County, Ireland.
John is the first child of Thomas and Elizabeth suggesting the paternal grandfather may have been named John Clarke.
No further confirmed info on this man. However, the familysearch database notes the death registration of a John Clarke age 82, 1st qtr 1885, registered Mountmellick District (film #101593, Vol. 3, p. 433). The Griffiths shows John Clarke land holdings in the parishes of Aghaboe, Borris, Lea and Straboe, suggesting there were probably at least two of them in the county at that time.
+ 3 F ii Jane Clarke 4 F iii Martha Clarke was christened 1 on 10 Mar 1804 in Coolbanagher Parish, Queen's County, Ireland. She was buried 2 on 27 Dec 1819 in Maryborough, Queen's County, Ireland. 5 M iv James Clarke was christened 1 on 7 Dec 1806 in Coolbanagher Parish, Queen's County, Ireland. He died before 1817.
James probably died in early childhood. I found no record of his burial but there was another James christened in 1817.
6 F v Rebecca Clarke was christened 1 on 13 Mar 1808 in Coolbanagher Parish, Queen's County, Ireland. She died on 7 Apr 1893 in Dublin Street, Carlow.
Confimed Maryborough 1 May 1822, along with Eliza Clarke, Jane Clarke & James Hill Clarke.
A rent receipt to Rebecca was found among the papers of Samuel P. Turpin:
Maryboro, Sept 20/71
To Rebecca Hughes ??
To one half years of House
& premises in Quality Row
of Room in same house [this line seems to be an inset related to the following line--i.e., rented the entire house for a half year, and rented only one room for an extended period]
By 46 Weeks Rent from Nov 2nd
1870 to Sept 20th 1871
£ 2 - 14 - 0
Appears to have not had any children. Likely that Rebecca lived in Maryborough for about 11 months, ending Sept. 1871. Perhaps at that time she become an invalid and unable to care for herself? As this record was found among the papers of her niece's husband, it may be that he looked after her affairs for a time. Death registration indicates she was living in Carlow; cause of death was "paralysis, 7 days"; the informant was her niece, Rebecca Douglas, also of Dublin Street, who was present at the time of her death.
Rebecca married 1 William Hughes on 7 Nov 1840 in Maryborough, Queen's County, Ireland. William was born about 1809 in Ireland. He died on 9 May 1870 in Graigavern, Queen's county, Ireland.
William was a resident of Lea parish at the time of his marriage to Rebecca Clarke, daughter of Thomas Clarke. The Griffiths Valuation records (approx. 1850) reveal that William Hughes held land in two townlands within Lea parish: Ballintogher and Graigavern. In both townlands there was a house listed on a property occupied by a William Hughes, suggesting there may have been two Williams. Patrick, Lawrence, Michael, George and John Hughes also held land in Lea parish.
Death registered Emo district, 1870, age 61; cause of death "Pulmonary Fever with Disease of Heart of Long standing, 6 days."
+ 7 M vi Dr. William Clarke 8 M vii Thomas Clarke was christened 1 on 7 Jun 1812 in Maryborough, Queen's County, Ireland. He died after Apr 1881 in Ontario.
Thomas was living with his sister Elizabeth Greenham and her family in both the 1851 and 1881 censuses. In 1851 they were in Eramosa tp, and in Fergus in 1881. It appears he never married. His death does not appear to have been registered.
+ 9 F viii Elizabeth Clarke 10 M ix James Clarke was christened 1 on 25 Mar 1817 in Maryborough, Queen's County, Ireland. He died before Dec 1826.
Another James born to this family December 1826.
11 M x Edward Clarke was christened 1 on 2 Feb 1819 in Maryborough, Queen's County, Ireland. He died 2 in Dec 1839 in Meelick, Queen's County, Ireland. He was buried on 17 Dec 1839 in Maryborough Church of Ireland.
Edward Clarke of Meelick age 21, buried Maryborough 17 Dec. 1839.
+ 12 F xi Catherine (Kate) Clarke + 13 M xii James Clarke