THE MEMOIRS OF Thomas C. BREAKEY
OF DRUMSKELT HOUSE
BALLYBAY, COUNTY MONAGHAN, IRELAND
Historical and Anecdotal
Thomas Cathcart Breakey youngest son of John Breakey (1 Dec., 1780 –11 Feb., 1878) of Drumskelt House and his wife, Elizabeth Small (….,1793 -26 Nov., 1866) of Bailieborough, was born 27 April, 1834. He was trained at a Model Farm, Saintfield, County Down, and married Elizabeth Moore (b. 1859- d. 17 May, 1937). Eight children were born of this union. Drumskelt House was built in 1717 and was occupied continuously by Breakeys until 1959 when it went to the Presbyterian Church by the will of the late Robert Breakey.
The following books were written with pen and ink by Thomas C. Breakey, the first before 1900, and the second, begun in 1901, was finished sometime before his death, 2 April, 1914. Both are bound volumes and neither was given a title. They had been placed in the Museum of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Churchhouse, Fisherwick Place, Be1fast, Ireland, by his son Robert Breakey (5 Nov. 1885 -12 Jan. 1959) for safe keeping. During World War II, they were transcribed on the typewriter by Miss Jeannie Stewart, Assistant Secretary to the Presbyterian Historical Society, for Major Frank Keam Breakey from Napinka, Manitoba, Canada. Fortunately, Miss Stewart had retained a carbon copy of her transcription and, during my first visit to Ireland in June of 1961, I was permitted to take this copy to Bell, Logan & Carswell, Ltd., Carswell Building, Queen's Street, Belfast, and have it reproduced photostatically.
Miss Stewart admitted having some difficulty reading the hand- writing of Thomas C. Breakey. This accounts for minor errors in her transcription. She also had difficulty with certain place names with which she was unfamiliar. Punctuation was often faulty or lacking and the material poorly arranged. The author apparently wrote in a free and easy manner, recording his memories as he recalled them with- out expending much effort or thought in organizing his material. Also, coloquial expressions are often unintelligible to the modern reader and references to historical events of local importance may be meaningless without elaboration or explanation.
Hence, I am assuming an editor's prerogative, and in doing so will sincerely try to avoid changing the meaning of the author's statements or intruding myself on his personality. I am also responsible for the title and assume complete responsibility for any changes in the bodies of the manuscripts. Whenever possible, the spelling of each place name has been checked against the spelling as it appears on the Ordnance Survey Maps. Why perpetuate errors when they can be corrected?
These books contain much information relating to the Breakey family and early days in Ireland, information that should be preserved for posterity. I am convinced the best way to insure the preservation of such material is to distribute it widely among persons who will appreciate it and care for it, in this instance, to members of the Breakey family who are presently scattered in all countries of the British Commonwealth and the United States.
Edward P. Breakey, Ph.D.
January 3, 1962
The Memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey
The Breakeys were French Protestants or Huguenots. The cruel treatment of the Protestant Christians in the year 1685, when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, caused over 50,000 families to seek refuge in England. Protestants who remained got a limit of time to leave France or man, woman, and child found in the country would be murdered. At the entreaty of a French Roman Catholic lady who was in love with one of the Breakeys, numbering three, two brothers and a cousin, they left at the llth hour with only time enough to get over the border into Holland. Being homeless, they joined the army of William III, Prince of Orange.
Later the French lady was eyewitness to the massacre, saw her father lose his life because a poor Protestant servant clung to him for protection. She was so horrified and disgusted with such cold blooded murder and, being a woman of means, she gathered up her money and jewellery, became the most rigid Protestant, left for Holland, found the Breakeys, and was married in all honours to the cousin of my ancestor. All the Breakeys I ever heard of may thank that lady's advice and entreaties for their existence.
When William III was invited to come to England after James II was exiled, he brought the Breakeys with him,. During their stay in England, my ancestor was married to an English woman. At the Battle of the Boyne, the unmarried brother of my ancestor fell. After that battle, my ancestor and his cousin retired from active service and came to live in this part of the country. The cousin of my ancestor was a non-commissioned officer and settled in Balladian. I do not know his Christian name. By him came all the Breakeys, in County Monaghan and, I think in Ireland, except Humphry Breakey and family of Monaghan, Mrs. J. Mitchell, and me and my family, and Thomas Breakey of Carnaveagh.
My ancestor, Wm. D. Breakey, settled in Lisgillin, and built the house in the October of 1690, now inherited by John Greer. At the house warming in Lisgillin and at the suggestion of the ancestors of the Dalys of Drumskelt, Wm. D. Breakey was presented with a set of white dinner Delft. One of the dishes is here still. He had the townland of Lisgillin for very many years at 1/11 (1 shilling, 11 pence) per acre.
My Father's uncle, "John Soople" (Jack the Supple) so called from his keeping two hounds, Gaylass and Brusher, and always followed them on foot. He had the farm that is to the house for 2/6 (2 shilling, 6 pence) per acre while old Mr. Harper lived. “John Soople" had no family. He said to my Father when a wee boy, "Come to the Mountain Meetinghouse with me and I will leave you all I possess.” Father did so and that is how he came to be a Covenantor.
At the death of John Breakey, so called "John Soople", Father got all he possessed. He sold the farm to Rev'd McDowell who had it but one or two years when old Mister Harper died terminating the lease. The rent was raised from 2/6 per acre to 1-12-6 (1 pound, 12 shillings, 6 pence) by the Verners. Some time after his Reverence was dispossessed for non payment of rent and lost his input. When this farm was taken by the Breakeys, it .was in a wild state covered with brush. This house was built by them in 1717, and the Chesnuts were planted. The road to Ballybay was then along the top of the hills opposite and went out at the gate of our Manse.
My Great Grandfather had three sons. William lived here. He built the house now occupied by Thomas Henry at the Church for his son Isaiah and the year after, Derry Big House (as it was called) for his son Obadiah. Said house is now occupied by John McCreery. Those two men bleached the linen that was manufactured near here. The flat lands of Greenvale reaching up to near Veldon's cross were covered with linen. All the Greenvale Mills were built by Isaiah Breakey. It can honestly be said our Huguenot ancestors brought the knowledge of manufacturing and bleaching linen to this country.
Obadiah sold out his interest to his brother Isaiah and went to live in Queen's County. He had two sons. Frank lived in opulence in Dublin and died on the turn of life. His second son, called for himself, was in the French war under Wellington. He came to see his uncle Isaiah at Aghnamullen and died when there from the effect of a gun shot. He was buried in Aghnamullen. His helmet is here.
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My Grandfather, Billy bon Breakey as he was called (bon was the contraction of bonny or goodlooking), had 13 children. Father was the youngest. All died young but Father, Uncle James, Aunt Mary, Elizabeth, Jane and William. Uncle James was married to Sarah Nixon. He got the townland of Cormeen as a wedding portion and lived and died in the house now occupied by Mr. Phitzpatrick. He died on the 11th day of February, 1835, and was buried in all honours in Aghnamullen by the Freemasons.
Aunt Mary was married to Leakey a solicitor in Monaghan. Elizabeth was married to DuSale, a young man who served his time here learning the linen business. Jane was the second wife of John Scott who was an Elder in the First Ballybay Presbyterian Church. She had no family. After Uncle's death, she came into Ballybay to live in rooms of the father of Francis, Thomas Boyle, who anticipated her every want treated her like a baby. I wish my children to know this and to treat those people with the respect justly deserved. Aunt Jane Scott lived to be very old and died on the 11th of February, 1844. Uncle William was killed off a horse when 25 years of age.
My Father was born the 1st December, 1780. He was married to Elizabeth Small of Bailieborough the 1st of October, 1812, and they Lived together 54 years when she died. He was a large man, 6 feet, 3 inches in height and 16 stones in weight. He had all his faculties until the moment of death. He closed his own eyes, stretched himself and then asked God to take his spirit and so he died. He was very religious. He visited the sick of all creeds and had family worship here morning and evening when he read, sang and prayed. This was his habit the last 75 years of his life. He died the 11th of February, 1878, and was 98 years of age when he died. Mother died the 26th of November, 1866, aged 73 years.
My Grandfather, Billy bon Breakey, was born in October 1738, died the 11th of February, 1808. My Grandmother Breakey's maiden name was Mary Scott. She was born in 1735 and died the 11th of 1811. She had 13 children: My Mother had 13 children by my Father all lived to be on the turn of life, but a wee one called Mary who was born the 27 of December, 1820, and died the 5th of March, 1822.
Robert, the oldest of us, was born in 1813. He learned business in Grandfather Small's and went early in life to live in Dublin. He was clever as a bookkeeper. His first start was with Galivan and Peebles. His next employer was Thomas Drury who gave him £200 (pounds) , a year and food. When T. Drury died, Robert went to Ireland the outfitter at £300 a year. He was married to a daughter of a soliciter (sic) called James Mairs. The first start in life of Mairs was in Creeve in Mr. Nelson's house known now as Coopers. After a few years in Creeve,
he went to live in Dublin when Robert made the acquaintance of his daughter Isabella and married her. She had only one child called Isabella Pringle. She died when on a visit at Ballina, County Mayo and was buried in the Church yard of Ardnarea with her uncle, Captain Moston. She was 17 years of age. When her Mother died, Robert placed her remains beside her daughter. When Robert retired from business he went to live in Ballina and, at his request, I put his remains with his daughter.
Jane came next to him. She was married to John Berry who lived in Fairmount near Cootehill. She died in 1894. He (John Berry) manufactured linen and learned the art with his father who lived at Killeshandra. Jane had several children. All died early in life but Sarah who is married the second time to a Dublin man called Cooks. After the death of John Berry, Jane went to live in Mountmellick with her daughter. and her daughter's first husband, Graham. Jane died there and was buried with Graham.
Edward was a minister in Belfast. He died of brain fever when he was on the turn of life. He had not married. His remains were brought to Aghnamullen and one of the chief mourners was Rev'd. Andrew Breakey, a blood relation. He was born and reared in Lismagon way in the house now occupied by Mr. Powell beside the Monaghan road Station. The Rev'd Edward Breakey was a big man and of a dark complexion. He was born 18th June, 1816, and died the 22nd of July, 1849.
The Rev’d William Breakey had a heart love for the ministry from A wee boy. like my Father, he had wonderful powers of explanation, illustration, and retention of memory. He had so much of the Scriptures and Psalms committed to memory that frequently at his Wednesday evening lectures he never opened a book. He got 5 calls, first to Tralee, next to Mountmellick, and third to Loughbrickland, which he accepted. He was a pastor in "that Church for 22 years. During that time, he was married to Jane Crothers of Banbridge, a young girl of good family and very large fortune. She lived to have two daughters, Sarah and Henrietta. When his wife died, she was buried in Loughbrickland Church yard. Some time after, he got a call to Lisburn which he accepted. After officiating as pastor of that church for some years he died and was buried in Loughbrickland Church yard in the grave with his wife.
During his life in Lisburn, his eldest daughter Sarah was married to the agent of the Ulster Bank in Lisburn, a John Mourton. He died early in life and left one child, Claude Mourton. Some years after, Sarah was again married to George Wooey (?), an Englishman who inherited the property of his ancestors at Cowes in the" Isle of Wight. Henrietta was married some years ago to a counselor, George Waugh, who inherits the estate of his ancestors at Drummara, County Down. William was dark complexioned, and 5 feet, 10 inches in height. Some years before his death, he got a Call to Sheffield (England) which he refused in favour
of brother James who was accepted without a dissenting voice. William Breakey has been known to take the text from my Father going to church on two occasions and preached on them. He died on the 6th of April, 1872.
Little Mary, as she was called because she lived only two years, was born in the December of 1820 and died the 5th of May, 1822.
Henry was the only child Mother had with exactly her complexion. He had very curly auburn hair and he was 5 feet, 10 inches in height and 10 stones in weight. He went early in life to business and was bound 6 1/2 years to George Bartly in Ballybay. After his time was up he went to a French house, Forest of Grafton St., Dublin. Having such a taste for business, he very soon distinguished himself and in two years was at the window in the house. After some years, he left for America in 1847. On leaving, he was presented with an illuminated address and watch from the children of Mary's Abbey Sunday School as a reward for the active part he had taken among them. He was religiously inclined from a boy. He died in Brooklyn, New York , March 1849. .He had not married.
Mary was educated at the Moravian Settlement at Cootehill. During that time, she executed several pictures, two of which are here still, "The Beggar of Bethlam Green" represented in worsted, and the "Map of Ireland" handprinted on white satin. She was married to Rev’d John Gillespie during his ministry in Canada, and had one child, Bessie, during their stay in that country. Bessie died in Canada at 6 years of age. After that, they removed to the State of Missouri where John Gillespie was pastor of a church in Gallatin. He did not live long there, and died, I think, about 20 years ago. Mary Gillespie (6) is still living in the house where her husband died. She is of medium size with brown hair and a good deal of complexion. Her hair is very much crimped and curled.
James was very early finished for the ministry. He got a unanimous Call to the Carryduff Congregation near Saintfield, County Down, which he accepted but could not be ordained for over a year owing to his age. After being pastor of that church for several years, he got a Call to Sheffield (England) which he accepted. After he was there some time, he married Matilda Laycock, a Sheffield lady of good family and fortune . She had four sons and two daughters. His sons were John, William, James Hamilton and Norman. His eldest daughter Florence died early in life. Edith was married to Fred Waterhouse, a Sheffield man. After giving birth to her first child, a daughter, she died. John and William are married some years to Sheffield girls. After James Breakey went to Sheffield, divine service was held in a hired room. He set about and got a church built and a large congregation gathered up, principally of Scotch people.
The love of home was more strongly developed in Mary Gillespie and him (James Breaky) than other members of this family. Mary Gillespie has more than once written to me that nothing this side of Heaven could give her more pleasure than to see the old house and my children. James's hearers, knowing this, were ever forward in giving him a long leave of absence every Summer when he would return to the old home like the swallow or a wee boy home from a boarding school in ecstasies of delight, ready to go at the amusements of his early boyhood, which was principally fishing. He was the largest man of this family, and was the only one with the soft baby-like skin of my Father. He had very thick yellow frizzie hair, one mass of curls. He died while on the turn of life in 1885.
John left this house early in life to learn the medical profession. He learned the compounding up of medicines in Dr. Wheeler's, Belfast. After that, he was appointed doctor in the General Hospital, Belfast. After living there some years, he got an appointment as assistant doctor(physician) in one of Her Majesty's Naval Ships. Some time later he was appointed Head Surgeon in another ship. By merit and foreign service, he succeeded in getting to the head of the wheel in the Navy. His last appointment was Inspector General of Royal Naval Hospitals. After retiring from active service, he took a house in Carlisle Mansions, London, where he still lives. During his life in Belfast, he made the acquaintance of a young lady of fortune, a Miss Jane Miller whom he married on getting a three year appointment to Plymouth Royal Memorial Hospital. By her he had 5 children , two of which lived, Arthur and Mary. She died when giving birth to her last child. Mary was married in Jamaica to a Dr. White, also in the Navy, during the time of John's assignment there. She died early in life, leaving one child, a boy.
Some time prior to that, John was married the second time to a widow, Jeanie Harris of Plymouth, a woman who had three sons and one daughter. One of her sons is a chaplain in the Navy, another is an officer and a third is a banker. Her daughter is married and lives in Plymouth. She is still living but has no family by John.
Arthur Breakey is Captain (now Lieut. Colonel) in the Royal Artillery .He was married very early in life to a young English lady in high life. By him, she had two sons and a daughter. Her maiden name was Laura Carew.
John Breakey and Mary Breakey Gillespie (of Missouri) have been the most useful members of this family. Being blessed with good means and having a giving hand and a generous heart, they have always been forward in helping those of the connection who may require assistance. John is over 6 feet high, has a very military appearance, and had dark fair hair. I have John to thank for showing me London and so much of England. For a long term of years, he has made it a rule to write to me every week and I now look out for his letter as a loved one would for a letter from the object of her affections.
Hugh was a very hard worked man for a number of years on this farm. He was the strongest man of us all. Could carry 5 cwt. easily. The late Hugh Karns of Tullycorbet and he carried 5 cwt. each in a limit of time of white seed oats from the present markethouse to Gray's corner on a bet of a £1 (pound Sterling). Hugh Breakey lifted the pound. John Thompson of Shantna and David Carson lifted the sacks on them. Hugh was a self taught carpenter. He made a cart on his leaving this country over 30 years ago. One wheel is working still. He left for Australia and was very prosperous. He married Elizabeth Swan, a Scotch girl, one of 7 sisters who were all in Melbourne. His father-in-law, being a builder and contractor, employed Hugh as a joiner at big pay. Hugh bought a bit of waste land in a direction the city was likely to reach, and time after time built on it. The last bit he sold for a site of a public building and realized quite a fortune in that speculation. Now the city is 8 miles outside his property. He was a man about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed 14 stones. He had dark, strong, stiff hair and a good complexion. His wife had four children by Hugh; John, Ada, Earnest, and Letitia. His boys learned joinery and son John is a contractor and builder in Capetown. Earnest lives on his Father's property. Ada is married. Hugh died the 30th of April, 1873. He was the most resolute and pugnaceous of any of us. He would very soon let the offender know the odds between mutton and goat. He was most honourable and, seeing money was not plentiful when he left, his out- fit and passage costing quite a round sum, he refunded all out of his first earnings.
Elizabeth came next. She was a 7-months old and was in a sort of sleep, rolled up in wadding for 9 weeks, out of which she wakened quite brisk and took to the breast of a foster mother. She never counted the costs of any project that would be put before her, which left her the option to 'feel out at the elbows' quite regularly. She was married to a widower, Isaiah Ferguson, well on the turn of life. She went into 7 adult children. His youngest, a girl of 10 stones, never could be reconciled to Elizabeth as a step-mother. Elizabeth very soon came to see she was at sea without sails, or rudder among those step children. She had two sons and one daughter, Robert, Henry, and Bessie. Isaiah Ferguson and Elizabeth with the three children left his lovely farm at Killucan in County West Meath and went out to Queensland (Australia) after his first wife's family. At the entreaties of Elizabeth, Isaiah Ferguson went into business with his brothers, half brothers and sons who were too smart for him. Ferguson had to dissolve partnership at a considerable loss and Elizabeth again came to see she was very small fur among the Fergusons (Elizabeth wrote me this). She died on the 25th of December, 1893, and Isaiah Ferguson, her husband, two years after. She was medium size with dark hair, and no curls. She was educated at the Moravian Settlement near Cootehill (I am not sure that above dates are correct). She was particularly good at sampler work, and that work in the sitting room in this house in a frame was executed by her.
I come next. Having an unretentive memory, I was not a smart boy at school. All I can say for myself is, like my Father, William, James, and Letitia, I never let boy or girl take a first prize at the school where I would be for elocution. I even went farther than that when at the Model Farm School near Saintfield, County Down. James had me entered as a competitor for a £5 gold medal in elocution in the Concert Rooms, Downpatrick, where any one under 16 in the county was at liberty to come foreward. It ended up in a lass and me going the same lines three times each before a Judge from the Haymarket Theatre in London could decide. The prize was handed to me with some very complimentary remarks from the Judge.
Lord Downshire said to the young girl, “You have pleased me to a turn, you have confidence with discretion. Be advised by me and you will be a celebrity on the stage yet. Tell your people I will introduce you to the proprietor of the Drury-Lane Theatre and I will give you the run of my London house till established." In 12 years she was worth £1.00 a night and in time, well married and in a position to retire from active service.
Though I was what is termed a dull boy at school, yet I could manage points so that I never had I.D. on my back or the old wig on my head which was a favourite punishment of Owen Murphy. My tastes were a little more varied than others of our family. I could stuff birds, make shoes and play the violin to a turn. I could preserve eggshells too. Mrs. Leslie of Ba1lybay, House gave me £1 for preserving a peacock with his tail up and her Cook gave me £1 for preserving eggshells from the Jenny Wren to the Swan. However I did not produce the eggs or glass case for them. I am 5 feet, 9 inches in height, and was of a sandy complection (sic) . My hair got to be a fancy colour among horses early in life. I was born in 1834.
Letitia, the last of us, was the best scholar and most accomplished of any Breakey who ever bore the name from 1690 to the present day. She was educated by a Miss Godfery of Banbridge. She could do lovely pen and ink sketches and imitate (reproduce) any handwriting. Father and Henry too. For years she was writing for the Pal Mal Gazett, Chambers Journal, and a paper called the Armagh Gazett. John Heatly was the editor and proprietor. When he was doing badly with whiskey, she wrote his leader for several months and, in fact, kept his paper afloat 'till her death, when he paid her remains the last token of respect and cried like a child over her grave. She stood high, had a splendid address, was very comely, had one mass of brown curls on her head. She played the violin to a turn, sang sweetly and was the best at elocution of all of us except Father. He poor man would look at her in love and admiration when reciting some of his old things, clap her on the back and say, "Letty you are the blood of the Brealaghans".
When she was on her deathbed, she got a letter of admittance to the staff of a London paper called Judy and £100 a year to begin. \men I read it to her, she said, "Long looked for is come at last but too late for me". She died the 28th May, 1870. Letitia also had the gift of ventriloquism. She often brought those who believe in ghosts to a stand. She could speak as if it were a voice up the chimney, under the table or under the bed. It hurt her throat so she gave it up.
Father's Uncle, Isaiah Breakey of Millmore House (as it is now called) had 4 sons. John came first. He was a very talented man, and painted in oils and water colours. He did life likenesses in oil. He painted the “Monkey Shaving a Goat" on Andy Ruttledge's signboard, a thing everyone admires. He also did "Farewell to Whiskey" over the first coffee or tea house that was in Ballybay. Two old fellows in dress coats and knee breeches are touching glasses and saying , Farewell to Whiskey'. He and the late William Arnold of Creeve got £50 for the renovating of the picture of Queen Dido in the reception room of Belmount Castle. He was a linguist as well.
George came next. He could play the violin to perfection and was married to a sister of Colonel Ross of Liscarney. They had one child and his wife died early in life. The daughter was married to a young man who was reared in the house now occupied by John Spear. His father was called "Whitehead" owing to his hair being the colour of bog-water flax. I think he was called John Breakey.
Next to George Breakey came Andy. He was a fine bookkeeper. Paid all his Father's hands in and about the bleachgreen. He was a stump orator and a very fine elocutionist. He was married to a woman as Long as a wet Sunday. They had two children, Hans and Mary. Hans went Canada. His father and sister Mary followed some years later. Obediah died when a boy of 16. Their Mother’s name was Sarah Gibson Of Drumlin (?) House now occupied by John Primrose. She was the most pretentious of all the Breakeys, keeping a butler and using a sedan chair. One of the shafts is here, and a beautiful carved thing it is. Her finger glasses are here too.
Colonel Ker of Mountain Lodge was reared during his minority by the Isaiah Breakeys of Mi1lmore House. When of age he turned the water off the Greenvale Mills and by doing so ruined the Breakeys. The linen had to be taken to Queens County to be bleached by Obadiah. Isaiah died in two years after. Colonel Ker would not renew with Andy, his son, and so put the property out of both hands. Andy went to law with Colonel Ker about diverting the water course. As we had no Court of Equity in those days, Andy was beaten. Colonel Ker being so eager to punish him auctioned all in and about Millmore House for the costs of a dismiss before the Judge left Monaghan. A very serious offence to this day. Andy turned about and took £300 off Colonel Ker for destruction of property and contempt of the Judge and so the property was lost to our blood relations who built Millmore House and all the mills in Greenvale.
It was Captain Johnstone who gave the house its present name. Isaiah Breakey called it Sallyvale, others Milford, and people this side Greenvale. John Breakey, called "Whitehead", who lived in and built the house now occupied by John Spear, and his brother Billy the bon, built and lived in the house now occupied by William Douglas, went to America with their families when the Vernors raised rents to ₤1-12-6.
Grandfather Small had the first shop in Bailieborough and the first tannery in County Cavan. He was married to a Miss King. Great grand-father Small was married to a girl called Stewart. At her wedding she was presented with a set of hand guilt china sage cups and pot. That set was given to my grandmother Small on her wedding occasion and again to my Mother at her wedding. Those of them not smashed are preserved by me and looked on as a treasure. My Grandfather James Small died July 30th, 1839. Grandmother Small died the 2nd of March, 1845. My Mother had two sisters and two brothers 'who lived into old age. Jane was married to William Stewart first and Dr. Clarke secondly. She had no child by either man. Mary was married to Robert Johnstone of Cootehill, uncle to the late Rev'd. William Johnstone of Belfast.
My uncle Johnstone went to America after those of his children who lived were educated. His eldest son, Rev'd. William Johnstone, got to be top of the wheel in the ministry in the City of Philadelphia. He was pastor of the largest congregation in the city. He died well on the turn of life, was not married, and was very wealthy. James and Robert were partners in a New York paper. They were married in America. One of the girls was married to a foreigner called Herman Vosner ?. The other two live privately in Brooklyn. Cousin William Johnstone was like brother William. He could take the text going into the pulpit and preach on it. Rev'd. J. G. Smyth hearing this, asked him out of our seat on Sunday to preach for him. He was over from America to see us.. He was very sensational and expressive on the occasion. Mr. Smyth was surprised as he dictated the text in presence of all round the seat, 'Johathan loved David'.
My uncle, Robert Small, kept the tannery of his father, and became very wealthy. He had 4 girls and one son, James, who followed his father in the tannery. He built a lovely house outside of the town called the Villa. He died on the turn of life. He had a family. Elizabeth was married to a merchant called William Maxwell who lived in Cootehill. He and she died early in life and left one child called William. He went early in life to America. Martha died early in life. Jane was married to a Dublin man in business and had no family. Mary is still unmarried but has good means and lives privately in Dublin.
Uncle James had several girls in his family but only one boy, James, who has a very high standing in the Pimms establishment in Dublin. He is married to a Dublin girl. Jane Small's husband is Tom Christian.
John Breakey's house in Balladian was finished in the building, the October of 1692, by the cousin of my ancestor. During the time the house was being built his wife, a French woman, lived in Dublin and learned the English language. It was said she felt the change very much from a life in Paris to a solitary one in Balladian. But being in such love and admiration of her husband and undergoing so many trials for his sake, she soon became the best of wives and mother of a large family. By her a host of Breakeys came too numerous to mention. The late John Breakey of Balladian had three grandsons in the church, all clever men. John occupied the pulpit of my brother William in Lisburn and is very much liked.
The late William Breakey of Balladian had two very clever grand-sons. William is a Councillor in Belfast and the second man is in a good position in the English army. William Breakey of Balladian manufactured linen and had a lot of people weaving for him.
Robert Moore, my wife's father, came a small boy of 12 years old from the north to learn business in Frank Horners, Ballybay. After the failure of F. Horner, he took a situation in Ballybay with John Breakey. In some time after, he set up business for himself and was prosperous. In time he bought property in Ballybay. He removed old cabins and built good houses instead. He sold that property to his brother-in-law, John Mullin of Cumry and again bought property in the Meeting House Lane, from time to time, which property he kept 'till his death. Robert Moore, my father-in-1aw was married to Anne Berry, daughter of a linen merchant at Killeshandra, a man of good means and longstanding in that country. Anne Berry was sister of Mary Mullin, Cumry, and John Berry of Fairmount. My brother-in-law, William Berry, had the following for his family: Mary Mullin of Cumry House, Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Browne of Cootehill, Mrs. Browne of Drumlift, Mrs. Faris of Killeshandra, Mrs. Armstrong of Mullanagore, and Mrs. Moore of Ballybay; seven sisters and three brothers; Thomas, James, and John. Mr. Berry give his 7 girls over £300 each of a fortune. He kept two bleach greens. One at Kilawilly near Killeshandra, and the other in Ballyrun, Parish of Drumgoon near Cootehill. John Mullin manufactured linen and had a host of weavers. He was a most prosperous man, had built all in and about Cumry House, was most honourable and truthful in all his actions, goodlooking and very hospitable, and generous to a fault among his connection. He had no family by his wife; she and he had adopted my wife Elizabeth Moore when a wee girl. Mr. Mullin died 8 weeks before my sister Letitia, who was buried beside Father in Derryvally graveyard, 28 May, 1870.
Robert Moore had a family of three boys and three girls. My wife is the eldest. Robert Wardlaw was married about two years ago to Edith Graham, a Cootehill girl.. He is a merchant in Cootehill. William and
John learned the bank business and in time left for Capetown. William is married, Annie died early in life, and Mary lives in the business house in Cootehill.
I think I will record some old agreements and settlements in this book about passes and meadows in this farm. When William Ker came to live in the Island Farm (as it is called) he had no pass but through this yard and as he stubbed and cleared about 18 acres and, since every turn was drawn through this yard, the pass got very bad. William Ker said to Father, "Give me a pass round your meadows and I will give you ₤40 (pounds sterling) and you shall have the right of pass to your meadows in it when required". Father said he would, but like some of old, did not ask the money till the pass was finished. By that time William Ker had built the house and, as he kept a loansfund and there were a lot of shareholders in it, he began to plan how to rob all men. He gathered up all the money he could, took a moonlight flit, cheated the shareholders out of over ₤2000, and Father out of the ₤40, went to America and never returned.
His brother, Richard Ker of Newbliss, took possession of the farm and set it to Tom Martin who lived where James Daly now lives. Tom Martin gave the farm to his adopted son-in-law, Tom Woods. The first year Tom Woods was in the Island Farm, he got Tom Martin, who was still the tenant of Richard Ker (though Tom Woods was in possession), to summon Father for cutting the fence in the underside of the pass to the Island Farm. The bunch of magistrates left the matter to Murray Ker, Esquire of Newbliss, our Landlord, to settle it. That was in 1854.Mr. Murray Ker came on the ground and in presence of 6 of us, Father, William who was on a visit with us at the time, Tom Martin, Tom Woods, Brother Hugh; and me. Mr. Murray Ker said as William Ker never paid John Breakey for the ground of the pass he would give no liberty to his representatives on the Island Farm to cut the thorns. The quicks belonged to this farm but John Breakey was at liberty to cut and prune them. John Breakey was still at liberty to use the pass as he had done when it was built. The ditch next the lake was put up at the time the pass was made. For several years, our horses when ploughing the fields over the pass, were turned on it. When William Ker cleared the wood away at Anthony Dalys and was driving his cows to it, my Father was compelled to make the ditch next the fields. A bit of it was left undone over on the rock which I .finished some years prior to my Father's death. When this property was sold in the Incumbered Courts, all the tenants were served with a printed form stating our boundaries and take, with three months to object. It gave Tom Woods no liberties but right of pass on the lane to his house. To that he did not object and so this townland was sold in that way. That was in 1866.
In respect to this meadow, called the mens' (sic) meadows, it formerly belonged to my Grandfather. In 1796 he gave it to the Landlord to be divided among the neighbours who had no meadow, on conditions Grandfather would get the grass off the 3 acres every year for which would be removed by New Year's day, for the right of pass to the meadow through this yard. No cattle of any kind were to be put on the meadow by any occupant nor turf made on said meadow. The time Grandfather gave up the meadow, the two Gavneys got one acre, Bob Dunn one acre, James Small 1/2 acre and William Rolland 1/2 acre, making 3 acres in all.
The marin wall between Mrs. Mullin's yard in Ballybay, new occupied by Philip McGurk's and Robert Moore's houses, had fallen in parts, and by order of the sanitary officer, had to be cleared out and rebuilt. Robert Moore on the one part, and Mrs. Mullin, represented by me on the other part, agreed in presence of witness for the wall to be divided and each person to build his half. The gate was Mrs. Mullin's and so she took the upper half. Her part was built at once and to define our length.(I speak in the plural as I will have an interest in the property when Mrs. Mullin dies), I built some blocks of cement up the end of our wall and projected them to catch Robert Moore's end of the wall. Over the end of our wall, I set an old weight in the cement showing about 2 inches above the cement. The wall was built as formerly without any opening. It is the same height and is called a dead wall. It was on the first of October, 1895, the agreement about the wall took place, in the presence of Mr. McBurney, agent for Robert Moore, and Mr. M. Rutherford, agent for Mrs. Mullin. Our part was built by Robert Beaty, Ballybay, and Francis John Reilly, my neighbour.
Since I begun to write in this book, I have found a record written by my Father. Several things in it, I will record in this book. First the names of my Grandfather's family, all born in this house.
1st. James Breakey, late of Cormeen.
2nd. Jane Breakey, afterwards Scott of Aghahist.
3rd. Letitia, married to Elias Leekey, Solicitor of Monaghan.
She died very old.
4th. Elizabeth who was married to a man called Samuel Dale.
She died very old.
5th. Mary who died of fever when young.
6th. William, who died when quite young.
7th. Robert, who died when a mere child.
8th. John, who was very young at his death.
10th. Jane) These four died young of smallpox.
13th. John, my Father, who lived very long.
The house of the late William Breakey of Ballantraw and that of the late Thomas Wylie of Balladian were built by my Great-Great-Grandfather. Strange to say a house that a Breakey ever built from 1690 to the present day has never went to ruins.
I think I will take notice of the antiquities of Clones, as I find very few people who know the meaning of or the use of the round cross in the market. On the top of the plinth sits a round cross, the meaning of which is truth. When Ireland was in a very unlettered and wild state, very few could write are engagement of a beast. The buyer took the seller of an animal to the cross, where the seller put his hand on the cross and the other on his heart and said what he had to say about the animal. People believed that to be a very binding oath, and if violated, God would punish with the worst phase of consumption or heart disease. In 1798 the round cross was thrown off the plinth by the United Irishmen in contempt to the then existing Government. The cross was removed to one of the gardens in Clones where it was kept safe till the late Dr. Young of Monaghan placed it once more in position
at his own charge and thereby retrieved the reputation of the town from the slur of neglecting its historical relics which, till then had been justly incurred. The round tower in the graveyard and the remains of the old church in the town are also things of very great antiquity, dating back to the sixth century.
I feel as if I had lived into quite another age, manners, customs, and other things are so changed. "How are you, Bill?" was the order of the day in any early boyhood. Now beggars are mistered and mannered. The late Hugh Karns never gave up the old custom of, "How are you, boy?" The Breakeys of Drusnrooghili too. People carrying their shoes under their arms to our Manse and then putting them on for the town is quite done away with. An old lane at our Manse was called the Aghabog dressing room. I remember well when a man would not be seen selling eggs or lump butter in the market. At the same time those men, and magistrates too, could be seen buying a cake at 1d. (penny) smeared with treacle off a brush and eating it in the open market. A servant now would not eat golden syrup on bread in my kitchen. I remember sugar 9/ (shillings) per st. (stone). A soft brown sugar was made from beetroot but it would destroy the flavour of any cookery. That sugar could be bought for 5d. (pence) per pound. I have seen people buy ramps, called by some wild onions, found in Dartry woods, and eat them with oat bread and salt in the open market in Cootehill.
I have seen a cow fair in Newbliss, Rockcorry, Ballatrune, and a good horse fair in Cootehill. All of which have ceased long ago. The 17th of March was a leading horse fair in Cootehill. People expected to have all oats in the ground on that day. Now if oats were put in prior to that date they would perish and be no use, so changed are the seasons. I remember having 44 st. (stones) of flax off 4 pecks and one quart of seed and I got 9/ (shillings) per st. (stone) for that. This year, I know a man who had only 1 st. to the peck and sold it for 1/ per st. The run of yield is from 2 to 3 st. to the peck of late years. This country has become flax sick.
Jack Sloan, prior to the birth of his son, Long Davy, reared the first white oats that were ever seen in Ballybay. The produce of one stone he brought from Liverpool. Two years after, he had 3 bags of white oats at the old market house. They were the first oats of any colour that had been seen for sale and so it can be honestly said he established the first oat market in Ballybay. He, and the father of the late Hugh Karns of Tullycorbet, brought over each shorthorned roan heifers from Liverpool and they were the first to produce that breed about Ballybay and to their death they kept the lead for splendid milk cows. After the death of the late Hugh Karns of Tullycorbet, I saw one of his two year old springing heifers sold in the open market for ₤22 (pounds sterling). Long Davy Sloan, as we call him, was the first to sell grass seed at our Market House and so it can be said he established that market for us.
The first truck barrow to be seen at our oat market in Ballybay was in 1840. All sacks were carried on mans' backs '.till that date. Father, Jack Wiggins, Tom Shepherd, and John Wright each carried 10 st. (stones) of potatoes in sacks from the old Market House to the last house in the Meetinghouse Lane on a bet for who would be first. Wiggins was first and never let the pipe out. Father was second. I saw the father of William Lyttle, our sexton, back 30 st. (stones) of oats on the back of a horse 14 hands high, a thing in these times no one would know how to begin to do now. In the days when Davy Roper had Shantna mill, I saw the oats, after being shelled, brought up on mans' backs to a field in the upper side of the county road where they were cleaned with the wind, then brought back and ground. After all that bother, the meal had to be sifted in our kitchen to take small seeds out. Those seeds were put aside to summer, then sowered in quantities in a tub, strained, the sediment boiled into a paste called sowens and used with sweet milk for supper.
When I was a wee boy, there was no gaunting car in this parish. Mother and us wee ones had to go on a log-wheeled car to the Mountain Meetinghouse. Straw or hay was put over the sheeting, a cover or quilt on that and we sat on the quilt, some with legs over the sheeting, others not. Some of us, for fun, would hang our bags of bread on the set tail of the horse. We were ever on the lookout to not let the horse manure rest on the quilt. There were no reins for horses so a man had to lead the horse. In the Mountain Meetinghouse there was intermission for one hour when people eat a bit and then a second sermon. It would be 5 o'clock in the evening before we would get back and 7 o' clock of a Sacrament Sunday.
Rev'd. Thomas Cathcart baptized 13 of us and I am called for him. It was only every other Sunday divine service was held in that church. Mr. Cathcart had to preach at Castleblayney every second Sunday. The Sunday the Pastor would be away Societies met in several parts of the neighbourhood. One met here, consisting of about 12 heads of families who read, sang, and prayed in turn. The young people received a first class religious education never to be forgotten. It was the long service in that old church that so tired us one and all as we got up that we were glad to get leave to stop at Derryvally.
Now I will say a word about the light of old. Well, we had a sooty thing of rushes. We wee people would be peeling rushes for days. The pith of the rush would be dried and then get a dip in boiled grease. When cold, it was fit for use. We also had a substitute for our kitchen lamp of the present day. A candle was made of resin boiled to a paste and a wick of flax or rags was twisted in while soft. When cooled, it was fit for use. A dirty black reek would go through the kitchen that would blacken all about when it was-lit. Then we had tallow candles made in lead moulds, a very so so light. It had to be snuffed very often, and it took a handy fellow to snuff a candle and not put it out. If not in company, the candle was snuffed with a finger and thumb, a dirty thing to do. If a candle was extinguished by a fellow in company he would be well laughed at and feel regularly out at the elbows.
Up to a late date, zinc buckets were not known nor were tin cans much used. Oak buckets, narrower at the top than bottom, with a cross bar at top for a handle, were much used. Pitchers too, a sort of very big jug of crockery, very ugly to clean, were used at the well and in every house for carrying water and by cotchers for milk. When I was a wee boy people had no turnips nor did they give cows raw potatoes. In consequence, no one had milk for the half of the winter. A cow not to have a calf in April or May, was looked on as a misfortune. In that time, fresh beef was a thing only to be heard of in winter. Hanged beef was the order of the day, broth and soup. In those days, people were so ignorant of the use of potatoes with cattle in winter have seen people draw old potatoes on slide cars in July and tumble them into the water in bogs. No person in those days had a notion of killing a pig the year it was born. Minister Moses Bradford would put out the eyes of his pigs the second year. The last three months the old housekeeper would give (feed them) oatmeal and potatoes squeezed in lumps dry, after that a drink of milk. His men would move them frequently through the house on clean straw or rushes. His pigs would be 4 cwt. (hundred pounds) in weight.
Minister Moses Bradford was a kind man to us children going to school. He would have big cuts of boiled bacon and oatbread to hand to us when passing his yard to Balladian. He did not believe in a God. His first sermon was preached in Ballybay Church. Second in Tullycorbet. At the end of the service he said to the people he was at a mean degrading thing teaching a doctrine he did not believe and in the pulpit he took his oath he would never preach again. He had a very great contempt for Sunday and would pay labourers for working that day. The harvest before his death, he had 18 corn stacks built on Sunday. Nine of them were to be thrashed the night of the big wind in January, 1839. In the morning not one sheaf of 9 stacks was to be seen in Ednavea. During the night, Minister Moses Bradford died and, in the October of 1840, Owen Murphy, teacher in Balladian school, was shot on his coming home after proving to the will of Mr. Bradford. I was a wee boy sitting on the knee of Owen Murphy learning my letters the day he gave us early leave to go to prove to the will. He was supposed to be shot by Sam Gray of Ballybay on the county road at our Manse. Gray had a will making all Mister Bradford possessed to him. Murphy wrote the other will and James Cuningham was witness. If those two men had been shot, nothing on earth could have kept Sam Gray out of all Mr. Bradford possessed. One bullet killed Murphy on the spot and the second passed through the long hat of the witness Cuningham.
My first inducement to go to school, was to see the buttons on Owen Murphy's costume and my first arithmetic was to count them, 40 in all, beautiful brass buttons, no two alike in pattern. The characters stood out in bold relief and what they were in raised letters all round the margin. The buttons on his Sunday clothes were quite unlike making the 80 all dissimilar. Owen Murphy was an antiquarian and his buttons were handed from father to son for several generations. This is the way the father of Minister Moses Bradford came by (acquired)
Ednavea. My Grandfather Breakey and the landlord of Newbliss estate, Robert Ker, bailed (signed the bail bonds) the Sess Collector, Dick Cross. Dick Cross ran off with the County money. When he found he was pursued by mounted yeomen above Drogheda, he handed his bag of money to Bradford keeping some himself 'till he would have a full divide in Dublin. Bradford was leading a horse (pulling) a slide car with linen for a day's wages under the Breakeys of Millmore. Bradford shut his hand on the booty and never appeared to Cross. In a month after, Bradford bought Ednavea from Captain Denison with part of the booty, leaving my Grandfather and Mr. Robert Ker to make good the Sess. Grandfather had to pay 1800 pounds (sterling) in three days notice. Bradford had his boy educated in Oxford as a Church minister and so he was called Minister Moses Bradford to distinguish him from others of that name.
A cotcher child ran in one day to Mrs. Bradford and asked her to keep her or she would die of the fever like the rest of her brothers and sisters. Mrs. Bradford felt very much for the child and said she would and washed her with cloride of lime. When Mr. Bradford came home, in spite of the entreaties of the old woman, he hunted the child home. In the evening, he regretted what he done and sent for the poor child. It was then sick and died the next day. He thought the ghost of the child was haunting him to death. In a short time he died a melancholy death from remorse of conscience. Minister Moses Bradford has frequently said he would never do as his father did, see a child ill-treated. He loved to see a big mob of us wee people round him.
The morning of 1839, when I looked up at the roof of this house, not one straw was to be seen. The November before, this house was thatched all round with rye and wheat straw mixed. The night of the wind, every straw was blown away. The big part of it was left in Lough Major beyond Ballybay and about the church. When the wind got up, Mother gathered all in the house to the kitchen where we sat without fire or light to clear day in the morning when the wind ceased. This house was trembling like a leaf on a tree. Tom McMurry's kitchen chimney in Ballybay was found on the hearth in the morning, after passing through two lofts. Dunraymond corn mill was built so 40 head of beef cows were being fed in the basement. The mill was blown down to the ground and every hoof killed. The first thing Mr. Tom McCullagh did in the morning was to swear every one about the house to not tell Mrs. McCullagh. The house was two years built before she heard of the sad loss.
I think I will record some of the very sad sights Father and I have seen. In 1798, a company of 10 revenue men dressed as soldiers were looking for a poteen house at Crossduff. A United Irish mob thought they were soldiers looking up United Irishmen and pursued them to Creeve when Colonel Ker of Mountain Lodge met them. The leader of the mob said if he would get the men to stack their arms till the matter would be talked over he would make the mob disperse.
The moment the guns were put up the rebels killed 9 of the soldiers. Colonel Ker got the 10th man on his horse behind him and dashed into Ballybay. Next day, Grandfather was called on the jury at the inquest and Father, a boy of 14 went along. The 9 men were stretched naked on planks in the old market house. Heads hanging on some, skulls open on others, the ugliest sight he ever saw. The leader of the mob with others were hung on the gallows hill in Monaghan.
The next ugly sight was all the dogs in the Kennel in Creeve, 52 shot and in one pile for madness. The keeper of the next Kennel was supposed to have been drunk and went into the hounds to take a bitch out to have her puppies. In the morning nothing but his skull and some of his big bones were to be seen. Mr. Hugh Jackson had them all shot and in a pile and that was the end of the hounds in Creeve. Next, a child of Tom Cassidy of Lisgorn who was mad from the bite of a mad dog, was smothered between two ticks, against the will of my Father. The child was eating the flesh off its arms. It was about 8 years of age.
The first ugly sight I saw was a boy of 17 lying dead after being killed by Davy Roper's bull. Next, a mare of James Small's of Lisgorn walking on her intestines after being opened by a heifer. Next, a man dying of hunger in 1847 on a pile of gravel at Dunreymond. Hugh and I were to Monaghan and we gave the poor man our bread. When we came back he was dead. The potatoe failure was in 1846. Next year, only the pig in this parish was in William Latimer's. Father bought it and for her litter of pigs next year got £25, 10 pigs 10 weeks old fed on milk and cabbage. Next was a cow dying of hunger the spring of 1860. 1659 was the only 6 months of summer I ever saw without a flood. In consequence of the drought, oats were pulled, the straps at least. That spring, hay went to 15/ (shillings) per cwt. (hundred weight). Edward Cooney of Cootehill had a tannery and took in 76 cowhides the third week in April that died of hunger. Father had no fodder to buy. The railway was being built to Bushford that time and I saw three railway horses in Pat Gaviny's stable never eat fodder of any kind from 11 o'clock on Friday till Tuesday evening. Last of all, Pat Gaviny, shot by his own gun. I was the first to see him or to be sent for. The shot went from under his chin and up through his skull. I gathered up all fragments of his skull and one eye that was blown 2 perch off. Prior to that, Pat Gaviny had a big cotcher man called Tom Shepherd who had bad blood veins in his legs. One morning when he was not coming to work I went over to see about him and found a vein had burst in his leg and he dead and all his blood about him in bed. A melancholy sight for a boy of 17 like me when I thought to waken him.
In 1792 Father saw sheaves of oats having to be pulled from each other in the stook they were so grown together because of the wet season. Flour was £3 per cwt. and meal ₤2. That was what put the powdering of hair out of fashion, the cost of flour. Indian meal was but little known till 1847, nor was tea used at a meal 'till that date. were all reared on oat bread buttered and milk for our piece. When I was a wee boy, sugar was 9/ (shillings) per st. (stone). Rubbish of so called sugar, made from sugar, but that would destroy the flavour of any cookery, was 5d. (pence) a pound..
I see a big change in the way business is done now in Ballybay from the way it was when I was a wee boy. People were ashamed to say the coats on them were not bought in Tom McMurray's or the saw or hatchet in Frank Horner's. But a few were in trade. Those that were, did business in a so-so way. I saw old McGinnis hop shoes off people when they were not pleased with what would be offered. Tom McMurray would lacerate the feelings of his customers with sarcasm and irony. I have seen people at the window of Dr. Cathcart saying, "God direct us, will we go in to you or not?" "You look so rumbustick." Big Billy Gray of the Hotel, sitting in his window, a sort of cripple with gout, would throw the contents of his chamber pot out on us wee boys looking at him. Mrs. McCreary would thump people with a bottle. Joe McCarter would hop a cake off you. James Bradshaw would show you the hole in the house if not pleased with a bid. Squinty Boyl would give you the stick for a bad offer, and last of all, Ben Brown. Now business people are all bows and smiles.
How Frank Horner come to be in poverty. James Millar, the blind fiddler, lived where I see trees planted in the corner as you turn to Cootehill at Corrybrannan. He sold whiskey without license to some people who would not tell on him. Frank Horner said to Miller, "If you do not stop selling whiskey, I will inform on you." "If you do that I will put you out of Ballybay," said Millar. Horner was a very proud man and was so indignant at a poor fiddler threatening him, he sent for the Excise officer who fined Millar. Millar turned round to the bunch of Magistrates and Officer and respectfully asked them to fine Mr. Frank Horner for having several barrels of smuggled tobacco leaf under his hay stack, delivered to him on the Tipping Mountain at Blackrock, Dundalk. The end of it was, Horner was fined beyond all redemption. Horner manufactured tobacco at the time. Soap and candles too.
The meaning of "You're the blood of the Bralaghans." A noted robber called Redman O'Hanlen, who lived in the wood lands and scub about Ballybay, thought fit to rob people called Bralaghan who lived in the stand of the late Mrs. McClatchy's house. Mrs. Bralaghan heard a noise in her kitchen during the night, got up unaware to her husband and sons and with a wee light from a stick in the fire, she saw O'Hanlen coming in through a back window. She lifted a hatchet that was to hand and cut the head off the robber so that it whirled into the kitchen. The robber's men pulled the body back and it was never heard of. The head of the robber was hung on a tree in Ballybay for weeks, and said tree was cut away by Mrs. Roberts when she built the house of Kasy, the butcher.
A set of men went out for Mrs. Bralaghan and chaired her into Ballybay. People would clap her on the back and shout, "You're the blood of the Bralaghans." and so that saying come to be much used and by my Father too. When one of the ancestor's of Anthony Daley of Drumskelt rose in the morning he found O'Hanlen and 4 of his men sleeping in a lump of hay at the end of his house. Daley was displeased to a degree as he thought his house was to be plundered by them. The robber said he would do him no harm and left. Next morning Daley found at his door several pounds of tobacco and a very big lump
of beef. The robber's 6 men left and joined a more formidable set of highway men that dwelt between Dublin and Mountmellick in Queens County after the death of their leader.
In that day, Ballybay was called Belbuck and until my Father was a lump of a boy. That is the Irish of Ballybay. In that day Ballybay was all mud cabins. Father saw the first house covered with flat stones set in morter (sic). Said house is now occupied by John Armstrong. This house (Drumskelt) was first covered in that way. Then after that with thatch and in 1842 with slates. Father saw the first two whiskey houses in Ballybay occupied by men called Jack Whip and Laurence O'Lanagan. He saw turf banks all about Quin's corner and on to the Barracks.
The meaning of Mountain Meetinghouse. Mountain men or Mourtaineers, as I used to hear them called when a wee boy, means (refers to) a very very sad story in Scotch history. The sad and melancholy conduct of Claverhouse and the privations of the poor Covenanters by him. William Wegworth or Wedgeworth of Milltown near Rockcorry was the representative of a very sad story in Scotch history and a black mark on the character of William III, the murder of the McDonalds of Glencoe. Wedgeworth was a blood relation of the Chief of that Clan. Being on a visit the night of the murder of those poor people his life was saved. The first start of that religious well-meaning man was in the house of the late Robert Nesbett. From him come several men of his name. The last of that old stock of people died lately, Mrs. S. Mills Curnawall.
A very old custom of running horses at weddings for a bottle of whiskey is quite abolished. The last race in this parish of Aghnamullen was at the wedding of Margaret Wright to David Mahaffy. I lent a small grey mare was here to young John Wright. All horses were started in Rockcorry after the wedding. My mare was at the brick house in Drumskelt when the rest of the horses were only at John Speirs. I saw a wedding from Farney in Castleblaney when I was a wee boy. Bride, Groom, and all that were at the wedding were mounted. Several of the men each had a woman behind him, 25 horses in all.
Several people in these days have asked me why did people get the name of United Irishmen. The tyranny of the then existing Government was such that no man who did not take the Sacrament in the established church would get any situation under the Crown. If a priest or Presbyterian minister was found out of doors with a long hat and canonical coat on him, he would be put in the stocks. If either were found addressing a meeting in a town or village, he would be put
in the stocks. If found to have a horse worth more than £5 the horse was confiscated to the crown and auctioned on the first cross road. No chapel or meetinghouse could be built nearer than a mile of a town or village. The first to object to this treatment were Presbyterians who went under the name of Unionist's and banded themselves together to rid themselves of such treatment and to revolt against the Government. Rev'd Jackson of First Ballybay was jealous of the Rev'd Clarke of Cahans, being so popular as a speaker. Clarke was an avowed Unionist and was to speak to a number of delegates from several counties on a certain night in Monaghan. Rev'd Jackson informed on him. The Government permitted Rev'd Clarke to escape and 1100 with him from Tirone, Armagh, and Monaghan. Shortly after that, the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians united. Then the Government got alarmed and pronounced it high treason to be a United Irishman and made it a hanging matter.
Revd John Arnold of First Ballybay was a United Irishman in the most strict sense of the term. He was informed on for addressing a meeting after night, and had to run to America in 1798. Father and William Rolland of Lisgorn were passing a big pool of water over near where Mr. Arnold lived, when a sod fell into the water.. Father was then about 14 years of age. The sod caused him to look in the pool and, to the no small surprise of Father and Rolland, they saw poor Arnold up to his chin in the water. Rolland was United too, and said, "God bless us Mr. Arnold what has you in the water." "Keep quiet," said he, "A company of mounted soldiers are after riding round the pool locking for me." "Where is your clothes?" "In William McMcMullin's and my purse is in David McCaul's." "when night comes I will try and get away." It was a very warm day in June. He lived where James Lockhart now lives, and all he possessed was confiscated to the Crown and sold on the cross road. My Grandfather got his drawers at 8d (pence), good value that time for ₤5 (pounds sterling). In the private drawers was hid the stamp that left the impression on the belts of the united men:
"A good time coming boys."
Mr. Arnold got safe to America and sent for his children, except two, William and Sofia who were reared by an uncle, Joseph Nelson, a man who had the bleach green in Creeve before the Jacksons. Father was the first child Rev'd William Arnold baptized. I neglected saying, Revd Clarke of Cahans was a Scotchman and very near relative to the Chief of the Black Douglas Clan. He still used the kilts and bonnet with, plumes.
The largest gathering ever Father saw was at First Ballybay Meetinghouse. A curate in the parish of Kilmore was in sympathy with United men. He was expelled from the church and left for America. Before leaving, he preached his farewell sermon in front of First Ballybay on a platform. His subject was: "Am I not thine ass that Thou hest ridden on these many years?" After him, the Rev'd. John Arnold gave an address. Subject: "When Adam delved and Eve span
who was then the gentleman?" It was on St. John's day. The Curate was a Freemason and all the brothers in the County were present. After the speaking, all the Masons with flag and drum left the speaker near Castleblaney on his way to America. When he was near to Ballybay the United men lifted him and carried him through Belbuck, that being the Irish for Ballybay. When at Corrybrannan bridge, the Masons in turn chaired him to the Castleblayney road in all honours. All the Masons were in long hats and frock coats. Roman Catholics could be and were Masons in those days.
Up till 1798, there were no banks in County Monaghan. A man of high rank and distinction, called Norman Steel, who lived at Carrickmacross, discounted bills for linen merchants and others. Those who had far to go, he kept all night, as money was carried in saddlebags and highway robbers were to be feared. Though a man would be hung at that time for stealing a goat, those who had the name of money, sunk a pit in their house, put black oak beams across and on them rested a big heavy flat stone. That pit was called a bank. The big stone in front of this house was over the bank in Lisgillan House, and was taken here in 1717 when this house was built. Said stone was taken on a slide car from Drumgoon near the middle Chapel in County. Cavan.
Father brought the first damson quicks (cuttings), snowdrops, and orange lilies in this parish from Norman Steel's. Till Orangemen started at the Dian, County Armagh, no party feeling existed in respect of that flower. Father had a very big bed of them at one time. A Catholic servant man cut them at the ground when in flower with a scythe and one of them never grew. Three were in the ditch and escaped. Brother Edward saw the fellow cut them and he broke two ribs in him with kicks. The fellow left and never was heard of again. Father was very proud of being the first producer of the Orange lily in this parish. Father planted all the snowdrops at the end of this house among the trees. I planted all in the avenue in 1880. I also planted all the crocuses behind the. kitchen.
An old custom called a patern, was held in Ballybay every May day, when a churn dash was stuck in the ground and a very big cake was put on the dash. The best dancer of a girl got the cake to hand round. Then poles were dressed with May flowers and all sorts of plays were the order of the day.
I am frequently asked, what were yeomen? They were volunteers or a sort of local police to keep the peace. They did more harm than good as a rule, robbing men and ill-using women and doing all sorts of mean things. It was the duty of yeomen to protect people in the stocks from being pelted with rotten eggs and dirt. If any one had a dislike to a person in the stocks, some would take those in charge aside for a treat, till the poor culprit in the stocks would be simply destroyed. That was the reason the stocks were abolished. Some people would be left ready for the hospital. Frequently, the friends of those in the stocks would protect them from insults with blackthorns.
Big Billy Latimer of Clocin was the last of the yeomen and, like his ancestors, was unlettered, and grossly ignorant., and ill behaved. William Wentworth and John Crothers of Cahans were frequently in the stocks and protected by United men. Wentworth lived where Rev'd Thomas Cathcart died. He was a Scotch man of the Campbell clan, always wore the kilts and blue bonnet, was a Covenanter in the strict sense of the term and a United man too. He and Crothers were stump orators for United men. Were in the 400 who left Ireland for America with Rev'd. Clarke of Cahans. Wentworth would play the pipes when in the stocks in contempt of. the law. Crothers had a brother who lived at Ballyalbany near Monaghan and left with Clarke too. Crothers was a Scotchman and relation of Wentworth. The Rev'd. Crothers from America, who preached in Second Ballybay last year, was a representative by blood of those men who left this country as Unionists for fear of the law. A young man called Mathers, who was learning the linen business here, was also a United man. He was addressing a lot of brothers in our back meadow. A yeoman was present in disguise who informed on him. He got covered, had no money, but was a lover of my Aunt Jane Breakey. She got a horse and rode to Armagh to his brother for money. Grandfather gave some money too and so poor Mathers was got away by night to America. The Breakeys were not either unionists or United Irishmen. Having property they were afraid of it being confiscated but they favoured the cause and helped to cover people.
I will take notice of some old customs quite abolished in Ulster and still to be seen South and West. The wren's race is one below contempt. A pack of boys would gather and hunt a wren with sticks and stones till it was killed. Then it was gibbeted on the top of a stick. The stick was then decorated with white and green ribbons. This fandango was exhibited from door to door in the town where money was expected. All went to a whiskey house in the evening to drink the health of James II and curse the wren. Tradition says the wren leaped on the drum in Duke Schomberg's camp at the Boyne and wakened his men, so that they were ready for a deadly attack of James II, when Duke Schomberg fell and James ran for his life. After my brother Robert retired from business and went to Lucan, County Dublin to live, I was cleaning the flower beds in front of the house, when a pack of outlaws come to the door with a wren on a stick. To get rid of them and not knowing what it meant at the time, I offered them money. "No," said a fellow, "That is Orange Bill from the North, a relation of Schoenberg, let him put his money where Lanty put the pepper."
I saw the last bull fight in this parish when a very wee boy. In front of James Long's present house in Bowelk large weights were sunk in the ground. From them, a long chain with every link 6 inches long passed to the bulls neck where it was locked. The bull's horns were shod with steel points. When the bets were gathered a dog was let at the bull. If the bull did not toss the dog at the first run, a fresh dog was let out. The bull belonged to Hody Daly of Bowelk and
was kept to fight dogs on bets. At November and Christmas, bulls were fought with dogs and, when quite warm, the bulls were killed on the spot when the flesh would be as tender as a heifer. If let cool, the flesh was like leather for a year.
I saw the last cock fight in this neighbourhood in Ednavea meadows. Us wee boys were playing with 9 dead cocks when police gathered round the mob and captured a lot of them. Seventy-six were fined in 5/ (shillings) each and so ended the cockers, so called.
When I was a wee boy I saw a fight of station horses on a fair day in the street of Shercock. Till one of the horses got his leg broken, the men never got the bridles out of their hands. Then the men turned out to fight and blackthorns were like a wood. The standing horse worried the other like a dog. All was fearful to look at.
Another very old custom is done away with. The first bride in a house or family got a cow from her father, if going to country life no matter how large her fortune was. When the bride left for her new home, the cow was sent after her, with her horns, if any, decorated with white ribbons. If no horns, her catty (which is frontlock in Irish) would be decorated. A card was hung to her neck to say where she was going. Any person helping to drive a bride's cow was entitled to a treat, which the man in charge had plenty of. Often that man got drunk treating, Tom, Dick, and Harry on the road and some other would have the cow safely in her new home.
My Mother got a cow with her (dower), a breed not known now except by very few. The breed was called Tuscwater, a cow very unlike the breed of large horned bullock branded cows then used. The Tuscwater had very long narrow faces with small horns, like the head of a man's staff, that would grow into the face and had to cut off a bit of the points with a hack saw. Father, and some of us children, being antiquarians know the Tuscwaters are representatives of old times and have been very carefully preserved by inbreeding. Though this is a flooded farm, the amphibious grasses and aquatic plants that are to be seen when the water leaves, and that would be death to other breeds, have no bad effects on the Tuscwaters.
I have a cow of the breed that has in no way departed from the old standard except in the shape of her horns which are cocked up. The 18th of February, 1899, she had twins for the fifth time, making her to give birth to 24 calves and only three bulls in 24. She had a calf at two years old and every spring since. I got as much as £22 (pounds sterling) three times for cows from her in open market. Three years ago she had twin roan calves. Last year two white and this year dark red's all from a roan shorthorned bull. I believe she is exactly the colour of her ancestor, a strawberry so called, that came with my Mother here in 1812. My brother brought that breed to great perfection. He had 7 cows and five heifers here at one time. Father called them Fillbire since this farm was so often stocked by them, brother Hugh having brought them to such perfection. The cow much used when I was a wee boy had a short broad face, very big eyes, and red colour with black stripes-all over. They were exactly the shape of a Hereford bull, very cross and dangerous.
Old weights are done away with. Weights of freestones were rounded up and a ring set in lead on the top. We had a 1st, 2, 4, and 8. The bean was of wood with a hole in either end and one in the middle to hang it by. Chains belonging to it are here still, and every link is 6.inches long.
I very much regret the old custom of playing music on these waters has been given up over 50 years. A rector in Killcrow called Devero, a man of large private means, had a band. Frequently, through the summer, he would gather all the boats in this parish, get his band into them and play from Bushford to Ballybay. In time of low water all would turn at our strand. Of fine evenings, Father and brother Robert would go in a boat and play long yellow flutes, producing lovely sweet music to be heard more than a mile. Robert and John Ritchie would go on the lake and play the fiddle. When I was getting instructions on the violin from James Miller, Letitia hearing me instructed, could play much better than me at the end of the year. She and I were the last to play on the water. Young people would dance on meadows and high firm banks in the Brownbog. I have seen acres of the bog looking to Bushford, and now, as far out as the reeds they are big high firm banks.
Setting tails on horses is also a thing done away with. When a horse would ride well his tail was raised up and a cut was given under each joint. Then an iron shaped like a half hoop was covered with flax-and some healing thing and hoop and tail were bound together. Then a pitch plaster was stuck on either haunch, and the top of the tail was divided and stuck to the plaster. When the tail was healed all fixtures were removed. A horse could move the tail from side to side but not lower it.
At weddings and Freemason walks, tails of horses would be decorated with silk of various colours, mane and katty too. Katty is the Irish for frontlock. In Obadiah's record (as it was called), he said he saw Rev'd. Clarke in front of a Freemason's walk in Beilbuck mounted on a white horse, pipe clayed, set tail, mane and katty decorated with silk. Rev'd Clarke had kilts, bonnet and plumes on after the order of the Black Douglas Clan. The meaning of a white horse being pipe clayed was to bring his legs and hips and body all of one colour, snow white. Obadiah, above mentioned, was a grand uncle of Father and lived in Derry big House, now occupied by John McCreery, near Aghnamullen. Said house was built by this family. It was that Rev'd. Clarke who was so frequently in the stocks for addressing unionist meetings and left by night for America with 400 of his followers. He was a man of wonderful powers of explanation and illustration and a philanthrophist (sic) for Presbyterians of this country. He was of a very dark complection (sic). For several years after the Union, the tithe caused a lot of confusion and discontent among Presbyterians and Roman Catholics for having to support ministers of the Established Church.
During the early part of 1832, most of the Church ministers of County Monaghan were in great want. A determined attempt was arranged by them to enforce the collection for the year 1832. Accordingly, some of the more reckless employed the infamous Sam Gray, who, accompanied by an armed mob, carried off every thing they could lay their hands on from the farmers about Ballybay. One man who resisted was shot by Sam Gray. Gray stood his trial for it and was acquitted. One time Gray went to collect a 10th stook (shock) in every field of oats in Enagh in the late evening. Gray's men cooped cart and oats and had to leave all as a shaft was smashed. During the night, two fools, Stewart and Stensin, got word of the smash and were encouraged by people to remove the oats and in the morning not one sheaf was left for Gray.
The return of O'Connell at the famous Clare election of 1828 caused great excitement all over Ireland. Amongst O'Connell's supporters was a newspaper proprietor from Belfast named John Lawless and, on his return, he formed a triumphal procession of Ribbonmen through Meath, Louth, and the Southern part of Monaghan. What the exact meaning of this procession is not clearly known. People joined the procession believing it was the beginning of a great national rising, though they were armed with nothing but sticks. The triumphal march had reached close to Ballintra, south of Ballybay where Sam Gray had a large number of men, principally Yeomen and Orangemen, armed to stop the procession. A large company of troops under the command of General Thornton intercepted the processionists, and the persuasion of General Thornton and a local priest, the people were induced to return home. When Sam Gray heard Lawless was coming to Ballybay he sent him word to not come or he would run him and his men into the Lough Major. Jack Lawless sent him word in return he would go and burn Ballybay. Gray got afraid for once in his life and sent for General Thornton and his men. It was supposed Lawless had 100,000 Ribbonmen in his gigantic procession.
Many of his poor fanatics thought Lawless meant to take all Ulster with them. Bob Bradford was thought to have killed some of the stragglers going home, and to have sunk them in the shell lake of Ednavea. When an Orangeman came home he found a poor straggler of Lawlesses weaving on his loom at Ednavea Cross. "What has you here?" said Calwell. "I was afraid of being killed by a mob up the road and I thought I would escape by weaving on your loom, and I now ask your protection, believing you to be an Orangeman." "I am hungry and dead tired," said he. "I was in the mob you speak of," said Calwell, "And I will protect you if I can. My wife will give you plenty to eat and go under our bed and make no noise if you hear anyone come in." In the morning, Calwell gave him a good breakfast and a cake of oatbread. What was the fact, in 20 years after Calwell got the agreeable surprise that this man was after leaving him in his will all he possessed at Scrun in County Meath, over £1000 worth of property and his house and stock.
Sam Gray was for many years a remarkable figure in this County. Around him he gathered a set of desperadoes who were ever ready to commit any crime, from perjury and robbery to murder. He was appointed a County Cess Collector, a tithe proctor, and by some sponsors, a rent agent. He always carried two or more pistols, which he used on every occasion when he had the slightest excuse. He was frequently returned for trial. Assizes after assizes, he was brought up charged with assaults, firing at and wounding, riots, manslaughter and murder, but the Crown could never obtain a conviction except once, when he deliberately shot two men, who had been witnesses against him in a civil case. One of them died on the spot, the other (named Corigan) survived. He was acquitted of the murder, but was convicted of the wounding. In 184O, the Sheriff's bailiffs refused to execute a writ on Sam Gray, and the late Mr. Hugh Swanzy, who was Subsheriff that year, attempted to execute it himself. Gray attempted to shoot him, but the pistol missed fire and Gray threw Mr. Swanzy back and escaped into the house and shut the door, thereby excluding the Sheriff.
About 1841, Sam Gray was at the zenith of his power. The law of the land had no terror for him. A jury had acquitted him in March, 1841, of his last charge of the murder of Owen Murphy. Sam Gray had a loan bank, out of which he lent the money of a great and wealthy admirer of his named Moses Bradford, and through this he attained the gratitude of some and the popularity of all. During one of Sam Gray's terms of imprisonment, awaiting trial for murder, all efforts having failed to get him out on bail; his son James Gray, got one of his gang called William Miller, to impersonate a Dr. Burn, and swear that Sam Gray's health. was endangered by continual incarceration. Sam got out, but the plot was discovered, and Miller was transported at the Monaghan Sumner Assizes of 1812. Several efforts were made to get James Gray off, but the Government again packed a jury, and transported him after Miller to Tasmania. These convictions shook Sam's power to the foundation.
Amongst those who followed Sam Gray blindly, was a man called Bradford Stewart of Clontabret, nephew of Sam's generous patron, Moses Bradford, and in the summer of 1841, he was tried for perjury committed to get Sam out of one of his charges. Stewart was considered by all to be the heir of minister Moses Bradford's wealth. But, after Bradford's death it was found, to the astonishment of every one who had this impression, that he had left a will bequeathing all his property -- not to his nephew but to Sam Gray. Of course, the will was disputed, and proved to be a perjury, executed after the death of the alleged testator. This base ingratitude of Sam Gray disgusted many, and turned away from him most of his faithful followers who, up to that, believed firmly that he was above all the powers of law.
Sam Gray was seldom heard of outside Ballybay. The news of his death on 7th September, 1848, brought to memory many daring and desperate deeds of former times. Three of his sons came into notoriety. His son Edward was tried at Monaghan in'1866 for the murder of a Catholic at an election, and was acquitted. His son William contested the County Monaghan as a liberal at the Parliamentary Election of 1867, and was defeated by the landlords and Orangemen. His son James, when released from prison, did not return home, but settled in Tasmania, where he rose to a good position and became a member of the Tasmania Parliament, and a democratic leader. He died a Roman Catholic, I believe.
Sam Gray had a dispute at his door of a Saturday with a young man who was to be a priest. Sam turned the boy over and gave him a kick on the back of his head which killed him on the spot. When Sam would be in company with Orangemen, he would say "I spoiled a priest, boys."
Father had a tenant in Carryduff called John Conlon who had a long house. Against the house hung the parish ladder for many years, so long that Conlon imagined that it was his and refused to give it out. On the 17th of March, all hands in the parish gathered to remove the ladder. Conlon killed one man, Sam Gray handled Conlon so well at the law that he came out free. Conlon and his friends worshipped the very memory of Gray till their death. All sorts of ill luck followed the breed of Conlon, and in the end Father had to put them off the townland and help them to go to America. Many years after, John Conlon killed by a red Indian. It was said toward the end of the Tithe War, the Government began to enforce the Party Procession Act in the County, and at the Monaghan Summer Assizes of 1833, four batches of Orangemen were put on trial for violation of the Act at Monaghan, Glasslough, Emyvale, and Clones. All these Orangemen pleaded guilty at the next Assizes in 1831, and were let off with a fine of sixpence each, on condition that they would not violate the Act again. The Ballybay Orangemen, led by Sam Gray, defied the law and marched in spite of the Act.. They were tried at the Monaghan Lent Assizes, 1835, and acquitted.
I will take a note of some things about the town of Monaghan. In 1611, Sir F. Blayney got a grant of the market and fair. In 1613, the town was created a borough, with a right to send two members to the old Irish Parliament. The first members who were returned on 13th April, 1613, were Thomas Reeves, T.C.D., Dublin; and Henry Conlin, Gentleman of Monaghan. When O'Neill took Monaghan, he hanged Lord Blayney's son in retaliation for McMahon's execution. The pear tree on which he was hanged grew in the garden where the old Castle in the Diamond stood. Father saw the tree frequently when a wee boy at school.
Once he saw a man called "Necky" Robinson hanging on said tree. In those days, the culprit was put on a logwheeled car, one end of the
rope was round the culprit's neck, and the other fixed sure on the tree. The car was drawn away and the man swung like the pendulum of a clock for a given number of minutes, when the rope was cut. A doctor would be on the ground, and not infrequently recovered the unfortunate person. "Neck" Robinson was one of those unfortunate persons who lived. He had a cruk in his neck ever after, and that is why he was called "Necky". In the last Parliament that sat in Dublin, 1799, Henry Westenra, and William Fortiscue, represented the Borough of Monaghan.
Father has often said the smallest child in Monaghan would not eat the fruit that grew on the hangman's pear tree. Rambling pigs gathered them up as a rule. In the old time, a culprit had the option of choosing what sort of tree he would be hung on. One time a Judge said to a fellow, "You are to be hung; what sort of bush would you like to be hung on?" "I am a gardener," said the fellow, "and I would like to be hung on a gooseberry bush." "That would be impossible as those bushes do not grow high enough." "Your worship," said the fellow, "I will wait on one to grow." "Well," said the Judge, "I will be sure to say tree to the next fellow."
The principal mainstay of the Government in Monaghan was Dacre Hamilton of Cornacassa. It was through his instrumentality, most of the United Irishmen were arrested, hung, and hunted out of Ireland. He being such a willing tool, was the individual selected to fill the office of High Sheriff of the County, in 1778. He was Commander of the Monaghan Yeomen. Dacre Hamilton was agent for the Rossmore, Castleshane, and several other estates. Though a rabid Orange partisan, still his co-religionists hated and feared him. The late Dr. A. K. Young, F.R.C.S.I. attended Dacre Hamilton on his death-bed. Hamilton asked him, "How do all people feel about my illness." Dr. Young replied, "No person appears to take any notice of your illness, except that Catholics of a neighbouring parish say you are the life of the lease of their school-house." The last Provost in Monaghan was Arthur Gamble Lewis. He was also agent for the Rossmore estate. Lewis was the last Colonel of the old Monaghan Militia, and was the last man who wore the old Yeoman's uniform through the streets of Monaghan.
In 1838 an act was passed, nominally abolishing tithes; but, in reality, transferring the liability from the tenant to the landlord, and enabling the landlord to add it to the rent. Most of that Interesting class, took full advantage of the act, and availed themselves of the opportunity to raise the rents far in excess of the amount required for tithe. The Protestant Church enjoyed the tithes up to 1869 when the Church Act of Mr. Gladstone transferred it to the State. The landlords enjoyed the increase of rent up to 1881, when Mr. Gladstone, backed by a strong agitation, reduced the rents in most cases, even below what was added at the Tithe Act. The landlords still pay the tithe.
The present gaol (jail) was finished about 182) and the present court-house which replaced the old gaol, was finished some years after-wards. In 1816, gas was introduced to Monaghan. Great confusion was caused in those days by the town clock, for its custodian regulated it by the watches of every stranger who arrived in Monaghan, and from local sun-dials. The foundation of the Cathedral of St. Macarton was laid on 21st. of June, 1861.
The Protestant Episcopalians had no place of worship in Monaghan for many years after the conquest of Ulster by Elizabeth's forces. The old parish church was restored at Rockwallace. And in the reign of James I, a residence was built for the rector on the church lands. About the beginning of the 17th. century, a church was built in Monaghan near the site of the present church. This was a clumsy old building without a tower, until Mr. Richard Jackson erected one at the beginning of the century. The old church was taken down, and the present one built in 1836.
The present Presbyterian meeting-house, which was built in the year 1827, succeeded an old one on the same site. The Seceders built a meeting-house near the Convent Lake, but as the title'was defective, Mr. A. King, who was a strong member of the town congregation pulled down the meeting-house in 1808, and included it in the brewery. The Seceders went and built the present structure at Ballyalbany.
The old Methodist preaching house in Dawson Street at the rear of the present minister's residence, was built in the beginning of this century, and the present preaching house was built in Dawson Street about the year 1861. In 1810, the last of the United Irishmen in County Monaghan were tried at the Monaghan Spring Assizes for swearing in United Irishmen, and were transported. In 1829, the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed.
Now, I think I will take a note of this farm. When my ancestors took this farm in 1710 it was all a scrub. In 1717, this house was built, the chesnut tree at the road was planted, and a lease was taken out by my Grandfather, Billy Bon Breakey, of 130 a year for the life of my Uncle James Breakey, late of Cormeen. Do not remember what rent was on this farm prior to that. James Breakey was the eldest brother of my Father. The week he died, Dr. Ker, the land-lord, noticed my Father to leave this farm for non title, as he wished to give it to his brother's son, a young man in his office. William Ker, the illigitimate son of Barrister Ker. Father went to the Barrister, and gave him a look at the notice, "Well," said he, "That is the most diabolical action ever was done on the estate, and one I will not permit." He said to my Father, "Come with me tomorrow to the Newbliss Office, till I talk to my brother over the matter, and be sure and have that rascally notice with you." Father and he met in said office. Barrister Ker asked his brother William, "Did you send this man, John Breakey of Drumskelt, this unfriendly notice. Did you say to him, you mean to put this son of mine in his farm!" The Doctor said, "I
did all you say." "I would put a shot through my boy," said the Barrister, "Before I would see him in-this man's house that the breed of us never gave a pound to build nor would I have such a black mark entered against the estate of Newbliss.. I will do for my boy without you." The Barrister got in a rage and said he would take three pins and kick William Ker and his papist agent who he believed was at the bottom of it all. Landlord, Dr. Ker, said to the Barrister "If you gainsay one in that, you will not do so in this. I will put a lively rent on John Breakey."
He raised the rent of 35 acres in this farm from £30 a year, old rent, to ₤61. 14 shillings and some pence. Father had big incomes in those days and did not mind the rise of rent. He lived to pay ₤500.0 of the rise. After Dr. Ker died, this townland and others were put in the Incumbered Court. Richard Mains was receiver and a real good agent too. Through him we got this farm reduced in rent to ₤47 a year. Some time after Mr. Murray got to be agent, married our landlady and took the name of Murray Ker. In 1866, Mr. A. Murray Ker sold these lands in the Incumbered Court at the Government valuation which raised this farm to £ l a year, ₤4 of a rise. We paid £51 till 1888, the year I served the orignative notice on Mr. Murray Ker, for a fixed rent through the Land Court, where it was reduced to £33.10.0 for the term of 15 years. I did not say, prior to the fixing of my rent, Mr. Murray Ker was kind enough to give me a temporary reduction on some years. I do believe, had he got his will in all things, he and I would have settled without any bother.
Mr. Murray Ker was a man of the old school who would say exactly what he meant, if it would hang him. He said to me once, "I was a liar damn my soul." I respected him for saying what he thought, but I was able to convince him he was astray by producing a lease he had never heard of. Mr. Murray Ker loved the Lily, and when he would hear of intermarriages with Catholics he would be at a loss to find words to express his indignation.
Mr. Vaughan, a Catholic agent in Newbliss, so biased Dr. Ker against my Father that he would not permit him to stand in his office. Mother had to pay the rent for some years. Vaughan was very much riled by being frustrated in his plots against Father's interest by Barrister Ker. Shortly before Vaughan died, Dr. Ker received a letter from Parliament that his agent was a United Irishman and to not be surprised if he would be taken on private information. Dr. Ker was death on United Irishmen, and when Vaughan found he was like Ichabod, that his glory was departed, he soon died. Some years before his death, when Dr. Ker was Landlord of Shantra, McCullagh's of Drummuck lived and built the house now in possession of Tom Cumming. I should say, the ancestors of the McCullaghs. Their lease fell and Davy Roper finding this, gave Vaughan, the agent, a very fine horse to put James McCullagh out of Shantra for nontitle. McCullagh had no Barister Kerr to stand for him, and so Roper got all.
Dacre Hamilton, Colonel Lewis, and Dr. Ker, were the three office tyrants of this County in their day; Dr. Ker ordering Father out, of his office and he having a year's rent of £61.14.0, could only be matched by Colonel Lewis who refused to take a respectable farmer's rent, and ordered him out of his office for daring to come into his presence with a beard on him. The farmer, George Nesbitt, of Loist lived to have a fair rent fixed, a judicial rent under the Land Law (Ireland) Act of 1881.
The above two agents and Dr. Ker were like Colonel Ker of Mountain Lodge and his wife. The smell of a Presbyterian would make them sick. One time Mrs. Colonel Ker rode up to my Father and said, "It is queer, I am after passing Rev'd. William Arnold of Derryvally, one of your sky pilots, and the smell of him has made me sick." "I do not wonder," said Father, "For I see in the Bible where a sky pilot, (as you call. them in contempt) made the Devil fear and tremble. You are likely to be sick after a smell of me too," said Father. "To be honest with you," said she, "I have a very particular dislike to you Covenanters." "The less you say of those people, the better," said Father, "When we look at the way your Church left the Highlands of Scotland like a hunting pack." "You are an old historical bigot," said she, "And I leave you sick as a dog." Father said, "Goodby, I hope you may never lose the smell of a Covenanter in your olfactory nerves." Some time after, Colonel Ker said to Father, "How come you to affront my lady .by wishing she would never lose the smell of you in her nose?" Father said, "Yes, and I wish the ghosts of the poor murdered Covenanters in Scotland may haunt all the breed of Ker in this world and the one to come." Ker said, "You are an illwishing man." Father said, "I am that kind of a man. I never saw two Kers that I could not take one in each hand and crack their heads together." Ker was Colonel of the old Monaghan Militia before Colonel Lewis.
I will take a note of some of the trees and shrubs about this house. The chesnut (sic) at the road was planted in 1717, the year this house was built. The chesnut at Tom Wood's pass was planted in the October of 1798 by my Father and in memory of the soldiers being killed in Creeve. The Scotch Firs at the top and bottom of the garden were planted by my Uncle, William Breakey. The chesnut at the gable of this house, west end, and the Sycamore over the yard, were planted by my Mother in 1813. The two chesnuts behind my houses were planted by my brother Robert. The big hawthorn in front of this house, was planted by brother Edward when a small boy. All shrubs and bushes in this avenue were planted by me in memory of the reduction of the rent on this farm 1888. Three apple trees at the head of the garden were planted by my brother Hugh in memory of the murder of Owen Murphy, Teacher in Balladian, 1840. The Damsons by the ditch up the west side of hay garden were planted by me in 1860. The Chestnut going into hay garden, was planted by-Obadiah Breakey, and the holly at the corner of the hay garden was in line with the ditch when it was built round the garden in 1710.
When the Breakeys came to this country, they found divine service in Derryvalley was being held in a bahog which, in Irish, is an open house. That was in 1690. The bahog was a mudwall with only one gable. It stood near to the garden at the Schoolhouse. It was not intended to cover all hearers, only the minister who was aged and infirm. In those days, Cahans, (Cahans was not built until 1753), Cootehill, and Castleblayey were the nearest Presbyterian Churches, so we can imagine the distance people. had to come to Derryvalley and then standing during service, and walking back as far as Corlea, Loughmorne, and Clontibret.
Father's aunt, Mrs. Isaiah Breakey, was a very pretentious woman, used a Sedan chair coming to Derryvalley of a Sunday, would have 8 men out of the work to carry her from Millmore House, where Thomas Henry now lives in Aghnamullen. She and her men would dine here on her way back. One of the shafts of her Sedan is in my kitchen. Her maiden name was Gibson of Drumlun House now in possession of John Primrose. I think I mentioned this in the front of this book.
The present meetinghouse in Derryvalley (First Ballybay) was built in 1786. Nothing but logwheeled cars were in existence in those days. The stones in the house were brought on slide cars in hampers off fields in all directions. Every bit of lime was brought on horses' backs in sacks from Carrick. As many as 30 men would be drawn or called of a Sunday to go for lime. All cut stones in the corners of the house were brought from Roslay on slide cars. The cut stones round the doors cane from Carnmore ready to put up in pieces and segments for the top. The date over the doors was cut by Sam Rodgers, son of Rev'd. Rodgers, Cahans.
Sam was a very highly educated man, but went to whiskey and ended up badly. I saw him in his old days cutting inscriptions on head stones in Derryvalley. He painted names of people over doors in Ballybay. He was painting Rodger McMahon's name one time, when Sam Gray gave Rodgers whiskey to put the "Last of the Mohekins" after McMahon's name. Gray thought he would get poor Rodgers a clout of a blackthorn. To the surprise of Gray, McMahon was rather pleased and did not remove it for a time. McMahon's daughter, who is married to Mr. FitzPatrick of Cormeen, is in reality the last of a very old family called McMahon who had the Monaghan Estate.
The roof of Derryvalley Meetinghouse was brought from Newry. A number of horses would have two sticks each, one on either side tied to pins in a straddle, the ends would drag along the road. Each timber was cut rather long to allow for waste on the road. As every person put up his seat, quite a lot of irregularity was to be seen in the old church. Some wishing to have a high seat would have as many as four steps up, others. on the flat. The stones on the roof, (so called slates in that day) were very weighty and large, were brought from the middle chapel, Parish of Drumgoon near Cootehill, on slide cars, At the renovation of the old house I saw some stones two inches thick and L feet long come off the old roof. The marin round First Ballybay Meetinghouse and graveyard was not put up till the year after the house was built. A tree at every corner of the marin defined the march, the last of the corner trees was
at the turn to John Corry's, a very big ash tree, and was removed about 5 years ago. A very big old ditch from the stables to the schoolhouse was removed by Rev'd. J. G. Smyth, and the present fixture put up, which takes in a strip of ground the length of his grave and that of others. It was at his instigation, First Ballybay was renovated and, long prior to that, some trees planted in the grounds. The Brown bush near to the Schoolhouse was planted by me. I got the quick at Cullin's Nursery, County Meath, one time when I was on a visit with Nathaniel Jeffers, Rose Hall near Drogheda. The old county road passed over Drummuck hill from Lisgorn, coming from Cootehill and passed John Corrins. It branches at that cross and passed First Ballybay to the avenue of Derryvalley House, where it took up to said house (not then in existence), and through the top of garden and went out at our manse, the so called "the Aghabog dressing room" mentioned earlier in this book. The pillars were not put up till some time after the present house was built. The gate was not put up till 1717. This gate at the county road was put on that time and made by the ancestors of the late John Johnstone of Ballybay.
The first minister of First Ballybay of whom we have any account was Rev'd. Humphery Thompson, who seems to have been ordained here about 1698. He died in this church April 7th, 1744. The next minister was Mr. Alexander Wadsworth, who was ordained as assistant and successor to Mr. Thompson, January 17th, 1744. Mr. Wadsworth died after a short ministry, on the 31st of March, 1747. He was-succeeded by the Rev'd. James Jackson who was ordained the 21st of February, 1750. He gave up the charge through bodily indisposition in May, 1781, and died in September, 1792, leaving a widow and family. It was Mr. Jackson who informed on Mr. Clark of Cahans for being a United Irishman. He was succeeded by Rev'd. John Arnold who was ordained here December 18th, 1782. Mr. Arnold removed to America in 1797. He was a United Irishman in the very most strict sense of the term. He was the great Presbyterian philanthropist of his day. He would go through fire and water for a Presbyterian. My Father was the first child he baptized.
After great disputes, Mr. James Morell was ordained here on August 6th, 1799. He died in this charge on the 31st August, 1831, leaving a widow and family. He was a ponderous man, over 28st. (stones) weight. Father and he were fast friends. After the death of Mr. James Morell, the congregation divided into two parts over First Ballybay. Mr. William Gibson (afterwards Doctor and Professor in the Assembly's College, Belfast) was ordained on the 1st of January, 1834. On the 29th October, 1840, he resigned the charge, having received a call to Rosemary Street, Belfast. Mr. Gibson was succeeded by Mr. Joseph Crawford in First Ballybay, who was ordained here on the 23rd of August, 1842. Mr. Crawford resigned on 5th November, 1844. Mr. Joseph Crawford's successor was Mr. John Moran who was ordained on the 24th March, 1846, and who, on the 27th of the following October, resigned the charge, having received a call to First Newry. He was succeeded by Mr. John Gordon Smyth, who was ordained here on the 28th of September, 1847, and who died in this charge on the 14th day of August, 1895. Mr. Smyth. resigned, through ill health, in 1888, and Mr. J. F. Graham was ordained as his assistant and successor on October 9th, 1890. He still survives.
Rev'd John Gordon Smyth* married me in Creeve Meetinghouse to Elizabeth Moore. He was a fast friend of mine, my only confident and temporal advisor. He was a man of fine taste as any one could see about his residence. There were large windows in his house. The conservatory and garden were got up by him. All shrubs about his house were planted by him, except a double pink thorn which I put in for him, which stands near to the back ditch. He was a very large man and had a happy expression on his face, even through ill health. He planted some of the shrubs in front of the manse.
When the Rev'd. James Morell came to First Ballybay congregation, he took the farm now occupied by Mr. James Lockhart. Mr. Morell built a back return to the house which is now used as a kitchen. It was in that part of the house that the schoolroom was, Mr. Morell kept a very high class school and taught boys for the ministry. He kept a very fine teacher. Mr. Morell and Father were top dish at all entertainments. He would say, "Now Jack, you sing and do the comic and I will tell anecdotes and we are bound to get all weddings and the biggest prata (potato) in the basket." One time, he and Father were bathing at our house river and some people were coming the near way over Cumry hill, Mr. Morell asked Father to smear him over with mud, he then went all fours on the bank and gave some fearful grunts and he being such a ponderous man, he caused two of the people at the top of the hill to faint, thinking he was a wild beast and would rush up on them. When he was washed and dressed he was brought to beam ends by insects that were in the mud. Father had to strip him till he was washed all over with buttermilk which killed parasites of all sorts in a moment. Then, what was to be done for a shirt and trousers? Those that had been on him were covered with insects. Mr. Morell had to go to bed here till his clothes were sent for. Mr. William Lockhart took away the old mud cabins in the yard and built :a very fine barn. His son, James, a few years ago, removed the dwelling house of his father and old residence of Rev'd. William Arnold and Rev'd. James Morell and, regardless of expense, built the present residence.
Rev'd John Morell was the heart of company, nothing could give me more pleasure than to see him in company; he had such a gift for story telling and appreciation of the comic and ridiculous, I remember hearing him at a Soiree in Crevagh Meetinghouse when he had us all in fits of laughter. He was a very big man with a fine complection. The rift resulting from being requested as minister in First Ballybay, after his father's death, was the cause of Second Ballybay being built by his supporters in First Ballybay. I think Second Ballybay was built in 1834.
The Soiree above mentioned, was principally got up by Mr. John Carlisle of Derryvalley to raise a fund for the support of Miss Cathcart after the death of Dr. Cathcart. Mr.-Carlisle took a room for her in Ballybay and gave her a weekly sum and, I think in the end, he had to bury her. She was the daughter of his old minister, Rev'd. Thomas Cathcart. Mr. John Carlisle was treasurer of Creevagh congregation
(*) See Appendix: Comments on Rev'd. John Gordon Smyth. E.P.B.
for over 50 years and though he is one of the goodly few who have stood the test of time in all things, still the people of that congregation have been guilty of the abominable sin of ingratitude, which the Bible says is worse than the sin of witchcraft, in not even thanking him (like First Ballybay with Thomas McMurray) when ill health caused him to give up such a responsible position in the church.
Mr. Carlisle(*) inherited the house, and property to it, of his ancestors called Craig(*). Though he had to buy the half of said property from a blood relation, still he was able to make lasting and very fine improvements in Derryvalley. He was able to buy property and rear a fine handsome family of girls, useful in the church in a variety of ways and amongst a circle of numerous friends. Mr. John Carlisle is the son of a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, County Down. He was 20 years an elder in Creevagh. He still lives.
The first minister we have any record of in Creevagh, was a man called Revd. Samuel Aikin, who was appointed minister of said church in 1798. On his coming to preach in his new charge, he took ill on the road and had to stop with a friend.. He died after a short illness. He was asked on his death bed where he would wish to be buried. He replied at Creevagh whither he was going to preach. And there he was interred in the corner of the graveyard; so that if he was not permitted to minister to that people when living, his remains rests at least among them in the hope of a glorious resurrection to life eternal. Rev'd. Samuel Aikin died 25th December, 1798.
Rev'd. Thomas Cathcart was next in Creevagh. He was ordained in 1803 and died-in 1837 [NOTE: p.121 At the Ford of the Birches has death date of 1857 – a more likely date]. He was minister of Creevagh and Fairview over at Castleblayney. Preached every other Sunday in Creevagh. Rev'd. Thomas Cathcart, A.M. baptized 13 of us. I was called for him. He lived in a small farm near his church.
I see in a book called the Biographical Sketches of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ulster that Rev'd. William Stavely was the first to challenge Tom Paine the author of the "Age of Reason". Paine had a checkered career. He was in succession staysmaker, seaman, student, merchant, exciseman, usher at an academy, astronomer, grocer, editor, clerk to a committee of congress in America, historiographer to the United States, member of the French Convention, inventor, and author of infidel writings. Clearly, he was a man of great but misguided genius, but at the same time of depraved character, and the companion of the lowest members of society, utterly unreliable as "guide" and "friend" to any who regarded him as such. His book, "The Age of Reason", was extensively read, and bore evil fruits wherever it was accepted. On his deathbed, he said he would give any money to see all his books in one fire.
(41.) See Appendix: Comments on Carlisle and Craig. E.P.B.
One time, Rev'd. William Stavely was preaching at Fort near Bally-bay prior to 1798, when a man called Wiggins from Mullanagore, a Yeoman rose up in the congregation and shouted "Treason", and threatened to inform the authorities on the preacher. Wiggins was so excited he brought a fit of apoplexy on himself, from which he died that same night. I see in the little Biographical Sketches of Covenanting Ministers, that the Rev'd. Thomas Clarke, M.D., Secession Minister of Cahans, County Monaghan, was fined ₤2 and subsequent confinement for not swearing on the book. When Revd. Thomas Clarke M.D., was so severely treated, we can understand how it was with others. That was in 1764. I, also, see in the little book, lately mentioned, that the Rev' Thomas Hamilton, Minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, which was in the neighbourhood of Ballybay, took ill and was buried in a corner of the graveyard attached to Derryvaliey Presbyterian Church in 1779.
I see it was exactly 100 years after the death of my Huguenot ancestor, William D. Breakey, that Rev'd. Aikin was called to Creevagh congregation in 1798. My ancestor was the second Protestant buried in Aghnamullen graveyard. The first Protestant buried in Aghnamullen was a man called Burgoyne. A company of the'88 was on march from Oldcastle to Cootehill. Burgoyne died on the march and was buried in Aghnamullen in all honours as a Soldier.
Though Oliver Cromwell had expelled monks and Romanists from the church still Roman Catholics kept the graveyard. The remains of Burgoyne were twice thrown out on the county road by them and the third time they were buried and watched over for weeks by Yeomen. In my very early day, a heavy ditch of elder, better known as boar trees, caused a marin in the Creeve side of the graveyard.
How the Rutledges came to be sextons so long about Aghnamullen. The ancestor of them was a monk in the old Monestry. At the expulsion of. them by Cromwell, Rutledge turned his coat and took the situation of sexton in the then established church. The gong used by the monks was removed to the Rectory when the first belfry was built and auctioned after the death of Revd. Elias Tardy. Tradition says a man called Paul Dave ? was the first rector in Aghnamullen. Shortly before my day, the father of Mrs. Murray Ker shot himself at 11 o'clock of a Sunday morning in his bedroom in the rectory, he then being rector of that parish. He was a wonderful advocate of the workhouse. One of the Wiggins of Mullanagore and his wife Padna, got into poverty. Mr. Roper advised them to go to the workhouse and he would speak to the Governor of the Workhouse to see and treat them well. On a day, Wiggins and wife met Mr. Roper at the workhouse where he said a good deal in favour of them. After showing them over the house he said to Wiggins, "You go that way and your wife this way." "For life and forever?" said Wiggins. "It may be forever and it may only be a while till times improve." said the Rector. "I thought," said Wiggins, "You toul me and Padna when you married us that what God put together no man was at liberty to shinder and now you as our spiritual advisor, is the first to encourage us to violate our vow and break our oath." Wiggins turned to his wife and said, "Spit on your stick girl and we will make our way to John Breakey of Drumskelt and tell him all." "For your life," said Mr. Roper, "Do not tell that man, he is a Covenantor, and between him, and Morell, they will make the parish too hot for me."
The old pillar well over in the graveyard of Aghnamullen, now in a state of delapidation (sic), is in memory of 11 monks who died in one night of the plague the time it was in London in 1666. The northern end of Aghnamullen Rectory is of very great antiquity, dating its existence long prior to Cromwell. It was in the days of Mr. Porter, the Rectory was renovated, and the south end built at heavy cost. The chapel of the monks stood well over in the graveyard, part of which was to be seen in the days of my Great Grandfather. The stand of the present Church is said to be that of the. old monastery.
How Derryvalley Presbyterian Meetinghouse was built. In the days of Grandfather, James Morell (as he was called), was a candidate against a man called McCauly for First Ballybay. In that day, these who paid the most stipend were at liberty to choose the minister though they were far in minority. Rev'd. James Morell was accepted as minister. The majority left and built Derryvalley Church in 1800 and had Mr. McCauly ordained as their minister. Some time after, the congregation bought the rest of the field from the Grandfather of John Coorie and converted it into a graveyard.
When Rev'd. John Morell was finished for the ministry, his father, Rev'd. James Morell, had died and John Morell was a candidate for his father's pulpit against Rev'd. Gibson. The.minority again chose Mr. Gibson. The majority again struck and went and built Second Ballybay in 1834 for Rev'd. John Morell. During the time the house was being built, Mr. Morell held divine service in a back reuse near the meadows in the yard of the late Sam Francy ?. Said house is still in existence and stands outside the garden wall of the late Thomas McMurray. It is all the house now in Ballybay with the old roof stones set in mortar instead of being covered with slates.
The day Rev'd. Gibson was ordained in First Ballybay, Rev'd. John Morell was ordained minister of Second Ballybay. Grandfather, Rev'd. James Morell, was first buried in the ground we now possess in First Ballybay graveyard. He was a ponderous man of 28 stones weight. When Second Ballybay was built, Mr. Morell's coffin was raised and buried in all honours at Second Ballybay. Father put the first bit of clay on the two graves of his choice and fast friend, Rev'd. James Morell.
Some people tell me Creeve congregation was a severance off First Ballybay. I do not think so, Loughmorne too. Not so at all. Rev'd. McDowell was against funeral sermons and because he did not refer in the pulpit to the death of some of the ancestors of the Wilsons, that breed of people with others left Creeve and built Loughmorne. The site for said church was given by a man called James Martin. Rev'd. McDowell was pastor in Creeve congregation till his death. He was a man who knew no guile, was never prosperous in worldly matters, was in 11 houses in his day, died not well off, but was a man possessed of wonderful powers of endurance. His doctor brother lived in Cootehill. Rev'd. McDowell lived with him and taught a high class boys' school in the Moravian Settlement. During that time Rev'd. McDowell frequently walked from Cootehill to Creeve, preached and walked-back.
Sure enough, he often got his dinner in Creeve and would often be sent part of the way back by well-wishers.
A man called Adams was pastor in Corlea. He gathered money and built the house now occupied by Charles Parr for a manse. Some leaders in the congregation had him expelled for drunkeness. He lived in and kept possession of the church till he was paid what some believed to be an undue demand. After John Parr was ordained pastor of that church, Adams turned about and sold the manse over the head of the congregation. Revd. Parr was the buyer. Adams went from bad to worse and, in the end, died in the workhouse. Very strange to say, God visited those who mixed lies and truth together to the ruin of said minister, with abject poverty.
Now this is a point I wish to put before all of my children; to never aid, assist, or abet any thing that would lead to the ill fate of a minister. They are God's messengers, even when astray on or their heads be wrong. I have seen those who had a particular taste for looking up faults and failures in their ministers and of exposing those weak points to the ruin of said men. For many years, God visited the household of those men with a variety of sad and incurable diseases and numerous premature deaths. Let us look at the ill fate of all, and the sad end of some of those who mixed lies and truth to the injury of Revd. Augustus Young. Now my dear children let these undeniable facts be a warning to you all through life to steer clear of any thing to the injury of God's messengers.
How Rockcorry Presbyterian Church was built. When Grandfather, Dr. Moore (as he was called), came to live in Rockcorry, no Presbyterian Church was nearer than Cahans. Dr. Moore went two years to College and took out his degrees for the ministry. For several years, he preached in a big thatched barn in the village till Squire Corry gave him the present site for a church at 5/ (shillings) rent yearly. The Squire said he would give ₤20 to help them to build Corry, then forgot that promise and left Dr. Moore to build the present church himself with the help of the congregation who produced the stones only. That was in 1830. It may be honestly said, Dr. Moore built that church. All through life he followed the medical profession as well as preaching, but being a soft goodnatured man was imposed on and badly paid. After the death of Dr. Moore, his son David got a unanimous call to his father's church. In some years after, he left for Australia.
I think I will take a note of some strange things; When I was a boy at the Saintfield Model Farm School, I lived with my brother James who had the congregation of Carryduff beside the school and went over as a day boy to school. Brother Edward was minister of a congregation in Belfast. One day, it being very warm, he came to see us on the stage coach that passed our house to Downpatrick. When he came in, he said he felt ill and, after some time he asked us to leave him home on our car. James had a good servant called George Long who was reared in this house. Long took Edward on the car to Belfast about 6 miles.
On the way, Edward became very ill and Long, seeing him so ill, left him with brother John who was then a doctor in the General Hospital. Frequently, on patients coming in, an old nurse in the house would be consulted as to whether you would live or die. She said Edward would die. Late in the evening, a cock of mine that was never known to stand in the kitchen came in and crowed several times. The old housekeeper, Anne Moore seized the cock and felt his feet and legs. James and I did too. Though the day was warm and dry, still the cock's feet and legs had the cold damp feel of death. The old woman said it was a presentment of Edward's death. James said for her to quit her nonsense. Still she was very much troubled all night. The first coach in the morning brought a messenger to tell us to come and see Edward while he could speak and in a few days he was buried in Aghnamullen in the grave with Grandfather Breakey.
Prior to the death of Edward, when brother Henry was in New York, Mother had a dream in which she saw Henry all in white and even with white stockings. He had said in one of his letters he was thinking of leaving business and going out as an evangelist. We thought by Mother's dream he had put on ministerial costume. Shortly after, a cock at a very late hour stood in the door of the hens' house and crew several times. Our girl ran out and felt the feet of the cock which were very cold. She said Mother's dream was for the death of Henry. Very soon after, we had a letter from a young lady who had nursed him in a short illness of typhus fever saying that he was dead. Said young lady was to be married to Henry.
A second dream of Mother's was when she was a wee girl. She dreamed a boy hid himself in her Father's house one evening and in the dead of night opened the shop door and let in a number of men as burglars. Several of them she knew and in the dream saw them blacken their faces. Her dream was laughed at by all in the house. Shortly after, the quarterly fair come round. In the early evening, a shoe-maker in Bailieborough came into Grandfather's shop and asked him for leave to put a bag of lasts under his counter. His request was granted. When Grandfather and others went to take dinner late in the evening, Mother was left to watch the shop. She thought she heard something breathe in the shop. On her search for what it was she leaned on the bag of lasts to look beyond it. Her weight on the bag caused a boy inside sound asleep to give a turn. She ran into the dining room and said a live thing was in the bag of lasts. Grand-father had the bag quietly removed to a back house and a wee boy turned out of it with lasts tied all over him. A hot iron was about to be put to his toes, when he said he was to open the shop door when all was quiet and let in the burglars and gave up a whistle he was to blow prior to the opening of the door. Some Yeomen were got in by the yard aid, after the shop was shut, put to sit under counters. Mother's three brothers too. Grandfather impersonated the wee boy and at the request of a
band of men outside, blew his whistle and quietly drew the bar of the door. When 9 men leaped into the shop, Grandfather clashed the door to in the face of others not yet inside. Yeomen and all hands through the house bound them. Very strange to say when all faces were washed, 7 out of the 9 Mother had seen in her dream. All were transported to Tasmania for life. Others Mother had seen in her dream and not captured left the neighbourhood and never returned.
Mother's third dream of burglars. The year Hugh went away, Mother dreamed burglars were in our storeroom. She wakened Father who laughed at her. Instead of coming to Hugh and me and servant man, she took a candle in one hand and key in the other and went to open the door herself. She heard men leap out of the window which had been opened very wide by them. Mother was delayed for a little in opening the door, as the draft from the window through the door put out her candle. When she got the door opened, she found the candle of the burglars' still burning. When Hugh and I got up, we heard a horse in a cart run quickly over the road. That was on Sunday night. The day be-fore Hugh sold 14 firkins of butter at £3.10.0 each. All was lost was worth much including a gravy spoon of great antiquity worth over ₤2.10.0. A bag of rye meal had fallen off the cart and turned up.
When the Breakeys came to Lisgellin in 1690, they found the Carsons in Monintin long established, being Scotch settlers under Cromwell. The house now occupied by Mrs. Templeton is of great antiquity, being the first house of a Carson. The late David Carson got said house and farm by the death of a friend. Prior to that he lived near to Castleshane. The day he removed his effects from Castleshane to Monintin, Father was at prayers in Creevagh meetinghouse. From the graveyard, he saw 10 carts of fodder and flitting coming to Monintin for David Carson. After prayers was over, Father went to see Carson in his new home to his no small astonishment the crowd of crows that hovered over the flitting all the way had then taken possession of the trees in Monintins for a new home. Numbers of them were eating potatoes with hens that they had recognized as old friends at Castleshane. Till the death of David Carson he protected his black friends. Several years after, Father was spending the night in big James Carson's of the hollow, when he and others came home by David Carson's house, the crows were very displeased and noisy. Carson thought some one was in his hen house and came out sword in hand. Father said, "Do not shoot, I have hoisted the flag of truce." Davy gave a big shout at the crows and said, "Swish you set of black scamps." To my Father's no small astonishment not one single crow gave a caw till he was on the county road.
The residence of Brabsty Brunker, Bellgreen Castle, Parish of Drumgoon, County Cavan, was being repaired the day prior to the windy night of 1839. A mason left his white jacket on the roof of said house through neglect. Next day it was found hanging on the belfry of Ballybay Church with letters and some small change in the pocket. Things
were thought to have traveled before the wind that unfortunate night at a rate of 40 miles an hour, The roof was blown off Bellgreen Castle and the house shook to the foundation and never renovated.
The year after I was married, one of the large flock of chickens was unshelled having three feet and legs, one grew out of where the tail should be, a perfect leg and foot. It could move in all directions, but backwards, when the leg was like a prop. It was a cock and lived for six months till a sow that ate fowls destroyed it. The leg and foot grew in proportion with the fowl and was like the curl in a pig's tail, more for ornament than use.
I have frequently heard the late Mrs. McCullagh of the Cottage tell a very queer story. When her father was a boy writing in a solicitor's office in Dundalk, he met a gipsy tramp who asked him for 6d. (pence) and said, "If you are ever to be married, I will show your wife to you on the spot." "I do not believe in that sort of thing," said the young solicitor. The tramp said, "I have got no breakfast." "I will give you 6d. (pence)," said the youth. In a small glass in the tramp's hand he saw the likeness of a lady like my Mother, in that she had dark eyes under auburn hair, pink complection (sic) and wearing cardinal coloured velvet evening costume. In 26 years after the young man had become Crown Solicitor in County Louth and lived in opulence, and was married. The bride would come down to a 7 o'clock dinner in evening costume. The solicitor would say to the bride every day, "You remind me of a lady I have seen but for the life of me I do not know where." In some days he remembered she was a perfect facsimile of the picture he saw in the gipsy's hand glass. I have frequently used the word solicitor simply because I do not remember his name.
I heard of a thing that took place at my brother William's door in Lisburn. A degraded ventriloquist was reduced to selling fish by drinking whiskey. This fellow produced a very big codfish at my brother's door. "I will not buy," said the cook, "It is some days out of the water." The Fishman pressed the gills of the fish with his finger and thumb which caused the fish to open and shut its mouth and from the mouth of the fish, as it were, he said, "You lie cook, for I was taken in Belfast Lough this morning." The cook, knowing nothing of ventriloquism thought well to turn over a regular spread eagle. My brother, knowing what the fellow could do, turned out of the dining room laughing. "You have killed the woman," said he. From the mouth of the fish came the answer, "She is not dead but speechless." The fish went on to say, "Use a cold water application I will give some water out of my tank on our cart." When the cook heard of the dirty fish water being thrown on her, she soon wakened out of her mock faint. When the door was shut; the cook said, "You did well to not buy that speaking fish, I think it is a witch. It has a queer voice out of yon big mouth." Some days after, I went to the door and
in aloud sepulchral voice I said, "i'o you require any fish today?" The old woman in the kitchen heard the words and said to herself, "Devil take that spaken fish, I hear it this day again." When I looked back, the cook was coming with-a gravy spoon in one hand and tongs in the other ready for war.
Graphology is a gift from nature to some and looks very strange to me and still I firmly believe in it. About 45 years ago, I wrote to two celebrated graphologists in the one day and sent each of them 1/ (shilling) asking them to give a delineation of my character from this specimen of my handwriting. One was Sir John Perry of St. Hellens, the other Miss Richardson of Torquay. The two agreed to a word that the most prominent feature in my character was, I required proof and result to convince me of the profit or loss of any project put before me. True enough, I would rather see Tom, Dick, or Harry, go into a speculation before me. And again, I was loquacious and candid, still I confided in few and trusted chiefly to my own sagacity to guide and direct me. I heard of a merchant who was a man very extensive in leather. He had a traveler for his house whom he suspected to be dishonest, and he thought of a plan to find the fellow out. One morning at breakfast, he said to his daughters, the traveler and boys, "We will all write to Miss Richardson and have our characters delineated and I will pay the 1/ (shilling) each for all." He then watched the post from England. The answer came to the traveler one day before the rest and on Sunday when the fellow left off his office coat to go to church, Mr. Brown got the answer from Miss Richardson in his pocket and it read so, "You are dishonest in the strict sense of the term, a sycophant too." Then she went on to say, he was loquacious, goodnatured and funny. She wound up by giving him a caution to retrench and stamp out the ruling passion or it was very likely he would get a free passage to Tasmania in the end. At the end of the quarter Mr. Brown quietly paid off the fellow and he went to a very large house in Liverpool. In nine weeks he was detected with marked money. When his box was opened, under a false bottom was found ₤80. The Liverpool employer said that was his. "No," said the fellow, "I took it from my late employer, Mr. Brown of Cootehill, every farthing." The £,80 was sent to Mr. Brown and the fellow to penal servitude.
My sister Letitia had her character told by the above mentioned graphologist, by a London noted physiognomist, and a London chronologist. All four agreed that the most prominent feature in her character was she had a very distinct and decided taste for literature. True enough, as that can be seen in what I have said of her in front of this book.
As I am now speaking of things that look strange to me, I will take notice of how Sam Gray got out of transportation. In Mr. Rush's book on Monaghan, he says, "Sam Gray was once convicted for manslaughter." True enough, I- believe. It is said he was on the transport ship in Southampton for Botany Bay. Dan O'Connel had a client along with Gray for manslaughter too. Dan O'Connel put it before the Government, would it not be better for to enlist his client, as he was going for life, than send him abroad for life? The Government thought well of it. Found him a sound man and enlisted him. Sam Gray passed the Doctor
and was enlisted too. When he and his comrade stood drill for a time and were ordered abroad, O'Connel and Gray's counsel paid the smart (as it is called) for them and to the no small astonishment of the people of Ballybay, Sam Gray was heard shouting home again and safe yet. The smart was £22 a man that time.
Dr. Young of Monaghan had a strange dream in Dublin one night. He thought he saw three men murder a man on a road out of Monaghan. He was afraid to go in on them to save the poor man as the murderers had very dangerous weapons. In his dream he knew them all and his trouble about the murdered man wakened him. The next day he had a letter from a friend in Monaghan saying such a man was murdered and saying where out of Monaghan. Dr. Young, as a magistrate, sent an order to the Sargent to have the three men he mentioned arrested till he would reach Monaghan, and of all things, to not tell he was from home. When he reached home he said to the prisoners, "You are the three men who murdered such a man, I saw you and was afraid to save the poor fellow when I saw the dangerous things you had in hand. If you acknowledge to the murder it will be best for you. If not I will hang you all." They said, "Guilty." I do not remember what punishment they received. One thing sure, that was a strange dream. The week before John Latimer of Lisgorn died, he sent for Dr. Young of Monaghan. When he came to Latimer's house, he said to the sick man, "What ails you good man." "That is exactly what I am to give you ₤2.0.0 (2 pounds sterling) to tell me," said Latimer. "I can tell you that quick enough, you will die." Mr. Young went on to say, "I an before the public a long term of years and I never got that answer from any one. Now I see you are a devil like myself," said Yr. Young, "And I am very sorry to see you so ill. You are to give me ₤2, but I will do with one and if you require me again I will charge you nothing." Dr. Young of Monaghan was educated at Mr. Morell's school in Croskays and was one of the numerous boys educated at that school that turned out prosperous.
Speaking of strange things, I remember the wife of "Sock" Martin going with dinner to her man in the Brown Bog. She had a wee boy to row the boat across from the meadow and on this side, when nearly over (across) the boat hit a block (rock), the woman foolishly standing was thrown out, and the wee boy was not fit (able) to keep the boat from passing over her. When she was got out she looked to be quite dead and was insensible for 6 hours. Strange to say, she had a big black bottle in her hand when she fell into the water and she kept the grip of the neck of the bottle for over 6 hours.
Now I think I will take a note of the strange way shoes were made in the old time. Up to about 1800, shoes were all straight and, as a rule sewed with a thong of horseskin smeared with wax. The late William McKelvey, in his first wife's time, made the last pair of whang sewed shoes for Father to be seen in Ballybay. Prior to 1800, hemp thread and birses were but little known in this country. A thing like a bodkin would bring the end of the whang through the leather. After that, came hemp cords with birses on ends, next pegs and now brass sprigs clinched on an iron last.
It was a tedious thing in my early days to make leather. It would take 8 months to kill the grease in hides of thin leather and a year for thick stuff. Tanning leather was a grand business when I was a boy. I have seen a tannery in Monaghan, Cootehill, Ballybay, Castleblayney, Bailieborough, and out of Cootehill at Lunney's Now we have but two in Ireland, Dublin and Belfast.
My cousin, William Maxwell, when in Cootehill had the last tannery in the three counties and learned the art of producing leather by warm water applications when in America. He could have leather from the green hide in a few weeks, I remember brother Hugh got ₤2.10.0 (2 pounds, 10 shillings) for a bulls hide from Sandy Boyd of Ballybay. Now a cowhide will bring only about 8/ (8 shillings).
In the July fair of 1812 in Rockcorry, the grandfather of Joseph McCormick came into the fair with the right and left shoes on the wrong feet and his heels blistered. To the no small amusement of Father and others he took off his shoes and put them under his arm and spent the half of the day cursing the new fashions.
Now I think I will take a note of Balladian school. When the Breakeys came to live in Lisgillin, Balladian was a hedge school and that only in the summer. After that a small house was built on the stand (site) of the present house. When my Father went to that school he found a big mat hung from the lintles as a substitute for a door with a stop peg at the ground. The fire was in the middle of the house on the ground. A sort of bell mouthed fixture of wood was hung head high from a hole in the roof to conduct the smoke out. Of a day when a heavy wind would be on, the mat could not be opened for fear the wind would blow the fire through the house and so all hands had to be pulled through a blind window in the back of the house.
Two of the teachers in my Father's time were degraded ministers, Caldwell and Moharg. These could marry people in the school. Father saw frequent marriages by them. The seats were firm bosses, no desks. A big framed slate was the desk. When done writing, you put the slate behind your boss. There was no bridge over the river. Piles of stones in the water and sticks from one to the other was the substitute. In time of high water, Grandfather had a wise horse that would bring children over in threes and fours on his back. Children would hang their bags on the set tail of the horse. Teacher would stand at the water till all hands were over to prevent boys from sticking the horse with pins which at times was the cause of a wet shirt., The present bridge was the third Father saw built in his day.
When brother Robert went to that school, who was the first of this family, he found a regular door on. The fire was in the end of the house and desks were used but still firm bosses to sit on. When I went, I found firm bosses for all hands. That was in Oven Murphy's time. When the first of my children went to that school, the present good house was for them. My children represent the fifth generation of Breakeys who received the first rudiments of instruction in Balladian. It leaves me to have a clannish feeling of respect for that school. It was in existence long prior to any school in Ballybay, Derryvalley, or Aghnamullen.
As I am writing things that look strange to people of the present day, I think I will write a story I heard from a tourist who was out on the Continent. These tourists were snowed up in the valley of Pedmong (Piedmont?) and had to take shelter in the village. A widow said to her boy of 16, "I will put eau de cologne on your coat as your father did and the sheep will follow you home." The poor boy was over-taken by a heavy snow storm and he and the sheep were covered with snow 15 feet deep in the valley, in the morning. The first thing the natives do when the snow fall is over is to look if any one is lost.
The widow who had lost her boy ran to a monastery convenient and got two Saint Bernard dogs. The first thing she did was to put the same scent on a cloth as was on the boy's coat. She then put the cloth up to the dog's noses to smell. After that she gave some wild gesticulations in all directions which those dogs understood for them to part. If she had only pointed in one direction that breed of dogs would keep together. In a very short time one of them stood on his hind legs and howled all round him. No matter what depth of snow is over an animal, a little hole shows over them on the surface of the snow and those are the holes those dogs are in search of. Very strange to say, when they come on a hole over a human being they rise on their hind legs, if a beast they sit and howl. Now, when the woman saw the dog stand up she said to all about, "That is nay boy." The first thing a native does is to put a glass on the hole. If it shows damp, life is at the bottom.
The man who used the glass said, "I feel a heavy scent coming up, but as the glass is dry I fear the person is dead." The woman screamed out, "It is my boy. God says in the Bible, 'Honour your Father and your Mother that your days may be long on the land.' Now my boy is a dutiful lad, and God says he is not dead." Some men go about with long hollow canes which are driven beside these holes and by that means can tell if the animal at the bottom of the hole is alive. Even this was against the poor woman. The natives are wonderful smart in clearing of snow. In a very short time the snow was seen to move and next the boy was standing up and the walls of the thawed snow round him were falling in. Instead of pulling him up at once, a thick cloth was put round his head to prevent him breathing in the frosty air which would kill him on the spot. Then he was drawn up and a drop
of brandy given him under the cloth and a sup of warm milk. Then he was led home, his head still covered. When the boy was leaving his mother clapped him on the back and said to all hands, "God tells no lies, my boy is not dead,"
Now I can, see a good moral to this story that I wish to put before young people. I am a man of a good deal of observation and I have seen a lot of wayward boys and, I regret to say, girls too, who were very undutiful to their parents and only on one single exception did I ever see those young people comb a gray head. All had the fate of the death of a juvenile. Now I say to all young persons, "If you wish to inherit two of the greatest blessings on earth, convalescence and longevity, twin brothers, that as a rule go together, you must take God's word for it and be dutiful to your parents."
I heard the story of a young boy who went as a soldier to the Russian war. He was brought into a hospital where the great philanthropist, Miss Nightingale, was a nurse. She knew the boy quite well and said to him, "Billy darling, you have got a deadly shot and I fear you will die." "No madam," said the boy, "The last words my mother said to me on leaving Southampton, 'Billy, you are a dutiful boy to me. You anticipated my every want. God says in the Fifth Commandment, 'You will live long.' Be not afraid, a Russian never made the shot that will kilt you. I will see you again'." Miss Nightingale took quite an interest in the boy and treated him like a baby. He lived to return to England and to be a blessing and comfort to his mother and to see his grandchildren.
I think I will take one more strange story out of my vocabulary of strange things. A landlord was missing in the neighbourhood of Westport, County Mayo. His boat was found bottom up at the island called Ackle. As there was 1100 (pounds sterling) reward to any one who would find his body, quite a lot of people in his locality dragged the bay for miles round. At the end of a week, people suspected he. was murdered being under the name of a bad landlord, a reward of £1000 was then offered for his body which reward brought a London detective over. The missing man had a very big Saint Bernard dog that was seen to swim over to the Island of Ackle every day, but as the gentleman had a taste for fishing and particularly about that island, no person took any notice of the dog. 'The detective went over in a very dry time to look over and through the shrubbery of the island. In looking where the dog lay, he saw sods had parted from each other, and, on examination, he found the murdered man lay under.
After the inquest, a verdict of willful murder was announced, and the dead man, was put in a coffin on a raft. At that moment, the dog took his seat on the raft and went foot for foot with the funeral to the graveyard. Strange to say, that dog was never seen on the island after but took to keeping watch over the new grave.
One day, when the brother of the murdered man, who had become heir of the property, was walking on the street of Westport with the big dog along, he met a brigand looking tramp. The dog was never known to hurt man or beast or even crush a worm to anyone's knowledge, yet he seized the tram-paw—the throat and, only for a big handkerchief, he would have pulled the neck out of the tramp before he could have been saved. The gentleman looked daggers at the tramp and said, "You are one of the men who murdered my brother. I saw you and was afraid to save him thinking you would kill me too. If you will prove against the others, I will get you a pardon and send you abroad any where you like to go free." The tramp said he was one of the men and that he paid his comrades out of their fund for murdering landlords. He went on to say, "Hang me if you like, one thing is sure, I will never turn stage or become an informer.". The fellow was hung on his own evidence.
I believe I could tell of more strange things than any man in the parish of Aghnamullan in my day, but as I am not good on paper I think I will go at something else.
In speaking of old customs quite done away with in this book, I overlooked some worthy of notice. First, people on passing where a murder was committed would throw a stone on the spot. Where Williamson was murdered on the roadside at Monach, quite a cairn of stones was in a pile. Williamson was thought to have been murdered by the brothers of a girl whom he jilted. Some thought it was the rejected girl herself as she was seen on the road that evening late with him. As he was to be married the next week she thought she would spoil the match.
A good old custom here in Father's day is still to be seen in County Mayo, that of uncovering the head when meeting a funeral in respect of God's will,. Driving a stick in the lake with a mark at the water the last evening in October to see if the water would rise or fall the first day of November and by that know if markets would rise or fall through the incoming year. Next to throw nothing out on the first, day of November, not even ashes or dirty water, for fear you would throw your luck away the next year. When emptying the supper potatoes at the door of a winter night saying, "Whish" to warn fairies to step aside for fear of being scalded and by that means bring the ill wish of those imaginary creatures on the house. I have seen John Wright beat one of his girls for not warning those pigmies.
Dipping 5 pieces of silver in a drench for a cow that was elf shot was a thing done in my early days. Elf is the Irish for flint. In the old time of the flint guns, when a flint would become of no use, it was thrown away. These would be gathered by fairies. If scalded or injured by any one, his cow was hit with a flint and so she was elf shot. The cure was a big drink of suds or soapy water
and nitre and soot, then the silver was given a dip in it. That was the charm. I remember Pat Gaveny of the Now bringing a can of drench for to have silver put in it. Hugh brought the can out to the kitchen and instead of silver he put in 5 stones and the cow was quite well next day. In reality the drench was the cure.
A very old custom in County Mayo is still in existence and one I never heard of in Ulster. Every householder is expected to kill something from a hen to a cow and, in the late evening of the last day of October, to sprinkle the blood on the doorsides and lintles of his house to direct the destroying angel to do them no harm and to be a protection against losses and crosses of all sorts for the coming year, except that of God's will in a natural death. One first of November, when I went out of my brother's house, and knowing nothing of the old custom, when I saw japs of blood round his door and about, I went in and said to him "A murder has been committed at your door for I see the spots of blood all about." "No", said he, "It is some person wishes me well and knowing I do not believe in the old custom thought it best to protect me anyway." The next morning all spots were cleaned off when I got up. In some days, we found it was a person very much under compliment to him who did it and had come 20 miles to do it. My brother lived in the suburbs of Ballina at the time. Hallowe'en is kept in a very different way in Mayo from here. It is a night for prayer and feasting. No romps or tricks out side doors. Some stand round the table when feasting.
I think I will take a note of some of the real old gentry of our County, but few of them have any one now to represent them. Bashfords and Steels of the parish of Dunamine. Sheegog of Muhley, and Fitzgerald of Clones, Lees of Leesboro near Newbliss, a grand old family, their property is now in the hands of Sir William Power. These people have passed away and left no one to represent them. The early ancestor of Mr. Montgomery, resident Rector of this parish, and the Rosses of Liscarney, were officers in the forces sent to the Conquest of Ulster by Queen Elizabeth. Shortly after that Montgomery settled at Monaghan, Ross at Benburb, where he lived about one generation, then moved to Liscarney near Monaghan. The late Colonel Ross was born and reared there. He was Colonel under the Duke of Wellington in the French war. He was frequently to be seen on the streets of Monaghan with his military costume on, which was very imposing. He was married to the daughter of a Colonel of a horse regiment called the "Cherry Bottoms", so called from the men wearing breeches of that colour.
Colonel Ross brought his bride to hear Rev'd. Deveroux's band play on these waters. Colonel Ross had his military costume on. His hat and plumes in that day would cost £10. At the death of the Colonel, Mrs. Ross and family left to live in Belfast. Several years after, she and family came to live in Dunraymond House where I had the pleasure of making her acquaintance. She was a very distinguished looking woman. Only once in my life have I ever seen so elegant and graceful a lady in a room. Some people thought she was flashy, overlooking
the fact that she was reared at a garrison called Auldershot and had been taught her movements by a military man. George McCullagh and I never would lose the ghost of a chance of paying Mrs. Ross a compliment, and so she became our fast friend and, for a long term of years, we never saw a waver in the friendship of Mrs. Ross or one of her family. These facts were given to my Father by Colonel Hess in respect of his early ancestors.
When the Breakeys came to Lisgillin in 1690, they found the Daleys an old and long established family in Drumskelt and the first dwellers on the townland. The early ancestor was a County Donegal man. Tradition says there were giants in those days. For proof of that, when my Father was a young man of 6 feet 3 inches in height, he was at the funeral of a Daley when a shin bone was turned.up. Father put it to his ankle not calculating on the ankle joint or depth of the heel of his shoe, All in all, the bone stood 3 inches above his knee. Father was telling all this to the celebrated Dr. Cusic of Dublin. After making his calculations and measuring Father, he came to the conclusion the man that stood on the bone was 7 feet and over.
The late Anthony was a man of sterling worth, would not know how to tell a falsehood. Like all his ancestors, he was possessed of great powers of endurance and pluck. If any person would insist on him a thing that would not stand the square, he would very soon let him see he was out at the elbows and required the application of a cold stone to his eye. He was the friend of brother Hugh and me. He was a good help to me when a boy, making my markets and building hay and oats. I am very happy to say I have profited all through life by his honest and conscientious advice. He was very fortunate in the choice of his wife. She was one of those who could make money in honest industry in the face of difficulties. Mick Daley married his servant girl and like those who marry out of their station in life died in poverty.
Strange to say, the Daleys from an old date would have a heavy coat of hair on their heads till death. Anthony and his wife died within a few hours of each other and were buried in one grave side by side in the west end of Aghnamullen graveyard. Anthony Daley had three sons, one died early in life, John and James are alive and, like all their ancestors, have won the esteem and good wishes of their Protestant neighbours by the liberal feeling they possess. As a proof of that, the Daleys were the first to take and help the Breakeys to settle in Lisgillin. It gives me very much pleasure to be able to record in this book the fact that since 1690, not the ghost of a misunderstanding has existed between the two families.
Some people ask me, is Mrs. Fitzpatrick the only representative of an old and very respectable family called McMahon, the former owners of the Monaghan estate? Tradition of old said she was. That is a wide word and means not reliable, coming from the 11th century. In 1169, King Dermot, one of the 5 kings being driven from the kingdom of Leinster, came over to England to implore the help of Henry II who gave him some money out of the royal treasury and gave him liberty to enlist any English men he could get. The Earl of Pembrook, surnamed Strongbow and a number of Knights of Norman descent accompanied Dermot and Strongbow to Ireland. The poor Kings were awed at the look of Strongbow's army and surrendered. Dermot was installed by Strongbow
who married Eva, the daughter of Dermot. King Dermot only lived one year and Strongbow thought to get the kingdom of Leinster by his wife but fearing Henry's displeasure he came over to Henry and gave up all he had gained in Ireland. Henry allowed him Leinster and went over himself in 1171 with a fleet of four hundred vessels to take 'possession of his new dominions. The petty princes, and even Roderick the supreme King of the island, consented to acknowledge Henry as their superior lord. The princes of Ulster alone obstinately preserved their independence. A very few of the Norman Knights settled in Ireland then and it was a supposition one of those men got a charter of Monaghan from the Prince of Ulster. That would be about 1172, and likely he was the early ancestor of the McMahon. One thing sure, Mrs. Fitzpatrick had the finest property in Ballybay. Her brother John James was highly esteemed by all his acquaintances for his liberal principals and good nature.
The last of an old family that should have been respectable is dead, Miss Rachel Gray, daughter of Sam Gray, who cut a remarkable figure in this County for a long term of years. Like her father, she was utterly unreliable as a friend and those who were foolish enough to make her a confident would very soon find that confidence exposed. She was possessed of all the bad tastes of her father except that of murder which she was at all times to denounce and ignore. Like her parental progenitor, as she frequently called him, she would kick with the two feet and, like the man who said "God was good and the Devil was not a bad fellow either", she could be seen sometimes at Mass and again at Church at divine service. She died in 1891. My Father and William Todd were coming from Sam Grey's funeral when Father said to William:, ''What did you think of the Rector saying this our brother is gone to .Heaven." "That man," said William, "The Devil is amusing himself these days blowing his bladder on his promises."
I think I will narrate the story of my Father's appearance before Dan O'Connel as a witness in a will case. In those days, we had neither quarterly or petty Cessions. All was done at the Assizes and it would take sometimes three weeks to get through them. When Counselor O'Connel got up to introduce his case that was to be contested against his client by an unlettered countryman who had the audacity to plead in his presence without a Counsel or even a Solicitor, he said, since he came into court he found the early ancestor of the witness was a Huguenot and his wife a Puritan and, between those two warriors, they produced a race of men only to be equaled in blood to the blue hen who could fight 9 rounds without the beak. Father got up and he was a very distinguished looking man of 6 feet 3 inches in height with a mass of auburn curls and the pink complection (sic) that goes with that colour of hair. He was dressed in the then fashion, brass buttons and buck-skin breeches. The laugh went round the house when someone shouted the blue hen was up. My Father said to the Judges, "Mr. O'Connel has stated a falsehood that I am an unlettered man. Now I can prove a sum by four rules algebra, euclid, mensuration, and trigonometry. Now," said Father, "Can you do that, I stake one pound to a penny you are not
able to do it." "I cannot," said O'Connel. "Then why call me an unlettered man when you are not a common arithmetician? Now," said Father, "I can translate Latin or Greek into English as quickly as a school boy would read 'Sinbad the Sailor'." So the case went on, the Judges asking the widow, "Do you take John Breakey for your witness in this case?" She said, "By all means." Then my Father proved Mr. O'Connel had only got the one side of the case, but he would show him the dark side and won the case in a few moments, when the Judges dismissed the case on the merits." Then the Judges asked Father, "Were you educated in the military garrison in Monaghan and Charlimount garrison, County Armagh? I tell you what you should do, turn your attention to the law and we will help you. We see you have a powerful use of eloquent language, and explanation and illustration with discretion." "I endorse all you say," said O'Connel, "And will help him too." Father thanked them respectfully and said the law and a red coat would not be to his taste. The Church would be to his taste. One of them said, "Scolding the Devil, putting up a man of straw and firing shot and shell at him." Father, knowing one of the Judges was a retired officer, left the bench, giving the military salute to their Worships amid shouts of, "The blood of the blue hen has the stripes!" This caused a queer laugh all over the house.
I am asked, "Who was Thomas A. Becket?" He was a highly educated London man who got into the good graces of Henry II and was promoted by him to Lord Chanselor (sic) and again to be Bishop of Canterbury. He neglected Henry and took to the Church and he and Henry had bad bickerings. One night in the presence of four of his Knights Henry said, in a fit of passion, "Is there no one to rid me of that troublesome low born priest?" The four knights went and murdered Thomas A. Becket. When I was a boy, I stood on the blood stains of Thomas A. Becket in the old historical Cathedral of Canterbury and from the mouth of an old clerical looking man in charge of the building, I heard the very sad and tragic story of the good and illustrious Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Thomas A. Becket, told in the most expressive and eloquent manner I ever heard.
This African war reminds me of a very sad story Father was eye witness to, the result of putting the ballot act into execution toward the end of the French war. One day, a company of horse soldiers including a Colonel and Doctor came here and said to Father, "You turn out and show us where the boys and men mentioned on this paper live." Father said, that order was very revolting to him in every sense of the term. "Well," said the Colonel, "If you refuse, we press yourself." As the red coat was no favourite with Father, he turned out at once. The first house on the list was big Jack McGaughy's where 7 sons and one daughter lived. When the sixth son was being examined by the Doctor, the old sister in the corner said, "Thanks be to God you will not take our Tommy for he is puffed in the hocks." The Doctor said to her, "You are all useless lumber." In the evening, 22 men were drawn. Father, seeing they must go was able to advise 18 of them to take the "bounty", £36 (pounds sterling) paid on the spot. The four who would not do so were pressed and got but one hour to bid parents and friends goodbye,
a very trying and feeling thing on Father and even the soldiers. The Colonel offered them a pound each out of his pocket, if they would take the bounty and go freely. Strange, those four men never returned. They died early in life at the Garrison in Auldershot. When the Colonel was leaving, he complimented my Father for his advice to the men and his impressive and powerful use of language.
Next week, Father got an order from the Colonel to join a larger company of men in the parish of Rockwallace and to see if he could advise the men drawn to take the bounty, and to be sure and tell them you are a country man, and your name, and your business, as you are not known here. So like a military man in the costume of a civilian, Father took his brother-in-law, Solicitor Leekey, a man every man knew, and between them were able to persuade all men drawn that day, with others who had volunteered, to take the bounty and the Captain's present, one pound each, making 137 in all. I often heard Father say the soldier beat the drum on horseback with two sticks and 36 sovereigns leaping on the drumhead.
Father got a letter from the Captain again to see if he would go and speak to a young man called Murphy in Dunmurish who was 6 feet 4 inches in height and 16 stones weight. Father went and mentioned his business. Murphy said to my Father, "This is like my death warrant." "No," said his Father, "You have been at all times a dutiful good boy to me, you are to live long, God says in the Fifth Commandment." "Well," said Father, "You are required for standard bearer, King George will give you on the spot ₤36, the General a present of ₤5, and your Captain's one so you will get ₤42." In one year he was sent out to Waterloo where, in a very trying and deadly engagement, he was got singled out protecting the colours by three mounted men. Seeing them coming up to him, one after the other, he put his gun aside and trusting to his cleverness with a long sword, height and strength, he cut the three men and horses to the ground. All he got to injure him was a cut from a sword reaching from the point of his elbow to his little finger. A while before his death I saw his arm and counted where 18 stitches had been. He had a large pension for a long term of years. Lived to be 103 years of age and to be the first pensioner out of Waterloo in this country.
In speaking of the good fortune of Murphy, I overlooked Mick Daley who was much more fortunate in the army. To distinguish the Daleys behind the hill from their cousins here in front. Red Will Martin gave Anthony and brothers the nickname of "Babes of the Wood" from their quiet dispositions and love of parents and living beside the wood. The men behind the hill, he called the "Dandy Daleys". Soldier Daley was one of them who enlisted early in life in a horse regiment. He very soon distinguished himself in the eyes of his superiors who gave him rapid promotion. He saved money and bought a property at Arva, County Cavan, from which he had an income to his death and his daughter after him. When he retired from active service, he bought
a farm in Ashfield and built a house on it where he died. He had two brothers who lived on the farm. They were very fine pretentious looking men but no use on the land.
William White of Drumgavny had a son called John who was intended for the ministry. He took tea and other liberties with a servant girl which caused her to "break a slat in the car" (as it is called) and so disqualified him for the ministry. He turned his attention to the stage and, making friends of the Daleys, he and they went to Liverpool and got an idea of theatricals: They bought old costumes and armory and came home hilarious at the idea of doing plays and giving entertainments. So they set off to County Donegal where no one would know them. In the three months of winter they lifted £50. The Daleys could play on three sorts of instruments. The August following, they were well received at Black Rock, Dundalk and had ₤20 for the month . White deserted the standard, and went to America. The Daleys went behind in the rent and sold the farm to Luke Reilly who had married their sister Ellen. Old Daley and his two boys took a farm in Sporthall where the old man died and his two boys went to America and never returned. Ellen died an old woman on the farm of her ancestors. Had a big family of well looking people fashioned more like Luke than a Daley. The Dandy Daleys were antiquarians, used the body coat, brass buttons and long stockings to the last.
Henry Carson was the last who used a body coat till his death in First Derryvalley of a Sunday. William Calvert of Drumgavny used that shape of coat to the last in Cahans. Rev'd. Thomas Cathcart of Creevagh used the old shape of costume for years in the pulpit. Rev'd. Johnston of Newbliss wore it to the last. Rev'd. James Morell still used long stockings till his death, but had given up the body coat for years before his death.
In speaking of long stockings, it reminds me of a story Father could tell to :a turn. The father of John Thompson of Shantonagh had a fine big dog with a lot of a thing like wool on him of auburn colour. Squire Corry said to Thompson, "You should clip your dog to represent a lion and he would look grand." Thompson did so, and Mrs. Thompson thought it would do well to make stockings out of the wool of the dog. So she left that coat by. The next year the dog was again shorn when she had quite enough to make a pair of stockings for her man. The colour was lovely and the stockings much admired by every one. When Thompson would put on the stockings on state occasions, dogs would go behind him lift their legs and make water on them. Thompson would not feel what was going on as the water was warm but when he would move his position he found his low heeled shoes full of water. People were sure to have, "who killed cock robin?" on the spot. One day Thompson was leaning on Frank Horner's counter when a big dog came into the shop with a man and on the spot filled Thompson's shoes. When he stood up, he found his shoes in a so so state. Thompson got into a fearful rage
and, for fear the dog would be killed, the man left with his dog in quick time. Thompson pulled the stockings off and threw them out on the street. Sam Gray was passing and, after hearing all about the stockings and having a love for practical jokes, he lifted the stockings, thinking he would have some fun out of them. He hung them up where his dogs would wet them at will, then dried and pressed them. He put them in a fancy box with silk paper. Next day, big Billy Latimer turned up, a boisterous tempered man, and Gray said to him, "See the lovely stockings I have for you from Dublin." Latimer was so pleased with his present he put them on him on the spot. Shortly after, Gray saw the Creeve hounds at the top of the town. Thinking this a good time to get the stockings wet properly Gray asked the huntsman to stop so Latimer would see his new horn. After Latimer looked at the horn, and went to hand it up to the huntsman, he moved his position and found his shoes quite full of dog's water. Latimer having neither stick nor stone could only kick the dogs.
Hugh Jackson, by this time was forward, heard all and laughed at will. Gave the huntsman a hint to go and so left no one on the street but Sam Gray and Latimer who pulled the stockings off and threw them from him. Gray again picked them up, dried them and put them in the box as before. Latimer neither dried his legs or shoes when putting on his stockings and one of Gray's dogs wet him again. By this time Latimer had a stick and hit the dog on the head, and killing him on the spot. The next week, Gray was going to lift the tithe in the parish of Rockwallace out of Monaghan. Colonel Lewis was the great patron of Sam Gray and would give him plenty of his Yeomen to protect and assist him in gathering the tithe. Sam Gray thought he would "sell the pass" on his good friend Lewis by giving him the stockings. Lewis was very much pleased with his lovely auburn stockings and on Sunday put them on to go to a church at a distance on horseback. The sexton of the church handed him a letter and, during the time the letter was being read, the sexton's dog wet the stockings. When Lewis went to move into the Church, he found one of his patent shoes was full of water and the other partly so.
Lewis demanded of the sexton why he was guilty of such a diabolical act as to go wet his military costume. He sent for his orderly to arrest the poor sexton, who stood trembling like a dog in a wet sack. In the mean time, the dog felt as if he could spare another gill of water lifted his leg and again wet the Colonel before all hands which relieved the mind of the sexton. The Colonel dried his stockings and shoes in the sexton's, got on his horse and rode home. Seeing the stockings were so admired and having no idea of why dogs wet them, he again put them on to drill the Yeomen on a state occasion, when he was in full dress in the Square of Monaghan. During drill, a cur dog thought fit to wet on him. He drew, his sword and opened the dog like an oyster before all hands. On the spot, Latimer, one of the yeomen already mentioned, recognized the stockings and took the liberty of
saying to the Colonel he should adjourn the meeting for a while till he could give him the history of the stockings. He did so, and in the Hotel Latimer gave him the history of the dog's wool in full. Colonel Lewis put them in the fire and said Sam Gray was utterly unreliable as a friend. He took a vow he would give no more men to protect him and would cut all intercourse with him for life. The first time Sam Gray went to gather the tithe, he found he was resting on the horns of a dilemma and about as much out of place as a goose on a tree when attempting to lift the tithe and "bell the cat" with the country without protection. And so he was compelled to hoist the flag of truce and give up the remunerating situation of tithe proctor.
Like very many stories I have recorded in this hook, the two last have a good moral. First, what a soldier can do on small pay who does not drink whiskey. We can learn a good lesson from White the Dandy Daley's and Sam Gray's deceiving his best friend and how practical jokes turn out as a rule. I despise that sort of fun that hurts the feelings of a friend and makes him look ridiculous.
In speaking of old customs, I overlooked some not mentioned. A very dangerous and foolish one in my early day was throwing a handful of clay over a ploughman and horses when starting to plough for good luck. One time Anthony Daley and Andrew McKeagus went to plough with young horses for James McGough. Not warning the ploughman of what McGough meant to do in the act of throwing the mould, he missed his foot. and hit Daley in the back and the horses behind, though his intention was to throw the clay high over the heads of man and horses. The horses ran off, smashed everything and were found in the next town-land. The plough was of wood and could be put in a sack. McGough had to buy a plough at ₤1..15.0 (1 pound, 15 shillings), and that put an end to the old custom for several miles round. Anthony Daley's horse was afterwards compelled to plough but McGough's horse would not.
The death of Mrs. Murray Ker of Newbliss, the third week of February, 1900, and her quiet funeral, reminds me of the old custom of giving each tenant who attended the funeral of the landlord a hat and shoulder scarf of linen. At the death of Dr. Ker, the deceased, Mrs. Murray Ker, became heir to the estate and buried her uncle, Dr. Ker, with all honours, giving the tenants scarfs. Each tenant's scarf costing about 15/ (shillings), which means quite a round sum over the estate. After that, it came to be that only professional men got scarfs. The past 20 years, it has changed so that only the man who drives the horses in a hearse gets a scarf and that only for his hat. When brother William was minister in Loughbrickland, County Down, he could keep his house in more linen than required from what he would get at funerals. Men used linen shirts in those days, so in consequence linen was more thought of than now.
Mrs. Murray Ker was descended, through a family of Scotch extraction, from Mr. John Ker, who came from Scotland soon after the Revolution
of 1688. The earliest residence of the Kers in Ireland was in Aghnamullan parish and townland of Corryhagan quite near to the lake. In my day, the house was inhabited by David Gillis and rebuilt by him the time this Railway was being built from Ballybay to Cootehill. A considerable estate known as the "Eight Tates" or townlands passed by the marriage of Anne Ker to David Vernor of County Armagh early in the last century. It still remains in the possession of the Vernors of Vernor's Bridge, a family which was long connected with the representation of the County of Armagh in Parliament. In 1730, Newbliss or Mullaghnesunnar in the parish of Killevan was purchased by Andrew Ker from the representatives of Gilbert Nicholson to whom it had been granted by Charles II in 1666. Robert Ker, son of Andrew, removed to Newbliss and built the old family mansion in 1740, part of which is still standing. Alexander Ker, grandson of Robert, was a Barrister at law and chairman of the County Monaghan. It was he who erected the present mansion house at Newbliss. He died unmarried in 1814. He was succeeded by his brother, Andrew Ker, M.D., who built and endowed the church of Newbliss and died in 1816. He left his estate to his sisters and afterwards to his niece, Marina Foster Ker.
This townland of Drumskelt, Shantna, and the half of Lisgorn, were bought from old Captain Tennison. It never was included in or called a part of Newbliss estate in any way. I think Barrister Ker never was our landlord. Doctor Ker was in receipt of the rents of these town lands from early in life. When Dr. Ker died, these towns were put into the Incumbered Courts where Mr. Murray Ker bought Drumskelt and half of Lisgorn back. I think this was in 1866. He raised our rent on this farm from £47 (pounds) to ₤51. Captain Tennison sold Ednavea to the father of Minister Moses Bradford. Ednaforkin was Captain Tennison's too. When it was to be sold, the tenants employed the father of Tom McCullagh, late of Derryvalley, to buy it for them. When he came back, he said he had bought it in Dublin for himself. The tenants were terribly displeased. Mad Brown charged a gun to shoot McCullagh. For fear of his life, he gave the tenants their holdings forever at 15/ (shillings) per acre. Long after that, Brown tied a grinding stone round his neck and tumbled into the river and was drowned. Drummock was bought from Captain Tennison too by the McCullaghs. Quite a number of tenants were removed by them after the purchase on the ground of nontitle or in other words not having leases.
In speaking of old done away with customs, it reminds me of looking in a pig's mouth for measles. When a pig was bought in the open market, two men caught it by the ears, a third put a stick across its mouth, and a fourth drew out the tongue. If small lumps were to be seen, about the bulk of peas, under the skin in the underside, the price was very much reduced. The wee lumps were said to be the microcrobes or seeds of tapeworms. The flesh of a pig that was measled was
preserved in very strong brine with plenty of nitre. That water would float an egg. At the end of a fortnight the meat was taken out of the tub, washed, and hung up to dry. By that means, the vitality of the measles was killed and the colour that was pink to begin with had become the colour exactly of a boiled onion. When a wee boy, I saw measles leep on a pan like the eyes of a fresh fish. People ask me how is it we have no word of measles now in our markets. Dead pigs are examined for them still but as a rule they are not often found. The spring of 1846 cleared this parish of every pig but one belonging to a cotcher man named Bob Dunn, William Latimer had. Said pig, Father bought from Latimer and it turned out valuable.
A new breed of pigs was introduced from England called Birks and Yorkshires. About 7 years ago, Ephriam Robb had a fat pig no dealer would buy. I overtook him coming home with his pig. From what I had seen and heard when a boy of measled pigs, I said to Robb, his pig was measled. Said pig had unmistakable signs of the disease. It was hollow between the shoulder blades and very short of breath. John Corry bought the pig on its coming the length of Derryvalley. When killed the flesh was found to be like a mat with measle peas. Corry noticed the Sanitary Doctor who said the flesh should be buried. Robb was compelled to give Corry his money back and since 1846 to this year 1900 I never heard of measles being detected in pigs but the once with Robb.
John Irwin of Balladian had a son in my early day who passed a tapeworm several feet long, supposed to be taken in from eating a thick ill cooked pork steak that had measle microbes in it. John Wright, my neighbour, had a daughter Mary who passed a tapeworm 9 feet long. It was put at its length on a thorn hedge at the house. Doctor Young was in the neighbourhood, heard of it, and took it away in a big bottle of spirits. I saw that fearful worm. Wright suspected his girl had worms as she would have frequent gripes and convulsions. He gave her a very risky powder called Cureca nut, very poisonous, used of old for dogs and sure death on worms. The girl got quite well, Irwin, too.
As I am speaking of old customs abolished, I think of one more used when I was a boy, that of saying good luck to those you would meet going to a fair. Red or sandy haired people were thought to be particularly unlucky and were expected to turn and go some steps back with a person who was going to a fair, then asked, "Were you sauncy?" I remember going to Shercock fair with John Wright when near my cotcher house we saw a weasil (sic) cross the road. Wright said, "Stop, that is for bad luck to us, we will not go to the fair." I laughed him out of it and went on. When we went to the pass leading to Sam Martin's old house in the bog, we met a red haired woman barefoot. Wright asked her if she was sauncy. She said, "I hope so," but did not turn a step, or go back with us, or even look back, when she said, "I wish you good luck." Wright had the money and was expected to buy
a good cow, so he again insisted on me returning home, and even at Mountain Lodge he insisted on me returning. I was afraid to return as I knew quite well Father did not believe in that sort of thing. We bought a cow, the worst animal ever I saw in this farm. She had a fashion of chewing sticks, bones, leather, rags, and even stones. One day she chewed a boot of Father's that was full of dirt, next day she gave birth to a premature calf and had no milk. She was sold inside a month at a loss of ₤2.5.0 (2 pounds, 5 shillings). This convinced John Wright of the folly of going to a fair after being warned as we were.
One day I was coming from John Corry's of a 12th of July, the morning after having a horse shod, when I met Thompson Stuart and William Kilpatrick who asked me if I was a sauncy foot. Knowing I was sandy, I got off the horse and walked several perches with him back. As they were going to the Orange walk and seeing a gun with Stuart, having a cap on it, I said to him he should take the cap off, for if the long strap over his shoulder would break, the gun would hit the ground and go off and likely shoot himself. He treated that remark with silent contempt. When he went to George Donaldson's, who kept the Orange lodge, he put his gun with others on a provision cart among boxes. He went to the front of the cart, took his gun by the barrel to settle it, when the gun went off and shot him in the chest and the horse in the hip. The horse gave a leap forward and drew the wheel over the neck of Stuart and so finished him. At the wake of Stuart, people asked Kilpatrick did he meet an unsauncy foot. Kilpatrick would tell all about me and my advice which saved me from being considered the death of the man by ignorant people like John Wright who firmly believed in freets and witch craft.
The very old custom of a thing called a Kena or dry cry at a funeral is long done away with in this country, but is still in existence South and West. Father would tell us that about 55 years ago, the last cry was at the funeral of one of the McGoughs where 35 women went in front of the coffin and at times cried and again chanted over all the good deeds the deceased had done during her life. Several of those women were hired on the occasion and were called professional cryers. Now a woman is not to be seen at a funeral at all. That old custom came from the time the Danes overrun Ireland, when the poor natives would cause that lamentation or peculiar cry over their murdered friend's funeral. It was a thing could be heard a mile away. I have heard it over a mile in County Mayo. The last cry at a funeral in the parish of Tullycorbit was over one of the ancestors of the late Hugh Kerins in 1800.
I am frequently asked what gave rise to the idea that it was a very unfortunate thing to level a fort. When the Danes were in possession of those numerous mounds they buried their dead deep on the top or flat of the mound and, as it has been at all times considered unfortunate to encroach on or labour a graveyard, so in like manner it is thought to
be unlucky to interfere with a fort. A small entrance to a deep pit is to be seen in the flat top of the Annaneese Fort. I never heard of any one who went in to it nor do I know the exact meaning of it. The largest fort in County Monahan is in the Eight Tates behind the house of Robert Bagley. It has two deep trenches or rings. Tradition says, when a fort was surrounded by the natives, a fire was lit on the fort. If relief was required, faggots were thrown up, and those in the neighbouring forts ran to the rescue. The poor natives would then find themselves regularly out at the elbows with Danes in the trenches or rings before them and others out side behind.
The old custom of throwing a pinch of salt in sweet milk you were giving out to people, to prevent them taking the good of your cows, is still acted on in the north of the parish. When I was a wee boy, witchcraft was much talked of. Some people were said to be able to take the good of cows and pigs. An old woman, Betty Wiggins, was thought to be one of that class of beings. One day she stepped over a pig feeding in the kitchen of Jack Wiggin's and from that the pig pined away. The belief was, if the like of her was cut over the eye, witchcraft, enchantment, or sorcery was at an end in that person. The next time Betty came into Jack Wiggin's he took a big knife he had to cut kale. He then seized Betty and gave her a big cut over the eye. Now said he, "You will not overlook a pig en any one again." Shortly after, brother Hugh was over on business with Wiggins. "My bewitched pig is dead," said he, "And I have put Betty from doing any more of her tricks." She had to go to the Rev'd. Dr. Moore of Rockcorry to get some stitches in the cut I gave her over the eye. “I do not believe in that sort of thing," said Hugh, "I will open the pig and see for myself." Hugh found a big pin that had passed through the stomach of the pig to the head. The point had caused a very bad ulcer inside the pig. "Now," said Hugh, "Jack you see the witch killed your pig." Hugh, Father, and others exposed the matter so much it put an end to witchery in this parish.
How the Cunninghans came to Creeve. A man called John Nelson came from Lisburn to manufacture and b1each linen. He took a farm called of late days, Cooper's farm. Nelson brought a man with him, Cunningham by name, the ancestor of the late John and Sam Cunningham. Nelson cut an acre off his farm on which a mud cabin stood. It is now the Manse for Creeve Meetinghouse and very renovated in my day. The Lisburn Cunningham tired of the cabin and left it. Nelson sent to Lisburn for a head bleacher and a man of some means, called Johnston, who lived in the manse to his death and his daughter after him.
When John Nelson died his son Joseph succeeded. He had a sister, who was married to the Rev'd. William Arnold of First Ballybay Presbyterian Church. Revd. Arnold had to leave the country by night for being a United Irishman.' He had a big family and his wife was dead. Joseph Nelson took the two youngest children and reared them, William and Sophia. William married a Dublin woman who squandered and spent
all she could get her hand on. Mr. Nelsen went astray in his mind in his old day and died soon after. After that, Mrs. Arnold drew quits with William and left him for life and he spent the rest of his day playing the violin for his food. Miss Johnston, who was unmarried and living in the Creeve manse, took Sophia to live with her till her death.
When Miss Johnston was on her death bed she gave the bit of ground to be a manse to Creeve Meetinghouse and Rev'd. McDowell took possession at her death. Dr. Murdock thought to take it from the church, but found possession was all that was required as no rent was ever paid for it and his ancestor or friend was only a cotcher under John Nelson. That is how that bit of ground with the pond is a manse. Think the pond is not included. Miss Alice Cunningham lived and died in the manse with Miss Johnston. Sofia Arnold lived in the end of her days and died with Miss Johnston. The old house at the dog kennel is where John Nelson came-to live first till he got what is now called Cooper's farm. Said house is the oldest one in all Creeve. A solicitor called Mayors, lived in it for many years till he removed to Dublin where my brother Robert was married to his daughter, Isabella. The residence of the late John Jackson and his father is a very old house renovated by John Jackson. Said house was built by the ancestors of Barrister Mayne, people of distinction of old in this county.
The first start of a Jackson in Creeve was on the farm of Tom Dignum. Dignum's house was built by them. Next Creeve Castle, as it is called, was the residence of Rev'd. Montgomery. Said house was by "Jacky" Jackson, so called, to distinguish him from others of his name. He was the first magistrate in South Monaghan. Rev'd. John Jackson lived in a very old house in the stand of Drumfaldra House which was removed in part by John Cunningham when building the present fine house. Sam and John Cunningham were reared in an old house in the stand of Creeve House, lately inherited by Mr. M. M. Rutherford; said house was built by Sam Cunningham in his days of honour. I have frequently heard my Father say he never saw two so proud and imperious men as Sam Cunningham and Frank Horner of Ballybay. "Out of the road you wheel-barrow, I am a coach style of man." They put up seats in First Ballybay Church, like dress boxes in a theatre, with four steps up. Father saw Sam and John Cunningham fly bank notes on bid against each other and again he saw them auctioned out of all. One five pound note hit big Alex Armstrong on the nose which he captured and never gave up. Boys were employed to gather them up but this one went out of reach of them. It was "Jacky" Jackson and my Grandfather, Billy Bon Breakey, who produced the money that built First Ballybay Church, till the congregation was in a position to pay it back, which was done in full. It was my Grandfather Breakey who had the old pulpit, canopy and presentor's seat put up at his own charge in mahogany. The dark wood in the present pulpit was taken from the old pulpit the time the house was renovated. The old one was in the side of the church. The canopy reached quite near the ceiling.
How Hugh Jackson came to have ."Crazy Jane". A fish man from
Cooly, County Louth, hearing of the wealth of Creeve brought two creels of fish to sell in Creeve. The day after he came, he took natural small pox. During his illness, his wee mare was turned out on one of Mr. Jackson's fields. The first day the hounds were out, the fisherman's mare raised her tail and ran with the dogs all day. In the evening, Mr. Hugh Jackson bought the mare for ₤3.0.0. from the fisherman, who was then recovering. It took two smart men to get Mr. Jackson on her back and when on a child could direct her. The people about the yard seeing her foolish leaps on being mounted said she should be called "Crazy Jane", "Quite so," said Mr. Jackson, "That will be her name."
One time Mr. Jackson and others were hunting a stag that took in at Cumry meadows and crossed our big river.: Mr. Jackson took directly after the stag. Jane stuck in the mud on reaching our side of the river. Father was present and helped him out with her. When Mr. Jackson was cleaned and dried, now said he to Father, "I will have to walk home as you could not get me on." "Get you on the wall and I will throw a heavy sack on her head and draw her up to the wall and you leap on." So he did and found it quite easy to mount her ever after in that way. Mr. Hugh Jackson was the fast friend of Father ever after. "Crazy Jane" was buried in all honours under the flag and drum of the Free-masons. Mr. Jackson gave a grand entertainment to the Masons that evening and night. Father was the only Mason among them. Uncle James Breakey of Cormeen was Grand Master of the Masons at that time in this county.
Red Michael Daley of Drumskelt was presented with a very big Bible with numerous coloured plates of Scriptural characters that night. It was his fifty-eighth year among that very respectable people called Freemasons. Roman Catholics were Masons in those days. When old Mrs. Daley died, the Bible was here. Mother sent me up with a pound to see if her son Mick would take it for the Book. He would not sell it. Some years after, he married a very ignorant servant girl, or in fact was married at the time the old woman died. She was thought to have burned the Bible, as Anthony Daley got the front picture half burned in Mick's dunghill. It was the best book of the sort I ever saw for a family. Anthony Daley had the old Scriptures like a song from it.
Joseph Cunningham, the father of John and Sam, was, a lapper in Creeve under the Jackson's when at the bleaching of linen. Joseph Cunningham was an avowed United Irishman. He was under cover for a year in Creeve Castle till the disturbance was over. By that time, one of the Miss Jacksons was married to him by what was called a bucklebeggar or in other words a degraded minister. Sam Cunningham was the first child. The Jacksons, Joseph Nelson, and my Grandfather had benches in Ballybay street where the green linen web was bought from those who kept weavers. Grandfather manufactured linen here and had a host of weavers from far and near but was not able to produce so much green linen as was required
in his brother's bleachgreen at Aghnamullen. So he had to go to the open market for what was required.
A day of a hunt, Father saw a queer push with the Jacksons to get over the linen market, hunting horses on the ground ready. In the failure of 'Red' John Jackson, James McCullagh of the Cottage, then in business in Ballybay, lost £500 (pounds sterling) security, and James McCullagh of Corfad, a very big sum too. The cottage man was the worse for paying that sum.
How the patch of land, Creeve Schoolhouse stands on, the ground about Alick Wilson's mill came about. The mill and a patch of land above Creeve Castle on the road side, was not sold when the Cunninghams were auctioned out. Those patches of land were not acknowledged by the Cunninghams to the creditors and so were not auctioned. They were quietly kept on by Sam Cunningham and in the end sold by Mrs. McMahon, a very kind hearted goodnatured woman. I think she built Creeve Schoolhouse.
No person could ever understand how the Cunningham's got the loan of so much money having no real property of free lands. John Cunningham got to be agent on a property of Sir John Leslie's at Piticrue. In his day of opulence, he built Drumfaldra House. The wall round the upper garden was built by 'Red' John Jackson. 'Red' John Jackson was the most tackless man on horseback ever was reared about Ballybay and thought the least of money. One time he was at a hunt. In leaping his horse over a big open well of Dan McGins, the horse fell in. He handed James Martin of Tassy ₤5 for the use of his horse till night. James Martin had the best hunting horse in the neighbourhood. Jackson took no farther notice of his horse in the well. When Martin got help, the horse was dead. That was the last horse 'Red' John Jackson could call his own.
After Creeve Castle was bui1t, a man called Jack Brims had what was called the Coms and made bad money in the basement of the Castle. Brims first started in life as a tinker. Next a joiner and at the joinery of the Castle when discovered by Mr. Jackson and dismissed. Bob Bradford of Ednavea and Brims worked strong at making bad money. Bob's son Moses had to leave by night for passing it of a fair day in Rockcorry. William McLean of Corryhagan had the stamps and could make 5/ (shillings) would deceive any one. All the things were taken from McLean by a tramp gun smith. All were found with the tramp in Belfast when drunk and he got transported to Tasmania for life.
I am frequently asked, “Who was Norman Steel?" He was a man of very high rank who lived in a splendid mansion in the parish of Dunamin. He discounted bills for all linen merchants. People as far from home as Grandfather were kept all night for fear of highway‑
men. Mr. Steel had military protection at his house and when going and coming from the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. That was the first thing like a bank in this county. I think the first bank in Ballybay was the "Provincial" managed by Scotchmen who were very unpopular. That bank was in the house of James McMurray, now inhabited by Dr. Bartley. Next was a visiting bank that only came on Saturdays from Monaghan, called the Ulster which still comes. The Belfast comes on Saturdays too. Then the Northern and the Bank of Ireland are well established. I believe all the banks in Ballybay have come in my day. Then I remember a loans fund bank kept by Andy Moorhead of Blackrock, Robert Gimison on the Monaghan road and my neighbour William Ker that robbed every man. Sam Gray had a loans fund out of Minister Moses Bradford's money for a long term of years which began when I was about 6 years of age and continued till the death of Mr. Bradford.
I am frequently asked if I remember seeing Mr. Robert Thompson's horse, "Poor Pat". I remember quite well, he was a chesnut (sic) with white legs and a stripe in his face. His presence was not good nor was he like blood. We had a foal from him that was every thing. "Pat" had to run three years after each other (in succession) and win each year before he could lift the cup worth ₤180. It was in the August of 1839 he lifted the cup. I was about 6 years of age at the time. Colonel Thompson and I are about an age. The cup is to be seen in Bushford House at present. "Pat" stands on the lid and the cup is like an urn in shape. "Poor Pat" was not buried in all honours like "Crazy Jane" with her hide and shoes on and fife and drum.
How the late Bernard McGough's father got the name of "Sporter". He had a dog called Sporter. When the hounds in Creeve would be let out for a hunt, Sporter would hear them, and would run to his master and give him some scrapes with his paw which meant, give me a bit of bread, I am for the hunt. John McGough was one of the old school, simple, and goodnatured, and very proud of his dog being able to lead 52 hounds. Sporter would get his fill of hard oat bread. When he would be eating the bread, McGough would clap him on the back and say, "Never lose the stripes, keep the lead, make a looking glass of your backside for all the dogs in Creeve". Sporter would then go as the crow would fly to where he would hear the hounds and lead for the day. How he kept the lead he could hunt by the view as well as his nose. After the dog died, John McGough got nothing but "Sporter" McGough till his death.
In speaking of Ballybay Banks, I think I should take note of when the word bank came into use. Lombard Street in London has always been a noted place. It was named after a set of Lombard Jews, who settled in England in the reign of Edward I, and whose business was to lend money on interest. Bankers continue to live there and do the same. Their name originated from the Italian Jews keeping benches in the market-place for the exchange of bills. Banco being the Italian for bench,
was in time corrupted to banker in English. That is how we have the word banker. The rich merchants of England who, before the civil wars, had always deposited their money at the mint in the Tower, no longer thought it safe there and employed the goldsmiths to take care of it for them. That was in the time of the Commonwealth that goldsmiths were the bankers.
The word beefeater is a very strange corruption of a plain word, "buffetier", a person who waits at a buffet or sideboard, as our butlers do' now in good houses.
At the tomb of one of the Plantaganets, Henry V, tapers were kept burning day and night for nearly one hundred years. That custom was abolished at the Reformation. In the reign of Henry III, tallow candles were considered a very great luxury; now such a thing is not to be had.
I find very few of the present day know much of Dundalk. In Great Grandfather's time, Dundalk fair was kept at the Square in Blackrock. In Grandfather's early days, it was moved to what is now called the Soldiers Point. The year before my Father was born, the fair was moved into Dundalk. Clanbrassill Street was called after the Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Roden, Baron Clanbrassill, K.P. When the Danes invaded Ireland, the natives could never be expelled from the mountains across the water from Blackrock. When the Danes would land on the foot of the mountain, natives would hurl stones from the mountain top which was sure death to the Danes. After the Danes left Ireland, some of the natives from the mountains crossed over to the Blackrock, and settled in the Square. McKone, Halpeny, and Coffee were the representatives of their early mountain ancestors. Patrick McKone lived to 103 and had all his faculties to the hour of death. When on his deathbed he asked for a drink of seawater that he had taken his living from. He then thanked God he never felt hunger in 1847. Took the drink and asked God to remove his spirit, and so he did. Mother still lodged in his house and I remember seeing him quite well. He was a small man. I was an antiquarian from a wee boy and McKone's old legendary tales were very pleasing to me. The arms of the old windmill in Dundalk were blown away the windy night of 1839.
People ask me what was the meaning of the "twopenny bray" in the Creeve side of Ballybay. When the first bridge with one arch was built in Corrybrannan, (172?) a toll bar was put on at the top of the "bray" over said bridge. All persons bringing animals through the gate paid 2d. (pennies) and so gave it the name, twopenny bray. That toll was to pay for the bridge. The road out to Mrs. Smyths was not in existence in that day, an old road or lane passed from the toll to Mrs. Smyths and on to Cootehill. In my early day said lane was called the ropemakers lane and was used for that business for a long term of years.
When the Breakeys come to this neighbourhood they found piles of stones in the river at Ballybay and split blackoak sticks from pile to pile. People were at times lost in high water off those sticks and from a very old date those sticks were called mudgebradda, which in Irish means the unlucky ford. When the bridge was put up it was called Corrybrannon which in Irish means safety. The same sort of fixture was on our river at the lower yard of Sam Gray's property. Ballybay was then a small village of mud cabins. Though the cabins were built of mud, still a large stone was set in the mud between two properties and was to be seen for years, even after the mud houses were removed and others built. Those stones were called land marks. Two of them are still to be seen, one between the house of Tom McCabe, the druggist and his neighbour. The other defines the property of the late John McManus.
When a wee boy, I have seen men sit on that stone of a market day and fix shoes for people. A stone was to be seen in either end of a mud cabin occupied by a man called William Hanna who lived in the stand of the present Northern Bank. Those stones are in the corners of the foundations of said bank. I saw them removed myself from the mudwall. William Hanna sold whiskey. The late Robert McCrury was very particular in seeing the old landmark stone put in the corner of the present Northern Bank when Robert Dixon was building said house. Men called Barmen, who lived about where the Catholic school house now stands, had a stone in their mudwall that dated long prior to the existence of a Leslie about Ballybay. I have a faint remembrance of one of those men. All the ground from the schoolhouse to the bridge and back to the marin fence belonged to those men who paid no rent. Dr. Roberts had the next oldest property in Ballybay and lived in the stand of the house now occupied by Mullen who sells whiskey as turn the corner to the church.
A doctor called Caldwell was the first resident medical man in Ballybay. Roberts came next, then Dr. Joseph McMurray, after him Drs. Barns and Gault. Dr. Cathcart come next in my early days. He had a very strange looking flesh mark all over one side of his face and half of his head which gave one eye a very strange look. He was the oldest child of Rev'd. Thomas Cathcart minister of Creevagh congregation.
Some people ask what was the reason part of Drumskelt fort was never leveled. In the days of 'Red' Michael Daley, his neighbour William Dunn and he were partners in leveling the fort. One market day, Dunn was working alone when he found a tin box of old square money. The fear of it being taken from him by burglars put him astray in the mind of which he never recovered. The brother of the madman, Bob Dunn, got the box and sold the contents in Dublin and was able to lend money as usurer and never gave Daley any of the booty. Daly was afraid to touch the fort after seeing the end of his neighbour and so a portion of the fort in the north side still stands uncleared of trees and blackthorns. In the leveling of the top of the fort, the skull of a man turned up and quite a lot of bones in fragments. Father saw the
skull and it looked to him to be a very strange shape, flat on the top of the head. It was thought to be the head of a Dane. In the book written by Mr. Shirley of Carrickmacross, he says the Barony of Farney has over 100 forts. The largest fort in County Monaghan is on the farm of Robert Begly. It is said to have three rings or trenches. That farm belonged to my Grandfather in my Father's early day and was only 1/11 (1 pound, 11 shillings) per acre.
I am frequently asked if I saw a book called Columbkille's Prophecy. I have frequently heard Father read it when a wee boy. The book belonged to James Small of Lisgorn and is long out of print. Saint Columbkille was a contemporary with Saint Patrick. Tradition says he and Saint Patrick are buried side by side in a graveyard near to Lough Derg. He prophesied a lot of things that have come to pass. He said one day cars would run without horses, referring to our rail-way carriages. People; at one day would ride on iron horses. Float about in the air as high as the eagle which was thought to mean balloons. In time to come, people would be in prisons without crime, meaning the workhouse. People would talk to each other at long distances in a very mysterious manner which is thought to be the telegraph.
He made one grand mistake in saying the Protestants of Ulster would rise and murder the Roman Catholics. A host of those poor people, principally small farmers, left and went to County Mayo where they were very badly treated and a lot of them died. Some were kindly treated by men of means. Amongst those were the McMahons of Tamlet and Alwells of Enagh. Those men called their children after the kind men who sheltered them. That is how the McMahons have Anthony among them and Dominick in the Alwells. Those two families returned to this part of the country. No others were ever heard of who left this parish.
A man called MacNally who lived in the stand of Rev'd. James Morrel's house was one of those who never returned. People who lived to see the prophecy was a farce, burned the book wherever it could be found, and so left it few and far between. Rev'd. Anthony McGough, P.P. of Emotris, who died in Rockcorry, was of that line of family, the McGough and not McMahon as above mentioned.
I am frequently asked, did I ever see horses carry sacks of potatoes or oats. I have seen a mare of Bob Bradfords carry 5 cwt. (5 hundred weight) of oats to Shantna Mill. The father of William Lyttle, sexton of First Ballybay, could put 30 stones of oats on a horse's back himself. It was called backing a sack. Mr. John Lister of Dunramon is one of the most truthful men of the present day. He has earned the reputation of being a man who knows no guile. He tells me his father more than once brought 28 pecks of-flaxseed on a horse's
back from Newry. When cars came into use, horses with set tails could not draw, the tails were so much in the way. In the end, horses who had all to carry, would go blind. Father in his early day saw the father of long Davy Sloan manure one of his steep hills with manure carried on horse's backs in sacks. That looks to people of the present day to be a cram, but it is quite true.
Potatoes in those days lived so long very little manure was required. The late Rev'd. John Morell would tell a story of one of his men who had conacre with Mr. James McCullagh. The man was asked had he big potatoes, wonderful good was the answer, seeing that I had the bad luck to get Billy Raddle's manure. Think of the length a bundle of old newspapers would go when spread out with a stone of clod on each corner. Raddle was a man who sold old books and papers. He was the bulk of two men, very eccentric, had very large eyes. One fine summer evening, he was here on business. Small flies had got entangled in his eyes. He cursed his Maker did he mean his eyes to catch all the flies in the neighbourhood.
I am frequently asked who was Griffith who built the widow's houses in Rockcorry. In his early day he was a joiner. In my early day he had a small shop in Cootehill. He was a miser in the strict sense of the term. When a customer would leave his shop of a windy evening, he would put out the candle till another would come in and, as he had no matches, he would strike a flint. He lived for years in one of his houses in Rockcorry. He came by his death in a strange way. He had his coffin in the house several years, standing against the wall. He was in the habit of going into it at times. The room was being cleaned and the coffin was put on two stools. Griffith got into it when the lid closed on. At the end of some hours, his old housekeeper ran round the village and roused the natives. Doctor Moore and others thought best to look through his house first. Seeing the fine coffin, they lifted the lid and found Griffith speechless in it. Griffith believed in sinless perfection and that building houses for widows was the sure way to Heaven. When he would put out his candle, my cousins living next door would frequently try to ghost him but all to no use.
Father asked old Paddy McKone how it was the Blackrock natives did not believe in ghosts. His answer was, "We fishermen have too many real ones to fear in the shape of squalls from the mountains that would smash our nets and run us on the rocks in the night."
My brother Robert took a notion he would quit the business of office life in Dublin and go to herring fishing. So he bought a new fishing smack and nets at over ₤300. He then hired 8 fishermen from Brighton. Some times he would go out in his boat with the men. As it was night fishing, it was very dangerous. One fearful night his boat was wrecked and the nets smashed on the rocks so badly he was glad to get back to office life again. One night he was 20 miles out from Howth in a deep sea when his men were lowering a very big troll net,
when something bumped against the ship. Robert lowered a lamp and to his no small astonishment he saw three children in a small boat with only one oar. The men lowered a boat and secured the children's boat. Then put a rope round each child and pulled him up. Two little ones were sick of the cold, wet and hunger. The third one, a boy was so thirsty he had taken a drink of sea water. In a short time he became a raging lunatic and had to be sent to the Richmond Asylum where he recovered in a week. But, like all wayward disobedient boys, he died early in life. He was never known to stand in a boat after being adrift. One of the two little girls took bronchitis and died in a week. Mrs. Breakey took the second wee one at 8 years old and made it a grand servant.
When my brother was leaving Dublin to live private in the village of Luncan, he took this lass and the old cook. In some years after he gave up keeping a house and went to live in Ballina, County Mayo. The young girl left for America. As a reward for her fidelity he gave her 260 (pounds) and the old cook 5/ (shillings) a week for her day. I have heard of seawater more than once putting hungry thirsty people mad like the boy. God in his divine providence saved them all by bumping their boat against the ship. If that had not been so the lunatic boy would have swamped all. Another night a vessel at full steam went so near my brother's smack in the dark as to give her a half turn round with the current of the vessel. Two of brother's men fainted, a third had diarrhea on the spot, all with fear. The two scenes mentioned were real ghosts for my brother.
In speaking of ghosts, I think I will mention some of my ghost stories. Any young person can read and see for himself the folly of such nonsense.. My stories explained themselves. I was spending an evening in Liverpool with a friend. During the evening, I said to the host I think your wife is a grand success, you and she are as happy as birds. "I will tell you how I got her. My first wife died leaving me two children. I very soon saw I was burning the candle at either end by not having a nursery governess so I resolved to ask a girl who lived a good way off if she would marry me. For a near way to her house, I went through a park having nothing to guide me but a deer path. At a spot where a lot of evergreens grew, a ghostly apparition would cross my path, and as I believed-in ghosts I was very sadly put about at times. Any evening I would have a fellow with me I could see nothing. One evening I ventured in fear and trepidation to ask her who she was. In a well sustained sepulchral voice she said she was my wife Molly. "Well my dear girl I thought you and I parted on better terms than for you to come back to earth to frighten me. You left me a heavy charge and I am on the look out for one to see to the comfort of your wee ones". The mock ghost in reply said she had come from the world of spirits to tell him the girl he was thinking of would be no fit for him, at the same time' recommended a girl who lived outside the park wall and not far distant. He said he -would think over it.
The next night he went to his people and told them all about the interview he had with the ghost of his wife Molly. An Irishman from Cork was present who said all was a hoax and if he would charge a pistol with silver and fire at a ghost it was bound to stand forth in bold relief and represent itself in natural colours, so the widower cut 2/ (shillings) in slugs and charged the pistol. The next night when she crossed his path, he put the pistol to the nose of the pretender and, taking God to be his witness, said if she would not unmasque herself and represent poor Molly so he would recognize her, he would blow the contents of the pistol through her. She said, "For the honour of God do not shoot, I am such a girl," at the same time throwing off her canonicals and then vanished into the evergreens. She turned out to be a lass recommending herself. The next evening he told his people the result of using the pistol. All hands laughed immediately. His father said the girl who would go through all that for his sake was well worthy of his admiration and, if you should live to be "as gray as Adam's cat", you will never get a girl like that. "Write to her," said his father, "And tell her what I have been saying, and though she is far above our rank in life still you will find she will make a grand wife." He did write to her and the answer was very loving and wound up by saying she would go over the world on chips of tin with him. Some people ask me how did she know the evening he would go see the girl outside the park. A servant girl of hers had gone to live in the house where the widower was going and the night he was asked to a party this girl would write to her old mistress and then she could cross him on the way.
Now I think I will take note of a very tragic ghost story. Three young medical men were coming home from a party in London. In passing a cemetery, one said to the others, "Did you hear of the lady who was buried there yesterday?" "Well," said he, "She was engaged to be married to a very splendid young fellow but unfortunately a man of straw. Her relations persuaded her to marry a merchant who drove a carriage but whose bodily presence was contemptible and he well on the turn of life. Her youthful admirer, hearing she was to be married at a given hour, went to the Church to see for himself would she be guilty of such a diabolical action as to not tell him of what she was about. The moment he entered the Church the marriage ceremony was half through. The moment she saw him, having heart disease to begin with, she fell dead." The three medical men, being fast characters and, having neither money, marbles or chalk to make a ring and, requiring a part of a subject for the dissecting house, resolved to go into the graveyard and take the part required from the deceased bride. Seeing she was left in a vault with an iron door, they went to the gravediggers shed for a pinch bar and forced the door. They found the subject was on the go and of no use to them, but seeing she was buried with her wedding costume on and quite a lot of jewelry of which they rifled her.
One of them, seeing such a lot of rings on one hand and so beautifully formed a fist, said he would take the hand and put it in a bottle of spirits of wine in his glasscase. He lodged in one of a block of houses that had a balcony. all along: His bedroom window opened out on the balcony. Frequently, when in bed he would see a cadaverous ghost-like woman looking into his glasscase, she being only with one hand. When he would say he saw a ghost in his room, the landlady would be very angry as she kept lodgers. One evening he was the length of the hall going to a party when he found he had no handkerchief. He sent the servant for one to his room. She was back in quick time with the hair standing on her like the bristles on a hedge hog and shouting she saw the ghost at last.
He got into a fit of fear and felt so sick he had to go to bed. Next day, one of the boys called to see why he did not go to the party and found him in bed. "I will sit up with you this night,` said he, "And I will charge a pistol with silver and bring Miss ghost to be amends." They cut 5/ (shillings) in slugs and he took his seat beside the bed. At two o'clock he went to the kitchen to smoke, in a short, time he heard a very queer moan in the bedroom. When he ran up he found his friend who was only able to tell him he saw the ghost again, then died of heart disease. After the dead man was stretched out he said to the mistress of the house, "I will see this out if I should sit here for a week." So he took his seat again. Being up the night before he fell asleep and in some time was awakened by something walking over the room. He looked up and saw a strange looking thing in the shape of a woman with disheveled hair and extended eyes. When he went to put himself into position to shoot at it, it turned full face to him. He shot at the face and to his no small astonishment a poor foolish woman fell dead.
Now a very sad story is attached to this poor lunatic. In her palmy days her house was on fire. When all hands had been saved, this woman found her nurse had left the baby behind. She rushed into the burning house and found her baby smothered. She herself come out a raging mad-woman with one hand so burned it had to be cut off. A long time after, she come to be only simple in the asylum. Her husband took her home to her family. She was in the habit of walking along the balcony passing from house to house. In passing this young medical man's room, she saw a hand of the bride before mentioned. She had a latch key that opened the glass door of the young man's room and she was 'going continually to see could what she thought was her hand with the intention of getting it put on again. Sometimes people live for years .in large cities and do not know who lives next door. It was so in this case, for the poor fool woman only lived two doors off and the young man or even the mistress of the house had never heard of her.
Now I will say nothing more at present of ghost stories. The reason I mentioned the above two is to show my children the nonsense of believing in ghosts, how all such can be accounted for by natural causes. From a wee boy I have had a taste for gathering up ghost stories. I believe I have a collection of the best to be told by any man in this parish and every one of them winds up with an explanation which would convince anyone of such being got up from natural causes.
I think I will take note of a strange gift Harry Wilson of Lantor had. He could tell the age of any one from a year up by looking at the palm of his hand. A man called David Gillanders, near Monaghan, had his life insured payable at sixty ₤500 (pounds sterling). The insurance company would not pay the money till he would prove his baptism or birth. The old Bible with the entry of his birth could not be found. Gillanders asked Harry Wilson would he swear to his age by his hand. He said he would and all in the parish except babies. Gillanders employed Dan O'Connel. The judge asked Wilson how he come by his knowledge he said he would not tell or even sell his knowledge to the Queen. "Tell my age", said the judge. "You are quite correct," was the result. "Now," said the judge, "I will take 30 jurors that know their age and will tell the truth on oath, so look at their hands and tell the age of all and I will soon come to a conclusion." Father was the first, and he said Wilson had told his age before and, he believed it correct, as he was the first child Rev'd. William Arnold baptized after his ordination in first Ballybay Congregation. As all were adult men he told their ages at once on oath. The judge ordered Gillanders to be paid his money and all costs.
In the meantime, some friend of Gillanders found the Bible and his age entered in it and handed it up. The judge was delighted to see it and gave a long address on Wilson's secret and wound up by saying he should tell the secret to his children and any time you require to sell your knowledge come to me and I will please you in money. That man died in a year after and Wilson lived to regret not selling him his knowledge. I remember Wilson here frequently and telling me I was born in 1834. Unfortunately, Wilson never told even his one son the secret and so it was lost. In his old day he would put on glasses if a soft unworked hand was produced.
I am frequently asked for the loan of this book. I feel diffident in doing so seeing that I am so far on the turn of life and that my. memory in spelling is not to be depended on. I write this book for the benefit of my children. I have given young people good advice and told stories that ended up with grand morals. I wish any kind friend looking over this book to be like a fellow I heard of one time who was in love with --- Well I may say, like Mrs. Partington. When a friend asked her how many of a family her sister had, she said she had either nine or nineteen, which she could not say, but she was sure it was one or the other. Well, the lover I am going to tell about was in love with one of seven or nine sisters. This lover said to his friend, "Bill, will you come with me this afternoon till I show you what I am going to do with myself?" "I shall with pleasure, but man how am I to know with so many fine girls in the house?" "True enough,"
said the lover, "But I tell you how you will know, as a rule the object of nay affections sits before the jam-wall window and by the same token she has a dark eye, but man it is the nicest blind eye you ever saw in the head of anyone." We often hear the old saying when once in love you are blind to all faults and failures. It was true enough with this fellow. Now I wish my kind readers to be like the lover in a sense, blind to bad spelling and grammatical errors in this book. Mrs. Partington, above mentioned,. was the best comic writer of her day. She would frequently write paragraphs in a big paper called the Warder when I was a wee boy. Her pieces were called Terry O'Driskil's letters and they were thought to be the very essence of fun. That paper cost 5d. (pence).
I also wish any kind reader to know that a great many things recorded in this book are of old date and have come to me by family records and tradition which must go for what they are. I mean, such as the old McMahon family, so much spoken of in Mr. Rushes book as being the former owners of the Monaghan estate and Mrs. Fitzpatrick of Cormeen House, the last representative of that grand old family. Such have come to me by tradition and of course are not reliable.
In speaking of old customs done away with forward in this book, I have thought of some more. I remember when cards of polish for shoes were only a thing to be heard of. When cards of Martindale polish were to be got in shops, it was thought to be a grand success. Those cards were very hard and dry and of a bad colour, still they were cleaner than liquid stuff to be got in small earthenware pots. Father would make the full of a big crock at a time of ivory black, boiled oil and vitriol mixed in time of use with old ale.
The old custom of gathering the water in chamber pots and steeping linen and calico in it for days to be washed. That water required no soap and would leave the cloth when bleached as white as snow. I was going to give a neighbour a day's ploughing with a blind horse and when I got near the house the woman was tramping clothes in a tub of this stuff. The moment my horse got a smell of it he would go no farther and trembled, so I had to leave for some days. Soap was very expensive in those days. The old custom of calling small boys caudys and larger ones gasoons, small girls gershas and larger ones taharns is a thing of the past. Pounding whins to mix with oats for horses was a labourious custom only to be heard of now.
I am frequently asked if the word pluck, so much used in papers in respect of soldiers in South Africa, is of old date. We hear of General Roberts and others being men of great pluck. In my researches in old books, records, and magazines, to be able to answer things mentioned in this book, I find the word pluck is of very great antiquity, dating its existence to the dark ages of chivalry in England and gladiators in Italy and Spain. It was a word much used in the dark ages by those who fought cocks. "Pluck the cock and test him", was a password among them of old. I saw a mongrel cock plucked and
shaved of his comb and wattles and when he was put to fight he ran away. Men's pluck was often tested when having to turn out of bed naked to confront burglars in the house. I could tell fearful stories of that sort. When men were cornered and had to fight with shoes off was a test of pluck. Some breeds of people are possessed of great pluck. From a very old data, "the Listers of Dundrumon were of that stamp. I saw Seedman Clark impose a falsehood on the late James Lister and, while you would cross yourself, we had "who killed cock robin." I could see' with half an-eye that Lister was "the blood of the blue hen that fought nine rounds without the bill" and if Clark hadn't hoisted the flag of truce and skulked into a corner Lister would have had pistols for two and a coffin for one.
In speaking of the cock, it reminds me of a very old custom of keeping a cock in the kitchen to define time through the night and early morning by his crowing. That has been handed to us from the dark ages when clocks and watches were quite unknown. One of our early kings defined time by the burning of a candle and said candle was regulated by the crowing of the cock and the position it was put in.
I heard the Revd. Tommy Toy of Belfast lecture on the word pluck when I was a very wee boy. He said a lot of the old scriptural characters were men of fine pluck. David went out single-handed against Goliath and Samson unprotected rent the lion like a kid. He said our Saviour was a man of pluck. He never for once skulked his coat of arms or, in other words always stood by the doctrine he taught even to death.
In speaking of a coat of arms, it reminds me of my Father's. "Keep up your stall if you should sell but one pig's foot in the day." Pluck is a word but little known to foreigners. The Boers, Chinamen, men of colour and the natives in the south and west of Ireland too. They believe in "those who fight and run away will live to fight another day."_ The people of Connaught would know the use of the word sycophant better. I have been all over County Mayo and I have come to the conclusion that if a northman would spit on one side of the face of a Connaught man he would turn you the other side and thank God you spat on it.
Now I think I will tell some stories to the benefit of young people and show them the evil consequences that come from disobedience. As I have already stated in this book, my first teacher, Owen Murphy, had brass buttons on his coat. Around the margin of the first one over his heart (as he used to say) were sewn raised letters "We are doing our duty" and that was also represented. by raised figures on the convex surface of. the button. A young man shaving his aged father and a young woman, apparently after washing her mother's face and in the act of tying a cap with borders under her mother's chin were represented on others. Parental duties should be about our first. God says in the fifth commandment "Honour your father and mother that your days may be long on the land." You require good health to have long life so if
you, my youthful friends, wish to inherit two of the greatest blessings on earth, long life and good health, you will do your duty to your parents. Young people in shops and servants in the house have a grand opportunity of establishing themselves in the eyes of their employer by only doing their duty. By doing so, each will have a reference that will help him on in life. I have seen young men after serving five years who had not done their duty and in consequence had to hire in open market as ordinary clodhoppers.
Now my youthful friends, you see by doing your duty to parents, God will give you long life and good health. Your employer will also help you on in the world if you do your duty by him. Now I will say no more. I am a man of much observation and I have seen a lot of wayward bad boys and some girls too (I regret to say) and only on one single instance did I see those disobedient young people comb a gray haired head. All died a premature death and not even a parent to regret.
When I was a wee boy, brother James took me to see a young hearer who was ill of the worst class of consumption, hemorrhage (sic) of the lungs. The young man was in a sad state for breath. He said to my brother, "I was a bad boy to Father and treated all his kind advices on the subject with silent contempt and now God is punishing me with a sad and terrible end." He then put out his hand to me apparently with the intention of giving me a good advice. A spurt of blood. come from his mouth that struck me to the belt and he died over. Brother had to open his big fist to get my tiny wee paw relieved from the grip of death. . He also said to brother he was passing away with the sad words of the rejected lover in the song. "No one to love me, none to regret, not even a parent". Now my youthful readers was not that a very melancholy confession? It left an indelible impression on my mind never to be forgotten.
I think I will mention one or two melancholy stories of young boys who had a sad end from not doing their duty to parents. It may be God will bless these remarks to some young thoughtless wayward reader. When the Boers took possession of South Africa, one of their punishments was to chain two convicts by the ankles leaving them length enough to walk. Then they would be left out in the rocks to be destroyed by lions. A lion leaped on one of two left out one day drank his blood and gorged himself with the flesh, the other poor fellow looking on not. in the least injured. When the lion removed to a high rock, the living man put the dead one's shin on a large stone and cut off the foot with a hand stone. Then he took the end of the chain and fixed it in his belt and ran off. When he got to a distance, he put up his two hands and made a vow if God would protect him so he could reach the Mission Station he would do God's work to the day of his death. Strange to say, the young man who was destroyed by the lion was convicted for killing his mother with a blow of a stone and God punished him with that bad end. The speaker said he was convicted for swearing
a falsehood to save his father from capital punishment. It was in the big Methodist Chapel, afterwards burned to the ground in Belfast I heard that earnest Christian man on the fifth commandment.
I heard Dr. Talmedge on the Fifth Commandment in the Round Room in the Rotunda, Dublin. He gave us an illustration of disobedience. When the Siamese twins were being born, the native Doctor said to the husband, "Your wife is giving birth to twins very strangely connected together. One or other must die, which would you prefer to live?" "Let the old one go, I would prefer the curiosities.." The twins lived and when able to go the rounds, the father exhibited them every where and realized a fortune. After the father died in America, they came to England. Hugh saw them with their wives and families in Liverpool. Doctor Cusick of Dublin, in compliment to my brother Robert, got Hugh on the platform while he was examining a strange connecting rope of flesh that bound the ribs of one to that of the other leaving room enough to pass elbows. Several physicians had examined the rope of flesh and all came to the conclusion, if it were cut the men would die. Hugh saw a gloom pass over the faces of them once in a while. Hugh asked a friend what was the cause and he was told the thought of what will become of me if brother dies first was the cause. That thought haunted them like a ghost. One of them died in a moment of heart disease. The living one seemed to feel no bad effect by the death of his brother till the dead man became cold then he took violent fits of convulsions and died in wild delirium.: Strange to say God punished him in a sad and melancholy end by blood poison for his disobedience to his father. He was frequently known to kick his father in the shins when asked to rise and exhibit himself.
Now I will mention one or two more very sad stories of wayward bad boys and how it ended. with them.
A set of men were making a railway through woods in Brazil. American tigers were very numerous round them. Four boys would stop at night in a log house with no door on. A fire would be lit in front of the door at night. The father of one of the boys had a dream that he saw tigers kill the boys, so the next evening he with others flattered the boys to go to the village with them seeing firewood was but scanty. The man who had the dream went so far as to go on his knees to ask his boy to go with him. "No," said he, "If the Devil will get me in one hour I will stop with my comrades." During the night the fire went out and the boys were wakened with sad screams. Torches were lit and all counted. All were to hand but the wayward boy. The four boys went out each with a torch in hand and went along as the grass was leaned, at a distance they saw three strong tiger cubs play with their comrade. They heard him exclaimed and shout, "Would to God I had done my duty to my father." As the boys had no guns and torches near burned out, there was nothing for it only to run to the hut and keep up a fire. When the men cane to work in the morning a set of sharp-shooters were brought on the ground. The tigers were shot and a lot of
the boy was found to be eaten. When the four boys returned to the log house, one of them had a vow if he would see morning he would join himself to the Methodist body of Christians, be kind to his old mother and do God's work for his day. Father heard him tell this sad story in the most sensational manner ever he heard and went to Dundalk to hear him.
He gave another illustration of the sad end of a wayward bad boy. An officer retired from active service to live in Port Royal. His coloured servant said to him one day, "My boy beats his mother and treats my orders with silent contempt." The officer said, "Bring him to live here and I will put him under military discipline that will bring him to beamends." The boy was likely to do well, but at the end of some months, the officer heard the romps of a young pet tiger on the lobby. The bedroom was open and the officer looking out of bed saw the head of this boy mentioned above. The officer quietly drew his pistol to him and when the tiger looked at him he fired into his face and killed him.
For a long term of years, my-Father would give outdoor lectures in August to crowds of young people. His subject would be Commandments, particularly the Fifth, Eighth, and Tenth. He had such powerful use of language and expressive illustrations that his lectures were a thing never to be forgotten and to his credit be it told he brought contempt of parental authority to be a thing only heard of round here. He was particularly good-on the Tenth. "Be content with our lot in life" was his last lecture. He said a lot of the bad luck of Ireland came from discontent and faultfinding. A sentence if I had said it myself it could not have been better. It is one not much known in Ireland but is the upstanding of Scotland. The hard working class here are as a rule the contented ones, the lazy faultfinder no use and hard to pay.
Now I think I will say a word on the evils of drinking whiskey. One of our best lecturers on intemperance says nothing is done well on a foundation of whiskey; it is like the house built on the sand and must go to the bad. Now I can illustrate that idea to a turn. Two old school fellows met one day.- Jack said to Billy, "Why man I hear you are not married, how. is that and you having such a grand run for a woman." "I do not know," was the answer, "For I have axed plenty of women." "You know Jack, I have an impediment in my speech and to improve that failure I niver go to court without having some sheets in the wind. In point of fact, I will be up Saltcreek." Still, I find girls very unmannerly. Now I tell you what one said the other day when I axed her in marriage. She said she had better meat on her plate then to stick her fork in a magpie. Her hair was standing on her head like the bristles on a hedgehog and as I saw "pistols for two and a coffin for one" was likely to be the order of the day, I hoisted the flag of truce, made a Bishop of her and left the parish to herself." "Now," said Jack, "I see how you are in single wretchedness so long, you go to see the girls when under the influence of whiskey. Now any
thing done under the influence of whiskey or on that foundation will not be a success nor could it be, but I tell you what to do, swear you will never drink a glass of whiskey, except as medicine and, if you know any girl you like, go to her and in all truthfulness say honestly what you mean." "Well Jack, I will try your project." So in time he went to a girl who had run to school with him for years and who he had frequently asked in marriage when under the influence of whiskey. Now said he, "Susy I asked you frequently in marriage when tipsy. Now I have sworn to drink no more whiskey, will you. shake that fist and stack your duds with mine?" "Well Billy, you have frequently asked me in marriage when under the influence of whiskey and you were so unreal and unlike yourself I was compelled to say no when in all truthfulness I would have said yes. Now that I see you are in real earnest I will marry you and 'go over the world on the chips of tin with you'." Now I will say no more on this subject.
Now I will take a note of what the postage of letters cost of old. In Grandfather's day, a letter to Dublin would cost 1/ (shilling), in Father's early day 8d (pence), me too. In 1840, it was-brought to ld (pence) a letter. I remember quite well when no letter was thought to be safe through the post except it was sealed with wax for the purpose. Said wax was of all colours..
A host of designs for seals were in use. Men would have a large bunch of seals hanging from the watch which was in a pocket in the head band of trousers, seals showing under the vest. The late Tom McCullagh had the bunch of seals so described to the last and gave them to his daughter Sarah for her kindness to him at the last. He had been frequently offered large sums of money for them. People ask me how it was that men kept the watch in the headband of trousers. To my Father's day, no man had a vest to put a watch in. From Queen Elizabeth's day, men when dressed used frills of muslin up the front of the shirt and a leather strap over one shoulder kept up the breeches. Said strap was called a gallis. That word was taken from the rope or leather thong that people were hung by of old on the gallows. When men went into thronged places, a cover was used of some good material round the top of the breeches to cover the bunch of seals from being pulled away by tramps.
On warm days at seasides I see on fast men no vest used but a band of some fancy material round the waist which brings us back to old times. I have seen a lot of men who never knew the comfort of a vest. Long frock coats were much used, buttoned up to the neck. Vests came into use about the time Father was born and was buttoned up the-back. After that, hooks and eyes were used under the arms and on top of the shoulder. Lastly, came the present shape, open up the front. Old men who were used to wearing the watch in the top of breeches never gave it up for I could see the bunch of seals hanging under the vest.
It was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that the use of starch cam, into England. A Dutch woman of the name of Dingham possessed of that knowledge came to London and was the first that ever taught starching. A lot of our present comforts come with Elizabeth. Her father, Henry VIII, did not know the comfort of a pillow. Carpets, nothing as a substitute but rushes and straw. No chimney on a house, watches, glass, or fresh beef of a winter day.
After the sealing wax was put aside, wafers were used damped with mouth to close a letter. Last of all came the size on the envelope in 1842. When my brother Robert went to live with Galivin & Peebles, Dublin, a man in the office had ₤50 and food for stamping and sealing letters. Now that is all a thing of the past. It was Charles I put up the first post office in England to carry letters from London to Edinburgh. Oliver Cromwell greatly extended the post. At the present time about twelve hundred millions of letters pass through the post office every year, about 10 times the number under the former system.
As I pretend to answer questions in this book put to me by my children and others, I will answer some more yet. Who first brought the knowledge of growing flax in Ireland? A colony of Scots in the reign of James I fled from persecution in their own country and settled at Coleraine in Londonderry and flax. is cultivated there with great care and success to the present day.
I am frequently asked, who are the swell mob of London. They are reckless men and women in high life who have squandered all they possess, and band themselves together to steal, plunder, and do all sorts of bad actions. I heard of a woman, one of them, who went to an asylum in London, said she had a son who was at times quite sane and all at once he would become a raging lunatic. "We will take him in said the manager at ₤40 (pounds sterling) a year, a quarter paid in advance." She handed out the ₤10 and said she would turn up when her boy would be doing the quiet. She then went to one of the grand liveries and said she would require next day one of the finest two horse carriages and men in the establishment and paid for them in advance. Next day, she turned up for the carriage, had a drive round some of the parks and ended in stopping at a grand jewelers' establishments. After looking at some grand boxes of pearls and finding out the value of them she asked to see the owner of the house. An elderly Jew was produced. She said to him, her husband was an invalid and if he would be kind enough to let one of his boys come to her mansion in Hanover Square and bring some of his boxes with him, when her husband would see what she would choose, she would pay the young man his demand in gold. "That is my carriage at the door and I will drive the boy back."
The old Jew said he would gladly do as she required and saw the boy and her off from his door in grand state. She then drove to the asylum, took the two boxes in her 'hand and said to the boy, "Come after
me." She left him in charge of two keepers and left. She then asked the men to drive her to a big hotel, gave the two men on the carriage 10/ (shillings) and said she did not require them further. She took a glass of wine to the coach man so he would leave. Then she took a cab to the back where her company lived, took off her wig and put on a cheap costume and off to Paris where she could sell her booty to advantage. The first thing done with the young fellow was to put him into the costume of the asylum, then cut off all his fine head of curls. If not a fool in reality when going in, sure enough he was like one then. At the end of two days, the doctors saw it was a hoax but could not understand the meaning of paying the ₤10. A messenger was sent to the Jeweler who found him a fit subject for the asylum from the idea he had lost over £3000 worth of jewels. I think this is a fit explanation of what that mob can do.
I am frequently asked by children, who brought the use of coffee into England? Daniel Edwards, a Turkey merchant in 1652. His Greek servant Pasqua set up the first coffee house in George-yard, Lombard Street, London in that year. The first who retailed tea publicly in London was Thomas Garway in Exchange alley in 1660. His house was the daily resort of noblemen, physicians, and merchants as he recommended it for the cure of all diseases. The inventor of musical notes was a man called Guido Aretine, an Italian monk, in the reign of Henry I. He formed the musical scale we now use, an invention which he thought attoned (sic) for all his sins. The pianoforte was invented about the year 1717 by a German organist named Schroctor.
Pins were invented in France in 1543. The first to use pins in England was Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. The maker was not at liberty to sell them only two days in January. Before hats - were invented, women and men would wear hoods of various colours and close knit woolen (sic) caps. Charles VII of France was the first to wear a hat in 1494.
The first two clocks known in England were placed one over the gateway of Westminster and the other in Canterbury in the time of Henry III. Pocket watches were brought into England in 1587, in the reign of Elizabeth. Glass windows were not known in England to the time of William Rufus and they were considered a mark of great magnificence. The first glass windows ever seen in England were in Hexham Abbey in Northumberland. When the Earl of Northumberland, in the reign of Elizabeth, in 1573 left Alnwick Castle, the windows were taken out of their frames and carefully put past. The higher classes were very uneducated in the time of Edward VI. There were peers of parliment unable to read. The ecclesiastics and monks were the educated ones and that was the cause of their great influence. Table forks were not generally used to the time of James I. The first record in history of the use of a fork was at the table of John the Good, the Duke Burgunday (sic).
It was the Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I who built the first stone bridge in England at Stratford near London. I saw in a very old book in the British Museum that men fed on acorns before the cultivation of oats. When the Saxons ruled over England acorns were the riches of the land. A dearth of acorns was regarded then as a calamity equal to a dearth of oats or corn now. Large herds of swine were fattened in the forests on acorns under the conduct of a swineherd, who tended them during the day, and summoned them by the blast of a horn by night. That old book describes an entertainment given by the great Earl of Warwick in the reign of Henry VII which lasted several days, at which 3500 persons were present. The provision made for the entertainment consisted of 300 quarters of wheat, 80 oxen, upwards of 1000 sheep and other things in profusion. All young people should read Miss Strickland on the lives of Queens of England and Nobles of the land, The famous Duke of Buckingham was the first to use a Sedan chair in England in the reign of James I. Coaches were introduced into England in 1580 by the Earl of Arundel, and were drawn by two horses. The famous Buckingham soon after had six horses in a carriage.
I am frequently asked, "Who was the Vicar of Bray?" A minister in County Wicklow who was below contempt. Had for his coat of arms, "Preach any doctrine required of the rector, be sure and keep your situation and name. I am the Vicar of Bray." That despicable character reminds me of a minister near Glasgow who went on a visit to a hiland (sic) Rev'd. friend. He said to his friend, "I will preach for you on Sunday." Well said the Hiland minister, "Do you say to my people Hell is a Cal place. We are so persecuted with the Cal here. You can strike terror into the people by picturing the Cal." If you say hell is warm my people will say we will go there it will be a grand change for us." "Well," said the lowlander, "I will preach any doctrine that will fit.' It is quite as easy for me to say hell is cold as hot when here and, when I go home to my people, I can follow the old fegary and say hell is hot." I regret to say we have plenty of people now-like that preacher. Phillip a sart sort of fellows, Master what will I swear next!
I am frequently asked, haw is it when a Roman Catholic girl is to be married to a Protestant it is a brinog if an Orangeman gets her. In the other hand, if a Roman Catholic man is to be married to a Protestant girl it is a ban the wussle, if an Orangeman gets him. Brinog and ban the wussle are words that signify good blood in either sex in Irish. Peggy Humphrys of Rockcorry was a ban the wussle. One day a country friend brought her a bunch of orange lilies. She put them in a jug in the window. When Paddy come to his dinner, he threw them out on the street. Peggy stuffed them into the jug again. Paddy then threw jug and flowers out. She, in a towering passion, come in again with the flowers and jug in one hand and a blackthorn stick in the other, "Come Paddy, you dog," said she, "Spit on your stick and stand to your colours for I will die for the Lily. I love the Lily, I am as sound as wheat." Paddy saw it was likely to be 'die dog' or
'eat the hatchet' so he hoisted the white flag and skulked into a corner. After that, to her death, she was called "The Lily" and two orange lilies were planted at head and foot of her grave. Her son was crushed between the bumpers of carriages at Bushford Station and was brought into Rockcorry to Doctor John Moore. The Doctor saw he was near death and he had to go out to the yard where he cried like a child. It was a very admirable the love and affection that existed between two old schoolfellows of different persuasions.
I see a question answered-at last by a naturalist, a man of large means, who gave himself a lot of trouble to find it out. How does the Cuckoo lay her egg in the nest of small birds such as the Boglark, Wagtail, Tomtit, and Hedgesparrow? The cuckoo is a big bird and could by no means get itself into the nest of a wee bird. This naturalist got up a big aviary of wire and cord netting. Put up some of the wee birds mentioned, those the Cuckoo imposes the heavy task of rearing her young one. Then he caught a cock and hen Cuckoo with birdlime on a leafless tree, put them into the aviary and then carefully watched their movements.
In a short time he saw the Cuckoo lay her egg on the ground, turn about, lifted it in her beak and put it in the nest of a bird, not as it was thought, sucking the wee birds eggs but leaving them to be smashed by the bulk of her egg. When the end of June come, the Cuckoos became pensive and stupid looking and ceased to shout, and were let off. The young ones did not leave till September. After the old ones were let off, the shrubs and clumps of heather were examined, eggs and birds counted making-20 in all. But a very few birds were to be seen, eggs were addled, likely the wee bird was not fit to hatch them as their capillary (sic) fires (as it is called) were too weak.
I am frequently asked who was the first to introduce the use of tobacco in England. Sir Walter Raleigh in the reign of Elizabeth. Smoking come into fashion in the reign of James. I; but it was not introduced at Court. The King said he had no notion of men making a chimney of their. mouths.
Now I will take notice of my Father's old song book, written by him when a boy. It is a thing of the past and many of the songs are of great antiquity, dating back to the time of the Normans in England. Some of them were translated for him out of old records and manuscripts by Rev'd. William Arnold, Norman Steel, and a priest, Rev'd. Father O'Mally, who was afterwards at his wedding in 1812 and asked the blessing over the wedding dinner. "Thou that blessed the loaves and fishes bless the contents of these platters and dishes." One song in the book was composed by the Duke of Wellington and was called "The Medley." Another was sung by Lord Darnley, "The Land of Potatoes" by Lord Belmount,
Cootehill. "As Sure as a Gun" was a pet song of Duke Schomberg and was always sung by the Breakeys in honour of his memory at every house warming. All hands on their feet. I think I have already stated in this book that my early ancestor, William D. Breakey was present at the death of Duke Schomberg and was one of those who did not let his body touch the ground in the moment of death, but like the monks with Cardinal Woolsie supported him as a mark of great respect. William D. Breakey was the first Huguenot known to stand in Ballybay, then called Belbuck in Irish.
Doctor Cathcart's advice to me when about 18 years of age should be observed by every one. I had got a queer spot on the inside of my thigh. Harry Wilson gave me his rub that was expected to cure every thing but it had not the desired effect on me. I went to Dr. Cathcart. He asked me if I had got it off. a bad woman. "No,." said I. "Did you sleep with an ill behaved man this while back?" "I did," said I, "With a fellow was said to be frisky." He gave me a lotion and a rub and in 12 hours I was rid of it. When I went back to tell him it was quite dead and looked quite yellow. "Now," said he, "I give you an advice never to be forgotten or overlooked. Never sit in a public privy, wear trousers off a man you are not quite sure of his conduct, or use a comb or brush of someone you do not know quite well."
One time Father took John Wright to Mullingar to sell a horse. John slept in a dirty bed and got what is called scurvy. During the time he was under care, Father said to him, "How will you take it if you get a wife who has a skin disease?" Wright made a rash vow he never would marry a woman without seeing her in her nakedness. He had difficulty in doing so; still he surmounted the difficulty. Years after, he was in love with a handsome girl with auburn hair, pink complection (sic), and skin as white as a lily. It was the custom in those days for girls to bathe in the river. John had been mowing grass convenient through the day and bid himself in the cut grass in the late evening. As no woman used bathing dresses in those days, it was quite easy for John to see the loved one in her skin. So after that, John lost no time in asking Sally if she would stack her duds with his, which she did.
Father Mathew's was a priest who had a chapel near to the "Lover's Leap" in County Wicklow. He thought he could do more good going round Ireland selling temperance medals and lecturing on the evils of whiskey drinking and the Fifth Commandment. When he come to Ballybay, he heard Frank Quinn of the Corner was a hard drinker. Of a fair morning, Father was speaking to Quinn when Father Mathews come forward and said he wanted Quinn to put his hand on his heart and his hand across and swear by the 10 crosses of Christ he would never drink whiskey except as medicine. Father said to Frank, "You are an old schoolfellow
of mine I wish well. You are not safe company in whiskey, be advised by me and do as your spiritual adviser requires of you." He treated all remarks with silent contempt. Oh the moment, a school boy took a handful of peas out of Frank's bag. Frank gave him a kick in the private parts and the boy died on the spot in a sad fit of convulsions. Frank was arrested. Father and the priest too as witnesses. Father said to Frank, "You have done this sad deed under the influence of whiskey. Like a good fellow do as Father Mathews requires of you and he and I will bring you out of this sad misfortune, as it is purely an accident." Quinn took the medal and never violated his pledge. He became a decent man and lived toffee the day his house was free of rent. I saw several of Father Mathew's medals. A raised figure on one side was a man in rags with a glass in his hand and in raised letters under, "The drunkard will be clothed with rags." On the other side, you saw Father Mathews and a man shaking hands and saying, "Farewell to whiskey." Rev'd. Father Mathews was the last man known to take off his hat and with his hand on his heart to say when meeting a funeral in Ballybay God's will be done.
As I have still quite a lot of things to say would likely be useful to my children when I pass away, I have begun a second book will likely be equal to this.
 According to family tradition, Thomas C. Breakey's Huguenot ancestor was James William de Brequet. When he became a subject of William of Orange, i.e. William III, King of England, etc., he changed the spelling of his name from the French de Breauet to the English Breakey. He is said to have died in 1728. According to Thomas C. Breakey, he died in 1698. E.P.B.
 James Hamilton Breakey of Sheffield, England, in a letter to the Rev. James C. Breakey, D.D., of Belfast, dated 22nd June, 1943, wrote, "With reference to your remark re the connection between your branch and ours, it is definitely stated in the record handed down to Tom Breakey that John de Breakey of Balladian and William de Breakey who settled in Lisgillin and built the house in 1690 and in 1717 built Drumskelt for his son William were cousins, so their fathers must have been brothers". This letter is presently, May, 1968, in the possession of the Rev. Dr. James C. Breakey of Belfast. James Hamilton Breakey was manager of the Osborn Steel Works in Sheffield for many years. E.P.B.
A major portion of "the record handed down to Tom Breakey" that was cited by James Hamilton Breakey, was a manuscript written by John Breakey (1782 -1878) of Drumskelt. Several members of the family have seen it and refer to it as John Breakey's Book. Presently, (1968) no one seems to know where it is. What a tragedy that valuable family records are lost to posterity without explanation. E.P.B.
 My Great Grandmother's maiden name was Martha Mitchell. She was from Monaghan and a direct descendant of the Breakeys of Drumskelt . Martha Mitchell and her husband, Great Grandfather William Breakey, were cousins. They lived in Balladian near Ballybay in County Monaghan and manufactured linen. E.P.B.
Wm. D. Breakey of Lisgillin = James William de Brequet. The initial "D" -as used here must have derived from the prefix "De" of the French de Brequet. The cousin who built Balladian House in 1692 was named John. E.P.B.
 Arnold Stewart Breakey, Jr., M.D., of 718 Park Avenue, New York City 10021, is in possession of records (1968) that refute this statement. Dr. Breakey is descended from this Obadiah Breakey. According to these records, Obadiah was born at Stewart Brook, near Bailieborough, in Co. Cavan, 27 June, 1783, and died at New York, 10 December, 1860. He married Elizabeth Delaney at Ballyboy, Frankford, in Kings County. He was a soldier in the Peninsula War, 1808- 1814, received a musket wound, but lived to come home. He and his wife Elizabeth had a family of eleven children, 4 sons and 7 daughters.
 A stone is l4 pounds by legal definition in Britain. E.P.B.
 See letter written by Mary Breakey Gillespie from Gallatin, Missouri, U. S. A., in 1915. In appendix. E.P.B.
 Cwt. is the abbreviation for hundredweight, i.e., 100 pounds. EPB
 Andrew of Corryhagen House. His son, Hans Denaston, came to Canada and settled on the Chaudiere River south of Quebec where he founded the lumber manufacturing and pulp wood business inherited and greatly expanded by his son John Breakey (born there 9 April, 1846), See Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1912. Breakeyville, situated about 10 miles south of Quebec [City], was named for this family.
 Great Grandfather Breakey's Christian name was William. He married his cousin, Martha Mitchell. They manufactured linen near Ballybay, County Monaghan. I have a large linen towel manufactured by them and given to their son James when he left Ireland for America with his bride in 1848. E.P.B.
 Treacle: A strong dark molasses. E.P.B
 Claverhouse was James Graham, Marquis of Dundee, known to sentimentalists as "Bonnie Dundee". He was descended from Saxons and a military man of some note. A supporter of James II, a Stuart, who was soon to be displaced by William of Orange, he was sent into the western lowlands of Scotland to persecute the Covenanters and force them to conform. E.P.B.
 Grandfather James Breakey and his bride, the former Jane Craig Burgess, came to America in 1848. On arriving in Philadelphia, they visited the Lunney's who advised them to seek land in north-western Pennsylvania. They did, and settled in Jefferson County, near Brookville. Could the Lunney's of Philadelphia have been related to the Lunney's of Cootehill? E.P.B.
 See pages 14 and 19 ?? E.P.B
 See page 13. E.P.B.
 Columbkille is better known to us as Columba. Saint Columba was not a contemporary with Saint Patrick. See Appendix for comments on Saint Columba. E.P.B
 He was born in 1834 and this was being written about 1900.' He died in 1914. Our problem was, which words had been misspelled by the author and which had been misspelled unintentionally by Miss Stewart when transcribing on the typewriter. E.P.B.
 Provincial for gallows or braces. E.P.B.
 Cummerbund? E.P.B.