This little girl is the only one of my ancestors, back to 1800, not born in south Ulster.

It brings to mind another little girl, her great-grandmother, who was born in India about 1794 and married 11 years later.

Picture of Elsie Henry
Family Genealogy By Peter Morell McWilliam


JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ Jane Donaldson funeral/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

Personal Records by Rev John Morell McWilliam

A Personal Record - J.M. McWilliam - 1957

Corlatt House, Monaghan
Corlatt stands about a mile and a half outside Monaghan past the Roman Catholic Cathedral on the Castleshane road. The avenue is about 400 yards long, and under fine beech trees. My father bought Corlatt about 1896 when he was appointed Clerk of the Crown and Peace. We had about 60 acres of land round the house. The house when he bought it had two main stories with attics and a sunk basement. The date over the door showed that it was about 100 years old. My father built an extension to the front with a dining-room and drawing-room and a fairly large hall, and four bedrooms above. We went in through the hall and up five or six steps into the back hall. These corresponded to the steps up to the old front door. Passing through the hall we came to a glass and wooden bridge over the basement area into the garden. The Cathedral bells could be heard every quarter of an hour and played tunes every three hours. When two small bedrooms were being made into one it was found that the separating wall was made of peat bricks. About 1850 Corlatt had been a school, kept by the Rev. John Bleckley, Presbyterian minister of Monaghan. Probably from this time two of the rooms over the neighbouring barn yard were plastered and ceiled. We used one of these as a billiard room with a three-quarter sized billiard table. In the lawn in front of the house there was an ornamental pond about 40 yards long. We had several tame call-ducks on this, and a few rainbow trout, one or two of which grew to be two pounds in weight. We had a fair-sized garden with a thorn hedge and a greenhouse with vines and peaches. From the front of Corlatt we could see Caledon House, ten miles away. Four miles beyond Corlatt was Castleshane, the Lucas house with about 40 rooms and a large park.

Sports and games
We had all the normal amusements of our time. We had shooting rights at Kilaneil, four miles from Corlatt, and there were small marshes near Corlatt and Aughnaseda Lake, on which we had a boat and a bathing house. We all made collections of birds’ eggs and shot small birds with airguns. Weshot pigeons round the house. We fished the Blackwater about four miles away, where I once caught a trout that weighed two pounds two ounces. In four successive shooting seasons, 1903-1906, I got 43, 53, 84, 30 snipe. My fishing and shooting diaries from 1899 are still in existence. My brothers were better shots than I was, especially Herbert. He later shot for Co Leitrim when it won the Irish Champioship at clay-pigeon shooting. From about 1900 my brothers were all playing first class hockey. We all played tennis, sometimes with JC Parks, later a Davis Cup champion, cricket, hockey, golf, Association and Rugby football. Herbert won the gold medal for athletic sports one year at Dungannon Royal School. We were all accustomed to manage boats. Frequently we went to stay at Cumry Lodge with my uncle Jim, for shooting and fishing. I used to stay at Ballinamore, Co Leitrim with my uncle Harris Morell, for fishing and birds’ nesting. We had a second life at Bundoran which came to be as much our home as Corlatt. We had more of a family connection with that part of Ireland. We were out on Lough Erne and Lough Melvin. As time went on I became more and more involved in serious natural history.
Contemporaries of ours at Monaghan, Barnet Allison and George McAllen, were the only two schoolboys who ever played Rugby for Ireland.
My Aunt Marion died in 1914 or 1915 shortly after my marriage. Willie worked at the Dublin bar, Russell lived at Holly Lodge, Monaghan, Herbert at Bowelk near Cumry Lodge, two miles from Ballybay. Corlatt was practically deserted, and my father finally sold it about 1922, for £4,000, which he settled on my sisters.

The Staff
Willie Maxwell was our yardman and cattle man and gardener by turns. He lasted all my time, He was the son of Maxwell who had a farm house above Aughnaseda lake and kept the keys of our boat-house. When we took Corlatt we took with it Ned McCaffray, aged 90-100. His daughter, old Jane, who looked after the turkeys, was about 70. They lived in a house of great filth on the other side of the road, along with a married son and his family. Ned's work consisted in sweeping up the leaves on the avenue and chopping sticks for the house. He was like a scare-crow except that he was bent double. In a dispute with the maids his language was of a coarser generation than ours. If he was on the avenue the horses shied and bolted. Drying sticks in the stickhouse he sometimes set the place on fire. My father frequently dismissed him. Once I saw him come up to my aunt with his hat in his hand, weeping, and he announced in a sepulchral voice, Ma'am, I'm sacked. She advised him to keep out of the Master's sight for a week or two, and it would be all right. In a moment of impatience my father once promised him his full pay if he would go away and keep away. There were no old age pensions in those days to protect us from nuisances like old Ned. He refused indignantly.

Photo of Jack on side-car

My father had a liking for good horses, and these were driven in beautifully made Irish side-cars. Two people sat on each side back to back, with a luggage "well" between them. Our coachman, Park, who sat on a high seat facing the horse, wore full livery with a tall hat with a cockade on one side. One the back of these cars it was customary to have the family crest painted. On carriage doors one often saw the family arms. Park, the coachman, could not read or write, and at one time conducted a love correspondence with the help of one of the maids. Once he had quarrelled with a maid and when he gave her a letter to read for him from his girl the maid read frightful things out of it. He, after the first shock, saw that he was being insulted. Bridget, the old cook joined in the scene and Park went for her with his fists. She caught hold of a carving-knife as my aunt came into the kitchen. Life below stairs was more interesting than above.
Bridget was a devout Roman Catholic, and was urged by the priest to go on a pilgrimage to Lough Derg. According to her own account Bridget replied that if it was penance he meant, didn't she get that every time she went up the lane to her mother's house, or if he meant a trip to the sea-side wasn't she going in July to Bundoran with Miss Morell.
We had for many years a delightful housemaid called Lizzie. When we had friends staying with us one time she complained to my aunt that she couldn't wait at table because the stories were so funny. Once she slammed down a dish on a side-board and bolted for the hall to relieve her feelings. I have been at dinner at Corlatt when we were more or less reduced to that state too.
Park, the coachman, had a strong sense of superiority to everyone else. He was always right. Once he began to make a kennel for Prince inside one of the rooms at the yard. Someone saw that it wouldn't go through the door when it was finished, but nothing was said until he had to take it to pieces later. Then everyone asked about it.

William McWilliam
My father, William McWilliam was born at Creggan, Co Armagh, 11th March, 1849, in the manse. He was a younger son the Rev. Thomas McWilliam, and was one of a large family. His father retired through ill health in 1859 and died in 1863 when my father was fourteen. His mother must have had some money as several sons took professions, but there was not much. To make it possible for my father to become a solicitor a friend of the family took him as an apprentice without fees. The result was that when my father began to practice in Monaghan (in 1874) he had to set himself to pay back three hundred pounds, and he had no money of his own. In a few years he had a large practice. We were told that at one time he made twice as much as any solicitor in the county had ever made before. He was political agent and personal friend of Sir John and Lady Constance Leslie. A close friend in those days of whom he often spoke was Basil Brooke of the Brookeborough family. We lived at that time in a house in North Road, near the railway station, where my nephew James McWilliam (my father - P.McW.) still has his office. About 1896 my father was appointed Clerk of the Crown and Peace. This meant a fall in income, but the appointment had great social and professional prestige as the chief legal and administrative post in the county. In later life he complained that he was an unfortunate man as there was no crown and no peace. It was after this appointment that he bought Corlatt. Except for special things like the Assizes he had less work than in the past.
He was six feet in height with a fine head and shoulders and a beautiful voice. People who had known him in earlier times said to us he was the handsomest man that they had ever seen. Contemporary photographs suggest this. He had a reputation as a public speaker and as an advocate in court. He was an intensely fair-minded man and had no enemies. After his wife's death, from all accounts, he retired in on himself, seldom went to see anyone and perhaps did not get very much pleasure from life. He was an apprehensive man, both for himself and for his children. During that later Irish troubles he was very unhappy. He continued to work under the new government and rendered great service to it in helping it through the change-over. He frequently asked to be released but always consented to stay on in office. He was finally released at the age of seventy-eight and died a few months later. At his funeral the flags were at half-mast on the government buildings.
Having a very large professional practice in early life, he had a lot of work to give barristers and in this way made many friends who rose to eminence. When he was appointed to his post he was given a presentation by his friends of a magnificent salver, nearly too heavy to use, and when he retired he was given another smaller one. Towards the end he gave his children everything that he owned, and when he died he left nothing except a gold watch and a life-insurance policy and the balance of a quarter's pension.
At one stage of the Irish troubles he was turned out of his office by the revolutionaries and threatened with death. He came to Scotland and lived with me for some time in the not very unfortunate position of drawing an income of £1,800 a year while forcibly prevented from doing any work for it.

Anna Russell, Mrs McWilliam
My father's mother, Anna Russell of Newry, Mrs. McWilliam, lived with us at different times and impressed us all greatly. She was born in 1813 and died at Bray near Dublin in 1903, when I was at Trinity. She was related to the Corry family of Newry, which had great political influence in Grattan's parliament and she was to us a monument of the past. She was in our time a large stout woman, dressed in black silk of some sort with a large stiff lace cap. She was very pleasant and humorous, with a perfect voice. She brought up a large family at Crossmaglen in Co. Armagh after her husband's death. She was a Georgian in her outlook and manners, and must have known many survivors from the 18th century. She was very devout and taught us hymns. She was terrified of thunder and during a storm she knelt at her bed, or retired to a sort of box-room, which had a very small window. She said that electric trams were wicked. She thought that they were tampering with lightning. She was terrified of railway trains. We can now see that she had reason for her prejudices. She was much the best educated woman of our immediate relatives in those days. Later she lived at Bray, near Dublin, with my Aunt Anna, and had some men distinguished at the bar as her friends. The people of those days were in a sense very sure of themselves and their surroundings. There might be troubles in Ireland of a local sort, but they were guarded by the British Navy. I am quite sure that she never was out of Ireland in her life and would not have had the slightest wish to go anywhere else. One of her sons, John Richardson McWilliam had settled in Australia, and her daughter Anna in the Argentine. Her grandfather, Matthew Russell, frequently sailed the Atlantic in his own ship. She loved children, and had about ten of her own. One of her great regrets was that one of a pair of twins had died. She said that when they were together they were the loveliest little creatures that she had ever seen. These people in general took life as it came, without worrying about theoretical matters. At the same time we in Ireland were not greatly affected by English Victorianism. Our women were not in the least like the women of English Victorian fiction. This was no doubt a middle class conception. Our attitude to the English in general was one of amusement. In my grandmother's early life there was not much of a middle class or an industrial class corresponding to those in England. In Stewart's History of Armagh, 1823, a Mrs. McWilliam of Armagh is described as a "mild, pleasing, and benevolent old lady". This would exactly fit out grandmother.

William McWilliam, son of William McWilliam
My brother Willie was the most interesting and accomplished of our family. He was educated after a fashion at the Collegiate School, Monaghan, the Royal School, Dungannon, and Trinity College, Dublin. He detested book-work and examinations. He was called to the Dublin bar, and knew Dublin life at every grade. He had countless friends. He was a fine athlete, played hockey for Trinity and Three Rock Rovers and Ireland, was wicket-keeper for Trinity, and with James McCausland won the doubles championship of Trinity at lawn tennis. He was careless in most matters. Amongst his friends were many men like William Orpen and Oliver Gogarty. Orpen wanted to paint him and asked for a fee of £50. Willie said that he hadn't got the fifty. A few years later he told Orpen that he had the fifty, but Orpen held out for a higher fee. You see, said Orpen, there is a lot more of you to paint than there used to be. Willie saw Oliver Gogarty driving a large car through Dublin and was given a lift and asked Gogarty how he got the money for it. Gogarty replied, You know as well as I do McWilliam, when we were in Trinity with a hundred a year we lived as if we had a thousand, and now that we have a thousand we live as if we had ten. Willie served in the trenches in France with the Connaught Rangers in the first world war. He was invalided home and appointed head of the court martial service in Dublin. He told me later that French when he was viceroy twice urged him to become his aide-de-camp. He had much legal work to do of the highest importance. When he had to retire from this he got letters of thanks from the Lord Chancellor and the General Officer Commanding in Ireland. He was offered a seat in the English parliament but could not afford to take it. He toured England at one general election speaking against Home Rule, sometimes, if I remember rightly, with FE Smith. He was an intensely fair-minded man, and could see as far round a corner as most people. Many of our relations had sat in the Irish Parliament, in both houses, often taking different sides. Also, in Trinity, many of our friends were Catholics. When Willie was going into the Connaught Rangers a priest told him that he would say mass for him in Monaghan Cathedral. Later he was a Resident Magistrate in Belfast, Crown Prosecutor for the County and City of Derry, and Chairman of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal for Northern Ireland. During the first world war he married Amy Purdon.
The last time I saw him he said to me in a thoughtful voice that he and I had wasted our gifts. He said to me once that he was very unwilling to send people to jail. Also that there was no use in fining them as it just fell on the family. I asked him what he did, and he answered, You know that I am a good natured sort of man. Whenever it is possible I scold them and send them out of court.

The Morell succession

Photo of Cumry Lodge

My uncle, James Morell, was minister of 2nd Ballybay Presbyterian Church. He lived in Cumry Lodge, his own house, two miles from Ballybay. His grandfather, James Morell, was appointed minister of Ballybay in 1799, and the three generations ministered to the same people for a hundred and seventeen years. I took the service for my uncle once, and there was, if I remember right, a man actually present who had heard the four generations. When my great-grandfather died the majority of the congregation refused to appoint my grandfather on the grounds of his youth, so a large minority separated and built a new church in the same neighbourhood for him. The story is that my great-grandmother was angry at her son not being appointed to the original congregation and removed the body of her husband to the new churchyard. My grandfather was the brother of Charles Lucas Morell, minister of Dungannon and moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church, and of James Morell, Chief Inspector of Schools for Ireland. We often used to go to Cumry when we were children, and shoot and fish on the chain of lakes towards Cootehill. It was a common thing for us to get up in the dark on winter mornings and eat a slice of bread and butter, walk a mile to the boat, and row up the lakes and put the boat into the reeds and wait for the wigeon coming in at dawn. We had fairly good pike fishing. The largest pike that I caught weighed five pounds ten ounces. When my uncle died in 1916 my brother was asked whether I could go to this church. If I had felt that I could do this the succession might have lasted for a hundred and sixty years. In Cumry Lodge there was a magnificent oak arm chair with the initials and date A.M. 1673. There was an interesting churn operated by a horse that walked in a circle outside the dairy window. In the hall there were a few relics of Matthew Russell of Newry, the sea captain. There were Indian clubs, one with a deep cut in it said to have been made by a sword. There was a large fishbone of some sort, said to be of a swordfish, and a large horn, now in my possession, which was used to call the workmen to dinner from the far fields. A few stories of my great-grandfather came down to us. One was that he became very stout and at one stage could swim further than he could walk. Another story was that he used to lead parties of his congregation up to the lakes in boats in the summer evenings with fiddlers, to dance in one of the fields. He was moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church. A manuscript volume of sermons by my great-grandfather has survived, preached during the Napoleonic wars. These were entirely theological and there is no indication whatever that they were preached in a time of war. A story came down to us that his wife, Letitia Harris, who was born in 1780, was brought with her family into Clones during the 1798 rebellion and saw the rebels being hanged after it. This may be true as she survived till shortly before my time and many of my relatives had known her. In her old age she liked to have the newspapers read to her and was specially interested in murders and crimes of violence. Her son, John Morell, had considerable gifts as a storyteller and gratified her tastes by inventing accounts of the most sensational happenings. As he read these to her they were punctuated by exclamations of horror and indignation, The scoundrels, The murderous ruffians. Accounts that I was given of these proceedings suggest that if John Morell had lived in our day he might have shone as a writer of thrillers.

Family stories
It is notorious that all family stories are untrue. Lord Belmore reluctantly rejected all such about his family. But they may be worth preserving. My grandfather, John Morell, was asked for a certificate of character by a member of his church who was going away. The certificate read that the man was perfectly fitted to leave this or any other congregation in Ireland. The man thanked him and took it.
My mother wanted to have me named "Morell McWilliam". My grandfather who baptised me said that this was no name to call a boy, and in spite of protests said "I will just baptise him by my own name, John Morell". He has my gratitude for this.
When he was a boy he composed a poem about a man that he greatly disliked:

I do sincerely and verily believe
That since the creation of Adam and Eve
An uglier man God never did make.
Thy face was with the smallpox pitted,
And thy nose was as if a dog had bit it,
Who had tried to kiss thee for thy beauty's sake.

John Morell was rather deaf. In childish sport one evening someone put a cock in a bandbox under his bed. Next morning at breakfast, he remarked that his hearing must be getting better, as he had distinctly heard the cock crowing for the first time in years.
My granduncle Charles Lucas Morell, the moderator, was asked to go to a church and preach and try to make peace in the congregation. The church had been re-seated and two men claimed the same pew as their own. One man contended that he had always had the eighth pew from the front and the other claimed that the pew was his as it was above a certain knot-hole in the floor. On previous Sundays they had thrown one another out of the pew. The Session took steps to prevent a recurrence of this on the Sunday when my granduncle was there by filling the pew to the top with brushwood. When Charles Morell went into the pulpit one of the claimants was sitting on top of the brushwood.
In late life my granduncle, Rev Daniel Eccles Dickson of Pettigo said to my father that he would send him some of the family silver. He sent it by rail in a sack tied with string. The contents of the sack included a two-handled cup of Irish silver of 1710 and a cruet of 1743.
His father, the Rev James Lowry Dickson was said to have been very careless of money in early life. He drew money one day in Ballyshannon and on his way home his wife irritated him by grumbling at his improvidence. In reply he threw the money that he had drawn into the river Erne as he was crossing the bridge. When blamed for his improvidence his usual reply was There will be enough for Molly and me.
When Daniel Dickson was a young man he lived at one time near one of his Lowry cousins and never went to see him. Lowry said to him “You needn’t be so stand-offish with me, Daniel, for if you mother would have had me I’d have been your papa”.
I have the parchment with the great seal of Ireland appointing my great-grandfather, the Rev James Lowry Dickson, to the charge of Rossinver. The appointment was by George III and William Stuart brother of the Marquess of Bute and Archbishop of Armagh. I showed this once to the late Marquess of Bute who took me round to the Register House in Edinburgh to show it to Sir Francis Grant the Lord Lyon.
I have a letter from the brothers A and J Lowry (Armar and James) to my granduncle Daniel Dickson after his induction at Pettigo. They went him a cheque for £20 and congratulated him on the warmth of his reception by his parishioners, but said that they would have preferred to read beer instead of whiskey.

As well as a horse and car we always had a pony trap, with Shrimp, a Shetland pony. We could harness Shrimp for ourselves and drive her to town, or out shooting. At one stage my aunt got the idea that she would like Shrimp to have a foal. The necessary steps were taken, and Shrimp was put out to grass. She got stouter and stouter, though she had always been on the stout side, and we all talked about the foal. Nothing ever happened, and it gradually became clear, after endless discussion, that the foal was merely a dream. So Shrimp was pushed back into the shafts after her holiday. At a later stage someone discovered that Shrimp was blind. We found that unless the reins were pulled she would trot past the avenue gate, taking no notice of it. It is clear that a pony’s life is largely spent in a stable. It is led out and harnessed and driven about and there is little need for sight any more than in a motor car. It would be led to a field where it eat the grass. But it is doubtful if this state of affairs could last long without being noticed.
We had a magnificent black retriever, Prince, for shooing the marshes. Prince loved chocolates above everything. He would sit up and beg for them until the hair wore thin on his behind. We had a red and white setter, Sancho, for grouse and partridges. We shot grouse over dogs. Driving and the burning of heather had not then come in. I think that we got up to a hundred brace of grouse in a couple of weeks on the mountain in Donegal.

My father and my mother were brought up in the Presbyterian Church, though many of our relatives were Church of Ireland, and so we were Presbyterians. We drove to town past the great Roman Catholic cathedral on the hill to our church in one of the least attractive parts of the town. The services in most Presbyterian churches represented one of the dullest forms of worship ever invented. There were metrical psalms but no hymns and no instrumental music. The ministers dressed in frock coats without gowns, though in my time these things were rapidly changing. We began with a psalm and then a prayer lasting about fifteen minutes with much scriptural quotation and much doctrine. For this the women sat on the seats with their heads bowed. The men turned their backs on the minister and in theory knelt on the seats but in practice stood with their arms resting on the back of their pew. Long passages of Scripture were read, and a sermon of half an hour was expected. After twenty minutes or so our only feeling was an acute desire that the minister would stop, and we were hopeful every time he slowed down. The Presbyterian Church had begun as the church of the Scotch but by our time it was a middle class, all the land-owners going to the Church of Ireland. We also had a pew in the Church of Ireland but seldom went there except to bring a guest. Our family had a large square pew in the Presbyterian Church, beside the choir. At its best the Presbyterian service could be very impressive, for example with my uncle, or in Belmont Church, Belfast, which we attended when at Campbell College.

School and Holidays
My three brothers went to Dungannon Royal School, under RF Dill, who had at one time been master at Monaghan Collegiate School. He must have been the uncle of Field-Marshall Dill, CIGS in the second world war. Later in 1898 Herbert transferred to Campbell College, Belfast, where I joined him in 1899. When we went to Corlatt ca 1896, Russell was a solicitor’s apprentice and so lived part of the year in Dublin. He first played hockey for Ireland in 1901. Anna went to a boarding school at Warrenpoint. The result was that Nina and I were the only two who were at Corlatt all the year, and it was only in holidays that we were all there together. Also we had Rochfort Lodge at Bundoran and usually spent a month or two there in the summer, where we had fishing on the Bundrouse, and grouse-shooting on the mountain at Carnburgh between Ballintra and Pettigo, part of the Dickson property. At Corlatt the full family consisted of my father, Aunt Marion my mother’s sister, who took the management of our house after my mother’s death in 1887, Aunt Eva, a younger sister, and the six of us. My father and Aunt Marion were married later when the Deceased Wife’s Sister law was passed. Also there were relatives who were regular visitors, especially Louisa Ellis. It was socially desirable that there should be other women in the house besides my aunt. We had a fair number of guests including a few who were eminent at the Irish bar, cousins like the Johnstones of Bawnboy, Co Cavan, college friends like TSC Dagg, Harold Murphy and Ned Murphy. My uncle James Morell sometimes drove down for the day, by horse of course, from his house, Cumry Lodge, Ballybay. My uncle Harris Morell, came for shooting. Gerrard Eccles of Moneygould, Mrs Skipworth, Mrs O’Brien and her daughters. So that at dinner at Christmas-time we might have a household of about twelve people, with Irish glass and silver on the table.

Till motor transport arrived in force the roads were not surfaced as they are today. They were kept passable by cart-loads of broken stones piled into ruts. In wet weather roads were often deep in mud. This was scraped off and put in small heaps beside the road and gradually accumulated. In dry weather, dust was so unpleasant that drivers tried to pass one another and give the other their dust. In cycling one had to avoid water and stones and even deep dust. Footpaths were commonly used for cycling though this was illegal. These soft roads were easier for horses and it would not be possible to have a large horse transport on the hard roads of today. A surprising number of driving accidents occurred, often with fatal injuries, and it has been said that in proportion to mileage there were more accidents than there are today. The change over from horse to motor transport caused special trouble for a few years. Horses plunged and bolted at the sight and sound of a motor car. Most transport was by horse and cart at a walking pace. The change over was very marked during and immediately after the first world war. My father had sometimes to go to Carrickmaccross on professional business about 20 miles from Monaghan. One would expect this to take nearly three hours. It meant sitting on an outside car with a heavy overcoat, and a rug round his knees, sometimes walking uphill to save the horse.

Thomas Dickson of Rochfort Lodge, Co Donegal, died when we were in Trinity and his sister, Anna Dickson, Mrs Jenkins, gave Rochfort to my aunts for their lifetime. We went there every summer. It was much more our home county than Monaghan as several families of our relations had lived in that neighbourhood for a good many generations. We had fishing in the Bundrouse river. It was there that I caught my first three-quarter pound trout. We had grouse-shooting and fishing at Carnhugh about fifteen miles away, towards Donegal, and splendid bathing. Rochfort had two large sitting-rooms and seven or eight bedrooms. My aunts covered expenses by letting it for a month or two in the summer. We constantly had friends to stay with us and plenty of friends to call on us, as Bundoran was a very popular sea-side place.
Our cousin, Gerrard Eccles and his family lived at Moneygould in Co Sligo about twelve miles away. We were on the edge fo the country-side made famous by the poet Yeats. Ben Bulben was behind Rochfort. Mrs Eccles was, I think, the aunt of Constance and Eva Gore-Booth about whom Yeats wrote so much. I do not think that any of the immediate family ever met either of them. I once asked Mrs Eccles whether there would be any risk of my being stranded for the night if I went to Innismurray and she replied that the only person that had ever been stranded in that way was Madame Markiewicz, and that she always tried to make herself conspicuous. Nina Eccles told me that once her brother Gerrard was riding in a field with Constance Gore-Booth. There was a cow lying in the field and Gerrard Eccles bet Constance Gore-Booth a shilling that she wouldn’t jump the cow. She put her horse straight at it but the cow got up when it saw her coming and the horse and its rider and the cow crashed together. My brother Willie was at a Three Rock Rovers hockey dinner with her husband, Count Markiewiez and they went off after it in a car. Markiewicz said that his wife was at a ball and he wanted to pick her up. When they stopped at the door a servant came out and the Count asked him to let his wife know that he was waiting, The servant suggested that Count Markiewicz should come in. No, I can’t go in, said the Markiewicz. I’m drunk.
In later years both my sisters played hockey for Co Sligo for a few seasons. I think that Nina once played for Connaught.
I was constantly over all that shore working at birds, and in much later years was at Innismurray. Jan Eccles pointed out to my sister Anna what she believed to be the Isle of Innisfree on Lough Gill.

Photo of Duncarbery Lodge near Tullaghan, Co Leitrim

Mrs Jenkins, our cousin, had a lovely old thatched house beside the village of Tullaghan, half a mile from Rochfort Lodge. In it there was a gilt harp four or five feet high that she had played when she was a girl. My aunt Eva told me that long ago she was at a dance in Dungarberry Lodge where they had fifty people, all cousins. And where are they all now? Said my aunt. Tullaghan village had the old stone cross, re-erected in 1772 by Major Thomas Dickson, my great-great-grandfather.


Bundoran; Ancient History
Rochfort Lodge was built a generation or two before us by a Colonel Rochfort on Dickson ground. Later it was bought back by the Dicksons. {It is near the coast between Tullaghan and Bundoran.} The Dicksons owned the salmon fishery on the Bundrouse close to Rochfort, the boundary between Ulster and Connaught. It had formerly belonged to Assaroe Abbey near Ballyshannon. Our Dickson ancestors lived at or near Ballyshannon by 1660. A relative told me that at one time they lived in Kilbarron Castle. In my generation my cousin Lowry Eccles was rector of Kilbarron Parish.
Kilbarron was formerly owned by the O’Clery family, and the Annals of the Four Masters were chiefly written by members of this family who were monks at Donegal Abbey. It appears that the monks left Donegal Abbey about 1610-15. They settled for a time on the Donegal bank of the Bundrouse and it was there that the Annals were written, about a mile of so from where we lived in later times. This story is given in the Donegal Annual, 1956.
Several member so the O’Donnel family of Donegal were friends of ours. Mrs McCartney, wife of the manager of the Ulster Bank at Monaghan was a sister of John O’Donel of Larkfield, head of the family. Her mother, the old Mrs O’Donel, was a friend of my grandmother, and the two old ladies used to sit together on a seat on the cliff, dressed in black. Alice McCartney stayed with us sometimes at Rochfort. My great-great-grandfather Major Thomas Dickson was a member of parliament for Ballyshannon.

Pettigo, by Lough Erne
Daniel Dickson was rector of Muckrose, beside Lough Erne, for many years. He died when I was at Trinity. The large Boa Island was in his parish. He sometimes took a service there and the parishioners rang the bell when his boat put out. He was a keen fisherman. I have a clock with an inscription on a brass plate. Presented by Capt Charles E Eccles to the Rev Daniel Eccles Dickson. Dapping Season, 1890. When he died I spent a few days in the rectory with my father. In the rectory there was no sanitation of any kind, not even a dry outside closet. Daniel Dickson for many years had thrown his letters on the floor of a disused bedroom. It was deep in papers, and a search had to be made through these for papers in connection with investments. I collected a few letters in the old envelopes written by my great-grandmother and other relatives. I also collected a fine map of Ireland, 1800. I should have taken many more letters. I only met him once when he stayed with us at Rochfort Lodge. He was a small and precise and unobtrusive man. Pettigo was the railway station for the pilgrims to St Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg. I once stayed at Pettigo for a few days with my father and Willie and Herbert, and fished Lough Derg. When we were fishing just off the Station Island there were large numbers of pilgrims going round the rocky shore on their hands and knees.

Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim
Harris Morell, my uncle, was for some years the Manager of a Bank at Ballinamore about forty miles from Monaghan. I frequently went to stay with him for fishing and birdsnesting. The journey took most of the day with long waits at Clones and Belturbet. The final stage of the journey was on the Cavan and Leitrim light railway. On this railway the train would stop and let us off at a bridge over the river and pick us up again. This favour may have been shown because my cousin Robert Johnstone of Bawnboy was a director. My uncle once killed a trout to repeated blasts of the railway whistle. Once we ran into a woman who had been driving a flock of young ducks along the line and jumped back again at the last moment to save a duck. We all got out of the train. She was very angry but not much hurt, so after we had sat smoking by the railway side for a quarter of an hour the engine-driver told us that it was time we were getting on. My uncle lived in a house over the bank in one street of the town. He was attended to by an elderly housekeeper. It was she who once asked for a brush with a long handle as it was degrading sweeping the back-yard with a brush with a short handle. We had a good horse and trap and after office hours used to drive out to fish or call on friends. My uncle shot clay pigeons on the Co. Leitrim team along with Bob Hutton and The O'Connor Don. John O'Donnel of Larkfield used to go to matches. Our two principle associates at Ballinamore were Hyland (and) the egg-merchant and Richardson the jeweller. We played dominoes with them most spare evenings. One night my uncle succeeded in cheating Hyland out of a shilling. He grasped this fact later and after we were in bed came knocking at our door and demanding his shilling back.
One night there came a travelling entertainment, and my uncle and I and everyone else in Ballinmore went to it. We paid the smallest sum but were shown into the front seat. It was in some sort of market house, with small boys looking in through holes in the wall. The manager stuffed some of these with sacks. The entertainment consisted ostensibly of the manager and a girl and a tenor singer. At the start the manager said that he regretted that the tenor was disgracefully drunk and could not sing. He himself was quite a good conjurer, though there were sometimes cries of We saw how you did it. Suddenly the tenor appeared on the platform dressed in shirt and trousers. The manager ordered him to retire but the singer refused. Just as the song began the manager skilfully dropped the curtain and went behind and dealt with the emergency. He then came to the front and apologised for the disgraceful scene and did some more conjuring tricks. It was all well worth a shilling. Our friends in the neighbourhood included our cousins the Johnstones and the Hunts and the Penroses. There was a great house in ruins near Garadice lake, that had belonged, I think, to a family called Percy, in a fine park. As I was looking at it an old woman said to me Did you ever see such a shipwreck of a place in your life? One day with my uncle I saw a Holy Well with pennies in the water and rags stuck on the thorns in the tree beside it.

[Entrance Breakfast at Trinity College, Dublin.]

Music and Entertainments.
Everyone learnt to play the piano, though few kept it up after school-days. At Corlatt we often asked a few people out from town to dance in the polished hall. We could have six or eight couples. The piano was moved to the drawing-room door. My brother Willie was a very fine half-trained pianist, and had an attractive voice. He was always a star turn at bar dinners. My sister Anna was a fair pianist. People sang at the piano more than they do today. The favourite songs were the Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore, and the songs of Percy French. We danced to the Percy French lancers. He had a remarkable position in Irish social life. He began his career in a sense by accident. When he was in Trinity, half a generation before me, he headed a party of men from "Botany Bay", the Trinity quadrangle, to the Baldoyle races. They all blackened their faces and took collections, singing, no doubt, some of Percy French's songs among others. It was said that Botany Bay didn't sober down for a fortnight, as the collections were so good. This story has been verified in recent years. Later he began to go round the country towns giving concerts. I heard him at Bundoran. My brother Herbert had him for his guest at one concert. Raymond Browne-Lecky had him in this way at Ecclesville. He was a charming companion. He could draw a beautiful picture on a dinner plate that had been smoke blackened over a lamp with a match. He did one in this way for Herbert. Later he was entertained at Windsor and gave one of his concerts. He immortalised the Mountains of Mourne, where my grandmother lived long ago. When I was in Trinity I heard Albert Chevalier sing to a half empty theatre his famous coster songs, "Mrs Henry Hawkins", "My Dear Old Dutch" and all the others. In those days I saw Cinquevalli, the greatest juggler of all time. He set a billiard cue with its base on the floor. He balanced a billiard ball on the point and another on top of that. He then took a wineglass with a billiard ball in it and held the base of the glass in his mouth. He raised the billiard cue with its two balls and stood it with the base on the ball in the glass. He had a green coat with three pockets in the back. He took three billiard balls and threw them over his head and caught them in the three pockets.

Modern Inventions
Ours was the great age of inventions. The introduction of bicycles changed our lives considerably. My uncle Harris Morell rode a penny-farthing bicycle at an early stage. They were difficult to ride, as you were liable to fall over the front wheel if you put your weight too far forward. This happened to me on one trial. Then there came the low bicycles, at first with hard tyres and then with pneumatic tyres. It was at this stage that they came into general use. They increased our range of travel very considerably. They led to innumerable bicycle picnics. by the other people they were considered to be a serious danger on the roads, from their great speed. My granduncle, Daniel Dickson, said in my hearing that he always carried a stick, and that if one of them came too close to him he would shove the stick through the spokes. At one stage you saw on every quiet road someone learning. We all learnt on the road at the Corlatt avenue gate. We commonly rode without lights, even in the dark.
The first motor car that I saw was about 1900 when I was at Campbell College. I had my first drive in one at some sort of bazaar at Monaghan when we were given drives at half a crown each by Lane-joynt the racing motorist. I was beside him in the front seat and was impressed by our speed going down one hill, and on my enquiry he said that we were going at about thirty miles an hour. This was in the early part of the century, and at a bazaar some years later my sister Anna paid half a crown for a ride on an Irish side-car. The wheel had gone full circle.
The first aeroplane that I ever saw was when I was watching birds on Linlithgow Loch about 1912. It was flown on some long distance competition by Colonel Cody, Buffalo Bill. A few years earlier I had seen him do brilliant trick-shooting in a Dublin music-hall.
The first gramophone that I heard was at Monaghan. Someone took a hall and gave an entertainment with it. It worked its way through about ten records. Words and music were quite recognisable. The last item was Abide with Me. It is no wonder that it made an indelible impression on our minds, as it was our first introduction to the miracles of sound-recording.
In these early days it was a common thing to show a short film as the first thing in a music-hall show. We never guessed what this might lead to. We had always been accustomed to see this sort of thing done on magic lanterns.
A silver medal given for a bicycle race has recently been found in Belfast and it is suggested that this may be the earliest cycling medal known. On one side there is an engraving of a penny farthing bicycle, and on the other side WBC 10 Mile Road Race, 2nd Prize, won by H.B. Morell, 19th June, 1880. The initials appear to stand for Windsor Bicycle Club. Henry Brown Morell was my cousin, a son of Charles Lucas Morell and an officer in the Royal Irish Constabulary.
It is easy to see things that were wanting in our life at Corlatt. The house was not without books, but there was nothing of a library. We knew nothing about the early history of our county or district, or even of our own house and ground. When we were growing up there was too little free and well informed discussion at home of religion or literature or politics. My mother had six children between 1878 and 1885. She died in 1887, a week before Christmas, at the age of 32. Our house was managed in an efficient way as regards material things by my Aunt Marion, her older sister. But some of the important things in life were overlooked. Campbell College did not give us the education that we required, Dungannon Royal School even less. Life in Dublin gave us a good deal, especially in Trinity. But in general we just had to fend for ourselves. Perhaps we did not realise at the time how well off we were.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

Supplement to A Personal Record - J.M. McWilliam - 1960

In 1957 at the request of my daughter, Hester, I wrote A Personal Record which gives an account of the bringing-up of myself and my brothers and sisters at Corlatt and at Bundoran, about the beginning of the century. The following notes are a supplement to that, written on the same informal lines. There may be errors in detail. In 1959 I published in the Donegal Annual a paper on The Dickson and Conolly families of Ballyshannon. This also gives an account of our life at Bundoran. I have also written McWilliam family Record, and A Chaplain at Havre.

Mainly Economics
At the end of the last century the usual professional income in the county must have been about two to five hundred pounds a year. My uncle, Harris Morell, had a good house over his bank at Ballinamore and he told me that he was paid twenty pounds a month. He had a little money of his own. He had a housekeeper and kept a horse and trap. He was unmarried. After business hours he shot or fished most of the time. He had a wide circle of friends. He sometimes went to race meetings, and had seen the Grand National. His brother, the Revd. James Morell at Ballybay was not likely to have had a larger income, but he kept an all-purpose maid and a man to attend to all the outside work. He was married. Both of these men were in a very usual situation. Incomes were almost tax-free, and were payable in gold sovereigns. Education was very inexpensive as compared with today. The fees for Campbell College, one of the good Irish schools were sixty pounds a year, or a hundred for two brothers, sons of the clergy half price. When I was in Trinity College my total fees were not more than twenty-five pounds a year. My allowance from my father when I was in town was twenty-five shillings a week. Later it was raised to thirty. Other expenses included clothes, subscriptions to clubs, and railway fares. These were in addition to my living allowance. A suit of clothes from one of the good tailors cost four guineas. My father told me that my education cost him a thousand pounds. If he included all that he had ever spent on me it might have gone as high as that. My brothers' fees, two of them as solicitors and one as a barrister, would have made their total education more expensive than mine. For a short time the four of us were in Dublin together.
When my father was appointed Clerk of the Crown and Peace for Co. Monaghan it was possible for him to live out of town as there was no pressure of work. Several vacant houses were inspected and considered. My aunt at one stage raised the question of renting Castleshane, a house with thirty or forty rooms which was then unoccupied. Her chief reason was that her great-grandmother, Fanny Lucas, had been born there. This plan was abandoned. Finally the choice was made of Corlatt, a small country house of four stories, with seven rooms and kitchens and attics, very narrow from back to front. My father built an extension to the front of six rooms with a good-sized hall and lobby. We had good lawns and gardens and five fields. The total cost I have been told was about two thousand pounds. The house was managed with two inside maids and two men outside, with a good deal of extra help when needed. My father told me that it cost him three hundred a year to run the place, but when he had spent this he could have fed a multitude. We had horses, a couple of cows, some sheep, at times pigs, turkeys, ducks, hens. We had corn and hay for the animals and unlimited garden produce for the house, including grapes and peaches, apples and pears.
My father's professional income was about a thousand a year, possibly rather less. My two aunts had each perhaps two hundred a year of their own. Income tax was slightly over a shilling in the pound. The children were fed and clothed and educated. We had no regular pocket-money. We had guns, airguns, fishing rods, boats and bicycles. We had shooting on some snipe bogs at Kilaneil. Amongst our activities were marbles, hoops, cat-and-dog, handball, tennis, cricket, golf, billiards, association and Rugby football, hockey, skating. As well as Corlatt we had a family house near Bundoran and the shooting of a grouse moor and the Atlantic to swim in. Any economist who works out this sum will understand why my father grumbled a good deal about expenses. Like most such Irish families we had some rich relatives and friends, and looked on ourselves as much poorer than we should have been. However, we managed to knock along. My father sometimes informed us that we would all die in the workhouse.

The Authorities
The main authority in our house was my Aunt Marion, my mother's sister. My father had a general power of veto which he enjoyed exercising. I do not think that we seriously questioned their right to govern. In fact they had not as much power as they might have wished. We were a difficult team to manage. One great advantage of a country house is that it is usually quite easy to avoid the authorities. The world is a very wide place. My father, who was always anxious about the physical well-being, at least, of his children, once said to me, Go where you like and do what you like, but don't tell me about it. My aunt made the mistake of thinking that it was her duty to guide our minds and habits. She surprised me once in late life by saying that she really could not make up her mind as to what you might do on Sunday, but this was in later life and was the limit of her thinking. When we were children there were no doubts of this sort. Very much later I asked my two surviving brothers about their recollection of her. One said that she was a splendid woman and a most remarkable woman, but the narrowest-minded woman that God ever made. The other brother told me that she was of course totally and absolutely impossible, but when she came down to dinner and sat at the head of the table, dressed in velvet, By God she was a gentlewoman. My father and my aunt had at least the great gift of being hospitable. Our house was open to most people, and the younger people were encouraged to bring their friends there. We have had up to sixty or seventy friends at a dance. The dining room was cleared, and lit mostly by candles. A pianist and a violinist were brought down from Belfast. Guests arrived by horse and car. Supper was in about three relays in the dining-room across the hall, with turkeys and chickens and ducks and ham and trifles, and claret-cup to drink, with whiskey in the study for elderly friends who preferred whist to dancing. Some of the neighbouring country-people would stand on the gravel outside to see the dancers. We danced till about four o'clock. One night at dinner my aunt left the table and crashed in the hall. She recovered from the stroke and lived for a good many years. After that experience she became gentler, and was more willing to let things go as they liked.
Woman of her kind had usually no formal education whatever, and often did surprisingly well without it. Their power of memory was uninjured. Someone taught them to read and write. Their main intellectual interest was in family genealogies and relationships. To a great extent they kept the tribal history. At the settlement of the Shannock estate, which was extremely complicated, a lawyer said to my aunt that they were very pleased because they had found out that so-and-so was the father of so-and so. But said my aunt, he was never married. For goodness' sake said the lawyer, don't ever say that to anyone, or we'll have to begin again. We have got it all fixed up.
The circumstances that we were brought up in made the younger generation of the centrifugal kind. We banded ourselves together for certain purposes, but we each preferred to go our own way in life. Later when I knew a closely-knit family I thought at first how pleasant it was, but I felt later that I could not possibly have endured that sort of life. My father was no doubt right when he said to me that he had provided us with a country house and shooting and fishing and education and felt that he had done his duty by us.

Anna McWilliam

Photo of Anna McWilliam, sen
My aunt Anna, my father's sister, was one of the few originals in our family. She was a few years older than my father and must have been born about 1846 (Nov 1844). When she was seventeen she went out to the Argentine and spent the best part of her life there acting as governess in one or two families of some importance. She was for a good many years with the President's family, teaching English to his children and living on an estancis. She seemed to have met a number of South American politicians. She made or saved some money so that in later life she was independent. She was said to have owned a lot of sheep. At intervals during her life she came home and stayed with us. She had dark hair and a very dark complexion. She was entirely indifferent to matters of dress. She brought to us a few interesting objects, including a beautiful silver-handled dagger, and the apparatus for drinking South American tea through a silver strainer, and the skin of a llama. Spanish had become her natural language and we learned from her a few interesting and probably innocuous Spanish oaths. She had a loud and irreverent laugh for some matters that my family took seriously. I heard my father say that she had not been improved by her foreign travel. From her general appearance and her abilities she would have fallen under suspicion in later years of being a spy. She had a great admiration for Judge Dodd, which was obviously reciprocated. One evening in the drawing-room she rose from her chair and took her cushion and inserted it behind the judge. He beamed at her and said that he didn't in the least want the cushion but that her did dearly like little attentions. She learnt French so that she might see Paris. Her method was to take an engagement in a private house and teach the children English for her keep, and live otherwise on her own money. She stayed in Paris in this way with a woman who had some sense of her own importance. The two of them went one day to see one of the great French palaces and when they were standing in one of the rooms there was a stir and some obviously important people came through the door. My aunt's employer pointed out President Faure, who was walking beside another man. When they passed my aunt the other man turned and stared at her and said, no doubt in Spanish, How do you come to be here, Miss McWilliam? My aunt explained the matter and he introduced her to Faure, and she and the two presidents went off to see the sights. She returned later to her employer.
Once when she was with us she decided to see Italy in the same way. She got the necessary text-books and studied them. In a few weeks she was in Italy and she wrote to me that in some surprisingly short time she was able to teach English. For a few years before my grandmother's death, when I was in Trinity, she kept house for her at Bray, near Dublin. She died eventually in lodgings in London about 1930. When we heard that she was ill my sister went to see her and told my aunt that the family had lost track of her. Much loss! said my aunt.

It is a surprising fact that donkeys and goats that are, or were, an essential part of Irish life were a fairly recent importation. When I was a boy I was given each year a kid for a pet. It was a source of amusement to everyone. It could not be prevented from running through the house or, I faintly remember, sitting at the fire. It never could be a permanent pet, as sooner or later it committed a serious crime such as eating an umbrella. Then it was sent away in disgrace. Donkeys were a quite common means of locomotion. Their voices could be heard everywhere. I always had a donkey to ride. It cost fifteen shillings and was worth it. Two boys who lived a couple of miles from Monaghan rode donkeys to school every day. The main difficulty in riding donkeys was that it was apparently impossible to hurt them with a stick. They gave rise to the saying "Short and sweet like a donkey's gallop". We drove them in donkey-traps. I have seen a donkey rolling on its back in the dust in the middle of the road. A donkey that we were driving once lay down on the road. The coachman got out and kicked it. When one of the younger generation first went to Bundoran and heard a donkey's vocal music she enquired, Do donkeys always bark like that? When she was going to bed at night she recited all the troubles of the day and ended by saying, And there's father telling the whole of Bundoran that I said the donkey barked. My early training on donkeys and Shetland ponies was of some use to me later in the army. I had at least been accustomed to falling off animals.
Our invaluable cook, Bridget , once spread some important garment on the grass, and later saw Prince rolling on it. The two of them were seen passing the house with Bridget holding a large stick behind her back while Prince retreated before her at a safe range wagging his tail obsequiously. Bridget talked to him in what was meant for a gentle and friendly voice, Come here Princey, poor old Princey, good dong Princey, but the good dog kept his range till he reached security in the depths of his kennel, thumping his tail on the floor. Bridget could only work of her emotion by bending down and explaining to him through the little door in very plain language what she thought of him, while Prince continued to thump his tail on the floor. Bridget once answered a ring at the front door. When she opened it she saw a tramp on the steps. She told him to go away and tried to close the door.. He put his foot in the door. She hit him in the face and slammed the door before he had recovered from his surprise.
All our terriers had their tails cut for the sake of appearances, which must have been a painful operation. My aunt once complained to the coachman that he had left the tail too long. I can cut off another inch said the coachman.

The Law
Though my father and my brothers were all lawyers I very seldom went inside a court in Ireland, perhaps three or four times in all. My father certainly discouraged it in Monaghan. Once my father came to Dublin on business and told me to meet him at the Four Courts. When I went into the court and sat down I found that Tim Healy, the great Irish lawyer and politician, was putting an old friend of our family through a very brutal examination. It was coming to an end. Our friend had been involved many years before in a rather dubious matter of business of no very great importance. He had written a stupid letter saying that the man with whom he was dealing was a fool. This letter had been preserved and appeared in judgement against him. When I went into court our friend was evidently reduced to the last extremity, writhing and grinning in misery. Healy had almost finished with him. And who is the fool now? said Healy. I am said the man. Or the knave? said Healy, quietly. No, said the judge, that is too strong, Mr. Healy. The examination ended. My father was then called on to give evidence of character. He was examined by a young counsel. He was asked, Do you consider so-and-so an honourable man? I consider him a perfectly honourable man said my father. Do you consider yourself a judge of honourable men? asked the counsel. I do, said my father. And do you consider yourself an honourable man? asked the counsel. My father quietly turned his back on him and looked straight at the judge. Judge Boyd, my father's old friend was on the bench. The two men looked at one another for a few seconds, and the judge said quietly, You do not need to ask questions about Mr. McWilliam's honour. My father bowed to him and turned round to the young counsel. That closed the examination, after a perfunctory question or two. When he went out of court my father said to me, You should be careful what you put in writing. Looking back, I wish that Healy had examined my father. I should have liked to see those two men meet face to face.
When my brother Willie was called to the Bar, Judge Boyd in welcoming him said that the highest wish that he could express for him was that he might have as honourable and as distinguished a career as his father ever had. When I was going into the ministry a friend said to me that since all my family were at the law it was well that one of us should join the prophets.
My father had a fairly wide circle of acquaintances whom he seldom saw, except perhaps in railway carriages. Once in a train bound for Dublin he found himself sitting opposite Edward Archdale. In the course of conversation Archdale told him that he was going to Dublin to see a young cousin play in the hockey international. My father replied that he was going to see two of his sons play. He was staying once with Judge Dodd in Fitzwilliam Square when on legal business, and Mrs. Dodd said to him in the morning that he must come out as early as possible as she had asked a few of his old friends to meet him that afternoon. My father promised to do his best, but said that he might be late as his business was quite uncertain. His business for the day was over early, and he set off for his host's house. When he got well into Fitzwilliam Square he saw row of carriages, and remembered the party. He turned back for town and came out again after a reasonable interval. At dinner that night Mrs. Dodd said she was sorry that he had not been able to come, and my father said that he was also very sorry, but that his business had dragged on till too late. But, Mr. McWilliam, said Mrs. Dodd, that's no use, we all saw you. You know perfectly well, said my father, that I never go to parties. The curious fact was that if he ever could be inveigle to a party he was admirable. His friends put up with his peculiarities.
When his appointment was under consideration we were told that some influential person had said to the Lord Lieutenant that he should not be given it as no Presbyterian had hitherto been appointed. It's a good thing, said Cadogen, that he isn't a Mohammedan because he must get it. My father said to me that one of his anxieties was that some time he might be summoned to Court, and have to go in Court dress. He would have looked well in it.

When I was a small boy I attended for two or three years the Model School, which was just across the road from where we lived at the time. It mostly provided for the children of local farmers and shop-keepers. This meant that in early life I was in close and friendly touch with a very important section of our neighbours. We met these children also in our Sunday school. The result was that although our class was segregated from others in one way, in other ways we were closely in touch with nearly everyone. We joined with them in games at a later stage. We were on Christian names with many people, as a matter of course. Many of their parents would have been clients of my father. It was all perfectly natural and taken as a matter of course. Later, for a couple of years I went with my sister to a small private school taught by two women, that had about a dozen girls and a few boys. I was always ashamed of having been at a girls' school, and hoped that no one would hear about it. In fact it was never held up against me in any way, but boys are sensitive in such matters. By far the most important influence in my early education was Campbell College, outside Belfast. The teaching was good, conducted by half a dozen competent men with a very high sense of their duty to us. Looking back, it seems strange that most of our masters were celibate, apparently for life. Our generation were naturally caught up in the first world war, but that was thirteen years after I left Campbell. Looking over the school Register it appears that though many of the boys were distinguished in other careers, especially in the army, a surprisingly small number of them were distinguished in literature or art of any sort. I doubt whether our education would naturally have led to that. Boys of many types went to Campbell College, from town homes and country homes. We were about equally Church of Ireland and Presbyterian.

Trinity College
If the purpose of education is to give us an opportunity to educate ourselves, our education in Trinity could not have been improved. Our teaching staff included Dr. Salmon and Dr. Bernard, Prof. Tyrell, Prof. Dowden, Prof. Mahaffy and several other accomplished men. The policy of Trinity seemed to be to make the ordinary examinations easy, giving us an opportunity to explore for ourselves. We did not live under a perpetual threat as many students do today. I never heard of anyone failing in the entrance examination. It was preceded by a sumptuous breakfast. There were no money grants, and if we failed in an examination the matter rested between our father and ourselves. I had little trouble with examinations, and had some genuine interests, especially in English literature. I often got twice as many marks in a viva voce examination as I had got in the corresponding written paper. I greatly disliked written work, and I liked talking to a good examiner. Once when I had failed to answer a couple of simple questions my examiner found that I was better at the more difficult ones, and gave me a practically full mark. Once I was examined by a man in Latin, who had previously exposed a certain want of knowledge in my Greek. After my Latin examination he said pleasantly, Greek is not your natural tongue. You should make it so. Another time when I was examined in a prescribed Latin author and came near the end the examiner asked, Have you been translating this at sight? I replied that that was true. Unfortunately I had known nothing about the life or career of the author. But our examiners soon learned our little peculiarities, as we did theirs, and we made allowances for one another.
It is commonly said that the Georgian era lasted in Ireland till August 1914. This is only part of the truth. We had all sorts of eras existing side by side, some of them much older than the Georgian. but our teachers in Trinity were mostly of the Georgian persuasion. They suited and adorned the buildings that they inhabited.
Without entirely knowing it we were coming to the end of a great epoch. When I went to college the Boer war had ended and Queen Victoria had died. Our generation were young at the time of the first world war, and the Irish revolution. A friend of mine in Trinity was badly wounded in the Great War and got several decorations and later took to the hills with the revolutionaries, and became a senator. Ours was the greatest literary period that Ireland had had since the adoption of the English language. There were many famous men connected with the Irish Bar. The sons of all the eminent men were with us in Trinity.
I left Dublin for Edinburgh and only revisited Trinity after about fifty years. I went into the great library and saw the Yeats exhibition. I walked through the squares. The splendid buildings were still intact, but it was clear that the times had changed.
The register of Trinity College contains many names from families related to us. The first McWilliam in Trinity was my uncle, Russell McWilliam, who entered in 1856. The first Morell was James Morell, a granduncle who entered in 1842. Another granduncle, Richardson Russell, entered in 1816, aged 14. The first of the Dicksons was John Dixon of Ballyshannon, who entered in 1721. The first Eccles was Daniel Eccles who entered in 1709-1710. The first Lucas of Castleshane was Francis Lucas, who entered in 1685. The first Lowry was James Lowry of Aughness (sic Aghenis), Co. Tyrone, who entered in 1726. Presbyterians seldom went to Trinity till recent times. My granduncle, the Revd. James McWilliam went to Glasgow University. Ballyshannon was 103 Irish miles by road from Dublin. Fintona was 93.The journey to Trinity must have taken several days in early times.

The people of the generation before mine seem on recollection to be remote and strange. The differences between them and us are obvious, but they may not be as fundamental as we might think. In later life I was in an Irish churchyard with the rector, who had known my family. We were examining some stones. Suddenly he said to me, Stand like that. When you stand just that way you're the living image of your father. I expect that there was a certain family resemblance amongst us all.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

Chaplain at Havre, 1917-1919, by John Morell McWilliam 1958

Govan, August 1914
When the first world war came, on 4th August 1914, I was an assistant minister at Govan Parish Church, immediately beside the great Clyde shipyards. One of my fellow assistants was George Duncan who got a commission as chaplain to the forces early in the war, and was for several years chaplain at G.H.Q. to Sir Douglas Haig. Later for many years he was professor at St. Andrews. I remained at Govan for more than a year. On September 16th I was married. At that time it was quite impossible to get a Chaplaincy to the Forces without considerable influence.
In Govan our chief concern was the building of battleships. I was present at the launch of the Valiant. Our parish church choir was asked to take part in the religious service. The launch was advertised for a certain hour but took place three hours earlier for security reasons. We stood under the immense ship. When it was released nothing happened at first. Then it began to shiver. Great blocks of wood began to bend and crumple and the Valient moved safely into the Clyde. One great anxiety was ended. In later years I spent an hour or so on the Valiant at Rothesay, looking at the great guns. In December 1915 I was ordained to Craigmore parish in Bute. Early in 1917 I was recommended for a chaplaincy by the Presbytery and in June I was commissioned and sent to Catterick Camp in Yorkshire.

Catterick Camp
In June 1917 I was attached to a training battalion of the 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers at Catterick, under Colonel Colville, an old Territorial officer. During a long blazing summer I had to learn the elements of army life. Chaplains were given no training whatever before being appointed to their units. I did not know badges of rank at first, much less the construction of a battalion. It was enormously interesting. I quickly and completely got rid of the feeling of discontent with myself at not being in the war when everyone else was. I shared in as much as possible of the training of the men. Colonel Colville suggested to me that I should get an ordinary commission, but there were very obvious reasons against this, apart from my natural feeling that I should stick to my own work. I got a share of a cottage at a little village of Arrathorne three or four miles from the camp, where Alice could live. On Sunday afternoons we were often able to ask a few of the officers to tea, and had concerts in the open air. I made friends in an artillery camp and got regular riding. In the late summer our battalion was ordered to Edinburgh. As the battalion boarded the train it suddenly began to move. The brakes cannot have been properly on. It gained speed on the slope and after several miles it crashed. I was not in the station when this happened but I spent many hours of that day in the hospital. Without much delay the battalion left for Edinburgh.

Parade Services
While I was at Catterick regular parade church services were held, when possible in the open air. A sort of pulpit was formed by drums covered by the Union Jack. The Colonel read the scripture lesson. The service lasted rather under half an hour, and included an address of about seven minutes. I sometimes had two battalions at my services, with nearly a thousand men. One curious piece of ritual was provided by the Regimental Sergeant-Major who came up immediately after the benediction and handed me a slip of paper giving the number of men present. This dated from a time, I was told, when the chaplain in charge was paid according to attendance. We had the band, and the singing, exclusively of men, was magnificent. These parade services were taken as a matter of course and, I believe, were a useful part of training. Whenever I heard of objections to compulsory religious services they were, I think, connected with individual chaplains. Some chaplains must have been unfitted to conduct such services. In many circumstances in the army it was naturally impossible to hold formal religious services and informal services of all kinds took their place. I can only say that in my time and circumstances no real problem ever arose and in France, at the base, the great majority of religious services were completely informal, in Y.M.C.A. huts and such places. A very experienced Roman Catholic chaplain told me that while on principle he was opposed to anything of the nature of compulsion in religious matters, there was a special case in the army where so much was done by routine, for parade services at times. In later years when I was chaplain to the 8th Argylls parade services were a matter of course. My main difficulty in the army was to do everything that I was asked to do. Once when I held a service in a military prison one Australian sang so magnificently that everyone stopped singing to listen to him.

In October 1917 I was sent to France. We set out from Folkstone for Boulogne. I was on a transport with six hundred officers escorted by several destroyers. When we were close enough to France to see the housed on the shore there were heliograph signals and suddenly the whole convoy swung round and raced back to Folkstone. This meant danger from a German submarine. Later in the evening we crossed to France and arrived safely at Boulogne. A transport with six hundred officers would have been a good prize for a submarine.

Next morning I and the other chaplains were given orders for different stations in France. Some went to the front line. I was posted to Havre. This went on through the noise of clanging bells in a picture house near by. Then there began one of the interminable railway journeys across France. I took a haversack full of sandwiches which I had to share with hungry officers in my carriage. Nuns brought us coffee and fruit at railway stations. I was appointed to an area in the docks at Havre and lived at No. 2 General Hospital on the Quai d'Escale looking across the harbour to the town. Our hospital wards were in the large waiting room above the railway terminus. Transports of all sorts docked at our quay. A couple of hundred yards away there was a large park of artillery on the way to the front. Near this there was a vast hanger with military stores half a mile long. In spite of these military stores and transports we had a large red cross flag hanging over the hospital. There was a dump of used shell cases not very far away high enough to be an object on the landscape.
I arrived in Havre in the week of our attack with the new tanks at Cambrai. We had the large hospital trains arriving from the front continually. The men who had fought at Cambrai were all convinced that the war was over. Badly wounded men shouted with laughter as they described how the Germans ran away from the tanks. Colonel Babington, an Irishman, was head of our hospital. One of our surgeons was Colonel Barling, son of Sir Gilbert Barling. Our doctors included two Canadians, McMillan and Moorhead, and two Americans, Sinclair and Souchetet, or some such French name. Amongst our British doctors were Scott, Nuttall, Buchanan, Bell and Anderson. Attached to our mess on the quay we had military landing officers, Red Cross searchers and odd men from other departments. These included the head M.L.O. Major Sir Frederick Bathurst who told me that he had served in France longer than anyone else as he was the third man to step off the first ship of the British Expeditionary Force and the two before him had since gone home. We had Richard Crawshay, author of The Birds of Patagonia, Cecil Haines, Broderick, and other companionable men. As well as the hospital I had a large area of the docks to give an eye to. Capt. Young, later the treasurer of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast, was head of one unit in my area. The hospital duties were of the ordinary kind. I had to attend to the men and take an occasional short religious service in the ward. I had to write letters for them and censor letters. Several times when there was pressure of work I was allowed to give anaesthetics in the operating theatre. To a great extent every chaplain had to find a job for himself and be prepared for anything.

There was an ingenious method of catching spies in Havre. In the morning orders were sent out for everyone not on essential to remain in their camp for certain hours. The military police then arrested everyone in British uniform in the streets and cafes and asked them to give an account of themselves. We were told that by this method they never failed to round up spies. In fact we were a remarkable mixture of nationalities of all sorts in Havre, which gave opportunities to spies. A military landing officer once told me that he had taken men of fourteen nationalities off one ship.

Submarine Patrol
One night I was taken out to sea in the channel in a trawler patrolling for submarines. They threw a receiver into the water and listened for engines through ear-phones. By this means they could detect submarines to a distance of a few miles and could locate them by several trawlers working together. In this way the submarines in the Channel in my time were put mainly on the defensive and were commonly hunted down. In earlier times they had been an incessant danger. I heard the engines of one of our submarines passing on the surface a mile or two away.

The Chaplains' Department
At the beginning of the first World War the chaplains of all the Churches were united in one department, of which Dr. Sims, an Irish Presbyterian, was Principle Chaplain. Later, but before my time, the Anglicans separated and formed a separate department under their own Chaplain General. The Roman Catholics and Presbyterians remained in the same department with Dr. Simms as the head. When I was appointed to Havre the Assistant Principle Chaplain from whom I took instructions was an Irish priest, Colonel Dowling. (Chaplains were commonly though incorrectly referred to by their army rank.) We became close friends. Two or three of the other Catholic chaplains also became my friends. One of these was O'Connor, the brother of the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Another was Irwin a very well informed Jesuit priest, and a good ornithologist. Meeting one another from time to time in this friendly way gave us a chance to discuss matters of religion and politics informally. We used to ask one another about all the problems of ordering our churches. At this time Irish politics had become very bitter and the situations of the Irish Roman Catholic chaplains had become very difficult at home. One of them said to me that the Church of Scotland chaplains were fortunate to have their country behind them. One of these chaplains, Father McHugh, had been in France at the outbreak of, and went through the battle of the Marne in civilian clothes.

Y.M.C.A. Headquarters
I had a standing invitation from the Y.M.C.A. to call in for a meal at any time or to sit in the library or to talk to anyone who seemed companionable. At supper you secured a plate of food and sat beside anyone who looked companionable. In these ways I met many people of the highest distinction. A little old lady asked me to help her with her lantern slides one day. I looked at some of the slides, of stars and planets and nebulae and remarked that they seemed very interesting. Of course they are interesting, said she, or I wouldn't be here. This was Miss Proctor, a celebrated writer on astronomy at that time. I met Emery Walker who printed the Kelmscott Press books for William Morris and the Doves Press books, and got the whole story. We spent a couple of hours one day in the Havre bookshops. I was introduced one day to another Irish person, a girl in full military uniform of some allied country. This was Sergeant Flora sands of the Serbian army, doing some special work on behalf of the Serbians. She had fought in the front line. After the war she was promoted to be a colonel and wrote her autobiography. One night at supper a man next to me remarked that the war had been on for two months before he heard of it. He was a missionary in Central New Guinea. Thereupon an elderly man at the far side of the table said that the war was on for six months before his wife heard of it. She was a missionary to the Eskimos. I formed a friendship with Professor Hugh R. Mackintosh of Edinburgh, which lasted till his death. One evening at supper and afterwards I sat talking to a man with a marvellous range of conversation. He told me that he had a library of a hundred and thirty thousand books. He had had to learn a dozen European languages and had written books in several of them. He had organised the publication of cheap books of the French literature and had sold millions of them. He had learnt Russian so that he could talk with Count Tolstoi. He said that Protestantism was dead. It died in 1914. The people sitting round us had not yet realised that, but it was so. He said that the greatest need of Europe was a general university at where all of us from other universities would have to spend a year. I found that he knew the great French bird-books as well as I did and had the good editions of Buffon. When we were separating he asked me to come in some other evening while he was there and talk further over some of these matters. I wondered who my friend could be and on exchanging names I found that I had been chatting for an hour on important matters with Professor Sarolea, the best educated man in Europe.

Y.M.C.A. Lecturing
There were three of four Y.M.C.A. huts in my area along the docks and I soon began to give occasional lectures in these. This was reported to the other hut leaders and I was frequently invited to give lectures in their huts. Eventually I agreed to work for the Y.M.C.A. two evenings in the week. I walked down to the headquarters and was driven to some camp or other in the Havre area, gave my lecture and was driven back to headquarters for supper. Amongst a number of topics I was most frequently asked for lectures on the Writing of the Gospels, and on Bird Migration. Both of these attracted attention. When lecturing on the Gospels, I pointed out that this was in no way a religious service, and that everyone including myself was free to smoke. I used to talk for most of an hour and them there was discussion lasting for perhaps half an hour. From the nature of the army at that time you might have any kind of person at the gathering. I have had up to three hundred men, usually 50-100, and the discussion was often of great interest. Once there was a man who pressed me very strongly though in perfect good humour. Everyone was interested in his comments and questions. It might have been thought that he was trying to upset me. When the discussion ended he asked the chairman, the hut leader, if he might say how much he and the others valued the discussion, as I was the first person that he had ever met who seemed willing to be questioned on that matter. Many of the Y.M.C.A. lectures were of a very high level, and I think that there grew up a sort of mutual respect and confidence. One reason why lecturers were in demand by the Y.M.C.A. was that a single person could occupy the men for an hour or more and give the hut-leader a much needed rest, whereas a concert party might fill two cars, which meant difficulties of transport.
A friend told me of a man who said that he was writing a letter at the back of the hut and a chaplain began to talk about birds and he became sort of interested and put down his pen and stuck it out to the end. At one time the Y.M.C.A. began to organise lectures on University lines. They needed a good man on political economy and it was discovered that there was a private at Havre who had, I think, been a lecturer in London University. He was immediately recruited and made a corporal so that he might have greater freedom of movement. In the first half of 1918 it looked as if the war might last for several years more and we began to discuss plans for higher education in the army. Once when lecturing on migration I told the story of the migration of eels. When question time came a private said that he had helped to work out this problem. I asked for a certificate that I was accurate, and he said quite accurate.

Men and Women
The separation of millions of men for long periods from their wives and families produced the inevitable results. The strain of life in the trenches and the near prospect of death for many made countless men think of today and tonight rather than tomorrow. I was asked to take part in special discussions as to what could be done in these circumstances. We became anxious about the effects on the British race. The British troops at the worst got home on leave once in twelve months or so, but our colonial troops were separated from their families for years. It was equally so with the Americans. I have seen an Australian soldier pick up a little child in the street and kiss it and put it down again. It became enormously desirable to have women of the best kind serving in the Y.M.C.A. but nothing could affect the main question very much and after the war it was a great relief to many of us to find that home and family life suffered in the long run far less than we had feared. This separation of men and women may have been a main cause of the boredom that affected all our lives and increased as time went on till sometimes we hardly knew how to get through the day.

During 1918 an immense number of American soldiers arrived at our quay. They were all fit men and not wearied as so many of ours were at that time. I was told by their officers that many of them were puzzled and bewildered. Most of them had never seen the Atlantic Ocean before they embarked for France, or heard a foreign language. They were largely of the farm worker type. Their officers were very keen to talk to us. In a restaurant an officer from another table has asked me to take my plate over and sit with them. For a fortnight I was attached to an American hospital at Etretat. It was in the casino and it seemed strange to see a hospital ward marked baccarat on the door. The American doctors were of a very high quality, excessively pleasant and courteous and unassuming. They made my visit one of my pleasantest experiences in France. They were very good at staging an entertainment. Many of the American funny stories were quite new to us. In some cases these doctors were of German stock of the first or second generation in America. They were in the war on grounds of principle and were determined to see it through, in spite of the fact that some must have had relatives in the German army. An American said to me that in spite of any friendship and common interests we could not get over the fact that we were a different people. Shortly afterwards another American said to me, that no matter how much the Americans and British might quarrel with one another nothing could alter the fact that fundamentally we were the same people. Our attitude to one another often puzzled us. Many of us on both sides were rather amused at the whole problem. Some professed to be pro-French but not pro-British. But their difficulty was that they could talk English but could not talk French, and had constantly to come to us for help and advice.

Chinese Labour Corps
In my area there was a Chinese labour corps under an officer who had been a missionary in China. I sometimes had tea with him. Some artist among his men had painted some attractive pictures for him. These men consumed enormous quantities of vegetables, which they bought in town, and many of them caught birds and kept them in cages. I was told that when this corps was first brought to France it was discovered that there were several women among them. These Chinese were great strong men. I was at the cemetery one afternoon, and the sergeant in charge told me that he was in a difficulty as a Chinese funeral had arrived and he did not know what to do. I offered to help and we explained the matter to the Chinese as well as possible. I read an Old Testament lesson and said a heart-felt prayer and went to the chaplain's office and reported what I had done. We were agreed that the Chinaman was at least non C. of E. Some time later I met a highly educated Chinaman and he told me that he had heard of this affair and that the men were highly pleased at the honour done to them by a British officer. The captain in charge of this corps promised to get pictures painted for me, but when I was going across a week or so later I was told that he had died of influenza.

A Chaplain's Kit
A chaplain had had a rough time up in the line and was sent home to recuperate. Passing through Havre the house where he lodged for the night was bombed. I was ordered to go to this house a day or two later to find his kit if possible. Work on the ruins was to start at 6 a.m. Shortly after dawn I found myself in a dull suburb beside the one ruined house. Time passed. Sometimes a man came and looked at the ruins and went away. Shops were opened, and I got some breakfast. I walked round the ruin and as I looked down one crack I saw the end of a valise. I got help from passers-by and we pulled it out. I got a cab and delivered it at the chaplain's office. I heard later that the chaplain's boat had been torpedoed on his way across to England, but that he had arrived safely. In fact we never got an authentic account of the end of anything. At the worst he recovered some of his kit.

There turned up in our hospital at Havre a patient who had to be sent to a mental hospital. In his kit there was a large and splendid wrought-iron key. This had, if I remember right, the name of some French town wrought on it. The hospital sent it on to the presumed owners and got a letter full of gratitude. It was one of the most treasured possessions of the town and had gone missing shortly before. Everyone collected souvenirs. I had some influence at an enormous dump of used shell-cases a mile or so from our hospital and I was able to give occasional help to friends after the armistice. One of our doctors told me that a popular Canadian nurse in our hospital was being sent back to Canada that evening without notice. She was found sobbing because everyone else had shell-cases and she had none. We walked over to the source of supply with one of our batmen carrying a sack, and put the matter to the O.C. of the shell-dump. He very generously told us that we might take as many as we could carry. Apart from other recipients we were able to give the nurse her choice of as many as she wanted, and she set sail for Canada that night with shell-cases that might be family heir-looms still. Chaplains had special opportunities of making useful contacts. Sir Douglas Haig had a fine shell-cases made into a rose-bowl at Havre.

Hill, the Mess-Waiter
Our most popular mess-waiter by far was Hill who had been a London coster in civil life. He told us that he had once "performed before royalty" with some incredible number of buttons on his coat. Towards the end of our time in Havre he developed on night what he described as a very severe pain. He called in Moorhead's hut to ask for advice and treatment. Moorhead was lying half asleep on his bed and when he heard the story he advised Hill to take a very simple treatment and see how he felt in the morning. Hill was quite dissatisfied with his reception and looked in at the next hut to see Scott, another of our surgeons. Scott took the case more seriously and brought Hill up to the hospital and operated at once for appendicitis. There was nothing wrong with his appendix and Scott incurred a certain amount of criticism in our mess. Moorhead merely remarked that it would have been better for old Hill if he had taken his advice. Naturally Hill was never told of the surgeon's error of judgement. He made a rapid recovery and was sent home in a couple of weeks full of gratitude for all that had been done for him. Scott to salve his conscience organised a collection on Hill's behalf to which we all contributed.

Mr. Brown-Taylor
A British seaman was knifed in the stomach by a Frenchman in a drunken racket in Havre. He was brought to our hospital and was operated on by Colonel Barling one of our surgeons who very kindly invited me to see the operation. It was the first time that I was in the operating theatre. There was no great harm done and the seaman made a rapid recovery. I took a personal interest in him and visited him frequently. His one absorbing was in the sentence that the Frenchman was likely to get. Padre, don't you think he'll get five years anyway? Do you think there's any chance of his getting seven? Next day, Padre, I have been thinking over it all night. Don't you think that he can't possibly get less than three years. Do you think that he might get five? In his more optimistic moments he would always suggest the possibility of ten. He discussed it regularly with the nurses who all professed to take a serious view of the matter. But in a couple of weeks it had to be broken to the patient that the trial was over and his assailant had got only three months. The nurses said that this led to a serious set-back to his health. He had served in the navy under the name of Brown, but when his life was in danger he told us that his real name was Taylor and asked us to send a message to his mother. So the nurses in the ward always called him Mr. Brown-Taylor.

Capt. Rene Bethmont
My only intimate friend amongst the French was Capt. Bethmont a liaison officer and interpreter who came fairly often to our mess. He was widely educated and encouraged me to buy the works of the French historians of that time, Louis Madelin, Frederic Masson, and others. Many years later I gave sets of these writers to the St. Andrews library. I went to his rooms in Havre several times and met his wife and little children and a few French naval officers who came to play bridge. They were all people of charming and simple manners. Some of Bethmont's ancestors had been distinguished judges and officials, "noblesse de la robe". He told me that when looking through his grandfather's papers he found a number of sheets of the paper that Fragenard's colour prints had been printed on. At that time the copper plates for these prints were available and cheap copies were being issued on modern paper. Bethmont brought his contemporary sheets to the owner of the plates and had sets printed on them. He told me that when these had lain about for a few years he believed that they would be indistinguishable from the original prints and might one day form a problem or collectors. This may have happened now, after forty years. Bethmont spoke perfect English. He told me that it was a French custom to have English nurses for the children so they naturally learned two languages. I never met or heard of any of my French friends after the war.

Arcade Noury
In July 1918 I paid a visit to Arcade Noury the old ornithologist and painter at the Rue Montvilliers, Havre. He lived in a quaint little house in a garden full of pear trees and apple trees, surrounded by houses. I spent about two hours with him. He told me that he had visited England and had met Seebohm and Dresser and Bowdler Sharpe. He showed me portfolios of his paintings of birds. He had at one time hoped to illustrate a book on French birds but could never afford to do this. Most of his paintings were apparently done for this purpose. Several were of rare warblers and thrushes painted on linen or tissue paper. Later, through a Havre bookseller I was able to buy a number of his paintings which I still have.. He had large collections of fossils and stuffed birds and birds eggs. He had painted pictures for the Havre museum. He had a manuscript of a work on birds by Vieillot with original water-colours of the heads of birds. At the time of my visit he might have been nearly eighty years of age. This account is from notes made soon after my visit.

The Military Prison
For a few months I was specially appointed to the military prison. The two chaplains before me, Presbyterian and Anglican, had quarrelled with the Major who was the head of the prison and blamed him for ill-treating the men. My instructions were to find out the truth of the situation and if I found that anything was wrong to report direct to the Adjutant General. Dowling warned me to be very careful. I discussed the state of affairs with the major in charge, and then very fully with the young prison doctor. He told me that the major had carried out any reforms that he thought necessary. The prison was in barbed wire in the open air with armed guards stationed on long high platforms. I talked to a number of the men, in the cells and in barbed wire runs. One man in the cells told me that he was rather hasty, and hit a sergeant. One boy in the cells, pleasant and friendly, was a conscientious objector and disciple of Pastor Rutherford. Another prisoner was one of four men who found a case of port outside the canteen and drank it all. I was told that many of the prisoners were just bad soldiers and a danger to their battalions. Some, naturally, were of the really dangerous kind. Others had just blundered into prison. I could only report that considering the hardship for all men at the front the treatment in prison did not seem unnecessarily severe, but that some men should be sent back to their units. Later, this was done.

The Cemetery
Under the very stringent conditions towards the end of the war there was an acute shortage of men for all purposes. Many men who were quite unfit for service were taken from the base and sent to the front line. This naturally led to increased competition for the remainder. At one stage it was impossible for us to get sufficient men for funerals or for the care of war graves. Relations who came out to us from England were greatly distressed at the state of the cemetery in bad weather. I had experiences of this kind, and on one occasion a funeral with which I was concerned was forbidden by the French authorities, rightly in my opinion. I reported this formally to Col. Dowling the Assistant Principal Chaplain. He said that he had had many complaints from his chaplains but no one would put down any specific complaint in writing and sign his name to it. It ended by Dowling saying to me "There is a large sheet of paper and a pen. Sit down and write it now". He read my report and put it in his pocket to take to Base Headquarters. Before we separated I said to him formally that if my report was not dealt with it would be my duty to bring the matter before the Church of Scotland. Dowling laughed and said that I could hardly expect him to threaten them. The matter was attended to at once. It was like many other things a question fo competition for a limited supply of men and a matter to be taken with common sense and quietly set right.

In one train journey to Havre we passed through Amiens late at night and our train was held up in the station for several hours. The whole station was dark as Amiens was only a few from the front line. I got out of my carriage and found my way across railway lines into the town. There was hardly a glimmer of light. I came to the Cathedral and could see the great mass of it against the sky and touch the stones with my hand. I got back to the railway and came on a Y.M.C.A. hut with a man sitting beside a table with a single candle. I went in and was given cocoa and a bun, and we talked in whispers for some time. There were men sleeping in bunks immediately beside us. I said goodnight and found my way over the lines to my train and got into my carriage. I never saw Amiens before or since that night.
On one such railway journey I was in the carriage with a young lieutenant. He was going back from leave to his unit at the front line. He told me that he had been fool enough to get engaged to be married when he was on leave. He showed me a photograph of the girl and asked what chance there was of his ever seeing her again. At that time the casualty rate with junior officers was so high that no one thought of looking six months ahead. The only practical hope was to be wounded and get out that way. In fact the war did not last many more months. Then peace brought its own problems to us all.

Across the Seine
On some business I had to visit a chaplain at a camp on the other side of the Seine. I crossed on a small ferry boat and spent some hours on the other side. I cannot remember exactly how far I got. I may have been near Trouville. But I have a distinct memory of the country and the coast. I must have been fairly close to the district where the Second Front began in the Second War. My recollection of the ground and the coast led me to guess that our landing might take place somewhere near the estuary of the Seine on that side. On our side of the Seine, landing, by my recollection would have been more difficult.

One night in August 1918 when going to Boulogne to cross to England on leave our train passed a few miles behind the British front line. There was a very heavy bombardment on and for mile after mile we could see the flashes of the guns with an occasional bright flare of some sort. This turned out to be the great bombardment before our final advance.
Coming back from England through Boulogne I had to spend a night in a rest-house. We had what was for those days a heavy attack by German bombers. When it began I dressed and found my way down in the dark and came on a young Air Force officer. We sat on a verandah of some sort while he tried to point out the planes to me as they were caught in the searchlights. Afterwards they came quite close and machine-gunned us. In the morning I had an hour or two to spare and walked round Boulogne. Houses had been flattened out. I saw a young Frenchman on the top of one of these houses searching through the layers of debris for his family. When he got down to his own flat he came upon a picture and held it up and looked at it and threw it in the street, crying "fini". I was told that eighty men were killed that night at base headquarters. I had seen a bookshop the evening before and had intended to visit it in the morning, but when I saw it again by chance there was little of it left. I secured some sandwiches and got on the train for Havre from a station outside the town.

At times we lived in moderate discomfort. We had a large wooden hut divided into two rooms for our mess and range of small wooden sleeping-huts. One winter there was an extreme scarcity of coal and we had snow constantly lying on the huts and fires were forbidden in our stoves. We had our meals in our British-warm overcoats. I sometimes had to wear gloves when I was writing letters. The hospital was warmed, and when our surgeons went there on duty they had to wait till their hands thawed. The separation from our families caused nervous strain. The British were able to get home in general once in six months, but our Canadian and American doctors were separated from their families through the whole war. These things led to strains and tensions and some men tended to quarrel about trifles. A quarrel would flare up about nothing between friends and some sensible man would ring for drinks and the affair was quickly forgotten. But in general we kept control of ourselves and the friendship between men of different types and different nationalities was remarkable. In fact we were all quite prepared to accept a reasonable amount of discomfort without worrying about it over much. When anyone complained he was asked if he did not know there was a war on.

In the summer and early autumn of 1918 we were all very cynical and pessimistic about the duration of the war. I had a few French friends and one of these said to me that there was reason to believe that Foch intended to make a large-scale attack. By this time our army had recovered from the German victory in the spring. Foch made one or two public statements, and all this combined made me guess that the deadlock was over, as many had guessed at other times. Anyway a friend bet me a hundred francs to twenty that the war would not end in 1918. This speculation got a certain amount of notoriety and as we came on to October and November it led to frequent discussion in the mess. I had guessed right and the money was duly paid after the armistice, roughly four pounds. I gave in to the popular feeling and stood a special dinner in our mess, to which several of our friends in other messes asked for an invitation. The dinner cost considerably more than the hundred francs, but that couldn't be helped under the corcumstances. I have seldom been at a more amusing dinner. It was one of several celebrations at that time.

At the moment of the armistice, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I was sitting in my hut polishing a brass shell-case. Suddenly all the ships sirens in the harbour went off full blast. Men lit fires on the quay. The racket was remarkable. At this point an American transport loaded with men drew up at our quay. An officer asked if it was true that the war was over. I've trained these men to absolute perfection and you've let the war end before I arrived.

After the Armistice
One of our most difficult times was in the late winter of 1918. Most of the men believed that they would be quickly released. As time went on they became embittered by the delay. Things were made much worse by many men going home on leave and being released and never coming back to France. At one stage it was said that no one who went on leave came back. Soldiers of any origin contrived to get leave to Ireland and no doubt some of these took to the hills. We had many Australians in France who had not seen their relatives for four years. In Havre as elsewhere there were large-scle insurrections. One camp where I sometimes lectured was burnt down one evening. The canteen was set on fire and several men were burnt to death in it. Then numbers of men broke away and wandered through France making trouble everywhere. Like other chaplains I was instructed to find out if there was trouble in any units in my area and to report on what should be done. My units were largely labour corps. I reported that a cinema had been put up for one unit and then taken from them for a Chinese labour corps and that a new cinema must be begun at once. This was done. The chaplains and the Y.M.C.A. workers had a great influence on the situation, so that it seemed that we might be required in France indefinitely, and we were all overworked.

Out of France
In March 1919 I became seriously unwell. I had done too much and reached exhaustion. I was not actually ill and was allowed to sleep in my own hut, but one or two of our doctors who looked after me became worried at my making no progress. As I recovered from this, more or less, I developed iritis and Colonel Babington decided that I must be sent home. I had a train journey from Southampton to Glasgow with bandaged eyes and arrived at the Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow. They had no doctor there to deal with my case but I got a telephone message sent to Dr. Freeland Fergus who arrived at once in a car and took me to his own house in Glasgow. Late I was able to go to Bute. I appeared before a board who showed me the fullest consideration. I was awarded a gratuity of fifty pounds and was allowed to keep the right of appeal at a future time in case my sight was permanently injured. Dr. Fergus signed me out of the army as permanently unfitted for all further military service. It was he who signed me as perfectly fit for any duties when I joined the Territorial Army a few years later.

It may have been some time when I was on leave, or it may have been soon after the war, that I found myself one Sunday evening in Edinburgh with an hour or two to spare and I had in my pocket the home address in Edinburgh of a young soldier who had died of wounds in our hospital. I thought that I ought to call on his family. I had written to them at the time. I was shown into the hall and the boy's father came to speak to me. I told him why I called. He thanked me but said that he was just hurrying off to church and could not wait to see me. We went out through the door together and parted on the doorstep. It is not possible to say to what extent this incident was typical of the times, but very many soldiers felt that they were treated with complete indifference or even worse when they went home. This feeling is reflected in some well-known books written soon after the war. Sometimes even in their own families they were looked on as a dangerous factor, and they themselves were in no mood for such a reception. Certainly business of all sorts had flourished during the war and it looked as if this prosperity might end and that a few million men coming home and looking for work in all the occupations and professions might be very inconvenient. Many men complained to me about this, and I think that it was with good reason. In some cases families were divided in this way and harsh words were spoken, My personal feeling was largely affected by the kindness shown to me by Dr. Freeland Fergus the Glasgow occulist. he took me from a hospital where I could not get proper treatment in a bad case of iritis in both eyes. He kept me in his own house and gave me almost hourly treatment for a couple of weeks. He told me that it was a pretty near thing. The great majority of men would have nothing of this kind to look back on. To meet a very real need the soldiers banded themselves together in the British Legion so as to help one another. I was president of the British Legion in Bute.
For some time I was unable to read anything, and when I first looked through my correspondence one thing that I found was a threat of prosecution for not having paid my rates. One of the most striking things after the First War was the eagerness everywhere to put up War Memorials to the dead. Large sums of money were raised without any difficulty. After the Second War it was difficult in some places to raise a few pounds to add new names to the memorials.

Written at Tynron, January and February 1958
J.M. McWilliam.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

From the Dickson & Conolly families of Ballyshannon by the Revd John Morell McWilliam

Thomas William Dickson, the son of William Dickson, Capt. RN, and Hester Eccles, lived at Rochfort Lodge on the shore, in Donegal, near the Bundrows. He entered TCD in 1844. He never married and after the marriage of his sister, Mrs Anna Jenkins, lived alone. None of us was ever asked to his house, though he was friendly to speak to if we met him on the road. I have watched him fishing for salmon on the Bundrowse. We were told that in earlier life he had kept racing greyhounds and there was a story that he had once won a diamond bracelet. He died in 1898. When he was being carried into the churchyard a cousin said to my brother: “There goes Tom Dickson feet first. He was the best man I ever knew in a twenty-four foot ring”.
Mrs Anna Jenkins was the sister of Thomas Dickson of Rochfort Lodge and the widow of Capt Robert Jenkins, 8th Hussars. She lived at Dungarberry Lodge close to the old village of Tullaghan. Lodge, as we called it, was a long low house with a porch. It had two stories and was thatched. It stood immediately beside the road with a small lawn in front and a few small trees, and behind it there was the old yard and the large walled garden. Outside the garden there was the ruined castle of the Clanceys with one corner still standing. A short distance away there was the great stone cross beside the road, which was re-erected in 1778 by Major Thomas Dickson. Mrs Jenkins was a friend of mine. She was a small fragile woman in those days. In the drawing room there was a large gilt harp that she had played when she was a girl, and a stuffed bittern. She used to invite me to her garden to eat fruit. On the death of her brother, Thomas Dickson, in 1898 Mrs Jenkins succeeded to the family possessions. She gave my aunts the use of Rochfort Lodge and allowed us to shoot and fish on the moor at Glaskerragh between Ballintra and Castlecaldwell. We could fish on a stretch of the Bundrows. It was there that I caught my first threequarter-pound trout. On the ‘mountain’ we used to lodge at the farmhouse of Carnhugh with the Strongs who had been tenants and friends of the Dicksons for many years and immediately became friends of ours. Once, after shooting or fishing all day, my brother Russell, and I started to cycle home to Rochfort Lodge in the evening from Carnhugh. After a couple of miles my bicycle broke down. It was a beautiful evening and we decided to walk home about 12 miles through Ballyshannon and Bundoran. We could hear the falls of the Erne long before we came to Ballyshannon.
Dungarberry Lodge must have been built in the 18th century. My great grandfather, James Lowry Dickson, lived in it at one time. On the death of Mrs Jenkins it passed to a cousin. The thatch was removed and replaced with tiles, as so often happens, and the beauty and distinction had gone. Woodville House, which was in a sense the main family house, was built by Major Thomas Dickson who married Hester Lowry. It stood in trees to the left of the road between Tullaghan and Mullaghmore, in Leitrim, beside the Bunduff. It certainly never was occupied after 1900 and was pulled down and built into cottages. It was described to me by a relative as a large ugly house with double doors of mahogany between rooms. I never went to see the place where it stood.
In those days we got trout flies from Mr Rogan, of Ballyshannon. My recollection is that he was a small man with a long beard, advanced in life but still able to tie his famous flies. I chatted to him in his shop sometimes and he told me stories of relatives of mine whom he had known long ago, and other interesting people. He mentioned Colonel Rochfort who had lived at Rochfort Lodge, and then he thought, and said: “But of course he was before your time.” Colonel Charles Rochfort fought at Waterloo and died in 1844.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

Dickson/Eccles pedigree

This pedigree was written by Anna Maria Dickson, daughter of Rev James Lowry Dickson, and his wife, Mary Eccles. He was Vicar of Lavey, Co Cavan.
(The notes in brackets have been added later, by Anna's niece, Eva Morell.)

This copy was extracted from the original by Eva's nephew, Rev John Morell McWilliam. He deposited the original notebook in PRONI - Get the precise reference

This document forms the core of my Dickson/Eccles genealogy. I have added to it in constructing my own pedigree from various sources but I have yet to find an error in what follows.

My great great grandfather was Daniel Eccles of Shannock (& Fintona)
He married Mary Lowry (one of the Belmore famiy) who survived;
Their children were;


1 Charles Eccles married Rebecca Stuart of Bailieboro' Castle
2 Robert Eccles married Miss Boggs
3 Daniel Eccles never married, died young
4 Mervyn Eccles never married, died young
5 James Lowry Eccles married Miss Perry


1 Frances Eccles married John Dickson my great grandfather
2 Anna Eccles married Mr Coyne, survived her husband, no children
3 Mary Eccles married Mr Peter Delemere, no children, died before her husband
4 Elizabeth Eccles married Mr Graydon
5 Margaret Eccles married Captain Smyth. She survived her husband.
6 Isabella Eccles married Frank Lucas of Castle Shane, survived her husband.
(Gt gt grandmother on Father's side. EM)

Note; my Gt grandfather died Dec 30 1763, aged 39.
His wife, Rebecca Eccles died April 26th, 1790, aged 75.

Issue of my Gt Grandfather, Charles Eccles, and Rebecca Stuart.
My grandfather, Daniel Eccles, married Feb 28th, 1773, Anna Dickson,daughter to Frances Eccles and John Dickson.
Note; My Grandfather, Daniel Eccles, died July 31, 1808, aged 62.
My grandmother, Anna Eccles, died March 11th, 1819, aged 73.

Issue of Robert Eccles who married Miss Bogs

Daniel Eccles, lame.
Joseph Eccles, never married.
These all dead.

Issue of James Lowry Eccles who married Miss Perry

John Eccles never married
Charles Eccles lived near Shannock, married Miss Saunderson
Jane, married Rev Auchinleck
Mary married Mr Lucas, no children

Issue of my Great Grandfather, John Dickson, and his wife, Frances Eccles; she survived him.

My Grandfather, Major Thos Dickson of Woodville, and Anna Dickson who married my Grandfather Daniel Eccles.
My Grandfather, Thos Dickson, married Hester Lowry, one of the Belmore family.
Their other children died young.

Margaret Eccles who married Captain Smyth; their issue were

John Smyth, married, died
Mary Anne Smyth married Hewetson Reynolds
Ann Smyth married Mr Polhill
Thos Smyth was married; left children; is dead.

Margaret Eccles survived her husband.

Isabella Eccles who married Frank Lucas of Castle Shane. Their children were;

Thos Lucas, married, no issue
Rev Daniel Lucas
Frank Lucas
Edward Lucas died unmarried
Cadwaleder Blayney Lucas died unmarried
Mary Lucas married Mr Healy, no issue
Alicia Lucas married Major Richardson of Poplar Vale, no issue
Fanny Anne Lucas married Mr Harris
William Lucas married, no issue
Charles Robert Lucas married my aunt Fanny Eccles, no issue
(note; died Dec 30th 1845, buried Jan 1st 1846)

Isabella Eccles survived her husband

[Alternative from original notebook:

Isabella Eckles, married Frank Lucas Castleshane. She survived her husband, now dead
Tho Lucas. Died and no issue
Dan Lucas. Dead, left issue – not married
Frank Lucas. Died married. Left issue, two daughters married one son single
Edw Lucas. Died unmarried.
Cadwallader Blaney Lucas. Died unmarried
Mary Lucas. Married. Living. No issue
Alicia Lucas. Married. No issue living
Fanny Anne Lucas. Married, is living, has issue living.
Three daughters living: Mrs Healey, Mrs. Richardson, and Mrs. Harris
W Lucas. Dead. Married. Had no issue living
Cha Lucas. Married, living, has no issue.
Another daughter Jean who died young”]

Issue of my Grandfather Daniel Eccles and Anna his wife

Frances Eccles born Dec 7th 1775. Died. Married Charles Robert Lucas
Major Charles Eccles born April 27th 1777. Died Dec 15th 1807
Anna Rebecca Dickson Eccles born June 13th 1779. Died Nov 6th -- not married
Mary Eccles born May 11th 1781 Died March 17th 1858
Married Rev Jas Lowry Dickson
John Dickson Eccles born Sept 22nd Sept 1783 Died Oct 12th 1830 aged 47
Married Jemima Dickson
Gilbert William Eccles born Nov 4th 1784 not married
Eliza Letitia Sarah Eccles born Feb 14th 1786 Died Sept 27th 1833
Married Wm Newcombe
Daniel Eccles born March 15th 1787 died 12th Jan 1869
Married Louisa Benison
Hester Eccles born April 28th 1789 Died ----
Married William Dickson
Thomas Eccles born June 29th, 1791

Issue of Rev James Lowry Dickson and Mary Eccles who were married May 3rd 1810,
my father and mother;
he was son to Major Thomas Dickson and Hester Lowry of Woodville;
she daughter to Daniel and Anna Eccles of Ecclesville

Anna Maria Dickson born Dec 2nd 1810
(Note died 27th Sept 1884)
Hester Dickson born 22nd July 1812, died 28th July 1812
Thomas Dickson born 15th July 1813
(note died 22nd July 1885)
Jemima Anne Eccles Dickson born Dec 30th 1815
(Note died July 28th 1879)
Hester Elizabeth Frances Wilhelmina Dickson born Nove 9th 1817
Married Rev John Harris Morell June 1st 1852
(Note died Nov 5th 1865)
Daniel Eccles James Dickson born March 2nd 1824

Issue of John Dickson Eccles and his wife Jemima Dickson
(Note he died 12th October 1830. She died 8 April 1879)

Daniel Eccles died a baby
Charles Eccles married Isabella Blake
(Note he died Nov 4th 1869)
Hester Catherine Eccles
(Note died Dec 8th 1868)
Thomas Eccles
Anna Jemima Eccles
(died Sept ---- 1825)
John George Eccles
(Note died July 28th 1845)
James Eccles
Eliza Maria Wilhelmina born July 12th 1830
Robert Gilbert Eccles

Issue of Eliza Letitia Sarah Eccles and her husband William Newcombe

Anna Newcombe died young
William Newcombe married Mary Dickson
Daniel Newcombe not married
Elizabeth Newcombe married her cousin William Newcombe
(Note died 10th April 1901)
Rev Benjamin Newcombe married Eliza Maria Wilhelmina Eccles

Issue of Daniel Eccles and Louisa Benison his wife

(Note Daniel Eccles married Louisa Benison daughter of William
(Lloyd) Benison of Carn, parish of Kildalin, Co Cavan.
They married in Ann's Church, Dublin 10th July 1810.
Louisa Eccles died 29th April 1829.
Daniel Eccles died 12th Jan 1869.)

Susan Martha Eccles married James Soden Ellis
(Note she died Feb 11th 1869, He died Jan 16th 1871.)
Daniel Eccles married and died in America.
Macklin Gerrard Eccles married a Miss Howard,
2ndly Letitia Soden
(Note she died March 27th 1869)
John Dickson Eccles married in America
Anna Rebecca Eccles married Rev James McKee Oct 24th 1846.
(Note she died 11th Nov 1901
Their 2nd son Gerrard ME McKee died 27th Feb 1907)
Jemima Eccles died unmarried
Richard & Charles & Rosengrave Eccles died young.

Issue of Hester Eccles and William Dickson, her husband.

Anna Eliza Dickson, Nov 1823, married Captain Jenkins, 8th Hussars.
(Note he died 13th March 1887; she died 27th March 1904)
Thos Wm Dickson born 3rd Oct 1826
(Note Thos Wm Dickson of Rochefort Lodge, Bundoran died 2nd Sept 1898)

Issue of Major Thomas Dickson who married Hester Lowry Dec 14th 1775.
(Note Major Thos Dickson of Woodville MP for Ballyshannon
He died July 7th 1817 (was born 1741); she died Jan 16th 1793)

Hester Dickson born July 21st 1779. Her first husband was
Cairncross Cullen, her second Rev Herbert Mandeville Nash.
John Dickson, born Aug 13th, 1781. He married
Mary Louisa Bodkin Nov 1803
James Lowry Dickson, my father, born Aug 19th 1783.
He married Mary Eccles March 3rd, 1810
(Note he died Nov 23rd, 1861;
she died Sept 2nd 1858)
Thomas Dickson born Nov 9th 1784. Not married.
(Note died Sept 2nd 1807)
Frances Dickson born June 13th, 1787;
Married Llewellyn Nash
Jemima Dickson born June 15th, 1788.
Married John Dickson Eccles.
Robert Lowry Dickson born Nov 3rd, 1789; he married
Alicia Lucas, daughter to Rev Daniel Lucas
(Note Col Robert L Dickson died April 1848)
William Dickson born July 9th, 1791.
(Note died 10th July 1854)

Issue of Hester Dickson by her first husband, Cairncross Cullen
Cairncross Cullen
By her second husband, Rev Herbert Mandeville Nash
Mary Nash married James West
(Note she died 4th Sept, 1888)
Richard Nash died unmarried
Thomas Mandeville Nash married Fanny Skene or Smith
John Nash married

Issue of John Dickson and Mary Louisa Bodkin, his wife

Thomas Dickson born Aug 8th, 1804, Died unmarried
James Dickson died unmarried
Hester Jane Dickson born Aug 8th, 1806,
married Captain Henry Cullen
(Note she died 3rd March, 1884)
John Reynolds Dickson born Aug 11th 1807, married
Clara Skene or Smith
(Note died 7th June 1880)
Hyacinth Dickson born Feb 15th, 1809
Robert Dickson born May 24th 1810. He married the
widow of Capt Green.
Her own name was Louisa Pentland.
William Dickson born Aug 1911.
He died young and unmarried
Belinda Dickson born June 2nd 1812.
Married Dr Robert Herdman
Torrence Didkson died young and unmarried
Mary Dickson married William Newcombe
Alex Dickson born Feb 23rd 1817 Married a widow.
Her own name Hariett Louisa Cary.
Joseph Dickson born May 5th 1819 married the widow
of Mr Grub, her own name Louisa Frazer
(Note Louisa Dickson, wife of Rev JW Dickson died
16th March 1891. Rev JW Dickson died 1st April 1900.

Issue of Frances Dickson and Llewellyn Nash

Rev Wm Nash
Robert Spread Nash married --- Foot
Thomas Nash married.
Emily Wingfield Nash married a Mr Powel.
She was his second wife.
Her second husband was Jack Gibson.

Issue of Robert Lowry Dickson and Alicia Lucas
Nannie Dickson married Rev Robert Eccles.
Capt Thomas Dickson
Hessie Dickson
Rev Daniel Lucas Dickson married Lizzie Cullen.
Franis Dickson
3rd son Robert Dickson
(Note Robert Dickson died 1895)

Issue of Hester Elizabeth Frances Wilhelmina and
her husband John H Morell
(Note John H Morell died 4th Aug 1888)

Marion Florence Morell born April 1st 1853
Hessie Maria Morell born May 4th 1855,
Married Wm McWilliam Feb 1st 1877
(Note she died 18th Dec 1887)
Lowry D Morell, Jan 24th 1857
Harris Morell born Sept 19th 1858
Eva Morell born Aug 14th 1861

Issue of Charles Eccles and his wife Isabella Blake
Married 1840
john Stuard Eccles married Miss Caroline Brown,
May 1871
(Note he died 24th April 1886 aged 39;
his wife, Frances Caroline Eccles 12th Feb 1887)
Anna Eccles married Mr Brown Leckey
Charlie Eccles married Miss MI Brown
Constance Eccles married James Vesey Lendrum,
capt 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
28th Nov 1885

Issue of Eliza Maria Wilhelmina Eccles and
Her husband, Rev Benjamin Newcombe

William Newcombe
Meena Newcombe
John Dickson Eccles Newcombe
Inie Newcombe
MaUde Newcombe
Ethel Lucy Newcombe
Hessie Newcombe
(Note Killed in China 1895)
Charles Newcombe
(Note died 1881)
Benjamin Newcombe
(Note died Aug 1915 in China)

Issue of Rev Robert Eccles and wife Nannie Dickson

Alice Dora Eccles married Rev Lewis Fleury
April 13th, 1877
John Eccles
Minna Eccles married Rev J Newcombe
Florence Eccles married Rev G Green
Robert Lowry Eccles
Charles Eccles
Frances Eccles
Mabel Eccles
Eva Eccles
Hessie Eccles
Constance Eccles
Lionel Eccles
Ethel Eccles

Issue of Susan Martha Eccles and her husband,
James Soden Ellis
(Note she died 11 Feb 1869;
He died 16th Jan 1871)

John Soden Ellis born March 2nd 1835
Louisa Jemima Ellis born Dec 15th 1836
James Eccles Ellis born Aug 20th 1838
(Note he died 7th Jan 1881)
George Robert Ellis born Aug 20th 1840
(Note he died 24th Dec 1885)
(John Soden Ellis died 30th July 1914 aged 79)
(Eleanor R Ellis wife of JS Ellis died 30th Aug 1914)

James Eccles Ellis married Eleanor V Harvey
daughter of Richard Harvey, Melbourne, 22nd July 1882)

GR Ellis Married Eliza D Harvey of Melbourne 7th Jan 1882

Issue of GR Ellis and Eliza Dorothy his wife
James Eccles Ellis
Mary Louisa Ellis

Robert Lowry of Aghenis in the county of Tyrone, Esq had five children, three of them sons, two of them daughters.
Robert, his eldest son, died without issue.
Galbraith, his second son, succeeded to the estate and married Sarah, second daughter and co-heiress of John Corry, Esq, by whom he left two children, viz Armar, first Earl Belmore, and Anna, first Countess Enniskillen.
James Lowry, the third son of Robert Lowry of Aghenis entered into Holy Orders and was Rector of Tullyhog in the Co of Tyrone. He married Hester, daughter of John Richardson of Richill in the Co of Armagh, Esq, and left by her four children, viz the late Robert Lowry of Pomeroy, the late Rev John Lowry of Somerset, the late Rev James Lowry of Rockdale, and the late Mrs Hester Dickson of Woodville.
Mary (eldest daughter of the above named Robert Lowry of Aghenis) married Daniel Eccles of the Castle of Fintona in the Co of Tyrone, Esq, by whom she had several sons and daughters who all stood in the degree of cousin german to the first Earl of Belmore and first of Enniskillen.
Her eldest son Charles Eccles succeeded to the Fintona estate and was father to the late Daniel Eccles of Ecclesville, Esq, and the said Daniel Eccles stood in the degree of second cousin the present Countess De Grey.
Frances (eldest daughter of Daniel Eccles of the Castle Fintona and of Mary, his wife) married John Dickson of Ballyshannon in the Co of Donegal, Esq, and left by him two children, viz the late Major Dickson of Woodville, and Anna, who married her cousin, the late Daniel Eccles of Ecclesville, and said Daniel Eccles and Anna Dickson his wife stood both in the degree of second cousin to the Countess De Grey to whom descendants are related on both sides.
The late Major Dickson of Woodville married Hester, only daughter of the late James Lowry of Tullyhog who was herself cousin german to the first Countess of Enniskillen. Mrs Dickson left a large family, all of whom, in right of their mother, stool in the degree of second cousin to the Countess De Grey and in right of their father they are about third cousin to her.
Isabella (a younger daughter of the above named Daniel Eccles of Castle Fintona and of Mary Lowry his wife) married the late Rev Francis Lucas of CastleShane and only brother to Edward Lucas, then Member of Parliament for the Co of Monaghan. The said Isabella was cousin german to Ann, first Countess of Enniskillen. She left a large family and all of them who survived stood in the degree of second cousin to the present Countess De Grey.

This was written by Mrs Ann Lucas, widow of the
Rev Daniel Lucas.

Note by Eva Morell

Isabella Eccles who married Frank Lucas was a daughter of Daniel Eccles of Shannock (No 1 Miniature)

Her daughter married Mr Harris (they were my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather on my father's side)
Mrs Harris left three daughters.

Isabella married Mr Crowe
Letitia married Mr Morell
Mary married Mr Jamison

Issue of Isabella who married Mr Crowe

Rev Charles Crowe
Eliza Crowe - never married
Isabella Crowe, married Mr Musgrave

Genealogical notes and family outlines for that branch of the Crowe family in the county Monaghan, headed by John Maxwell Crowe (d. c.1800) of Legarhill and Elizabeth Young, his wife, of Corlismore. by Alison Kilpatrick

Issue of Letitia Harris Who married James Morell, my grandfather

John Harris Morell, married
1st Mary Russell
2nd HEFW Dickson
Fanny, died young
Eliza, died a baby
Edward, died unmarried
Charles, married Annie Brown
Eliza, died young
James, married Mary Brown
Isabella, married Rev J Egan

Issue of Mary Harris who married Mr Jamison

Mary Jamison, married Mr Johnstone
(Robert Johnstone's father)
Fanny Jamison married Dr Middleton
A boy, went abroad. I don't know anything about him.

Daniel Eccles of Shannock was my Great Great Grandfather on my Mother's side, and the same relation on my father's side.

Note by WH Dundas Eccles

Daniel Eccles, died 1688, to whom a monument was erected by his son Gilbert was probably the Daniel Eccles from whom the Enniskilleners received a letter from Clones on Decbr 12th 1688, giving them notice that the two companies of Newcomen's Regiment had arrived at that place.
His father Gilbert had obtained the Manor of Shannock near Clones in 1656 and was High Sheriff for Fermanagh in 1665. Daniel was High Sheriff in 1675 and his son Gilbert in 1696 and 1698. Jane Eccles, daughter of James Lowry Eccles of Shannock was married in 1784 to the Rev Alex Auchinleck, Rector of Rossory (North of Enniskillen).

Eccles Tablet in Porch of the Church of Enniskillen
Translated from atin by WH Dundas Eccles Ex. Sch. BD TCD.

Erected as a sacred memorial of Daniel Eccles, Esq, whose remains with those of his grandfather and sister Wiseheart lie near. He was born on 7th May 1646.
Distinguished by piety, prudence, propriety, gentlemanly bearing and simplicity of character.
He died March 5th 1688. His son Gilbert Eccles esq erected this monument expressive of the great public grief and especially of his own
20th Decbr AD 1707.

Daniel Eccles, 2nd son of Daniel and Ann Eccles (nee Dickson) of Ecclesville, born 15th March 1789,
Married Louisa Benison of Kildaline in the county of Cavan, died the 29 April 1829, buried in Fintona.
NB The above named Daniel and Louisa were married in St Anne's Church in the City of Dublin 15 July 1810 by Rev Rathancock Collon.

Susan Martha born in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, 11 May 1811 married James Soden Ellis of Wardhouse parish of Kinlough, Co Leitrim. Died 1869.
Daniel born in Dondona, Co Monaghan 13th June 1813 Went to Canada and married Susan ? 7 Feb 1835. Died 2nd March 1866.
Gerrard Macklin born 14th Feb 1815 in Dondona, married a Miss Howard and 2nd Letitia Soden of Moneygould, Co Sligo, on 27th Sept 1855
John Dickson born 1st Jan 1817. Went to Canada and married there.
Anna Rebecca born in Ecclesville 31st Oct 1818, Married Rev James McKee.
Louisa, born in Ecclesville in 1821. Died and buried in St Georges in the city of Dublin.
Richard went to Canada was buried 18 Oct 1846.
Charles born 1823? buried in Fintona 1828
Rosingrave born 1828 and buried in Fintona the same year.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

Diary of Rev James Morell of Ballybay

(see Morell of Ballybay)

A book
dedicated and set apart
to things
pertaining to my eternal peace
an account of a vow unto which
I entered on the 24th of July 1814
together with a few
observations made
on the evening of every succeeding Sabbath
July 24th 1814 James Morell.

Numbers 30; 1-2......... This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.
If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
With this passage of the Blessed book of God before me, and to which I was evidently directed by the Holy Spirit, I do now in the most solemn manner, with a firm dependence on Heavens' aid vow the following Vow unto the Lord and may the Lord bind my soul by it, and enable me to fulfil it.

I do solemnly promise that in all time to come, I will endeavour to live more unto the Lord than I have hitherto done, but sensible of my weaknesses, I particularly promise the following things, for a period terminating on my next birthday, the 15th July 1815, to be solemnly renewed and made more comprehensive if anything appears wanting on every ensuing 13th of July during my life a short note to be taken on every Sabbath evening (and enhanced) with prayer for strengthening grace.
1st I will by God's Grace, follow more and more after the things that belong to my eternal Grace nor rest satisfied until I feel a comfortable assurance that my sins are forgiven, and the spirit of God with (refoning) with my own spirit that I am on the way that leads to heaven with this view I will, -
2ndly be more attentive to all the duties of my sacred profession, endeavouring to "approve myself unto God, a workman that not be ashamed"
3rdly I will be more particular with respect to the worship of God in my family
4th I will read a portion of the sacred Scriptures every day and privately pray to God, morning and evening.
5th I will with God's assistance abstain from those sins that have hitherto "so easily beset me".
The foregoing engagement I do now solemnly promise with God's assistance to fulfil and may the Almighty God, the teacher of all hearts, who knows the sincerity of my heart at this moment, may he strengthen, support and assist me -
Sunday 24th July 1814.


Sunday 31st July - have succeeded in performing my vow tolerably well ???? look for God's assistance throughout the ensuing weeks, as I know I will be exposed to temptations again. ???? by God's grace to surmount the temptation that assailed me, may God continue to strengthen and ?????? me.

Sun Aug 14th - been faithful to my vow

Sun Aug 21st Have not yet been unfaithful to the letter of my vow tho' I may not have lived up to the spirit of it. Lord pardon my weakness, and give me strength from above.

Aug 28th – At Aughnacloy

Sept 4th – assisting at sacrament at Carrickmaclim’ [and hoped that his ministry may have contributed] not only to the saving health of others but also to the salvation of my own soul.

Sept. 11th - Preached by appointment of the Pres. at Stonebridge
The evening unfavourable to spiritual employment – mixed company

[Note that the beginning of this diary coincides with the story of Mr. Maharg of Stonebridge - Check the Monaghan and Ballybay Presbytery records on this story and see is there a connection. Is the issue with Maharg his Orange sympathies. It seems that at the end of his trial a portion of the congregation went to or formed a Seceder congregation at Smithboro.]

Sept 18th – preached at home – “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”

{11th & 18th – home disturbed by company}

Sept 25th – “yielding ourselves unto the Lord” – Tom 6.13
Large congregn – meditating on past week with comfort

Oct 2nd – preached – obliged to go to Lough (?Bawn)

??? {Oct 4th - "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Congregn large and I hope edified. Employed during the last week much on worldly matters, yet I have not been unmindful of my vow.}

Oct 9th
*** Large Congregn – occupied much in last week on worldly matters
Exceedingly grateful at this season, as it is of the times in which I formerly experienced severe trouble from which I hope I am now finally delivered – O God grant – Amen

*** [Could this be connected with the anniversary of the Battle of the Diamond?]

Oct 16th
Large cong – on the Duty of family prayer – influence on my own soul and them that heard it
Announced the Sacrament

Oct 23rd
Preached on 2nd coming

Oct 30th, 1814
Preparation Sabbath – large congregn

Nov 6th
Sacrament Sun - Fine day – full house
Renewed my vow at the Table – I was much edified by preaching of my assistants – congn highly satisfied

Nov 13th
Bad day and not many to hear it

Nov 20th – large congn

Nov 27th
Assisting at Sacrament at Glennan

Dec 4th
Highly valuable sermon

Dec 11th
Engaged in company the past week

Dec 18th
Preached ‘Behold I bring you glad tidings’ – congn very small – severe weather

Dec 25th
Christmas – preached an appropriate sermon


Jan 1st
New Year’s Day – appropriate sermon – large congn – Read and meditated much in the evening

Jan 8th
Day bad and congn small – Not much pleased with the manner I treated the subject
Company in the evening and not able to spend it as I could wish – Contrived to get them all to read religious books and by that means got some time to read myself

Jan 15th
Preached ‘Him hath he exalted’ – congn large – I felt liberty in speaking on the subject

Jan 22nd
O that all men would praise the Lord for his goodness
A pleasing subject – I felt delight in contemplating and describing the goodness of God


Jan 29th
Omniscience & omnipresence of God – calculated to have a powerful influence on the hearts ------ of those who truly believe


Feb 5th
Preached with much liberty

Up to Feb 12th - large congregns. Above date is first mention of small congregn - wet day.

Feb 19th
Pleasing useful sermon – mind comfortable

Feb 26th
Old sermon – revised – large congregn

Mar 5th
Duty of prayer

Mar 12th
Bad day – small congn

Mar 21st

Sun Apr 2nd
Spent the evening tending the sick; & amongst them one of my best friends who is in a dangerous state. Prayed for him – partly for selfish reasons

Apr 9th
When I went to go out this morning Mr Porter, a probationer arrived – heard him preach an excellent sermon – congn large
Ensuing week in teaching, catechising & preaching

Apr 16th
Announced Sacrament for May

Apr 23rd
Large congregn

Apr 30th
Unusually large congregn

May 7th
Sac Sunday – Heb? 7.25
Renewed my vows at Table of dear Saviour

May 14th
Same text as last Lord’s Day

May 21st

May 28th
Assisted at Sac at Glennan in evening

June 3rd
Assisted at Sac at Ervy – Preached on Sat & Sun evening – Mon excellent sermon from Mr White
On Sunday heard ????? near Ballatrain

June 11th
Sabb with my own family

June 18th
‘Behold Lamb of God that &c’ – large congregn

June 25th

July 2nd
Preached and Mr Baird preached part of the day

1815 - July 9th
Obtained a collection of one pound for [a poor family]
My wife and family are absent on a visit at her mother’s
Peculiarly thankful to God at this season, having experienced for the last two years at the same season, the most acute trouble from which I hope in God I am now delivered. Blessed be my merciful God

[Could this have been Orange demonstrations?]

July 16th
Michah 6.3 ‘O my people, what have I done upon thee? -----
Note – My birthday fell on Thursday last the 13th. To me it should have been a solemn day, set apart to review the past and for the future, in pursuance of a solemn promise made to that purpose – but being obliged to attend a witness at the assizes of Monaghan, thus was completely prevented. May God pardon me. Amen.

July 23rd
Preached evening near Ballitrain

On 30 July 1815 he preached on the text ‘Blessed is the man whose hope is in the Lord his God’ to a large and attentive congregation.

July 30th and following -
On my return from the meeting house, I found our youngest child, a dear little girl who had been declining for some time extremely ill. She got worse during the evening, slept a little at night & appeared better, but was very ill on Monday morning & apparently near death. Having commended her soul to God by the most fervent prayers I was capable of, she died on my knee at half past twelve on Monday 31st July 1815 aged near 15 months - She breathed her last, without any appearance of pain, with a serene and heavenly smile on her countenance, leaving a confident (impression) in my mind, that she had tasted the joy of heaven, even before her little heart had ceased to beat.
May my latter end be as peaceful and serene as hers.

On 9th instant I had been rejoicing the month was passing by without my being visited with severe trouble that had befallen me in July 1813 & July 1814; how short sighted is man. I little thought that a visitation so awful as the death of a dearly beloved child awaited me before the month would expire.
We know not what a day may bring forth. May God prepare my soul for all the events of the mournful pilgrimage of life. May he sanctify my affliction to my soul, and make all things work together for my Good. May the death of my dear infant be an awful warning to myself to prepare to meet my God.
How short sighted is man

On Tuesday 1st of August I buried her in a little spot in the North East side of the burying ground at the Meeting House - The first of my little family that has been committed to the dust. We have made a communion with the grave but we have also formed a connection in heaven for her little soul is now singing hallelujah to the Lord that sitteth on the Throne for ever. May we all meet her (in Heaven). Amen and Amen.

Aug 6th
Text - Turn ye to the stronghold ye prisoners of hope – He [prayed] God grant that we may be able indeed to fly for refuge to the stronghold, even Jesus the sinners only refuge.

Melancholy at home. My dear wife feels most strongly the loss of her infant but I earnestly trust and hope that God will make it a great blessing to her soul.

Note We had hitherto had family worship only on Sunday. We have now resolved to have it every day. May God enable us to live up to the spirit of this resolution.
My wife has also joined in exercise of reading a portion of the Scriptures and praying privately

Aug 13th
Text – Romans 8:31, If God be for us, who can be against us? None can be against in that we need fear; if God be on our side, we need nto be dismayed – O God be thou for me and my family and I have nothing to fear.
Aug 20th
Sac at Ballygawley – preached Sat, Sun evening and Monday
Returned home on Sunday and found all well

Aug 27th

Sept. 4th 1 Pet 1-20,21
Was interrupted by a Drunken man whilst preaching, & obliged to have him put out. What a melancholy sight to see a man intoxicated in the house of God. May it be a warning to all who saw him to avoid the debasing sin of drunkenness.

Sept 11th
Comfortable evening with my family & read

Sept 18th
Matt 17.44
Note Alleine: Alarm to the unconverted – 190 copies

This day – the death of my dear child – my dear wife takes it badly but is earnest at the throne of grace

Sept 25th

Oct 1st

Sun Oct 8th - Mention of an academy he means to open – not prepared but Mr Porter had come – excellent sermon – Eccles 35.26 – announced Sac

*** Ad for the academy appeared in the Freeman’s Journal on Oct 21st

Oct 15th
Had been appointed by Presbytery to preach at new congregn at Ballatrain but employed Mr Porter that I might hear Miss Cambridge to whom I had given the use of the meeting house for that day. Congn was immense and deeply serious and attentive and certainly I had never heard a more striking & ----- preacher that Miss Camb. I had an opportunity of meeting her on Friday evening before in Ballybay church and was both pleased and edified

Tuesday & Wednesday
Heard Miss Camb on both nights at Mr Jackson’s of Crieve and having an opportunity of enjoying much of her private conversation I do thankfully acknowledge that I have reason to hope and believe that I have received much spiritual benefit from her.
God ----- & grant ‘that her seed may have been sown on good ground’

Thurs Oct 19th
Bailieboro for Mr White – slept at Mr White’s

Oct 22nd
Preached & family

Sunday Nov 5th 1815

Traditionally Presbyterians have celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper only twice a year in May and November, attaching great solemnity to these special occasions. In past centuries they were weekend or even week long ‘seasons’. (from Nesbitt)

29th October 1815
Preparation Sabbath - Preached excellent sermon on repentance
Text: "The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men to repent" (Acts 17:30)
I then announced the Sacrament and gave a long exhortation. The house was remarkable full and seemed to feel much of what was said to them. May God impress it on their hearts and grant that they and I may be well prepared for the important service of the next Lord's day.

5th November - Sacrament Sunday
On the Thursday before Mr (Patrick) White preached from "Behold the Lamb of god that taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) On the Saturday, Mr Winning on "He that hath not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be Anathema, Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22), and Mr Anderson on the superior light and advantage of Christianity. I preached on Sabbath morning from "I will go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy" (Psalm 43:4). I then explained the ordinance and addressed the first table. We had five tables. (These were long narrow tables in the aisles, covered with white cloths and only used for Communion services). "Mr Anderson preached in the evening on "Trust in God". Miss Cambridge the female preacher attended the entire day and communicated with us. The house was well filled. It was dark before the service concluded. On Monday Mr Anderson preached from "Now are we the Sons of God and it doth not appear what we shall be" (1 John 3:2), and Mr Winning concluded with a general and useful address after the Sacrament."

*** [A large party of religious friends dined with me on Monday and amongst them Miss Cambridge – delightful evening]

A manuscript book of Mr Morell's sermons from 1811 exists. Each consists of 20 manuscript pages and must have taken an hour to deliver. My backside shifts uneasily in my chair at the thought. By my childhood the Sunday sermon had been reduced to 20-25 minutes but it remained the focus of the service.

One of these is entitled A Sacramental Service and was preached sometime between 1811 and 1817.

Sunday morning letter/£100 from my excellent landlord Major Tennison – repair of my corn mill

Nov 12th

Nov 19th
Assisted at Sacrament in Monaghan – preached on Sat, Sun evening & Monday

Nov 26th
Same text as last Sun – ‘And he went on his way rejoicing’ – Had Miss Cambridge for hearer

Last Tuesday in comp of elders asked to dinner at Mr Jackson’s + Miss Camb

Dec 3rd
Sacrament at Glennan – preached evening and on Monday – much liberty throughout, particularly on Sunday when truly I was ---- by the spirit of God

Dec 10th

Dec 17th

Dec 24th

Sun 31st Dec
Mr Johnstone Cootehill & now Tullylish preached for me – excellent sermon
Rode up to Crieve to see Mr Jackson who is getting better


Jan 7th
My brother and sister-in-law from the Co Derry are with me – my friends who reside in that county – God ---- myself, my family & friends

Jan 14th

1816 - Jan 21st
Stormy day
I fear that my desire after God is not as ardent as it --- have been in times past, & I can see by some unpleasant occurrences that I am punished for my coldness and neglect.

Jan 28th

Feb 4th
Not having the note for some time after the day I have forgotten the subject on which I preached, pardon my neglect of God

Feb 11th

Feb 18th
Mr Boyle – a young man lately over from Seceders preached an excellent sermon

Feb 25th ????

Mar 3rd

1816 Mar 10th
My dear wife presented me with a fine boy about half past five this morning. She was but a short time ill and recovering fast.
[Note – Edward]

Mar 17th
Mr Lytton? – young man preached

Mar 24th
Preached at new congregn at Ballitrain – great number – hope we will establish congregn here

Mar 31st
Drowning of Hugh Jackson, Cremourne - friend - in Liffey
Young man – wife – 3 little ones

Apr 7th

Apr 14th

Apr 18th

Note 1816 – Year without a summer
Mr White on his fast day – It snowed on me from I left home till I got here & I never remember such a fall of snow at this season of the year

Apr 21st
Spent a happy evening with heart grateful for mercies at this season particularly & may I never forget the great thing that this calls to my recollection.

Apr 28th
Preparation Sabbath

May 5th
Sacrament – [on our Fast Day – Mr White]
On Sat – Mr Porter & Mr Anderson
On Sun only 4 tables – evening Mr Anderson
Renewed my vows this day at the table
Mon Mr Anderson

Sun 12th May

19th May

May 26th
Sac at Glennan

June 2nd
Cong v large and attentive

June 9th 1816
At Aughnacloy – Sacrament
*** [No doubt James & Thomas McWilliams were there]
Preached Sat, Sun evening & Monday

1816 Sund June 16th
Much gratitude to God for on Monday my eldest little boy – a child very dear to me – was taken seriously ill – on Friday he was ---- so, but has been graciously inclined to bless the ----- that was used to spare my child’s life – is today recovering fast
In a high fever – inflammation of some intestines – means of recovery were copious bleeding, purgative medicines, warm bath, chicken weed, marshmallow to the bowels and stomach

June 23rd
My little boy is quite better

Standard entry.
'Except a man be born again he cannot (enter) the kingdom of God'. I considered this a very useful discourse. The congregation was very full and very attentive & I trust the subject was made useful to many. May I be fully sensible of the values of this great truth.

-------------- a child very dear to me was taken seriously ill -

Monday June 24th I preached --------- our meeting house to a large body of Freemasons. Text - II Kings 10/15

15 AND when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into his charriot.
NB - the verses following contain the story of the slaughter of the followers of Baal which formed the text of his Moderatorship sermon.

Dined and spent a pleasant evening

June 30th

July 7th

July 14th
Mr Fleming, probationer of Tyrone Presbytery preached – very bad day, only a few out

Pleasant evening - Mr Eaton of Dublin with me, who brought three boarders from Dublin in addition to his own three sons who have been with me for some time
Grant this addition to my academy together with the peculiar manner of this peculiar season now expanded my heart with gratitude to God
Birthday yesterday I spent in prayer and meditation

Sun July 21st
Exceedingly wet day – so few out that we did not go into meeting house

July 28th
???? & ???? called at different times
Fine day and congregn large – comfortable evening at home

1816 July 31st
On this day last year, my dear little child died; a year has passed by & she is still fresh in my heart & memory.
& as this month has for me last 3 years been a month of affliction and severe trials

Aug 4th
Marriage supper

Aug 11th
Mr Jackson who is still living but to all appearances near death – found him calm, resigned and full of faith and hope exemplifying how a Christian can die

Aug 18th

Aug 25th

Sept 1st

Sept 8th

Sept 15th
Straight gate & narrow way

Sept 22nd

Sept 29th
Mr Johnston of Tullylish

Oct 6th

Oct 13th
My wife & eldest child have both been very ill last week. God has mercifully ---------------. O may I be grateful.
Dec 1st With the exception of some little pecuniary embarrassment, I am free from all worldly trouble. God continue my comforts, & grant that I may be rich in spiritual comforts.
------------- May I & my little family -----

Oct 20th
Barren fig tree
*** Is this sermon in his list?

Oct 27th
Wedding garment – Preparation Sunday

Nov 3rd
Sac Sunday – wet day & congregn not as large as usual
Spoke to 5 tables and Mr Anderson to 2 more and preached in evening
No sermon on Monday as we were obliged to set off early to attend a spec meeting of the General Synod at Cookstown – detained there until Sunday when I returned safe and sound

Nov 10th

Nov 17th
Day very stormy Indeed throughout all the ----- harvest and until now it has been the severest weather I ever remember, or that has been remembered by the oldest person
The consequence is that the crops are v bad and v late – a great deal of oats are unreaped. Last week I observed on my way to Cookstown a whole tract of country where there was scarcely any of the corn cut. There was a heavy fall of snow and it was a melancholy sight to see the growing - - - - and that in stooks entirely covered with it. There is every appearance of a famine, may God avert it and help and preserve me and my little family.

Nov 24th
Fine day, congn large and attentive – weather v fine during the last week – the greater part of the harvest has been secured

Dec 1st
Miracle of t/fn of our Sav – a fine subject and I hope it was made useful
Day fine – congn large
Comfortable evening at home – exception of some little pecuniary embarrassments I am free from all worldly trouble
God confirm? My comforts and grant that I may be rich in spiritual comforts and have a treasure in heaven

Dec 8th
Sac at Glennan – spoke to one table – preached in the evening – ‘It is appointed unto men’
A Tyrone probationer preached on Mon &
I returned on Tuesday morning – great deal of snow

Tuesday, 10th Dec
Some corn in the fields and some corn yet uncut. It is a depressing season but God can make all things work together for Good for those that love him. May I and my little family be amongst that number. Amen

Sun Dec 15th

The miracle of the healing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan
Day fine – clear frost – not many out – Comfortable at this moment with my little family at home

Dec 22nd
Miracle of the healing of the blind man
Went off after sermon with some of my Dublin boarders to Shercock, intending to go to Dublin by the Cootehill Coach on the ensuing day; spent the evening with my little boys at Wim(?)'s Inn - God bless me -

Dec 25
Ch. day. Having got safe unto Dublin on Monday evening, preached on the day in Marys Abbey (The church of Rev James Horner)
Behold I bring you glad tidings
Went immediately afterwards to St Patricks Church – much entertained and spent the evening at the Horners, one of the ministers of Mary’s Abbey

Dec 29
Preached at Ushers Quay & immediately afterwards at Mary’s Abbey


Jan 1st
Heard Mr Thorp at Bethesda

Sunday Jan 5th
Preached to a large congregation at St Mary’s
Grow in grace in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
It being customary to address the discourse on the 1st Sunday of the New Year to young people I observed the value of remembering our creator and redeemer in the days of our youth and growing in grace as we grow in years.
Remained in Dublin till the Sat following when, after having spent an exceedingly pleasant time I returned and found my little family well and happy at home

Jan 12th
Preached in own meeting house on miracle of appearance of the angels to the Sheppards on the plains of Bethlehem

Jan 19th

Jan 26th

Feb 2nd
Mr Kennedy, probationer of this Presbytery, preached
Had a providential blessing from God on this day - I was distressed for money, a message was waiting in my house for £100 that must be paid on the next day. On the day a letter from Mr Hannon (?) of Dublin was put into my hand enclosing a bank note for £100

Call upon me saith God in this day of trouble and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things

I had prayed to God and he heard me – may he always hear me

Feb 9th
On the Goodness of God
Mr Eaton of Dublin is with me this evening – pleasant and happy

Mar 2nd

Mar 9th
Omniscience & Omnipotence of God

Mar 16th
Cong large and attentive

Mar 23rd
Day very fine and cong unusually large

Mar 30th
Not having entered an account until 13th – afraid I have forgotten the subject of one of the days

Apr 6th
Mr Johnson of Tullylish preached

Apr 13th
Very large cong
Announced the Sacrament with a long exhortation for this day 3 weeks

• I feel that I am very weak and very unworthy.
• O God forgive my numerous sins

Apr 27th
Preparation Sunday
Mr Lyle – probably from the Presbytery of Tyrone

May 4th
Sacramental Sunday
Mr Anderson assisted me & in the evening preached on the repentance of Peter
Mr White had preached on the fast day & Mr Anderson on Saturday & Monday.

May 11th
And he went on his way rejoicing

May 15th
Sacrament at Glennan
Preached on Sunday & Monday
Returned home Monday evening – all well at home

May 25th
My eldest little boy was very ill on Friday but is now quite well

There are indeed may little embarrassments hanging over me but God will enable me – May I be mindful of this


Is it a coincidence that he restarts the entries on the anniversary of the Battle of the Diamond.

Another trouble point was around Nov 5th [Birthday of William III) & Nov 5th (Popish Plot}

Sunday Sept 21st

I have neglected my usual Sunday evening memorandum for nearly 3 months, and I have found myself much the worse for it – I am sure I have sustained a great spiritual loss, **** and I have ___ with many little temporary troubles yet God has been good to me. O how much kinder than I deserved. I have been very ungrateful but I do now hereby promise anew to ___ the vow entered into at he commencement of this book & ratify in the presence of God this evening by my sign – Morell

[The principle events of the past 3 months have been the birth of a little daughter at half past eleven on the forenoon of Monday 25th August
Baptised on Sunday 9th Sept by the name of Eliza by Mr Anderson of Aughnacloy
A fine child and thriving well May God bless her and make her a comfort to her parents]

[14th Aug 1817
Death of my Uncle Henry Morell, leaving the greater part of the property to my father and brother & relieving me considerably from an apprehension I had of having to pay a heavy debt of my father.

I have heard yesterday that a debt I had --- and made payable in Dublin for £64 that I had lodged the provision had been protected God hath ---- from any loss I could ill afford]

Thanks to God for preserving my family from a dreadful contagious fever now raging in the Country
O God I thank thee for thy Goodness and earnestly Pray that thou will continue this

We have had famine throughout the summer and the poor have suffered dreadfully. It has been succeeded by Pestilence and many are the families that mourn the loss of near and dear relations. Again O God I thank thee that - - - Famine & Pestilence have been - - - in my little family.

[This fits with John Donaldson's observation that 1817 was a very poor year - This doesn't fit with the Tambora eruption. However his weather observation in 1816 do indeed fit.]

It has been succeeded by Pestilence and many are the families that mourn the loss ----]

I preached this day on the 15th Chapter of Luke

A Mr ------- from Armagh preached in the evening
Day very fine and congregation large

Sunday Sept 28th
Obliged to go in the evening to Clones and had not an opportunity of spending the evening as I would wish

Oct 5th

**** Not yet rid of the little vexatious encumbrances noted on Sunday 21st September

*** NB September 21st was the anniversary of the battle of Diamond which led to the foundation of the Orange Order.

??? [Oct 7th
Still fever - Little family untouched]

Sunday Oct 12th
Cong large, weather v fine and has continued so for a length of time past

Ann Sac

*** The trouble alluded to in my last (entry) hangs over my head and has rather thickened & ------
But it will be scattered and gone before next Lord’s Day

Much of my temporal comforts depend on the events of the ensuing weeks. I have strong hopes that they will be favourable

Oct 19th
Turn ye to the stronghold

On the preceding Thursday preached at ?(Mr Andersons)?

Oct 26th
Preparation Sunday

Nov 2nd
Sac Sun
Friday Mr White
Sat Sun Mon Mr Anderson

Nov 9th
By appointment of Presbytery at Monaghan – Mr Adams supplied my place
Stayed at Mr Trumble at night and returned next morning

Nov 16th
A Mr Ferguson – probationer, Tyrone Presbytery

Nov 23rd
Sac at Glennan – Preached on Sunday evening – Mr Adams, Monday
Returned Tuesday – all well at home

Nov 30th
Mr Johnston of Tullylish

Dec 7th
Assisted at Sac at Ballygawley? On Sat – Sunday evening – Monday
Returned Wed – all well

Was astonished to see on my journey to and from B’g that the harvest in many places was ---- entirely settled A great deal of corn being in stooks and some to reap
Was also concerned to find that the fever was still raging in that country
How thankful I -------- that my little family has been preserved

Dec 14th
Cong small

Dec 21st
At Ballinacl---- - -

Dec 28th
Mr ------ of Armagh preached for me went in and heard him
M L—in the evening


Jan 4th
Mr Johnson of Tullylish – day bad and not many out

Arranged a meeting to be held in the evening in –
`Auxiliary Mission Soc in the Neighbourhood

Meeting accordingly took place and was numerously attended – Mr Johnson preached – a number subscribed
Adjourned till 2nd Tuesday in Feb

[11th Jan 1818
Meeting to form an Auxiliary missionary Society in this neighbourhood]

Jan 18th
Preached at --. C. – Doo - infant congregation

Jan 25th

Feb 1st
Presbytery in Monaghan

Feb 8th

Feb 15th
Do not remember – not made the note in proper time

Feb 22nd
At Ballitrain – Porter preached at home – evening with Mr Jackson

Mar 1st, 8th 15th 22nd didn’t enter

Mar 29th
Mr Allen of ----

1818 Apr 5th
My mind much troubled on account of severe illness of my 2nd son, Edward. He had not been well for 2 or 3 days but he has been ill for the last 2 days. Dr Gault has been attending him. I this day sent of Mr David who ----- around 12. He has pronounced --- inflammation of the chest
God grant desired effect – It would be a severe affliction were he to be removed from us but I trust in the goodness of God.

My Edward is not yet recovered – He is still in great pain.

Apr 12th
Mr ---, a young man of Mr Winning preached
My dear little child is still ill – The inflammation has abated but he is very weak and taken no --- food; the blister is still open

Thursday Apr 16th
At Baillieboro for Mr White – Was most anxious to get home as my oldest son John has got his leg broken

???? [My 2nd son still very ill – my eldest son better

Apr 19th
Dined at Mr Jackson’s and baptised a child for him – preached at ????? at 5 – returned at a late hour and found my child better

Apr 26th
Prep Sun – returned home late – my child still ill but I hope getting better

May 3rd
Sac Sunday – Mr Allen
I was very ill with a cold but got through

Eldest John getting better – Edward continues ill – has a great cough and I am afraid of his lungs being affected

May 10th
Mr ------- who was licensed on Sunday preached his 1st sermon
John a great deal better and walking about
Edward I fear is no better – his cough and this evening he coughed up blood

May 17th
And he went on his way rejoicing – I have always found this a useful subject especially after a sacramental occasion

Edward is much better

May 24th – No entry

May 31st
Sacrament at Glennan – Sunday evening and Monday
Returned early on Tuesday – found some my children recovering out of measles and others taking them – Am alarmed about Edward who has no yet recovered his late attack

June 7th
Ordination of elders on this day – seven elders
Little ones all recovered of measles – Edward weakest but I hope getting better


1822 Mar 10th
For the last three years I have neglected the valuable memorandum that I have been in the habit of entering in this book on every Sunday evening - I am now determined to renew the practice. I have uniformly found it extremely useful. I earnestly trust that God will enable me to adhere steadily to the vow recorded in the commencement of this book.
The history of my life for the last three years presents almost an uninterrupted scene of prosperity and comfort. By the birth of a fine boy on the 22nd June last, my family has been increased. He was baptised by the name Charles Lucas by Mr Horner of Dublin.
I have paid off near £500 of debt during that time and am now in circumstances highly independent and comfortable. Indeed in all my (vexations and tribulations) in life I have experienced a uniform and progressive increase of happiness and comfort.
For all these blessings I trust I am duly grateful to the Giver of all Good.
The melancholy events of the last three years were the death of Mrs Crowe, a sister of Mrs Morell's in Feb 1820 - A severe and dangerous illness which I experienced in the spring of the same year and which confined me for three months and the death of my father which occurred in the beginning of May. He was in his 83rd year.

Apr 28th Sacrament Sunday - Largest congregation I ever had – by far the greatest number of communicants

May 5th

May 12th
Ass ---- at Mr White’s

May 19th

Commenced a System of lectures on the Book of Revelation
Gave an introductory lecture and preached on the Institution of the Sabbath

May 26th
Lecture on 5th Chapter of Revelation

Monday – a new boarder with an advance of money

June 3rd
Assisted Mr Com------ of Cootehill at Sacrament

June 9th
Lect from Rev and preached – dined at Mr Ham—-- of Bal--- and preached at 6 o’clock

Returning in the jaunting car in the evening with my wife had a dreadful accident – Horse and car and ourselves were thrown down a precipice off the road – We were both severely hurt but no bones were broken – Nothing could have probably saved us but the immediate interference of an Almighty and merciful providence

June 16th
Being confined throughout the wee to bed from effects of the fall last Sunday I was unable to preach – Mr Porter -----
I was however able to go to the meeting house and thank God am recovering rapidly

June 23rd
Took a collection for the purposes of aiding the fund established to support preaching in the South & West of Ireland
I feel much fatigued and unwell after the labour of the day but have taken medicine

June 30th
Attending Mr ---- in ----
Set off for Dublin

July 7th
In Dublin – Mary’s Abbey

July 14th
Safe home – all well

I ensured my life at the Royal Exchange Ins Office

July 21st

July 28th

Aug 4th

Aug 11th

Aug 18th
Preached at Maguiresbridge being one of the Committee ---- to take charge of that congregation

Aug 25th

Sept 1st – Ballinacloughdo
It is intended there should be encouragement to endeavour to get a congregation erected here

Sept 8th

Sept 15th
Mr Ham—preached

Sept 22nd

Sept 29th
Maguiresb – large attend and attended a meeting of commission

1822 - Oct 6th - Preached at Maguiresbridge.
Text "We then are workmen" - large and attentive audience.

Attended a meeting of Committee on Mon 7th - Polled the congregation for Mr. James McWilliam (brother of Rev Thomas), and drew up a call.

Oct 13th
Preparation Sunday

Oct 20th
Sac Sun
Assist Mr White
Mr Cunningham of Mart--- Grove

Oct 27th
Ass Mr Han{son} at C’blayney

Nov 3rd
Ass Mr White at B’boro

Nov 10th

Nov 17th
At Cootehill – Sac

Nov 24th

Dec 1st

Dec 8th

1822, Dec 15th
In Sligo – left home on Tuesday, slept at Mr Winning’s, Kingscourt – went by the coach on Wed + Bukley? – dined and slept at Mr Tanumm? On Thursday dined with a large party at Mr Eaton & hopeful a child from him. On Friday set off – slept at Longford that night & reached Sligo on Sat evening & preached next day in Mayo
‘Come unto me all that labour

Dec, 22nd
Sligo – Grow in grace – preached two evenings in week

Met with much - - - - in Sligo and have reason to hope that much good was done.
Left on Monday and ret’d by Dublin
2-3 days in Dublin & ret’d home Sat even and found all well

Dec 29th

1823 4th Jan
'What meanest thou O sleeper’

Quoted in Livingstone pg 178
8th June, 1814. Sir John Parnell presented ten petitions to parliament 'signed by very numerous and respectable bodies of the inhabitants of the north of Ireland, both Protestants and Catholics, complaining that the public peace was kept in a state of continual disturbance by the existence and conduct of certain Orange societies'. One of these petitions was from a group in Ballybay.
[NB - Sir John Parnell died in 1801; this may refer to his son Sir Henry.]

Freeman's Journal, Thursday, Dec 14th, 1815 (11th)
Friends of civil & religious liberty - (4th Dissenting congregation Belfast resolved unanimously:
That we earnestly entreat the Earl of Donoughmore & Sir Henry Parnell to bring forward motions of this subject during ensuing session;
as we are convinced that permanent tranquillity of Ireland depends on the suppression of the grievances sustained from the Orange Order

Hansard 4th July, 1815 - Sir H Parnell; 14 petitions by himself and Sir J Newport

July 17th 1823 - Missionaries - Cooke preaches at Mary's Abbey (Scots Church)

He talks about the most acute trouble w.r .t. July 1813 & 1814. He starts the diary at the end of July 1814. Could this trouble have been connected with the activities of the Orange Order. Could they have been demonstrating against the Declaration of the Synod of Ulster in favour of Catholic Emancipation in 1813, while he was Moderator.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

A historical & statistical account of the barony of Upper Fews in the county of Armagh, 1838 by John Donaldson.

Dundalk : W. Tempest, Dundalgan Press, 1923

National Library of Ireland, Call Number: Ir 94116 d 1


About the year 1733 several landed proprietors of the then parish of Creggan - to wit, Edward Tipping, Alex. Hamilton, James McCullagh, Adam Noble, and Randle Donaldson, Esquires, invited Presbyterians to settle in their respective estates; great part of same being waste, and but thinly inhabited; and other parts being under stock; and for their encouragement also invited Rev. Alexander McCombe, a licentate of the then Presbytery of Killileagh in connection with the general Synod of Ulster, to become their minister, which invitation he accepted of, and was ordained at the Fews Barracks, Minister of the Presbyterian Congregation of Creggan by the said Presbytery in the year of our Lord 1734.
The original encouragement and subscription list, which was signed by the aforesaid landlords and a few individuals who had stock farms in the parish, is in the handwriting of Captain James Donaldson, brother of Randle Donaldson, Esq., aforesaid, and is in the following words:
"Subscriptions for the encouragement of the residence of a Presbyterian Minister in the Parish of Creggan, Barony of Fews, and County of Armagh.
First - That he shall be accommodated with a good farm of land, for what number of years he thinks fit, at a reasonable rent.
Secondly - That he shall have a yearly stipend of thirty pounds per annum, to be payed by two gales, at November and May, for a term of seven years, in which time 'tis hoped that a sufficient colony of persons of the same persuasion will settle in the said parish; the respective landlords thereof being inclined to give them particularly every fitting encouragement.
Thirdly - That the undermentioned subscribers do oblige themselves, and their heirs, Exors., and admors., to the true payment of their respective subscriptions for the aforesaid term of years.
Given under our hands this 12th day of May, 1733.

The signatures to the foregoing document, owing to the age and wear of the paper, are now mutilated and lost, excepting the following names, which appear to be the last of the subscribers, namely; Randle Donaldson, Esq., £2; Mrs Ann Donaldson, $1 10s.; John Knox, £1 10s.; and Artt Graham, £1. These last two subscribers, it is asserted by ancient people, held, in bygone days, two large grazing farms in this parish: the first in Darsey and the other in Darsey McDonnell.
Besides the foregoing subscription from Randle Donaldson and his lady, he gave a lease for ever of the site of the Meetinghouse and its yard, containing near one Irish acre, at the nominal rent of three peppercorns by the year (if demanded).
The Rev. Mr. McCombe, shortly after his coming to the country, took out a lease, renewable for ever, from Mr. Tipping of the townland of Altnamoighan, containing near 400 Irish acres at a low rent, and about 66 acres of Tullivallen from Alexander Hamilton, Esq. On part of the former he built a mansion house and resided therein. This place was called "Osierhill." He set the remainder of these properties to Presbyterian tenants at small yearly profit rents for the like tenure. These properties are still in the possession of his youngest son, Alexander McCombe, Esq., now of Dundalk; his other brother, Lieutenant James McCombe, having raised recruits in this country, joined the army and died abroad.
The following are the names of the heads of the first Presbyterian families that settled in the different townlands in the southern part of the parish of Creggan in this barony, to which we have added some observations on the manner of their settlement as far as now can be ascertained.
One of the earliest settlers was Alex. (ban) Donaldson, the ancestor of the numerous families of that name in Cloghog and other places. He first came from Lecale in the County of Down, and settled in the townland of Drumhammond (Drumhaman, Donaghmoyne parish) in the county of Monaghan. He gave this freehold to his eldest son, John Donaldson, and then took out a lease of an extensive farm in part of the lands of Philipstown in the County of Louth, to which he removed; and finally he left this last-mentioned place to his second son, Andrew Donaldson, and took out a lease from Counsellor Donaldson, then of Castledillon, near Armagh, of one-fourth of the townland of Cloghog in this barony, now called the north quarter, which contains above 140 acres Irish measure, besides bogs, at the yearly rent of £19, with fees and duties, for the tenure of three lives, or 31 years. On this farm he bilt a dwelling-house and offices, where he resided during the remainder of his life. The said Alexander Donaldson also took out a lease of the southern quarter of Cloghog, a portion of which was the most rocky and barren part of the townland, which latter part he set to undertenants, amongst whom were Robert McKnight, and in later times Thomas McIlveen, his brother-in-law, who were Presbyterians, and gave the remainder to his third son William Donaldson, and also the whole of said quarter at his death. He likewise gave the one half of the north quarter to his fourth son Samuel Donaldson on his marriage; and bequeathed (among other things) his house and the remaining half of the north quarter to his youngest son, Joseph Donaldson.
The remaining half of the townland was divided into three parts, and taken by the following Presbyterian tenants: One share was taken by Wm. McCullagh, Samuel McCullagh and George McCullagh, who were brothers, and John Brown, their brother-in-law; another share was taken by Samuel Moffett of Dowdallshill; and the third share was taken by a widow named McIlveen, whose family consisted of two daughters and two sons - to wit, Ann, Annabel, Thomas and David. Anne (who was a half-sister to the rest) married Alexander Donaldson, son of John Donaldson, then of Darsey, but afterwards of Lisnadill, near Armagh, and received near 20 Irish acres as a portion; Annabel was married to John McNeily; Thomas died without issue, and David died young, leaving three daughters - to wit, Elinor, Annabel and Mary; Elinor married Hugh Guy; Annabel, Wm. Law (these lived on the premises), and Mary married Samuel Wallace, County Monaghan, and took money for the proportion of said lands.
The adjoining townland of Freeduff in said estate was originally settled by David Gray, Mathew Mawhood, Sawney Clark, John Dorman, John Stitt, Joseph Peery, and John Dorman, jnr. A lease of the lands occupied by the first four persons being given to Samuel Donaldson, fourth son of the aformentioned Alexander, David Gray removed to Longfield in the County of Monaghan, and his place was occupied by the said Samuel Donaldson; Mathew Mawhood's place by Cornelius Nelson; Sawney Clark and his sons took a farm in Tullinavall and Robert Bahannen afterwards settled in his place. John Dorman removed to Camlough in this County, and his farm was given to Mr. Moffett; a small farm was also given of their lands to a family of the name of Magill, and robert Huston obtained the farm held by John Dorman, jun., his brother-in-law, he having enlisted with Lieutenant McCombe.
Beside these adventurers the undernamed Presbyterians and their families settled in the following townlands in the south of this barony - to wit, families of the name of Shields and White settled for a considerable time in Creenhill; Mr Shields afterwards removed to the Poles in the County of Meath, where his family are now in opulent circumstances, and White removed elsewhere. William McGaw and John Dougan resided in Coolderry; John Donaldson, a cousin of the aforesaid Alick ban, John Armstrong and Robt. Henry in Darsey; a family of the name of Davidson in Tullinavall, and William Speirs in Cullyhanna.
The folowing is a list of the principal Presbyterian Seatholders, with their families, that first settled at an early period in the northern townlands of the then parish of Creggan; but which now compose a part of the parish of Newtownhamilton. Extracted from the Rev. Mr. McCombe's Seatholders' Lost for 1765:
Townland of Altnamoighan - Andrew Anderson, Andrew Stephenson, John Gray, John Austin, Thomas McKee, Robt. McKee, Alex. Jenkins, Samuel Millikin, Wm. Bell, Thomas Barber, John Killy, Henry Miller.
Townland of Ballinarea and Skeriff - Thos. McIlveen, Samuel McIlveen, David McIlveen, James McGaw, John Robinson.
Townland of Cortamlet - James Clark, Andrew Clark, Henry Boyd, Arthur Hamilton, John Thompson.
Townland of Mullaghduff - James Lockart, William Wiley, Thomas Wiley, Robert McCormick, James Bradshaw, Saml. Porter, William Sleith.
Townland of Tullyvallen - Robt. McKaig, Sam. McRoberts, Robt. Thompson, John Conn, Richard Jackson, Wm. Conn, Wm. Kennedy, James McAnlis, John McConnell, Hugh Bailie, John Lowry, John Kennedy.
Town of Newtownhamilton - Francis MCammon, Alex. Shaw.
Besides these in that part of the parish of Armagh in this barony called Ballymoyer, Presbyterian families of the name of Reed and Patterson took up their residence; and in that part of the said parish called Ballimacone a family of the name of Johnston also settled in the townland of Tullybrane, besides others in Lisnadill, etc.
The foregoing, as far as can now be ascertained, or brought to the recollection of ancient persons, is a true account of the primitive Presbyterians, who with their families, first settled in this barony shortly before and after the ordination of the Rev. Mr. McCombe. The settlers almost all came from the County of Down, and were of Scottish descent. A few of these had first removed to the County of Monaghan ad other places previous to their coming to this county and taking up their residence in it.
The first Presbyterian Colonists in the south part of the parish of Creggan, owing to their proximity to the County of Louth, soon became circumscribed by Romanists from that County, who had settled in every direction, so that the redundant population of these colonists were obliged to emigrate to America or settle elsewhere. But there being a large tract of mountaineous uninhabitable country towards the norht, that part of the colony began to expand in that direction, and received a considerable augmentation by the influx of other adventurers, principally from the county of Down.

On October 30th 1747 an advertisment appeared in the Belfast Newsletter offering land for leasing at Tullyvallen, Alexander Hamilton's estate in south Armagh:

On each of the said farms there is plenty of good meadow and turf; a large river runs through the middle of said lands that never wants water sufficient to turn many mills, with many places very proper for bleaching greens, and a fall of 180 feet in less than two miles, and places where mill ponds may easily be made. By the great plenty of turf, water, bog, timber for building, and meadow, the linen manufacture may be carried on a cheap as in any part of Ireland.

Weather observations:
1799 - wet and cold - no grain came to maturity. Oatmeal £3 by the hundred; Potatoes 1/4 per stone. Lives of many poor preserved by Indian corn meal and rye and wheat flour from America and voluntary contributions of landlords and other wealthy inhabitants.
1800 Rendered memorable by being a very dry season - poor crop.
1802 Jan - Dreadful storm of wind at night.
1806 Great failure of potatoes over North due to frost at beginning of Sept.
1808 Aug Thunderstorm - Lightning twice struck meeting-house of Freeduff.
1809 Uniform state of bad weather. 5th Jan snow on roads 10-12 feet + tremendous gales + dearth of flax seed. Imports from America + people prosecuted for mixing flax seed with rye and selling.
1812 Summer and harvest wet - grain stood out till 17th Nov when storm tossed and dried it so much it could be got into store yards.

Comets 1807, 1808, 1811, 1819; 5 comets in 1825; Dr Halley's in 1835.

1817 This year was also uncommonly wet and cold, which retarded vegetation, and caused a very late harvest, so that grain was not reaped in many places, particularly in the mountains, until after Christmas when it was coloured by the effects of the frost and snow, but the grain was of little value, and even a great deal of what was reaped before that period vegetated and rotted by the damp and dreary weather that ensued. This year, also, a pestilential typhus fever made its appearance in this country, which carried off a great number of the inhabitants, particularly in those places where a due regard was not paid to cleanliness.

1831 Extraordinarily dry - Deadful eastern scourge, Cholera amorbus; 30-40 died in Crossmaglen.
1832 Partial failure of potato
1837 Two storms of drifting snow.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

Books of Robert Grenville Wallace

Links to Pdfs of the Memoirs of Robert Wallace are given (see Wallace of Loughgillie)

Forty years in the world : or, Sketches and tales of a soldier's life.

By the author of "Fifteen years in India," "Memoirs of India, " &c. &c. &c. [i.e. R.G. Wallace].

National Library of Ireland, Call Number: 9154 w 2


From Chapter 1: Early Recollections

When I was about five years old I lost my mother. She was the only child of Captain Whitehead, an English officer serving in the army in Ireland, who died soon after her birth, leaving his widow and infant in Dublin, on the pension of his rank.
Mrs Whitehead, who was a native of Dublin, educated her daughter carefully; and my father, a young attorney, fell in love with and married her without considering how he should support a family. He, however, soon after entered into a co-partnership, which introduced him to a considerable share of practice; and, when reason began to dawn upon me, I found myself well attended. Alas! when fortune seemed to smile on all his undertakings, he lost, by a violent attack of fever, his beloved Emily. I was two young to feel the greatest deprivation a child can experience; but my father was so much affected by this calamity, that he gave himself up to dispair. His partner in business was an extravagant man; and the firm, deprived of proper superintendence, soon became deeply embarrassed.
In this posture of his affairs, my father removed from Dublin to Newry, ------, and placed me under the care of his mother, who lived five miles from that town: I was then about six years of age. My grandfather, a very tall, thin old man, was a respectable country gentleman, who had injured his fortune by givinng his children an expensive education. The good lady, his wife, to whose care I was consigned, was, in appearance and temper, the very reverse of her husband. He was as crabbed a grandfather as ever a mischievious imp of a grandson came near; ------
My mother had taught me the first principles of letters. As my grandfather's circumstances did not permit him to bestow great cost on my education, I was placed at a day-school in the neighbourhood, where, in the course of time, I learnt the rudiments of writing and arithmetic. ------------.
At length, my grandfather died, full of years, and left his landed property to his two sons My father had now a prospect of retrieving his affairs, and entered again into the married state; but as my stepmother's fortune, and my father's inheritance, were swallowed up by the creditors of the late firm, he ultimately sank under the pressure of debt; and, leaving his wife and her only daughter with his father-in-law, whilst I, much to my satisfaction, returned to my grandmother, he crossed the Atlantic, to seek fortune in America. -----------.
With this dear old lady I might have remained, had I not possessed a restless mind. Providence has placed a peculiarly roving disposition in some hearts. -------.
It cost me, however, many a tear, to think of leaving the dear old lady, whose tenderness had completely won the affections of my heart; but I was now in the fifteenth year of my age, and I often reflected upon my dependent situation. The narrow circumstances of my grandmother and her son, who managed her concerns, I well knew: indeed, he had sometimes hurt my pride, by throwing out hints that I was a burthen on him, and that my father's folly had ruined his family; yet, I owe him the justice to say that he was, in general, an affectionate uncle; ----------.
A whipping, which I received from my uncle a short time after, overturned all my grandmother's wise admonitions. I determined never to receive another like it from the same hand; and that very night, with a wallet, containing my little wardrobe, and a flute, upon which I had learned to make a noise, I sallied forth on the road to Dublin. --------.
Early next morning I reached Dundalk, through the mountains of Jonesborough; and, taking a seat on the top of the Newry Fly, I arrived, that evening, in the city which had given me birth.

Quotes from RGW on Orange, Green and Catholic Emancipation

In the first half of the 1820s Robert Wallace, recently returned from 15 years army service in India and living near Newry, cast a jaundiced eye on religious dissention in his native country. John’s stepmother was a sister of John Donaldson and a cousin of William.

RG Wallace: Part 3; pg. 163.
As a Protestant, were you not liable to general hatred?
Believe me, there are no such feelings in the bosoms of Roman Catholics in general. Their hatred is solely directed against the land-jobbing and tithe system. They bear no ill-will to Protestants merely on account of their being Protestants, but because they are supposed to countenance party, and identify themselves with Orangemen. The principles of Christianity, which are common to all our sects, reprobate such narrow views. Let any man look into the ritual of the Romish church, and he will be convinced that its religion breathes love, good will, charity, and mercy to all denominations of men. No such slander attaches to the characters of Roman Catholics: it belongs alone to the bigot; and in what religion is this class not found?

pg. 170.
Give the Catholics all they ask - you will then give them no more than they have the right to, as British-born subjects - and they can neither ask nor desire more than what Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, the Treaty of Limerick, and their birth entitle them to enjoy. Then give the man who is willing to work something to do, and reward him for his labour; punish the idle, and the roguish, and you will have made Ireland what England is - the wonder of the world, and the study of philosophy ------ it is impossible that men can be quiet and peaceable when starving.

RG Wallace 40 Years in the World, Vol 3 90-91.
There sits a proof that prejudice is even stronger than loyalty. See how he devours the John Bull, and shakes his head at violence; approving of it on his own side, condemning it on the opposite. He is a staunch Orangeman, although he knows that his king and the government of Ireland have set power against party; and he would carouse “the glorious memory” at – no improbable contingency – the expense of riot, murder, and rebellion. He subscribes to societies for converting Jews and Mahomedans; yet he does not extend Christian charity to Roman Catholics. He talks of equality, glorious British liberty, and universal philanthropy; yet he votes against extending the rights of the constitution which he praises, to his fellow-countrymen and brethren in Christianity.

Well dark as he is, the night of his mind is not more murky than his whom you see reading the Edinburgh Review. He professes that his religion is the purest and the best, yet he dreads proselytism. He believes and acknowledges, that by divine inspiration the Holy Scriptures were written, yet he says their perusal is improper and injurious; as though God would write a book for the benefit of mankind that should not be read. He pays the Catholic rent, and supports his party, whilst he loudly condemns in others what he approves in himself.

These men’s conduct illustrates the apophthegm – “He can see the beam in his brother’s eye, but not the mote in his own.”

Robert Grenville Wallace - Forty Years in the World – Vol. 3 – pg 252

Robert Wallace has left us a description of a meeting with the noted evangelical the Earl of Roden and his Countess. While acknowledging the charitable work of the couple he was not an uncritical admirer:

We were ushered into a spacious hall, fitted up as a chapel: - - - - When we had all taken out seats, our noble instructor read a short passage from the New Testament, and explained it by a long commentary - - Such a practice, I think, must be highly useful to his lordship, in preparing him for his annual display of eloquence in the great assembly of the nation. It was a lecture - - that inclined me to be rather hypercritical - -
After this, we had some fine singing by the girls of a charity school, patronised by the Countess, and then such a long prayer, that I really feared it would reach to the day of judgement.
The topics of this prayer were so numerous that I shall not attempt any description. I shall merely inform the reader, in case of his being fond of imitation, that eleven of its paragraphs, or invocations, were about Jews and Gentiles; five respecting the spread of the Scripture in Asia and Africa; seven of such a spiritual nature, that I could not comprehend their meaning or bearing; a great may others, which I thought out of time and place: and not one respecting ourselves. His lordship seemed fully sensible of the state of sin and misery in which others were sinking; but he clearly felt no apprehension about himself, whilst he prayed loudly and heartily for the return of the prodigal sons who had never known their father.

[Robert Jocelyn, 3rd Earl of Roden was a noted evangelical. He had an estate at Tollymore near Castlewellan. He was President of Sunday School Society. (The Progress of the Reformation in Ireland (London, 1851)
He joined the Orange Order in 1831 or 1832 and was Grand Master for Louth]

Robert Wallace – Forty Years, 3, Pgs 153 & 167.

From ‘The Attorney’s Office’.

My father had expressed a wish that I should devote myself to his profession, and I felt anxious to do so; believing that it would be in my power to contribute to the comfort of his old age. I, therefore, accompanied him to the different towns in which he had offices, where, on market-days, he attended for the purpose of being near his clients. Everything was so new to me, that I occasionally experienced great amusement from the succession of variety which characterises an attorney’s office.
When the quarter-sessions of the peace approached, our office was crowded to suffocation with all descriptions of persons pressing forward with eager solicitude. What a contrast their anxious and distorted countenances presented to the quiet, business-like aspect of my father, who considered this as his harvest.

“’I called,’ said a long sharp-faced pawnbroker, stretching over his desk, ‘to settle this bill you have sent me for the judgement; will you take that?’ and he turned his hand, from which a ten-pound peeped.
“’No,’ said my father; ‘but you may have it taxed if you please; the charges are very moderate.’
“’Why,’ answered the pledge-taker, ‘you have charged for attendances and services here which astonish me; surely there must be some mistake; look over the whole again, I beg of you.’
“’All is right, you may depend, Mr Martin,’ said the other; ‘I took the items from the tax-master’s office; let it be submitted the fourth day in term: whom do you appoint?’
“’Confound me if I understand it,’ replied the pawnbroker; ‘but I shall take good care before I go to law again;’ and he marched down stairs in a pet.

“’Ah! Dr -, I am happy to see you,’ said my father, soon after; while I placed a chair for a reverend-looking old gentleman, who hobbled into the office.
“This father of religion had three good church-livings in County Louth; on one of which there was no church, and his parishioners had been advised to resist the payment of tithes on the ground that he had no duties to perform, for they were all Roman Catholics. In consequence of this, he had entered an action against them in chancery, which had already cost him about £2,000. The contortions which his countenance underwent, when my father explained the necessity of further advances, were truly grotesque.

“A young country squire, who was agent for another nobleman, entered, with all the consequence which generally attends ignorant pride. He had taken a whim to make a sheep-walk of a mountain facing his romantic abode. All the tenants, along its side, were served with ejectments in the depth of winter, and dispossessed forthwith. One unfortunate woman died in the pangs of childbirth at the end of her own cabin. An old man, who begged in vain to remain in his house till his daughter recovered from typhus fever, had the roof of his cabin cut down over the heads of his sick family. For this outrage he had brought an action, and received a decree for £300 damages; but the defendant had appealed, in the hope of defeating the award by a law quibble. When I heard this, and understood that the rich man had no chance of success in the superior courts, I rejoiced in the protection of our glorious laws. I was thrown, however, into profound melancholy upon learning that perhaps not a shilling would be left of the damages to reward the poor man for his trouble; so much would be consumed in costs between attorney and client, and in the innumerable extra expenses which a needy man incurs in a lawsuit.
In short, I came to the conclusion that a poor man should seldom attempt to obtain civil satisfaction for oppression from the rich; for he stands like a lamb in the fable – ‘Facile est opprimere innocentum,’ is generally translated, in the language of experience, ‘The weakest goes to the wall.’

From ‘Civil-Bill Practice’.

The court house in Monaghan is located in Church square. Although three generations of my family would have been totally familiar with it, I was never in it, nor indeed any other court. Again to obtain a sense of the proceedings I have to rely on the writing of Robert Wallace.
Although his book was written in the 1820s and the cases reflect the troubled nature of those times yet in his descriptions I can hear echoes of comments my father made from time to time.
He describes a session in a flourishing town, forty miles from Dublin – presumably Dundalk.

It was attended by a ‘large congregation of the lower orders; the men were dressed in blue frieze great-coats, and the women in red cloaks.

The trial of civil-causes commenced . . .

The oldest practitioner at the bar had the privilege of taking the lead; and he began with tithe due on promissory notes. Having sworn the proctor, and arrested the attention of the clerk of the peace, he went on: ‘My Lord, in No. 1, -- -- proves process and case; and I claim your lordship’s decree for seven shillings and nine-pence. Thus he proceeded through 297 numbers, for sums considerably less, in most instances, than the cost of the suit, which, on average, would amount to twelve shillings; for, besides the attorney’s fee of five shillings, the expense of a stamp, the barrister is to paid for his signature, and the clerk of the peace, and the sub-sheriff, and the crier, and the bailiff, and the auctioneer.

Although the assistant-barrister’s court was intended to be the seat of summary justice, yet every stratagem that legal ingenuity could devise was resorted to by the profession, to prevent issues from being tried on their merits. If an action were brought in trover that ought to have been laid on the case, or in assumpsit instead of trover, dismisses were granted. The slightest mistake in filling the process, such as omitting the addition to any of the parties, mistaking the venue, or making the least difference between the original and copy, forced the plaintiff to recommence the suit, and kept him in statuo quo for the three following months.

Thus the day passed. Numerous were the instances of opposition to the laws, and of the detestation in which the payment of tithes was held; but in this part of the country there was no room for the display of much party-spirit, the inhabitants being chiefly of one sect in religion.

When the sessions closed in the county to which I have alluded, we proceeded to the next.
The town in which the sessions were held is, from locality, equal to any in Ireland; but it has the character of being under the influence of party-spirit, which has prevented its merchants from pushing their advantages to full extent.
The court having been duly opened, the barrister proceeded to address the grand jury. He lamented that the calendar exhibited an increase of crown business, chiefly cases of atrocious assault and battery, arising out of the inveterate party spirit by which this unhappy country had been long distracted . . .
‘Never, Gentlemen,’ said he, with deep pathos, ‘can civilization, or the general interest of society advance, till this baleful counteracting cause is rooted out of the land. One party invariably produces another. . .
But while I have thus expressed my decided disapprobation of party-spirit in general, my chief object is to open the eyes of those deluded men who have lately associated under the name of ribbon-men, to prevent the administration of justice, and to awe power into submission, by acts of violence and blood on the properties and persons of their peaceable neighbours.
There were 129 cases of assault, arising out of party quarrels in the neighbouring fairs and markets, between Orangemen and Catholics. To describe such scenes of ill-blood, prejudice, and perjury, would serve no good purpose. Both parties were wrong, and all were enemies to their own essential interests, while they thought their violence was serving their cause.’

Funeral of Jane Wallace/Donaldson

(see Donaldson of Creggan)

N°. XIV.
Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and Nature meant for mere mankind,
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence.
But health consists with temperance alone;
And peace, O Virtue! peace is all thy own.
You remember I marched off in double quick time from the news-room to the inn, ordered my horse, and posted home, to communicate to my wife the wonderful turn our affairs had taken, the liberal offer of my invaluable friend, and the unexpected munificence of the singular Peter L ,Esq. As I rode along, the virtues of my inestimable Peter mounted higher and higher in the scale of my thoughts. Worthy creature! dear old soul! super-excellent man! were some of the terms I applied, in mental exclamations, to him, as I reflected on his exceeding goodness of heart in distinguishing me and my family from all others, as worthy of inheriting his fortune.—" Ah," ejaculated I, "admirable Peter! thou shalt have an eternal monument in my memory." Thus you may perceive how easy it is for you, by leaving all you have in the world to a stranger, to be considered a most benevolent soul, worthy of gratitude down to the last sand of time. I should not remind you, however, of the bitter recollections such conduct will excite amongst your immediate relations; the way to please whom, according to the Economist, is—" Go to India—stay there twenty years—work hard—get money—save it—come home—bring with you a store of wealth, and a diseased liver—visit your friends—make a will—provide for them all— then die."
Just as I approached my own door, I was overtaken by a horseman, who had evidently used both whip and spur in a good long ride. On his nearing me, I discovered the horse to be a well-known animal belonging to my father, and in the man I recognized his old whimsical servant, Paddy Murtoch, as good a process-server and assistant bailiff as ever kissed the book to secure a decree from his lordship, the barrister, for body or goods. "Ha! Paddy"—said I—"how are you, Paddy? What wind, man, has blown you so far north?"
"Och! master," exclaimed Pat, with a nasal twang, furling at once his large black eyebrows, which gave a totally different expression to his face, from the down-look he usually wore—" is't your young honour's self--— if I knew your reverence till I looked at you, bad luck to me, Paddy Murtoch." "Well, Paddy," continued I, "now you see I am my own self—what brought you hither with all the haste of a sheriff's officer? I hope my father is well. Anything extraordinary?"
"Troth, I can't say that there is—people die every day. Devil a bit of a river will run away with your eyes, master,"—and he screwed as much pleasure and congratulation into his face as he could, so that I was prepared to hear news of a smiling nature—" But here it is, all in black and white," continued Paddy, fumbling in his pocket, and at length delivering me the following note from my father.
"Dear Charles,—My wife died suddenly yesterday.—I should be glad to see you here immediately.—Your affectionate father,—J. C. T."
If my house, that stood in substance tangible before my sight, had melted into invisibility, I should not have been more astounded. Had I been told that my father was no more, I should have been less surprised. In short, such an event as my stepmother's death I had never contemplated. Of all women she appeared to me most likely to live the longest. It was impossible to look at her and to think of the grave.—No—her looks indicated full health, vigour of mind and body, and she had all that attachment about her to the interests of this world which at once gave assurance that she had no notion of quitting it. In fact, she demonstrated by her actions that it was her intention to outlive my father many a year.
The moment I had read the above note, I put it into my poor Mary's hand, who had come to the door to meet me, with that countenance of pleasure, which, in a good wife, says, without a tongue, "Welcome home, my dearie,"—and while she was glancing her eye over its contents, I cast mine on the comical phiz of Paddy. One side of his face was drawn up, with Irish humour strongly charactered on it, whilst on the other cheek his eye and mouth, by an expressive depression, painted a melancholy gloom like satirical sorrow.
"Oh!" exclaimed my wife, on returning me the note, "I must go with you—it is our duty."
Paddy turned to her his joyful half look, which said in very plain language—" no unpleasant duty, faith!"—I would have knocked the fellow down for his impertinence, had he not instantly wheeled round his other cheek with this apology—" Yes, I know you feel for your father's loss."
"Good God!" said I, "Paddy, how did this mournful event happen? Was my father at home? Tell me all about it, man."
"The master," answered Paddy, "was at Armagh. The mistress returned home yesterday morning from seeing your sister's children. She calls me—' Paddy,' says she, 'There's no luck about the house now—the calves are all dying— the cows give no milk—little Robert has broken his leg—and that dog,' pointing to old Snap, 'is going mad—catch him, Paddy,' says she, 'this minute, and hang him up.' 'Och!' says I, 'mistress jewel, but sure you won't kill old Snap ?'— 'But I will,' says she, laying hold of him by the neck; 'get me a rope directly.' You know, your honour, whatever she said must be done.—So, 'very well, mistress,' says I, 'and away to the stable for a halter went myself; but before the crier could say, ' O yes, O yes, O yes,' I heard the mistress shout out, 'murder !'—no it was, • God save me!' and thump she came on the hard street. All the girls and all the boys came flocking round her—lifted her up, and we carried her in and put her to bed—but she never spoke one word. Three doctors were sent for, but not a drop of blood would come; and before the master could get home in a coach from Armagh, the mistress was as dead as a door-nail. All the doctors say she died of plexy, that is, for want of breath."
During this narration, Paddy's face alternately expressed joy and pretended sorrow. He obviously considered that he was giving me pleasing news; and when I indicated the disgust I felt at his hypocritical countenance, he continually changed its expression, but with a leer of incredulity as though he knew that it could not wound my heart deeply.
I certainly could not shed a tear on the occasion. A degree of melancholy, however, stole over my mind as I reflected upon the uncertainty of human life, and the vanity of terrestrial things. Such an event, so awfully sudden, and so dreadful in its visitation on my poor father, affected my heart; and it had such an effect in, sobering the high spirits which my late accumulation of good fortune had excited, that we journeyed to my father's without my imparting to my wife and daughter the circumstance of our great increase of wealth.
John Wallace’s wife, Jane, died suddenly in 1823. [Both of them are buried in Creggan graveyard.]
Robert and his family travelled to Cloghoge Lodge for the funeral. The following is a description of the funeral and the house.
On entering the house my sisters burst into a fresh paroxysm of sorrow: I thought the poor girls would have sobbed their lives away; and my wife and daughter joined them, for pity produced an effect upon them similar to sorrow, and really I sympathized most sincerely in their grief. It is impossible to behold young females deprived of the tender care of a mother, at a period when her watchful eye is of incalculable value, without deep emotion. I turned away and wept, as I thought of their case, and of the agitation of their innocent breasts: any overflow of sorrow on my part would have been attributed to affectation, and I therefore concealed what I felt, which was not grief on account of the dead mother, but a mournful tribute paid by my heart, knowing the irreparable loss a child sustains in such a deprivation, to motherless children and to weeping sisters.
It was in the dusk of the evening that we arrived at my father's. The candles were lighted, and a stream of neighbours was flowing from and towards the house of mourning: the whole scene displayed vivid contrasts of joy and sorrow. Here were my sisters weeping and sobbing: there were unconcerned spectators laughing and chatting as cheerfully as though a marriage, instead of a funeral, had been in prospect. In one part of the house were sad-faced relations, whose hearts felt no real sorrow; in another, lively wake-attenders, whose tongues rattled forth merrily the gaiety of their spirits. My father, we found, had shut himself up in his library, unable, from the force of his feelings, to look upon the scene of mingled woe and merriment. I expected that he would be absorbed in grief; but his sorrow was of a manly kind; he received us with firmness, and I was to see that he knew how to bear the load which could not be thrown off.his own shoulders. So long as we live, the usual routine of life must go forward. Grief occupies only a part of thought. My sisters were relieved for a while from thinking intensely on their immediate concerns by attention to us. Eating and drinking are occupations too important to be neglected. The servants were soon busied in spreading a table, and we were seen refreshing ourselves as heartily, after snuffing the mountain air for several miles, as though no person had lain without feelings of hunger and thirst in the house. After this I visited the room in which the corpse was laid out, and stood for a considerable time contemplating the placid state of that countenance which so lately had been agitated with all the passions, desires, affections, and cares of busy existence. The same indescribable character remained in the face that had always excited emotions of apprehension in my breast. But I could now gaze on the bloodless features without a feeling of resentment. Death presents to us a picture so helpless, full of interest, still and mournful, that we look upon it without any terror in its first stage. I shall not attempt any description of the train of thought into which I fell, whilst viewing the pulseless remains of her whom I had justly considered as my greatest enemy: with a deep sigh I turned an invocation to Heaven, to forgive her, and me, if in aught I had injured her ; and, with a light conscience, I became an amused spectator of what was passing.
The room in which I stood was a small apartment. On one side was the death-bed; on the other were assembled about twenty old women, seated on forms, one above the other, rising as in a theatre, who, during the whole night, sang Methodist hymns. There were also a few old men among them, whose deep bass voices gave a good roundness to the shrill female pipe. This vocal band was regulated and controlled by the parish-clerk, schoolmaster, and singing-master of the place, who exercised considerable authority, and expressed himself in loud censure, when, as was too frequently the case, discord reigned. He had his book, from which he read two lines at each musical interval: these having been sung, a general pause ensued, till he gave out another stave; and so he continued exercising his lungs, in a fine round big voice, nasally expelled, like a street ballad-singer, in which it was the glory of every old woman to imitate him. These nightingales were occasionally cheered with pipes and tobacco, and frequent rounds of tea and coffee. In the next room, which was a large parlour, sat a multitude of neighbouring farmers, their wives, daughters, and sweethearts, eating fruit, drinking tea, telling stories, making love, and talking scandal; occasionally amused with the music in the adjoining apartment, but more frequently with themselves, and the hoarse laughs which coarse wit excited.
On leaving this parlour, you enter a hall, connecting the two wings of my father's house; in the centre of which hall, the street door is placed, and out of the hall you go down a passage opposite the street door, to the kitchen, and servants' rooms. The hall and all these apartments were filled with the lower orders, drinking whiskey, of which they were allowed two glasses each during the night, with a supper of fried bacon and eggs. The noise and uproar here were deafening. In a small room off the kitchen passage sat several old women, Roman Catholics, demonstrating their sorrow by singing in loud strains the praises of the deceased, in the Irish language, or well known howl. The burden of their song was a string of such questions as these— "Oh! darling and jewel, what made you die? Arrah now, what made you leave us behind? Had you not, great lady, cows numberless; sheep, pigs, horses, turkeys, geese, hens, and ducks to cheer you with abundance; yellow wheat, green corn, extensive fields of potatoes, beautiful meadows, fine plantations, and every thing to glad your good heart? Oh! why did you die till your sweet daughter were married; Oh! why leave your kind husband to mourn; and oh! why have you left our hearts bleeding with sorrow? Come back, O come! will you not come, and relieve us once more? From your door did a beggar ever go away empty? Did not the bag fill with meal, and the pitcher with milk, from your charitable white hand?"
On entering the hall again from the kitchen, and turning to the left, you go into a large parlor in the other wing of the house. This room was filled with the gentry of the neighborhood, or every person who had wealth and respectability to entitle him to rank as one of the aristocracy. The ladies were served by the gentlemen with wine and cakes, after tea and coffee; and about one o'clock a supper table was covered, and a comfortable repast spread for the whole company, whose sedateness of manner and assumed sadness of deportment formed a striking contrast to the revelry and folly of the noisy scene before sketched. Beyond this parlor my father secluded himself in his library, or office, where he sat musing upon the sudden occurrence which in a few hours had disarranged his hopes and prospects, and filled his peaceful mansion with riot, sorrow, and seeming grief; affording a curious observer, such as I account myself, an opportunity of witnessing a display of country manners, nearly the same as we read of in history, two hundred years ago. All the sleeping rooms, situated up stairs, were prepared for the ladies to retire into occasionally, and enjoy the refreshment of slumber; but, during the whole night, carriages were coming and going, so that it was altogether a scene of bustle not easily described.
At two o'clock on the following day, the population for five miles round assembled to accompany the deceased to her long home. The crowd was prodigious. All the rooms in the house were thronged with friends and acquaintances; the lawn was covered with a deep mass of the peasantry; and horsemen, gigs, jaunting-cars, and carriages lined the avenues and roads as far as the eye could reach. Except from the waving black plumes of the hearse, which, outside of the house, told the tale of death, it might have been supposed a congregation of joy; so little general interest does the death of an individual, remarkable only in a private point of view, excite. Every one had something to laugh at and talk about, foreign from the cause of assembling. Many had come, not out of respect to the lady's memory, but for the purpose of enjoying the sight and the treat usual on such occasions. Adherence to this good old custom makes a funeral appear like a feast. Kegs of whiskey were distributed among the crowd outside; and some of the frieze-coated lovers of a drop had changed their places to deceive the dram-servers so often, that they were fitter for their beds than for a procession. Inside the house, large joints of meat covered the tables, with choice wines, and every thing to gratify appetite.
At length the deceased was placed in her coffin, carried by her nearest relatives to the hearse, borne to the church, where her life was eulogized as free from reproach, and all that was mortal of her committed to the silent and gloomy mansion of the dead. Over her grave I breathed a sigh of pity and forgiveness, but I could not shed a tear. A big one had rolled from my eye when I heard the agonizing shriek of my sisters, as their mother's body left my father's door. I have often observed, however, that children's grief soon subsides. The young heart is too light to sink and remain long under the pressure of sorrow. Upon our return to my father's, we found him and his daughters calm and resigned, prepared to join us at dinner, and able to enjoy the miscellaneous conversation of the table.
- It is a curious experiment to examine any family, or little circle of society, closely. What hidden springs we discover moving every breast! How many suspicions we detect destroying happiness! We have to lament instead of to rejoice, over every grouped picture of humanity. Where shall we find that charity which suffers long and is kind? We see so much in practice contrary to what Christianity is in theory, that we are convinced the beautiful morality of our blessed religion is a fine portrait of what we should be, yet one which no group of human beings has ever yet been. My father was not sufficiently softened by his loss to forgive those whom he considered his enemies. He deeply resented the meanness of a neighbour, with whom he had had a deadly quarrel, for presuming to come to the funeral, and thought more of punishing him for his attention, than of the kindness that forgiveth wrongs. Instead of praising my wife for coming to condole with him, he blamed her, and attributed her motive to self interest. Well, he was condemned himself by others as thoughtlessly; for my stepmother's brothers [Alexander, Joseph & John Donaldson; Alexander, d, 1834, is buried in Freeduff; he is also an ancestor of mine], because my father did not assist in paying marks of affection to his wife's remains, privately said he felt none, and otherwise scandalized him. Indeed, two of his daughters expressed the same feeling, because he smiled over his glass after dinner on the day of their mother's funeral. Yet one of these very sorrowful girls convinced me, the same night, that she thought and grieved more sometimes for the postponement of her marriage, than for her mother's decease; and the other, by her strictures on the light conduct of Captain's very pretty and accomplished daughters, led me to conclude that her grief had not entirely absorbed her envy. I must not, however, forget the beam in my own eye. I thought my brother-in-law's [Robert Dickey of Annavackey] looks were jet black, when I took the place at dinner opposite my father, which would have been occupied by him, had I been absent, and which indeed he offered to take in my presence. In short, I thought that he wished me in my stepmother's place.
Next morning I bade my father and his family adieu, and returned with my wife and daughter to our own peaceful home; having been desired by the dear old gentleman to announce the melancholy event in the newspaper, and to say on the subject whatever I deemed proper. Strange, that it should have fallen on me to eulogize one from whom I had, for four years, received not only total neglect, but inhuman injury! who cared so little about me and six children, that we were left by her to starve and endure all the demoralizing effects of want and wretched poverty. Yet, equally strange it is, that my stepmother, in her other relations of life, was entitled to just and great praise. She was an affectionate mother to her own children, and so excellent a wife, that she ruled her husband, while she appeared to be his handmaid. As a neighbour she was beloved, for in disposition she was ever ready to serve and oblige; as a relative she was kind to her needy kindred; as a friend she was firm and faithful; and as a mistress, obedience alone secured her liberal treatment, and drew forth all the benevolence of her heart. She had supported a character free from imputation, and sustained the repute of a loyal wife during her husband's ten years' absence in America. Yet such is the deceitfulness of the human heart, that while in all other points of view she deserved praise, in what respected the child of the man she loved, by a former wife, she merited censure. I leave you to account for this, and proceed in conclusion.
Again seated in my comfortable little parlour, refreshed by good cheer after the fatigue of our journey, with one of my chubby little dears on each knee, their mother, and our four other children near me, round a cheerful fire, you cannot picture, amongst the monarchs of this world, a man with sensations more delightful than mine. What do I say? Amongst the monarchs! No— the cares and troubles of pomp and state were not inmates of my breast; and though every man is a king in his own house, yet my enjoyment was unconnected with power. Harmony and love gave a charm to my home which is indescribable. Past sufferings and surmounted difficulties gave the highest zest to the cheerful view I took of my present condition. In prospective all was clear and serene: indeed, in neither of the three tenses could I perceive aught that constituted a rational ground of uneasiness. "I have," thought I now, "enough and a little to spare, with experience to know its value, and judgment, well schooled in adversity, not to misapply it. May God fill my heart with gratitude and humility!"
In this temper of mind I imparted to my wife the news of our accession to the wealth of Peter L , Esq. I was hurt, however, upon finding that she was better pleased with the power this increase would give her of outshining our aristocratical neighbours, who had treated us with some haughtiness, than with the real comforts bestowed on a large family by competence; and I took occasion to destroy pride and vanity, which I clearly saw would quickly spring up in her mind, if left flourishing in the hot-bed of prosperity.
"My dear," said I, "we have often, in the hour of affliction, prayed earnestly to God for wisdom rather than riches. Now, then, having wealth, let us honour the liberality of Heaven by showing that we know how to use it with moderation. Our fortune, though largely sufficient for comfort and happiness, falls far short of the means which many have with whom we associate. No man is rich but by comparison; for he who spends more than his income, whatever it may be, is in reality poor, and a debtor. Let us, therefore, not bring upon ourselves the fate of the frog in the fable, by bursting happiness we possess, in foolish imitation of vain fashion, to the size of which we can never swell. You see it is the rock upon which all our acquaintances wreck themselves. Mrs. Jones, whose husband has only three hundred a year, must imitate the suppers of Mrs. Crozier, whose income is full fifteen hundred. The consequence is as clear as a result in The Rule of Three Direct—as three is to one, so is fifteen to five. Think of this, and act according to the rationality it prescribes. No, my love, we will do what is consistent with our circumstances, regardless of the nonsensical sneer of the world. Let us live far within our means, that we may have the power of expanding our hearts with the luxury of doing some good; and that when we go naked out of this cold world, we may be warmed with recollecting the shivering creatures we clothed from our superfluity, and the starving fellow men we cheered from the economy of our table. In short, let us, as far as we can, set an example of moderation and usefulness, and quit every charm of this transitory scene without regret, and with the approbation of our own hearts.
Indeed, my short sermon had the desired effect. We agreed to keep our good fortune a profound secret. And this was an object I had greatly at heart; for, though it is the way of the world to sanction the belief that we are richer than we are, I have always considered it advantageous to be thought poorer. In the one case, you ever fall short of expectation, and incur a charge of disappointment; in the other, you have the power of surprising by liberality, and of warming hearts into gratitude by exceeding their hopes. You also prove the sincerity of your friends, and the charity of your enemies. Have you a daughter? Let her be thought poor, and no fortune-hunter will court her beauty. She will become the property of some honest heart, and you will have the means of rewarding disinterested affection, and of making mutual love bloom in the sun-beams of plenty.
Moreover, and in addition to what I have urged in favour of the resolution we formed of concealing our changed circumstances from the circle of our acquaintances, I had another reason, which pressed itself upon my understanding. My father's behaviour to me had sunk deeply into my heart. He had not performed his written promise, of making some provision for my family, under any circumstances that could occur; but, instead of providing for our wants, he had turned his back upon us, left us to the miserable subsistence of half-pay, and, had it not been for the seasonable relief derived from my wife's jewels, ornaments which I had never calculated upon as disposable property, I might have begged, or been hanged for robbery. Did my conduct warrant such treatment? I had merely declined one offer he made me, and removed my family from a system of persecution and insult. Even if my undutiful and disobedient courses had authorized his desertion of nie, still my children and my wife, to whom lie had promised assistance, should have been objects of his care—and even had my poor wife offended him, her conduct would not have vindicated his justice. Our heavenly Father does not, when we disobey and grieve him, withdraw from us those blessings which he bestows upon his other children. Neither should our earthly parent desert any of his offspring for alleged crime. By such desertion he withholds from them their right; and surely the retention of a debt which is justly due is the infliction of an injury. Earthly fathers, however, too often, instead of making it their glory to imitate the justice and mercy of Omnipotence, arm themselves with vindictiveness, and inhumanly destroy their children. Moreover, my father owed me a settlement on agreement. In consequence of his letters I renounced my profession, expended the money I had been long amassing, in transporting my family fifteen thousand miles, to his door; and yet he left me to provide for them as well as I could, at a time when expense was indispensably necessary for education. I could not forget all this; and I determined, now that I was independent, upon proving whether he conceived me entitled to reparation, or not. "He is now," thought I, "free from the influence of an interested woman; if he follow the dictates of a good heart, he will do me justice. At all events, if misfortune assail his old age, I shall require no sweeter vengeance than to be his prop of support—the safe staff upon which his tottering existence may repose whilst in this life."
I shall only add further, that two years have elapsed since the funeral, yet he has never entered my humble door, though I have solicited the pleasure of his company at another christening. May other fathers take my counsel not to imitate him! And may all sons be warned by me, never to give their parents cause of offence *.
Thus I close my selection from the papers of my friend Charles Thoughtless. Should my labours amuse or interest so as to experience public support, it shall be my study to find a new series of Oriental and Irish Sketches and Tales, to give prolonged existence to " FORTY YEARS IS THE WORLD."

* In justice to the father of our hero, it is right to say that since the above was written, a perfect reconciliation has taken place.
Sincerely and anxiously do I hope and trust for a favourable reception, confiding that it is impossible to peruse the life of my friend Charles without being strengthened in many good resolutions, and convinced that whatever Heaven wills is right and best. "Sweet are the uses of adversity:" had it not been for the trials Charles experienced in his turbulent journey through this world, it is likely that his accession to wealth might only have augmented his misery. Instead of that calm, happy voyage which is now nearing him daily to eternity, he would be tossed on the billows of vanity and fashion, involved in gulfs of extravagance, the master of neither his time nor his fort u nc. »
And now I have only one observation to make before I write finis.
If the vicissitudes of human life, here truly delineated from actual occurrence, should prove serviceable to any of the rising generation, I have not laboured in vain. I have attempted to inculcate, that it is the interest of man to be virtuous; that the Christian religion is the only means of securing happiness here and hereafter; and that we live under a political constitution which ensures to the subject as much practical liberty as can be enjoyed without danger. I therefore say, " Farewell, kind reader," with the deep expression of my gratitude, and every good wish for your felicity.


Fifteen Years in India

(see Link to Pdf of this book in Wallace of Loughgillie)


Fifteen Years in India opens with an account of an officer in HM's Indian army meeting a trooper from home and enquiring about matters there:
"Then you have not heard of your father's return to his native soil."
"Eh Bob! Is my dear father in Ireland, and has he overcome the persecution of fortune?"
"He has indeed, Sir. Rolling in wealth he would it all to witness the return of you, his only son."
"Wonderful! And my uncle, what of him, is he alive and still the same?"
"Alas, Sir, still so."
"how melancholy to think of him, and what he might have been. 'Oh that a man should put an enemy in his mouth to steal away his brains!'" -----------

"And how are the loyal tenantry, Bob? Do they continue to commemorate the battle of the Boyne on the 12th of old July?"
"No Sir, that custom is discontinued, for about five years ago there was an actual battle on that occasion, instead of a sham fight, which induced the magistrates to prohibit it. The Orange boys had, as usual made great preparations, and assembled with flags and streamers: they formed in two divisions, one of which, commanded by King William, marched down the slope to the tune of the Boyne Water; while the other, under King James, was drawn up on the opposite side of the Devarnagh river. A smart discharge of blank cartridges announced the attack. but lo! in the hottest part of the engagement, a body of Roman Catholic youths, from the mountains of Slievegullion and Killeary, started up from an ambuscade with pitchforks, grapes, and sythes, and assailed the two Kings. The Duke of Schomberg was actually killed in the river, and the waters of the stream was reddened with the blood of both parties; for the Orange boys fought desperately in honour of the day with the butts of their firelocks."
"Unhappy country, where political wounds are not permitted to heal!"
"But tell me, Bob, are the manners of the credulous people about Mount Norris and Loughgilly changed? Do they believe in ghosts, witches, fairies, lougherymen, and banshees?"
"Yes, indeed, Sir, as much as ever: and it is believed as true as the gospel, that a lougheryman appeared to Farmer Jones, of Rathcarberry, only a short time ago."
"Pray, Bob, mention the particulars."
"The farmer was sitting in the parlour, which was also his bed-room. Being fond of music, he was playing some of his merry tunes on his Irish organ, as he calls the bagpipes, and occasionally talking to his wife, who was in bed. He was enjoying his glass of warm native too at intervals, for it was a cold winter night. The door stood a little ajar, and in the middle of a favourite tune - 'I'm over young to marry yet' - a little slender figure, about two feet high, of exceedingly beautiful form and proportion, with laughing black eyes and a red cap, came skipping into the room. He danced with astonishing grace, swung in air, and kept such fine time, that the delighted musician played on with pleasure and surprise. At length he had to rest from fatigue. But the lougheryman nodded for more music, and kept nodding till he gained his wish. The farmer, who is a merry amn, enjoyed the fun, and played several of his best tunes for the little dancer; and his wife, who is of the methodist persuasion, positively says to this day, that she heard her husband several times saying he was tired and could play no more, and that at last he raised his voice in anger - 'Get out of my sight, you unreasonable brat; you would never be satisified.'
"That very night the flames burst out of the house in the dead of sleep, and nothing but life was savedd - and it is said the lougheryman set the house on fire in three different places, in revenge for not getting enough of music; and that if he had been gratified, he would have filled mr Jones's pockets with gold."

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

From a memoir written by Thomas Cathcart Breakey of Ballybay ca. 1900


[It seems that these stories were written for the entertainment of his grandchildren and perhaps ought to be treated as such – just ‘stories’.]

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.

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. 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.

Mr. Morell and Father were top dish at all enter¬tainments. 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.

Rev John Harris Morell
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 hear¬ing 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.

"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 encour¬age 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."
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.

Mother ignored the idea of ghosts. She would go out the darkest night, like insane & half witted people nothing would frighten her. Mr. John Mills of Boilk could tell a good story he got from Mr. Wm. Jackson. Jackson was at a small entertainment in Revd. John Morell's Mr. James Tardy came on business & Mr. Morell kept him for the evening. When at supper Tardy said he left his boat across the. wee river at Peter Smyths garden & he would go home the near way John Jackson said for fun if you go that way you are bound to see a ghost among the shrubs. Tardy said he would like to see one nothing could frighten him. You are like brother Edward said Mr. Morel, Tardy in answer said he could represent a ghost was sure to put Ned in a corner, Mr. Moral said he would bet a pound to one penny he could not even surprise him. Tardy went & put on a big night shirt, oiled his feet, faces neck & hands & rists, put on a long night cap & then got one of the company to puff all the oiled parts with puffpowder. When his eyes were opened the eyelashes & brows being festooned with powder giving the face a very strange appearance. He then took a rush for a candle In his hand & went up to Neds room. The moment he saw him he got up on his elbow in bed & said do you hear me boy who are you speaking in a sepulchral tone of voice said I am the late Andy Ruttledge sexton of the church coming from Heaven Yes Mr. Edward, that is not the place our John thinks at all. You are like a man was tied at meal time. Mr. Edward we neither eat, drink, marry or are given in marriage in Heaven. Ned said you are like that sure enough. Sit man & I will ring-the bell & get John up to I show him a living proof of the folly & nonsence he is at every Sunday about Heaven being such a grand place. By this time Mr. Tardy had backed near the door seeing he was regularly out at the elbow. Mr. Ned asked him what brought you to me & not to John or some else in the neighbourhood. Well you know Mr. Ned I believe you tell nothing but the truth.

I give everything as I get it I neither put to or take from. Knowing this I want you to tell me how is Molly & the children doing. I can say but little about it I went a message to your house lately for John. Your wife had the black tin on as usual about the manner of eleven oclock as usual and I believe your eldest son Andy is as big a liar as ever he was. By this time Ned had got the length of calling him Andy & vas very insisting on him to stop and have a crack about his country. When Ned saw he was not likely to stop & having a taste for astronomy, as his last question he said do you hear anything about this thing called the eclipse on the moon in your country. By this time Mr. Jackson & others rushed into Neds room to have a good laugh at Mr. Tardy. Ned seeing this covered himself head & horns & nothing more was seen of Ned. Mr J Tardy had to spend half an hour to get rid of the oil & puffpowder & feeling regularly cut at the elbows at having all his bother for nothing

To return to the coach driving, it was reckoned no mean situation driving a stage coach, from four to five horses in hand. It was usually gentlemen who were the whirs. Those who were brought to that by fast living. Revd. John Loren could tell rather a good story of one time he was going to Dublin on the coach. When the length of Drogheda cool horses were on the street when the warm ones come in to the hotel. A good breakfast was on the table but so warm no one could take it in a hurry. The horn was sounded on the street for all hands to turn out. Some lifted a fowl, others a lump of bread &. beef and taking no notice of the intreaties of butlers to drop the grog rushed out to the coach. Mr. Morell sat & took no notice of the fuss to he got the room red, he then gathered all the spoons & put them into a jug of warm water that had a lid on & was seated again when a butler rushed in & said sir the coach is starting. Mr. Morell said you see I am a Clerical man & last in the room, before I leave you had better look after your spoons, not one-single spoon could the feller see on the table but one Mr. Morell had. He rushed out to search the people on ' the coach & caused a regular row. When that was over coachman &-butlers come in to search the dining room. By this time Mr. Morell had taken a good breakfast & said to the men you did not look in the jug. Now said he you have your spoons & I have had a good breakfast. Let this learn you a lesson to do what is honest & fare & tender or hungry dog a hot pan to lick in a moment of time.
It was an understanding between the coachman & hotel keeper to not give people time to eat all on the table. On Mr. Morell's coming back fool Ned Corry who used to run with the hounds in Crieve turned up in Drogheda to run with the coach to Dundalk & encourage the front wheels by shouting sweet wee wheels never let the big ones overtake you & without shoes or cap could keep up with the coach. It was a very arduous situation to drive a four horse coach prior to the Railways when so many cars & mashines were on the roads to pass & let pass.

JM McWilliam Memoirs 1 / JM McWilliam Memoirs 2/ JM McWilliam Memoirs 3/ McWilliam Memoirs 4/ Dickson/Eccles Pedigree/ James Morell Diary/ John Donaldson book extracts/ RG Wallace book extracts/ TC Breakey manuscript / Rev Thomas Armstrong book extract/ Top /

From Rev Thomas Armstrong of Ballina in 'My life in Connaught'

(see Henry of Clones & Donaldson of Creggan)

Another of my friends and fellow-labourers was the Rev. Joseph Donaldson. He received his education in the same school as myself, taught by the Rev. John Bleckley, of Monaghan. After being for some time at business he desired to devote himself to the ministry of the Gospel, and returned to the school in Monaghan to receive the preparatory education for entering college.
The undergraduate course was gone through in Glasgow University, and the theological in the Edinburgh Free Church College. Having been licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Monaghan, he was invited by Mr Allen to take part in the Connaught Mission, and I was delighted to welcome him as an old friend, knowing, as I did, his upright and Christian character.

The district allocated to Mr. Donaldson was Foxford. This is a small town about seven miles south of Ballina, and is situated on the frontier of an extensive region of stony, moorish, and dreary hills, and intervening plots of a similar kind. From the quantity of boulders strewn about it gets the name of 'Stony Foxford'. At one time Foxford was a place of some importance. It figured transiently in the disturbances of 1798, and because of its strategic position a military barracks was erected, and occupied by troops for a number of years.
The river Moy runs past the town, over its rocky channel, on its way northward to Ballina and the sea; and there was once a salmon-weir at this place; the linen trade also flourished; but these are now things of the past.
The educational and religious condition of the region corresponded with its physical. The barony of Gallen, in which Foxford is located, possesses some tolerably good arable land, but over by far the larger part of its extent it is either wild mountain, or almost equally wild morass, with rocky and irreclaimable wastes. By the census preceding the period of which I write it had a population of some 47,000; of these only 4,683 could read and write. The Protestants numbered only 300. In one parish there were 8 Protestants to 3,700 Roman Catholics. In the entire region the Protestant families could be counted on the fingers of one hand. This was the field into which Mr. Donaldson was sent to cultivate. It was truly sowing the seed in 'stony places.'
Mr. Donaldson started three schools in the district, and these were largely attended for a time. A great attraction was the distribution of food supplied by the Government and some benevolent societies in Britain, and this was done without any religious distinction. The children made good progress, but were very ignorant and backward, and they had need to be taught the very simplest elements of knowledge - both Scriptural and secular. Mr. Donaldson wrote: 'The Irish schools, which had been so effective elsewhere, were never introduced here. The ordinary week-day schools which had been so effective elsewhere were very thinly scattered over the country and very inefficient. There were only a few Protestants, and these had generally sunk into apathy and carelessness; in fact, the ignorance of the great body of the people in religious matters was very great. The usual opposition by the priests to Scriptural education was very fierce and prolonged'.
Concurrently with the work of the schools a Sabbath service was maintained in the court-house. There had been an opening for this previously. The Episcopal incumbent was an absentee, and his curate, for reasons unnecessary to mention, had become so obnoxious to his hearers that they left in a body. Application was made to the Presbyterians to minister to them, and in the peculiar circumstances of the case this was done to a certain extent. I occasionally drove over in the interval between my own meetings, and others gave help. There was a fair attendance of people, who manifested a great desire to have the pure Gospel preached to them. Mr. Donaldson regularly ministered to them with much acceptance. After a time a new clergyman was appointed to the parish. In consequence the Episcopalians naturally returned to their own Church. On consultation we agreed that our work in that region was done; the schools had fallen off in attendance, and there really seemed no place for us. Accordingly the new rector was informed of our purpose, and he took up, so far as possible, the work we had commenced. Mr. Donaldson left, and was installed in the congregation of Fermoy, Co. Cork, in April 1854. Here he laboured with fidelity and zeal, respected by all classes till his death in December, 1880. He was a man of much practical sagacity. I was indebted to him for many useful hints during the erection of the Ballina church, manse, and school.

As a final footnote it might be remarked that Armstrong, himself a Monaghan man, attended Dr Bleckley's Academy in Monaghan at the same time as Charles Gavan Duffy. I suspect that Mr Donaldson might have been a contemporary of Tom Devin Reilly.



Back to Top

Family Trees


Family Stories

Legal Papers


Census Records

Church Records





Family Index

Link to DNA page

My Journey Page

Link to links page

Link to sitemap