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Freshford Cemetery

Freshford Cemetery, July 2011

Mary, Freshford Church

Inside Freshford Church, July 2011

The Mahers of Kilkenny are of particular interest to me, as this is one of the places around which my personal research revolves. Joseph Casimir O’Meagher contributed a pedigree of this group (pp. 201, 202), which I have organized in a way that I hope is easier to follow. I believe that Adelaide Maher, daughter of John Maher and Alicia Murray, who married John Quigley in 1839 in Freshford, Kilkenny, (FHL#926192) is very likely the same Adelaide J. Maher Quigley who emigrated to the small town of my great great grandparents (Patrick Maher and Anne Butler) in Naugatuck, Connecticut, 1864, and is buried in their cemetery, Saint Francis. I have done a great deal of research about her as well as about the other four Maher family grave sites there (and about other Mahers in New Haven County).

Adelaide J. Maher

Adelaide J. Maher, Saint Francis Cemetery, 2009

William Meagher, County Kilkenny (1697, Nicholastown – 1836, Freshford); was a member of the 87th Royal Irish Fusileers and fought in Portugal.  He married Mary Dunne, aunt of a Bishop of Ossory. Their children: John, William, Thomas, and three daughters (Mrs. Byrne, Mrs. Lalor and another). 1. John (born 1728, married Catherine Kearney of Tipperary; their children: William, Elizabeth and Richard: William, born 1756, died 1803, married Catherine Brennan of Shralee and had Major Maher, 87th Regiment, who died 1836 unmarried; Elizabeth married Dr. J. Cullinane; Dr. Richard, of Waterford, married Anna Bowers, no children); 2. William (of Tennylenton, see below.) [NOTE: here, confusingly, O’Meagher included an additional John, placed Thomas as the fourth child, then added four more children other than the daughters he first listed.] 3. John (of Ballyragget, married Phelan; their children: Ellen, Catherine, Anne, others, none married); 4. Thomas (involved in the uprisings of 1798, fled to America and died there, was married to “Beauty Kavanagh;” their son John, 1793 -1850/1855, was an attorney; also a daughter Joanna who emigrated to and died in America); 5. James, apothecary in Dublin, died unmarried; 6. Pierce; 7. Dennis (died in America); 8. Catherine (married Garrett Brennan of Eden Hall). [Nicholastown is on R432, a road leading directly north to Ballinakill, Co. Laois and directly south to Ballyragget.]

William Meagher (of Tennylenton, second son of William Meagher of Nicholastown), born 1729, married Ellen Fitzpatrick of Gurteen. Their children: William Maher (Kileany, Queen’s County); John Maher (Freshford, 1769-1836); and daughters: Mrs. Cassin, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Lalor, and Kate, a nun. [Thankfully, O’Meagher noted that Kileany was in Queen’s County (Laois), not in Kilkenny, where I could not find it. Kileany is east of Abbeyleix. My great great grandfather, Patrick was said to have been from Queen’s County, and his possible brother or cousin, Matthew, was from Ballinakill. Tennylenton may no longer exist, or may have been a typo on O’Meagher’s part. I have not found the town on a map nor a town that has a spelling close to it.]

William Maher of Kileany (son of William of Tennylenton) 1767-1830, married Catherine Hannell (heiress of Captain Hannell and Ann Scully, Lissaroon, County Tipperary). Their children: William, 1791-1867 (married twice, see below); James Hannell, 1798-1884, died unmarried; John, died unmarried 1829; Edward James (Littleton); Anne, married William J. Maher, no children; Mary, a nun; Frances, unmarried; Ellen, unmarried.

William Maher (1791-1867), son of William of Kileany, married Mary Byrne of Ballyspellan. Their children: Charles (emigrated to America); Mary Ann (married Jeremiah Scully of Freshford). William married a second time to Eliza Savage of Dublin. Their children: Catherine Hannell and James William (as of 1890 both were living in England.) [Ballyspellan Lower is north of Johnstown, on the west side of County Kilkenny, near the border of Tipperary.]

Edward James Maher (1813-1881), of Littlefield, Jenkinstown (son of William Meagher of Kileany) married Mary Ann Moffitt, daughter of Francis, of Raheen House, Queen’s County. Moffitt had been a Captain of the 14th Regiment. Their children: Mary (married Henry Loughnan, J.P., Crohill, Kilkenny); William (born 1855); Francis Edward (born 1856); Anne (married Michael Corcoran); Edward, C. E. (born 1860). [Littlefield is north of Kilkenny City, directly west of Freshford.]

John Maher (1769-1836), of Freshford, brother of William Maher of Kileany, married Alicia Murray, of Kilkenny, in 1792. Their children: William J. (1800-1875, married Anne Maher, no children); Emanuel Murray (born 1802, died unmarried); Mary, Ellen (a nun), Adelaide, and Michael (who died in America). John Maher married a second time to Jane Harold (Limerick). Their children were Kate, Margaret (a nun), Elizabeth (a nun), Jane (a nun), and Fanny (a nun).

NOTE: The stone of Adelaide Maher Quigley, who died in Naugatuck, Connecticut, placed her birth year as about 1808, slightly older than our Patrick, who was born in 1811. We know that women often shaved a few years off their ages, and that children did not always know the correct information when asked to fill out death records or provide information for tombstones. Adelaide Maher, daughter of John Maher and Alicia Murray, was baptized in Freshford on July 16, 1805. (Rothe House Trust Ltd./Irish Family History Foundation)

Interestingly, Griffiths Valuations for the parish of Freshford, Kilkenny, (printed in 1850) show many instances of the names William Maher, John Maher, Wm. John Maher, Esq., William J. Maher, Esq. (and other Mahers) and John Quigley, not only as tenants, but as individuals leasing land to others. In several occurrences they leased property from William de Montmorency Esq., the main landlord. (More about him later.) Surnames in the area, including others who subleased land, replicate closely the many early Anglo-Irish immigrant surnames that can be found in Saint Francis Cemetery, Naugatuck, Connecticut.* Many vacant properties in Freshford’s Griffiths Valuations appear to have been owned by William J. Maher, Esq., perhaps after individuals had already chosen to emigrate (such my great great grandparents who could have been living there after their marriage).

Microfilms of birth and marriage records for Kilkenny can be rented from the Family History Center, Utah, and Joseph Casimir O’Meagher’s notes should be further researched and clarified (as I am presently doing). Also, see Jane Lyon’s web site and her section on Kilkenny. A Google search on Kilkenny Genealogy will turn up many more resources online.

*My book about this cemetery will come out at the end of this year.


Ask About Ireland – Griffith’s Valuation, http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml

O’Meagher, Joseph Casimir, Some Historical Notices of the O’Meaghers of Ikerrin, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., American Edition: NY, 1890

©2011 Sinéad Ní Mheachair (Janet Maher)

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