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A short history of the Quinn family resident at Cnocknaskinna Beaghmore Cookstown Co. Tyrone Ireland circa 1795-until the present with family tree information from 1725 some 270 years. Some bits and pieces of information on local places and people who have influenced the area and thus the people who lived there throughout the centuries are also included.

It cannot be stressed enough that in order that the psyche of the people of this area especially the original Catholic Irish is understood it is essential to have a good understanding of the political and social upheaval of the area circa 1600 onwards after the fall of the O'Neills.

I have included some notes on this upheaval and Plantation to give a basic understanding of its circumstances and effect both materially and psychologically on the dispossessed lowland Catholic farmers who had to seek their existence on the inhospitable slopes and high ground of the Sperrins. The effect of the Williamite wars and the Plantation is still with us some 455 years after it happened. The is the core problem of the "Northern Ireland Problem". For the purist "The Plantation" in particular is mostly referred to as the "Plantation of Ulster" and this applies in particular to the lands between the Foyle and the Roe. The former Co. Coleraine afterwards referred to as Co. Londonderry after the old city was taken over by the Trades Guilds of London the Drapers Vintners etc. the town of Coleraine losing its importance.

One should also note that Scotland and indeed Wales were also "planted" but the effect was not so reactive as the religion of the planted and planter was generally the same after the Reformation. The fact that the "native Irish " were Catholic was a key difference causing great problems even to this day. The modern Highland estates of the gentry in Scotland had their populations "cleared" as recently as the late 19th century. Many made their way like the Irish to Canada and Australia.

Be aware that there were also other "Plantations" of parts of Ireland at other times. Also be aware that in the years circa 1795 major displacements of peoples also took place due to civil strife due to religious differences of people i.e. Catholic and Protestant basically the native Catholic Irish and the descendants of the Plantation Protestant settlers from circa 1600 onwards. The latter displacement we have a very good record of in the following pages. So be aware when reading this history of the major influx of plantation settlers from 1600 onwards and the land seizure from the native Catholic Irish and after a period of Catholic rebellion in 1641 against Plantation there was a "reasonably" settled time between planter and native farmers roughly between 1650 and 1690.There were major conflicts between them again circa 1795 after the Williamite Wars circa 1690 onwards with the formation of the Orange order in 1795.This conflict has never gone away and has been cyclic since in Northern Ireland.

This project put together mainly in the last part of 1994 and early 1995 and on an ongoing basis with information from many sources and extended family information and recollections. The date at the top will indicate just how up to date a copy may be.


Many members of the extended Quinn Loughran and Beck families were spoken to in the generation of this document. Many archivists of the religious orders to which many belonged to were also written to. Also related Falls relatives. I will not start to make a bibliography on my sources but I will simply say thanks to all who contributed in any way verbal written or supplying documentation.

In a project such as this it is most important that the person assimilating the information does it with tact and consideration. We are of course all "prisoners of our history" warts and all but one has to be aware of peopleís feelings at all times. This I have tried to do at all times. I have also tried to strike a balance between what is of interest to present and perhaps to future generations. I have also interwoven some facts and points of interest about Co. Tyrone and the environs of Beaghmore in particular to add interest and perhaps make the reader see just what a cockpit of history they are living in.

This is simply a start of a history. It would be nice if perhaps a younger member of the extended Quinn family were to take this information and progress further. It is interesting and very educational. When one looks at this tree one can simply look to see auntís uncleís grandfathers, which is fine. However if the tree is looked at in more depth one sees that it is a history from circa 1725 until 1995 a considerable time span in Irish and world history. It basically starts shortly after the battle of the Boyne in 1690 with all its implications for the Catholic Irish. One could do a project on many aspects using this short history as a framework. It would be interesting to look at the O'Neill chieftains in the early 17th century and at the same time know that ones old kith and kin were in the midst of all the events. These were major events in Irish history because the fall of the O'Neills was where Irish history changed forever. One could look at Beaghmore and do a project on Neolithic or Stone age man and know that Jack Quinn (1995) actually owns sites where the artifacts of such people are still around. There are numerous potential projects. The younger members of the extended Quinn family have source material that would be a researchers dream.




Properly "Quin" in Irish is "O'Cuinn" from the personalized name "Conn". It is the most numerous surname in Co. Tyrone but also found in Co. Antrim Co. Clare and Co Longford. Sometimes in Ulster the name was "O'Coinne". When the old Gaelic order was weakened by Anglisation the letter "O" was in many cases dropped and the name went to Quin or Quinn. As with other names rooted in a Gaelic past there are numerous cases when Protestants think that dropping the last "N" from the name somehow makes it Protestant or in some cases Catholics drop off the "N" and think that it makes it more Catholic. This idea is also used for names such as Kane from O'Kane, Neill from O'Neill etc. Though there are cases when this rule does not apply. I leave the reader to apply his or her own perception. In the case of the Quinns however the name is rooted from a Catholic past.

The O'Quins were a sept of the old O'Neills and O'Cathans. As Tyrone and its surroundings were the lands of the O'Neills and the O'Quins were a sept of the O'Neills then this is really why there are so many Quinns still in the area.

The motto of the Quinn family is "Quod Sursum Volo Videre" translated "I wish to see things which are above".




In McLysaghs "Names of Ireland" this name is sourced from several name links.

This name is said to be a variant of the name MacCall in Ulster especially Co. Tyrone. MacCall is the Anglicised form of Mac Cathmhaoil common in Co Tyrone pre Plantation. However another variant is the name Campbell mostly seen as a Scottish name. However the book goes on to identify that the name Mac Cathmhaoil is positively identified with Tyrone. Many people called Campbell would as be expected be of Scottish origin especially in Co. Donegal where many would have been Scots galloglass soldiers way back.

The family name McGale for the known family will most certainly be Irish sourced and the extended family linked to Co.Tyrone.

In Irish the name Mac Cathmhaoil in Irish means " the son of the battle chief".




In Irish this name is O'Conchobhair (son of Connor).Here is information from McLysaghts book "Surnames of Ireland" said to be the best book on this subject. Here I quote.

"The name of six distinct and important septs. In Connaght there were O'Connor or O'Connor Don (of which was the last High King of Ireland) with its branches O'Conor Roe and O'Conor Sligo. Also O'Conor Fahy (i.e. Offaly) O'Connor Kerry and O'Connor of Corcomroe (north Clare). The prefix O formerly widely discarded has been generally resumed. Similarly the variant form Connors has become O'Connor again.

It is one of the most numerous names in Ireland particularly in Co. Kerry. Also in Clare Derry Galway Roscommon and Sligo.=Unquote.

On a map I have on the areas of Ireland with name allocation I see the name O'Connor in and around the Dungiven/Limavady area.




The ancient and modern Quinn families have been resident in the county of "TYRONE" for centuries. I wonder how many of them know the origin of the name TYRONE?. Anyway for those who do not know here is a small insight into how the name came about.

It is said that Irish history apart from myth and legend into which one immediately falls when trying to read about Irish history starts with Niall of the Nine Hostages so called because as leader he wrung pledges from nine "nations" in Ireland. He was High King of Ireland about A.D. 479.

Niall had eight sons some of whom died in battle as would be expected. However two sons called Eoghan (Owen) and Conall also were warriors and at one stage they waged a war against the people in the north west of Ireland in the area that is now Donegal Derry and Tyrone. They established a headquarter fort at Aileach (Greenan of Aileach) the circular stone fort that stands to this day outside Derry city just across the Donegal border and is well worth a visit as it will add reality to the history in the following pages.

The view from this elevated circular fort site is incredible as one overlooks the Foyle and Swilley estuaries. Looking to the north from this fort over the island of Inch below with Rathmullan on the far shore of the Swilley one is overlooking Rathmullan from where the Earls of Ulster the O'Neills of Ulster fled from by boat in 1607 to France and in the case of Hugh O'Neill to his final days in Rome Italy where he is buried.

Conall took over the area that is now the county of Donegal which was known as Tir-Conall (The land of Conall sometimes in more modern times spelt Tirconnell the old name for Donegal."Tir" is the old Irish name for Land.

The territory of the modern Inishowen was taken over by the other son Owen i.e. Inish Owen the island of Owen. Inishowen being referred to as a peninsula in modern geographic terms. "Inish" being the Irish for island.

However Inishowen became too small for Owen so he expanded his land territory into the lands west of Lough Neagh and these were thus named Tir-Owen (the land of Owen).Thus has evolved Tirowen into the more Anglicised version of TYRONE.

Here is a section from what is recognized as being a "fairly accurate" descent tree from Niall and shows the origins of the O'Quins.

It is seen that Niall's son Owen had a son called Fergus. This Fergus had two sons called Hugh and it is from this Hugh that the sept the O'Mellans came. From the other son Coelbad came the O'Hagan and the O'Quins.








| O'Donnells of Donegal

| from this branch.



MURDOCK----------------------------FERGUS--------------------OCHY BINNEY

| | |

| | |

| ----------------------------- O'Hamills

| | | O'Kellys

| | | O'Brollys


| From Hugh came the From Coelbad came

| the O'Mellans. the O'QUINS and O'Hagans.






| | |


MURDOCK From whom came the

MAC-EARCA O'Gormleys. the McCawells.

From the descendants of this

man came the O'NEILLS McLoughlins

O'Devlins and O'Donnellys O'Cathans

O'Mullans O'Carolans O'Duddys Clan Conor

Magh Ithe.


It will now be realised just how far back into Irish history and the history of Tyrone the Quinn family stretches. Note that most of the old Irish names would have been prefixed with the letter "O". However the "O" has been generally dropped. However the "O" is still found mostly in the name O'Neill and O'Kane. The Donnellyís west of Lough Neagh would all have been O'Donnelly etc.




When one talks about the O'Neills to anyone from Tyrone there is an assumption that everyone in that part of the world knows all about the O'Neills. However this may not be the case. There is some confusion as to which "O'Neill" was which. When one talks of the O'Neills one must automatically link it to the Plantation of the early 17th century.

The O'Neills would have been a descending dynasty of an Irish clan with that name stemming from Owen (son of Niall of the Nine Hostages) a descendant family assimilating into and with the Ui Neill (O'Neills). This clan O'Neill would have had their base at Tullyhogue near Cookstown. The fort is still there and worth a visit. Standing on the outer circular embankment of Tullyhogue fort and looking across the panorama across Cookstown to the right and the Sperrins in front and all the surrounding fertile valleys below one can very easily get a picture of the pre -Plantation scenario and its consequent reversal. One sees Desertcreat to their left and the old graveyard and former monastery of Donarisk the old grounds of the O'Hagans left of centre. This scene will put a visual perspective to the Plantation to any farmer stock amongst you.

As this is basically a family history for interest sake let us look at the "O'Neills" that are of interest to the O'Quin's or Quinns living between the years 1550 until 1660.Remember that Michael O'Quin is around in 1725 only 65 years after the fall of the O'Neills. So no doubt this history would have been handed down to him and he would have been aware of it.

Without doubt the Quinns from which the present family of Quinns at Beaghmore descend would have had parents uncles cousins engaged as soldiers in the wars that the O'Neills led in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Please refer to the two pages at the end of the family history named CLONOE CHURCH AND BURIAL GROUND. The Morris family mentioned would have been one of the landed gentry families who were given lands during the early plantation period. The Morris family lived at Mountjoy. It will be seen that the Morris family suffered severely according to the information by a Major Cruickshank during the rebellion by Sir Phelim Roe O'Neill in the rebellion of 1641 and that they suffered at the hands of one TURLOUGH "GROOME" O'QUINN who was the commander of the "rebels" that took possession of

Mountjoy. The "rebels" as referred to i.e. the soldiers of Sir Phelim O'Neill had moderate success in waging war against landlords and the landlord system in the Charlemont and Dungannon areas. However they were never going to win against superior odds. The fortified house at Roughan near Coalisland (referred to as a "castle" ) was at one time a stronghold of the Quinns of the area fighting for Sir Phelim O'Neill. It was near this fortification in 1650 that Phelim O'Neill was captured.

This is an excellent example of actual proof that there was actual combat between the "locals" i.e. the native Irish and the Planter stock on the problem of land dispossession.

The Morris family probably arrived as planter farmers. However another type of planter was the man who had fought in foreign wars for the Crown and were simply given land for their services. In Desertcreat we have the monument to the Sandersons a Scottish army family who had been given land taken from the native Catholic Irish as reward. It is seen that Alexander Sanderson was a soldier who was born in Scotland, who fought in both Belgium and Poland. For his services he was given land and also made a Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff on three occasions. No doubt whatsoever the ancestors of Michael O'Quin circa 1725 who heads the family tree would have been badly troubled by such men. Who knows perhaps Turlough "Groome" O'Quinn could have been a relation of Michael O'Quin circa 1725!.Who knows it is a small world.


What sort of men were these O'Neills?.


Please refer to the computer sheet on the family of O'Neills of the period stated. It shows only the O'Neills that are of relevance for clarification of "The O'Neill" chiefs where they lived and what befell them. The study of the O'Neills would be a very extensive one. One of power rivalries, intrigue double-dealings wars skirmishes etc. As with such people they are at times very simplistically taken as great Irish heroes. This needs to be viewed with great reservation as greed and power in many cases was their goal. If necessary they would have changed religion (some of them did) if the situation deemed it necessary. The septs of followers such as the O'Quins, O'Donnellys who supplied their foot soldiers for their wars and skirmishes would perhaps not been on the whole much respected by these men. They were basically as I see it warrior politicians. Do we not see a similar type of politician in the area in this country today?. Perhaps not with swords but with the spoken word.

The bottom line is that when the O'Neills lost their wars with Queen Elizabeth they simply fled i.e. "The Flight of the Earls" in 1607 leaving their defeated armies to the mercy of Elizabethís armies. For decades after this these defeated soldiers of O'Neill went to fight in the armies of Europe - the so-called "Wild Geese". The Maguires of Fermanagh and the O'Donnells of Donegal also fled. We are only interested in the O'Neills.


The first O'Neill chief that is of interest to us is Shane O'Neill in computer box No.4.Here is a few bits of interest on him.




This man was inaugurated at Tullyhogue in 1559 as chief of the O'Neills of Ulster and would have been to the English a man who had great power and could cause them all sorts of trouble in their conquest of the northern part of Ireland. Elizabeth I was on the throne. To her he would have epitomised the haughty Gaelic chief capable of causing her trouble. Attempts were made by the English to remove him from power by various methods. Assassination was tried. However failing this she invited him to London for discussions which would in those days been very dangerous. There was the known method of getting ones adversaries to London for discussions and simply throw them in the Tower of London to rot. This was what happened to Sir Donnell Ballagh O'Cathan the last of the O'Cathan chiefs. He was left in the Tower without trial until he died there in 1617.

However in such meetings treachery prevailed and Shane and Queen Elizabeth worked out a strategy that he "would subdue unruly elements" in the northern part of Ireland and stay in her favour. It would appear that the thinking was to Queen Elizabeth that he would do some ground work for her army in suppressing some unruly factions thus weaken them if they should ever try to close ranks with Shane O'Neill when she attacked. To his thinking it would appear he saw it as a chance to strengthen his chiefdom in Ulster and in particular weaken the McDonnels in the Glens of Antrim.

He in fact attacked the McDonnels and defeated them at Glenshesk in the Antrim Glens in 1567. However despite his fortifications at Benburb Ardglass Newry Broughshane and the Foyle the English decided to attack O'Neill and he was overwhelmed at Ardnagarry on the Foyle in 1567.He escaped and went into the Glens of Antrim and looked for protection from the McDonnels who he had defeated two years earlier. History states that they held a feast for him. However perhaps after too much wine he started boasting of his doings insulted the McDonnels and they simply murdered him. That was the end of Shane O'Neill.

Shane was a man into intrigues and dealings. However during his period as chief he established a printing press at Dungannon and published the first bible in the Irish language.

After his demise the mantle of power now fell to his uncle Hugh O'Neill as leader and chief of the O'Neills.




This man is generally seen as the main O'Neill of Ulster. Let us look at him. This was a complex man who was greatly influenced by his upbringing and education. He was unlike his O'Neill forebears in that he was not the traditional great Irish Nationalist chief fighting the English invader. His life was one of tragedy, heroism and opportunism.

Hugh was schooled in many principles of Renaissance statecraft and had spent his youth in England learning and indeed being educated into the ethos of the "Elizabethan" way and English society. It would appear that all he wanted to do was to be a grandee and enjoy his estates in Ireland and have his seat of splendour in Dungannon. Basically he would have been quite content to slip into a very happy English style lordship despite being a Catholic and Irish.

However this was not to be. Tudor England still wanted to put down the power of the O'Neills however well Anglified their chief was. O'Neill had then to look for help against the English. He looked for alliances in the mid 1590's with the headstrong Hugh Roe O'Donnell of Donegal and various other Irish chiefs in Ulster and Connaught. The latter were dubious friends as they were more hell bent in warring with each other than closing ranks against the English. Hugh also looked towards Spain for help. This was a bad move as the English had great fear of Spain at that period.

However the English spies reported in 1596 that O'Neill had 2,000 pound worth of gunpowder and provisions and that lead he had purchased for his castle in Dungannon was being made into bullets. They started war against him. Be aware that though the O'Neills were inaugurated at Tullyhogue Cookstown they had their castle at Dungannon.

His army fought well and at the battle of the Yellow Ford between the Blackwater and Callan rivers in Co.Tyrone in August 1598 they were initially successful. However as his army were one of volunteers and because the English could pour in thousands of reinforcements O'Neills army started to face defeat. His final defeat was at Kinsale in 1601. After that Gaelic resistance waned. In 1602 after a "scorched earth policy" Mountjoy the English leader boasted "between Tullyhoge and Toome there lay unburied 1,000 dead and.... since drawing this year to Blackwater there are about 3,000 starved in Tyrone.

Hugh O'Neill the 2nd Earl of Tyrone the "O'Neill of Tyrone" finally submitted in 1603. He was pardoned and given back his lands but his situation was such in his relations with England and the other Irish Chiefs that his situation was untenable. This lead to the "Flight of The Earls" from Rathmullan in Co. Donegal in 1607.He went to Rome and died there.

Hugh O'Neill was the last of the O'Neills to be installed chief at Tullyhogue fort near Cookstown.

The Plantation of Ulster accelerated rapidly in the following years between the years 1607 and 1640.Circa 1640 the Catholic Irish again staged an uprising against the English this time primarily against Plantation. This time they turned to Owen Roe O'Neill the then O'Neill chief. Let us look at this man.





War again broke out with the English. This was said to be partly due to unrest between the Planter stock in the Charlemount and Dungannon areas and supporters of O'Neill as well as to the suppression of the Irish people and confiscation of their lands. Thus was fought the battle of Benburb in June 1646 between the Oona and Blackwater rivers. The English general was the Scotsman General Robert Monroe. Some 3,500 of his troops were killed against low losses on the Irish side. This victory was short lived as again reinforcements arrived in the command of Oliver Cromwell who arrived with a large army into Dublin in 1649.Some 20,000 men fresh and battle hardened after their defeat of the Royalists in the English Civil War. Owen Roe had proved to be a good commander but now the odds were against him.. However he was do die in 1649 so his leadership was lost. It now fell to Sir Phemim O'Neill to take over the O'Neill leadership. Let us look at him. Computer box No.10.




After the death of Owen Roe O'Neill the leadership fell to Sir Phelim O'Neill. The tide of war quickly went to Cromwell and Sir Phelim surrendered Charlemont within a few months after Owen Roe died. He took refuse in the woods around Charlemont and Dungannon but was captured and found guilty of treason and was executed in Dublin March 1653.This was the end of the armed resistance to English rule through the O'Neill families.




In the family history mention is made of Desertcreat and Tullyhogue and both places will be known to most of the "home" readers. However it should be noted that these are very ancient places. Desertcreat is one of the oldest centres of Christianity in Ireland with history dating back to St. Patrick. The site of the early Christian church is at the current Church of Ireland site at Desertcreat. The current church is the fourth on the site since early Christian times. There are many ancient Planter families buried there as well as the tomb of Phelim Brady the "Bard of Armagh". No doubt that in the grounds of the current church are the dead of many centuries of Catholic families both ordinary and of distinction. Desertcreat Means "the Hermitage" from the Irish.

Tullyhogue was where the ancient kings of Ireland were crowned. Tullyhogue means "the hill of youths". It was formerly a fortress and the ancient headquarters of the O'Hagans. Later it became the fort at which the Kings of Ulster were crowned i.e. the O'Neills. It is said that Mountjoy the victorious English leader took over the Tullyhogue fort when the last O'Neill fell in 1602 and had the stone-crowning chair destroyed. A battle between the O'Neills and the OíDonnellys took place at Desertcreat in 1294.

The ancient graveyard at Donarisk "the church of the marsh" close by was founded by the O'Hagans in 1294.Its graves include those of O'Hagan chiefs and those of the planter family Lindsays who were heavily involved with James I and got the land area around Tullyhogue from James I in 1604 as a Planter settler. An excellent example again of land going from the native Irish to plantation settlers. "The rebels" burned the manor house of the Lindsays in 1642 in the uprising at that time no doubt having Quinns amongst its militants. The rector of Desertcreat at the time was John Cerdiff. He had to flee the "rebels" in 1641 and took refuge in Trinity College Dublin.

There is vast history in this area if one would wish to pursue it. Here are a few notes on Tullyhogue or Tullaghoge as it is sometimes called.




This important earthwork crowns a prominent hill on the outskirts of Cookstown Co. Tyrone. It commands fine views towards Slieve Gallion and across the town of Cookstown and away towards Dunnamore and Beaghmore to the West. It is distinguished from early Christian period raths or ring forts by its unusual plan. There is a wide outer bank now tree planted but no outer ditch. Within its outer bank separated from it by a wide space is a somewhat oval inner enclosure with a raised saucer shaped interior. This arrangement is quite unlike "bivallate" raths with their two concentric closely set banks and ditches.

The hill was doubtless important in earlier times but it comes into prominence in the 11th century when it was occupied by the O'Hagan family whose burial place is the circular walled graveyard in Donarisk townland about a quarter a mile to the southwest. The fort was the headquarters and the inauguration place of the O'Neills Kings of TirEoghan (Tyrone) and the O'Hagans the hereditary guardians of the site taking part with the O'Cathans (O'Kanes) in the inauguration ceremonies. A stone inauguration chair incorporation the Leac Na Ri stood nearby on the hillside. The forts and chair are shown on Richard Bartlettís pictorial map of about 1600 but the chair was broken up in August 1602 during Lord Deputy Mountjoy's Tyrone campaigns. The same map shows two thatched dwellings in the fort interior one large and one small the taller one being perhaps of two stories.

Donarisk church is visible on the left from the top of the fort. Tullyhogue is an National Monument.




This family history is full of reference to the town of Cookstown. In all the past decades there is invariable mention made of Cookstown. Here are a few points of interest on this town.


When the Plantation got under way after about 1607 when the O'Neills had fled the land commissioners sitting at Dungannon started to share out the former Irish owned land.

A family of Stewarts from Scotland settled on land at Ballymenagh in 1619.Another planter this time an "undertaker planter" was a Dr. Allen Cooke who on 6th October 1622 leased from the Archbishop of Armagh lands in the district of Corcreighe an area between the Burn Road and Coolreaghs. However when he undertook this lease Cooke had to abide by a covenant by which he had to build a "house fit for an Englishman to live in", however Cooke varied his requirement and got around this requirement by building ten houses in an area that is now called the "old town". This was the original "Cookes Town".

This Dr. Allen Cooke was an English Ecclestical lawyer and a Master of The Chancery so no doubt his request of land from the Bishop of Armagh (a Protestant of the Established Anglican Church in Ireland and probably an Englishman) posed Cooke no bother.

On 3rd August 1628 Cooks applied for a charter from King Charles I to form a market in the town. This was granted. This led to the establishment of two fair days per year one on 24th August (St Bartholomewís Day) and the other 29th Sept (St Michael The Archangel). There was also a fair day every Saturday.

At the time he requested this market chapter he described the citizens of Cookstown as "rude and rustic" people.

Market day saw sales of grain flax linen thread and unbleached linen.

However due to new trade regulations introduced by the Lord Deputy of Ireland in the 1630's the market potential of Cookes Town fell away and the town fell into obscurity.

However the rebellion of the native Catholic Irish against Plantation around 1641 under the last of the O'Neills brought Cookes Town into note again. The "rebels" led by one Niall Og O'Quinn caused a rebellion to take place from within the town on 23rd Sept 1641.O'Quinn and his followers attacked and captured an iron works at Lissan owned by a Sir Thomas Staples. They held this works until 8th December 1643 when a troop of Royalist soldiers from Limavady recaptured the iron works and as a celebration burned the old Cookes Town to the ground. After the rebellion and burning the population of Cookes Town fell to just 43 people.

The town lay in obscurity when in 1666 the planter James Stewart already mentioned purchased the land lease of Cookes Town's founder Dr. Allen Cooke from the Earl of Tyrone. In 1671 James Stewart built Killymoon Castle. In these years several churches were erected and improved.

In the early 1700's Stewarts descendants and now the leading planter family in the area took a very real interest in the running of Cookstown. The Stewarts lands included Kirktown Drummond Sullenboy Maloon Gortalowery Ballynagilly DUNAMORE and Killymoon.

In 1736 William Stewart M.P. now the head of the Stewart family planned to build a new town to replace the old Cookes Town. He was not impressed with the narrow roads of Tyrone and wanted a town layout whose principal feature i.e. its main street would "rival even the avenues of the Metropolis" i.e. Dublin the capital city at the time and seat of English power in Ireland.

In the 1740's the principal layout of the town took place with its main street to be 130 feet wide and about a mile straight. The Stewarts laid down strict guidelines for the surveyor a John Reid. Each house in the main street was to have a garden 400 feet in depth.

The houses in the old town which was quickly leveled to make way for the new town would have been mud built thatched cottages.

Thus we have the development of Cookstown or "The Long Town" as it is referred to at times.

If we look at the dates in the Quinn file we will see that Michael O'Quin and Charles O'Quin (later evicted circa 1795) would have been around to see the development of the town by the Stewarts. No doubt their ancestors took part in the rebellion around the 1640's.

If one notes that the Stewarts owned land at Dunamore no doubt the earlier Quinns had these Stewarts as landlords to whom they would perhaps have had to pay rent though I am told that Beaghmore is freehold. However it is only likely that it became freehold in later decades.

The shooting fishing and mineral rights would also probably have belonged to the Stewarts initially and later to the other set of planters in the area the Chichester Clarkes whose descendants are still around. One may recall a descendant Chichester-Clarke who was Prime minister of N.Ireland in the 1970's a stuttering inept bumbling incompetent traditional "fur coat Unionist" whose main claim to fame in the history books is that he achieved a perfect nothing in his attempts to solve the N.Ireland problem.

The town has obviously expanded but not greatly since those far off days but material improvements have been great.



The history of the "modern post 1600 A.D." Quinn family is a classic one of the dispossession of the Catholic farmers from their fertile lowland farms during the Penal times also during the pre and post Plantation Protestant settlement around the beginning of and indeed throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Indeed the ownership of land and its quality and as to who owns it is an issue right up to today as any farmer will vouch. One can drive through the northern part of Ireland and if one has some knowledge of the quality of land the religion of the people of the area can very quickly assessed. When dispossessed the Catholic farmers west of the Bann had little option but to emigrate or endeavour to purchase some of the poor land in the high grounds or hill ranges such as the Sperrins. Such a family were the Quinns of Beaghmore. It took a lot of strength of character and massive determination to "make a go of it" which they did and did so very successfully. This fact should be remembered by the younger generation.

In this family we have a unique record of the period of a Catholic family from dispossession right up to the present day with names and dates. This point should also be remembered. I would imagine that few families in the area around Beaghmore or indeed in the Sperrin area would have such a recorded heritage.

When one looks at a family tree over such a period of years many things can be seen such as trades and professions etc. The overriding professions that the Quinns produced were the number of clergymen and nuns given to the Church. Three priests were given to mission work in New Zealand. Two are buried there and one in Australia though he was an administrator in New Zealand.

There were a number of teachers. There were also engineers and a few civil servants and businessmen etc. However in order to provide these clerics nuns etc the main thrust and credit must be given to the farmers who provided. The Loughrans also provided a very similarly patterned family of priests and nuns. Both families were of a par socially in my opinion and this would account for so many marriages between the families.

I have often wondered why the fascination or draw by the Quinn's for New Zealand that far off land in the southern Pacific a long way from Beaghmore. When I was talking to Jack Quinn another day he mentioned that his uncle -Mick Quinn of Davagh/Cookstown- had a son called Bernard Louis who was a priest in New Zealand. I researched this man and indeed he was in New Zealand having been ordained in Wellington (probably in Meanee near Wellington) New Zealand in 1906.(See files).He had been a Marist missionary. I had never heard of him from any of the younger generation. I don't know that the current New Zealanders ever heard of him. (1995). It is a personal opinion that this man was the trailblazer for the remainder. His going to New Zealand at the end of the 19th century would have caused a lot of discussion and created a precedent for two other priests to follow one just before the Second World war and one just after. There are currently about 14 Quinns and McGales in New Zealand. (1995). See Files.





When I was doing my research into the Quinn family tree I found that though I had plenty of connections with New Zealand both past and present I had little with Australia. However I wondered why no Quinns had gone to Australia. However on looking closely into the correspondence of Father Louis Quinn of New Zealand I found an Australian connection.(March 1995).

In a letter dated 16th of January 1903 from Sydney Australia written on the Union Steamship of New Zealand Ltd ships headed notepaper Father Louis Quinn describes his arrival into Sydney harbour in detail. He also states that because the ship was only staying a very short time in Sydney before it sailed for Wellington New Zealand:

"I was thus unable to pay a visit to Father Quinn or Mrs. McGlynn".

This Father Quinn was in fact a Vincentian missionary who was from Cookstown and was on a tour of duty in Australia. He was not a related Quinn as far as I can find out but was obviously know to Bernard Louis Quinn possibly a neighbour in Cookstown.

Bernard Louis wrote this letter on his way to New Zealand for the first time. He sadly never did make it home again to Ireland though he talked in a letter of making plans to go back on a visit.


This letter was back to his parents Mick Quinn and his wife in Cookstown (Cosgroves).

Many years later (1922) when Father Bernard Louis Quinn was seriously ill this time in Australia he is receiving letters and visits from a Sister Mary Aquinas Ryan and her sister Maggie. They refer to Bernard Louis as their cousin.

I wrote to the Archivist of the Sisters of Mercy in Brisbane Australia where Sister Mary Aquinas Ryan was and I obtained the following information.


"Rose Ryan called in religion Sister M. Aquinas.

Parents Edward and Rose Ryan (NEE ROSE QUINN).

Parish of Toowoomba Queensland.

Sister was born 4th Sept.1873.She spent many years teaching at All Hallows school for girls in Brisbane. She taught the secondary classes. She was a fine lady and really and truly a lady. She died in 1968".


She would have been 95 years of age at her death.


Thus we know that there was a Quinn family in Australia. From looking at the dates I would estimate that this family of Quinns left Tyrone circa 1840 perhaps just before or approaching the Famine era. They very probably went to the area of Toowoomba near Brisbane in Queensland and were also connected with the area of Katoomba near Sydney.

It would be incredible if it could be established which family they were from on the family tree. However it is from some one of them.

It is probable that Father Louis knew when he was in Sydney in 1903 on his way to New Zealand that he had Quinn connections in Australia. So it would appear that this aspect was clear to him before he left Cookstown in 1903.





On a headstone at Dunamore chapel there is the following inscription which is of interest.






DIED 23.6.1882



DIED 6.3.1885 37 YEARS



DIED 31.3.1901


I have no direct proof that this was a directly related family member or not but we see the townland Beaghmore and the common Quinn name Michael.

If one looks at the ages and dates one sees that this Peter Quinn indicates that his sister Bridget died aged 37 in 1885 thus she would have been born in 1848 just after the terrible famine period around 1847.It would be safe to state that this Peter would probably have been born around the famine era. He would have emigrated to America possible circa 1860.

We now have proof that a Quinn from Beaghmore emigrated to America (Pittsburg PA-the centre of the American steel industry).If this man Peter Quinn was able to state that his mother Catherine died in 1901 it would be reasonable to assume the Peter was alive in 1901.One wonders if he married and had any male heirs if so their descendants would no doubt be alive as now.(1995).Peter may well have gone to Pittsburg to work in the steel mills or the coal fields of Pennsylvania as at that stage not long after the Civil war the country's railroads and industry were expanding rapidly.

Speaking to Jack Quinn at Beaghmore May 29th 1995 above the above headstone he is of the opinion that this was another Quinn family that also lived in the townland of Beaghmore and not a relation. However it a proof that there was emigration from the very townland of Beaghmore relation or not.

I spoke to Katherine Quinn James St. Cookstown on the same day about the fact that Quinns had emigrated to America. She went on to relate the story that a related friend of hers had in fact received a legacy from America some time back. Just a little more proof that there were Quinns in America but sadly this may well have been the end of the line of the Quinn name there if legacies were involved. If one looks at the passenger lists of the old emigrant ships that sailed from Derry throughout the 19th century there are literally hundreds of Quinns listed. Some left alone some took their families with them to the New World. Few if any had professions and very few had trades. Basically all were labourers a product of the times that the Irish Catholics had to endure in the post Cromwellian post Plantation era in Ireland. The ones that could remain had some land and were able to hang on with difficulty. Some of these people would have most certainly been ancestors.

In my research I found an old cutting taken from an Irish News of recent years. It was the section that recall "ON THIS DAY....." typical entries in this case for the Irish News March 22nd 1912.

Under the heading "New York Police Baton Used In a Tyrone Fight!".(See family tree files) it goes on to describe a fight that took place late 1911 or early 1912 between a Michael Quinn a returned New York policeman and his brother Thomas Quinn both of Broughderg against Daniel O'Neill also of Broughderg. The fight took place when O'Neill was attacked on his way back from Draperstown Fair. O'Neill is alleged to have been set upon by the Quinns but managed although injured to take the baton off Michael Quinn and produced it in court. A local blacksmith called Kelly witnessed the fight and gave evidence to the court. Michael Quinn and his brother were fined some #20, a considerable sum in 1912. Michael Quinn stated that he was a retired New York policeman and carried the baton as he had been given it as a retirement present. He also stated that he had got his revolver on retirement and carried it at times. The above case was at Cookstown Quarter Sessions. Anyway it shows proof that some did return.

Because one of the old generation Quinns took the trouble to cut this out of the Irish News (I will not name!!) I feel that there is little doubt that these two Quinns were related to the Beaghmore family. If one looks at the family tree one sees Quinns and O'Neills intermarried. Perhaps a long running feud about rights of ways, fences etc.

I am also aware that there is a Thomas Quinn buried in the Quinn family plots at Dunamore though not named on any headstone. Was he this Thomas?.




As this family tree is basically based around the Quinn name it is necessary to look at the main family "root homestead". This homestead in which the Quinns have lived continuously since about 1795 is at Crocnaskinna from the old Irish "The Hill of the Knives" at Beaghmore about 12 miles from Cookstown in the Sperrin Mountains of Co.Tyrone on the western side of Lough Neagh. Beaghmore itself borders on Co. Derry to the northwest. The family living at the old home farmhouse (Jan 1995) when I did this small project was Jack Quinn and his wife Teresa (Nee Loughran).Adjacent to Jack and Teresa lives their son Michael and his wife Yvette and their three young family in their own modern home at about 40 meters distance.

Though the farm is situated in the "high" ground of the Sperrins ridge the actual homestead is in a slight valley. All round there are magnificent views of the Sperrins. The Beaghmore farmhouse is about 600 feet above sea level.(The Glenshane pass is about 1,000 above sea level) so the climate is most definitely influenced by this height especially in winter. The farms in the area have been on the whole reclaimed from a very rough terrain. The terrain on which Beaghmore farm is situated is on an area which shows very clearly the action of movement of the ice during the Ice Age. The glaciers in the area of what is now northern Europe melted about 8,000 (eight thousand) years before Christ i.e. nearly 10.000 years ago. Thus when looking at rocks and sand pits around Beaghmore it should be realised that the last time they were disturbed was some 10,000 years ago. One sees around Beaghmore and the surrounding area gouged ridges eskers escarpments gravel and sand pits formed by the massive movements of ice as the ice age came to an end. There are vast tracks of blanket bog as well. The area would have been inhabited from thousands of years back and traces of stone age tools dolmens standing stones etc are to been seen very close by. There is a notable set of pre-historic "Stone Circles" from pre-historic times close to Cnocknaskinna which is itself a cone shaped hill just to the rear of the Quinn house -the noted "Beaghmore Stone Circles". The peoples who would have built these circles would be the ancient post Celtic peoples of Europe. The area in which the Beaghmore stone circles are situated is in an area of about 1.5 acres which was excavated about 50 years ago. This revealed seven stone circles and their alignments said to date from the Bronze Age. The site itself is probably superimposed on a much earlier Neolithic site.

Some leading archaeologists are of the opinion that Beaghmore was the first site of human settlement in Ireland. Opinions vary on the meaning of the stone circles and their alignment and may have had links to the study of astronomy and perhaps used in fertility rites of earlier peoples. An ancient stone slabbed grave with earthen jugs containing ashes (possibly human) was found many years ago on the top of the conical hill of Cnocknaskinna at the rear of the Beaghmore house. These vessels were apparently sent to Dublin but were lost or whatever during some political upheaval in that city at the time.(Jack Quinn Beaghmore May 1995).Jack also advises that numerous flints were found in adjacent land. However no knives (these would have been flint knives used for killing animals or perhaps fighting foes) were found though the local area is called Cnocknaskinna- the "hill of the knives". The flints would have been used to cut hides meats etc. Apparently there was a Master Conway who taught at the old Broughderg National School who was greatly interested in the remains found at Cnocknaskinna. Jack Quinn also states that this Master Conway was related into the Beaghmore Quinns.

I went to look at a prehistoric slab grave with Jack Quinn Beaghmore May 8th 1995 in one of his fields near his house. It was very interesting to see.(See photo in file).Jack also showed me an unfinished example of a very large boulder that had been in the process of being split by stone wedges by prehistoric man more than likely the ones who built the stone circles. Basically looking at the stone boulder it can be seen that because of its structure and type of stone (probably how quickly it was cooled as lava it has distinctive hair line weaknesses that are roughly rectangular. Thus by putting small and then larger wedges into these cracks and hitting them with primitive wooden staves or whatever they used then the boulder would segment into various sizes of rough rectangular shaped stone blocks that can be seen in the structuring of the Stone Circles proper only about 300 meters distant. I would be of the opinion that beneath the topsoil and not too deep there are numerous remains of ancient man. I wonder if time will prove me correct?. I think so.

In 1965 carbon dating techniques were applied to the area around the Stone circles which is basically beside the Beaghmore farmhouse. The results give some very interesting facts and show the reader just how the climate in the area changed over thousands of years.

The pollen analysis of the covering peat bog, which is plentiful locally, tells the story of vegetation change over 7,000 years. Though the landscape is now treeless some 7,000 years ago the vegetation consisted mainly of forest trees such as birch pine willow and hazel. The earliest time at which human habitation appears is around 3,500 years before Christ i.e. some 5,500 years ago. At this period circa 3,500 B.C. grasses and some herbs appear and pollen of cereals of Neolithic man appears a confirmation of Neolithic mans primitive agriculture and stock rearing.

The heather which is now a dominant plant appeared significantly from about 2,000 B.C. onwards and achieved its greatest importance in the first 500 years A.D.

So the next time the reader looks across the landscape towards Kinnigilleon or Formel and imagines the scenario of their history just be aware that some 5,500 years ago man was alive and wandering around the same landscape and perhaps chasing the girls in the local valley but hardly the local "townland"!!.How little things change.

In discussion with Jack Quinn (Jan 26th 1995) at Beaghmore as to what history he had heard "handed down" from his ancestors we looked at the circumstances of the original purchase of the Beaghmore place circa 1795.Jack advises that he had heard that after eviction from their lowland farm just outside Cookstown (on what is now Camerons farm on the Moneymore Road) the Quinns purchased the farm (which is about 180 acres to which about 34 acres were added later) from a man called McElhomn or McElhone. Apparently the house at the time was a low thatched farmhouse of the period and it was got with vacant possession. The original thatched house has gone and the current house on the site would probably be the third one since the Quinns arrival.

The highest proportion of the farmers in this part of the Sperrins are Catholic. Each area has it chapel and each family has basically its "traditional" burying ground mostly alongside the chapel. However in some instances particular individuals may have chosen to be buried at other chapels away from their local chapel for whatever reason.

The Beaghmore Quinns would mostly attend Dunamore chapel and their more recent ancestors would be buried at the adjacent graveyard. The large monument erected there was erected circa 1920/21 by Jack Quinn's father Joseph. There are many names on it but Jack Quinn (Beaghmore 1995) states that it is likely that Charles Quin who was evicted from the lowland farm and his wife are probably buried there also. The graveyard would be old enough for this as this is a very ancient site. 257-The headstone just behind this monument is to Robert Quinn also Charles and John. These are known family members. A Thomas is also buried there but name not on stone.

The Conways of Broughderg would have been buried at the old chapel at Broughderg. The Becks at The Rock and the Loughrans at Greencastle and Kileenen. There would also be related family members buried in the graveyards in and around the town of Cookstown. Many Quinns went to set up businesses in the town. Some still live there.

However it should be noted that because of the numerous Quinns and Loughrans families in all the areas of this part of Tyrone the names will be found in most cemeteries so one should not make assumptions when finding a Quinn or Loughran headstone. However where possible when I was creating this family tree I identified as well as possible actual headstone from the Beaghmore extended family. Many names and dates were confirmed from these headstones for cross-referencing purposes.




In the main in ancient times and perhaps in places where there was no Catholic graveyard available locally then Catholics would have been buried in the local Protestant (Church of Ireland or Presbyterian graveyard). (I think mostly in the Church of Ireland). This point should not be overlooked when looking for the graves of more ancient ancestors. I have an extensive list of O'Quins, Quins and Quinns buried in the parishes centered on Cookstown both Catholic and Protestant and quite a few Quinn names appear on these. No doubt a few would through material necessity primarily have turned to the Protestant faith for food and survival. However many would have been Catholic. There was also a period in our history where this state of affairs would have been acceptable. It is thought however that on the whole that anyone with the name Quinn in Tyrone would generally be Catholic in present day circumstances. One must not forget the sometimes expression "He took the soup". This expression related to mission societies who came to Ireland in the famine times and if the starving peasant turned to Protestantism he and his family were fed soup to enable them to survive. This missionary "zeal" was I think more confined to the southern part of Ireland. When I was researching this document I visited many Protestant graveyards and sees numerous Catholic graves mostly dated between about 1770 and about 1840. The Catholic graves are easily as one occasionally sees R.I.P. Sadly in all the prayers that are said in the Catholic churches throughout the land never but never have I heard any cleric mention these good people of yesteryear or indeed their predecessors who lie in post-Reformation Protestant churchyards. Now primarily Church of Ireland or Presbyterian. These are truly "our forgotten ones". One also sees Catholic names with the sign I.H.S on the headstone. One would immediately think that because the name is perhaps Quin or Quinn that the person buried there was Catholic. However be aware that the motto I.H.S. was indeed used by Protestants up to approx the end of the 19th century. The meaning if I.H.S. being variously interpreted as Iesus Salvator Hominium (Jesus Saviour of Mankind) or In Hoc Salus (In Him Salvation). This application dates back to the 3rd century long before the Reformation. The Quinns in the Protestant churchyards may well be those who "took the soup" and became Protestant for survival. R.I.P. would be a more accurate indicator of their Catholicism.

The old Desertcreat churchyard graveyard has O'Quins buried therein. It is of interest to note that "The Bold Phelim Brady" the Bard of Armagh is buried in Desertcreat in the Church of Ireland Cemetery. "Phelim Brady" was a Catholic bishop called Dr. OíDonnelly who went around his flock disguised as a bard. On the south side of Desertcreat vestry door is his grave marked by an 18th century stone slab with raised bishops mitre and crozier. He lived in Penal Times and if he had been found out he would have been tried for high treason. Priests were tolerated to some extent but not bishops.

Dr. O'Donnelly died on the mountain of Slieve Gullion near Newry in 1716 and his body was taken in secret by night from farmhouse to farmhouse until he was interred at Desertcreat. Some 9 years later circa 1725 Michael O'Quin would have been born into these penal times. His father and mother most definitely lived during these dreadful times.

This church and its churchyard are most certainly worth visiting. One sees the names of such men as Bryan O'Quin died 1776 Teague O'Duris 1752 (Doris?) Bernard McKiernan Bernard McCarvel Hugh Toner 1778 Michael McGrew 1773 and others probably all Catholic. Desertcreat church is situated on the site of one of the oldest Monastic sites in Ireland dating back to about 500 A.D. when St Patrick was around.

When the Catholic Church was suppressed in Ireland the sites on which old Catholic monasteries or chapels stood were simply taken over initially in the main by what was called "The Established Church" this being the High Church of England to which the English monarch of the time belonged. This is now known loosely as The Church Of England. The Established Church in Ireland was the forerunner of what we now call the Church of Ireland. Indeed when looking for ancestors back in the 17th or indeed 18th centuries it is more likely that their graves would be found therein. Desertcreat and Dunarisk graveyards will most certainly have ancestral related Quinns buried therein. Both these sites were very important monastic sites in pre Cromwellian and Plantation Times.

In many cases I have noticed that in the Catholic graveyards in Tyrone use is made of the Irish Cross as a headstone perhaps more so than in many other places in adjoining counties. There is a notable Celtic cross some 1,000 years old approx. standing in the village of Donaghmore, which is notable. Just recently a New Zealand businessman took a fancy to the design of this cross and shipped out to Auckland a massive slab of stone and had carved in Auckland a very large Celtic cross based on the Donaghmore cross and detail taken off the crosses in Monsteraboice Abbey. It stands in the Dillworth School in Auckland. I have seen photos of it and it is most impressive. I assume his ancestors had connections with Donaghmore. There is a large photograph of the Dillworth cross in the Heritage Centre in Donaghmore.




Most of the family history of the Quinns of Beaghmore is centered on the parish of Kildress. Much detail can be read in the family history folders. The two chapels mentioned in the 1846 Parliamentary Gazetteer of 1846 are that at Kileenan and Dunamore. This parish of Kildress formed part of the lands of the ancient O'Hagan family of Ulster and subsequent to the O'Neills Earls of Tyrone who forfeited the lands in their rebellion against the Crown in 1638 and the lands given to a planter family the Richardsons whose descendant Capt. W. Stewart Richardson owned the property in 1837.

In most cases the present Catholic chapels at any site are the third building on the site. During the penal times 1695-1727 Mass rocks in the open would have been used, then came a very rough low building probably thatched with clay floors and the congregation had to kneel on slates (the better off parishioners would have had crude pews), then as the pressure on the Catholic population eased in the mid and late 19th century stone buildings would have been built.

As the Penal laws were relaxed then in some cases the more tolerant landlords would allow Catholics to built a small chapel in an area of their estates that was "secluded" i.e. was not obvious for all to see and cause him negative comments from his fellow landlords. Some more tolerant landlords either sold or in some cases gave a small portion of land (a rood or one quarter acre was typical) for the erection of such a building. Not a great area if perhaps he owned a couple of thousand acres.




This chapel, which is central to the history of the Quinns of Beaghmore, is probably the third chapel on that site. The chapel previous to the present one was where the current graveyard is (across the road). There may have been a very crude low thatched dwelling prior to that. Dunamore was a very ancient old Monastic site before the post Penal and "modern" chapels were built. However Dunamore would at one time have been as important as Desertcreat. In an Ordnance Survey map of 1835 the chapel is shown on the other side of the road i.e. in the centre of what is now the graveyard. This indeed confirms what Jack Quinn has already told me. The present chapel opened in 1871.

In the Parliamentary Gazetteer of 1846 it states that the R.C. chapels of Kileenan and Dunamore have attendances of 712 and 641 respectively and are mutually united.

Jack Quinn (Beaghmore May 1995) states that he knows of two Mass rock sites in the area at Inishbrack and Dorvil. These are sites where Mass was celebrated in some secrecy during Penal times.

Note that it is known that there was a chapel at Dunamore (at a site across the road) noted in 1828.There would have been many many victims of the 1845-48 famine buried there in unmarked graves more than likely. It was fairly common for a graveyard to have an area allocated for this purpose at the time. If one looks at the graveyard at The Glen chapel at Maghera Co. Derry a monument erected by the A.O.H. to the "Victims of the Famine" at the area in which they were buried stands on the mid left hand side of the graveyard. This was a most commendable act by the A.O.H.

However be aware that many died in dreadful conditions by the roadside or in fields etc and probably buried like animals where found. These fact should never be forgotten.




This chapel was erected between May 1875 and finished July 1886.It was used until 1985 when the new chapel was erected some distance away. Locals would have given free labour to its building. Charlie Pat Conway is known to have transported the slates for the roof to the new chapel. He and some of his family members were later to be buried there. In the past the church was in the Lissan parish but later was assigned to the Greencastle parish. The new chapel that replaced it is the chapel of "Our Lady of The Wayside". In a letter to me the priest of the parish states that as far as he knows there was no chapel at Broughderg prior to St.Marys and he dates its use from 1885 until 1985 some 100 years. He also states that there are Mass rocks in the area. The reason why the chapel took so long to complete (some 11 years) was the fact that the labour was provided by the local population and the money for the materials. In those days money would not have been very available. Tasks such as putting on the roof and plastering etc would have to be paid for and roofers and plasterers employed.




This chapel replaced the old chapel, which had served for approximately 100 years. It is situated at the crossroad between the Blackrock and Draperstown Roads. It was opened in 1985.

Mary Ann Conway subscribed heavily to the construction of this chapel both directly and in "turkey draws" etc set up by the chapelís original pastor Father Shields. It is said that in order to build the new chapel Father Shields put pressure on many of his parishioners to "donate" by getting them to sell a fat bullock and give its proceeds to the building of the new chapel. He would appear to have been a controversial man towards his latter days. He is buried at the new chapel. I note that on his headstone the parishes that he served in are listed on his headstone. Very unusual.




Kileenan chapel near Kildress (from the Irish Cill Dreas- "the church of the brambles" is situated some six miles from Cookstown. The parish of Kildress itself consists of two chapels St.Josephs at Kileenan and St.Marys at Dunamore.

The first chapel at Kileenan was built in 1755 and later renovated in 1854 just after the Famine. It is shown on the Ordnance survey map of 1835.Many Quinns Loughrans and extended family members are buried there. Like Dunamore there would be many victims of the 1845 famine buried there in unmarked graves.

One interesting thing to note is that the planter family gave land for a graveyard at the site. Lady Castlestewart gave the land and devoted the seats in the gallery in the chapel. In the graveyard (Clare) is the inscription:


"This cemetery was enclosed and presented Free to the parish of Kildress by Augusta Countess of Castlestewart as a memorial to her father the (late) William Stewart Richardson Brady".


If one wonders where Elizabeth Augusta Beck the daughter of John Beck and Margaret Quinn got her rather unusual then we see that indeed Augusta was named after the wife of the local landlord. This thing would have been common in Ireland of the era to basically shown subservience and curry favour with those at "The Big House". Maybe sometimes however in respect as in this case Lady Augusta Countess of Castelstewart seemed to be favourably disposed towards the Catholic population. Many landlords in the middle and late 19th century gave a rood of land (a quarter acre) in some obscure part of their estate for a graveyard and chapel basically to keep their Catholic estate workers sweetened.

Archbishop Sean Brady opened a new modern church on the site at Kileenan on 8th December 1996. This would probably be the third chapel on the site.

The list of Parish Priests is of interest as many would have been known to the older generation Quinns Loughrans and Conways.


Until the 19th century Kildress and Lissan were one parish. The list below is as accurate as can be established.


1670 -1710 Nicholas Rath.

(St.Oliver Plunkett later deemed to have committed treason for which he was beheaded ordained this man. His head is held in the chapel at Drogheda and his body is in a friary in England).

1740-1756 Michael Doyle

1770's 1780's John Graham

? -1820 Bernard Muldoon.

1820-1839 John Duffy

1839-1877 Bernard Murphy

Bernard Murphy would have witnessed the Great Famine era circa 1847 and have attended and buried the victims.

1877- 1878 John McCartan

1878-1908 Peter McNamee. This man would have been a relation of the McNamee family and McNamee priests seen in other parts of the family tree. He preached a sermon at St.Josephs chapel at Kileenan on Easter Sunday 18th of April 1897 asking for funds from his parishioners to pay for the funding of a new presbytery and adjacent land purchase. Money would have been very scarce with his post famine congregation.

1908-1916 John O'Callaghan

1916-1934 John McDonnell

1934-1938 Peter McNelis

1938-1945 Michael Rafferty.

1945-1951 Mark Quinn.(not thought a Quinn relation).

1951-1972 Joseph Hughes

1972-1985 John Mackle

1985-1987 Pat Smyth

1987- Owen O'Donnell




The roads in the area when the Quinns arrived at Beaghmore circa 1795 would have been only cart tracks and indeed roads would not have been more than tracks for many years. It would have been very rough terrain. One thinks of Cromwellís expression "to Hell or Connaught " when thinking of the land left for the dispossessed Catholics of the pre and post penal times.





When the original Quinns would have arrived at Beaghmore they would have found a very different quality of land compared with that near Cookstown. This land they took possession of would basically have been very rough grazing land full of rocks and glacial deposits. There is very little natural vegetation such as trees hedges such as may thrive on lowland areas due to the nature of the soil and the soil depth. However where planted some hardier coniferous strains of trees would grow and there is a plantation of trees suitable for the climate and soil around the older Beaghmore house. The climate of the area though in the Sperrin mountain chain would be comparatively mild but Beaghmore is in a very broad valley and somewhat sheltered. In recent times the Forestry Commission for timber production has purposely planted trees of the coniferous variety. Short time growth trees for making posts, Christmas trees and such like.

Jack Quinn (Jan 1995) recalls lots of heavy work such as rock clearing. In many cases in the old days this done with spades. In more modern times this work done by mechanical diggers. He recalls the use of dynamite to blast rock in some of the fields at the rear of the house. Land improvement is still going on right up to the present day. Throughout the following years after arriving from the lowlands great efforts were put into getting the land to a more arable state. In many cases in more modern times Government land grants were available for machinery etc to enable the reclamation work to be carried out. The result of this work has given land suitable for supporting cattle for milking, sheep rearing with more moderate crop setting of corn potatoes etc. Flax was also grown at a time.

As regards horses Jack states that they generally had two horses but another could be obtained from a neighbour of required. The first tractor that arrived in Beaghmore was his a petrol Ferguson in 1947.This was a little grey tractor with a 32 H.P. engine with many attachments such as a plough on a hydraulic depth control. Basically this tractor revolutionised farm tractor design and every model since incorporates its ideas.

Jack also states that the climate has changed much over his lifespan. In earlier years the summer was much more reliable but the winters were much colder. The year 1985 was the wettest he recalls and 1947 the winter with great snowfalls when they were all cut off at Beaghmore.






The remains of the wallsteads of this school are situated at the crossroads of the Blackrock Road and Davagh Road cross roads in Broughderg on a high very exposed site. The plaque is still readable and states.




| NATIONAL SCHOOL | Word SCHOOL was later overcut

| A.D. 1841 | to HALL.i.e. NATIONAL HALL



It is a pity to see this old ruin falling apart to the elements. It must be realised that this school built about 5 years before the famine of 1847 was perhaps the most important tool in the survival (after food) that the Quinns Loughrans McCullaghs etc in the area had. That is education. Be aware that in this school the basic education for all was had. It would have been built by private subscription and a teacher employed and his wages would be paid in early times by each student giving him a penny per week. Coming in from the Penal and post Plantation eras schools of this type were the lifeblood that enabled the downgraded Catholic families to get education and raise their standard of education and get better employment and above all raise their morale which was pitifully weak after the Penal and Plantation times. I cannot stress enough the importance that this school played. Surely there is a case to point up its wallsteads and fence it off and not let it fall into a heap of stones sinking into the bogland into oblivion. (May 1995). The building was initially a school later used as hall.

The school as far as I can establish was built by the family of Quinns who owned the land. This was the family of Robert Quinn whose farmstead is close by to the north of the old ruins. A daughter of Roberts called Annie Quinn taught at the school for a short time. The school remained operative until the early years of this century circa 1907/08. The only person that I have known that actually attended the school although very young was Rose Conway the wife in later years of Bernard Quinn of Beaghmore and brother of Jack Quinn.

Jack Quinn (Beaghmore) states that his father attended the old school as did many of the older Quinn family members as well as local neighbours.

In the Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1846 schools are mentioned as being at Stramaclemartin DUNAMORE KILEENAN Glenarney Corvanaghan and Gortnacross. These schools built at the time by The National School Board.





I have been able to read the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of the parish of Kildress for 1833.These have very interesting information. These memoirs were compiled by a Lieut C.Bailey in October 1833; remember that Beaghmore is in Kildress parish. I will simply copy them as read. Some spellings may be slightly different but each place is easily identified. Note that in those days surveys and mapping and such things were all done by the British Army Engineers forming part of the very substantial British army garrisoned all over Ireland.

Remember when reading the following notes that they were made some 162 years ago. This is only 38 years after Charles Quinn arrived at Beaghmore (1795) so these notes will give the reader a very accurate picture of the land that he Charles Quin and his family had to live off towards the end of the 18th century in Beaghmore.

Another very important point to note is that during this period circa 1833 there was a determined attempt to draw up maps of all the areas of Ireland not just Co. Tyrone. This was for the purposes of the British government for administration and identity purposes. In this process however as it was done on the whole by Englishmen in the British army mostly belonging to the Royal Engineers who did not speak Irish they simply asked the local people what the area was called and simply wrote down as best they could the English sounding phonetic equivalent. In a lot of cases the Irish sound suited translation and in many cases it did not. Thus arrived the Anglified versions of Irish place names. However one still sees the root Irish name in many place names. Here are a few examples.

Knock (Cnoc)-a hill. Carrick (Carraig)-a rock. Drum (Druim)-a ridge. Tully (Tullagh) -a slope or hill etc. Thus Carrickmore is "the great rock" as Carraig is a Rock and More is the Irish for great. Knockoneill would be the Hill of O'Neill. If you know the basic Irish for Hill, fort, town etc then in many cases the translation can be easily carried out. In many cases the Irish name translates into physical attributes of the area, who lived there etc. However many names are simply associated with the person who built the town E.g. Cookstown after a Mr. Cooks who designed the town during Plantation times. He also thought it would be a great idea to have a straight main street similar to a city in Europe, this to run North and South so all could see from end to end perhaps?. However did he forget about the bumps!.

Sadly when the Post Office started to computerise in the mid 1970's giving everyone a house number and a postal code the use of the townland names started to disappear. Gone were the wonderful names of townlands and parishes into bland jargon suitable for computers.



The Parish of Kildress Co. Tyrone.


Statistical Report by Lieut. C. Bailey October 1833.


Natural State and Natural features.




The parish of Kildress is situated in the county of Tyrone and the barony of Dungannon a rectory in the diocese of Armagh the rights of presentation being vested in the lord primate. It is bounded in the north by the parish of Lissan on the east by the parish of Derryloran on the south east and south by the parish of Desertcreat and on the west by the parishes of Termonmaguirk and Baldoney. It is divided into 57 townlands and containing 26,251 statute acres.


Surface and Soil.


It is a mountainous district particularly in the northern part of the parish which presents a very bleak and wild appearance. Large projecting rocks scattered over the surface and rising above the heather indicate a country little subject to cultivation. In the southeast corner the soil is strong clay capable of producing wheat but the mountain land is of a gravelly nature yielding but very indifferent crops of oats and potatoes.


Productive Economy.




Not more than one half of the parish is under cultivation. The farms vary in size from 3 to 20 acres Irish measure. Lowland lets from 15s to 20s and the mountain land from 5s to 10s per acre but if incapable of cultivation is generally let by the lump at 9 pence per acre for grazing. Many farmers near the mountains have a portion of unclaimed land allotted for fuel and grazing but size governed by the quantity of arable land.


Land Reclamation.


In a great part of the parish such mountain ground as is capable of cultivation has been divided into farms of 20 acres each free from rent for the first three years to cover the expense of reclaiming the land and building a house and at the expiration of that time to enter upon lease for 21 years generally at the rate of 2s to 5s per acre. This requires a small capital, which in some instances is expended before the land is brought into a state to make any return.




The usual crops are oats potatoes and flax. Wheat is sometimes grown upon the best land. About 1 ton of wheat 6 bushels of oats or 250 bushels of potatoes are considered fair average crops per acre on the lowlands the average mountain crops would not be much more above half. Flax is generally sown only in small quantities a peck of seed will yield from 3 to 4 stones of flax.




The land is manured with stable dung or lime mixed with bog however but very little lime is made use of in the mountains. It is usual for the inhabitants to take turf to Cookstown a distance of perhaps 6 to 8 miles and to load back with lime. The turf is easily disposed of at 10 pence per gauge, which will purchase a barrel of lime.


Markets and Fairs.


Cookstown is the only market for all kinds of agricultural produce. Oats fetch from 6d to 9d per stone potatoes generally from 6d to 1s per bushel flax 5s per stone of 16lbs.There are two fairs held at Gortin during the year viz on the first Monday after Midsummer day and on the first Wednesday after old Hallow day and another is held at Charlestown in the townland of Tullynacross on the first Monday of ever month both for the sale of mountain stock.




The only manufacture carried out is that of linen. A bleaching establishment belonging to Mr. Irwin is situated in the townland of Drimleagh. A great many of the inhabitants derive their chief support from spinning and weaving. For the last few years linen has been selling at a very low rate but just now it obtains a better price. It is disposed off at Cookstown and Moneymore.


Modern Topography.


Roads and Communications.


The principle roads intersecting the parish are kept in tolerably good order, they are repaired with gravel, which is easily obtained. It is in contemplation to make a new line of road through Kilcullan and Drumshambo and passing by Oaklands demesne to Cookstown for the purpose of facilitating the communication between Omagh and this part of the country.


Natural Features.




The northern extremity is bounded by the Broaghderagh (Note this is the Broughderg river) dividing the parishes of Kildress and Lissan. There is rather a considerable river (called the Kildress river) which takes its rise in Camlough in the townland of Evishanoran flows east through the centre of the parish being increased in it course by several tributary streams and eventually empties itself into Lough Neagh. It abounds with trout and a few salmon run up during the spawning season and are frequently killed.


Productive Economy.




There are excellent limestone quarries in Gortnacross and Lower Kildress. The lime is burnt with coals brought from Drumglass Colliery where they are purchased at 3d halfpenny per cwt and cost 3d per cwt drawing. The lime is sold at 10d per barrel. These quarries contain a great many fossil shells. A limestone quarry was opened at Tullyroan but it worked out. Limestone is till to be found in that townland but it is not abundant.

Very excellent freestone is found in Lower Kildress. The stone used in building Oaklands House was procured from a quarry near the river in the northwest corned of this townland. It is very white and is raised in large blocks. There is an indication of limestone in 2 or 3 places in Lower Kildress and in Oaklands demesne.


Modern Topography.


Places of Worship.


The parish church is situated in the townland of Clare. There are 2 Roman Catholic chapels one in Killernan and another in Dunamoe. There is also a Presbyterian meeting house in the townland of Tamlaght.(Note the chapels stated as being at Killernan and Dunamoe would be Killenen and Dunamore).


Social Economy.




The country is not thickly populated. The inhabitants in the mountains are for the most part Roman Catholic speaking the Irish language. They are generally very poor.


[Signed] C.Bailey Lieutenant Royal Engineers. October 30th 1833.



Here are some additional memoirs written by a Mr. G. Scott around the same era. There are some very interesting points in these notes.



Memoir by G. Scott.


Memoir Writing.


Memo. A considerable portion of this parish in Mr. Ormsby's district.


Natural Features.




The north and west of this parish are mountainous with a very small portion of arable land. The few patches of land that are reclaimed appear only to produce bad crops but to the more eastern end of the parish the ground is well cultivated and produces good crops. The mountains are large with long falls the steep side being to the north.




There are some small lakes throughout the parish, which are of little or no consequence. The edges are generally marsh and difficult to be approached by cattle. They are but little use to the country people. As the water is mostly deep it prevents their steeping flax.




Killucan water takes its rise at the western edge of the parish and is generally increased by tributary streams. Its depth varies from 1 to 10 feet. The breadth is quite uncertain as the banks are low. In many places it is broad and in others very narrow. In the winter season it overflows its banks but does [not?] effect any serious injury as the flats adjoining are chiefly kept for meadow.




There is a quantity of bog in this parish but not much wood. The poor cottiers exchange a load of turf for limestone. The depth is generally 3 or 4 feet. The landlords mostly let the uncultivated mountain to persons rent free for the first 3 years provided they build a stone house of certain dimensions and reclaim an allocated portion of the ground.


Modern Topography.


Public Buildings.


Church, Meeting House, Chapel, Chapel.




A substantial building erected in the year 1818 cost 1,600 pounds granted by the Board of First Fruits.

It would accommodate about 400 persons. There are 350 persons generally in attendance dimensions 60 feet by 30 feet. It is surrounded by a neat plantation.


Meeting House.


Situated in the townland of Tamlaght it is a plain neat building and of a better description than the generality of meeting houses. Erected in the year 1828 cost between 500 pounds and 350 pounds paid by general subscription. It would accommodate about 250 persons average number in attendance 180 dimension 60 feet by 33 feet.


Roman Catholic Chapel.


Situated in the townland of Dunamore erected about the year 1828 paid by subscription cost about 60 pounds. It would accommodate 260 persons the full number generally in attendance. It is a little off the high road from Cookstown to Gortin. Previous to the erection of this chapel service was performed at an old ruin of a chapel in the townland of Roisbrack.

In the townland of Killeenan the date of erection cost or by whom paid cannot be ascertained. It is supposed to be upwards of 150 years old. Service is still performed in it but it is in very bad repair.




The following main roads pass through the parish; from Cookstown to Gortin 9 miles from Cookstown to Mountfield 9 miles; from Cookstown to Pomeroy 1 mile. The road from Cookstown to Pomeroy and Gortin is in good repair average breadth 34 feet. The other road from Cookstown to Mountfield has of late been greatly improved in consequence of it being the intended road for the new coach to run upon from Cookstown to Omagh average breadth 44 feet.


General Appearance and Scenery.


Ancient. None.

The eastern end of the parish is well-cultivated produces good oats and other crops. The scenery is mountainous and the northern and western part of the parish is a large tract of wild mountain with nothing but a few miserable cabins and small patches of cultivated ground to relieve it.

Social Economy.


Habits of the People.


The cottages throughout the country are generally made of stone cemented with lime. In the lower end of the parish they are mostly clean and in many cases surrounded with trees. They have 2 or more windows and good panes of glass in them. In the wild part of this parish the landlords in order to get good houses on their estates give the uncultivated land rent free for 3 years provided they build a good stone house of such dimensions that can be agreed upon.




The majority of the persons in this parish appear to be Catholics.




[Table contains the following headings; townland and number of pupils subdivided by religion and sex, religion of master, how supported and when established].


Killeenan: Protestants 4 Catholics 62 boys 48 girls 18 total 66 master a Catholic received 1d per week from each scholar. Established 1827.

Tamalgh. Protestants 19 Catholics 31 boys 27 girls 23 total 50 master a Catholic supported solely by the children the master receives 1d per week from each. Established 1830.



Productive Economy.




In the townland of Corkhill there are mills belonging to S.Gorring. Diameter 20 feet breadth of wheel 4 feet overshoot wheel fall of water 4 feet. There are 3 others belonging to the same person, with the same dimensions, in the adjoining townland of Wellbrook.

In the townland of Derrysteel there is a mill belonging to Mr. Guick. Dimensions of wheel 14 feet breadth 2 and half feet fall of water 8 feet breast wheel.


Copy of Memoir.


Natural Features.




The most elevated points within this parish are in the townlands of Ballynasolus and Beleernamore situated near the northern extremity. The height of the former is 1,241 feet and latter 1,253 feet above sea level. The mountainous character extends from north to south comprising the entire western portion. The average height of the eastern portion is about 350 feet.



The northwestern part of the parish contains several lakes. The largest within the parish boundary is Camlough which extends over 14 acres 1 rood 16 perches. In the immediate vicinity of Camlough are 2 other lakes, which contain respectively 9 acres 3 roods 24 perches and 6 acres 2 roods 14 perches. Loughbracken which is divided between Kildress and Desertcreat extends over 27 acres 26 perches of which 14 acres 1 rood 9 perches belong to Kildress. One half mile northwards of Loughbracken is a fifth the extant of which is 8 acres 1 rood 8 perches.




The Owenkillew or Broughderg River rises in the northern side of the above-mentioned mountain and flows in a westerly direction forming the parish boundary on the north. It subsequently assumes the name of the Strule River and uniting with the Derg forms the Mourne River.

The Kildress or Ballinderry River rises in Camlough and flows eastwards through the centre of the parish being increased in its course by several tributary streams. It eventually empties itself into Lough Neagh.


Modern Topography.


Towns Public Buildings and Gentlemenís Seats.


Towns None.

Oritor a little hamlet on the eastern boundary, Charlestown.

Public buildings the church situated in the townland of Clare the Presbyterian Meeting house at Tamlagh, Roman Catholic Church at Killvern and Roman Catholic chapel at Dunamore.


Gentlemenís seats; The Rectory, Oaklands, Wellbrook.


Bleach Greens Manufactories and Mills.


Bleaching establishments in Drimleagh the property of Mr. Irvine.




The main roads of this district are those which lead from Cookstown to Strabane and from Cookstown to Omagh. Of the former there are 8 and a half miles within this parish and of the latter 9 miles.




When read closely the above notes circa 1833 give a lot of information on many aspects of what life at Beaghmore would have been for the first Quinns. It was a harsh existence with poor communications and facilities. The dreaded landlord system was still making its presence felt. The use of the Irish language would have been fairly widespread. One wonders in which generation of the earlier Quin families did not speak any English, then followed by families that could speak both then perhaps families (or members of a family) who had a poor command of either language until the Irish language was lost completely. The last person that I have heard of in the extended family that spoke Irish was Annie Conway (Nee Annie Quinn) the wife of Peter Pat Conway of Broughderg.

It should be remembered that Beaghmore at 180 acres was a very sizeable farm. However its effective efficiency was to be increased each time areas of rock and shale were cleared. It should be remembered that most lowland farmers could make a good living off the land with a mix of land of about 35 to 40 acres up until the middle 1950's when the old post war mixed farming ceased. All changed at this point for the lowland farmer.

I have often wondered how the extended Quinn family obtained so much land for example the farm at Mucker was 721 acres. This added to Beaghmore and Davagh must have been in the region of say 1,800 acres. One extended Quinn family member told me one day in Cookstown (May 1995) that he was of the opinion that the "Old Canon" had a lot to with the getting of this extra land. This was Canon Charles Quinn. See Quinn File No.1. If or how or why he obtained the land if in fact he did would no doubt be a story. However there must be a story here as after dispossession in the lowlands large tracts of land were obtained probably in the late 19th century when Canon Charles would have been around.

The study of the social life of the people of the Sperrins from the late 1790's until now would in itself be an involved yet interesting study. Jack Quinn recalls that newspapers were a very good source of news in his youth and would have been passed around from house to house. The art of communication and "celidheing" between people was good until the advent of television sent whole families to their remote controls and satellite receivers. Throughout the decades of the old home it was always a focal point for family members far and near from Cookstown to Auckland!. Old letters I have read to older family members waxed lyrically about the fine social life to be had there. I have no doubt that it was a happy family home through its 200 years plus in Quinn ownership.

The family at Beaghmore in its heyday would have had quite a few domestic servants or servant girls as they were called and also servant men as they would have been called. These me would have worked in general duties around the farm. One of domestics who worked at Beaghmore circa 1920 whose son I have been in contact with was a Mrs. McElkerney. Her son Terence now well up in years, states (1995) that he recalls visiting Beaghmore when he was very young and playing as a boy with Bernard Jack and Charlie Quinn. (Note Jack is the current owner and Charlie became a priest in New Zealand now deceased, as is Bernard). A lot of these servants would have lived in the main Beaghmore old house but in an area of the house that had a separate access. Perhaps a back stairways.

Such a servant was an Annie McCormack who worked at Beaghmore. When she took poorly in her old age in November 1932 she was apparently sent to a suitable lodgings house. The old receipts, which I have been able to access, state the terms of the agreement made with the person looking after her. Here is what it states.

"Account Annie McCormack was in my care from the 12 November 1932 to the 12 April 1934.

The bargain was that she was to give ten shillings a week for a room and a bed and a good fire and a pound a week for "food and washing".

It then goes on and lists the various expenses paid out for Annie such as 1 pint of port wine 1 pound for glasses 1 pound for clothes 6 shillings for half a pint of whiskey etc.

However when she died at the beginning of April 1934 Jack Quinn had to wake her. I have seen a very interesting list of materials that were purchased during the wake. Items such as three candles at 3 pence, 2 pints of whiskey, 7lbs of tea 2 stone of sugar 4 pots of jam, 10 ozs. Of tobacco etc. However the most interesting thing was the purchase of two and a half dozen clay pipes at 1 penny each.

John Mulgrew of Cookstown carried out her funeral and it coast 7 pounds 15 shillings. It was for a raised panel coffin fully furnished and mounted the hearse to Beaghmore then Dunamore (probably the chapel there) and hence to Tullyodonnell (The Rock) for burial. It would appear that the wake was at Beaghmore where she had worked. I would think from the detail of the amount of port whiskey clay pipes tobacco tea matches etc it was perhaps not too sad a wake and the craic would have been good. Perhaps an "Irish wake". Nevertheless it shows a very Christian ethos towards someone who had perhaps worked many years as a servant at Beaghmore. This is a side we do see much of in the harsh modern world.

Because the Quinns at Beaghmore had a fairly dominant role in relation to their neighbours due to size of their lands education property it is seen that they seemed to get involved with many of their neighbours affairs perhaps in the role of benefactors or perhaps in many cases people would turn to them in periods of loss or bereavement. However this did not always work out too well for them at times.

We know that the Quinns of Beaghmore and the Conways of Broughderg were neighbours and indeed married into each other's families, as did most people in the immediate area and in the Sperrin area as a whole. In April 1924 a Patrick Conway of Broughderg died. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mulgrews Funeral Undertakers of Cookstown at the request of Joseph Quinn of Beaghmore (Joe Barney) Patrick Conway (Robert) and Charles Conway of Broughderg am unable to state what were the circumstances of their involvement perhaps all three were requested by will agreement or simple verbal agreement to arrange Patrickís funeral.

All went well it would appear except that the funeral bill of 7 pounds 10 shillings and 2 pence had not been paid by Jan 1927 some two years later and all three were taken to court and payment was duly made. I well imagine a very complex story here with some great moves to avoid payment of the poor departed Patrick. However the Quinns of Beaghmore and the Conways appear to have stayed in good relationship as Joe Barney's son Bernard married Rose Conway some 9 years later! One way of off loading a son and a daughter. I use this story as an aside to illustrate the social interplay between a close knit rural community. Equally no doubt there would have been some very bitter disputes between families over right of ways, grazing rights, descendant entitlement etc.

Anyway I would advise the reader strongly if he or she should visit a wakehouse in the Sperrins not too make to many generous offers to the bereaved family especially if they have been smoking copious amounts of tobacco in clay pipes and having the odd jorum of port as the wake progressed. They may take you up on your offer. Look what happened to Joe Barney once a the area!!!!.

In the very early days lighting in the house at Beaghmore would probably have been with candles. Then came the "Billy lamp" a crude teapot like paraffin lamp with a wick that burnt and the fumes went up the chimney. This would have been followed by oil lamps with globes or glass funnels. After this would have been the Tilley lamp an air pump pressurised lamp with a mantle that burned vapourised paraffin. After this came light from gas held in a cylinder outside the house and piped into it.


Eventually in the mid 1960's electricity came to Beaghmore. Phones would also have arrived soon after and the letter writing between the extended family would basically have ceased forever which leads me to the next item.


I have been able to gain access and read old letters written late in the last century and at the beginning of this one. They are fascinating and show up many aspects of life in the "mountains" and in the local towns at the time. Also how social contact between extended family members was maintained? Remember there were no phones or cars in this era. There was a great deal of letter writing going on between families. Also I have no doubt that when a family member went to Cookstown or wherever to a market he was instructed to do the rounds and look up cousins, aunts etc. Jack Quinn did this right up to his death in early 1996 and his wife Teresa would describe it as "doing his celidhe".

Apart from the social contact letter writing played a part in the more romantic aspects of the folks in the mountains. Let me illustrate what to me is a classic example of this.

Shortly before Mary Beck of the Rock married Joseph Quinn (Joe Barney) of Beaghmore she wrote a letter to him dated 1909 from The Rock. Here is a copy of its contents.






The Rock.




Dear Joe,

I received your letter this morning. You must have been drenched on Wednesday evening when you got home.

J. Doris gave me the ring that night he didn't tell me anything about your visit, only about going to see Johnnie. Maggie is feeling very anxious about him. I hope the operation is a success and that he may be all right and home soon. John was telling me today that his mother is something better. Had she a great chat for you?.

I didn't see Charlie on Wednesday but I was speaking to him yesterday he hadn't much to say. Packie was out yesterday but went home last night.

Tell XX X that Bridget Mallon was married yesterday.

I won't be in Cookstown tomorrow. Iíll let you know when next we are likely to meet.

Did you notice two bicycle tracks on the road on Tuesday evening?. I cycled home with one of our policemen. I overtook him on G.Doris hill. I was thinking you would wonder whom I was home with.

I didn't hear or see anything of the Kellys since Tuesday.

J.McElkerney was a good boy today he was at confession. J.Doris was telling me this morning that he forgot all about the station till he met the people I asked him did he not do his Easter duty yet he said not and that he was never as bad a case old man and all as he was.

Are you going to Father McParland tomorrow? Remember me in your prayers.

With Love.






This letter includes reference to a ring so that would suggest the wedding ring. I do not think that at the time engagement rings were much in fashion. It would appear that her husband to be left the ring with J.Doris in Cookstown to pass on!. One wonders if was arranged or was it a surprise? or was he the "arranger"?. Mary was not going to let Joseph escape. One notices the references to "marriage" i.e. Bridget Mallon and Father McParland. Just to keep Josephs mind on the subject of marriage!.

The comment on "two tracks on the road" is classic. Circa 1902 the roads would have been little more than dirt tracks in many places and local people paid great attention to horse cart tracks, wheel tracks and such so that they could know who had passed that way especially if love was involved!.

The J.McElkerney mentioned would have probably been the son of Mrs. McElkerney one of the servant ladies at Beaghmore.

This letter was written in 1909 and they would have been married very shortly afterwards. Their first child was born the following year i.e. 1910.



Because Mary Beck lived at The Rock some distance from Beaghmore no doubt that many of their meetings took place in Cookstown. However love in those far off days was greatly helped with the use of bicycles and letters.

When Jack Quinn (the son of Joe Barney Quinn and Mary Patricia Beck died in January 1996 as the grave of the Quinn family at Dunamore was being opened by Michael Quinn (Jacks son) and Michael's brother in law Joe O'Connor Joe Corey and Jim Bradley both neighbours two wedding rings were found together in the grave soil by Jim Bradley.

I must again comment on such events. In my research into family trees over this past three years I have experienced a lot of such happenings. To date I have researched and put on computer some 2,000 people in the family trees of my own and the extended Quinn family. I have in this time visited many graveyards looking for departed ones long forgotten. In many large graveyards I have had the urge to look in a particular direction for no apparent reason and found ancestors. I have on one occasion driven off from one graveyard after having looked for several hours for an ancestor then got a terrible urge to go back there did so and walked straight to his headstone. Just recently at the funeral of Joseph Falls at Clonoe Michael Quinn of Beaghmore and myself were walking and having a chat as we followed the funeral into the graveyard. We stopped on the peripheral of the large crowd to continue our chat. Michael looked down and we were standing beside the grave of Canon Peter McNamee a family relation and who was due to attend my wedding in August 1967 but died just before it took place. He was due to be a co-celebrant of the marriage ceremony. Was it chance or coincidence?. I think not.


As there are two known grandmothers buried in the Quinn family grave at Dunamore I got two experts at the Ulster Museum to look at the rings mentioned in a previous paragraph. See below.


I pass the following information to Michael Quinn Jack's son at Beaghmore.









I have had the two people who are experts in the jewellery field at the Ulster Museum Belfast look at the two rings found when digging your fathers grave at the Quinn family plot at Dunamore.


The rings are definitely those of Mary Patricia Beck (Joe Barney Quinn's wife - your paternal grandmother). She was born 1881 at The Rock. She married your grandfather at Tullyodonnell (The Rock Chapel) 21.7.1909 She died Portadown 8.9.1941.


Looking at both rings here are their conclusions.


Both experts feel that both rings were in use separately and then at later date would have been worn together as there are wear marks on the edges of both rings.

It is thought that the thin unmarked ring was an original wedding ring. There are no marks or hallmarks on it to identify where made or age. However plain rings such as this would have been very common at the time.

The second ring the one that is split has hallmarks. These identify it as being made in Birmingham circa 1921 and to be 9 carat gold. Rings such as this would have been very common at that period as Birmingham was a centre of ring production at the time i.e. the 1920's.Thus it appears that sometime after 1921 Mary Patricia Quinn (Nee Beck) your grandmother had either herself gone and bought a second wedding ring or had perhaps had it bought for her perhaps at an anniversary.

The split in the ring is simply where the soldered joint has failed. Be aware that she well have been getting this ring lessened in diameter in her later years as she grew thinner. If you look at photographs of the Becks you will see the females had all very long thin fingered hands. Perhaps the jeweler made a bad joint in the last rejoin or damaged during your digging. Both possible. The original ring has a good join.

The possibility that the unmarked ring was purposely used as a keeper for the split one is thought unlikely. If the split one is closed the unmarked one will not fit well underneath. One simply worked its way underneath the other.


Thus it looks as if the conclusions overall are:

Definitely rings of your paternal grandmother Mary Patricia Quinn (nee Beck):

The unmarked ring was the original wedding ring for 1909 wedding at the Rock:

The second one (the split one) was manufactured circa 1921 onwards in Birmingham. She either bought it after this date (remember jewelers could have 1921 jewellery on hand for years) or had it bought for her as a present: The rings were probably both purchased in Cookstown.

It is possible the unmarked ring is the one she mentions in her letters to Joseph in 1909, as I do not think that engagement rings were in common use circa 1909.Both had lain buried with her for some 55 years. A fascinating story as to how they were found and identified.

Best wishes.





However not all the young men of marriageable age had to resort to bicycles or letters to get partners. Young men in the area did not have to look too far for partners. After all one never takes sandwiches to a banquet!. Many simply married neighbours daughters.

The farmers in the Sperrins owe a great deal to the excellent qualities of their womenfolk. As I see it after being evicted from the lowlands it was in many cases the womenfolk that ensured the survival and integrity of the family in the harsh environs of the high Sperrins in the 18th and 19th centuries if not in the 20th also.

The Irish are known to be great people for "the crack or craic" meaning the ability to yarn and discourse (in many cases as experts!) on most anything on the planet. This is of course not a very serious discussion and in many cases it is what is not said that carries the most meaning. It is an art form, which the reader will understand and I cannot describe so I will not try.

The "craic" could reach heights when in the older days (not just so much now) when "celeidhing" took place. This would mean in older times going specifically to a distant neighbours farmhouse to partake of "the craic" and perhaps a little poteen or porter to keep all the participants tongues well oiled. It was not unknown for people to stay the night and perhaps not return for several days!. Dances also took place in large enough houses or perhaps hay barns.

In all of this "the Clergy" of the older breed would have looked on with some disapproval but of course not too much as after a good winters celeidhing there would no doubt have been many Spring weddings resulting with subsequent increase in stipends if not a goodly turn out at confessions!.

I have been told that one such farmhouse was so noted for its celeidhing and social events that it was referred to as "The College". I assume it turned out an excellent raconteur and person gifted as being "good crack" an honour that is noted to this day amongst Irish people.

Emigration would always have taken place. I was interested to hear from Jack Quinn (Beaghmore 1994) about this aspect during his lifetime. Apparently there was emigration always going on from when he remembers mostly to New York and Philadelphia. This was via Derry or Belfast. Apparently the night before the emigrant(s) left home for the last time the locals had what was called a "Convoy" dance at the emigrantís house. This no doubt to cheer him on their way. I would think that the word "convoy" is perhaps an Anglisation of an Irish word for farewell or leaving but I have no proof.

Emigration was particularly heavy in the 1920's and again in the 1950's and then more or less ceased. Not too many emigrants came home. If they did they bought farms.

When a local person died in the mountains there was always a "wake" i.e. the local people would maintain a constant vigil of at least one night in the house of the deceased. This custom still survives to this very day. On the whole this vigil would see local neighbours coming to the wakehouse paying respects to the bereaved relatives and saying a few prayers at his or her coffin. After this there was a relaxed atmosphere and general conversion or "craic" would take place during the wee small hours. Perhaps there may well have been the odd tipple passed around by the lady of the house. I have heard lots about "Irish wakes" but I am assured that the mourners in the Sperrins observed impeccable standards!

My earliest recollection of a wake was my Grandfather, Peter Pat Conway who dies 1948 at age 101. The wake lasted 3 days (2 nights) and I was 11 years old. I stayed up for the first night and it was a night of games and pranks. A supply of clay pipes had been purchased for handing around to the "mourners", both men and women. A cousin and I were put in charge of this operation which included packing the pipes with tobaccco. As the night progressed and "the mourners" became merrier we managed to purloin some shotgun cartridges, remove the powder and repack some of the clay pipes with gunpowder in the middle. We distributed them to whoever we thought would give the best reaction. I can still remember the anticipation we felt waiting for the clay pipe of the unsuspecting victim to explode.

I finally went to bed at 10 o'clock the next morning after obtaining a firm promise to wake me for the next night's entertainment, but alas when I was wakened in the morning I found I had slept through a whole day and night and it was now the morning of the funeral

I have been to a few wakes since that but it was the best......Tony Quinn

There was a custom up to perhaps the late 1950's or early 1960's in some Catholic diocese to have "OFFERINGS" at the chapel or in the locality when a person died. It was expected that anyone who was a neighbour relation or friend of the deceased would give a donation towards covering the expenses of the burial and those of the priest. This custom would I think be one from earlier and poorer times. It would then be a very necessary custom.

When Joe Quin (Joe Barney) died in 1965 a small 6d Cash Book was obtained and each person's name was listed and each contribution noted. Separate sheets would also be generated by other friends who collected offerings. This book and a sheet exists for Joe Barney Quin and is very interesting to see names of relations far and wide who contributed. Sadly because there was money involved I would imagine not all reached the appropriate personages. The custom was dropped after some pressure from members of the Church. Some clergy refused to carry out this custom. I recall a custom at the Chapel at Aldergrove where the persons attending the funeral at the chapel would take their offerings up to the altar rails and each person's name and offering shouted out to the congregation. The richer men in the area say the bigger farmers would generally give the most and the poorer the least. It was also noted that the bigger the sum the louder the shout. I found the custom intimidatory and offensive and was glad to hear of its suppression. The offerings at Joe Barney Quinnís funeral ranged from #1 to 10 shillings down to 5 shillings in 1965.

Just on the subject of offerings it would be of interest to note some of the names of the people who gave offerings. I refer the reader to photocopies of the people who subscribed which are held in the main family tree folios. They make very interesting reading. One sees immediate family friends and relations and also the names of those who would have been work friends of Joe Barney in his Inland Revenue employment.


The previously dispossessed Catholic families of the Sperrin mountains of Co. Derry and Co. Tyrone would have had to work together as neighbours and friends in all aspects such as crop and farm management and rally round and help each other in times of illness or trouble.


This ethos would have existed up to more recent times when the individual became more self sufficient in farm machinery and travel communication etc. However I should think that this ethos is not all together lost.


I have shown above a letter with a happy romantic air about it. I have also mentioned the importance of letter correspondence carried out over very short distances. Few people now days would think of writing to a cousin in Cookstown they would simply pick up the phone. There were no phones and no fast cars and fairly dreadful roads. Here is the text of a letter from Bernard Quin of Beaghmore dated Dec 17th 1917 some 78 years ago to John Doris his son in law. Bernard would have been in poor health at the time suffering from pains.


This letter when analysed gives us many clues to many things and is well worth looking at.







I will simply copy down as seen on the photostat I have in front of me.



Dec 31st 1917


My Dear son John,

I reced your kind letter and was

very glad that Elley was getting

better she was a grate fraind of

mine I hope she is all right by now

I hope you are all well in Drumglass

and had a nice Xmace it was quiet

all round heare no licker drank

in this place We are all well here

only my pains trubels me much

we had a hard and a cold

winter here I hope all your cattel

is doing well and that you got

all your crops saved this year

it was hard to do there is nothing

straing in this palce only

Daved O Nell is lying in Cookstown poore

house and not expecd to live with

parallces I enclose you a small

wedding present to give to

maggey at hur marriage I hope

in god it will be a happy one

like hur mothers and yours

I hope all your familey are

well and dowing well we all

join in sending beast love

to you all

I am your affect father

Bernard Quin.


This letter was written towards the end of the First World War 1914-18.It was written in pen not a fountain pen or biro as we know it but with a nibbed pen and this being dipped into a bottle of ink. To sit down and write a letter at this time took a lot of trouble.

Christmas 1917 was obviously a quiet Christmas at Beaghmore with "no licker drank"! It would suggest that perhaps earlier Christmases were slightly merrier. Bernard speaks of it being a cold winter and being troubled by his pains. No doubt the cold winter did not help. He speaks of David O'Nell (probably David O'Neill) being ill and dieing in Cookstown poorhouse. There would have been widespread poverty still about and the dreaded poor houses were still in operation. A hangover from the famine era. Be aware that in 1917 the sight of people walking around and working in their bare feet would be common. Hiring fairs would still be a source of cheap labour for small or large farmers. Many people would have seen their sons and daughters effectively "bought" for a period of say six months for a low wage and in many cases had to live in an outhouse with the animals.

Looking at the letter and looking at the way it is written spelling etc one could be critical. This should not be so. Where was he taught? Was there another school around before Broughderg School or in fact was he one of its first pupils? Maybe there was a primary school existing at Dunamore or perhaps one of his parents or a neighbour taught him. What we can deduce from the letter that Bernard wrote is the fact that he did not receive any education after primary school level but he did in fact make the best of it. His spelling and grammar was perhaps not the best but he could communicate well and express himself well (Do I have room to talk sitting at an electronic computer keyboard in 1995 with an electronic spelling checker built in? I think not). However his brother was Canon Charles Quintus it is seen that Bernard would have been the son that stayed at home and ran the farm and that Charles was afforded the privilege of getting paid education enabling him to become a cleric. Canon Charles did a massive amount of good for the physical well being of the people of South Armagh.

One very interesting point was made to me when I was researching was one point put to me from a member of the extended family on the Falls side. This was that Catherine Loughran (Bernardís wife) had been educated at Strabane Convent and was a stickler for getting their family to secondary education. Looking at things from my perspective I am of the opinion that the influence of Catherine Loughran from Kinnigilleon had a very important input on the development of the future generations of Quinns. She was in this history the key figure in the educational aspect of the extended family. Didnít she do well!

Maybe the point illustrates how important the function of the old school at Broughderg or any other that existed locally was to those generations and how it influenced the development of recent generations. One must commend the Quinns, O'Neills, McCullaghs or whoever who had the foresight to build these schools. These schools provided a massive step forward in the standing and morale of the Catholic farmers in the Beaghmore and Broughderg area and in all other areas of the Sperrins. Education next to food is the most important requirement in any society especially a society traumatised by dispossession in the 18th century.


Sadly Bernard died some eight months after he wrote this letter. His wife Catherine had died some 10 years earlier. See Quinn file.


However life was not all bad for Bernard. He was fond of his holidays at Portstewart. He is the text of a letter he wrote many years earlier when he was enjoying his vacation at Portstewart and encouraging his daughter Mary (married to John Doris) to come and enjoy the airs! I am told that the Quinns were great people for holidaying at "The Port" mostly for a week or two.











My dear Mary,

If you could come down here for ten days it would do you good and get baths. The weather is very fine here and bring three or four of the children with you. It would do them and you good for the winter. There is a large house here and you can get it for any money you offer them. I am getting bed and board at sixteen shilling a week. There no person here only myself. Mrs. Hemphill is going to get married to the man that owns this house in a short time. Itís a fine house and if you can come you will be all right here. I hope John and the family are in good health

My love to you all

I am your Affct father

Bernard Quin.


Bernard was not one for the "full stops and capital letters" so I have taken the liberty of inserting them.

As a matter of interest it is usually found in old correspondence that fathers, mothers, sons and daughters signed their name in full not something found in modern letter writing. It looks very formal but that is how it was. So when writing to his daughter Mary he signed as Bernard Quintals note the use of one letter "N" in his name.


In order to understand ones history it is necessary to understand the history of the land in which we live to some extent. In this case the island of Ireland. Most people have jumbled thoughts on Brian Brou King William III (alias King Billy) the Planters the Normans the Saxons the Pope etc the lists of people whose names add to the list cause great confusion.

Modern Irish history is said to start circa 1600. However let us take a look at some of the major dates in the known history of this island, which will enable a constructive application of dates and events and stay away as far as possible from myth and legend. It will be realised that this is just a glance at a few minute segments of Irish history over nearly 2,000 years but it may help understand the scenario over which the family tree is based.

In order that the extended family members of the family "originating" from a lowland farm near the present day town of Cookstown thence Beaghmore understand their culture and their psyche well it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that they have a good grasp of Irish history with PARTICULAR understanding of Irish history from 1600 onwards just before and during the PLANTATION era circa 1600 onwards. I cannot stress this fact strongly enough. Because we are an island we had "plantations" in earlier periods of our history but this Plantation started by Elizabeth I after her ex-communication from the Catholic Church in the late 16th century is the one that is effecting current generations both Catholic and Protestant and causing the "Northern Ireland Problem".

Note the several Plantations that took place prior to the Reformation associated with Henry VIII did not cause too many problems as after a while because the religion was a shared one between Planter and the indigenous population difference of culture faded away quickly and a common though mutually slightly changed culture would evolve. However in the Plantation of 1600 onwards the great difference between the Planter and the local population was religion and thus it remains.


Let us start at 400 years before the birth of Christ when the Romans were installed in what is basically England.


Years circa 400 B.C. (Before Christ) until year 0 A.D.


Between the year 400 B.C. and year 0 A.D. the Celts from central Europe (an area of what is now called Austria and southern Germany) came north into the two main islands of what is now called Britain. They arrived on the island of Ireland, as we know it and dispossessed the original inhabitants. These migrants thus became the "real Irish the Native Irish the Celts" as we know and refer to them as. The reader should treat this expression with great caution. Purity of any race is difficult to establish. We are an island and we have had many visitors from Continental Europe and England Scotland and Wales. Take for instance the east Antrim coast and the west coast of Scotland both areas within sight of each other. Both these areas were exchanging peoples for centuries and still are.


Year 0 A.D. (Anno Domini the year of the Lord).


The birth of Christ on which year the Christian Calendar is based.

Between 0 A.D. and 450 A.D. the Romans were in England. They never came to Ireland nor did they go into the land of the Picts (Scotland) but simply built Hadrians Wall in the north of England to keep them out. England would have been Britannia to them and Ireland Hibernia. Be aware that though the Romans did not come to Ireland they were very aware that it was there. The Irish often raided into Roman Britain and brought back "slaves" to work for them in Ireland. Not all the "slaves" were people of low birth as might be thought. Many would have had learning and it was from this stock that "Patrick"-the Saint Patrick came. It is said from the area of what is now Wales. Thus Patrick in effect brought his Roman based ethos into Ireland with him. This would be to Irelands gain indirectly.

The population of Ireland at this time would be small between a quarter and half a million.


Years circa 450 A.D. until 500 A.D.


The Romans left as their empire crumbled and then came the Judes, Angles and Saxons from the northern part of Europe between 450 A.D and 800 A.D. The ancestors of the Becks would have arrived in England (Beck is a name still numerous in Denmark N. Germany and the Netherlands). They did not come to Ireland in any great numbers.

Saint Patrick would have been in Ireland in this era converting the populace to Christianity and building his churches.

The High King of Ireland would have been Niall of the Nine Hostages circa year 479.


Years circa 795 A.D. until 1000 A.D.


Between 795 A.D. and 1000 A.D. the Norsemen, Danes and Vikings arrived. They made their way into Ireland up the rivers into such known places as Lough Neagh etc. The wars with the native Irish started. These continued until 1014 when Brian Boru defeated the Danes at the battle of Clontarf when Scandinavian influence declined in Ireland. However they left their mark in founding cities such as Dublin Waterford Wexford Wicklow etc.

The High Celtic Cross, which stands in Donaghmore village, would have been carved in this period, as would the one at Ardboe both in Co. Tyrone.


Year 1014 A.D. Battle of Clontarf.

Danish power in Ireland wanes.


Years circa 1066 A.D.

Arrival of the Normans into England and Ireland (from Normandy France). They had already captured England. Names such as deCourcey, DeLargy, Savage appeared and are still with us! Sir John DeCourcey looked at an Irish monastic scene and decided that he would allow monastic colonies from Europe to enter Ireland. Thus such orders as Franciscans Benedictines Cistersians and many others arrived. Fourteen different orders are talked of. The direct influence of European religious orders had arrived. The old Irish monastic ethos would change forever. Many of these orders were from Italy and France. Ireland was starting to become a "Rich and Rare Land".


Year 1156 A.D.

Henry II of England gets the go ahead from the Pope (Nicholas Breakspear an Englishman) to "overlord" Ireland and bring the Celtic Irish church which would appear to the Pope to be independent into line i.e. under more control by him. This done by the Synod of Cashel in 1172.

Remember England still Catholic at this time and the Pope an Englishman. Nicholas Breakspear has been the only English Pope to date. The Catholic Church in Ireland was at this period a church of its own probably making its own laws etc and really could be referred to as The Irish Catholic Church. This did not go down too well in Rome and Henry obviously played his part with the Pope in Rome in now getting the Irish church to become The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland i.e. the tag " Roman " appeared as an indicator linking its subservience to Rome Italy- the Vatican in fact. This state of affairs lasted until the Reformation when the High Anglican Church and Church's of England Scotland and Wales evolved.


Years circa 1160-1340 A.D.

The Normans who started coming to Ireland continued to do so until about 1300 A.D. when they occupied the greater part of Ireland. Many married the "native" Irish and effectively became Irish while a lot went back to England. The Norman conquest of Ireland was basically a failure. The only place their writ operated was The Pale area around what is now Dublin. The religion was still Catholic. However things were to change when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509.The Black Death devastates Europe and millions died.


Year 1492 A.D.


The Italian navigator Christopher Columbus with the aid of ships and money from Queen Isabella of Spain sets sail West from Europe and lands firstly on land which is now called San Salvador. The so called discovery of America. Many millions of Irish were to emigrate there in the centuries that followed both in desperation and in fact proud builders of this "New World".


Years circa 1509 A.D. until 1547 A.D.


Henry VIII comes to the throne of England. The break up with Rome starts and Henry "creates" the Reformation whose problems are still with us. He in his reign assumes to be Head of The Church. The Protestant Anglican Church or The Established Church is born. Henry starts his onslaught in suppressing the Monasteries and the Catholic Church in Britain and Ireland. There is also the benefit that he and his followers will get hold of all the riches of the Monasteries and their lands. The "Reformation Parliament" of 1529.In 1534 Henry VIII names himself as Head of the Church of England by his Act of Supremacy. Between 1535 and 1539 the Dissolution of the Catholic monasteries takes place mostly within the Pale, which was an area around Dublin where English law could be enforced.


Years circa 1547 A.D. until 1551 A.D.

Edward VI on the throne. A Protestant who carries on the anti-Catholic theme. Orders the destruction of Papist style furniture in churches. Enrages the Irish people.


Years circa 1551 A.D. until 1558 A.D..

Queen Mary the sister of Edward VI on the throne. Though a Catholic she decided to overthrow the O'Mores and the O'Connors in Leix and Offaly because they were intolerant of the dwellers within The Pale around Dublin. She confiscates their land renames the counties Queens and Kings County and garrisons of English settlers were introduced. Be aware that this was the first of many "Plantations". The "Plantation" people talk about these days is really the more recent "Plantation of Ulster" at the beginning of the 17th century.

This plantation failed as the "native" Irish fought back for more than 50 years. However any plantation leaves trails of people and their ethos.


Year 1559 A.D.


Shane O'Neill inaugurated chief of the O'Neills at Tullyhogue near the modern town of Cookstown, has problems with the English government in years immediately after his installation.


Year 1567 -1590 A.D.

Shane O'Neill murdered by the McDonnells at Glenshesk Co. Antrim. The native Irish reach in force against the rapid encroachment by plantation settlers into Ireland. The initial arrival in numbers of settlers from Scotland England and Continental Europe seeking cheap and good land. Many of the ancestral O'Quins would have fought with the O'Neills at this juncture. However their actions end in failure. The decline in OíNeill power in Ireland as the English government exerts ruthless pressure.


Year 1595 A.D.


Hugh O'Neill inaugurated at Tullyhogue fort near Cookstown. The last of the O'Neills to be inaugurated there.


Years circa 1558 A.D. until 1603 A.D.


" Modern" Irish history is generally said to start at about 1600.The methods and practices of recording events started to improve.


Elizabeth I on the throne and the trouble really starts and the great change takes place. Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Pope in 1570.The pressure against the Catholic people really became great in many ways. By imposing the Church of England ethos in prayer books the imposition of fines for not using the regulation Prayer book etc. This affected the "Native" Irish as well as the old Norman Irish who would also have been Catholic. However be aware that the Catholic Church was also even under greater attack in England a point that is in many cases missed. Catholicism was the real target in England and Ireland at this stage.

Elizabeth also "Planted" with English settlers the county of Monaghan and great areas of Munster mostly the counties of Limerick Kerry Cork and Waterford. This was not a great success as English people did not want to go to Ireland in great numbers. Also those that did go started to marry into the Irish and thus weaken the system. However plantations such as these have left circumstances where the now Irish people in many places in Ireland have very English names.

Elizabeth made great strides in the "Anglisation" of Ireland and getting its people to adopt Protestantism. She had drawn up the plans for the forced Plantation of Ireland and the weakening of its chiefs the main ones in the north of Ireland (the northern part being generally referred to as Ulster) being the O'Neills O'Donnells and the O'Cathans. She was in the years around 1600 having battles with these chiefs. However her victory at the battle of Kinsale in 1602 saw the defeat of the old Irish chiefs. This was the great defeat of the Irish in their history.

The period between 1594 until 1603 was known as the "Long War". Basically the war between the O'Neills O'Donnells and to a lesser extent O'Cathans and the English. As said before it ended at the defeat of the Irish at the battle of Kinsale in 1602.



Year circa 1603 A.D. until 1607 A.D.


This saw the start of land confiscation and "regrant". With the "regrant" system the land was firstly confiscated from the Irish chiefs and provided they took on English titles and adapted English systems of land ownership then they would be "regranted" the land. The new counties of Donegal Coleraine Tyrone Armagh Monaghan and Fermanagh were created. Antrim and Down already existed. Coleraine would have been (roughly) the area of the now Co. Derry the lands of the O'Cathans.




The most important date perhaps in the history of Ireland as the Earls of Tyrone and Donegal i.e. O'Neill and O'Donnell flee to the Continent. Irish history changes forever. Thousands of their soldiers and followers follow them mostly to Europe though some to as far away as Mexico and South America-the "Wild Geese".


Year 1622 A.D. The initial building of Cookstown.


Dr Allen Cooke leases land from the Bishop of Armagh and starts to built a "town" of 10 houses at Corcreighe an area between the Burn Road and Coolreaghs. This is to be known as "the old town".

Year 1641 A.D. The old town called Cookes Town is burnt by Royalist soldiers returning after the defeat of the "rebels" led by Niall Og O'Quin.



Years circa 1607 A.D. until 1641 A.D.


These were major years of change in Irish history. The "Flight of the Earls" when O'Neill and O'Donnell fled the country from Rathmullan Co. Donegal at the end of August/beginning of September 1606 for exile and death in Rome where Hugh O'Neill 2nd Earl of Tyrone "The O'Neill" of Tyrone died 1616.He is buried in the Franciscan church of San Pieto in Rome.

When they fled it would have been assumed that their heirs would have inherited the land. This was not so as Elizabeth had the "rules" changed and it was deemed that because they simply left their lands such lands were said to have been "escheated" i.e. fell to the state. This is where real plantation and anti-Catholicism really moved forward. This is the "Plantation" that we now talk of and the people who came the "Planters" as we know them. The ancestors of people with names such as Wilson Boyd Craig Campbell Thompson etc which are prevalent today would have arrived from such places as Galloway and Ayrshire and many other parts of mainland Britain.

The Scots planters started coming into North Down 1607/08 and to west of the Bann 1610/11.By 1625 the Scots were coming in force and by 1628 there were something like 13,000 Scots planters in Ulster.

The area called Coleraine now Co. Derry and owned by the O'Cathans was also planted but in a slightly different way by using the London Trades guilds to take possession of the lands. Not all exactly Derry but also parts of Tyrone as far as the western shore of Lough Neagh e.g. groups such as the London Drapers Company (Hence the name Draperstown) formerly Ballinascreen, Vintners Company and many more. Thus ended the ownership of the O'Cathans. The chief of the O'Cathans -Donnel Ballagh O'Cathan- tried to do a deal with the then James I. However James though initially giving Donnel Ballagh a knighthood set a trap for him took him to the Tower of London and kept him without trial until he died in 1617.Sir Donnell Ballagh O'Cathan was at one time married to OíNeillís sister Rose but he divorced her. The O'Cathans were in subservience to the O'Neills and this is probably why O'Cathan did not really want to back OíNeill. Another example of power land women and money taking precedence over reality. In the end they all lost out. Thus ended the O'Cathans. Another step on the way to full plantation. When the lands of the O'Cathans between the rivers Roe and Bann were confiscated and given to the various London trade guilds the name of the old city of Derry (Doire -the oak wood) was changed to Londonderry the attachment of London to Derry being obvious. This is the reason for the current name problem with that city. Catholics using Derry and Protestants Londonderry. Perhaps not all know why they use their version except that it annoys or identifies their allegiance and thus religion.

It may well be useful to clarify to the reader just who the PLANTERS were. We all know from everyday experience that those of you who are farmers are in daily contact with surrounding farmers carrying the usual "Scottish" names such as Wilson Campbell McKenzie McClure McIntosh etc. These are probably the most easily identified to us as Scots planter stock. However there are others with English names and this perhaps causes confusion. In fact there is a sizeable percentage of English names around the greater Cookstown area suggesting an influx of English sourced plantation stock.

The reason is that basically there were four "types" of "Planters" who came to Ireland and in the Plantation circa 1603 onwards which we will concern ourselves with. These basically were as follows.


SERVITORS. These as the name suggests were people who "served" their King and country. These were in the main Government officials who had played a prominent part in Ireland in the military or civil office under Elizabeth I and James I and played their part in the victory in the Long War against O'Neill and OíDonnell. It was cheaper to pay these men in Irish land rather in money and this is what happened. They had the pick of the good land at 8 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence per 1,000 Irish acres. Not a bad payback. King James even paid his barber by such a method. Cromwell used this method to pay his soldiers in earlier times. In Co. Derry an outstanding "servitor" was Sir Thomas Philips who took from the O'Cathans (O'Kanes) and re -distributed the land to his officials and soldiers. One of the reasons why there are so many more English "type" names in that area as compared with say east Antrim with a heavy proportion of Scots farming planters whose dialects are still with us.



These were men who already had sizeable assets in England and Scotland and were for favours from he Queen or King given larger estates in Ireland. They had to "Undertake" hence the name Undertakers. They had to "undertake" to bring in from England and Scotland within two years tenants and farmers at an average rate of 24 men per thousand acres.

The undertakers had to built fortified dwellings and be able to supply men for its defense and the men who were "imported" as tenants from England and Scotland had to promise to defend the servitor by use of arms where necessary. In fact a servitor could and did have their own private militias. They could hold courts where required. Another requirement of the servitors was that no native Irish were to be taken as subtenants though some were later on as the system did not always get enough people coming in to take up the land offers. However basically the native Irish were used if required as labourers to service these servitorsí estates.

The servitorís estates were around 1,000,1,500 and 2,000 Irish acres of good land and any poor land that happened to march on this land was simply handed as free to the servitor. One could get a mountain as a "luck penny" etc.



These lands also of very sizeable acreage were given to:


A. The Church (of Ireland). These areas were labeled "church lands" for the benefit of the local bishop or "glebe" lands for the benefit of the local rector of the parish.


B. 100,000 (one hundred thousands) acres of land was set aside for the support of the recently erected Trinity College in Dublin built by Elizabeth I. In addition in areas "west of the Bann" acreages were set aside for the support of the "Royal Schools" namely in Co. Donegal Raphoe Royal school Armagh Royal school the Cavan Royal school and in Fermanagh the Portora Royal school at Enniskillen and nearer to the Quinns the Royal school in Dangannon! The college at Derry now called Foyle College was another charity school.



Though not "planters" as such these people formed part of the society at the time and must be mentioned. They were the original Irish from the land had been taken.

When the carve up of the land of the old Ulster was being made it was thought as a "nice gesture" that some of the old ruling or leading Irish families could be granted land (effectively allowed to have some of their own land back). However the areas that they were granted were much smaller at between 60 and 300 acres. A naturally they had to pay a higher rent of some 10 pounds 3 shillings and 4 pence per thousand acres. Not that they ever got a sniff of 1,000 acres.



Year 1641 A.D.


An abortive general rebellion by the Catholic Irish against the injustices of Plantation, loss of their lands and attacks on their religion. This was heavily suppressed militarily. The Presbyterians established in 1642 one of their first permanent churches at Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim. Carrickfergus is where a lot of the Planters and armies would have landed in the north part of Ireland. This is where King William III (alias King Billy) later landed on his way to fight at the Boyne in 1689.Owen Roe O'Neill fought a successful battle against General Monroe at Benburb circa 1643 but because overwhelming numbers and reinforcements were to render this victory of little consequence. Cromwell arrived in 1649 fresh from his English Civil War victory with 20,000 soldiers. The names of Nial Og O'Quin and Turlough "Groome" O'Quin appear as leaders of the "rebels" in the Tyrone area in these troubled times. However the odds were stacked against them.

The O'Quins who were involved in the reaction against the landlord system at this period had their power base at Roughan Castle near Coalisland. Close by Sir Phelim O'Neill was captured in 1650.

Year 1646.

The Presbyterian Planters strengthen their position in the Cookstown area and the erect their First Presbyterian Church at Cookstown. Catholic power continues to wane in Ireland. The 1641 rebellion achieves nothing.


Years circa 1649 A.D until 1660 A.D.


In 1649 Charles I is executed and Cromwell takes control. There is no English monarch on the thrown. Cromwell along with an army of 20,000 comes to Ireland.

Now the era of Cromwell and the persecution of the Catholics. Catholics were forbidden to practise their religion and all Bishops and Priests were outlawed. Monasteries and chapels destroyed. There are numerous examples of old ivy-covered wallsteads of the remains of monasteries and chapels all over Ireland if one seeks them out. Native Irish banished to west of the Shannon the expression "To Hell or Connaught" stems from this period of Irish history. Royalist estates in England and Ireland are seized and the new middle class Protestant landowners establish in Ireland.

Cromwell confiscates some 11,000,000 (eleven million acres) from the native Catholic populace and English Planter Royalists. He pays his soldiers with land. Funds for war are raised by selling land. Many Huguenots arrive in Ireland some as soldiers with Cromwell and some as settlers.

However in 166O the Monarchy is restored in England. Charles II comes to the thrown. In 1662 Royal sanction encourages people to go to Ireland. The words "Strangers" or "Etrangers" the French word for stranger appears in Irish history. In 1667 some 500 Huguenot families from Canterbury England arrive in the Co. Carlow area of Ireland. Thus the mix of what we are increases.


Years 1671-1690 A.D.

The Planter farmer Stewart builds his first Castle at Killymoon near the site of the present day Cookstown golf course.

In 1688 the ""Glorious or Bloodless Revolution" takes place. The Catholic King James II is removed from the English thrown and he is replaced with the Protestant King William III. This is the arrival of "King Billy".


Years 1690 A.D. until 1691 A.D.


This period in Irish history is generally referred to as the period of the Williamite Wars in Ireland. After the defeats at the various battles during this period some 500,000 Irishmen left Ireland to fight in the armies of other countries. Such countries were France Austria and Spain in particular but they found their way into armies in many places even as far south as Mexico and Argentina. There were also some who found their way into the army of the Vatican. These men who left are generally referred to as "The Wild Geese" in Irish history. They fought in all major and minor European wars also later in the American Revolutionary War against Britain and later still in America in the American Civil War, on both sides. This war was fought mid 19th century and many men from Tyrone and South Derry fought in it. Some 140,000 Irishmen fought for the North in the American Civil war and some 40,000 for the Confederate south.


Years circa 1690 A.D. until 1695 A.D.


The battle of 1690 i.e. The Battle of The Boyne and the defeat of the Catholic James I saw more great steps taken against the Catholic Irish. Though plantation had been taken place prior to this the problem was further added to as vast tracks of good land were given to officers and soldiers of King Williams army for services done in place of money. The estates of ex Williamite officers started to spread in the area of Ulster. The Torrens and Chichesters etc.

One such soldier was Alexander Sanderson who lies buried in Desertcreat Church of Ireland. He died 8.12.1633.As his monument in Desertcreat states he had "been born in Scotland a soldier in Belgium a leader of horse and foot in Poland. In Ireland a Justice of the Peace and thrice High Sheriff. This is an excellent example of a "servitor" planter-he had "served". He was well rewarded. Queen Elizabeth 1st would have given him estates and lands taken off the O'Neills and their septs.

In 1690 there were three main "battles" fought in Ireland between King William III and James I. These were at Derry, Aughrim and the Boyne. It is known that going to the battle at Derry in the spring of 1690 King James and his army passed through the townland of Innishatieve near Pomeroy. With King James was the French Ambassador one Monsieur D'Avaux who noted the area was a frightful wilderness of misery and desolation with great shortages of food for man and animals. Michael O'Quins (1725) parent's would have been alive at this period i.e. 1690.



Years circa 1695 A.D. until 1725 A.D. THE PENAL TIMES.


The Penal laws against the Catholics and their religion and property came into force. These laws enacted with ruthless effect 1695-1727.These laws basically left the Catholic Irish in serfdom. No Catholic could hold any office however how menial. Further acts in 1704 and 1709 forbade Catholics to lease land for more than 31 years so that the Catholic Irish ownership of the land of Ireland fell to just 5% (five percent)! I would be of the opinion that the Michael O'Quins family then near Cookstown were one of the ones who actually owned land. There was in fact a policy within the government of the day to "allow" the "Native Irish" to have "some" land -and just "some" as it gave the government an "appearance" of handling the situation with consideration in the eyes of foreign governments.

It was also in this era that some of the old extensive landlords who had been Catholic changed to Protestantism so that they could hold on to their land. This explains why some of the "gentry" or landlords of the present day though having very Irish names are Protestant and nearly all members of the Church of Ireland egg the O'Neills of Randallstown etc. Also some of the smaller farmers changed to become Protestant again to hold their land. However the bulk of the Irish population stayed Catholic.

It was also common that when an old monastic site was taken over by the newly establishing "Established" church later the Church of Ireland Protestants felt quite comfortable in taking on the name of the previous Catholic church saint name. Thus we see Church of Ireland churches with such names as Saint Patrickís St.Ignatius, St.Columbs etc names more associated with Irish Catholicism. The use of the old Irish High Cross was also acceptable to the Church of Ireland and one sees many examples up to the early part of the century. Catholics when they see a Celtic High Cross in a Protestant graveyard should not immediately see it as a Catholic symbol. They may also see the perceived Catholic symbol I.H.S. on the top of such headstones also. However as far as I see the use of both appears to have declined rapidly in recent decades. Be aware that The Church of Ireland evolved from the "Established Church" as it was known after the Reformation and as such came to Ireland at the time of the Plantation and indeed before. The "Established Church" itself evolved from the old English Catholic Church at the Reformation. In the current High Anglican church one sees a lot in common with the modern Roman Catholic Church as such. Presbyterianism did not really come into Ireland until after about 1604.It primarily came from Scotland. It has a different hierarchy for its ministers of religion. Basically the congregation picks the minister that it likes. One hears of a minister receiving a "calling" to a certain church. One is tempted to think that this is a calling by no less person than the hand God. However in researching my own Presbyterian ancestors and there were many clerics amongst them I feel that the calling is perhaps from the elders of a specific church liking a man who tells them what they want to hear. They "call" him primarily to preach a few sermons in their church and if his ethos and background seems acceptable then the position as minister is secured. Is this a good system? Perhaps it is but in Ireland no doubt political questions could be associated with certain callings. However I do like the accountability of the minister to his immediate flock. It should be noted that in quite a few cases in the Presbyterian system that if a minister misbehaves or does become controversial the role of "calling" can be quickly be reversed. The man or indeed the Congregation paying the piper can as always call the tune. God's hand in the process works in many ways.


YEAR 1704.A.D. The Registration of Popish Priests Parliamentary Act.


This is the year that an act of Parliament is established so that all "Popish Clergy" are registered. The Act is named "An Act for Registering the Popish Clergy". It is set up to make life ever more difficult for Catholics and their clerics. All Catholic clerics have to be registered and this to be ordained by the local main Anglican Bishop. Here is an example.

A James McCalline was born in 1664. He is ordained a priest on 26th March 1690 in Galway (the same year as the battle of the Boyne!). In 1704 he is made P.P. of Cappagh Co. Tyrone.

He is registered at The General Sessions of the Peace held for the said county of Tyrone at Omagh on the 13th day of July 1704.... pursuant to a Clause in the Act of Parliament Intituled "an Act for Registering Popish Clergy". He was registered by Edward Weisley Titular Bishop of Kildare (This is the Protestant Anglican Bishop). Registered "as pretending to be Popish Priest in the parish of Cappy aged 40 and living in Castleraddy".

He would operate in very difficult circumstances along with his congregations at Mass houses and rocks in the more inhospitable areas of Ireland including the high Sperrins above Cookstown.


The Penal Times was the era of the Mass Rock and the secretive meanderings of Catholic priests and friars throughout the country.

It was in 1697 that a large group of Huguenots came along with Louis Crommelin and established the linen industry at Lisburn. Names such as Molyneaux appears. The descendants of this family being in the area of Lisburn Crumlin Aldergrove ever since.


Years circa 1697 A.D. until 1798 A.D.


It is within this period that we have the first dated entry and information on the Quinn family tree.





Michael O'Quin a lowland farmer in the Cookstown area. He marries an Alish O'Neill circa 1760.Michael O'Quin is born in The Penal Era in Ireland-dreadful times. He or most certainly his kin would have attended Mass at Mass rocks secluded in secret glens and bogs in the area. Maybe in a secret room of a fellow Catholic placing all in great danger. The laws were draconian.


This man is the first name that I have been able to record in this family tree. His predecessors would have been tenants and followers of the old O'Neills of Ulster and the O'Quins would have been one of their septs. These people would have endured horrific circumstances as theirs and their forefathers lands and properties and stock were confiscated and their religion attacked unmercifully at the hands of Cromwell and the Kings and Queens of England after the Reformation.

The remains of the old town of Cookes Town would be a collection of mud walled thatched cottages though markets would still taken place there. Michaels home would probably have been on the site of Camerons farm so he was close to his market. His son Charles later destined to be evicted from that site would have been born there.

In the years circa 1736 onwards Michael and his young family would have seen the building of the new town of Cookstown to the south of the old town.

Around the 1730's the linen industry would have been providing a better existence for many as it prospered. The population of Ireland would probably be just over 2.5 million. Things were to change dramatically in 1739.




Though much is written about the Great famine of 1847 it should be noted that there was also a very severe famine starting at the end of 1739.This great frost started on Dec 29th and 30th of 1739.Very cold storms came from the east. Temperatures plummeted probably to as low as minus 30 degrees. Rivers froze. Lough Neagh froze and it was possible to walk from Tyrone across the Lough to Antrim. The frost was to last until mid February 1740.Fuel and food ran out. What initially was seen as an opportunity to have ice-skating and carnivals soon degenerated into a very serious situation.

The following year 1740 saw more despair as the weather played havoc with what crops that could be grown. There were violent storms the grain crop was very poor the potato crop failed. There were violent storms in October and November with massive snowfalls and flooding. The crops on Continental Europe were also very poor. Food prices by Christmas 1740 had reached record levels. Starvation had arrived. Dysentery and typhus were soon to appear.

By the spring of 1741 the terrifying climax of this famine was to be reached. A Philip Skelton of North Monaghan writes of "whole parishes" left "almost desolate". The folklore speaks of "bliain an air" the year of the slaughter. The deaths rates were to sore. Thousands were to die and lie where they fell and be eaten by animals. It is estimated that of a population of about 2.5 million in Ireland between 310,000 and 480,000 people were to die.

However in 1741 there was to be a good harvest. After this the population of Ireland was to sore to near eight million by 1847 the next famine!

Michael O'Quin and his family would survive in his land at Cookstown. The peoples in the hills around Beaghmore would not fare so well. Only those with land and animals would survive. Hundreds of labourers and their families would simply starve to death. There are many hundreds of unmarked graves and spots were people simply dropped and died. Emigration was not an option in this era.

The "The Grapes" was being built in Cookstown in 1752.Michael Quin would have seen the visit of John Wesley the founder of Methodism visit the town in 1769. One of the reasons I would imagine why Cookstown has a sizeable Methodist following.

I have been wondering why Michael O'Quin was left untouched by the Plantation up to these years. All the other high quality land around him had been allocated to Planter farmers from Scotland and England.

There is a possibility (and I think this is important to note) that he was one of the very few "Native Freeholders" left by the Land Commission to keep his original land. This was really only a placation of the local "native Irish" to help keep the amount of aggravation down. Something akin to the present day "Token Taigs" we hear of. However I have no doubt that if this was the case his presence would be greatly objected to overtly and covertly by his Planter neighbours in the main but not entirely as there would be some Presbyterians who would also circa 1795 sympathesise with him. There is no doubt a complex story based around his eviction circa 1795, which sadly we will never know but can only guess at.

Some of you may wonder why at times Catholics are referred to as "Taigs" mostly in a derogatory sense. It perhaps says more about the user of the phrase that the recipient. It is sourced from the Spanish word for James, which is Tiago for example the city of Santiago in Spain is Saint James in English. Thus Taigo has been changed to Taig for wall graffiti and simply means a follower of King James who fought against King William at the battle of the Boyne.

There was a law enacted early in the 18th century stating that all Popish Clergy had to be registered and this done by the Protestant Bishop of the parish. Basically all Bishops Jesuits and friars were forbidden and the ordinary priests were just about tolerated unless when there were political problems when they would be promptly arrested. The registration would be carried out much in the same manner as guns and motor vehicles are registered today. However Bishops did secretly exist within the Church in fact the Bishop of Down and Connor circa 1704 was Bishop Daniel Mackey.

In my knowledge it was basically an attempted genocide that failed and a religious persecution that also failed. However it must in fairness be said that not all the Planter stock were hell bend on this cause. The fact that the Irish people survived is in no small way attributable to men of honour and integrity whose roots were of Protestant Planter stock themselves and also the many individual clerics of the Catholic church who at the end of the day departed from the general ethos of Catholicism and saw the survival and advancement of their fellow countrymen a greater requirement than the laws laid down in Rome for the clinical application of the ethos of "pure Catholicism". I would see in Canon Charles Quinn circa 1833-1925 such a person. He was heavily involved in redressing the obnoxious landlord system and getting the land back to its rightful ownership. He was a man in my opinion who kept "Catholicism" as such on a back burner being more anxious to address the material state of his Catholic parishioners.

In this 100 year period the planters would have consolidated their position and strength. However the main church of the time was really the High Anglican Church in Ireland (Now effectively the Church of Ireland). They considered themselves to be a most high and mighty power. Apart from the Catholics they also fell foul of the Presbyterian planter stock because of their religion. The Presbyterians were also treated as second class citizens. This led to the formation of the United Irishmen a mostly Presbyterian organisation with much strength in east Antrim and Down and some in Wexford.

A rebellion of United Irishmen took place in 1798 but it failed and many of its members both Catholic and Presbyterian left for America where many of them got involved in the Revolutionary War against the English with much success. Nearly 100% of the United Irishmen in the North were Presbyterian and those in Wexford would have been mostly Catholic. One of my own (Aemar Higgins) Presbyterian ancestors one Henry Haslett a linen merchant of Belfast was one of the founder members of the United Irishmen in Belfast along with Wolf Tone. Henry is mentioned in many books on the subject. He is buried at the old C.O.I. graveyard at Knockbreda Belfast.


Also in this era the Orange Order was founded (1795). There were great problems between the Catholic small farmers and their Protestant neighbours aided and abetted with corrupt magistrates and laws. Competition for land was at a premium. Remember that the Great famine had not as yet taken place and the population of Ireland would have been much greater than even today as many as eight million people.

There were many evictions of Catholics from their property by intimidation and burnings throughout the century especially in the latter half after about 1760.It is well documented. Many of these happenings were carried out by secret Orange gangs such as the "Peep O'Day Boys" who attacked in the early morning and destroyed by burning and pillage. The Catholics created an opposition society called "The Defenders" but did not have much success in defense of their property. Killing and maiming animals was rife.

The Orange Order as we know it today was founded after a "battle" that took place at the village of Diamond near Loughgall Co. Armagh on Sept 21 1795 when the Catholic "Defender" organisation was said to have attacked the Protestants at the Diamond. After this "battle" more likely a skirmish the Protestants decided to organize and formed the Orange order for protection. However there were dreadful atrocities taking place during all these years between Catholics and Protestants. The Diamond is so called because it is simply the meeting of several roads from various directions and the junction is "diamond" shaped. It is near Loughgall Co. Armagh.

However apart from this there were many good neighbourly relations between some especially between Catholics and Presbyterians as their lot was similar. The situation still remains to this day (1995) though to a much lesser extent. The Presbyterians basically became Unionists overnight at one time in their history. One must keep in mind the dissenting Presbyterians known as "Dissenters" who were a most liberal part of the Presbyterian ethos and looked on themselves as Irishmen. Some still do. However their understanding of being "Irish" may well not be the same as that of their fellow Catholic countryman. (See later).

It should be noted that Maynooth College was opened in the year that the Orange Order was founded. It was grant aided by the English government, which would surprise the reader. However as is the case up to this day governments have the great desire when it is expedient to them to placate with money or property any source of trouble to them. I would suggest that at this time because of the "hassle" the Catholic Irish were causing them and also most of their priests and bishops (but not all) they took an expedient route and subsidised Maynooth.A very devious move to placate some and at the same cause divisiveness. How little things change even to this day. Divide and Conquer!






This man is a son of Michael O'Quin and Alish O'Neill and was the male member of the O'Quin family destined to go to Beaghmore and continue the Quinn family line at that place until today. Charles married a Miss McPhelim circa 1790 maybe before or after the family were evicted from their lowland farm.

Let me illustrate the religious situation at that time from confirmed documentation that I have of that period in fact 1770.This story relates to the parish of Tullylish near Gilford Co. Armagh which is not too far from East Tyrone. It shows the power and attitude of the Landlord and their attitudes towards Catholicism and priests.

In an advertisement in the "Belfast Newsletter" dated 6th March 1770 we know that a Father Francis Polin administered to the Catholics of Tullylish near Portadown. Indeed it is quite possible that he celebrated Mass at Mass rocks at Hollymount Clare and Bleary in the area. He would appear to have displeased to local landlord one Richard Johnson of Gilford. The advert reads.


"Any person who in three Kalendar months from the date thereof lodges in any of His Majestys Goals of this Kingdom Francis Polin or otherwise McPolin (a Popish priest of a profligate and abandoned character) charged before me upon oath with a Felony of grevious Nature shall receive an award of Twenty pounds to be paid by Rich'd Johnston Gilford 3rd March 1770"


As well as his attitude to Catholic priests Johnston was also heavily involved in rent racking i.e. putting up rents on his tenants to the maximum they could pay. He also ensured that they give free days labour to him. They also were on short-term leases and to renew their leases they had to pay a renewal charge and as well have the rent raised. Johnston as well as being the landlord was also a magistrate with power to use police or military force if required. The landlords could not lose.


One interesting point to this story is that the reader might simply think that this rent racking was solely imposed on the Catholics of his estate. However the majority of his tenant farmers would have been Presbyterians and Church of Ireland in that area. Yes there would have been some Catholics but most would have been evicted by that time or perhaps doing menial jobs in small linen mills etc.

In fact the relationships between Johnston and his tenant farmers got so bad they formed themselves into a Society called the "Hearts of Steel" men who armed themselves and actually attacked Johnston's Manor House in March 1772.This Manor House or small castle would have been in the middle of the centre of the current Gilford village.

Because attacking the landlord and indeed the system there was great controversy and the local Presbyterian minister at Tullylish at the time one Rev. Samuel Morell (the descendant of a French Calvinist Huguenot planter family who came to Ireland circa 1600) aligned himself with Sir Richard Johnston against the tenants to show his disapproval of their methods.

When the tenants fired on the Manor House of Johnston The Rev. Samuel Morell was with immoral came to the parapet of the castle perhaps to remonstrate with the attackers and was promptly shot either by design or accident.

The Rev Samuel Morell is buried outside the front door of Tullylish Presbyterian Church (slab headstone). When he was killed the Landlord Sir Richard Johnston erected a magnificent marble plaque that is mounted on the wall within the current church saying how much he thought of Morell. He ended up his praise of Morell with the Latin inscription. MANET POST FUNERA VIRTUS. Translated this means " His goodness lives on after his death".


Rev. Samuel Morell was shot 6th March 1772 aged 28.


Richard Johnston was later knighted.


Father McPolin survived and died naturally in 1774.


Itís a funny old world! However a fascinating insight into the politics of the times on which I have documented evidence coming from one side of my own family history which fits so well into the Quinn history as background information on the circumstances of the Quinns eviction which I reckon was 1795 as accurately as I can put it from the evidence at hand.




This was the war that eventually saw the separation of Britain and the newly forming United States. Many Irish also fought in this war. Thousands would have been in the British army and navy. There were also many on the side of the fledgling American armies and navy. Some of the most notable leaders of the Revolutionary army were Irish. Quite a lot were Presbyterians. An ancestor of my own a John Hazlet a Presbyterian minister from Straw near Dungiven gives up his post as minister at Ballykelly goes to Delaware

and farms. He later forms a regiment called Haslets Regiment to fight the British. He helps draft the American Constitution but sadly is killed at the Battle Of Princeton. He is buried at Dover Delaware.


Year 1782 and 1783 A.D.


Volunteer Conventions took place in Dungannon in these two years to demand civil rights for Catholics and parliamentary reform. This was a shown of determination and with military resolve. These conventions were interestingly held in the Presbyterian Church in Scotch Street Dungannon. This is interesting as it shows how close the Catholics and Presbyterians were at that period prior to the 1798 rebellion. However this all came to nothing and soon afterwards sectarian events led to the formation of the Orange Order in 1795.The O'Quins would be living just outside Cookstown at this period.


Years circa 1785-1795 A.D.



I talked to Jack Quinn Beaghmore (Jan 1995) on this facet of family history. In order not to influence his thoughts on a likely scenario I simply listened in the first case in what he had to recount from what he had heard. His account was that Charlie O'Quin was evicted from what is now known as Camerons farm very near the present town of Cookstown on the Moneymore Road. Charlie owned enough land (one of the few Catholic farmers in the area who would have had enough land to entitle him to vote I would imagine). Whatever way he voted or in what election it was in is not known but apparently the landlord got to hear of the way he voted which was against the landlords wishes. Be aware that the secret vote did not come to pass until circa 1872 so the landlord could quite easily find out which way Charles voted.

This story fits very well into the scenario that existed for the Catholic farmers at the time. It was circa 1795 a time when landlordism was at its height. What was happening was that the landlords and their agents were putting up rents as high as they could to keep as high a lifestyle as they could, building massive "big houses" on their estates. This left the farmers at subsistence level. If one fell foul of the landlord he was in grave trouble. At this time in Irish history the landlords could basically do as they liked. They could raise rents, form local militias have people flung in jail as they thought fit. Many landlords would have told their tenant farmers which way and who to vote for and no doubt in many cases could easily find out who each tenant voted for.

It should be remembered that in many cases these landlords would put up the rents of any tenant farmer they had irrespective of religion and they did. However they had great fear of "Popish Priests" and their followers and such people were kept down. With this the landed gentry in their estates had effectively their own parliament-The Irish Parliament in Dublin. This was really a parliament remote from Westminster, which ran its affairs and simply rubber stamped the wishes of the Anglo-Irish estate owners. This state of affairs lasted until 1800 when the Act of Union took place and the Irish Parliament was dissolved and Westminster took over running of all Ireland.


However after listening to various opinions on the reason for Charles eviction I would like to make the following comments which perhaps gives a better understanding of the scene and perhaps be more accurate than the "handed down stories".


In 1793 Catholics who were land freeholders were given the vote and in 1795 the Prime Minister William Pitt dismissed his Irish Viceroy after he had attempted to remove the last of the Penal Laws against the Catholics. The giving of the vote to Catholic Freeholders enraged the Protestants and the dismissing of the Viceroy enraged the Catholics. Jack Quinn refers to Charlesís eviction, as being a voting problem is I would say totally correct. It is possible that the Protestant neighbours of Charles resented the fact that he had land of quality and secondly that he now had the right to vote. The second opinion that I heard was to do with Charles burning houses or property in the town of Cookstown would I think be incorrect and probably misread from the story of an O'Quin who in 1642 was engaged along with Sir Phelim O'Neill in reacting against the Planters in and around Dungannon and Cookstown. Many Planters were burnt out.

Be aware that atrocity and counter atrocity were taking place especially in the counties of Armagh and Tyrone. I have no doubt that Charles was targeted and retaliated but no doubt at the end of the day he lost his land. I have heard that his cattle were spirited away to Beaghmore by neighbours. This would seem rather odd that such an "arrangement" could take place perhaps at short notice. However this can be explained by the fact that there would have been numerous evictions at this time and people would have been well practiced in coming to the aid of an evicted neighbour and retrieving his stock or whatever they could on his behalf. Be aware that in Co. Armagh alone in just two months alone in 1795 some 7,000 Catholics were evicted and driven from the county. Many were to go to the West Of Ireland to Connaght in fact. Many settled near the town of Louisburg Co Mayo. Names such as Durkan are still in the area. I have no doubt that Tyrone being close by would have seen the same problems.

Catholics who were being evicted in many cases had warnings nailed to their doors. They perhaps would have read in the English of the time and the ability of the scribe to write.


"If you bee in this Contry Wednesday Night I will blow your soul to the Low hils of hell And Burn the House you are in"


The message was quite clear.


I feel that the above fairly well sets the scene for Charles O'Quins eviction from his lowland farm. This is that he was the owner of good quality land near the town of Cookstown and that he had perhaps the privilege to vote. He would have been a prime target for the Orange Peep O'Day boys with the tacit or direct approval of at least some of his Protestant neighbours.

It gives us quite an accurate date. It must have been 1795 give or take a year more likely on the plus side. Lets settle for 1795.It cannot be too far wrong.



On looking further at what options he had after eviction there were basically two apart from perhaps heading to the West of Ireland:


1.Emigrate: More than likely at that time to America. Many thousands from about 1750 onwards both Protestant and Catholic did. Many then fought in the American Wars i.e. the Revolutionary War in the middle of the 18th century against the British and later in the American Civil War in the middle of the 19th century. If they had gone as a family it would be more than likely that if they arrived safely they would have ended up in the great cities of the East coast such as New York or Philadelphia and disappeared into oblivion. A friend of mine in the United States who was originally from Co. Tyrone states that he has looked at the emigration patterns from Co Tyrone in early decades and there is a distinctive pattern of the Catholic people from Co. Tyrone favouring the ports and cities of New York and Philadelphia as points of entry and indeed residence in the newly emerging United States. This is an interesting point as it confirms the cities mentioned to me by Jack Quinn.

Most Catholic emigrant farmers fell into this trap whilst their Protestant fellow countrymen took to journeying inland to look for land to farm. Many thousands of Protestants from the northern part of Ireland ended up going through the Cumberland Gap area of the Appalachian Mountains and their descendants are there to this day as names character and music and folklore confirm. I am generalising to a degree but this was the basic pattern. They refer to themselves as Scots Irish with the empathises on the "Scots" i.e. they went to America from Scotland via Ireland.


2:Hang in and try to buy land and restart farming. This is what Charles O'Quin did. It would be almost impossible for him to get good land even if he had enough money to do so. His religion effectively closed that door. It was for the Planter stock or the gentry. All that was left for him was to look for land that could be bought by a Catholic, effectively the harsh mountain high ground that in this case was the adjacent Sperrin mountains of Co Tyrone bordering on Co. Derry at Beaghmore in his case. This is where this family tree takes root.

Talking to Jack Quinn at Beaghmore (Jan 1995) we discussed why Charlie O'Quin (circa 1760-1830) was able to get hold of Beaghmore so quickly ( evictions were fairly prompt happenings!). He related this story.


"Apparently the old farmhouse on the present site of Jacks house which was a low thatched cottage of the period was owned by a man called McElhomn or McElhone. Apparently one night when he was sitting at the fire in an area in what is now the kitchen of the house when he saw a ghost that appeared from the room, which is now the one behind the current fireplace. He was terrified and fled the house and went to his relations or friendís house across the local river. He never came back to the house and decided to sell it. Charlie O'Quin bought it and he and his descendants have been there ever since".


I leave the readers to draw their own conclusions.


Looking at the dates etc of eviction it would be very difficult to say just how many of Charlieís brothers and sisters were taken with him to Beaghmore am of the opinion (Jan 1995) that a possible scenario was that his parents were elderly at the time and he was the son who was the one "running the farm". (As many of the readers will be aware if they are of farming stock there is always the "leader" in a family who have a few sons who "farm the farm"). To me Charlie was the leader and if both or one of his parents were alive they would have also gone to Beaghmore and probably died there though they may have chosen to be buried in their old church in the Cookstown area. From the names that I have of who Charlieís brothers and sisters married i.e. Conways O'Neill McCullagh etc., to me it would appear that these people were already established "in the Sperrins" and the tradition of these families intermarrying started. Basically it was not really a "tradition" but a necessity if they were to survive. They had few friends.



YEAR 1798 A.D.


Thomas Beck was born in Mancetter near Atherstone Warwickshire. He was later to marry a Sarah (or Sally) Lowden and create the "Becks of the Rock" family member descendant Mary Patricia Beck helps create the current Beaghmore Quinn family when she marries Joseph Quinn.


This man was to have a son called John Beck who in a circuitous way ensured that Beaghmore stayed in the hands of the Quinns to this day. See Beck files and later notes.


Rebellion of The United Irishmen.


This was primarily a Presbyterian Organisation drawn primarily from the farming community that rebelled against the government and landlords because of the fact that they were like the Catholics being treated as second-class citizens. The organisation mostly took root in East Antrim Down and also in Wexford. It failed badly and was ruthlessly suppressed. The main battle took place near the town of Antrim and also near Vinegar Hill in Wexford. Many "rebels" were summarily executed. Many fled and emigrated to America and Canada. There were quite a few Presbyterian ministers United Irishmen. One The Rev Robert Porter was in fact hanged and buried at Greyabbey. It should be noted that the name used "United Irishmen" did not solely relate to Presbyterians though they made up the great percentage of the organisation but was really a cover name expressing a "Unitedness" of Irishmen of both Protestant Presbyterian and Catholic belief. A small but important point.

It is reckoned that in total the United Irishmen in Ulster had a membership of about 112,000.The Tyrone membership of The United Irishmen was about 14,000.However when retribution for United Irishman membership took place it took place mostly in Antrim and Down. This rebellion was organised to a great extent by Wolfe Tone himself a Protestant.

There is a small but important point which should be clarified at this point. That is the term "Irish" which is generally used with ease by the Catholic population but with great unease with the Protestant population they trying to hide behind "Ulsterman" and "British" when they have to identify their nationality. This was the era of Wolfe Tone who is something of a hero in Irish history. Tone was in fact a member of the Anglo Irish aristocracy from near Bodenstown Co. Kildare. His ancestors were from the area of Gasgony in France. He had little if any "native Irish" blood. This is a point that has to be faced when looking at the history of Ireland. Most of the people who took up the plight of the native Irish reduced to serfdom were Anglo Irish settler stock from mainland Britain but some had roots ancestors in France.

However in past eras and especially around 1690 the "Scots-Irish" as Presbyterian Scots planters often referred to themselves as found no great difficulty in referring to themselves as being "Irish". They did not really believe in their heart of hearts they imagined themselves to be "native Irish" but that they "were of Ireland" i.e. from the island of Ireland. This aspect is very noticeable when one reads the history of the United States when see numerous references to men who are really Scots planter stock whose ancestors came to Ireland as planters, who were born here generally refer to themselves as "Irishmen". The descendants of the original Scots Irish however started to distance themselves from the "Irish" aspect after about 1840 when the tide of Catholic immigration into the United States started to assume massive proportions. They wanted to maintain their identity as distinct from the Catholic Irish one. Thus they now generally refer to themselves as Scots Irish but are quick to point out that they are really Scots whose ancestors came to America via Ireland.

Year 1801 A.D.


In this year the Irish parliament in Dublin was dissolved and the Act of Union was set up. Henceforth Ireland would be governed directly by the parliament in Westminister. It should be noted that the so-called Irish Parliament in Dublin was really a talking shop for the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland and served little purpose for the native Catholic Irish but could enact laws against them. This was the point where UNIONISM and NATIONALISM could be said to commence. Some 195 years ago.

Another angle to this dissolving of the Irish parliament was to ensure that the main English parliament had total control of Ireland in case the French led by Napoleon decided to attack England via the "backdoor" route via Ireland where she would have had many sympathisers. Note that France and England had gone to war in 1793.This was the opportunism that Wolfe Tone tried to exploit when he got the French to send an invasion fleet to Ireland circa 1798.This was another glorious French failure and subsequently whilst awaiting trial Tone committed suicide. He is buried at Bodenstown Co. Kildare.




Michael married a Mary O'Neill about 1830.The O'Quin family would have now been well established at Beaghmore. The son of this marriage was to be Bernard Quin J.P. who was to be the male member carrying on the Quinn line at Beaghmore.


Years 1820 A.D. onwards.


The anti Catholic feeling eased generally (comparatively) and the Catholic population rapidly increased. In 1829 Catholic Emancipation was enacted which allowed Catholics to take their seats at Westminister and the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown discontinued.

However another cruel blow was to befall them. The Famine of 1847.On speaking to Jack Quinn (Beaghmore end of 1994) he recalls hearing stories from his father of how three men spent all day digging for potatoes in a field at Beaghmore and got a strainer full of potatoes for their trouble. The population of Ireland was increasing rapidly in these years towards nearly twice of what it is now. (1995).




Bernard O'Quin (the letter "O" was beginning to be dropped as Anglisation of Irish names took effect) was born at Beaghmore the son of Michael O'Quin and Mary OíNeill. He was to carry the name on at Beaghmore via his son Joseph Quin (Joe Barney).




A family of Quinns emigrated to Australia. Probably to the Toowoomba area near Brisbane Queensland. A Rose Quinn married there circa 1870 to an Edward Ryan and their daughter Rose Ryan became a nun taking on the name Sister Mary Aquinas Ryan. This Sister M. Aquinas Ryan wrote letters to Father Bernard Louis Quinn in New Zealand circa 1920.She stated that they were cousins.



Years circa 1846-1855 A.D. THE GREAT FAMINE ERA.


In this era the dreadful potato famine reached its peak. This was the single most calamitous event in the recent history of the Irish people. Nearly 2 million died of starvation and poor conditions and many who could afford it emigrated mostly to America and British colonies such as Canada and Australia. As many a 2 million emigrated. It should be noted that there were other famines in earlier years but this one is well documented and in comparatively recent times. There are many simplistic explanations on why the famine happened. The most simplistic one states that "Oh it was because the potato crop failed". A very simple answer. It would suggest that ALL the people in Ireland were just eating potatoes and no meat fish root based crops were available? In fact at the time of the famine the exports from Ireland of meat corn wheat and general crops to England were very high. Food was plentiful but the native peasant farmer did not have its benefit. He had to pay his excessive rent by selling his meat and root crop products.

Debates about who were responsible for the famine are irrelevant. We know who was to blame. No matter how one may contemplate individual details or aspects the essential cause of the Famine was the process of colonisation that had been under way for 700 years. Arguments about the feasibility of aid efforts the role of the Irish landlord class the source of the blight or the consistency of the soup given to the starving Irish victims are irrelevant in the root cause of the problem. Colonisation landlordism exploitation and greed were the root causes. The Irish were in a state of serfdom where basically ALL the food they produced had to go to pay the exploiters. They were left with their patches of potatoes to feed themselves. That was fine to the exploiters as long as the potato crop flourished. It failed badly in around 1847 and the consequences were horrific.

Between 1846 and 1851 the exodus from Ireland reached a peak at times some 10,000 people per week left from all ports around the island. Those who couldn't afford the passage simply died. Kileenan and Dunamore chapel graveyards will have areas where the dead were simply buried in pits. Sadly no memorial stands to them. Would it not be a nice gesture to have such a memorial erected? It is a sobering experience to look at the passenger lists held in the Folk Park at Omagh of the thousands who emigrated. The name Quinn O'Quinn is numerous as are the other names still found in the areas today. Few had trades, most were listed as labourers. They had paid their fare they had little else. All perhaps had hope for a better life in the new worlds. Many hundreds died enroute many died of typhus when they arrived. Many died in such places as Grosse Isle in the St. Lawrence River Canada and are buried in mass graves there. However on the plus side many became successful and carved out jobs and businesses and farmed the new lands. Not too many of this era returned.

The Irish who did survive at home in Ireland were in the main those who owned land. The Quins at Beaghmore and their neighbours survived because even though the potato crop failed (and it did in the Beaghmore area) they had access mostly to poultry and pig meat I should imagine. If you were simply a labourer or had only a small patch of land there were many problems. John Mitchel in his book "Jail Journal" describes with great clarity his experiences in the West of Ireland at that time. Also the book "The Great Hunger" by Cecil Woodham Smith gives great detail on the Famine. Both are worth reading.


A book "The Bell" produced by The Stewartstown and District Local History Society late 1996 (ISSN 0953-1653) produced by local historians gives and excellent and quite well detailed account of the famine in east Tyrone. It would greatly enhance understanding this family tree information. On page 13 there is a photo of the members of the Cookstown Rural District Council circa 1913.One see people named in the family tree i.e. John Quinn of Mucker, Michael Quinn Davagh and J. Doris of Cookstown.

Basically in the era of the famine about 20% of the population of east Tyrone died or at best emigrated. In the Beaghmore immediate about 18% of the population died but in some of the town lands immediately to the east of Beaghmore in the town lands of Ballynasolus (poorer land) as high as 60% died or emigrated. As is stated before if one owned land and could rear poultry or animals then survival was possible without the potato. It should be remembered that the greater percentage of Irish people on the land was basically in serfdom. There were small tenant farmers who basically existed to pay Colonel Stewart the local landlord their rent mostly about #2 per annum a lot in 1847. The small cottiers and labourers had perhaps one eighth of an acre. They grew potatoes on this for food and kept a few pigs to sell to enable them to pay the rent. In many cases they lived with the animals for heat in the colder winters at the end of the 19th century. They were completely at risk from disease and starvation. They were on the whole illiterate. The school system did not exist. A few who could afford it sent their children to the famous hedge schools.

The Cookstown Workhouse prior to the Famine had about 200 inmates. At the peak of the famine it had 847 and overflowing and these were the lucky ones who managed to gain admission. It meant some food of sorts and perhaps life. However to gain entrance to this workhouse one had to be completely destitute i.e. have nothing. If one had any other means of getting some potatoes and buttermilk then they were deemed not to have nothing and did not qualify. In 1847 a James Mullan of Cookstown had NOTHING so he gained entry. If he had a source of some potatoes or buttermilk he would not. However be aware that on the whole Cookstown was basically taking people who were able to get there from the immediate area. If one lived in Kinnigillion or distant from the town then if you could not get food you simply laid down and died. Hundreds would do just that. I have no doubt that the Quinns of the famine era saved many scores of people from death and would have seen horrific scenarios of death by starvation around them.

Cookstown workhouse and such places in many towns in Ireland would have its pauperís graveyard close by. As the people died then they would be simply wrapped up in a few rags and taken by handcart and buried in a communal grave. The current Cookstown Council Offices are on the site of the old workhouse. The old paupers graveyard is close by. In the countryside there would be most certainly famine communal graves at Killenan and Donaghmore churchyards. Sadly they are not as yet marked. In the Coalisland area use was made of basket coffins weaved locally near Lough Neagh. However to all people could afford these simple coffins and and were just buried where they died close to roadsides or primitive dwellings. It would be the same situation as we have seen in recent times in Africa. At least some of the world responded to Africa but few did in the case of Ireland in the middle if the 19th century. This is the main reason why though they may not realise it that the Irish per head in the world give the greatest percentage of money and material to famine relief be it Africa or N. Korea.

Relief committees and soup kitchens were set up at the time to try and help. Many of the better classes were to pay money towards relief. Even the landed gentry the landlords would see fit to contribute to help the starving! A contradiction in terms. One hears of the term "soupers" applied to some families whose name belies their religion i.e. Protestant Donnellys Loughrans and Quinns. There were in many cases situations arising that required one to change ones religion for soup or food to some but not all missionary societies. Hence the term. One could judge the people who changed harshly but it might be prudent to ask what one would do in the circumstances looking at loved ones die of starvation and have some food available at a price.

The greater percentage of emigrants from Ireland went to America and Canada. However many thousands were also to go to Australia (many transported forcibly to Australia) and New Zealand. However be aware that many found their way to many other countries. Many thousands of the exiled soldiers of the O'Neills armies found their way into the armies of France and Austria. Quite a few went to South America. There is still a sizeable Irish population in and around Buenos Aires Argentina at San Antonio de Aricas. However there are small pockets in many other South American countries. Many went south into Mexico as the railroads went west in America. Also many went to South Africa. However America and Canada were the major areas.


Year 1869 A.D.

In this year the Church of England disestablished. This church was rooted in the High Anglican or Established church that was all-powerful at the time of the Plantation.





Joseph was destined to carry on the Quin name at Beaghmore. He married Mary Patricia Beck of The Rock and their son Jack Quinn was born 1911 and he continued the Quinn line to this day.(March 1995).

I note that in the Irish Landowners Book of 1876 that Michael Quin of Broughderg (Davagh) had a land ownership of 721 (seven hundred and twenty one acres) and his rating valuation was 80 pounds.

It should be noted that when Joseph Quin (Joe Barney) married Mary Patricia Beck the "family at Beaghmore" went from being "native Irish" to "Saxon Irish" because of the ancestors of Mary Patricia Beck.




This civil war, fought between the Northern states of America and the Southern states is well documented. Thousands of Irish emigrants both Catholic and Protestant fought on both sides. One such man was Captain Felix Donnelly of the New Jersey Militia from BrackaSlievegalleon in the Sperrins who fought in that war and whose grave I found in the old Catholic cemetery at Kennaght on the high Sperrin plateau near Desertmartin Co. Derry. I have no doubt that other men from the Sperrins also fought in this war. This mans grave is very interesting proof.


Years 1900 A.D. until 1995 A.D.


Year Circa 1903 A.D.


The first Quinn priest that I have been able to trace abroad, a Father Bernard Louis Quinn son of Mick Quinn of Davagh, leaves from Mission College at Foy France for New Zealand. He administers at many places including Meanee Wellington and most importantly at Christchurch where he has a major input is setting up the first Catholic secondary College in the South Island of New Zealand. Sadly his health gives way and he dies aged 44 near Sydney where he has gone for health reasons. He is buried at Hunters Hill the Marist cemetery near Sydney. He never returns to Ireland or his beloved Cookstown of which he writes so often off. A large dossier of material on this man is in the possession of the author (Aemar Higgins) should anyone in the extended family like information on him. Tony Quinn, who lives in Christchurch, sent his sons Paul and John to the college he founded - St.Bedes in Christchurch.





In this year the most senior member of the Quinn family alive (mid 1995) and living at the Beaghmore old home was born i.e. Jack Quinn who gave me so much information for this history. Without the input from Jack this history could not really have been written in such detail.


Years 1914-1939.A.D.


The period 1914-1918 sees the First World War in Europe. Thousands of Irish both Catholic and Protestant fight in the British army. Many of the Catholic soldiers believe that by doing so and by "promises" made they might help the advancement of freedom for the Irish nation. How wrong they were. The Easter Uprising against England takes place in 1916 and a Proclamation of Independence is read in Dublin. Ireland declared a Republic.

1919-1921 the Anglo Irish war leading to Partition creating the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. The Government of Ireland Act decrees that there be two Irish Parliaments.

The Irish Civil War in the newly created Irish Free State 1922-1924.This leaves a bitterness in the Republic of Ireland still around to this day.

One may wonder after having read so far much about bad relations between Catholic and Protestant in previous generations that perhaps by 1920 things would have changed"!. How wrong they would have been.

In 1920 a Protestant man called Alexander was running an extensive wholesale egg business at Corhoney about 4 miles from Cookstown. He employed a couple of Catholics as workmen. This did not go down well with the local Protestants. They threatened him many times. They sent him a letter in October 1920 as follows.

"Take notice that if any Sinn Feiner or Roman Catholic is found in your employment after the 13th day of November 1920 he or they will be shot without further notice. Should you not comply with this notice your own life and property shall be in danger after that date. This is the one and only warning. We will be swift to act. Remember Lisburn.

(Signed) The Red Hand of Ulster."


How little things change. Alexander was attacked in early November and nine shots fired. However Alexander stuck to his ethos and re-employed the men again at a later hiring fair.

I would imagine it was not perhaps much to do with his great open mindedness but more to do with his keeping in with the Catholics so that he could collect and sell their eggs. It would be nice to be wrong! Anyway this gives a very good insight into the relations between Catholic and Protestant generally at the time when the newly formed N. Ireland state was shortly to be created.



Year 1937 A.D.

Joseph Quin (Joe Barney) receives a medal from the King (George VI) on the occasion of the Coronation. He receives a letter from Buckingham Palace (which states that the medal is to be worn in Commeration of Their Majestyís Coronation 12th May 1937). One wonders if Joe Barney actually wore it on that day! I would imagine that this medal was primarily given for his work as a tax collector as an Official in The Inland Revenue and his work as a J.P.


Years 1939-1945 A.D.


The period of the Second World War.


Years Circa 1939-1950 A.D.


Just before the outbreak of World War II Rev Charles Quinn (1913-1980) leaves Ireland for service as mission priest in Auckland New Zealand. He is to be followed after the war in 1947 by his brother Rev. Michael Quinn (1918-1985) also to administer in Auckland. Both men die there. An earlier priest Father Bernard Louis Quinn was in New Zealand before them just after the turn of the Century administering mostly in Christchurch. However he dies in Australia and buried at Hunters Hill Sydney.

In 1949 the former Irish Free States declares itself a Republic severing its ties with the British Commonwealth. The Irish Republic is born.




Jack Quinns son Michael Quinn born at Beaghmore. Later married Yvette McMaster. The birth of a male heir in Michael Quinn was a very important event to ensure that the name Quinn had the potential to be carried on at Beaghmore into the 21st century and hopefully beyond.




Tony Quinn and his wife Valerie and their two children leave England for New Zealand. Valerie born England as are their two sons Paul and John, They settle in Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand. Unlike earlier Quinns going to New Zealand they fly there a journey of about 24 hours if done directly. In older times the sea journey on a liner could have taken a month or five weeks and perhaps a week by piston engined airliner via the States.





Brain Quinn and his wife Noreen and their two children leave Belfast and go to New Zealand finally residing at Rotorua in the North Island of that country. Their two children Clare and Conor also go with them. All this family born Ireland.





Michael Quinn son of Michael Quinn and Yvette McMaster born at Beaghmore. This is the youngest male descendant of Michael O'Quin born 1725.Some 270 years ago! A young man with an exceptional recorded family link from Michael O'Quin 1725.





Rita Quinn of Beaghmore family (Mrs. Gregory McGale) and her husband Gregory and their four children all bore Ireland leave for New Zealand. Family settles in Rotorua in the North Island of that country.


Note: Because of the speed of air travel most of New Zealand Quinns make journeys home to visit in the 1980's and 1990's.Rita McGale makes her second visit home for the month of July 1995.I will leave them and others to add dates etc.




Jack was the most senior male member of the extended Quinn family dies in January.(See my comments later).His son Michael also of Beaghmore takes on the mantle of Head of the Extended Quinn family.




Ann Marie Jackson daughter of Marie McElduff (Nee Jackson Nee Quinn) heads off for New Zealand in February 1996.She is a nurse by profession and initially goes to Auckland to work in a hospital there. I spook to her at Jack Quinn's funeral at Beaghmore and wish her well.


Year 1997.


Rita McGale (Nee Rita Quinn Beaghmore and Ann Marie Jackson her cousin) came home for a short visit in March. Rita primarily to see her mother Teresa (Nee Loughran) who had not been too well and Ann Marie to see her folks and keep Rita company. Their journey by air circumnavigates the Globe.

In mid 1997 Michael Quinn at Beaghmore erects the new stone gate pillars.

Clare Quinn daughter of Brian and Noreen Quinn leaves New Zealand to work at Bunbury south of Perth in Western Australia in an agricultural station after completing her university studies.


Recent World history is well documented from 1900 onwards and the reader is left to pursue it if more detail is required. There are still people alive born circa 1910 who well recall the events of their lifetime and I would earnestly advise their sons and daughters to talk to them and make notes. A lot happened in the so called modern world between 1900 and 1995.This span of years is rich in family history that later generations would appreciate.

There are many young members of the extended Quinn and McGale families in New Zealand and I have no doubt in years ahead perhaps 50 or 60 or even 100 years further on they will ask "What are my ancestral roots?" This family tree would be a good starter. In my own family research I get numerous letters from Australians and New Zealanders and well as Americans and Canadians trying desperately to get a scrap of information on even ancestors such as grandfathers. Someone some day will ask the questions we here at home take for granted.


I hope that the previous rather brief summary history will make the reader appreciate just why there are " problems" in Northern Ireland. One hears many simplistic explanations as to the cause of "the Troubles". The causes are very obvious and all to do with land dispossession in the case of the "native Irish" and possession by unwarranted grant in the case of the possessors basically the Planters and settlers who could get Irish land for very low prices in the 16th and 17th century. This combined with Catholicism and Protestantism giving a very lethal cocktail.



In any family tree there are always "key people" who because of their profession, status or perhaps behaviour in life generally become well known to descendants as information is passed down through generations either in the written word but more generally by word of mouth. That does not mean to say that everyone is not equal in a family tree. However as is known notoriety breeds notoriety as publicity generates publicity in the modern world. I will mention a few that I consider interesting and important to this family tree. The most important member of the extended family who contributed to the creation of this small history being Jack Quinn.




The present owner of Beaghmore Jack Quinn and his wife Teresa (Nee Loughran) contributed greatly to the creation of this document. Jack is the oldest male Quinn alive whose memory recalls way back to the 1920's and can also recall stories handed down to him via has father from earlier generations. Without Jacks recollections and his ability to supply key points that enabled me to do some research into what documentation is available from key sources then this history would have had but little interest to many. His willingness to supply family history and allowing me to look at old letters etc is acknowledged as his enthusiasm for the project. His has been the major contribution to this small history and this is also acknowledged.


2nd.Jan 1996:


Sadly the death of Jack Quinn of Beaghmore (the husband of Teresa Loughran) leaves us all stunned and saddened. Jack was the last of the "old generation" males at Beaghmore. He died doing what he loved doing "walking his land" along the banks of the Owenkillew.

Hundreds of people from far and wide visit his home and attend his funeral service at St Mary's Dunamore that was attended by a massive crowd. His remains are carried by relations and friends from his home "to the edge of his land" near the Beaghmore Stone Circles on the Blackrock Road and then driven to the chapel at Dunamore.


On a personal note I would like to pen the following.


I only really got to know Jack Quinn well during the past two years when I started this project. I recall his great enthusiasm for it and his willingness to give me so much detail. He was aware that his family roots were indeed deep and extended long into the past in Beaghmore and the lowlands of Co. Tyrone. He got immense pleasure from seeing his family tree unfold before him as it was structured on a computer. He above all wanted some history be written down for future generations and that the current generation would realise their fine history. He was frustrated that current members of his extended family were not too aware of their history. He made this point to me on many many occasions. A start has been made.


Farewell my friend I will always recall the yarns you told me and your figures of speech, your turn of phrase, your vitality, your Nationalism, your zest for life. Above all your expressions "Do ya know what I'm going to tell ya" heralding the preamble for a good yarn or more family history recollections. From you we all learned a lot.


I understand our history - I understand your feelings.


May you rest peacefully in eternity.








Here are some notes taken from the book "Lower Killevey-Ireland Outlines of Their History" by Rev Louis O'Kane B.D. C.C. Bessbrook. There is also I am told a book called "Shenaghia Armagha" by a Father Bradley in existence which has notes on the S. Armagh diocese and Canon Quinn. However not been able to access this as at Oct. 1995.


Page 31: Then came Rev. Charles Quin whose pastorship for almost 51 years has become legendary. He was appointed here from Armagh where he had been administrator in April 1874.He died on May 4th 1925.In the course of these notes I shall have a lot to relate to this truly very great man.


Page 41: Mr. J.N.Richardson was elected as Liberal M.P. for Co Armagh in 1880.On the announcement of the result a large crowd awaited Mr. Richardson on the outskirts of Bessbrook, his carriage was unhorsed and was drawn by his delighted supporters to Charlement Square where there was a very enthusiastic meeting followed by a display of fireworks. Both the Bessbrook Flute band and the Holy Family Brass band were present. Father Quin P.P. publicly thanked Mr. Richardson for his voluntary abatement of rent on his estate. This was in striking contrast to the action of the other landlords in the district.

In 1882 Mr. Parnell founded the "Irish National League" to help him in advancing the cause of Home Rule and to advocate further reform in the Irish land laws. Rev. Charles Quinn P.P. was appointed President of the Camlough branch.


Page 42:The greatest meeting of the National League was held in Camlough in 1884 on Whit Sunday in spite of the ban by the authorities to be enforced by the presence of troops of the 16th Lancers and 450 R.I.C. from various parts of Ireland.

When Mass ended at Carrickruppen church Rev. Charles Quin P.P. addressed the congregation from the altar and urged his hearers to assemble in McQuaids field near Camlough R.I.C. barracks to show the English government that Irishmen were no longer to be trodden upon and subdued at will. In a vigourous speech at the meeting Fr. Quinn said that "no man had the right to interfere with the liberty of a people as the Lord Lieutenant had done and he for his part would resist the insulting proclamation that had been dispatched to his parish by the bloodthirsty combination called the government...the war with landlordism must go on until tyranny received its "quietus". Several other speakers addressed the meeting and there was great enthusiasm in the village that was decorated for the occasion. Mr. Carey Co. Inspector R.I.C. and Mr. Hamilton R.M. arrived with a large force of police and military.

Mr. Carey asked Father Quin if he would give his pledge as a clergyman and a gentleman that there would be no further meetings because if he could not do that he (Carey) would be forced to give an order to his men to attack but this he did not want to do against unarmed men and women. Father Quinn retorted that he could not give such a pledge and that if the demonstrators wished to go to the grounds of his house he could not or would not prevent them since they owned them.

Taking the hint the demonstrators went to the Parochial House where another very successful meeting was held and against which the authorities did not interfere.


Page 45: A convention to chose a parliamentary candidate for South Armagh in 1918 was held at Lislea and presided over by Canon Quintet 129 delegates present were unanimous in their choice of Mr. Patrick Donnelly who was opposed by Dr.P.MacCartan a Sinn Fein nominee and Mr. Thomas Wakefield an unofficial Unionist. The election took place in January 31st and Mr. Donnelley was elected.

Canon Charles Quin celebrated his 85th birthday by making a most eloquent speech on the declaration of the Poll.


Page 49: In 1892 the executors administering the properties of Mr. John C. Richardson brought 109 processes for rent arrears and eviction to the court in Newry presided over by Judge Kisby. On the day of the hearing Very Rev. Canon Quin P.P. appeared in the court and offered to defend the tenants. His honour assented. For the 8 or 9 years previous the Canon pointed out most of the tenants had been allowed a 20% reduction but when the executors took control they refused this concession with the result that the tenants did not pay at all. To add misfortune to the case the death in June 1893 of a Mr. J. Doyle a merchant of Camlough who died intestate had given out goods to the value of 8,000 pounds. His property went into chancery and as an order was made for the collection of his debts his creditors farmers of the area had to pay up. Thus the money that might have gone into the pockets of Mr. Richardson was diverted to another place. All the tenants wanted was time said the Canon and they would pay to the last penny.

The judge thanked Canon Quin for telling him the facts in terms much clearer and briefer than the tenants could have done. He could not overlook the extraordinary amount of the arrears but in deference to the plea of their pastor he would accept their promise to pay the arrears by installments beginning in the following November.


Page 55:Canon Quin published in May 1917 a copy of the letter he had sent to Mr. John Dillon in which the Canon had criticised the Archbishop of Dublin Most Rev. Dr. Walsh for his anti Home Rule comments on the occasion of the Longford election when the Sinn Fein candidate defeated his Home Rule opponent by a majority of 37.


Page 64:By March 1874 when Father McKevitt died the fabric of S.S. Peter and Paulís church at Bessbrook was completed but it was left to his successor Father Charles Quin to furnish the interior. He set about his task with zest and by 1875 he was in a position to have it solemnly dedicated by the Primate Most Rev. Dr. McGettigan on June 6th.The special preacher at the dedication was Very Rev. Dr. M. Logue at the Irish College Paris and later Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh. During the High Mass members of the Holy Family Brass band rendered selections. A special train brought visitors from Armagh and Portadown and after the ceremonies dinner was given to over 200 guests by Father Quenched had a large marquee erected in the grounds of his temporary parochial house in Camlough and dinner was served there. There was no parochial house in the parish at that time and when Father Quin came here he had to live in an hotel in Newry for several months until he rented a house in Camlough. Before many years had passed he had erected three parochial houses.

No sooner than he had completed Bessbrook church than this young and most energetic pastor commenced the erection of another church this time at Lislea. He was just over 40 years when he came to the parish but in the 13 years he had been in the mission since his ordination in 186 he had shown his undoubted ability as an organiser and as a collector of church funds. In the 9 years he had been in Armagh he had personally collected thousands of pounds for the Cathedral.

Due to illness brought on by his labours in collecting for the new church at Lislea the reverend pastor was unable to be present at its dedication to the Sacred Heart in 1879.With the amount taken up at the special collection on that day the parish was completely free from debt.

Not long did this dynamic priest rest from his labours. In the period from 1879 until 1890 he had erected three parochial houses reconstructed St Malachys church at Carrickruppen built two schools and two residences for their teachers and to pay for all this work he had personally collected in his own parish and in the parish of Newry. This truly great priest collected over 20,000 pounds and this in 16 years. By 1904 he had erected yet another school and teachers residence at Bessbrook and he had purchased a new residence for himself.

Probably his most impressive work was the erection of that most noble building on its most imposing site the Convent of Mercy Bessbrook. His eminence Cardinal Logue came to Bessbrook in 1902 and laid the foundation of the very imposing convent that crowns Maghernahely hill.

On Christmas morning 1903 Canon Quin celebrated the first Mass in the convents new chapel and by 1906 due to the magnificent efforts of the Sisters and the parochial clergy Bessbrook convent was completely free from debt.

Talking to me at Beaghmore (Jan 1995) Jack Quinn was recalling this man. He and his brother the late Father Charlie were at the ages of around five or six out fishing in the river at Beaghmore when their Uncle Canon Charles Quinn caught quite a good fish. They hid it in a pool from him. However he was greatly displeased with them and the loss of the fish. So in order to reclaim the fish he went and got a spade and drained the pool! Apparently he was a physically imposing and indeed a very forceful man as one gathers. Just the type of man to deal with landlords and magistrates of the period. He did a lot for the people of S. Armagh in this matter and in building schools and chapels.

In my opinion this was an older generation Quinn family member that knew well his history and applied himself within parameters to redress the situation.





The fact that I was able to get so much information on this man at all is very simple. Talking to Jack Quinn (Beaghmore) one day late 1994 I simply heard him in a passing comment mention a Bernard Louis Quinn who was a son of Mick Quinn of Davagh/Cookstown. This interested me very much as there is a very strong tie up with New Zealand with the Quinn family. Information on him was then obtained from Maureen McKeown the daughter of the Mrs. McKeown (of Belfast). Maureen is the last survivor of this family. Mrs. McKeown was Father Bernard Louisís sister Mary Kate Quinn.

To cut a long story short I researched the man and have copies of lots of his correspondence from New Zealand and Australia. The correspondence is very interesting. It is basically the story of an Irish mission Marist priest circa late 19th century going to New Zealand.Sadly he died in a sanatorium near Sydney Australia where he had been sent from New Zealand to recuperate. He died at only 40 years of age. His correspondence is a remarkable insight into many aspects of the life of an Irish Marist missionary at the time. The copies of his correspondence etc was obtained from the Marist fathers in Dublin and their Father Corcoran was very helpful in my research and thanks is noted. He was not a little surprised that someone should turn up looking for information of one of their missionary staff of so many years ago. Father Louis Quinn is buried in the Marist cemetery at Hunters Hill in Sydney Australia. Reading his mail back home to his parents and sisters is a revelation. After he left Ireland he never returned and not too long after he arrived in New Zealand his parents and two brothers died in Cookstown.

In early March 1995 I had much more information and detail passed to me by the Archivist from the Marist seminary in Wellington New Zealand. I have thus a very complete dossier on Father Bernard Louis Quinn and it is very interesting. One of his main contributions to his short life as a mission priest in New Zealand was the great contribution he made in collecting in a period of two years in the South Island of New Zealand sufficient funds to build the Catholic Secondary College at Christchurch called St. Bedes. Little did he know that some 70 years later two other related Quinns in Christchurch Paul and John Quinn sons of Tony Quinn and Valerie Lewis would attend this college. Small world. He was one of the first of two teachers there in 1914 when the school opened with 14 pupils. He had spent two years touring the South Island of New Zealand collecting for the new school.

From comments in various documents on hand it is seen that Bernard was very well liked and a very good sports instructor. He coached the cricket team that was very successful. He also ran the school soccer team.

When I talked to Joseph Quinn of Gort Co. Galway (Feb 1995) he was sure that there were indeed Quinns in Australia. This was interesting to hear. Also there were Dinghies in America and some of their descendants had been to Ireland in recent years.

When he was in New Zealand though the Marist mission were doing well in New Zealand they were doing poorly in Australia. Bernard took it upon himself to write to the superiors of the Marists in France (it is noted that he wrote in French) telling them that he was of the opinion that there was not really enough effort being put into the Marist mission in Australia. This letter resulted in changes that in fact ensured that the Marists became a lot more successful there. This was a very important communication. It was at the time being argued in the Marist circles in Europe that in fact Australia would be a poor place to upgrade as a mission field. He proved them wrong.





This was the most interesting character to my mind in the Beck side of the extended family. Here are some notes on him that I have collected.


Info: From McLysaghts book "The Surnames of Ireland" the following information.


"BECK=An English name (of four distinct derivations) which occurs in medieval Irish records now mainly found in Ulster. According to O'Donovan it is an Anglicized form of O'Beice."


It should be remembered however that going further back this name was Anglo-Saxon from northern Europe.

A local researcher a David Beck of Portrush Co. Antrim advised me that he had done extensive research into the Irish Becks and states the first Beck that he has been able to identify in Ireland was a John Beck who settled in the Mullaghbrack area of Co. Armagh circa 1605. This about the time of the Planter families coming into Ireland.


The name Beck is still seen today (1995) in countries such as Denmark (where it is numerous) Germany Belgium and the Netherlands. In the European football championships of 1996 held in England one of the Danish International players was a Michael Beck!. Does this not help prove the source of the name? This would confirm the Anglo-Saxon root of the name. The name probably means "bridge" when translated. The name Beck in Ireland is found mostly in the northern part but there is a small group in the Cavan area. There are also groups in Portallington and Thomastown and Cork areas. There is a group of Becks in the Kilkenny area who are Catholic and a group in Tipperary and Carlow who are mostly Church of Ireland.

Research by a David Beck of Portrush advises me that there are three main groups in England. No doubt the Atherstone family were from one of these. Some of the Becks in the north of Ireland are stated to come from the Netherlands. This would suggest a possible entry into Ireland at the time of the battle of the Boyne in 1690.


However in the case of the Becks of The Rock near Cookstown Co.Tyrone the name is sourced from the Beck family in Atherstone Warwickshire England via Thomas Beck born Atherstone Warwickshire England 1798.


The Beck family were a family of saddlers and perhaps butchers in the town of Atherstone Warwickshire England. See copies of Kellyís book on Atherstone for 1916.Atherstone is a very ancient town thought to have been a Saxon settlement in earlier times. Its main street called Long Street was part of the old Roman Road called Watling Street. Also see a letter from a Mr. Norman the Secretary of St. Marys Council in Atherstone, which contains some very interesting information on the Becks.

Warwickshire is approx in the "middle" of England. The main cities being Birmingham and Coventry. It is near the border with Leicestershire between Nuneaton and Tamworth.

In the "Doomsday" book it is called "Aderstone" and in other ancient records "Edredestone" and "Aldredstone". In 1868 part of the "Street" was excavated and some of the old Roman paving stones were found. Some were cemented together and had the tracks cut for the chariot wheels. See photocopied information in the relevant "Beck" folder. I feel the Becks were in Atherstone from the Middle Ages.


Here is a translation of a letter approx 165 years old from a Sergeant Thomas Beck an English soldier from Atherstone Warwickshire back to his father in that town. He was at the time stationed at Gibraltar. The original of this letter was in the possession of a Malachy Doris a descendant relation and I obtained a photocopy of it from Paddy Falls in 1993.Malachy Doris since dead.

A Sally Lowden who appears to have been from the south Derry area was Thomas Becks wife. She would appear to have been from Castledawson or Magherafelt. Thomas Beck was garrisoned there at a time and married Sally then was sent to Gibraltar. From here he wrote to his father in Atherstone to persuade him buy him out of the Army.


I have looked at this letter and have put down what I can clearly read off it. The signature is different from the main script that makes me think that Thomas paid an army "writer" to actually write the letter and he simply signed it. This is only an opinion but writers were available in the services as a rank until recent years. The rather laboured language suggests that perhaps Thomas could not really express himself to well or perhaps well enough and the writer could not express it in suitable English. Be aware that Thomas had enlisted as a soldier aged 16 years of age so at best he would only have had a very basic education of the time circa 1806-1814.

It has been translated with some difficulty both because of its age and state and the use of old English and the phraseology in use at that time. As I go along I will put in the equivalent known modern word where it is understood or perhaps add a few words of comment in square brackets.

At the end I will give a summary as I see it. Note that it is my summary as seen through my eyes and may not be what another reader may interpret from the letter.


To set the scene it is known that Thomas Beck was.


A. An English soldier of Corporal rank at the time of his death in the 43rd Reg. Lt. Infantry from a place called Atherstone in Warwickshire. When he had the letter written in 1823 he had in fact some years earlier as a 16 year old enlisted in the army for (later for life-see files) and he perhaps realised the mistake he had made. However it would be impossible to determine his reasons for his desperate need to leave the army. There would appear to have been great pressure from his wife if one takes the plea in his letter as true.


B. He had been garrisoned at one stage at Castledawson Co. Derry, Ireland as it then was. It is thought that this where he met Sally Louden.


C. He held the rank of Corporal at the time of his death though he was signing himself as Sergeant. See later comments.


D. He married a girl called Sarah (Sally) Lowden thought to be from around the immediate area of Castledawson or Magherafelt. The name when one looks at the current phone directory suggests that the main "group" of Lowdens are presently in the Ballymoney/Dervock/Magherafelt area. No doubt that they would have been there also in the 1830's.There may be variant spellings of the name i.e. Louden or Lowden.


E. He died very young when his troopship floundered on its way home from Gibraltar to England in 1823.Perhaps attacked by pirates of which he speaks in his letter or perhaps his ship floundered in a storm. He wrote of bad storms in his letter.


F. Thomas Beck and Sally Lowden had one son called John Beck who married a Margaret Quinn. John Beck lived circa 1820-1900 and his wife Margaret lived 1839-1918.

This was the union that produced Mary Patricia Beck who married Joseph Quinn the grandparents of Tony, Maureen (my wife) and Brian Quinn. Also of Marie Monica Rita and Michael Quinn.


Here is the translation of the letter (see photocopies of actual letter) from Thomas Beck a soldier in the 43rd. Reg. Light Infantry to his father in Atherstone Warwickshire. He was garrisoned at Gibraltar at that time.


Note full stops and capital letters have been inserted to enable the reader to make sense of the letter more quickly.





Gibraltar 4th Feb 1823.


Dear Father and Mother,

I take the pleasure of writing a few lines unto you hoping that this will find you all in good health as this leaves me very well but lowe [low] in spirits on acount [account] that I cannot hear from ither [either] you or my wife. Father I ham [am] afraid that you will not suckseed [succeed] in procuering my liberty .If that you do not I ham [am] afraid that if we do not get together that she will do some mischiefe [mischief] so pray dear friends do what you can in that respect. I know that I have been an undutiful son to you but I ask forgiveness for my past trespas [trespass] against you and never will I disobey your commands again. Father and mother I have once more to ask a favour of you which I trust you will do for your undutiful son Thomas Beck tho [though] I have so often disobeyed you I trust you for my dr [dear] wifes sake that you will if in case that you do not suckseed [succeed] in procuring my liberty asist [assist] her in getting to me if that she comes it will certainly be doing me a grait [great] deail [deal] of good. So pray for Gods sake asist [assist] her I would wish to get to be with my wife on abound that when I lay in that town that I was beloved by the whole town at large and how the people say see how that man behaves to his wife which was the admired by the whole town when he lay here and that makes her so unasy [uneasy] in her mind that I ham [am] afraid that she will do herself some injury. She said in her last letter to me that rather than remain there she should wish to be dead. So pray do what you can for her it will costing agrait dail [a great deal] to bring her to me there is been several woman come since that we have been here and their paysage [passage] cost them betwixt six and seven pounds this is a fine place for women they can get twelve and ten dollars a month and their dyat [keep] to assist in gentlemens families there is such call for women that I never saw. There is been agrait [a great] storm there with a continual rain for six days and nights and never ceaised [ceased] at all at made the dreadfullest rocking [wrecking] amongst the shipping that ever was known. The harbour consists of bad ancoridge [anchorage] ground their ancors [anchors] draw forty three ships and brigs have been racked [wrecked] in this harbour and in the Straits of Gibraltar there is been about seven sunk and never seen more there is been many sailors drowned in the harbour but know [no] ships sunk to the bottom but one and that had twenty hands on bord [board]. There is been agrait [a great] ---------------sailors washed on the beech [beach] from the say [sea] cast [because?] it rained for this past fortnight scarcely ceased but it is fine this day and has all apearance [appearance] to remain so. I dont know when you will get this letter for our packet [mail boat home to England] has had the misfortune to be racked [wrecked] amongst the rest and the packet that should abey [be] in England by this time it is expected that it is took by the pirates and we do not know for truth as yet. Give my love to my brothers and sisters and to all my relations and friends remember me to Mr and Mrs Boston William Shilcock Thomas Corsby Joseph Dent???? and family Joseph Biddle and family send me word how my brother Frank wife and family is and my sister Amy and husband is --- and wife and how my brother Joseph is coming on you will give my love to them all and to my brother John and let me know in -------- how he is married to as I have ------ of seeing any of you at present here is my ------------ all [There appears to be a sketch here].Father I have another thing to ask of you that is to get a letter rate [written] and send to me say --------and --mother is getting ----- and might ---- this ------ and as and my brother was ------- you would wish to have the ------------------that you might be able to dis------- what ----- is and that if ------- you ---- by --------- and by your so doing will cause ---------------- a recruiting where my brother is get --------the letter ---- you -----------------that you will keep my wife to get to me if ---------I cannot be got with her write immediatley and say that if I dont wish to leave the army that if I could get a forlough and come home for a little and I will show the letter to the Colonel and hear what he says ----------to my wife if you please what you are doing I remain your ever loving son till death

Thomas Beck Sergt 43 Regt.





On the top of the letter written as a postscript it is thought is the



** And I say that you would be glad that if I did not get my discharge if ------ could get my wife with me that you would be happy then I will show the Colonel the letter when it comes.**


Another written line along the side of page 1.

** Father I trust in you with respect to my wife **


The letter would appear to have been a folded letter and perhaps not in an envelope.

The address is as follows.



From Thomas Beck Segt.43 Regt.Lt.Infantry.


Soldiers letter.

To;William Beck.

Long Street.





On the left hand side of the letter is some writing that is impossible to read. However I can see "43 Reg" and perhaps "Lt Col---------"It would be interesting to see what it says. Perhaps commanders name etc.


I have looked at this letter and see that the signature of Thomas Beck is in a different hand from the main text and address of the letter. This to me suggests that the letter was probably written by what may well have been an Army "Writer" of the time i.e. a rank that wrote all the communications to be sent back to London or where ever. Thomas simply signed it. It should be noted that the rank of "writer" was in use in the Navy until recent times i.e. effectively a clerk. The way it is written suggests that Thomas was having difficulty getting his feelings and requirements across to a second person who was simply paid to write "words" not put across in accurate expression Thomas's problem with his love life.

In the letter that he wrote (see text) he is begging his parents to forgive him for "trespass" and being an "undutiful" son. It should be noted that he was only 16 years of age when he joined the army so had he really be rash and indeed ran off. However he would appear to have done this along with his cousin or perhaps his brother John. Was there perhaps a family row and two sons left? There is the possibility that the "trespass" against his father could be because he married a Catholic in Ireland i.e. Sarah Louden would be fairly certain the she would have been a Catholic and he a Protestant. However I have no proof.

In the army he was garrisoned at Castledawson Co. Derry Ireland at a time prior to his being sent to Gibraltar. He married a girl called Sally Lowden who was perhaps a local girl in the vicinity of Castledawson. There are quite a few Loudens in the Ballymoney. Magherafelt area to this day and the name is fairly unique to this area. There was according to Peter Bryson (a cousin of mine who lives in Magherafelt) until recent times a butcher called Pat Joe Louden in Magherafelt. So here is confirmation that there were people called Louden in the vicinity. Also this man was a Catholic which is interesting.

The only son born to Thomas Beck and Sally Louden called John married a MARGARET QUINN.

The whole linking of Quinns/Becks/Falls and Higgins is quite incredible as one sees when looking at respective family trees.

When he was in Gibraltar he desperately wanted to get out of the army and was as can be seen from the letter trying to get his father to buy him out or write a "sob story" letter back to him so that he could show his colonel and at least get a furlough home to be with his wife. In this case he would not really want to leave the army! However fate either due to shipwreck/weather or pirates sealed his fate and he never did make it back home.


It would appear that soldiersí wives were allowed to travel to Gibraltar and get jobs as servants. The quality of the writing and grammar falls off as the letter progresses especially in the area where he is really trying to get some sort of arrangement sorted out with his father to get either bought out of the army or at least a furlough home. He had difficulty of expressing himself in this area of the letter.

The son of the union between Thomas Beck of Atherstone Warwickshire and Sally Lowden produced a son John Beck. I have talked to Jack Quinn (Jan 1995) on how the connection between this John Beck and The Rock place was established. On general reflection here is as I see it at (Feb 1995).

After Thomas the father was lost at sea what I think happened from what I can deduce from the circumstances above and from bits and pieces I have heard from extended family members was as follows.

John went with his mother Sally initially went to work at the home of a Planter family at Stewartstown Hall where she would have been a servant. Her young son John is said to have got the job there as a stable boy. They later went to Drum Manor a large estate house near the town of Cookstown am basing this on the fact that when Thomas Beck her husband was writing home to her from Gibraltar he was suggesting Sally that she should come to Gibraltar and get a job as a servant in Gibraltar. As far as I know Drum Manor house was owned by people called Close. In recent times the house and surroundings are I think National Trust property. It is possible that John grew up here and later married Margaret Quinn of the Rock in an arranged marriage when she was 16 years old. The ownership of the Rock business (publicans and farmers) would appear to have been by a family called Quinn and Margaret was their daughter. John Beck would appear to have married this Margaret Quinn and then they took over the place and the name "The Becks of The Rock" was established. I have not been able to establish positively that these Quinns at The Rock were related to the Beaghmore Quinns though they may have been circuitously via the Falls family (Feb 1995).


On further research (Jan 1995) I obtained photostats of the records of the 43rd Regt. Light Infantry and these yielded some excellent information. Here is the information taken off the papers.


In War Office (WO) Record sheet WO 25.386. Pro XC/21719 which is a Description Book of the 43rd Light Infantry (a logbook of soldiers who enlisted) there are two Becks from Atherstone Warks. John and Thomas. Here are their details. We will look at Thomas Beck first as he is the important one in the family tree.






Under entry 113 Thomas Beck. Height at enlistment (he was 16 when he joined this regiment) was 5 foot 7 inches tall. At the age of 24 years he was 5 feet 8 inches tall. His complexion was fair his eyes were blue his hair was light brown. His "visage" (face shape) as long. He was born at Atherstone Warks in the parish of Atherstone. His trade prior to joining the army was a "sawyer" (a person who saws wood i.e. he probably worked in a saw mill cutting timber). He enlisted in this regiment on 6.4.1814 for 7 years and later enlisted for life at Dublin 29.11.1820.He was enlisted by a Corporal Taylor. The comment on his "visage" is of interest, as the Becks would appear from what photos I have seen of them so have distinctive "visages" i.e. longish face shapes.

The end for Thomas came (refer to WO document WO 12/5580 XC 21447 Muster Roll) towards the end of October 1823 when the troopship he was traveling back to England sank without trace enroute from Gibraltar to England. There is a handwritten entry on this sheet stating that Corporal Thomas Beck along with four others "Supposed to be lost at sea on the 31st December 1823". However across the sheet is another note which states that their pay was to be "disallowed" as from 25th October being the date that it was ascertained they were lost. So the conclusion I would take from this was that they were either known to be lost or had been overdue for a given period on their arrival date. So death by drowning looks to me to have been somewhere between the middle and end of October 1823.mid. However he speaks of pirates in his letter so one cannot rule that out as ships of this nature i.e. troop transports would be carrying desirable goods etc.

It is of interest to note that Thomas Beck was entry 113 on page 13 of the army enlistment logbook. Unlucky 13!.

It is of interest to note that the four other soldiers coming home with Thomas Beck were all Irish. This to me suggests that the troopship was in fact going to at least call into a port in Ireland to leave off these men and perhaps Irishmen of other regiments coming home on leave or transfer. The records I have are only of the men lost from the 43rd Regt. Light Infantry. A likely port of call would be Dublin or Cobh (Cork). One could assume that Thomas was coming home to see his son John perhaps for the first time.


On the Casualty returns document WO 25/21462 XC 21462 which lists next of kin it gives his next of kin as William Beck of Atherstone Warwickshire.

Also on this list are four others also lost in the same accident. These were men from Ireland and were:


Sergeant John Dixon of Newtownards Co Down who enlisted 13th May 1805 who gave as his next of kin as his sister Mary Lindsay of Newtownards Co. Down.


Bugler John McCluskey of Dungiven Co. Derry who enlisted 25th June 1806 who gave as his next of kin his uncle William Dougherty of Dungiven Co. Derry.


Private John Gamble of Ballymoney Co. Antrim who enlisted 29th April 1820 who gave as his next of kin his father Alex Gamble Ballycastle Co. Antrim.


Private Anthony Johnston Magherafelt Co. Derry enlisted 4th June 1804 who gave as his next of kin his wife Mary Johnston of Belfast Co. Antrim.


Alongside the above block of entries is the statement "Struck off with the Adjutant Generals Authority dated Horse Guards 10th Feb. 1824 supposed to have been lost at sea".

On further investigation of Thomas Beck turned up the following information:

Let us look at his short life an times chronologically. Most of the information below is taken from the muster rolls of the 42nd Foot or Light Infantry 1817-1822 (WO 12/5577-5579).


1798. Thomas Beck born in Atherstone Warks England. Father William Beck and mother Elizabeth King.


6.4.1814. Joined as a boy private of 16 years of age the 42nd Light Infantry Division at Bristol England. He enlisted initially for 7 years.


1817.In 1817 when Private Thomas Beck was about 19 years of age he and his regiment were stationed at a place called Valenciennes on northern France.


1818.In the autumn of this year the regiment was moved to Cambrai also in northern France and prepared to return home. They left for home in late November of this year for Deal in Kent and immediately set out again for Cork probably arriving very late November or very early December. The two transport ships that brought them back were the "Alfred" and the "John". However not known which transport Thomas Beck was on.


From Cork Thomas Beck and his fellow soldiers in the 42nd Regiment would have been marched north. No railways as yet in Ireland.


1819.In the first quarter of 1819 the regimental Headquarters is noted as being Belfast. However Thomas Beck had already been sent to Castledawson either as a detached section marching directly to that town or perhaps shortly after they had arrived in Belfast he had to then march to Castledawson. It would look as if Thomas Beck arrived in Castledawson early or mid January 1819.

Thomas Beck stayed in Castledawson until mid July 1820.During the time he was there he was from time to time in a party sent out by the local magistrate. No information as to what their mission was and perhaps in an Ireland of that time it is better not knowing. No doubt he had to obey orders. The Beaghmore farm of that year would have been run by Michael O'Quin and his wife Mary OíNeill. No doubt they would have been aware of the activities of soldiers backing up magistrates warrants, which was common practice in those days. The local magistrates were in those days really the tools of the Planter stock in the "Big Houses" in enforcing rent collection etc.


Thus Private Thomas Beck:


At Castledawson Jan 1819--Late July 1820 ( about 18 months).


It is noted that he was on furlough (leave) 25th July 1819 until late September 1819.Some two months.

I think it would be fair to assume that it was during these 18 months in Castledawson that he met Sally Louden. Perhaps it was during this quite long furlough that he married Sally Louden. One wonders if he took her back to Atherstone to meet his parents etc. There is no doubt a fine story here but we shall never know it.


1820. In late July 1820 Thomas Beck and detachments of his Regiment marched to Cookstown. He stayed there until the 22nd October when Thomas Beck and his fellow soldiers (including either his cousin or brother John Beck) were marched to Dublin. He would have arrived in Dublin the last days of October 1820 or early days of November 1820.Thomas Beck seems to have remained with the bulk of the regiment at Dublin until the following December 1821 i.e. he was at Dublin roughly a year. When he was at Dublin he enlisted for life 29.11.1820 shortly after he arrived in there. This would suggest that he was contented and wanted to remain in the army. He was transferred from Company No. 9 to Company No. 4.during his stay in Dublin. He still held the rank of Private.


1821.In late 1821 and the early part of 1822 the regiment moved several times using Limerick and later Birr as their headquarters. Thomas Beck spent Christmas 1821 at Athy Co. Kildare and rejoined his main regiment on Jan 25th 1822.By mid June the Regimental headquarters was at Galway and Thomas Beck was stationed at Headford also Co. Galway.


13th.Sept 1822 Private Thomas Beck was prompted to the rank of Corporal in No. 3 Company of the Regiment. The figure 13 in the important dates of his life yet again!


1822.Between 25th Sept 1822 and 3rd October 1822 the regiment sailed from Cove Co. Cork for Gibraltar. They sailed on the transport ship "Ocean". This was to be the last time Thomas Beck saw Ireland or his wife or son.


Information such as this immediately sets more questions. Perhaps the most important is "did he ever see his son John alive or was he born when Thomas was away in Gibraltar?" At best we can put the date of his son John Becks birth as somewhere in the years between 1819 and 1823.However if his son had been born when he was writing his letter home on 4th Feb 1823 he surely would have mentioned it. There are many unanswered questions.


Other information I have on Thomas was that he received an increase in pay 6th April 1823 on completion of seven years service. He would have been at Gibraltar at this time. However when he was lost at sea he had overdrawn his pay and owed the army 2 pounds 16 shillings and 5 pence. Quite a lot in 1823.

In the army records he is seen to have left effects and credits behind him to the value of 4 shillings and 11 pence.

In the army records he is referred to as Corporal Beck even after his death yet when he was writing from Gibraltar to his father he was signing himself as sergeant. One wonders was he trying to create an impression to his father and indeed to his wife? However it could be possible that he was promoted to sergeant while in Gibraltar (the local commander would have this power) and news of this promotion and the paperwork had not perhaps reached London. On the letter he uses the rank Sergeant. Now he is very unlikely that he would dare put a higher rank on his mail, as this would not be tolerated by the higher ranks in the system. So on balance it is very likely that he had been recently promoted sergeant in Gibraltar. When he was lost at sea he was going back to recruit soldiers for the regiment so it would be reasonable to expect that he would have been given an upgrading of rank to take his "psyche or ego" go up a gear to impress raw recruits of the era with stripes uniforms ranks etc not an unknown ploy used to this day to recruit foot soldiers. It should be noted that any soldier sent to recruit soldiers from the populace would have been of very good character and trusted by their superior officers. They may well also have received a bonus for each recruit! This was the era of "taking the Saxon or Kings shilling in Ireland".

Thus we have a pointer to his character at that time. Very good I think. Perhaps there was a deal done with his superior officer at Gibraltar (probably his Colonel) he could get an effective furlough which he sought and in return he would do recruiting work for the army probably in Ireland.

It is very interesting to note that lost with him (in a particular listed group were four Irishmen. It is noted that one was from Magherafelt. So it could be possible that his wife had perhaps a brother or relation in the same regiment and that is how he met Sally Louden? If he was garrisoned in Ireland in this era he would no doubt be able to meet the relatives of Irish men in the army who perhaps had relatives close by. One wonders why he let his fathers name stand as his next of kin and not his wife. The others in the group all named relations.





This most certainly was either a brother or cousin of Thomas. In the above publication under entry 112 he is described as being twenty years of age, of height 5 foot 7 inches in entry into the army and at 24 years of age also the same height. He was of sallow complexion blue eyes with light brown hair and "visage" (face shape) long. He was born at Atherstone Warks in the parish of Atherstone. He was also said to be a sawyer. He also enlisted at Bristol. He enlisted 4.4.1814 some two days before Thomas enlisted. He enlisted for seven years and later at Armagh on 5.10.1820 for life. He was also enlisted by Corporal Taylor. He is entry number 112 in the registration logbook so he joined the regiment immediately before Thomas.

From information on hand it would appear that John Beck also came home from France at the same time as Thomas. When the regiment had its Headquarters in Belfast in early 1819 Thomas was stationed at Castledawson. John was in Downpatrick throughout the time Thomas was in Castledawson.

However both John Beck and Thomas Beck marched together to Dublin on 22nd October 1820.

Early in 1821 John Beck was sent to Coventry (not too far from his hometown of Atherstone) and later to nearby Nuneaton with a recruiting party. Thomas still remained in Dublin. It appears that after Thomas sailed for Gibraltar at the end of Sept.1822 John was still recruiting at Nuneaton. However it appears that John later went to Gibraltar as he turns up in the Gibraltar muster rolls in 1823.

John Becks service record (Ref W.O.97/583) shows he was pensioned off having served from 1814 until 1837 some 23 years as a soldier. He was discharged at Plymouth and intended to return to Atherstone so his pension of 1 shilling and 1 penny a day would be paid via Coventry. In these papers it states that John Beck was a cooper by trade not a sawyer as stated in his enlistment papers. On looking at the army pension records of 1845 (W.O.120/59) Johns name does not appear so it might be supposed he died or perhaps emigrated. He would have been aged 44 when he was pensioned off from the army. He never served in the Tropics.

The scene as I see it with both John and Thomas Beck were two cousins (there is a possibility of being brothers) who worked as sawyers in Atherstone either in a sawmill or in forestry work circa 1814.They were both initially in the Warks Militia which was probably a local Regiment. The 43rd Light Infantry it would from what I read appears to have been a front line infantry regiment of the army having fought at many major battles such as the Peninsular War etcetera may well have been an appeal in joining this regiment.

John Beck joined firstly at Bristol 4.4.1814 and Thomas two days later also at Bristol. Then when John enlisted for life on 5.10.1820 at Armagh Thomas did likewise in Dublin about 5 weeks later. Both were serving in Ireland in 1820.John in Armagh and Thomas in Dublin.

I state that I think that John Beck was Thomas Becks cousin because in his letter he asks how is his brother John. However it is not clear if perhaps John was in touch with the parents and would know i.e. Thomas "out of direct touch" with John who may well have been still garrisoned in Ireland.





It is known that the son of Thomas Beck i.e. John married a Margaret Quinn. Both are buried at the Rock chapel Co. Tyrone. However this marriage begs more questions as to who was this Margaret Quinn?.

The overall picture as I see it is that John Beck the son of Thomas Beck of Atherstone and Sally Lowden worked at Drum Manor along with his mother Sally Beck (nee Lowden). Drum Manor is just outside Cookstown on the Omagh road and not too far as the crow flies from The Rock. So there is a distinct possibility that the young John Beck would have had no great distance to travel to meet Margaret Quinn. Distance would have put restrictions on romance in those days! So it would appear that this Margaret Quinn was a member of a family of Quinns already at the Rock and perhaps already having a business there. So there is a possibility that John married into the Quinn family at The Rock and both of them took over the business and the name changed to Beck just as it later changed to McLernon and currently Diamond.

In an old document that I have which seems to me to have been put together by someone many years ago attempting to draw up a family tree I see the following reference "Quinn" possibly of The Rock.



Quinn (married unknown female spouse)





John Terence Betty Patrick Ellen Edward MARGARET



On the sheet it states the following;


John Quinn lived in Cookstown

Terence Quinn was a bachelor.

Betty Quinn. No information.

Patrick Quinn married a Miss McCormick.

Ellen Quinn married John McElhatton and they lived in Cookstown.

Edward Quinn married a Theresa Quinn of Ardboe.


However the most important mention is that MARGARET QUINN married John Beck the son of Thomas Beck of Atherstone Warks and Sally Lowden.

It further states that this Margaret Quinn and a Susan Quinn (1836-1924) who was married to a Joseph Falls (1830-1903) were cousins. This ties up with the research of Paddy Falls.

In the physical sense the Falls would have been neighbours to the Quinns so it is likely that this Quinn family was at The Rock. It would be interesting to sort this out but as the name Quinn is so common it would be difficult to do. Perhaps if the descendants of the McElhatton line were looked at it might be possible.

This Margaret Beck (Nee Margaret Quinn) is recalled by Terence McElkerney of Coalisland (April 95) as seeing her as a lad of perhaps 6 or 7.He describes her as being a "nice regal lady, Victorian I would say black dress white bonnet and collar thats how I remember her" He states that he recalls her sitting in an armchair in the porch leading to the grocery. (The Becks were grocers at the Rock). He recalls as a lad being frightened of her as she had no left eye and wore a black patch. I assume she may have had an accident or simply lost her sight.




The name is more probably Louden.

Getting information on this lady has been very difficult and what I have is really handed down stories. However with all such stories there is always quite substantial information included.

Anna Smith whose grandmother was Augusta Beck very kindly gave me the following snippets of information on Sally that she had heard through the years from old aunts uncles etc. Thanks to Ann is hereby recorded in helping me construct this family tree.

It appears Sally was something of a character. A story was related that as regards Sally it was said "that the swish of her tail as she went up the church would have knocked you off your feet". This to me implies that she was a person who perhaps had a tendency to "breeze" into chapel on a Sunday and strut up the aisle. Perhaps this was the chapel at Magherafelt. It would also tend to confirm that she was Catholic that I feel sure she was.

It is said that when her husband Thomas was lost at sea she and her son John Beck were left in very bad circumstances and it is said they used to walk in their bare feet along the road to spare their shoes and only sat down at the roadside as they neared home and put them on again.

The marriage of Sally Becks (Lowden) son John Beck was and arranged marriage to Margaret Quin or Quinn of The Rock. Margaretís uncles arranged the marriage. Margaret was 16 years of age at the time. It is said that she was the last of the family and she inherited all the property at The Rock, which is said to have been freehold. When John Beck and Margaret Quinn married they took over The Rock business and I feel this is when the name Beck at The Rock was established. It is thought that Sally Beck (Lowden) moved in with John and Margaret. It appears in later years Sally was something the locals would refer to as a "terror". If she found dust around the house she would write "slut" on it. It appears she had many altercations with the local farmers etc.

One other interesting point from Anna is that she had heard that her grandmothers name "Elizabeth Augusta" which is by no means a run of the mill Irish catholic name found in Co. Tyrone was the name of one of the daughters of the "Big House" in which Sally had worked i.e. the Protestant Plantation family either at Stewartstown Hall or Drum manor.

It is known that Margaret Beck nee Margaret Quinn had eye problems and had worn a patch over one eye at a time. Now it is also said that when he daughter Ellen Beck the teacher and writer "Magdalene Rock" was at her peak as a writer she would have written for various journals and newspapers. However she is said to have stated if her mother recovered she would then only write for Catholic journals etc.


Now let us look at some more interesting Backsaws with any project such as this it is better to target the more notable characters as there is invariable more information available on them. In this family tree the most interesting character of modern times is undoubtedly George Beck.




George Beck became the Bishop of Liverpool and was at one stage in possible consideration to be the next Archbishop of Westminster or indeed Cardinal of England. However his health was not to good and he was passed over. See notes in the Beck folder, which are very interesting. See also the letter from Mr. E. H. Norman who is the secretary of St. Marys Parish Council in Mancetter Alderstone (1994). This is a fascinating letter. The comments on the asthma is most interesting as a lot of the Quinns who descended from this Thomas Beck had indeed bad chests!

George is buried in the crypt of the cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool. He lived 1904-1978.See details on sheet in Beck folder.

I (the writer) would like to add a few comments on this man George Beck. I have a lot of information on him and his activities as a churchman.

Because of the fact that he was a descendant of Thomas Beck from Atherstone a soldier in the 43rd Light Infantry Reg.(who was to marry a Margaret Quinn and establish the family of Beck at the Rock) I have found some unease about the fact that Thomas Beck was an Englishman marrying into a very Catholic very Irish family.

This should not be the case. This man was to produce a grandson Archbishop George Beck who was to become Archbishop of Liverpool and was nearly selected to be the English cardinal. Above all he was a brilliant scholar and in the era of the Second World War negotiated very successfully with the Government in Downing Street for the rights and benefits for the Catholic school systems in England and Wales. This was of invaluable help to the Catholics of these countries and established the ground rules in their treatment up to this very day. No mean achievement. Some of Thomas Becks descendants were very gifted and talented giving nuns and priests to the Church as well as teachers and a writer of some quality Ellen Beck.




This lady was a novelist and wrote in many cases under the name Magdalene Rock. It is known at this stage that she contributed many poems and articles to the "Irish Monthly"," also "The Nation" (the publication of John Mitchell and The Young Irelanders) under the pseudonym of "Magdalene Rock". There are some pieces of hers in Orby Shipleys "Carmina Mariana". Another story was called "Joe". The "Rock" in her pseudonym may well be from "The Rock" where she lived in Co. Tyrone. There are some photostats of her poetry in the Quinn file. She lived 1858-1924.She was also a teacher at the local primary school at The Rock. However some of her other sisters were also teachers. Here is a sample of her poetry writing ability. Ellen also wrote under the name E. Beck as well.





Oh who would long for the Springtide the Springtide fresh and blythe

When in autumn days the barley sways and the ripe wheat waits the scythe

Oh who would fret for the glory of the flowery days in June when the tall stooks stands in the stubble land in the light of a harvest moon

It is then that the brown bee lingers in the purpled moorland wide

And the reapers song the whole daylong is heard on the far hillside

And the swallows talk together of the land from whence they came

And the oak leaves burn and the beech trees turn and the sunlight glow to fame

Soft amber tints of the daylight fades flush earth and sea and sky and cloudlets white in the golden light like ships becalmed lie

Oh sweet is the wind of summer with the scent of thyme and rose

And sweet the breeze of the orchard trees are blending beneath breezes that in the Autumn blow

When the mowers voice in his hearts rejoice as he lays his treasures low.


Miss Ellen Beck. Rock.




In her will in the Londonderry District 7.11.1924 Ellen left everything to her brother Thomas Beck and a small legacy to her niece Margaret Doris. Incidentally Sarah Beck Londonderry (Will proven date 1.8.1929) mentions all her brothers and sisters except Ellen also a James Doris C.C. is mentioned. There is mention of The Rock and a mention of her mothers will.

Other Becks made wills as follows. Thomas Beck Londonderry 23.4.1934 John Beck in Dublin 17.1.1979 and Thomas Beck in Belfast 11.8.1977.The dates incidentally are all "Proven dates" not the death dates which were many years earlier.





I spoke in Nov 1994 to Sister Mary Beck at her convent in London and exchanged letters with her also family history information. She would be of an advanced age but despite poor hearing was very interesting to talk to and appreciated very much my phoning and writing to her. She advised me that both her sisters Nora and Frances were alive and had just returned from a visit to the States. Nora was about to go to live in an elderly persons home. Sister Mary would appear to have kept up with her own family history both in England and in Ireland. Because her two brothers became clerics it means that when these three sisters pass on that will be the end of the Beck name as far as it related to The Rock Co.Tyrone though descendants still live there.

She states in one of her letters that she had heard that Archbishop Beck had had his ancestry researched and that the Becks were Polish officers that because of their deeds for the British crown had been given three farms at The Rock Co. Tyrone as an award.

However subsequent research that I did shows exactly where the Beck name at the Rock originated i.e. Atherstone Warwickshire England.

However the statement above has some degree of fact in it. The name Beck is Saxon in origin and is still around in Denmark and Germany and no doubt Poland as all along the north European plain. I feel this is where the "Polish" statement is sourced. As to the "officers" aspect, there were many regiments of soldiers from Germany and no doubt Poland that fought for the British in many wars. One need only think of the Williamite wars in Ireland 1690 and all that!

I feel that is where this story originated. I feel the researcher for Archbishop Beck perhaps got a bit carried away in perhaps creating an "aura" suitable for an Archbishop! Maybe they picked up the name Beck in Poland that is possible as the north German coast where there are many Becks borders on western Poland.

The name as far as I can find out means "Bridge" as in road bridge.




Sadly I have been unable to find out a great deal about Annie. She was the wife of Peter Pat Conway at Broughderg. I have a photo. I have been unable to determine from what family of Quinns she came from. The best deduction is that she was a descendant of a Robert Quinns family who lived in a farm to the north of the old National school at Broughderg crossroads (the farm in the trees 1995). These people may have been referred to as the "Rabs" I suppose meaning "Roberts". The best reason for this is that Rose Conway (Mrs. Bernard Quinn) attended the old Broughderg National school in the early years of the century and one day "ran home to her grandmothers" which would suggest not too far a trip as she would be possibly only 4 or 5 years old. This grandmotherís house would have been the farm in the trees about half a mile distant.

Another pointer about who these Quinns were is that Rose Conway lived for a time in Cookstown with two aunts called Hanna and Anna (Quinn?) who had a public house in Union Street Cookstown. Perhaps someone can link?

Somewhere earlier I commented on the great strength of the womenfolk of the Sperrins and their input in keeping their families together. These women were a versatile formidable group of ladies. They had many attributes. To me Annie was a very good example. She could impose a discipline I am told on the farmhands if not indeed on Peter Pat (her husband) as well as doubling as a teacher in the local National School and perhaps her best service that of midwife to the local community. She it was who (I am told) successfully delivered Monica Quinn (wife of Joe O'Connor, Doons) into this world. Didnít she do well!

Just a word on Peter Pat Conway known as "Peter Pat". He is buried at the old churchyard at Broughderg Co. Tyrone. He lived a long life. According to his headstone he died at 101 years of age. Something of a character he is said to have sung a song of some 30 verses sitting up in bed the night he died.




Michael Martin or Marco as he was known to the people of Begnelstown Carlow (Computer Box 42) lived 1878-? He would appear to have been a very well known and colourful character in that town. He practiced as a solicitor but apparently his business failed for various reasons. One of the older locals of Begnelstown advises that when he was active as a solicitor he defended the poorer people in the town and local area. He married a Kathleen Bibby who came from a very well known Kilkenny family. Kathleen's brother was a Capuchin monk who attended to and gave the Last Rights of the Church to many of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising at The G.P.O. Dublin. I have quite a lot of information on his activities obtained from the Capuchin monastery at Church Street Dublin just behind the G.P.O.

Father Albert was later based in California where he died. However in 1950 his body and that of a fellow Capuchin were brought back to Ireland and met at Shannon by men who had taken part in the 1916 campaign.

Apparently Marco was heavily involved in politics in Begnelstown on behalf of the Fianna Fail party. One of the inhabitants of Begnelstown who was a neighbour of his states that "he was a small man who always wore a hat and walked fast". However after his wife died (she is said to have been buried in her native Kilkenny City) Marco "disappeared". I have not been able to find out where! I have no facts on this apart from rumours that I will leave in abeyance. (March 1995). One source states that he definitely did not come back to Cookstown.


Another member of the Bibby family was a Thomas Bibby born 1799 in Kilkenny was a leading Greek scholar. He achieved some note with his two dramatic poems "Gerald of Kildare" 1854 and "Silken Thomas" 1859.He died 1863.






When one has done a project such as this albeit a small one is left with many mixed feelings and many instances of "if only" they had or he had etc as a fairly comprehensive picture of an extended family unfolds before ones eyes over a period of nearly 300 years. Such an investigation shows many trends of professions, trades, temperaments, physical characteristics and weaknesses etc. One sees reactions by various people to the political and social structures of the day. One sees marriage patterns of a people basically dispossessed and under siege in the 18th and 19th centuries until very recent times. One also sees great strides made for betterment.

Sadly one also sees loss and tragedy. Perhaps the greatest jolt to the extended Quinn family psyche was the lost of extensive tracts of land in the Davagh and Mucker areas and to a lesser area in the Broughderg area in more recent times. Practically all of this land loss can be attributed to the abuse of alcohol. Davagh was itself recorded in the Irish Land census in 1876 as being 721 acres. Through the years that I have known the Quinn family from (circa 1966) I have sensed a deep hurt about land loss particularly among the older members of the extended family. It is but history now but not history to be repeated.

Unfortunately property loss was repeated in the 1990's but that is another story which might be expanded on later.

Perhaps the most poignant comment that I have heard from any member of the extended Quinn family made on their history was made to me by Jack Quinn Beaghmore May 29th 1995 when I mentioned having been to see the lowland farm (Camerons farm) just outside Cookstown on the Moneymore road earlier in the day. He simply said that he felt hurt every time he passed there. This was the farm from which his ancestors had been evicted. I noted a great sadness in his eyes.

However on a brighter note Teresa and Jack had earlier in the week heard of the visit back home to Beaghmore of their daughter Rita (Rita McGale) from New Zealand .

I have alas seen many happy homecomings and sad departures of family from and to New Zealand. However modern communications and speed of travel allows better contact to be maintained. When the Quinns Conways O'Neills Loughrans etc emigrated from the high hills of Dunamore Broughderg and surrounding townlands in the early and middle 19th century especially after the Great Famine they in the most part sailed into oblivion they effectively fell over the edge of the world. Few very few made it back to the land of their birth to live in or visit.





When doing a project of this type information is collected from all sources and where possibly it is confirmed. However any snippet of information should be noted. Though not "fitting" the picture at the time it may do so later.


The Robert Quinn headstone at the rear of the main Quinn headstone also has inscribed the names Charles Quinn died 10.8.1874 aged 18 years and John Quinn died 19.8.1889 aged 19 years.(No able to link May 1995).From the dates unlikely to have been sons perhaps grandsons but blood relatives.


Jack Quinn states that in the above grave there is also a Thomas Quinn whose name is not on the stone. Apparently when Thomas died as a young man Jack Quinn along with a Patsy O'Neill and Pat Devine the undertaker dug Thomas's grave. Apparently some of the deceased in the grave had died with a contagious disease in earlier times and when some of the locals met up with the above men after they had opened the grave they were greatly distressed in case the germs had traveled from the remains! The "contagious disease" mentioned would probably have been death to typhus during the famine times circa 1847.




When I attended Jack Quinns funeral at Beaghmore Jan 1996 several younger members of the extended Quinn family asked me the question. "Why was the old house so large when the local houses tend to be small?" This is a very relevant question. I think the following will answer the question.

If one looks at the old Ordnance Survey maps or old maps of the townlands of the area one sees the old house of Jack Quinn at Beaghmore marked as "Cnocknaskinna House". If one looks at the headstone of a Margaret Loughran in the graveyard at St. Marys Dunamore it is marked simply as Margaret Loughran Kinegilleon House. This assumes that of course she was very well known and the Loughrans were of importance in the local community and every one would know of her and her family and abode.

We know that the Quinns and the Loughrans of Kinegilleon intermarried a lot. We are aware that the dispossessed Catholic Irish would not have been too interested in calling their acquired houses some of which would have been of a very poor small construction with fanciful names similar to those used by the lowland Planters.

However what really happened and like it or not there would have evolved a "pecking social order" basically based on the amount of land owned and possessions and also the degree of education that a family could afford. Thus in the case of the Beaghmore Quinns and indeed as will be seen from looking at the files the Kinegilleon Loughrans they acquired land possessions and education which put them in a position that they could afford to build a bigger house employ local labour etc. Consequently they took on a "higher" social standing and looked to each otherís family for husbands and wives. This was exactly what happened to the lowland Planters, just man playing his social games!

However though my comments have been factual I would deem it from my viewpoint to be also a very positive aspect to see the Catholic psyche and confidence raised by such naming.

Many things are shown when doing research of this nature.

Physical characteristics; family lines that produce twins; tall people; short people; temperaments etc. However the one thing that I think that should be mentioned is that because of the complex political; religious; materialist and physical location of peoples due to persecutions and evictions there is a case to state that where possible partners should be drawn from more distant areas.

And on a lighter note remember that Charlie Pat Conway of Broughderg was 6 foot 5 inches tall and wore size 15 boots. It can only be a matter of time before we see this gene repeat itself! However he was something of a good singer. So ladies if you hear your young baby crying with a musical note then perhaps buy the next set of bootees a few sizes too big! He may well be the next Paddy Lomu! (For you all in N.Z.).




Though a research of this nature literally throws up hundreds of names in the extended family the only name I can link to the Saint or Martyr category is a Patrick O'Loughran from Donaghmore Co.Tyrone whose name is listed amongst a tract send me by the Dominicans. Patrick is on list of "Seventeen Martyrs". He was obviously from the sept of O'Loughrans of Tyrone. Here are some details on him. The information illustrates the attitude that prevailed against Catholics at the time and which would prevail for generations afterwards.

Patrick O'Loughran (In modern times the "O" would have been dropped and he would have been Patrick Loughran) was of an erenagh family with special links to the senior branch of the O'Neills. His family erenagh lands bordered on the parish of Donaghmore Co. Tyrone. Who knows perhaps Kinnigilleon! I would not rule this out.

Patrick O'Loughran was born about 1577 and ordained about 1600.He was to accompany O'Neill into exile (the flight of the Earls) when they left Ireland from Rathmullan Co. Donegal 1607 when Irish history changed for ever. Patrick was chaplain to the O'Neills in their household in Flanders (roughly what is now Belgium and Northern France). He was chaplain there 1606-1612.He visited Rome in 1608.He was associated with the Irish College in Douai.

He came back to Ireland in 1611 and was arrested in Cork. He was brought to Dublin and was imprisoned there with Bishop Conor O'Devany OFM Bishop of Down and Connor. He was imprisoned in Dublin Castle.

Both men were charged with treason on 28th January 1612. They were hanged drawn and quartered on 1st Feb.1612.Their burial place would remain unknown. He along with 16 others of the times would be beatified by the Pope on Sept. 1992.A new church named after these 14 martyrs would be opened in Naas Co. Kildare in mid 1997.

Another name on this list is a Peter Higgins a Dominican priest educated in Spain in the early 1630's.He moved to Naas Co. Kildare set up a Mass house and in the rebellion of 1641 looked after his flock as well as he could. He was arrested in Feb 1642 brought to Dublin and offered his freedom if he denied his faith. He did not saying that "I die a Catholic and a priest". For his troubles he was executed at St. Stephens Green 23rd March 1642.Peter Higgins was from the Dublin area.

To educate a priest in those times Patrick O'Loughran would have had to be sent to Spain or France and supported there. Thus his family had to have some land or status at home.

Was he a relation? Let me answer the question that is so often put to me on this subject. If one looks to see if cousin etc however far distant one gets in finding proof of blood links the path soon fades out. However in the case of the O'Quins and the O'Loughrans it can reasonably be stated that they are of "the sept". They were followers of the O'Neills. Both names are basically unique to Co.Tyrone and its environs as the "root" name area. Both names would be sourced from a more "native" Gaelic and Catholic past.

The above information is very interesting and illustrates the situation of Catholic priests and their flocks circa 1600 onwards.

My thanks to the Dominican History researcher Father Hugh Fenning O.P. for information on Patrick Loughran.



In Desertcreat there is a Falls headstone. It has the information. Dan Falls died 12.8.1743 and Isabella 1.10.1777.One wonders if they were antecedents of the Falls of Curlonan? However the name McFalls is also noted. Did the Catholic Falls come from McFalls?


At the site of the Beaghmore Stones there is a plaque with the following information:

Further Reading on Beaghmore Stones:

1.DOENI Guide Card (1977) from the Archaeology Survey dept. Hill Street Belfast.

2.A.McL May: "Neotholic habitation site stone circles and alignments at Beaghmore Co. Tyrone" from the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 83 (1953). 174-197.

3.J.R.Pilger "Archaeology, palaeoecology and C14 dating of the Beaghmore Stone Circles site" Ulster Journal of Archaeology 32 (1963) 73-91.




In late July I obtained information on the two major digs that were carried out when investigating the Circles at Beaghmore. Two digs were carried out, one by a team along with Mr. A McLay and his team just after World War 2 between 1945 and 1949 and the second in 1969 by J. R. Pilcher and his team.

Though the reports of which I have photostats are very technical they nevertheless contribute some very interesting points relevant to this family history. Let me give firstly the general points of interest.


The team in 1949 was assisted by some of the local farmers who appear to have given their time free. There is a photo of four of them standing at one of the cairns all with spades some in coats and some with their sleeves rolled up. I wonder who they were?

A Mr. McMahon owned the land originally. However the Ministry of Finance as it then was obviously took over ownership of the site and deemed it government property.

However to me the most interesting information comes from the 1969 dig. In this dig core samples of the blanket bog at the sites were taken and these carbon dated. These give a fascinating account of the area from some 5,000 (five thousand years before Christ at 0 A.D.) to the present at 1995 a period of some 6,999 years.

The science of investigating vegetation on an area is called PALAEONTOLOGY -the study of the vegetation of an area. This in conjunction with carbon core dating (a core sample is simply a very long hollow drill driven down to a depth in the bog and soil to a given depth then withdrawn and the soil and sediment etc in the centre carefully removed as a tube like "core" which is really a sample of all the layers of material that the drill has passed through-hence the name core sample. From this core scientific laboratory tests are done on the pollen counts in the materials using Carbon dating techniques. The results can be very accurate. Let us see what they can tell us.


A. Circa 5,000 B.C. the area around Beaghmore was forest with extensive hazel scrub.


B. Between 5,000 and 3,700 B.C. the area was a dense mixed forest of pine oak birch and hazel with some elm and alder. (This would account for the bog oaks still found).


C. Between 3,7000 B.C. and 3,300 B. C. Alder would have been a predominant tree.


D. Between 3,300 B.C. and 2050 B.C. the clearance of the pine and elm as the inhabitants of the area took to cereal cultivation and grazing animals. The number pine trees would have declined.


E. Between 2050 B.C. and 100 B.C. This was a stable period with a number of agricultural phases. The tree cover would have been maintained. Pollen samples from this era suggest partial cover with open grazing areas. The Beaghmore Stone Circles built within this period between what is though to be 1550 and 800 B.C.


F. Between 100 B.C. and 350 A.D. (Christ being born at 0 A.D.) there was large-scale clearance of hazel and scrub.


G. Between 350 A.D. and 1275 A.D. there was more large scale clearance of forest and scrub by the inhabitants probably to give more grazing. Note we have had the influx of the Celts from Europe at this time St Patrick circa 500 A.D. converting the people to Christianity. We have also had the coming of the Normans etc we are in fact coming well into recorded history.


However from the family history point of view the pollen count information for the more recent periods are of much interest. Look at these with care.


H. Between 1275 A.D. and 1700 A.D. The pollen count indicates a very large clearance of scrub trees etc and the percentage of pollen from cultivated cereals rises sharply suggesting a change to arable agriculture rough and all as it was.


I. Between 1700 A.D. and 1850 A.D. there was a period of intense land utilisation.


J.1850 A.D. to the present (This was 1969) an increase of hazel and alder probably related to the abandonment of upland farms after the Irish famine circa 1847.There was an increase of grass and plantain pollen as the amount of arable cultivation decreased dramatically.


Let us analyse paragraphs H I and J above.


Between 1275 and 1700 A.D. the pollen count notes an increase of arable cereal farming. This is very interesting. It would be at this period that the penal laws were enacted against the native Catholic lowland Irish farmers and then the Williamite wars circa 1690.Thus we are seeing the first wave of Catholic Irish farmers coming from the lowlands and seeking to farm the high harsh blanket bogs of the Sperrins. We thus see that they cleared the scrub and selected what goodish tracks of fertile land there were in the area and grew cereal crops to feed themselves and their livestock. I have heard family members discussing "who" was "in the Mountains before whom". From the above we see that there would have been Quinns, Conways and O'Neills there from this era before the current "Beaghmore Quinns" arrived circa 1795.However it would also qualify to some extent how Charlie Quinn (evicted from Camerons circa 1795) was able to get help to move his livestock after eviction to Beaghmore. Simply some of his relatives would already have been up there.

It states that between 1700 and 1850 A.D. there was a pollen count that indicated intense land cultivation. This would be true as the people now up there would have been getting themselves established and growing potatoes, flax etc and other cereal and root crops.

However after 1850 the era of the famine the pollen count of cereal farming fell and grass and hazel scrub counts increased. This would suggest the abandonment of upland farms due to starvation and emigration during and after the Irish famine circa 1847.

The above is very interesting. It qualifies to some extent that when the Quinns of Beaghmore arrived circa 1795 they would have entered and area in a reasonable state of mixed agriculture. However after the famine the overall area would have seen a great loss of population and the deterioration of the land back to scrub and bog.

However one point comes to mind. I have wondered how the Quinns acquired so much land in the late 19th century - I would guess that the extended family had about 1,600 acres-I am now of an opinion that perhaps they acquired the land from smaller farmers who had to sell during the famine period to obtain their passage to the Americas or perhaps go to Scotland or England in search of work. There are stories here but I will not speculate. I feel that though evicted from their lowland farm the Quinns had assets that quickly enabled them to build an extensive farmhouse at Beaghmore in the later part of the 19th century not too long after the famine era.


I would feel that the above is helpful proof that when the Quinns of Beaghmore arrived at Cnocknaskinna circa 1795 they already had known relations in the area. It also qualifies to some extent that perhaps the Michael O'Quin circa 1725 and his son Charles were indeed "acceptable Native Freeholders" during the Plantation circa 1610 onwards and were left to their lowland farm until the civil religious unrest circa 1795 when they were evicted.

Is it not interesting how a very technical dig at the Beaghmore stone circles giving pollen counts can give confirmatory information to a family tree?. I think so.




The names of the townlands mentioned in this history are on the whole probably greater than 90% sourced from the original Irish name which has been Anglicised particularly in the middle 19th century when Ordnance maps were drawn up mainly by engineering officers appointed from the British Army in Ireland. They would mostly have asked a local the name of the townland and having been told what would be a name rooted from Irish they simply translated it by spelling it as close as possible to what they "heard".

Here are the origins as far as can be accurately established of townlands and parishes whose names appear frequently in this history.


KILDRESS: From the Irish "Coill Dreasog". A wood of briars or brambles but possibly more correctly "Coill-dar-easa" the oak wood of the waterfall.

KINNEGILLEON: From the Irish "Ceann na g-guillean" The head of the hollybush.

BEAGHMORE: From the Irish "Beitheach Mor" the large birch wood.

DOONS: From the Irish "Duin" earthen forts.

KILEENAN: From the Irish "Coill lionbhan" the church of the hard bare place.

TEEBANE: From the Irish "Taobh ban" a sunny or bright place or house.

DUNAMORE: From the Irish "Dun Moor" the big fort.

BROUGHDERG: From the Irish "Bruagh Dearg" red over hanging land.

DAVAGH: From the Irish "Dabhach" meaning a deep vat like hollow or cauldron. It is also said to mean "the field of the oxen" as it has always been noted as a place where cattle have been raised and fattened.

FORMEL: From the Irish "For maol" a bare or bald hill.

CREGGAN: From the Irish " Creagan" a rocky place.

DRUM: From the Irish "Druim" a ridge.

DUNGANNON: From the Irish "Dun Geannain" Gannons fort. Gannon was the son of Caffa who lived in the first century.

DRUMGLASS: From the Irish "Druim glas" a green ridge.

AGHAMULLAN: from the Irish "Achadh Ui maolain" meaning Mullans field or "Achadh a muilinn" a field on the hill.

DESERTCREAT: From the Irish "Diseart Crioth" a waste area of the territory.

OUGHTERARD : from the Irish "Uachter ard" the upper place. This is in fact the townland in which The Rock is situated so an apt confirmation of the name.

TULLYODONNELL: From the Irish "Tulach Domhnaill" O'Donnells hill. Again the Rock which is in fact on high ground is close to this townland. The Rock chapel being often referred to as Tullyodonnell chapel.

TULLAGHOGUE OR TULLYHOG: From the Irish "Tulaigh Og". A little hill. It has been referred to as the "hill of the youths" in earlier times as games were played there by young people. It is also the hill where the O'Neills were crowned. It is just outside Cookstown.

LISSAN: From the Irish "Liosan" a little fort.

LEGILLY: from the Irish "Lag gile" a bright pool or hollow.

TULNACROSS: From the Irish "Tulach na croise" the hill of the cross.