Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Kerry Folk of Maidstone, Essex County, Ont.

I am gathering stories about the Kerry folk of Maidstone, Essex, Ontario in the hope that by locating their stories I will move closer to locating the stories of my own Kerry ancestors the Moynahans and Brennans.

There were the Brennans, the Downings, the Mahoneys, the Moynahans, the O'Connells, the O'Connors, the O'Falveys, the O'Sullivans and the Shuells to name a few of the Kerry Irish families who ALL chose Maidstone (aka "The Irish Settlement") for their new home in the early 1800s.

Source: The Windsor Star; July 10, 1982

"In 1823, the settlers cleared an area, 
built a log church and called it St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church"
(Source: The Windsor Star; July 10, 1982)

A Kerry Woman 
Welcomes Weary Travelers To Essex County

I love the story of the Kerry woman (born O'Sullivan "at the "Cross Roads " in County Kerry") who lived with her second husband Dr. John O'Falvey at Lot 5 on the Middle Road in Maidstone next to my 3rd great-grandfather Denis Moynahan who lived on Lot 6.

She died in 1884 and here is her obituary:

The Amherstburg Echo; 12 Dec 1884
"Maidstone: The wife of Dr. John P. O'Falvey of Maidstone departed this life on Wednesday morning 3rd inst. after a residence in Maidstone of fifty-nine years.
She was born at Cross Roads, County Kerry, Ireland on the 3rd day of March 1808 and was eighty-nine years and nine months old.
She was the sister of Captain Eugene O'Sullivan who was lost in the ill-fated ship Maria Joseph in 1844 while conveying colonists from St. Malo, France to the Pacific coast whose estate deceased has been claiming and to which she is legal heiress.
She was also first cousin to the Hon. Judge John O'Connor and was a descendant of a very highly respected family in Kerry.
She was universally respected by all her friends and neighbours and many weary travelers hungry and footsore she relieved in those days when Maidstone was nothing but a wild forest when she settled there with her first husband in 1825. Her house was always open to the wayfarer and the traveler. She leaves a large family to mourn her loss."

The Amherstburg Echo obituary (above) does not indicate her name but we know she was born Sullivan because she was "sister of Captain Eugene O'Sullivan". 

I did a quick search of ancestry.ca for O'Falvey 1884 and found a photograph of her beautiful headstone at St. Mary's cemetery (Maidstone, Ontario) where I learned that her name was Margret.

Photo taken by J.Meloche for CanadaGenWeb; St. Mary's Cemetery, Maidstone, Ontario


Source Citation: Diocese of London (Ontario); London, Ontario; Ancestry.com. Ontario, Canada, Roman Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1760-1923 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017.

The last census that she would have appeared on (1881) confirms that her name was Margaret and that her husband Dr. John O'Falvey who was the coroner and 25 years her junior!. There is also a Lawrence Costigan (born 1846) living with them.

Source: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.; 1881; Census Place: Maidstone, Essex, Ontario; Roll: C_13281; Page: 85; Family No: 391
Margaret lived in Maidstone, Ontario for fifty-nine years (1825-1884)

There are so many other details contained in this one obituary that would be wonderful to research in more detail. For now, I picture a smiling Kerry woman, welcoming weary travelers with a warm cup of tea and a soft seat near a warm fire.

It seems almost poetic that Margaret left the Cross Roads in Kerry to live her life at Maidstone Cross in Essex county, Ontario.

  From the Cross Road Village of Kerry Ireland 
to the 
Maidstone Cross, Ontario

I was delighted to locate an historic photo of  Margaret's "Cross Road Village, Kenmare, Kerry" that is part of the Lawrence Collection, which holds 40,000 glass-plate negatives taken between 1870 and 1910.


Source: Ancestry.com. Ireland, Lawrence Collection of photographs, 1870 - 1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
You can zoom in on the image (see below) by following this link: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000322734

Source: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000322734


Source: "The History of Maidstone Cross" (page 5/26); author unknown
Maidstone Cross

Source: SC Rewind 

Source: SC Rewind: ​An artist's rendering of the old Maidstone General Store and Post Office by Harold Burton 
If you have any connection to the Sullivans or O'Falveys of Maidstone, Ontario or any of the Kerry folk of Maidstone, please leave your remarks in the space provided below.

In my next post on "The Kerry Folk of Maidstone" I hope to learn more about Mararet's husband Dr. J.P.W, O'Falvey 

His name is mentioned as coroner on some interesting cases in Essex county and, based on the Detroit Free Press article below, he may have a little of the Kerryman sense of humour that would make for some interesting stories.

Stay Tuned.

Source: The Detroit Free Press; 19 Oct 1858; Page 1
And a shanty fire that he attended as coroner

Source: The Detroit Free Press; 3 Dec 1882; Page6

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