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Monday, 22 September 2014

Amelia Allen of Galbally and John Chamberlain of Garryheakin, Limerick

Our paternal great-great grandparents were Henry Thomas Culbert (1848 - 1903) and Anne Allen (1848 - 1911) of Galbally, who married in Galbally, Limerick on 3rd October 1869. Anne Allen was the daughter of Robert Allen and Sarah Airey of Park, Galbally, Limerick.

Anne Allen's sister was Amelia/Amy Allen, born in Galbally, Limerick, circa 1844, to Robert Allen and Sarah Airey, and who married John Chamberlain in Galbally in 1872.

John Chamberlain was the son of John Chamberlain Senior and of Margaret Drew who were recorded as marrying in St. John's Parish, Limerick City on 5th February 1812, and who lived at Caherconlish, Co. Limerick.
The Chamberlain family had been resident in Croom, Co. Limerick for generations, the first of the family, John Chamberlain, being noted there as early as 1702.  His son was John Chamberlain, who had a son, Richard Chamberlain (1739 - 1811) who married Catherine Mason, the daughter of Richard and Catherine Mason of Croom House.
Richard Chamberlain farmed at Drumbeg, Athlacca, ten miles or so south of Croom, and, upon his death in 1811, he divided his property between his two sons, George Mason Chamberlain, aka Mason Chamberlain, and John Chamberlain. The older brother, Mason Chamberlain, married Mary Heaton in 1809 in Adare, Co. Limerick, the daughter of George Heaton of Adare and his wife, a member of the Cantillon family of Castle Roberts.  Mason Chamberlain's brother, John Chamberlain, the father of the John Chamberlain discussed in this post, sold up his share of the Drumbeg farm, and settled a few miles north in Caherconlish.

Son John Chamberlain, a farmer who settled in Rahard and Garryheakin on the Limerick/Tipperary border, married, firstly, Mary Keaty (1833 - 1870), the daughter of a neighbour, Michael Keaty, in Cullen Parish, Co. Tipperary, on 10th June 1856.  The witnesses were Michael Keaty and Joseph Reynolds.
Mary's father, Michael Keaty, was farming at Dromlara, Pallas Grean, Limerick, 6 kms north of Rahard, in 1851.  Estate sales files for 1868 show John Chamberlain and Michael Keaty both holding 30 acres on lease at Rahard and Garryheakin, which would have been alongside each other.

John Chamberlain Junior and Mary Keaty had, amongst other undiscovered children:

1) Richard Chamberlain, who was mentioned in the landed estates records for his father's lease of 1868 in Rahard, and who was named as the eldest son. There are no further known records of this individual.
Also named in this lease was a Henry Wheeler, son of Robert Wheeler of Pallasbeg - this Henry Wheeler was almost certainly the land agent who was later fatally shot aged 24 in November 1880.   A Susannah Chamberlain had married Robert Wheeler in 1838 - Robert Wheeler of Pallasbeg died on 26th September 1890, leaving a widow Susannah.   The murder of Henry Wheeler in 1880, mirrors the murder of the victim's own grandfather, also named Henry Wheeler, who had been murdered in 1831 on his way to Nenagh fair. Both men had been murdered over land disputes, the earlier Henry having secured two untenanted farms for his adult sons, while the later victim had taken a rent collecting job in place of the murderer Moore.
The widowed Margaret Chamberlain, née Drew, the mother of John Chamberlain, died on 27th September 1871 at Killuragh, Murroe, East Limerick, aged 78 - Killuragh was the home of Anthony Wheeler.  He had married a Catherine Chamberlain in 1837 - the children of Catherine Chamberlain and Anthony Wheeler were Margaret, Henry and John Wheeler.

2) Michael Chamberlain, born 26th May 1865 at Rahard, Tipperary.  He was mentioned in the Rahard lease of 1868 as John Chamberlain's second son.  Michael went with his father and his second wife, Amelia Allen,  to Cairns, Queensland.

3) Catherine Chamberlain born 8th May 1870 at Garryheakin.  Known as Katie, she went with her father and his second wife, Amelia, to Cairns, Queensland.

4) Margaret Chamberlain born 26th May 1867 at Garryheakin. She accompanied her two sisters, Mary Ann and Susan, to Thomaston, Connecticut in the 1870s or 1880s where she married Patrick H. Houlihan (born 1861 in Laois);  when she died in 1945, her obituary of 11th September, confirmed her sister as Mrs. Mary Strahan of Thomaston, Connecticut.  Her death certificate, however, names her mother as a Mary Bourke and her father as Chamberlain.    Neither of the three sisters, Margaret, Mary Ann or Susan, were consistent with the details provided for the various US censuses, nor was the information provided at their deaths highly accurate.   Modern descendants of the three sisters have proved the close family relationship between them with DNA testing.

5) Mary Ann Chamberlain was born circa 1866 in Tipperary as confirmed by her death cert of 15th October 1947.  In 1947, her mother was incorrectly named as Mary Cody (ie: Mary Keaty?) while her father was erroneously named as Richard Chamberlain rather than John.   She married, on 13th May 1889 in Thomaston, Connecticut, John Strahan (1855 -1921) of Clondelara, King's County, Ireland.

6) John Chamberlain and Mary Keaty were most likely also the parents of Susan Chamberlain, born circa 1861, who emigrated to the US in 1881 and who married John Fitzgerald in Thomaston, Connecticut in 1883.

John Fitzgerald had been born in February 1860 in Kildromin, Kilteely, Limerick, to John Fitzgerald of Kilteely and Margaret McGrath of Ballynaclogh, Pallasgreen, Limerick.

The 1900 census highlights Susan Chamberlain and John Fitzgerald married and living in Thomaston, Connecticut - she gave her date of birth as May 1861.   Susan died in Thomaston on 24th September 1904, and her death cert listed her father as John Chamberlain but lists her mother erroneously as Catherine Keating, rather than Mary Keaty.

Amelia Allen, second wife of John Chamberlain of Rahard/Garryheakin, Limerick:

John's first wife, Mary Keaty, died aged 34 in 1870.

He married, secondly, Amelia Allen of Galbally in Galbally Church of Ireland church on 30th Jan 1872.  Amelia's father's name was given as Robert Allen, farmer of Galbally.  Born in 1844, Amelia Allen was the older sister of our great-great grandmother, Anne Allen, who had been born to Robert Allen and Sarah McClure in Limerick in 1848.  William Allen was recorded as a witness to Amelia's 1872 wedding - he may possibly have been the father of Edmund Allen and Alice Thompson of Park, Galbally, but I can find no further significant mention of William Allen.

The children of Amelia Allen and John Chamberlain were recorded as follows:

1) Sara/Sarah Chamberlain born 9th December 1872 in Garryheakin to John Chamberlain and Amy Allen.

2)Robert Chamberlain born 13th January 1875 to John Chamberlain and Emma Allen.

3)Henry Chamberlain born 16th April 1876 in Rahard to John Chamberlain and Ellen Allen.

4) Eliza Chamberlain born 1st April 1877 to John Chamberlain and EMMA Allen.

5)May/Mary Chamberlain born 1st April 1879 to John and MAY Allen.  She was registered as Amy Chamberlain.

6) Ann Chamberlain born 1st December 1880 at Rahard to John and Emma Allen. She was probably the Alice who follows.

7) Alice born 1880 in Ireland. Was this the child who had been baptised as Ann Chamberlain in 1880?

8) Annie born  26th October 1882 in Rahard, Ireland.

9) Anne Jane Chamberlain born in Queensland on 8th October 1886.

The Chamberlain family fell victim to the agrarian unrest which was rife in Ireland in the 1880s, as did Edmund Allen who was murdered over a land dispute in Shronell,Tipperary, in 1886, and a close friend or relative of the Chamberlain family, Henry Wheeler, a land agent who was also murdered in 1881.
'The Aberdeen Weekly Journal' of 10th December 1881 reported that a Chamberlain of Rahard was burnt out by a gang wielding lit rushes;  while attempting to rescue his family from the burning house, the hostile gang fired on him 100 times.   A number of arrests were subsequently made.

The Chamberlains and the Allens joined the mass exodus leaving Ireland at this time.  My own immediate ancestors, Anne Allen and Henry Culbert/Cuthbert, settled in Drumcondra, Dublin;  the witnesses to both Anne and Amelia Allen's weddings, Richard Allen and William Allen, simply disappear from the records and neither appear on the 1901 census.

 Robert Allen, the father of both Anne and Amelia Allen, died in Park, Galbally, Co. Limerick, on 28th December 1875;  his wife, Sarah Allen, née Airey,  died, aged about 73 on 13th January 1898 at 69 Seville Place, Dublin city, the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Anne and Henry Cuthbert.

Three of the daughters of John Chamberlain and first wife, Mary Keaty, chose to settle in Connecticut - Mary Chamberlain, Margaret and Susan.    Michael and Catherine/Katie accompanied their father and his second wife, Amelia/Amy Allen, to Queensland.

The Chamberlain family left London aboard the 'Indus' and arrived in Brisbane on 22nd August 1884. The passenger list for the 'Indis' records the family as follows:

  • John Chamberlain born circa 1834.
  • Amy Chamberlain born circa 1844.
  • Michael Chamberlain born 1865.
  • Catherine/Katie born 1870.
  • Sarah born 1872.
  • Robert born 1875.
  • Henry/Henry George born 1876.
  • Eliza born 1877.
  • Alice born 1880.
  • Annie born 1882. 

(On the same voyage was an Allen family - John born 1850, T. George Allen born 1857, Elizabeth Allen born 1859, and Alfred Allen born 1863, but these are possibly an unrelated English family.)

Four of the Chamberlain children died shortly after their arrival in Queensland:

1) Named after his maternal grandfather, Robert Allen Chamberlain died aged 9 on 15th September 1884 in Queensland, the son of John Chamberlain and Amelia Allen.

2) Anne Chamberlain died five days later, aged only 2, on 20th September 1884, the daughter of John Chamberlain and Amelia Atten. (This was transcribed wrong in the Australian Deaths Index.)

3) Eliza Chamberlain died aged 9 on 6th April 1887, the daughter of John Chamberlain and Amy Allen.

4) Catherine/Katie Chamberlain, the daughter of John Chamberlain and Mary Keaty (wrongly transcribed as Kerty), died on 22nd March 1889 aged 19.

John and Amelia Chamberlain had a final daughter on 8th October 1886 when Anne Jane Chamberlain was born in Queensland.

The children who survived in Queensland were Michael Chamberlain, the son of first wife Mary Keaty,  Sarah Chamberlain, Henry George Chamberlain, Alice Chamberlain, and Australian-born Anne Jane Chamberlain.

The electoral rolls showed up John Chamberlain, farmer, at Nelson, Herbert, Cairns, Queenland, in both 1903 and 1905.  Also in the household were wife Amy and daughter Sarah Chamberlain.
However, the above roll must have been published months after the info was collected, since John Chamberlain died in Queensland on 8th October 1904;  his parents were noted as John Chamberlain and Margaret DREW.

In 1908,  the widowed Amy Chamberlain was in Nelson, with three of the children - Alice who was working in a railway hotel in Cairns, labourer Henry George Chamberlain, and Sarah Chamberlain who did 'home duties'.
In 1913 in Nelson,  Amy Chamberlain, née Allen,  was living with Henry George Chamberlain, her son.    In 1919,  the widowed Amelia/Amy Chamberlain was living in Sheridan Street, Herbert, Cairns.
Amelia Chamberlain died in Queensland on 1st August 1922.  Her parents were named on the death registration as Robert Allen and Sarah McClure.  This was incorrect - Amelia's mother was actually a member of the Airey family of Ballingarry, Co. Limerick, who are documented further in my other Allen post.

Buried next to Amelia Chamberlain in Gordonvale, Cairns, was John Allen, named as the son of Robert Allen and Sarah Airey.  He was, therefore, Amelia Chamberlain's and Anne Cuthbert's brother
Photo courtesy of Bosco Ryan.

Son of John Chamberlain and Amy Allen, Henry George Chamberlain,  was noted from 1908 till 1949 in Cairns;  in 1925 he was in Gordonvale, Herbert, Cairns, and in Douglas, Herbert, Cairns, in 1930.   By 1949, he was married to an Eva Chamberlain and they were living in Leichhardt, Cairns.
Henry George Chamberlain died on 10th January 1953 in Queensland, the son of John Chamberlain and Amelia Allen.

I can find no further info on Michael Chamberlain, son of John Chamberlain and Mary Keaty, although the electoral rolls show up a labourer by this name in Cairns.  This may well be the correct individual, but there isn't enough evidence to prove this conclusively.  It might be relevant, however, that sister, Annie Jane Sommerville, was buried in Martyn Street Cemetery, Cairns, in 1940, and that a Michael Chamberlain, aged 75, was also buried there on 27th May 1950.

Daughter, Alice Chamberlain, married Horace Oliver Alfred Bickmore, in Queensland, on 5th September 1908, and settled in Herbert, Cairns. He was a clerk, working later in insurance. They had a son, Oliver James Bickmore, on 30th May 1909, and the electoral rolls show up a possible daughter, Eliza Maybell Bickmore.  Later, the electoral rolls show up another daughter, Alice Amelia Bickmore.  In 1958, the electoral rolls show the two girls living with their mother at 161 Mitchell Street, Townsville;  the two daughters were still living here in 1980.
Oliver James Bickmore died in Queensland 10 Jun 1955.

The youngest daughter of John Chamberlain and Amelia/Amy Allen, Annie Jane Chamberlain, who had been born to John and Amy  in 1886 in Queensland, married on 20th August 1910, George Alexander Cartwright Sommerville, an engine driver.  He had been born 2nd June 1879 in Queensland to John Sommerville and Margaret Weir, and would later die on 25th September 1959.
 In 1919 the Sommervilles were living in Sheridan Street, Herbert, Cairns, where Annie Jane's widowed mother, Amelia Chamberlain, was also living, possibly in the same house although the electoral roll doesn't give the house numbers in 1919.
Annie Jane Sommerville, née Chamberlain, died 21st March 1940 and is buried in Martyn Street Cemetery in Cairns.
In 1954,  George Alexander Cartwright Sommerville was still at Sheridan Street, (Number 223), and was still an engine driver.   Annie Jane is no longer present - but there are two other members of the family were there,  Edna May Sommerville and George Thomas Sommerville, a clerk.
In 1977, George Thomas Sommerville and Edna May Sommerville were living at 24 Mona St., Cairns.

Many thanks to Bosco Ryan, Sheila Sullivan and Lisa Curtin for their invaluable help in unravelling another layer of the elusive Allen line.

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