Let me say immediately that detailed knowledge of the O’Fallons before the 19th century is fairly scanty. We can trace the line way back and find lots of O’Fallons, who were almost certainly related, but joining up the dots in coherent fashion is very difficult - which is due in large part to the way births, deaths and marriages were documented (or not) in Ireland at that period and the upheavals that occurred there. A descendant of the O’Fallons has been diligently researching this family for more than 50 years but, even so, much of its background is still a mystery, although we have plenty of information about them after they left Ireland. Please note also that a number of the place names have several different spellings, so that on occasion it is difficult to locate them accurately. What follows is to a great extent a distillation of the researches of others (thank you, ‘others’) and the purpose of this article is to try to bring the known facts together in one place and appeal to any reader for further information. So, if you have anything at all that you can add to this story, particularly concerning the time when the O’Fallons were in Ireland, please do contact the webmaster (the webmaster is not an O’Fallon descendant, but is related to someone who is).
The place where we can start with certainty is a William O’Fallon of Kye and Drummullin in County Roscommon. In a 1749 census he was shown as having a wife called Margaret and two children over the age of 14. He apparently also had three sons: the eldest was a priest or monk and the third one was called John. John owned land in the parish of Clooncraff, near Elphin, County Roscommon, lived at Drummullin and is believed to have died young whilst in Italy.
John had a son called Redmond, who married Mabella O’Naghten (variously spelt – e.g. O’Naughton, Naughton or Norton), daughter of John Dillon O’Naghten of Thomastown House, Drum. Redmond and family lived in a house owned by Mr O’Naghten in Athlone, which was near Thomastown. According to the Index of Prerogative Wills of Ireland a Redmond O’Fallon died in 1776, so this may well be our man. Mabella O'Fallon died in May 1835 and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin in what became an O’Fallon family grave. It is quite possible that the decline of the family prosperity began or accelerated at around this point. Towards the end of the 18th century the O’Fallons had became involved in a court case against a family named Dillon – it was about lands, debts and rents -, which they eventually won in the Supreme Court, but one imagines that it made large inroads into financial resources, as civil suits always do.
It is thought that Redmond and Mabella had only one child – John O’Fallon, born somewhere around 1774 in Athlone. He was married three times. The identity of his first wife is unknown, but the marriage was childless. The second wife was Charlotte Chadwick, daughter of Captain Thomas Chadwick of the 18th Regiment of Light Dragoons (married 1797), who died somewhere between 1806 and 1809, and the third was Delia Hanly, whom he married in 1809. Further information about Delia has just come to light. She was a native of Roscommon, born c.1780 to Laughlin and Julia Hanly. It looks as if she moved to Dublin at some stage and on 29 August 1851 at Rathfarnham she married Patrick Flood who lived at 4 Spring Gardens Parade, Dublin. Mr Flood appears to have gone bankrupt and he died on 22 October 1858, aged 65. Then, on 8 March 1859 at St Lawrence, Dublin Delia married Robert McCormick, a mercantile clerk. She died on 18 November 1876, aged 96, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with Patrick Flood and a four month old baby who died on 2 April 1885 - Edward Joseph McCormack (or McCormick), son of Robert, a commission agent, and his wife, Elizabeth.
Copy of deposition by Delia Hanly/O'Fallon/Flood confirming her marriage. Image courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy 2012.
Before we continue I shall include a chart showing some of what is believed to be the genealogy of these O’Fallons. It looks to me as if some of the earlier birth dates may be ‘guesstimates’.
John O’Fallon and Charlotte Chadwick had five children that we know of: these were Bel (Belinda Margaret O'Fallon, born c.1798, married Thomas Richard Bowyer on 6 May 1819 at St Paul, Dublin), Maria Theresa O'Fallon (c.1801, married Peter McDonnell), Margaret (c.1804, married Ross Keogh), John William O'Fallon (c.1807 Athlone) and Catherine O'Fallon (c.1806).
Initially, I am just going to deal with the family briefly up to the point when they were no longer in Ireland and we will then look at the various branches in more detail. I do not know what ultimately happened to Belinda and Catherine, but I feel that Belinda may well have remained in Ireland, as an Aloysius Stanislaus Bowyer, born 8 November 1864 at Donnybrook, Dublin, and possibly a grandson, was buried in the Glasnevin plot in December 1864. His parents were Henry Joseph Bowyer and Arabella Josephine MacDonnell.
Grave of Mabella and John William O'Fallon, Peter and Maria McDonnell and Aloysius Bowyer, Glasnevin Cemetery. Image copyright peoplegen 2012.
Ross E Keogh was from a family that lived in Keoghville House, Taghmaconnell, County Roscommon, a village between Athlone and Ballinasloe. His parents were Edmond Keogh and Mary Fallon. Ross and Margaret had four children, who were Mary Keogh, John Lawrence (born 1834), Daniel (1838) and Delia Catherine (1842).
As will soon be apparent, many of the characters in this story left Ireland and much, perhaps all, of this can be laid at the door of potato famine, loss of lands, religious persecution and, of course, the British. Roman Catholic landowners lost their estates and many of their children understandably emigrated to build a better future.
John Lawrence Keogh was undoubtedly one such emigrant. Initially he went to London and became a constable in the Metropolitan Police. On 8 March 1859 in Hackney he married his first cousin, Alicia O’Fallon (see later), and in the 1861 census they were living in Hoxton Old Town with John’s brother, Daniel, who was a waiter. We will return to the Keoghs shortly.
Maria Teresa O’Fallon married Peter McDonnell (born about 1794, Dublin). They pop up in the 1851 England census, living at 27 Claremont Terrace, Kentish Town, London. Peter is described as a ‘Superannuated Officer’ and we believe that he worked for the British Government in Dublin. With them are their two daughters, both born in Dublin – Frances McDonnell (c.1829) and Sarah McDonnell (c.1831), plus their two nieces, Alicia and Charlotte O’Fallon – we will meet them momentarily.
Peter McDonnell died in February 1860 and was buried in the O’Fallon grave in Glasnevin. In the 1861 census Maria McDonnell was living at 6 Wellington Road, Kentish Town with her widowed sister, Margaret Keogh (whose age is given as 47 but should be 57). Maria died in 1871 and was buried with her husband in Glasnevin. I have no idea what happened to Frances and Sarah McDonnell.
John O’Fallon and Charlotte’s son, John William, married Jane J Conry in 1831: she was born in about 1810, the daughter of Matthew Conry of Kindrum. They had four children, who were John William Junior (c.1834), Matthew Redmond (c.1837), Alicia (c.1838) and Charlotte Chadwick (c.1841). As we already know, in 1851 both Charlotte and Alicia were with their aunt, Maria McDonnell, in London. Matthew had joined the British Army at some point (he was probably a sergeant and served in the Indian Mutiny) and then went to Liverpool; the teenaged John William bravely took himself off to America in 1850.
We know that John William Senior (i.e. the one born in about 1807) died in 1842 and was buried in the Glasnevin plot on 1 February of that year. We also think that he was probably involved in some kind of legal work. What we do not know anything about is the fate of his wife, Jane O'Fallon. We presume that she must have died at some stage after the birth of Charlotte and before the girls went to London with their aunt and uncle, which we think happened in the late 1840s, but she does not seem to be in Glasnevin Cemetery.
John Lawrence Keogh
As mentioned, Alicia O’Fallon had married her first cousin, John Lawrence Keogh, in 1859. They started a family and then emigrated to Old Forge, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania in about 1865, where they remained. John died on 14 December 1909, Alicia having predeceased him on 8 October 1876, after a fall from her back porch. I assume, with no evidence whatsoever, that John’s brother, Daniel Keogh, emigrated with them.
In 1879 John was the proprietor of the ‘Rising Sun Hotel’ in Lackawanna. On the night of 28 April that year tragedy struck - the hotel was destroyed by fire and two of his children, William and Margaret, were burned to death. John and his youngest son, Ross Edward (5), were severely burned, but survived. The other children, Charlotte (18) and Charles (15), also survived.
In a statement published in the ‘New York Herald’ John said:
‘Yesterday evening about seven o’clock I left the house to call on a friend. On my way I passed two men on the road, whose looks and appearance I did not like. All the way along the road the looks of these men haunted me, and in returning I dreaded meeting them. When I reached home I told my eldest daughter, a girl of eighteen, about meeting these men, and then she retired to rest. For a long time after she left me I sat up writing and about eleven o’clock I looked about the house to see that everything was secure. There were no lights anywhere, except the fire in the stove and one lamp, which we always keep lit at night. Seeing that everything was all right I went to bed and soon fell asleep, and did not awake until I heard my daughter’s voice ringing through the house with the cry of “fire!” I sprang out of bed and rushed downstairs, amid volumes of smoke. The whole lower floor and bar-room were on fire. This prevented all egress through the front door and, in turning to seek the back way, I was horrified by seeing the flame bursting out in that direction, too. I now heard my daughter’s voice crying out that little Ross, who was in bed beside me, was left behind. I ran to the room where he was sleeping and grasped him in my arms, and turned to rush with him through the flames.
I thought that all the other children were out. Judge my horror when I found the little girl clinging to me and heard her piteous cries, pleading not to be left behind. I was becoming weak and it was an impossibility for me to carry both out of the house, so I had to leave her, and with the boy in my arms I reached the outside in my present condition. I owned the house we lived in. (I had nearly paid for it.) It was not insured. We are now entirely destitute, without a stitch of clothing or anything to live on but the charity of the neighbors. My wife has been dead for over two years, and since that time my daughter has been my housekeeper. I have not done any hotel business since the death of my wife. I am at present secretary of the School Board and a land agent for a Western company. The building was a frame structure and no adequate apparatus for extinguishing conflagrations being at hand the foregoing results ensued.’
Charles Keogh was born in 1864, just before the family emigrated. His wife was Delia Joyce. Charles died in Old Forge on 18 June 1907. Ross Edward, born c. 1873 Old Forge, became a tracklayer in the mines and married Mary Ann Murray; he died on 23 November 1955 in Brooke, West Virginia. Charlotte apparently married a Mr H Snyder and had at least five children.
Delia Catherine Keogh
Delia married Robert Archibald Hurley (born 4 February 1837 Islington) in 1858 in Shoreditch. He had been married before, to Maria Cox, on 29 June 1856 at St Jude, Whitechapel – she presumably died quite soon afterwards. In the 1861 census Delia was living at 8 Parr Street, Shoreditch (with an aunt named Catherine Fitzgerald) and her son, Robert John (1859-62). Robert Senior, a house painter, was not at home in that census but he was in 1871, by which time the family was living at 44 Red Lion Street, Shoreditch. There were now four children, who were Delia Catherine Hurley (1862), Robert Archibald Hurley (1864), Elizabeth Margaret Hurley (1867) and William Hurley (1870). In 1881 they were living in Hackney and Robert Senior had become a printer. By 1891 all the children had flown the nest: Robert was a paper hanger and Delia a nurse. Robert Senior died in 1901, aged 64, and Delia in 1903.
Delia Catherine Junior married paper hanger William Horatio Oatham (born c.1862 Bethnal Green) on 14 June 1886 at St Barnabas, Homerton. Their children were Delia Oatham (1887, married David Bush, died 1959), William Horatio Oatham (1889), Ethel Bessie Oatham (1893), Susan Oatham (1897, married William A Wood?) and Jessie May Oatham (1901). Delia and William Oatham died in 1950 and 1951 respectively.
Robert Archibald Junior, also a painter, married Mary Ann Eliza Kitteridge (1866-1947) in 1885 at Bethnal Green. Their children were Robert Archibald even more Junior (1886-1912, married Grace Williams), Edward James Hurley (c.1887), George Herbert Hurley (1888-90), John Hurley (1889), Ada Adelaide G Hurley (c.1891-1976, married George Clarke), Frederick Percy Hurley (c.1893-1917), Bertie Hurley (1895-6), Lily Hurley (1896-7), William Hurley (c.1897), Alec Hurley (1899), Mary Ann Eliza Hurley (c.1900), Reuben Hurley (1902), Albert Hurley (1904-5), Annie Rose Hurley (1907-2000, married Robert William Heelas), Arthur Hurley (c.1910) and Delia Hurley (1912-40, married Harold D M Russell).
On 4 August 1889 at St Barnabas, Homerton, London Elizabeth Margaret married cellarman Alfred Stephen Appleton Hunt.
Matthew Redmond O’Fallon
Matthew married Susanna(h) Elizabeth Kneale (born 1846 Liverpool, daughter of Thomas from the Isle of Man) on 15 May 1870 at St Timothy, Everton. At that time he was working as a clerk. In 1881 his occupation was listed as ‘School Board Office’ and the couple had five children, all born in Liverpool, who were William Redmond O'Fallon (1872-1951), Charlotte Mary Josephina O'Fallon (1873), Arthur Stanley O'Fallon (1875, emigrated to Canada), Susan Ada Gertrude O'Fallon (1877, married James John Owen Teale – see Teale) and Albert Ernest O'fallon (c.1880). In 1891 Matthew was described as a storekeeper to the School Board and there were two more children – Josephine O'Fallon (1882, married Henry Northing Lister, emigrated to Canada) and Matthew Redmond Hawkes O'Fallon (23 April 1887). Matthew Senior died in 1902 and Susannah died in 1919 in Birkenhead district.
William Redmond became a marine engineer. In 1902 he married Ada Mary McIlvenna (born 15 September 1879 in Liverpool, died 1949) and in 1911 she was keeping a shop. Their children at that stage were Ada Mary O'Fallon (1905, married William John Simpson; died 1 July 1988 Pompona Beach, Florida), Matthew Redmond O'Fallon (1910) and Norah Mary O'Fallon (1910, married John Lawless). There also seems to have been a daughter called Susan Margaret O'Fallon (1908), who was a patient in a hospital for infectious diseases at the time of the 1911 census. Later on they appear to have had Elsie Veronica O'Fallon (1916), Eileen M O'Fallon (1919, married Walter Barlow) and William Felix O'Fallon (26 April 1922-93, married Elizabeth Collins). There were probably some children in between the 1911 census and 1916.
Charlotte Mary Josephina married chartered accountant George Herbert Marsh on 7 September 1898 at St Augustine, Everton. She died in 1926 in Kensington district.
Albert Ernest was an engine fitter/marine engineer (sometime of the Midland Railway) and married Hannah Kitching (born Sedbergh, Yorkshire in 1878, died 1961 Wallasey district, Cheshire) in 1899. Their children were Robert Redmond O'Fallon (born 1899, died 9 April 1918 at Loos, France – he was a Private in the Lancashire Fusiliers), Irene Josephine O'Fallon (born 31 October 1900, married marine engineer George Salisbury, died 1984 Stockport district), Nora Lilian O'Fallon (born 10 December 1902, married John W Hutton, died 1991 Wallasey district) and Matthew Redmond O'Fallon (born c.1905)
Matthew Redmond Hawkes O’Fallon appears to have been a master mariner and there are several records on Ancestry.co.uk of him returning to the UK as a passenger between 1912 and 1937. The age is sometimes a little off but it does seem to be the same man, with addresses ranging from Herne Hill in London, Twickenham in Middlesex and Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex. I understand that he perished in a marine accident in the 1940s.
copyright peoplegen/laj 2012
COMING SOON - THE O'FALLONS IN AMERICA