Friday, 31 July 2009

14: Comerford of Wexford and Cork and Comerford-Casey of Cork

12.1: Anthony Hope Hawkins, author of The Prisoner of Zenda, was the son of the Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins (1827-1906), of Saint Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, and through him was descended from the Comerford family of Wexford and Cork.

Patrick Comerford

According to John O’Hart, the Comerfords of Cork are said to be a branch of the Comerford family of Co Wexford.[1] However, Joseph Comerford, merchant, of Cork, was a brother of Catherine Comerford who married James Nagle of Garranvilly or Garnavilla, near Cahir, Co Tipperary, serjeant-at-arms, Irish House of Commons, and brother of Sir Richard Nagle, Speaker of the Commons.[2]

Joseph Comerford of Cork was the same as Joseph Comerford of Anglure [see Chapter 6: Comerford of Ballymack and Callan], and was party to a family deed concerning a house and property in Clonmel. His brothers were Luke Comerford and John Comerford.[3]

Andrew Comerford, Garret Comerford, John Comerford and Peter Comerford of Cork, who died in the mid-18th century, may have been brothers.

The first named:

ANDREW COMERFORD married Dorcas Rice in 1729.[4]

The second named:

GARRETT COMERFORD married Mary Pratt in 1737.[5] Was she the Mary Comerford, widow, who married John Bradley in 1745?[6]

The third named:

JOHN COMERFORD (ca 1688-ca 1769), of Cork. He was born ca 1688. In 1718, he married Elizabeth Edge (? died 20 October 1749).[7] His will is dated 9 October 1766, and he died ca 1769 as probate was granted in 1769.[8] Elizabeth may have died on 20 October 1749.[9] He married secondly[10] Bridget, daughter of Michael Kearney of Fethard, Co Tipperary, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Denis McCarthy of Spring House, Co Cork.

John and Elizabeth (Edge) Comerford were the parents of three sons and three daughters:

1, Patrick Comerford.
2, Mary.
3, John Comerford (ca 1719-post 1769), of whom next.
4, Elizabeth.
5, James Comerford, living in 1769 and 1796.
6, Teresa, who conformed to the Church of Ireland in Rathconery Parish Church on 11 June 1769 and immediately after married ... Hamilton, a lieutenant in the 54th Regiment of Foot.[11]

John and Bridget (Kearney) Comerford were the parents of a seventh child, a daughter:

7, Anastasia, who in 1748 married George Hennessy of Ballymacoy, Co Cork.[12] He was a brother of Elizabeth Hennessy who a year later married Anastasia’s brother, John Comerford (above), and of Richard Hennessy (1720-1800), founder of the Hennessy Cognac dynasty.

The third child:

JOHN COMERFORD (ca 1719-post 1770). He was a wine merchant in Cork in partnership with his son Patrick Comerford in 1769-1770, and was a senior partner in one of the 12 Cork firms prominent in the transatlantic trade from the 1730s to the 1770s. His sometime partner, Henry O’Shea, later owned 30 vessels that were based in Cork by the 1770s, and was part-owner of many more based in other ports. O’Shea developed quays and ship-repair facilities near his house downstream, and inter-continental trading interests.[13] In 1749, he married Elizabeth Hennessy,[14] daughter of James Hennessy of Ballymacoy (died 1770) and his wife Catherine Barrett. Elizabeth was a sister of George Hennessy who married John’s sister Anastasia (see above), and of Richard Hennessy (1720-1800), founder of the Hennessy Cognac dynasty.

John and Elizabeth Comerford were the parents of three sons:

1, Patrick Comerford, of whom next.
2, John Comerford (1761- ), of Cork, baptised on 24 April 1761 in South Parish (Saint Finbarre’s South), Cork.
3, James Comerford (1777- ) of Cork.[15] He was baptised on 30 August 1777 in South Parish (Saint Finbarre’s South), Cork.. He was still living in 1796, when he was mentioned in the will of his brother, Patrick Comerford.[16] He may have been the ancestor of the Comerford-Green family of Kinsale, Co Cork, and Blackrock, Co Dublin (see below).

John Comerford’s first-named son:

PATRICK COMERFORD (died 1796), merchant, of George’s Quay, Cork, and Summerville, Co Cork. He was a wine merchant in Cork in partnership with his father John Comerford in 1769-1770. He was one of the Roman Catholics called to the City Grand Jury in Cork in 1795.[17] His will is dated 15 March 1796 and was granted probate on 16 September 1796.[18] He married in Bath on 20 August 1770 Anne, or Teresa, daughter of Thomas Gleadowe (1700-1766) of Castle Street, Dublin, and his wife Teresa (Workman), and a sister of Sir William Gleadowe-Newcomen (1730-1806), the banker, of Killester, Co Dublin.[24]

The former Newcomen Bank, on the corner of Castle Street and Lord Edward Street, Dublin, was founded by William Gleadowe, later Sir William Gleadowe-Newcomen, brother of Anne Comerford of Cork. The bank closed in 1825 after a series of banking failures (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Patrick and Anne Comerford had three daughters:[19]

1, Mary (1776-1840),[20] the poet and author Mary Teresa (Comerford) Boddington. She was the author of Poems (London, 1839) and The Gossip’s Week, in prose and verse (two volumes, London, 1836). She wrote verse frequently for the Cork papers, some of her songs were written to Irish airs, and she wrote some entertaining volumes of travel on the Continent of Europe from 1815 on. She was born in Cork in 1776, and left Cork for London in 1803. On 16 April 1805, at Saint George’s Church, Hanover Square, London, she married Thomas Boddington (1774-1862), a wealthy West Indian merchant of Upper Brooke Street, London, and Marylebone, Middlesex. The Boddingtons are often referred to in Thomas Moore’s Diary. She died in 1840. They had three children:
● 1a, Mary Theresa (1806-1898). She was born in London on 13 January 1806, and died in Pau, France, on 15 May 1898. She married Jean Ernest Lannes de Montebello (1803-1882), Baron de Montebello, at the British Embassy in Paris, on 27 April 1831. He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on 20 July 1803, and died on 24 November 1882 in Pau, France. He was the son of Jean Lannes, Duc de Montebello, and his wife Louise Antoinette, Comtesse de Guéheneuc. They had three sons and three daughters:
●● 1b, Marie (1832-1917). She was born in July 1832, and died in Biarritz on 3 January 1917; in 1868, she married Henri O’Shea (1836-1905).
●●2b, Eveline (1837-1868).
●●3b, Berthe (1838-1893). She was born in Paris 19 July 1838, and died in October 1893. In 1861, she married Auguste Guillemin (1813-1877).
●● 4b, Jean Gaston Lannes de Montebello (1840-1926), born 16 May 1840 in Pau; died on 22 December 1926 in Pau.
●● 5b, René Lannes de Montbello (1845-1925). He was born in Gelos on 13 September 1845, and died on 27 December 1925. In Paris on 4 November 1875, he married Princess Marie Lubmirska (1847-1930), and they had five children, including:
●●● 4c, Hedwige Marie Renée (1881-1944). She was born in Pau on 10 Mar 1881, and died in the concentration camp in Ravensbrück on 19 Nov 1944. On 17 September 1910, she married in Biarritz Louis d’Ax dit de Vaudricourt (Château Vaudricourt). He was born on 20 May 1879 and died in the concentration camp in Dachau on January 1945. Her brother, brother, Count André Roger Lannes de Montebello (1908-1986), was involved in the French resistance during World War II and was the father of Count Guy Philippe Henri Lannes de Montebello, who, as Philippe de Montebello, who was director of the Meetroplitan Museum of Art, New York, until 2008.
●● 6b, Roger Gaston Lannes de Montebello (1850-1878). He was born in 1850, and died in Paris on 28 June 1878.
● 2a, Thomas Boddington (1807-1881);
● 3a, Harriet Boddington (1809-1877).

2, Belinda Isabella, who married on 5 November 1795 the Revd Francis Law, BA (1768-1807), and of whom next.

3, Bridget.[23]

The second named daughter:

Belinda Isabella, married on 5 November 1795 the Revd Francis Law,BA (1768-1807), curate of Newcastle, Co Wicklow (Diocese of Glendalough), 1790; Vicar of Attanagh, Queen’s County (Diocese of Ossory), 1801-1807; and Rector of Cork. He was the son of the Revd Canon Robert Law, DD (1730-1789), Rector of Saint Mary’s, Dublin (1772-1789), Rector of Middleton, Co Cork, and Treasurer of Cloyne. He was a first cousin of Robert William Law, whose daughter Elizabeth married the Right Rev John Gregg. Belinda Isabella (Comerford) and Patrick Law had four sons and three daughters: [21]

1, Amelia Teresa ( - 1868). She married in 1837 (the Revd Canon) Arthur Wynne, MA (1801-1854), Curate of Carnew, Co Wicklow (Diocese of Ferns), 1826-1835, Curate of Powerscourt, Co Wicklow (Diocese of Glendalough), 1835-1837, Vicar of Saint Peter’s, Drogheda, Co Louth (Diocese of Armagh), 1837-1848, Precentor of Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, 1848-1854, and Precentor of Saint Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, Co Waterford, 1850-1854. She died on 25 October 1868. [22]
2, Elizabeth, who married Thomas Roberts.
3, (The Revd) Patrick Comerford Law (1797-1869), of whom next.
4, (Professor) Robert Law, MD (1798-1875). He was born in Wales on 3 November 1798. He graduated MD. He married Eleanor Vesey, daughter of the Revd Dr George Vesey, Rector of Mansfieldstown, Co Louth, and his wife Barbara Taylor. He was Professor of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin), and lived at Upper Merion Street, Dublin. Robert died on 23 April 1875, aged 76; Eleanor died on 21 October 1889. They were the parents of one daughter:
● 1a, Isabella Barbara ( -1891). On 6 September 1875, she married (Major-General) George Baret Stokes of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and Mounthawk, Tralee, Co Kerry. She died 9 July 1891.
5, (The Revd) Francis Law (1800-1881), of whom after his eldest brother, the Revd Patrick Comerford Law.
6, Isabella (ca 1801-1802). She was born ca 1801, and died in infancy on 22 September 1802.
7, Samuel Law (1803-ca 1804). He was born on 2 January 1803, and died in infancy.

The third child and eldest surviving son of the Revd Francis Law and Belinda Isabella (Comerford) Law was:

(The Revd) Patrick Comerford Law (1797-1869), of Summerville, Co Cork, and Ballyalley, Killaloe, Co Clare. He was born in Carnarvon, Wales, on 21 August 1797. He was the Rector of North Repps, Norfolk (Diocese of Norwich), from 27 March 1830. His second cousin, Michael Law, was the father of Sir Edward Fitzgerald Law (1846-1908), of Athens, who was involved in reforming the Greek economy in the 1890s and in the negotiations leading to the eventual restoration of Crete to the Greek state; he married Catherine Hatsopoulo, of an old Byzantine family who had settled in Athens, and he is buried in the First Cemetery, Athens.

Patrick Comerford Law married in 1828 Frances, daughter of the Right Revd Alexander Arbuthnot, Bishop of Killaloe. Frances Comerford Law died on 19 November 1857; Patrick Comerford Law died on 15 April 1869. They had nine children, six sons and three daughters, including:

1, Frances (‘Fanny’) Amelia Law (died 1883), who married in 1862 Henry Charles Hull, barrister. Their daughter, Agnes Georgina Hull (1868-1936) had a special friendship with the Revd Charles L Dodgson (‘Lewis Carroll’), author of Alice in Wonderland, who got to know the Hull family while they were living in Eastbourne in 1877.
2, (The Revd) Robert Arbuthnot Law (1842-1889). He was born 28 February 1842 in North Repps, and was educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was ordained deacon (Rochester, 1866), priest (Norwich, 1868); he was Curate of All Saints’, Hertford (1866-1869), Rector of Larling, Norfolk (1869-1870), and Rector of Gunthorpe with Bale, Norfolk (1870-1869). He married on 29 January 1870, Agnes (1835-1892), daughter of the Revd John Henry Sparke. Robert died 11 December 1889.

Arthur Law (1844-1913) … the English actor and playwright was a son of the Revd Patrick Comerford Law (1797-1869)

3, William Arthur Law (1844-1913). He was born on 22 March 1844 in North Repps, where his father was the vicar. He was educated at Sandhurst and was commissioned in the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1864-1872) of Killaloe, Co Clare, and Hill Cottage, Pulborough, Sussex. He was better known as Arthur Law, the playwright and actor. He married the English actress Fanny Holland (1847-1931). He died in Poole, Dorset, on 2 April 1913; she died in Bournemouth on 18 June 1931. Their only son:
● 1a, Hamilton Patrick John Holland Law (1879-1960), singer. He was born in 1879 and educated at Clare College Cambridge. He married on 9 October 1907 Frances Dora (1887- ), only daughter of the Revd Cecil Brereton (1856-1939), Rector of Hardham. He died 7 April 1960 in Bournemouth, Hampshire.

The third son and fifth child of the Revd Francis Law and Belinda Isabella (Comerford) Law was:

(The Revd) Francis Law (1800-1881). He was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, on 4 June 1800. He was educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge (BA, 1827). He was ordained deacon (Killaloe, 1827) and priest (Cloyne, 1828). He was Vicar of Samlesbury, near Preston, Lancashire (1832-1881). Author, Tracts on Romish Controversy. He married Marianne Cuppage of Killaloe, Co Clare, daughter of General Alexander Cuppage (d. 1847) and Clarinda Bruce. Francis Law died on 20 September 1881, at Samlesbury Vicarage, aged 81. Their children included:

Francis Law (1829-1898), who was born in Dublin and died in Michigan (Photograph courtesy Lauri Wagaman, 2014)

1, Francis Law (1829-1898). He was born in Clare Grove, Dublin, on 27 February 1829. He was living in Samlesbury in 1861, aged 32. He married Ruth E. Lee in Wilson, Niagra County, New York, on 30 January 1866. Their first three children were born in New York. They moved to Addison, Michigan, ca 1869 or 1870. By 1880, they were living on their farm at Tittabawassee (later Freeland) in Saginaw County, Michigan. He died on 21 November 1898. Their children included:

Robert Archie Law (1877-1923) … a direct descendant of Belinda Comerford and the Revd Francis Law (Photograph courtesy Lauri Wagaman)

● 1a, Robert Archie Law (1877-1923), born at Tittabawassee (Freeland), 18 November 1877. He married Nella Maud Thomson (1878-1962). He died in 1923. Their seven children were: Robert Dale Law, lawyer, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who died in Toledo following a heart attack during his son-in-law’s sermon; Francis Warner Law; Bertha Emily; Marion (grandmother of Lauri Wagaman), who died on 28 December 1973; Virginia Ruth; Don Carlos Law; and Dan Delton Law.

The seven children of Robert Law at their family farm in Freeland, Michigan (Photograph courtesy Lauri Wagaman)

John Comerford’s contemporary in Cork, and perhaps his brother, was:

PETER COMERFORD (ca 1702-ca 1755), of Cork. Born ca 1702, he died ca 1755, when his will received probate.[25] He probably married Elizabeth Dicks, who died ca 1747, leaving a daughter, and perhaps a son:

1, Rebecca Comerford.
2, Peter Comerford, of whom next.

Peter Comerford appears to have been the father of:

PETER COMERFORD (ca 1732-1800?), Clothier, of Mallow Lane, Cork. He was living in 1792, and may have died in 1800. Peter married Mary Casey and was the father of:

1, Jane, of whom next.

Peter Comerford may also have been the father of:

1, Peter Comerford of Bachelor’s Quay, Cork, recorded in Pigot’s Directory of Cork City in 1824, and who voted in the 1829 election.[26]

JANE COMERFORD (above) who in 1792 married her cousin Edwards Casey of Cahirgal and Elmgrove, Cork.[27] The Comerford name was continued through their descendants. Edwards Casey died in 1827.

Edwards Casey and Jane Comerford had six sons and three daughters:

12.2: Saint Margaret’s Church, Higham Gobion, Bedfordshire, where the Revd Francis Hawkins and the Revd John Hawkins were rectors (Photograph courtesy Tony Hawkins)

1, (Dr) Thomas Casey, of whom next.
2, William Comerford Casey ( -1852), of whom after Thomas.
3, George Casey ( -1879), of whom after William.
4, Edwards Casey ( -1875), of Blackrock, Co Cork. He married Eliza, daughter of Robert King Cummins of Cork. He died in 1875. They had a daughter:
1a, Mary Jane, who died in England in 1884.
5, John Casey.
6, Comerford Casey.

12.3: The memorial plaque to Dr Frederick Hawkins and Mary (Comerford Casey) Hawkins in Saint Margaret’s, Higham Gobion, Bedfordshire (Photograph courtesy Tony Hawkins)

1, Mary, who married Dr Frederick Hawkins, MD (1796-1864), of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, fourth son of Major Henry Hawkins. Frederick Hawkins was a brother of John Hawkins (1791-1877), solicitor, of Hitchin (see below), Dr Francis Hastings (1794-1856), surgeon, of Hastings (see below), and the Revd Canon Ernest Hawkins (1801-1868) of Westminster Abbey. There were at least three inter-marriages between these Casey and Hawkins families in the 19th century. Dr Frederick Hawkins was the founder of Hitchin Hospital in 1840. Mary died on 27 October 1872; Frederick died on 27 November 1864; they are buried in Saint Margaret’s, Higham Gobion, Bedfordshire, where both his grandfather, the Revd Francis Hawkins, and his uncle, the Revd John Hawkins, were rectors. They had children, including:
1a, Hannah, who married the Ven Samuel Cheetham (1827-1908), Professor of Pastoral Theology, King’s College, London, and later Archdeacon of Rochester. They had no children.

12.4: The Revd Henry Hawkins (1825-1904), son-in-law of Edwards and Jane (Comerford) Casey, was a pioneer in mental health care

2a, Mary, married in 1853 her cousin, the Revd Henry Hawkins (1825-1904), MA (Exeter College, Oxford; Wells Theological College), the only son of Dr Francis Hawkins (1794-1856), surgeon, of Gosmore, near Hitchin, Hertfordshire. He was a pioneer in mental health care as chaplain of the Sussex County Asylum (1859-1867) and the County of London Asylum, Colney Heath (1867-1900), later Friern Hospital, in New Southgate, North London. Henry died aged 79 on 16 December 1904 after a short illness, and was buried at St James the Great in Friern Barnet. Mary and Henry had eight children, four sons and two daughters, including:
●● 1b, (The Revd Canon) Francis Henry Albert Hawkins (1855-1940), Rector of All Saints’, Highgate, and Prebendary of Saint Paul’s Cathedral London, who was the father of the Revd Canon Robert Henry Hawkins, MA (1892-1989), Vicar of Saint Mary’s, Nottingham (1943-1958), and a Canon of Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, from 1958.
●● 2b, (Dr) Edward Hawkins.
●● 3b, Henrietta, who worked with her father at Colney Hatch.
●● 4b, (Sister) Mary, an Anglican nun.

12.5: The Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins (1827-1906), of Saint Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London

3a, (The Revd) Edwards Comerford Hawkins (1827-1906), Anglican priest, teacher and author. He was born on 15 May 1827. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford (BA, 1849). He was headmaster of Saint John’s Foundation School for the Sons of Poor Clergy (1861-1883), and Vicar of Saint Bride’s, Fleet Street, London (1883-1904). He was the author of Spirit and Form (1881), and The Church and Parish of St Bride, Fleet Street (1883). He died on 12 February 1906, and is buried in Saint Margaret’s Church, Higham Gobion.[28]

12.6: The memorial plaque to the Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins in Saint Margaret’s Church, Higham Gobion, Bedfordshire (Photograph courtesy Tony Hawkins)

He was also commemorated with an inscribed tablet of white marble,which once was on the ground floor of the tower at Saint Bride’s, and is now [2012] in the crypt.

The plaque commemorating the Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins is now in the crypt in Saint Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

The plaque reads:

Sacred to the Memory
of
Edward Comerford Hawkins, M.A.
for 23 years Vicar of this Parish
formerly Head Master of St John’s School, Leatherhead.
Born 15th May 1827. Died 12th Feb. 1906.
His untiring efforts both public and private for
the good of others, the power and wisdom of his
teaching, the high example of his life, his liberality
of mind and the warmth of his affection are held
in grateful remembrance by his family, his friends
and all those for whom and with whom he laboured
as Pastor and as fellow-citizen
‘He that loveth his brother abideth in the light’


The Scripture reference is I John 2: 10.

He married Jane Isabella Grahame, and their children were:

●● 1b, Geoffrey Hawkins, Parliamentary Solicitor.

12.7: Anthony Hope Hawkins (1863-1933), author of The Prisoner of Zenda, was the son of the Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins (1827-1906), of Saint Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, and through him was descended from the Comerford family of Wexford and Cork.

●● 2b, (Sir) Anthony Hope Hawkins (1863-1933). He was born on 9 February 1863 in Clapton House, London. He was educated at his father’s school, Clapton, Marlborough, Balliol College, Oxford, and the Middle Temple. He was President of the Oxford Union (1886). He was called to the bar in 1887 and practised from the same chambers as H.H. Asquith, the future prime minister. He was defeated as the Liberal candidate for South Buckinghamshire, 1892. As Anthony Hope, he was the author of the Ruritania novels, including The Prisoner of Zenda, The Heart of Princess Osra, and Rupert of Henzau. Through his mother he was a first cousin of Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows. He married in 1903 Elizabeth Somerville Sheldon (died 1946) of New York, and they had two sons and a daughter. They lived at 41 Bedford Square, London, and then at Heath Farm, Walton on the Hill, Surrey, and Gower Street, London. He died on 8 July 1933, and is buried in Leatherhead.[29]
●● 3b, Joan, married Ernest Feilin, and had children.
● 4a, Ernest Hawkins, married Mary Cator and had five sons and three daughters.
● 5a, Albert Hawkins, a surgeon in the British army during the Crimean and Chinese wars, he died without having children.
2, Hannah.
3, Jane.

The eldest son of Jane Comerford and Edwards Casey was:

(Dr) THOMAS CASEY, MD, of St Alban’s, Hertfordshire. He was living in Cork in 1829, when he voted in the election that year. Later, he moved to England, and married Anne, daughter of Major Henry Hawkins (1750-181), of the East India Company and Lawrence End, Hertfordshire; Anne Hawkins was a sister of John Hawkins (1791-1877), solicitor, of Hitchin (see below), Dr Francis Hawkins (1794-1856) of Hastings (see above), and Dr Frederic Hawkins (1796-1864) of Hitchin (see above). Thomas and Anne Casey Hawkins had two sons and two daughters:[30]

1, (Dr) Edward Casey, MD (ca 1833-1917), of Windsor, Berkshire. Educated King’s College London (BSc, The Lancet, 15 December 1866). Practising medicine in Ewer by 1870 (Reading Mercury, 24 September 1870). Appointed Medical Officer of Health, Windsor, 13 December 1882 (Berkshire Records Office WI/AS1/4; New Windsor Local Board of Health Minute Book 6). He died at his home, 3 Park Street, Windsor, on Sunday 30 December 1917 aged 74 (Slough, Eton & Windsor Observer, 05/01/1918, p. 2; email correspondence with Peter Steere of Kellogg College, Oxford, 7 and 8/10/2014).
2, (The Revd) Henry Ernest Casey (1840-1923). He was born in St Alban’s, Hertfordshire, in April 1840, and was baptised on 22 May 1842. He was educated at Uppingham and was admitted a sizar at Saint John’s College, Cambridge, on 7 July 1858 (BA, 1862, MA, 1867). He was Assistant Master at Rossall School (1862-1863) before being ordained deacon (1864) and priest (1866) by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford. He was curate of Slough, Buckinghamshire (1864-1867), curate of Braceborough, Lincolnshire (1867-1870), curate of Saint John’s Bedwardine, Worcestershire (1871-1879); and Vicar of Berrow, Ledbury, Worcestershire (1879-1916). In retirement, he lived in Malvern Link, Worcestershire, and died there on 16 August 1923, aged 83.
3, Anne Louisa, died young.
4, Mary (died 1872), married the Revd Jonathan Henry Bennett, MA (1829-1896), of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Headmaster of Falmouth Grammar School (1856-1888).

Dr Thomas Casey’s next brother:

WILLIAM COMERFORD CASEY ( -1852). A freeman of Cork, he voted in the 1827 election. He later moved to Wavertree, Liverpool, and was a soap manufacturer in Liverpool, where he was partner with his brother George Casey (see below) in the firm of WC and G Casey. He married Susanna (born 1815), daughter of John Hawkins (1791-1877), solicitor, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire; John Hawkins was a brother of Dr Francis Hawkins of Hastings (see above), of Dr Frederick Hawkins of Hitchin (see above), and of Anne Hawkins who married Dr Thomas Casey (see above). Her brother, Sir Henry Hawkins (1817-1907) was a barrister and judge, and became Lord Bampton. Susanna and William Comerford Casey had four sons and four daughters:[31]

1, (The Revd) William Henry Casey (1840-1916), born Liverpool on 14 February 1840; admitted pensioner, Trinity College Cambridge, 6 July 1858 (BA, 1865, MA); ordained deacon by the Bishop of St Asaph (1865); curate, Chester, 1865; curate, Saint Mary, Edge Hill, Liverpool (1869-1872); curate, Saint Matthew, Liverpool (1872-1873). In 1873, he became the Rector of Saint Paul’s Church, Aurora, New York. He moved to Union Springs, New York, in the early 1890s, continuing as before to serve the Union Springs and Aurora churches until he retired in 1915. He died in 1916. William Henry Casey has been described as “a typical Englishman; fond of walking, a great reader, and a keen sportsman.” He married Mary Matilda, daughter of R.P. Austin of Liverpool. They had two daughters:
● 1a, Mabel Healy, graduated at Wells College 1895.
● 2a, Norah Florence, graduated at Wells College 1897.
2, Edward Casey ( -ca 1890), a solicitor, of Basing Lodge, Hitchin.
3, Mary, born in Liverpool in 1845, baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree, 25 April 1845. She married in 1870 her cousin, Major Henry Wallich Maclear (1845-1911) of the 3rd Buffs and they had five sons.
4, Frederick Casey (1847-1887). He was born on 2 January 1847, and was baptised on 2 August 1848 in Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree. He died in 1887 at the Grande Saline, Haiti, West Indies.
5, Susanna Baretta (1848- ). She was born on 25 July 1848, and was baptised on 20 August 1848 in Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree. She was living at 69 Sandown Lane, Wavertree, when she married on 7 July 1885 in Saint Bridget’s Church, Wavertree, Thomas Moore, widowed, bank cashier, of 63 Newsham Drive, Walton, Liverpool, son of Dr Alexander Moore. The witnesses were her brother Horace Comerford Moore and her cousin, Rachel Eade, who later married Horace. It is interesting to note how the marriage records indicate the way in which the family maintained its connections with Ireland: the marriage licence was issued by the Revd Canon Courtenay Moore, Rector of Mitchelstown, Co Cork.
6, Horace Comerford Casey (1850-1920). He was born on 7 June 1850, and baptised on 14 July 1850 in Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree. He died aged 69 in Farnham, Surrey, in June 1920. In 1891, he married his cousin, Rachel Eade (1854-1942), daughter of Joseph Eade (1820-1862) of Richmond, Surrey, and his wife Rachel Hawkins (1824-1919) of Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Horace and Rachel Comerford Casey had no children.
7, Miriam Amelia (1852-1921). She was born on 1 September 1852, and baptised on 19 September in Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree. She married Charles John Greenshields Duranty (1849- ), merchant, of Livingston Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool. She died in 1921. Their children included:
● 1a, Guy Duranty (1884- ), baptised on 13 November 1884, in Saint Bridget's Church, Wavertree.
8, Emily Rebecca (ca 1851- ), born ca 1851, she married in 1870 as his second wife Charles Cholmeley Hale (1830-1884), of King’s Walden, Hertfordshire, JP, High Sheriff 1880, lieutenant Rifle Brigade, captain North Herts Yeomanry, and grandson of the writer Sir Richard Joseph Sullivan (1752-1806). They had six children:
● 1a, Charles Hale, born 1879; educated at Eton, Lieutenant, 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade.
● 2a, Evelyn.
● 3a, Elsie.
● 4a, Muriel.
● 5a, Sibyl Rose d’Amour, married in 1898, Charles Alexander F. Duranty, and had children.
● 6a, Edith Marjorie.

William Comerford Casey’s next brother:

GEORGE CASEY, was the third son of Edwards Casey and Jane Comerford. He was a soap manufacturer in Liverpool, where he was partner with his brother William Comerford Casey (see above) in the firm of WC and G Casey. He retired from the family business in 1859, and the partnership was handed over to Francis William Medley as sole trader. He later lived at Winterbourne, St Leonard’s-on-Sea, Sussex. He married in Saint Mary’s Church, Newry, Co Down, in 1845 Mercy Bourcicault, eldest daughter of George Glenny of Newry, Co Down, and Moorevale, Co Armagh. George Casey died in 1879 and his wife Mercy died in 1880. They had five sons and five daughters:[32]

1, (The Revd) George Edwards Comerford-Casey (1846-1912), of whom next.
2, Charles Ash Wyndham Casey, who died in infancy.
3, Comerford Glenny Casey, who died in infancy.
4, (Major) Charles Leslie Casey of the Royal Artillery, member of the Naval and Military Club, Piccadilly, London.
5, Arthur Edwin Comerford-Casey, of the Bengal Civil Service, and 16 St James’s Square, London. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, and Marlborough College, Wiltshire. He was appointed to the Bengal Civil Service in 1872, and arrived in India in 1874. He served in the North-West Province and retired October 1889. He married on 2 June 1885 Edith A. (died 1886 at Suez, Egypt), daughter of General Sir Thomas Willshire, Baronet, GCB (1789-1862), who was made a baronet in 1841 for his part in the campaign in Afghanistan, at the siege of Ghuznee and at the capture of Khelat. Arthur Edwin Comerford-Casey was granted a coat-of-arms for himself and the descendants of his grandparents, Edwards Casey and Jane Comerford, incorporating elements of both the Casey and Comerford coats of arms.[33]
1, Isabel (died in England in 1887), married Lieutenant Francis Ross Bromilow, RN, of Fraserburgh (died 17 September 1880), and had children.
2, Helena Mary, died in 1882 at Ranibagh, North-West Province, India (present-day Pakistan).
3, Emma Elizabeth, married on 1 December 1884 Sir Sainthill Eardley-Wilmot, KCIE (1853-1929), conservator of forests, India, and grandson of Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot (1783-1845) of Hobart, Tasmania, Governor of Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania). Emma died in 1890, and Sainthill married again the following year.[34] Emma and Sainthill had one daughter:
● 1a, Helen Jessie.
The eldest son and Mercy and George Casey was:

(The Revd) GEORGE EDWARDS COMERFORD-CASEY (1846-1912), Anglican priest, teacher, botanist, author. He was born in Wavetree, West Derby (Everton), Liverpool, on 19 March 1846, and was baptised on 5 April 1846 in Holy Trinity, Wavertree. He was educated at Lincoln College, Oxford (BA, 1869, MA, 1873). He was elected FGS (1878) and FLS (1879). He was curate of Saint Mary-le-Wigford, the parish church of Lincoln (1870-1872), Assistant Master in the High School, Nottingham (1874-1879), and lived in Nice (1882-1894). He was the author of Outlines of Latin Mood Construction, with exercises (1882), Die Urzeit, or Kindergarten German, Old Testament Tales in German and English (1888), The Broad Churchman, a Catechism of Christian Pantheism (1891), and Riviera Nature Notes (1898, 2nd edition 1903). He changed his surname from Casey to Comerford-Casey. In 1874, he married Ellen Georgina Alvina, daughter of Robert Bertram, Taylorian Professor of German in the University of Oxford. He died in Parkstone, Dorset, on 4 February 1912. They had two daughters and a son:[35]

1, Olive Bourcicault Comerford, born in 1875, living 1913.
2, Alvina Bertram (‘Bertie’) Comerford, born in 1877, living 1913.
3, Edward Comerford Casey, born in 1880, living in 1888.

JAMES COMERFORD of Cork (see above), who was living in 1796, when he was mentioned in the will of his brother Patrick Comerford, may have been the father of:

(Lieutenant) JOHN COMERFORD, who fought in the British army during the American War, as did his brother-in-law, Lieutenant James Mahony of the 77th Regiment. This John Comerford married Anna, daughter of Daniel Mahony of Dunloe Castle. John and Anna Comerford were the parents of at least two sons:

1, George Comerford, 57th Regiment, who died unmarried.
2, (Captain) James Comerford, of whom next.

(Captain) JAMES FRANCIS COMERFORD (?born ca 1799), of Higher Street, Kinsale, Co Cork, may have been the son or grandson of James Comerford of Cork (see above), who was still living in 1796, when he was mentioned in the will of his brother, Patrick Comerford.[36] This James Comerford married Marcella, daughter of Joseph Maxwell (1773-1850), solicitor, of 3 Merrion Row, Dublin. They had four children and the Comerford name was continued through the descendants of their elder daughter. Their children were:[37]

1, Anna, born 1829, of whom next.
2, Thomas Comerford (1829- ), born in December 1829, baptised in Kinsale 29 December 1829 (sponsors, Thomas Rochford, Ann Vicars).
3, Marcella, born July 1836, baptised in Kinsale on 11 July 1836.
John James Comerford (1839- ), born September 1839, baptised in Kinsale 11 September 1839.

The elder daughter:

ANNA (1829-1883), was living at 7 North Great George’s Street, Dublin, in 1857 when she married in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, on 29 August 1857, James Sullivan Green, QC, of Air Hill, Glanworth, Co Cork, 10 Henrietta Street, Dublin, and later of and 83 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, JP, Crown Prosecutor, Co Cork. He was born on 17 March 1814, and in their registered wedding entry in children’s baptismal entries in the Registers of Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, and Saint Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, Dublin, he is sometimes recorded as James Comerford Greene. She died in 1883. They had four sons and four daughters:[38]

1, Mary Marcella Elizabeth (1858-1909), born 8 August 1858, baptised Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, 15 August 1858 (sponsors Joseph Maxwell, Mary Weldon). She died unmarried in 1909.
2, Thomas Sullivan Greene, JP, BA (TCD) (1860-1925). He was born on 27 January 1860 at Air Hill, Co Cork, and baptised on 21 February 1860 in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin (sponsors: Patrick Maxwell, Marcella Comerford). He was appointed an Assistant Land Commissioner in 1899. He died in 1925.
2, (Lieutenant-Colonel) James Sullivan Comerford Green, BA (TCD) (1861-1927). He was born in 1861, and baptised in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin (sponsors: James Maxwell and Amelia Maxwell). He was educated at Trinity College Dublin (BA), and was a surgeon-captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. he served with the Manipore Expedition in 1891 (meddal with clasp), and the Burmese Expedition, 1891-1892, including the operations of the Irrawaddy Column (clasp). He took part in the South African War (1899-1902), including the defence of Ladysmith (medal with five clasps, King’s Medal with clasp). He died in 1927.
3, George Comerford Green, BA (TCD), barrister-at-law, born in 1863, of whom next.
4, John Maxwell Sullivan (Max) Green, BA (TCD), MICE (1864-1922). He was born on 4 September 1864 and baptised on 24 September 1864 in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral (sponsors Patrick Maxwell and Elizabeth Maxwell). He was educated at Trinity College Dublin (BA). He was Private Secretary to the Earl of Aberdeen (1907 to 1912), and was chairman of the Irish Prisons Board from 1912. On 8 January 1913, he married in Our Lady of Victories Church, Kensington, Johanna Redmond, author and younger daughter of John Redmond (1856-1918), Home Rule MP for New Ross (1861-1885), North Wexford (1885-1891) and Waterford City (1891-1918); John Redmond was buried in the Redmond family vault in Saint John’s Cemetery, Upper John Street, Wexford, and gave his name to Redmond Square in Wexford. On 3 March 1922, Max Green was shot dead in Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin, by one of three armed men who had just committed a robbery. Johanna died in Dublin on 28 December 1922. Max and Johanna Green had twin sons:
● 1a, James Sullivan Green. He married on 4 July 1944 Dorothy M. Clarke, and they have a son and two daughters: John Redmond Denis Green (born ca 1949; (Dr) Mary Cecilia Dorothy Green (born ca 1954), MB, BCh, Fellow, the Royal College of Psychiatrists; and Esther Mary Green, who married (Dr) Thomas Power, of Belle-Harbour, New York.
● 2a, John Redmond Green. He married ca on 12 January 1942 Eileen Ahern and they have a daughter: Barbara, who married (Lieutenant-Commander) David Lockyer, and they have a son and a daughter, Penelope Lockyer (born ca 1973), and Charles Lockyer (born ca 1975).
5, Anne (Anna Susan Frances) (1865-1909), born on 4 November 1865, and baptised on 16 November 1865 in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin (sponsors: John Weldon, Anna Maxwell). She died unmarried in 1909.
6, Marcella Mary Ursula (1867-1909), born on 14 May 1867, and baptised in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin on 26 May 1867 (sponsors: Thomas M Reilly, Anne Goold).
7, Suzanne (Susan) Mary, born in 1870, and baptised in Saint Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, Dublin (sponsors: Richard Power and Mary Power).

John Redmond of Wexford ... Home Rule leader and father-in-law of Maxwell Sullivan Green

The third son:

(His Hon Judge) GEORGE COMERFORD-GREEN (1863- ), KC, BA (TCD), barrister-at-law, judge. He was born 19 January 1863, and baptised Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral 2 February 1863 (sponsors Joseph Maxwell, Eliza Green).

He lived at 83 Lower Leeson Street, and later at Herberton, 12 Cross Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin. At that time, Eamon de Valera and his family lived at No 15, and Kevin O’Higgins was assassinated on Cross Avenue. Comerford-Green was called to the bar in 1886. By 1907, he was Professor of English Law at Queen’s College, Cork. Ca 1916-1924, he was a county court judge, and chairman of the Quarter Sessions for Co Armagh and Co Louth. By 1935, he was county court judge and Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, Co Armagh and Co Fermanagh.[39]

Judge Comerford-Green married on 21 November 1911 Gladys Mary Vaughan, youngest daughter of Reginald Vaughan of Glentrothy. They were the parents of :

1, James Reginald Comerford-Green, born 1912, of whom next.
2, (Colonel) Kenelm George Comerford-Green, of whom after James.

JAMES REGINALD COMERFORD-GREEN, born in 1912, married ... and was the father of:[40]

1, (Sister) Carolyn Green, SHCJ, a nun in the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, co-author with Sister Pauline Darby, SHCJ, and Sister Anne Stewart, SHCJ, of One Woman’s Journey in Faith (Rome: SHCJ Publications, 1990). She died in Oxford on 18 February 2012, and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford.
2, Michael Green (living 2012), a partner in Maxwells Solicitors, Herbert Place, Dublin, for over 30 years, specialising in Land and Tenant law, commercial conveyancing and charity law. He advises a number of large religious orders on property and trust law with particular reference to the field of education at primary, secondary and third level.
3, Francesca (Fenwick) (living 2012).
4, Kenelm (‘Kensey’) Green, banker (living 2012).
5, John Green (living 2012).

His brother:

(Colonel) KENELM GEORGE (‘Kensey’) COMERFORD-GREEN, CBE (1915-2003). He was born in 1915, and was educated at Stonyhurst and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. During World War II, he was in France, Belgium, North Africa, Sicily and Italy, and was mentioned in despatches. He was colonel of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment, then commanded the 2nd Battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment (1946-1947), military assistant to the commanders-in-chief of the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR) and Far East Land Forces (1949-1951), Assistant Secretary to the Standing Group, NATO, Washington (1955-1957), Commandant, Far East Training Centre, Singapore (1958-1960), 1st Grade Staff Officer Operations SHAPE Paris (1961-1962), Chief of Staff to CGS Malaysia (1963-1965), Assistant Adjutant-General, British Ministry of Defence 1966-1969, and then Assistant Director of Personal Services. He was made a CBE (Mil) 1966. He was a member of the United Services and Royal Irish Yacht Clubs. He died at Saint Teresa’s Home, Wimbledon, on 8 July 2003.[41]

Sources and footnotes:

[1] J. O’Hart, Irish Pedigrees, vol 2, s.v. Casey, p. 535. Additional information about the Hawkins family and the inter-marriages between the Hawkins and Comerford-Casey have been provided by Robert Anthony Hawkins of Shaftesbury, Dorset, a great-grandson of the Revd Henry Hawkins (1825-1904) (correspondence with Patrick Comerford, dated 7 January 2010; enclosures included ‘Abbreviated Family Tree of Robert Anthony Hawkins’ and ‘Hawkins Family Tree drawn up for gathering at Grayshott, on 8th May 2004.’
[2] B. O’Connell, KM, FRIGS, “The Nagles of Garnavilla,” The Irish Genealogist, vol 3, No 1 (July 1956, pp. 17-24), p 17.
[3] O’Connell, p 20.
[4] HW Gillman, Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Ireland (1623-1750) (Cork, 1896-1897), p. 29.
[5] Gillman, p. 29.
[6] Gillman, p. 29.
[7] Gillman, p. 29.
[8] Betham 1/3, f 87, n 271.
[9] Betham 1/3, f 87, n 271, although Betham’s manuscript is difficult to read on this reference.
[10] (Col) J.G. White, “Historical and Topographical Notes &c.,” in Buttevant, Castletownroche, Doneraile, Mallow (Cork: Guy, 1905), vol 1, 412 pp, pp 251-254; Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1846, with additions.
[11] Cork Evening Post, 12 June 1769, Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 15-17 June 1769, cited in AR Chamney, “Catholic converts recorded in some 18th century Irish newspapers,” The Irish Genealogist, vol 11, no 1, 2002, p. 34.
[12] Gillman (p. 29) gives her name as Anstace.
[13] (Revd) Wallace Clare, “A brief directory of the city of Cork, 1769-1770,” The Irish Genealogist (1), p. 256; David Dickson, Old World Colony, Cork and South Munster 1630-1830 (Cork: Cork University Press, 2005), p. 168.
[14] TGH Green, Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland (1630-1800), (Cork, 1899-1900), p. 25.
[15] Betham 1/13, f 87, n 271.
[16] Betham 1/15, f 63, n 180.
[17] R. Lucas, The Cork (City) Directory for the Year 1787 (http://www.corkancestors.com/1787CorkDirectory.htm); Wallace Clare, p. 256; Dickson (2005), p. 461.
[18] Betham 1/15, f 63, n 180.
[19] Betham 1/15, f 63, n 180.
[20] Betham 1/3, ff 63-64, n 180. For more on Mary (Comerford) Boddington, see also DJ O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland, a biographical and bibliographical dictionary of Irish writers of English verse (Dublin: Hodges Figgis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1912 ); Lee O’Brien, ‘Reading/Writing the Forgotten: The Poetry of Mary Boddington,’ Victorian Poetry, Volume 41, Number 4, Winter 2003, pp 473-481.
[21] Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland (1912), s.v. Law of Killaloe; Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland (1958), s.v. Law of Rosnaree, pp 426-428; Wallace, s.v. Patrick Law and Arthur Wynne; Burke’s Irish Family Records (London: Burke’s Peerage, 1976), s.v. Law.
[22] Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland (1958), s.v. Law of Rosnaree, pp 426-428; Wallace, s.v. Arthur Wynne.
[23] Betham 1/3, ff 63-64, n 180.
[24] Hibernian Chronicle, 20 August 1770, cited on http://www.corkancestors.com/Deathsmarriages.htm .
[25] Phillimore, Index 2, Cork and Ross Wills, p. 24.
[26] http://www.sci.net.au/userpages/mgrogan/cork/cork_city_pigot_merch.htm; http://www.corkancestors.com/1829corkelection.htm
[27] Green, p. 30; O’Hart 2, p. 535.
[28] Crockford’s (1887), p. 555; Crockford’s (1903), p. 619; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol 25, pp 906-907; O’Hart 2, p. 535.
[29] Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol 25, pp 906-907.
[30] http://www.corkancestors.com/1829corkelection.htm; Crockford’s (1903), p. 232; O’Hart 2, pp 535-537.
[31] http://www.corkancestors.com/1829corkelection.htm; Burke’s Landed Gentry, various eds, s.v. Hale; Crockford’s (1887), p. 211; O’Hart 2, p. 536; http://www.users.bigpond.com/nebula72/tree/gp30.html#head2.
[32] O’Hart 2, p. 536.
[33] Burke’s Peerage, various editions, s.v. Willlshire (1841); O’Hart 2, pp 532-533, 536.
[34] Burke’s Peerage, various editions, s.v. Eardley-Wilmot.
[35] Crockford’s (1887), p. 260; O’Hart 2, pp 536-537; R. Desmond, C. Elwood, RD Desmond (eds), Dictionary of British and Irish Horticulturalists (CRC Press, 1994), p. 137.
[36] Betham 1/13, f 87, n 271, and 1/15, f 63, n 180.
[37] AP Burke (ed), Family Records (London, 1897), p. 280; Maxwell mss family tree, courtesy of Justin Power (25.9.2008).
[38]Parish reg, Saint Mary’s, 37/186; Parish Register, Saint Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, Dublin; AP Burke, Family Records (London, 1897), p. 28; Thom’s Directory (various eds., 1880s and 1890s); Maxwell mss family tree, courtesy of Justin Power (25.9.2008).
[39] AP Burke, p. 280; Thom’s Directory, various eds, 1907-1935.
[40] Death notice, The Irish Times, 17.7.2003 for K.G. Comerford-Green.
[41] Debrett’s, various eds, s.v. Companionage; death notice, The Irish Times, 17.7.2003.

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Thursday, 30 July 2009

15: Comerford of Dundalk

Waterford Cathedral (Roman Catholic), where Edward Comerford from Dundalk was the organist. He died in Waterford in 1894. (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2007)

Patrick Comerford

Another family of Comerfords is found in counties Longford, Monaghan and Louth, where the name is often a variant of Comiskey. However, some descendants of the Comerfords of Kilkenny and Bunclody [see Chapter 8: Comerford of Bunclody and Dublin] moved to Drogheda, Co Louth, in the 18th and 19th centuries, and this family may be related to these two families in Dundalk, Co Louth:

I

PETER COMERFORD (? born ca 1767, or ca 1795) married Mary McIntee or McEntee. They were the parents of at least four children, two daughters and two sons::

1, Susan (ca 1813- ). She was born ca 1813. She married Owen Rice Ireland. They emigrated to North Brookfield, Massachusetts.
2, Michael Comerford (ca 1797 or 1815- ), of whom next.
3, Philip Comerford (ca 1825- ). He was born ca 1825. He married Mary Taggart in Chester, England. They later emigrated to Los Angeles, California, in the 1860s.
4, Mary (ca 1830- ). She was born ca 1830. She married Patrick Kelley in Ireland. They later emigrated to North Brookfield, Massachusetts.

MICHAEL COMERFORD (ca 1797 or 1815- ). According to Barney Comerford, he was thought by his family to have been a native of Co Louth,and was born ca 1797; according to Timothy Holl, he was born ca 1815.[1] He was married twice, firstly ca 1839 to Sarah Jane Jordan or Jourdan, from Dundalk, Co Louth. He is said to have been educated in landscape architecture. After living for several years in Sydney, Australia, he brought his family to San Francisco or Los Angeles, California in 1851. He seems to have been related to some Comerfords who worked in the mines of Virginia City, Nevada.[2]

II

PATRICK COMERFORD (ca 1812?-1870), was living in Francis Street, Dundalk, Co Louth, in 1837, and later lived at Church Street, Dundalk (ca 1852-1853), and at Seatown, Dundalk. In 1844 he joined the ranks of the Dissenters to O’Connell, and when the Young Ireland Party became a living force in Dundalk, he was among their ranks.

The Louth County Library Service has its origins in the Dundalk Free Library established by the Town Commissioners in 1856 under the Public Libraries Act 1853. It was the first such library to be established in Ireland, and was the achievement of the cross-community activities of four men, the Young Irelander Patrick Comerford; the Church of Ireland Vicar of Dundalk, the Rev Elias Thackeray (1771-1854), a former Fellow of King’s College Cambridge, uncle of the writer William Makepeace Thackeray; an English-born medical doctor, Dr John Browne; and the MP for Co Louth, Chichester Fortescue, who was responsible for the adoption of the Libraries Act 1853 in Ireland. [3]

On the establishment of the library in Dundalk, he became Honorary Librarian, a post which passed through no less than five members of the family. He was Collector of Municipal Taxes for a number of years. He died on 1 April 1870 and was buried in Faughart, Co Louth. He married Sarah McArdle, who died 30 August 1891, aged 77, and was buried with John in Faughart. Their children included at least four sons and four daughters:

1, Mary, baptised on 30 September 1834.
2, John Comerford (1845-1873), of whom next.
3, Catherine Comerford (ca 1846-1917), of Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk. She was born ca 1846. The 1901 census show Catherine Comerford, shopkeeper and delph merchant, aged 55 and single, living at 40 Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk, with her two unmarried nieces, Sarah Comerford, librarian, aged 21, born in Salford, England; and Teresa Comerford, aged 20, shop assistant, born in England. She died in 1917.
4, Teresa (1852-1898), baptised on 15 February 1852, she died in 1898, when her age was given as 65 (sic).
5, Francis Comerford (1853-1885), baptised on 24 December 1853, died on 5 September 1885, aged 32, buried in Faughart with his parents.
6, Mathew Comerford (ca 1857/1860-1934), of Jenkinstown, Co Louth, Clanbrassil Street and Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, Co Louth. He was born ca 1857, and was aged 54 in 1911. He was Town Clerk of Dundalk, and one of the subscribers to Saint Christian’s New Church, Tullyallen, near Mellifont, Co Louth.[4] In 1901, he was living in Jenkinstown, Co Louth, aged 41; in 1911, he was living at 38 Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, aged 57. He died in 1934, aged 77. He married Anna Kathleen McPoland (ca 1877-1941). Anna was born in Liverpool ca 1875/1877 and died in Dundalk in 1941, aged 66. They had at least six children, three daughters and three sons:
● 1a, Mary Catherine Comerford (ca 1899-post 1911), aged 12 in 1911.
● 2a, Eileen Theresa Comerford (1901-post 1911), born 11 October 1901, aged 9 in 1911.
● 3a, John Gerard Comerford (1906-post 1911), born 15 February 1906, aged 5 in 1911.
● 4a, Mathew Comerford (1908- ), born on 30 September 1908.
● 5a, Bernard Comerford (1911- ), born on 11 June 1911.
● 6a, Elizabeth Comerford (1916- ), born on 4 June 1916.
7, Edward Comerford (18??-1894), an accredited musician and skilled organist of Waterford Cathedral, where he died in 1894.
8, Joseph Comerford (ca 1862- 1887), died on 25 February 1887, aged 25, and was buried in Faughart, Co Louth, with his parents.

The first named son:

JOHN COMERFORD (1845-1873), of Dundalk, Co Louth. He was baptised in Dundalk on 1 February 1845. He joined the Irish Brigade under Major Myles O’Reilly in 1866 to fight in the Papal army against Garibaldi in the Italian War of Unification. He died on 7 March 1873 and was buried with his parents in Faughart, Co Louth.

SARAH COMERFORD (ca 1879-1966) was still a librarian and living in Dundalk in 1933. She died died unmarried in 1966, aged 87.

© Patrick Comerford, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Sources and Footnotes:

[1] See Barney Comerford, pp 117, 228, 368; Email from Timothy Holl, dated 12 June 2011.
[2] See Barney Comerford, pp 384 and 483; Email from Timothy Holl, dated 12 June 2011.
[3]Harold O’Sullivan, Gerry Clarke, Dundalk and North Louth: Paintings and Stories from Cuchulainn’s Country (Dundurn Press Ltd., 1997), p. 38.
[4] Dundalk Democrat, 18 November 1898.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

16: Comerford of Wexford and Hampshire

The parish records at Saint Mary's Church, Alverstoke, west of Portsmouth Harbour, hold details of many members of this branch of the Commerford family

Comerford of Wexford, Hampshire and Jersey

Patrick Comerford

One Comerford or Commerford family with roots in Co Wexford appears in the 19th century in Hampshire and in Jersey in the Channel Islands, and can be traced through local parish records and census returns.

JOHN JAMES COMMERFORD (ca 1802-1883), was born in Co Wexford ca 1802. He lived in Gosport, Hampsire (mariner, 1830; musician, 1833; bricklayer, 1862; stonemason, 1868); Ann Street, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands (1830; ca 1839; mason, aged 35, 1841 census); St Martin, Jersey (1851 census); stonemason and builder’s clerk (1875). At the 1881 Census, he was living at 19 Saint John’s Square, Alverstoke, Hampshire, and was aged 79. A “Bricklayer Unemployed,” he declared he was born in Wexford, Ireland.

He married on 26 July 1830 in Saint Mary’s, Alverstoke, Emily Evans (1809-1883) daughter of Thomas Evans, shoemaker, and his wife Anne (Stirving), of Chapel Lane, Alverstoke, Hampshire.

Emily, who was born in Gosport, Hampshire in 1809, was baptised on 14 May 1809 in Saint Mary’s, Alverstoke, with her twin Emma. Emily died at the age of 74 in December 1883 in Alverstoke. Emily Comerford died aged 74 years at Saint John’s Square, Forton and was buried on 16 October 1883 at Ann’s Hill Cemetery, Gosport. John Comerford died aged 82 years at the same house and was buried on 5 November 1883 in the same grave.

John James and Emily Commerford ha seven chilren:

1, John James Commerford (1830-post 1861). He was born in Jersey on 11 May 1830, and was baptised in Saint Mary’s, Alverstoke, on 30 October 1831. He lived in Alverstoke, Hampshire, and at St Helier and St Martin’s on Jersey in the Channel Islands (boot and shoemaker of Jersey, 1851; Able Seaman, Royal Navy, 1856; Bandsman on Princess Royal, 1856, Ship’s Corporal, 1861).
2, Emily (1833- ). She was born on 1 January 1833, and was baptised in Saint Mary’s, Alverstoke, on 23 April 1833.
3, Caroline (1839-post 1891). She was born in St Helier, Jersey ca 1839. She was aged 12 and living with her parents in St Helier in 1851. She lived at St Helier and St Martin’s, Jersey, Alverstoke and Portsea in Hampshire, and Chiswick in Middlesex. She married Henry John Moreton, a tailor, at Portsea in 1859 as Caroline Comerford. In 1881, she was living at 49 Bishop Street, Portsea, Hampshire, with her husband Henry; in 1891, she was widowed and living at 61 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, Middlesex with her sister Louisa (see below).
4, Edward William Commerford (1841-1886), of whom next.
5, Louisa (1844-post 1891), of whom after her brother Edward.
6, Harriet (1846-1858). She was born ca 1846 in St Helier, and was living with her parents in St Helier, aged five, in 1851. Harriet died aged 12 at Dunaway’s Yard, Seahorse Street, Gosport and was buried 8 November 1858 at Ann’s Hill Cemetery, Gosport, as ‘Harriet Comerford.’
7, Francis Phillip Commerford (1852-1879). He was born ca 1852 at St Helier, Jersey. He lived at St Helier and St Martin’s, Alverstoke, Hampshire (1861), Woolwich, London, Sandown and Freshwater, the Isle of Wight, and Peshawar, India (ca 1876-ca 1879). He was a gunner in the Royal Artillery in Woolwich (1871), and Golden Hill Fort, Sandown (1875). He married Emily Mary Brown (born 1855), daughter of Joseph Brown and Amy Maskell, of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, on 27 July 1875 in a Non-Conformist Chapel in Newport, Isle of Wight. Emily was born on 22 September 1855 in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight and baptised on 18 November 1855 in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. Francis Phillip Commerford died ca 1878/1879 in Peshawar, India. They had at least two daughters:
● 1a, Louisa Emily Commerford (1875-1875). She was born 29 July 1875, at Freshwater, Isle of Wight; she died on 2 September 1875 in Freshwater.
● 2a,. Mary Commerford (ca 1876-ca 1886). She was born ca 1876/1879 in Peshawar, India, and died there between 1884/1886.
After Francis died, his widow Emily married secondly James Rutt, of the Royal Artillery, on 22 October 1879 in Saint James’s, Delhi. They had at least six children; the eldest, Amy, was born in 1882 in Peshawar and remembered playing with her half-sister Mary Commerford.

The second named son:

EDWARD WILLIAM COMMERFORD (1841-1886), seaman, of Portsea, Hampshire. He was born on 18 September 1841 at St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. He was 28 when he married on 4 November 1868 at Saint Mary’s, Portsea, Hampshire, Ann Penny Beecham, daughter of William Beecham, a pilot, and Mary Ann (Graham) of Walmer, Kent, then aged 23. In 1881, they were living at Highfield Street, Portsea, Hampshire. He lived in St Helier and St Martin’s, Jersey, and Alverstoke and Portsea, Hampshire. He was a town missionary of Copenhagen Street in 1868 at his marriage; he was a seaman of Unicorn Street in 1870 at the time of his son’s baptism; he was in the Royal Navy in 1885. He served on the Excellent, Barracouta, Rattlesnake, Flora, Challenger, V. Emanuel, Vigilant, Dwarf, Thalia, and the Thunderer.

He died aged 45 in 1886 in Southampton. Ann remarried in December 1887.

Edward and Ann Comerford had one son:

1, (Sergeant) Edward William Commerford (1870-post 1904). He was baptised on 13 February 1870 at Saint John’s, Portsea, Hampshire. He was a soldier at Shornemead Fort, 1891; sergeant, Royal Engineers, in Devon in 1901. Edward married Matilda Cozens in Medway, Kent, in 1896, and they married each other again in 1897 in Plymouth. They had at least three children:

● 1a, Dorothy Agnes Commerford (1897-post 1916), born in 1897 in New Brompton, Kent. She married Samuel S. Pearce in 1916 in Islington, London.
● 2a, Winifred Commerford (1899-post 1926), born in 1899 in Plymouth, Devon. She married Hugh W. Campbell in 1926 in Islington.
● 3a, Edward William Commerford (1904-1944), born in 1904 in Tynemouth. He was a Private in the Home Guard, 18th County of London Battalion. He married Minnie Peake in 1931 in Camberwell, Surrey, and lived in Dulwich. He died on 2 April 1944 in London, and is buried in Norwood Cemetery.

Edward William Comerford’s next sister:

LOUISA COMMERFORD (1844-post 1911). She was born in St Helier, Jersey, on 1 January 1844, and was living with her parents and aged 7 in 1851. She married on 3 March 1862 in St Mary’s Parish Church of Alverstoke, Hampshire, Henry William Flowerday, of full age, bachelor, a corporal in the 24th Regiment, of Gosport, son of Henry Flowerday, plumber.

Louisa and Henry Flowerday lived at Aldershot, Hampshire (1862-1864); Dublin, 1866; Chiswick (1868-1869); and at 13 Crown Street, Hammersmith, Middlesex (1870-1872). She later lived at 21 Chester Terrace, Chiswick, Middlesex (1881); 61 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, Middlesex (1891); 3 Alkenden Road, Chiswick, Middlesex (1901); and 93 Grove Road, Woolston, Hampshire (1911).

Louisa and Henry Flowerday had the eight children, five daughters and three sons:

1, Emily Louisa Flowerday, born in 1862 in Aldershot, Hampshire.
2, Henry Albert Flowerday, born in 1864 in Aldershot.
3, Arthur Edward Flowerday (1866-1883), born in 1866 in Dublin; he died in Chiswick.
4, Rosina Flowerday, born in 1868 in Chiswick.
5, Alice Maud Flowerday, born in 1869 in Chiswick.
6, Caroline Flowerday (1870-1959), born on 15 August 1870 in Hammersmith, Middlesex. She married Henry Herbert on 12 August 1893. They had nine children in Camberwell, Surrey. She died in 1951.
7, William Flowerday (1872-1879), born in 1872 in Hammersmith, he died in 1879 in Chiswick.
8, Maud Mary Flowerday (1873-1875), born in 1873 in Chiswick, she died in 1875 in Chiswick, Middlesex.

After she was widowed, Louisa married secondly, on 26 September 1875, at Chiswick Parish Church or hammerman, Middlesex, Charles Fisher, bachelor and coachsmith, of Chiswick, son of Charles Fisher, a brewer. Charles was born on 3 December 1849 in Huntingdon. They had three children, a son and two daughters:

9, Charles Fisher, born in 1877 in Chiswick, Middlesex.
10, Elizabeth ‘Lilly’ Fisher (1879-1969), born on 19 April 1879 in Chiswick. She was born as Eliza, but known later as ‘Lilly’ or ‘Lillian’ Elizabeth. She married Reginald Arthur Grigg on 16 June 1900 in Chiswick, Middlesex and they had five children. Secondly, she married George Boyce on 3 February 1920, at South Stoneham, Hampshire, and they had three children. She died in 1969, in Southampton, Hampshire.
11, Amy Fisher, born in 1880 Chiswick, Middlesex.

John James Comerford (above) was a contemporary of Michael Comerford, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, ancestor of another Comerford family in Hampshire, and Assistant-Paymaster William Thomas Comerford from Portsmouth, who in 1857 was an officer in the Shannon Naval Brigade led by Captain Sir William Peel in India during the Mutiny, and for which Peel received a V.C.

MICHAEL COMERFORD, stationer, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, was the father of:

1, ... Comerford (a son), of wom next.
2, Emma Sophia Comerford, of whom after her brother.

Michael Comerford’s son:

... COMERFORD, a chemist, of Portsmouth. He had retired by the time his daughter Grace married, or, according to the 1881 Census, was “out of business.” He was the father of several sons and daughters, including a daughter:

GRACE SOPHIA COMERFORD, who married Francis Meier in London ca 1881. They lived for some time in Argentina before returning to England and settling in Bedfordshire.

We now return to Michael Comerford’s daughter:

EMMA SOPHIA COMERFORD (ca 1820-1900). She was born ca 1820 in Kingston, Hampshire. She died on 7 January 1900. She married firstly Thomas West, an officer in the Royal Navy. She married secondly on 3 October 1854, Commander William Charles Grierson, son of Sir Alexander Gilbert Grierson of Lag, 6th Baronet, and Elizabeth Dalzell. She died on 7 January 1900. Her second husband, William Charles Grierson, died on 8 February 1871. Emma and William Grierson had three children:

1, Elizabeth Sophia Grierson ( -1893). She married Lieutenant-Colonel Ponsonby Glenn Huggins in 1883. She died on 2 May 1893 at Epsom, Surrey. They had two daughters and a son.
2, Sir Alexander Davidson Grierson of Lag, 9th Baronet (1858-1912), of Rock Hall, Lag, Dumfriesshire, and Paragon House, Blackheath, London. He was born on 30 November 1858, and died in London on 1 April 1912. Sir Alexander succeeded as Chief of the Grierson Clan and to the title of 9th baronet on 27 December 1879. He was a clerk in the London and County Bank, a J.P. for Dumfriesshire, a major and an honorary lieutenant-colonel in the 3rd Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers Militia, and fought in the Boer War. On 7 December 1882, he married Fannie White of Blackheath, London, and they had three sons. The family title is now held by his grandson, Sir Michael John Bewes Grierson of Lag, 12th Baronet (born 24 July 1921), of 40C Palace Road, Streatham Hill, London.
3, Gilbert William Frederick Grierson (1861-1906). He was born on 29 July 1861, and died on 15 February 1906.

© Patrick Comerford, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013

Sources:

Correspondence with:
Trevor Stuart, a descendant of Michael Comerford’s daughter, Grace Sophia Meier (24.1.2009).
Suzanne Maitland-Wood, a descendant of Lilly Fisher and her husband Reginald Arthur Grigg (11.11.2002; 26.2.2010).

Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (107th ed., 2003), vol 2, p. 1682.
George Edward Cokayne (ed), The Complete Baronetage, 5 vols (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume 4, p. 329.
William Laird Clowes, The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the death of Queen Victoria (Sampson Low, Marston and Company, 1903), vol 7, pp 138-150 (1903).
The Times (London), 12 October 1854.

To return to Patrick Comerford’s welcome page and the navigation aids, click here:
Welcome to ‘Comerford Family History’

Last updated: 25 January 2009; 15 and 17 August 2009; 27 February 2010; 2 June 2010; 5 April 2013.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

17: Comerford of Galway and Co Clare

17.1: Comerford House, near Spanish Arch, Galway: donated to Galway City by the Comerford family and for a time the home of the Galway City Museum (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)

Patrick Comerford

Comerford House, beside the Spanish Arch in Galway, was home to the Comerford family for a number of generations before being donated to Galway Corporation. It has been an award-winning city museum and the name of Comerford House recalls close links between Galway City and the Comerford Family.

The first prominent member of the family to have clear links with Galway City was Gerald Comerford of Inchiholohan or Castleinch, Co Kilkenny, who was appointed a Commissioner for the shiring of Connacht in 1585. He was living in Galway in 1588, when he was a member of the Council or Commission of Connacht. A year later, he was involved on behalf of Bingham in failed negotiations with the O’Flahertys, Burkes and Joyces. In a subsequent battle, Gerald Comerford slew 16 of the rebels, and he was involved in fortifying Galway against the Morough O’Flaherty. In September 1591, Gerald Comerford was appointed the Attorney-General of Connacht and Thomond, with the promise of a grant of lands in Munster. As the Attorney-General of Connacht, he lived in Galway, but also resided in Ennis, Co Clare, and in Athlone. [See Comerford Profiles 4: Justice Garret Comerford (ca 1558-1604), judge and politician and Chapter 7: The Comerfords of Castleinch and Waterford.]

17.2: Galway’s streets still retain some of the charm that dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Gerald Comerford lived there ... this armorial window in William Street shows the arms of the Browne (second from left), de Burgo (third from left), Penrice (first on right) and De La Hyde (second on right) families (Photograph © Patrick Comerford 2008)

Famine tragedies

In the 19th century, a Comerford family in Galway became closely involved with the tragic events that unfolded in Co Clare and in Co Galway as consequences of the Great Famine.

On 18 September 1832, Henry Comerford, merchant, of Merchant’s Road, Galway, was admitted a Freeman of Galway. In 1832, Charles Comerford, then aged 25, son of George Comerford (coachmaker) and his wife Jane, emigrated from Galway with his wife Margaret (née Mannion), then aged 17, from Galway (see below).

17.3: Ballykeel House, or Ballykeale House, near Kilfenora, Co Clare, became the property of Henry Comerford of Galway in 1839

In 1839, Ballykeel House, or Ballykeale House, near Kilfenora, Co Clare, became the property of Henry Comerford. The house was home of the Lysaght family in the late 18th century, and George Lysaght was living there in 1814.

By 1840, Henry Comerford and Isaac Comerford were prosperous merchants in Galway. Henry Comerford was sworn a member of the Galway Town Grand Jury that year and was a subscriber to the Galway Relief Fund. Throughout the mid-19th century, Henry Comerford of Merchant’s Road, Galway, and Isaac Comerford were prominent magistrates and merchants in Galway.

In 1845, Henry Comerford, merchant, of Galway, offered £40,000 for the O’Neill estate at Bunowen, Barony of Ballynahinch, Co Galway, but his offer was refused.

Henry Comerford of Galway and Ballykeale House, Kilfenora, Co Clare, was a Galway merchant and landowner and magistrate, but he is also associated with one of the tragic disasters during the famine.

At the height of the famine, on 12 July 1849, he offered to give land attached to Ballykeale Workhouse in Kilfenora, Co Clare, free of rent, to Ennistymon Poor Law Union in Co Clare.

17.4: The Mairtín Oliver ... a Galway hooker named after Martin Oliver, captain of Henry Comerford’s brig, the St John, is a central exhibition in the Galway City Museum, next to Comerford House (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)

Henry Comerford was the owner of the St John, a Galway brig whose shipwreck was one of the most tragic events during the mass exodus from Ireland in the aftermath of the Great Famine. The St John left Galway on 7 September 1849, with a crew that included Captain Martin Oliver and the first mate, Henry Comerford, Jr., thought to have been a nephew of the owner Henry Comerford. Many of those who perished on board the St John were from Ennistymon, Lahinch, and Kilfenora in Co Clare, Galway City, and Connemara in Co Galway.

The loss of the St John near Cohasset off the coast of Massachusetts on Sunday 7 October 1849 led to almost 100 deaths. The helpless ship was smashed again and again on Grampus Rock and began to break up. Horrified spectators on the shore saw people being “swept in their dozens” into the boiling surf from the crowded decks. People clung desperately to wreckage although they were again and again buried beneath tons of water as the colossal waves broke over them. Eight women and four men made their way to the shore, almost dead of exhaustion. Some had to have hands prised from the wreckage which had saved their lives. The survivors among the crew included the first mate, Henry Comerford.

17.5: Henry David Thoreau witnessed the aftermath of the St John disaster and met Henry Comerford on the shore

The American writer Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) and his friend Ellery Channing (1818-1901) were in Boston when the tragedy occurred and they quickly made their way to Cohasset. There Thoreau met “several hay-riggings and farm-wagons each loaded with three large, rough deal boxes. We do not need to ask what was in them. The owners of the wagons were made the undertakers. Many horses in carriages were fastened to the fences near the shore, and for a mile or more, up and down, the beach was covered with people looking out for bodies, and examining the fragments of the wreck. It was now Tuesday morning and the sea was still breaking violently on the rocks. There were eighteen or twenty of the same large boxes I have mentioned lying on a green hillside and surrounded by a crowd. The bodies which had been recovered, twenty seven or eight in all, had been collected there.”

Thoreau met a woman who had emigrated from Ireland in an earlier ship “but had left her infant behind for her sister to bring, came and looked into these boxes, and saw in one her child in her sister’s arms, as if the sister had meant to be found thus; and within three days after, the mother died from the effect of the sight.”

A newspaper report of the time says that 46 bodies had been taken from the sea by nightfall, and were buried in a common grave. Thoreau witnessed seeing the funeral headed by the captain and the survivors. Thoreau and Channing saw the first mate, Henry Comerford, jr., who had survived the wreck along with the captain. Thoreau described Comerford as a “slim-looking youth” who “seemed a little excited.”

Later, the two companions from Concord spoke with another survivor, a “sober looking man,” and Thoreau tried to ask him some questions about the wreck but, not surprisingly, the man “seemed unwilling to talk about” the disaster, and wandered off. A week later, a funeral service was held for some of the victims, conducted by a Unitarian minister, the Revd Joseph Osgood. A second funeral was held after Osgood’s, this one a Catholic Mass for the Irish victims.

In all, 45 emigrants were buried, all unidentified, in a mass grave in Cohasset’s cemetery, although the final death toll was between 90 and 100. Today that grave is marked by a 20-ft Celtic cross erected on 30 May 1914 by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. A small maritime museum in the town houses a scale model of the St John and the exhibits include artefacts from the wreck as well, including an immigrant’s steamer that was washed up on shore that fateful day.

Thoreau’s account of the wreck was published a few years later as The Shipwreck in the June 1855 issue of Putnam’s Magazine. Three years after Thoreau’s death in 1862, this was reprinted as Chapter One in his book Cape Cod. His account of the tragedy is one of his most gripping essays, and also inspired Robert Lowell’s poem, The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket, published in Selected Poems (1976).

Eventually, Martin Oliver and Henry Comerford returned to Galway. Martin Oliver is still remembered in Galway, where a Galway hooker has been named after him and is one the central exhibits in the Galway City Museum, close to Comerford House.

Meanwhile, famine-related tragedies continued to trouble the Comerford family.

A post-famine disaster in Kinvara

In the immediate aftermath of the Famine, Henry Comerford faced another disaster arising from his speculation in lands and estates in the Galway and Clare area.

In the 1850s, Comerford paid over £35,000 for 4,440 acres of land in Co Galway, including 2,700 acres from Sir William Gregory at Kinvara, for which he paid £23,000, the de Basterot estate at Duras, and portion of the estates owned by J. Lambert and J. Browne, according to the Galway historians, Pádraig G. Lane and Patrick Melin.

Duras House, six km from Kinvara and 29 km from Galway City, was built by the French family in the 18th century, and passed to the de Bastrot family through marriage. Marie Adelaide O’Brien (1778-1858), who was related to the O’Brien and Comerford families of Dublin and Balbriggan, married James Basterot, son of Bartholomew Basterot of Co Galway, Comte de Basterot, of Duras House.

17.6: Duras House ... bought by Henry Comerford in the 1850s (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)

At the time of Griffith’s Valuation in 1855, Count de Basterot was leasing Duras House and demesne from Henry Comerford. At the same time, Comerford owned a substantial property in the townland of Rineen, including a mill, which was valued at £26 and which he was leasing to Daniel O’Dea. Comerford also held five townlands in the parish of Kilcummin and two townlands in the parish of Killannin, Barony of Moycullen and the townland of Dawros, parish of Kilmoylan, Barony of Clare.

The glittering prospect of the O’Brien fortune led James to greater and greater extravagances. By 1814, it was noted that the marriage portion of Marie Adelaide O’Brien, la Comtesse de Basterot, wife of James de Basterot, had been dissipated quickly and the couple often survived on her life annuity of £300 from the O’Briens, with constant battles with creditors.

The Duras House estate was finally mortgaged to Henry Comerford of Kinvara, Co Galway. James de Basterot died in August 1849. His son Bartholomew was in despair, with creditors were threatening to seize his estate at La Choltiere in France, which he had received from his wife Pauline, and Henry Comerford was threatening to seize the Duras property. Eventually, arrangements were made so that Countess Marie Adelaide O’Brien Basterot remained living at Duras until her death in 1858. There is a large mausoleum in Duras graveyard for Marie-Adelaide O’Brien de Basterot.

With the death of Marie Adelaide in 1858, Henry Comerford gained vacant possession of the Duras Estate. Three years earlier, Griffith’s Valuation in 1855 also records Henry Comerford holding lands in the parishes of Drumcreehy and Kilfenora, Barony of Burren, Co Clare.

Henry Comerford’s connections with Marie-Adelaide O’Brien de Basterot, may indicate kinship with the O’Brien and Comerford families who were Dublin merchants and operated a large mill in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

Meanwhile, that decade immediately after the Great Famine saw a change of landlords in many parts of Ireland, adding to the economic distress and increasing emigration. Sir William Gregory (1817-1892) was forced to sell his Kinvara estate, including Kinvara Castle, which, in the early 1850s, was reported to be on the verge of complete decay.

Sir William Gregory of Coole Park, Co Galway, was MP for Galway, and later became Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1872-1877. His second wife, Isabella Augusta Lady Gregory (1852-1932), became a key figure in the Irish literary revival, was a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre, for which she wrote several plays, and was a close friend of the poet William Butler Yeats.

17.7: Sir William Gregory, sold his Kinvara estates to Henry Comerford

When the Kinvara estates were sold in the Encumbered Estates Court in 1857 to cover the debts Sir William Gregory had incurred during the Famine years, they were bought by the Galway merchant and magistrate Henry Comerford. In order to buy the Kinvara properties, Henry Comerford obtained a bank loan in Dublin on the strength of the rents that he would receive once he owned the estate.

Sir William Gregory’s relationship with his tenants was such a good one that the question of secure leases had never arisen while he was landlord. However, as soon as Henry Comerford obtained possession he proceeded to double and even treble existing rents. The mortgage Henry Comerford obtained from Messrs Cobb & Moore, a Dublin firm, in order to buy the estate, was secured on the strength of an increased rental far beyond that collected by Sir William before 1857.

17.8: Delamaine Lodge ... part of the Kinvara estates acquired by Henry Comerford

Kinvara was a seaport and market town, with two cattle fairs each year, a harbour with a good pier and quays serving as the port of Gort, Petty Sessions were held in the town and there was a police station. With his purchase, Comerford also acquired the Tolls and Customs in Kinvara, Delamaine Lodge, the area known as Town Parks, the Fair Green, the gate house and the animal pound. In all, his new estate came to a total of 333 acres.

According to Monsignor Jerome Fahy, in his History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, the events that followed the Comerford purchase of Kinvara were altogether disastrous, and “the comparatively short interval of about twenty years witnessed the ruin of over a thousand homesteads in one parish” on the Comerford estate. Comerford’s tenants had no security of tenure, and he increased their rents drastically. According to Lane, Henry Comerford was resolute in implementing his policy of eviction.

Father Francis Arthur observed: “The change of landlords for the greatest portion of this place has rendered this one of the most wretched and deplorable parishes in Ireland.” It was, he said, impossible to obtain aid even from the merchants of Kinvara because they, as a result of Comerford’s rack-renting, were “bereft of all hope.”

Henry Comerford of Ballykeale House, Co Clare, and Merchants’ Road, Galway, died on 6 September 1861 at Ballykeale House. His brother, Isaac Comerford of Merchants’ Road, Galway, was his executor. Lane writes that his property passed to his sons-in-law, Captain Francis Blake Forster. The Return of Proprietors published in 1876 records the representatives of Henry Comerford as holding over 2,000 acres in Co Galway.

In 1846, Henry Comerford’s oldest daughter, Mary Josephine Comerford, married Captain Francis Blake Forster, JP, of Forster Park, near Galway, and Hermitage, Kinvara, Co Galway. He was a captain in the 91st Galway Regiment and the Connaught Rangers. His mother, Rose (French), was a sister of Edmund French (1775-1852), Bishop of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and Warden of Galway, and a daughter of Thomas Hamilton ffrench, 2nd Baron ffrench, of Castle ffrench, Co Galway.

The children of Mary (Comerford) and Francis Blake-Forster included:

1, Charles French Blake-Forster (1851-1874), High Sheriff of Galway in 1874 and author of The Irish Chieftains (Dublin, 1872). He is buried in the family vault in Bushyfield, Co Galway.

2, Francis O’Donnell Blake-Forster, whose descendants continued to live at Ballykeale House into the 1940s.

Henry Comerford’s brother, Isaac Comerford, JP (ca 1797-1869), was treasurer of the Galway Magistrates from 1847. Isaac Comerford, who was a draper and general shopkeeper in Kinvara, and a magistrate in Galway in 1862, appears to have inherited some of Henry Comerford’s estates and owned 444 acres in Co Galway.

As the landlord of Kinvara, Isaac Comerford raised the rentals of Kinvara from £335 to £1,150. However, by 1866, Isaac Comerford was adjudged a bankrupt and his assets were seized on behalf of Todd Burns and Company, Mary Street, Dublin, for monies owed. As the local historian, Monsignor Fahey, put it a generation later: “[T]he machines were overworked, and the geese that laid the golden eggs were done to death, and the comparatively short interval of about twenty years witnessed the ruin of over a thousand homesteads in one parish.” [Fahey, pp 408-409.]

Nevertheless, Isaac Comerford died in Galway on 22 January 1869, aged 72. His effects were under £3,000 when his will was proved in Tuam on 30 February 1869. The primary beneficiary and executor was Michael Comerford. His son, Isaac Comerford (ca 1846-1878), was born ca 1846, owned 444 acres in Co Galway in the 1870s, and died unmarried on 13 April 1878 at the age of 32, while his daughter, Eliza Comerford, was unmarried and living in Galway that year.

17.9: Florimond Count de Basterot continued living at Duras House, where he hosted an early meeting that led to the foundation of the Abbey Theatre

Meanwhile, Count de Basterot’s family, who had mortgaged Duras House to Henry Comerford and lost ownership of the house to Henry Comerford in the 1850s, remained as tenants at Duras House and rebuilt the house in 1866. In September 1897, the poet WB Yeats (who would receive the Nobel Prize for Literature 1923), Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn met the count at the house to start the discussions leading eventually to the formation of the Irish National Theatre, the Abbey Theatre.

In 1906, Florimond Count de Basterot was still living at Duras House, a mansion house then valued at £10. Since 1961, the house has become a popular youth hostel owned by An Oige.

An Australian political connection

Thomas Henry Thrower (1870-1917), Australian trade unionist and Labour politician … his mother was Mary Anne Comerford

GEORGE COMERFORD (coachmaker), of Galway, and his wife Jane were the parents of:

CHARLES COMERFORD (ca 1807-1813- ), born in Galway in 1807 or 1813. He married Margaret Marion Manning or Manning (1820-1904), who was also born in Galway. In 1832, when he was 25 (sic), they emigrated to Australia and settled on lands in the Berry estate in the Shoalhaven district of New South Wales.

Charles and Margaret Comerford had a large family, including seven daughters and two sons:

1, Mary Anne (twin), born 1845, of whom next.
2, Margaret (1845-1870) (twin), born 1845, died 1870.
3, George Comerford (1847-1916), born 1847, died in 1916 in Nowra, New South Wales.
4, Elizabeth (1851-1868), born 1851.
5, Catherine (1853-1903), born 1853, died in Nowra in 1903.
6, Johanna (1855- ), born 1855.
7, Briget Maria (1857-1908). She married George Washington Sargent (1855-1936), of Ballina, New South Wales. She died in Lismore, New South Wales, in 1908. They had four children, three daughters and a son:
● 1a, Samuel Sargent (1884-1884), died in infancy.
● 2a, Alice May Sargent (1890-1938). She married George Edward Inall, and they have descendants living.
● 3a, Margaret G Sargent (1894 - ).
● 4a, Abba Sophia Sargent (1897-1900), died in childhood.
8, Charles J Comerford (1859-1865), born 1859, died in 1865 Shoalhaven, NSW.
9, Henrietta (1863- ).

The eldest surviving daughter of Charles and Margaret Comerford was:

MARY ANNE COMERFORD, who was born in 1845. In 1866, she married Frederick Palmer Thrower (1846-1924), who was born in Westminster, and baptised in 1848, later emigrating to Australia. On the marriage certificate, she describes herself as ‘lady’ and his occupation is ‘boot and shoemaker.’ Later, he was a publican in Sydney.

They were the parents of:

THOMAS HENRY THROWER (1870–1917), a trade union activist, cabinet maker, a Labor member of the NSW parliament. He was born in Sydney on 28 June 1870. He was President of the Furniture Trades Union, secretary of the Trades and Labour Council and secretary of the Eight Hour Day Committee in 1900. From 1907 to 1910, he was secretary of the Western Timbergetters’ Association.

He was a member of the central executive of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) for much of the time between 1900 and 1915.

In 1904 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the Labor member for Macquarie. He held that seat until 1907 and again from 1910 to 1917. He died at Redfern on 21 June 1917.

He married Catherine Newman, and they had five children, two sons and three daughters.

A local historian and local solicitors

Another prominent Co Galway family is descended from two officers in the Royal Irish Constabulary, father and son, whose roots were in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, and before that in Virginia, Co Cavan. According to the Tuam solicitor and historian, William Comerford, this family was descended from the Inchiholohan branch of the family in Co Kilkenny.

FRANCIS COMERFORD lived in Virginia, Co Cavan, where he is said to have farmed on the shores of Lough Ramor at the end of the 18th century. His sister, Mary Comerford (1786-ca 1870), died in Cavan town at the age of 84. Francis Comerford married Leonora Flood and they had at least two sons:

1, James Comerford, of whom next.
2, Thomas Comerford, who owned a public house in Liverpool.

The first named son:

JAMES COMERFORD (1816-1905), born in 1816, died aged 89 in 1905. He was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, based first in Johnstown, Co Kilkenny, and then in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny. He married Catherine Tuohy (born 1829, died aged 76, ca 1901). They had thirteen children, including:

1, Thomas Comerford.
2, (Detective Inspector) FrancisFrankComerford (ca 1861-1940), of whom next.
3, Mary, emigrated to Australia at the age of 12, married ... Tuohy and had children.
4, Teresa (Maher), principal of the Girls’ National School, Urlingford, Co Kilkenny. She married Edward Maher (died 1926), principal of Lagganstown School. They later lived in Golden, Co Tipperary, and John Street, Cashel, Co Tipperary. They had two sons and two daughters:
● 1a, Mary, (1900-1924).
● 2a, (Sister) Kitty (1902-1980). She joined the convent of the Sacred Heart in Mount Anville, Dublin, in 1923 and spent most of her life in Japan. When she died in 1980, she had spent 46 years in the Far East and had been home only once, in 1973, on the fiftieth anniversary of her entry into the convent.
● 3a, (Revd) Thomas Maher, CSSp (1903-1990). He was born on 1 July 1903. He was educated at Lagganstown and went to Rockwell College, Co Tipperary (with his cousin Mick Comerford, see below). He was a Spiritan novice at Kimmage Manor, and studied philosophy and theology at Blackrock College. He was ordained priest in All Hallows’ College, Dublin, in 1930. He was a missionary in Nairobi, Kenya (1931-1940), a British army chaplain (1940-1963, with the rank of Major), serving in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Madagascar, India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mauritius and the Secheyelles. He later returned to missionary work in Nairobi, and when he retired in 1981 he returned to Rockwell College.
● 4a, Margaret (Peggy), born 1905, living, unmarried, in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, in 1990.
5, Kate, unmarried.
6, (Sister) Bride, a Good Shepherd nun in Limerick.
7, Margaret, born 1856, a cook, died unmarried.
8, William Comerford (1871-1960), of whom after his brother Frank.

The second named son of James and Catherine Comerford was:

Detective Inspector Frank Comerford of the Royal Irish Constabulary

(District Inspector) FRANCIS (‘Frank’) COMERFORD (ca 1861-1940). He was born in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, ca 1861. He was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary had 33 years police experience before he moved from Ballymote, Co Sligo, to Tuam, Co Galway, on 2 October 1912. It is said that he “gained the goodwill of all by his tact and forbearance”, and that the general feeling was that had he not retired before 1920, “the sack of Tuam would never have occurred.” He died in December 1940, aged 79.

He married Mary Browne and they had five children, including a son and a daughter who married:

1, William Comerford, born 1903, of whom next.
2, Peg, who married William Comerford and had a son and a daughter: ● 1a, John Comerford; ● 2a, Judy.

Their son:

WILLIAM JAMES VALENTINE COMERFORD (1903- ), solicitor, Tuam, Co Galway. He qualified as a solicitor in February 1924, and started to practice in Tuam, Co Galway, as Henry Concanon & Co. In 1954, he moved the practice to 9 William Street, Galway. At that time, he was in partnership with Frank Meagher.

William Comerford was also a well-known local historian in Co Galway, and he believed this branch of the Comerford family was descended from the Comerford family of Inchiholohan, Co Kilkenny. His historical papers included: “Some notes on the Borough of Tuam and its records, 1817–1822,” in the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, vol 15, Nos 3 and 4 (No 19), pp 97-120 (no date, ca 1932-1933), and he was a founding member of the Old Tuam Society in 1942. He was the author also of an unpublished autobiography, “Harp sheds Crown.” He moved to Comerford House, beside the Spanish Arch, Galway, in the 1950s, but when he retired in the 1970s he moved to Dublin, where he died.

William Comerford married Elizabeth Meagher and they had two sons and a daughter:

1, (Dr) Francis Rory (Rory) Comerford (1933- ). He grew up in Galway and studied medicine at University College Galway, graduating in 1957. He did postgraduate work at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, and trained in Rheumatology at the Lamuel Shattuck Hospital, Boston City Hospital and Boston University, and received his MD in 1974. He returned to the Department of Experimental Medicine in Galway in 1974. He was Director of the Electron Microscopy Unit, Vice-Dean of the Medical Faculty at UCG, and had teaching visits to Tirgu Mures, Romania, and Malaysia and worked diligently with the Medical Consortium to inform students of the openings available in Ireland. As a result of this many students came to Ireland. He married Philomena O’Toole on 14 January 1960. Dr Rory Comerford is commemorated by the Comerford Prize at the School of Medicine in University College Cork. Dr Phil Comerford was a lecturer in Anatomy. They have a son and a daughter:
● 1a, (Judge) Francis Comerford, BA, LLB, BL, of Knocknacarra, Galway. Educated at University College Galway (now NUI Galway) and the King’s Inns, he was called to the Bar in 1985 and practised as a barrister on the Western Circuit, where he had wide experience in many areas of law, including criminal, land law, personal injuries and family law. He also lectured in various law courses, in particular the law of evidence, at UCG. On 19 November 2014, the Government nominated him for appointment by the President to the Circuit Court. He married Caroline Phelan, and they are the parents of Cian (died 2011), Saidhbh and Dearbhail.
● 2a, Barbara.
● 3a, Sarah Comerford.
2, Henry Comerford (1936-2016), solicitor, of whom next.
3, Deirdre Comerford (born 1942).
4, Denise Comerford (born 1942), psychiatrist.

The second son son:

Henry Comerford, solicitor and actor

HENRY COMERFORD (1936-2016), was born in Dublin in 1936. He was educated at Castleknock College, Dublin (1954), and at UCD and UCG. He qualified as a solicitor in 1963, and joined the family practice in Galway. Henry Comerford was the author of the standard reference books on fisheries legislation in Ireland. In the 1950s, he was a member of the Radio Éireann Players, and featured in many broadcast plays, including Denis Johnston’s The Moon on the Yellow River. Later he acted with the Gate and the Gas Company Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, and he had two plays produced in the Peacock Theatre.

Henry Comerford continued in partnership in Galway following his father’s retirement in the early 1970s. He later amalgamated the then firm of Henry Concanon & Co with Sean Ford or Sean MacGiollarnath and Albert L O’Dea under the practice name of Concanon & Co as the new firm’s name.

In the 1981 General Election, he stood unsuccessfully for the Dail as a Fine Gael candidate.

The partnership Concanon & Co was dissolved amicably in 1982, and Henry Comerford began a new practice as a sole practitioner that year as Henry Comerford & Co at Sea Road, Galway. He retired when John Dillon-Leetch and Robert Potter-Cogan acquired the practice in 1995, and they continue to practice with the name of Henry Comerford & Co. “Traditionally we stand for unyielding adherence to the principles of trust, fair play and independence in pursuit of justice,” they say. “Our clients are individuals who seek professional and independent legal expertise. Truth and experience constitute our foundations.”

Henry Comerford died at home on 26 February 2016. He married Deirdre Donovan, from Tralee, Co Kerry, in Castlebar, Co Mayo, in 1963, and they have a son and a daughter:

1, William Stephen Comerford, born 30 August 1966.
2, Emma Louise Comerford, born 12 April 1968, lives in Galway.

The second surviving son and youngest child of James Comerford and his wife Catherine (above) of Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, was:

WILLIAM COMERFORD (1871-1961), teacher, of Urlingford, Co Kilkenny. He married firstly Honora Maher and they had five children, three sons and two daughters:

1, (Major) James Comerford, MSc (1899-1950), Chief of the Dublin Fire Brigade. He married Agnes Doyle, and they had two sons and a daughter:
1a, Irene (‘Renee’) (1933- ). She was born on 23 May 1933. On 5 May 1961, she married Richard Frances (‘Richie’) Lyons (died 5 December 2012). They lived in Sutton, Co Dublin, and he was President of Clontarf Rugby Club 1980-1981, and played cricket with Clontarf Cricket Club. They are the parents of two sons and two daughters.
2a, Michael James Comerford (1939-2010). He was born in 1939. He was an avid sailor and boater and a Past Commodore of the Grosse Pointe Sail Club, Michigan. He died on 19 December 2010, aged 72. He and his wife Maureen O’Leary are the parents of a son, David Comerford, a daughter Niamh, and have four grandchildren.
3a, Kieran Anthony Comerford, BE, MBA (1944- ), who married Lynda Byrne, musician, and they have two sons. He was educated at Rockwell College, Co Tipperary, and University College Dublin. He is a retired technical consultant and the author of a number of books, including Newgrange and the New Science.

2, Nora Kathleen, born 1901, married ... Cole.
3, (Revd) Michael (Mick) Comerford, CSSp, of Rockwell College, Co Tipperary.
4, Bridget, born 1905, died in infancy.
5, Liam Comerford (1914-1982), teacher, of Dungarvan, Co Waterford. He married Nora French, and they had two sons and two daughters:
● 1a, Brian Aidan Comerford (born 1941); he married Nora Lillis and they have two daughters.
● 2a, Valerie (born 1943), married Donal Sweeney and they have two sons.
● 3a, Frank Comerford (born 1945), married with three adult children.
● 4a, Mary (Kerrans) (born 1947), married, with a son and a daughter.

Honora (Maher) Comerford died in 1916, and William Comerford married secondly Margaret Cotter (1890-1959) They had seven children:

6, John (Jack) Comerford (1919-1992), butler to Lord Dunsany. He married Eithne Hickey (1924-1989) and they had three children:
● 1a, Anthony (Tony) Comerford married Denise Gannon and they have two adult children.
● 2a, William Comerford, married Gabrielle Algar and has a daughter.
● 3a, (Revd) Brendan Comerford, a Jesuit priest.
7, (Revd) Francis George (Frank) Comerford, CSSp (1920-2012), born 24 April 1920, ordained priest 1949, Spiritan missionary. He died 10 September 2012.
8, Joseph Patrick Kieran Comerford (1921-2008). He was born 4 September 1921, and died 5 April 2008. He married Maureen Guilfoyle (1927-2007); she was born 16 June 1927, and died November 2007. They had three sons and three daughters:
● 1a, Raymond Comerford (born 1954), of Bray Co Wicklow, married Clare Bennett and they have adult children.
● 2a, Frances, married John Lyons and they have adult children.
● 3a, Dolores, married Anthony Dillon and they have adult children.
● 4a, Mary Teresa , married James (Shem) Ronan, and they have adult children.
● 5a, Liam Comerford, married Siobhan Allen; they have adult children.
● 6a, James Joseph (Seamus) Comerford, married Caroline Burke and they have adult children..
9, Mary (1924-1942).
10, Margaret May (Peggy).
11, Anne (Nancy) (1925-1997).
12, Catherine (Kitty) (1928-2013), married Patrick (Pat) Doheny (1922-1985) and had children.

Comerford House

Comerford House, W.J.V. Comerford’s home in Galway, stands beside Spanish Arch in Galway, was the original home of the Galway City Museum from 1976. The new museum, which opened in 2006, stands on a site behind Comerford House. Comerford House is an historic property that was donated to the city council by the Comerford family to be used for community purposes.

17.10: Comerford House on the banks of the River Corrib, as seen from the Claddagh ... it was home to the Galway City Museum until 2006 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)

The house was built ca 1800 as a private house. In recent years, it was home to the Comerford family and the Greenwood family. Clare Consuelo Sheridan (1885-1970), the sculptor, journalist and writer, lived at Comerford House between 1948 and 1954. She was a first cousin of Sir Winston Churchill and of Sir Shane Leslie, and is said to have sculpted Churchill while the former British prime minister painted her. She was famous too for her sculptures of Lenin and Trotsky. Her works in Galway include the Madonna of the Quays, which has been moved from the Spanish Arch to the city museum, and the larger-than-life crucifix in the Church of Christ the King in Salthill, outside Galway.

She wrote extensively about her travels in Russia, and lived an interesting and hectic life that is said to have included romantic interludes with Trotsky, Mussolini, Charlie Chaplin and even Kemal Ataurk. She was also the subject of a full-blooded biography by her cousin, Anita Leslie of Oranmore Castle, Co Galway.

In Galway, she converted to Catholicism, and while she lived in Comerford House she used the Archway Room as a private chapel. During the 1940s or 1950s she obtained the fine portico now at Comerford House from Ardfry House in Renville, Ornamore.

17.11: Clare Sheridan, the sculptor, lived in Comerford House from 1948 to 1954 ... she is photographed here by Bertram Park in 1919 with her children, Margaret, Comtesse Guy de Reneville, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1915-1937)

Beside Comerford House, on the right, is the Blind Arch and the Spanish Arch. Originally there were four arches, and Comerford House now occupies the position of the two inner arches.

The original docks were built in 1270 and are now under the foundations of the building. The new docks were completed in 1584. These four arches are not part of the old city wall but are remains of a strong extension built in 1584 to protect quays. The arches may have been used as a storage facility outside the city walls, so that no taxes were levied on the goods stored there. The name of the Spanish Arch is derived from relatively recent romantic imaginations. A re-erected fireplace, dated 1602, can be seen in the Blind Arch. It bears the arms of the Lynch and Penrice families and the initials M.L.

Comerford House became part of Galway Corporation’s administrative offices for a period, before Galway City Museum was established in 1976. The civic museum in Comerford House and its curator Bill Scanlan have received several warm reviews in international guidebooks.

The cobbled square in front of Comerford House has a modern monument, erected in 1992 to commemorate the visit to Galway in 1477 by Christopher Columbus on his way to Iceland.

The Galway City Museum , behind Comerford House and Spanish Arch, was designed by Ciaran O’Connor and Ger Harvey, architects with the Office of Public Works, and was commissioned by Galway City Council. The €9.6 million museum, which was a flagship project, opened in April 2007, with Sarah Gillespie as curator and director, and has won a Bank of Ireland Opus architectural award for 2006.

17.12: The new Galway City Museum, behind Spanish Arch and Comerford House, opened in 2006

The museum features a considerable number of artefacts related to the fishing industry, which is an integral part of tradition in Galway. Among the highlights on show are the city mace and sword, a rare 17th century altar piece, the statue of Pádraic Ó Connaire which originally stood in Eyre Square, and the Galway City hooker boat, named Máirtín Oliver by the public in honour of the captain of Henry Comerford’s brig, the St John. In addition, the museum has a restaurant with excellent views of Galway City, particularly across the River Corrib to Claddagh, the former fishing area of Galway that has given its name to the Claddagh ring.

However, the Galway Independent reported on 12 September 2007 that there are fears were fears about the deterioration of the old City Museum at Comerford House and concerns that Comerford House was being destroyed due to a lack of upkeep by city management, that it had fallen into disrepair, and that the remaining artefacts in the old museum were being hit by rain and rising damp.

While he was Mayor of Galway, Niall Ó Brolcháin raised questions about storage and the state of existing city artefacts which have been kept in the previous premises at Comerford House.

At a meeting of Galway City Council, Councillor Padraig Conneely voiced concerns over the upkeep of Comerford House and criticised the new museum for being a “white elephant.” A City Council official, Kevin Swift, conceded there were issues surrounding Comerford House “by virtue of its listing.”

The Comerfords of Ennistymon and Doonbeg, Co Clare

17.13: Comerford’s is one of the best known pubs in Doonbeg, Co Clare

Henry Comerford’s associations with the area around Ennistymon, Co Clare, in the mid-19th century, makes its worth noting that a generation or two later, at the time of the 1901 census, there was a number of Comerford families in Co Clare, including families living in Breaffy South, Doonbeg, Ennistymon, Kilmurry, Kilrush Milltown Malbay and Woodfield. In Kilrush, the names on Comerford family graves in Doonbeg include names associated with the Galway branch of the family, including George Comerford (died 3 July 1925, aged 67) and Isaac Comerford (died 31 July 1983, aged 80).

GEORGE COMERFORD was the father of:

HENRY (Harry) COMERFORD (ca 1864/1865-1930), Station Master in Ennistymon, was born ca 1869/1870, and was living in Ennistymon at the time of the 1901 census. On 7 November 1899, in Saint Alphonsus Church, Limerick, he married Margaret Lysaght, daughter of Daniel Lysaght, shopkeeper, of 14 Main Street, Ennistymon. Henry and Margaret Comerford ran a thriving china shop business and a bar and boarding house, which continued through the 1940s. Henry died on 23 June 1930, aged 65; Margaret died in 1952, aged 82. Their children included:

1, Nora Comerford (1901-1901), twin, born 22 April 1901, died 1901.
2, Mary Comerford (1901- ), twin, born 22 April 1901.
3, George Comerford (1902- ), born 26 April 1902.
4, Nora Comerford (1903- ), born 9 November 1903.
5, Daniel Comerford, born 12 September 1905.
6, Lucy Comerford (1908-1972), born 22 September 1908. Lucy carried on the business until her death on 29 July 1972.
7, Isaac Comerford, born 9 January 1912.

The Comerfords of Doonbeg and Kilkee, Co Clare

GEORGE COMERFORD married Lucy Byrnes (ca 1830/1831-pre 1900). He had died by the time his son George married in 1900. At the 1901 census, Lucy was a widow, aged 70, and living with her son George Comerford. They were the parents of at least four children, three daughters and a son:

1, Eliza, of Kilkee Parish, Co Clare.
2, George Comerford (ca 1861/1862-1925), shopkeeper of Doonbeg, Co Clare, of whom next.
3, Julia (ca 1865/1866-post 1901), of Doonbeg, Co Clare, shop assistant, aged 36, living with her widowed mother, her brother and and younger sister in 1901.
4, Lucy (ca 1868/1869-post 1901), of Doonbeg, Co Clare, shopkeeper, aged 32, living with her widowed mother, her brother and her sister Julia in 1901.

Their only son:

GEORGE COMERFORD (ca 1861/1862-1925), shopkeeper of Doonbeg, Co Clare, aged 39 in 1901. On 28 February 1900, he married Mary O’Gorman (1862-191), daughter of Michael O’Gorman, and they were the parents of two sons and a daughter:

1, George Comerford (1901-post 1935), of Doonbeg, Co Clare. He married Mary Anne (Doto) Kent. They were the parents of a son and three daughters, and have living descendants.
2, Isaac Comerford (1902-1983), married Teresa Madigan; they were the parents of eight children, and have living descendants. Teresa died on 2 August 2004, aged 88.
3, Mary Ann (born 1904).

Later, Danny Comerford and Tommy Comerford were pupils at CBS Ennistymon in the 1960s. The former Comerford home and business later became Paul Haugh’s butcher shop at 14 Main Street, Ennistymon, Co Clare.

© Patrick Comerford, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Sources:

Modern printed sources

Mary Casteleyn, ‘The O’Briens of Fairfield, Co Galway: the O’Brien relations of Florimond, Comte de Basterot,’ The Irish Genealogist, vol 11, No. 3 (2004), pp 190-204.
Barney Comerford, Tables I-13, I-13A, I-13A1, pp 284-286.
(Monsignor) Jerome Fahey, DD, VG, The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, (Dublin: MH Gill & Son, 1893).
Pádraig G. Lane, ‘Some Galway and Mayo landlords of the mid-nineteenth century,’ Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, vol 45 (1993), pp 70-89.
Pádraig G. Lane, ‘The Encumbered Estates Court and Galway land ownership, 1848-58,’ Galway History and Society, ed. G. Moran (Dublin: Geography Publications, 1996).
Patrick Melvin, ‘The Galway tribes as landowners and Gentry,’ Galway History and Society, ed. G. Moran (Dublin: Geography Publications, 1996).
‘Recollections of Tuam, 1912-1916,’ pp 178-191, in JA Claffey (ed), Glimpses of Tuam since the Famine (Tuam, Co Galway: Old Tuam Society, 1997).
Rockwell College Annual (1990), pp 25-28
‘The Shipwreck of the St John,’ Ennistymon Parish Magazine, 1996, http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/history/shipwreck_st_john.htm.
Lorna Siggins, ‘Finding its place on the waterfront,’ The Irish Times, 10 January 2007.
Seán Spellissy, The History of Galway (Limerick: Celtic Bookshop, 1999), p. 360.
Tuam Herald, obituary of Francis Comerford, 21.12.1940.

Archival sources:

Clare County Archives: Irish Tourist Association File, Parish of Kilfenora, Clare North 9.
Comerford, WJV, ‘Harp sheds Crown’ (unpublished autobiography, MS 25,530 National Library of Ireland).
National Archives of Ireland: Rental of the Comerford estates in Cos Galway and Clare, 1857, Gordon Presentment, No 213, M.213.
National Archives of Ireland: Encumbered Estates’ Court Rentals (O’Brien), O’Neill, 14 May 1852, Vol 15, MRGS 39/007, (microfilm copy in NUI Galway).

Contemporary printed sources

Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, 1855-1858: Gort Union, 72 and 76.
Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, 1855-1858: Ennistimon Union, 60 (Ballykeel South).
Parliamentary Papers, Return of the names of proprietors and area and valuation of properties in counties in Ireland, held in fee or perpetuity or long leases at chief rents, 1876. (412) LXXX. 395: 148.
Parliamentary Papers, Return of the names of proprietors and area and valuation of properties in counties in Ireland, held in fee or perpetuity or long leases at chief rents, 1876. (412) LXXX. 395: 148.
Parliamentary Papers, Return of the names of owners of land of one acre and upwards, in the several counties … in Ireland. HC 1876, LXXX: 294.
1901 census returns, Co Clare.
Henry Thoreau, Cape Cod.

Web sources:

National University of Ireland Galway, Landed Estates Database, Comerford:
http://www.landedestates.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/estate-show.jsp?id=817 ;
http://www.landedestates.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/family-show.jsp?id=856 ;
http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/estate-show.jsp?id=760.

Patrick Comerford, visit to Kinvara, Co Galway, 13.11.2009.
Patrick Comerford, visits to Comerford House and Galway City, latest visit 13-14.11.2009.

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