John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Sduddy » Sat May 27, 2023 10:02 am

Hi Jimbo

Congratulations on finding Rev. James Finucane McNamara. And well done getting the Diocese of Killaloe at no huge expense. And thanks for that interesting story, which explains why James was “cancelled”, buried in the dead of night and later transferred to an unmarked grave. I wonder if James was becoming insane when he behaved in that extraordinary way towards Mr. Benjamin Annesley Watson, and maybe that was why the bishop did not re-install him.
A bishop could silence a priest, or unfrock him, or move him to a poor parish, and a bishop could also demand that a priest make a public apology. In one of the parish registers that I transcribed, a priest makes written apology, by order of the bishop, for interring a relative in the church grounds (reserved for priests). It seems that the bishop could also demand that a priest apologise to his congregation: in The Archbishops of Tuam 1700-2000, the author, Kieran Waldron, tells this amusing story:
[Archbishop] MacEvilly, of course, had a special interest in his own native parish of Louisburgh and he had a special conduit of information from his family on every bit of news concerning the parish and its parish priest. His relationship with Fr. Joyce then grew ever more fractious. His letters to Fr. Joyce from 1880 to his death show him as a forceful, rather unbending autocrat. In October 1890 for instance the Parish Priest was given an ultimatum by MacEvilly to make a public apology to the archbishop after Sunday Mass for some remarks he had made about MacEvilly’s appointing a second curate to Louisburgh, thereby reducing the priests’ revenue. The tone of the apology, written by the archbishop himself, was demeaning of Fr Joyce. It was to be delivered, the archbishop’s letter said, with ‘neither a word to be added or taken away and no comments or prefatory observations whatever.’ The crux was relieved, however, by an ingenious church clerk who, having told the priest not to worry, proceeded to shepherd all the children noisily from the church gallery the instant the apology was begun. The resulting mayhem meant that nobody in the church could hear the abject apology of the priest! (The Archbishops of Tuam 1700-2000, by Kieran Waldron (2018), p 88)
Rev. James Finucane McNamara sounds well connected, and “Jim”, who posted in 2016, was probably on the right track when he suggested that Rev. James might be connected to Rev. James Finucane, Parish Priest of Kilmurry Ibrickane 1788-1809. The Other Clare Vol 44 (2020) includes an article, “Tromra House, Tromra Lodge and their Occupants; a History”, by James M. Molohan, in which the author says that Fr James Finucane, P.P. of the united parishes of Kilmurry Ibrickane and Kilfarboy, was given possession of Thromroe house and farm by Charles Mahon “at a yearly rent of £53" (“possession” did not mean ownership). Molohan says that Fr. Finucane would have been educated in Europe. He adds that Rev. Peter Ryan, in his History of Kilmurry Ibrickane (1969), says that Fr Finucane came from the Cahiracon branch of the Finucane family, who were wealthy landowners. Fr. Finucane continued to live in Caherrush and never lived in Thromroe House. After his death in 1809 his property passed to his niece Maria Finucane of Ennis.

Jimbo, when we were discussing “priestly” families (Feb. 2019), we found very little evidence of any priestly families among the McNamaras. But, about that time, when I was looking at the information on Feakle Parish ... feacle.htm and, in particular, the information under “Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead”, I found a Rev. Michael McNamara whose parents were buried in Feakle in 1773: ... feakle.htm. Now that you have the history of the Killaloe Diocese, you may come upon a mention of this Michael McNamara sometime.

Last edited by Sduddy on Sun May 28, 2023 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Sduddy » Sun May 28, 2023 9:55 am

I looked at the Finucanes of Clare family tree ( and thought this couple, Michael McNamara (of Greenpark, Ennis) and Mary Finucane, could be the parents of Rev. James Finucane McNamara: ... 5.htm#f525. But I don’t think that Michael McNamara was a Catholic. In these notices of Mary’s and Michael's deaths, Michael is “Captain Michael McNamara” so think he must have been a Protestant:
Clare Journal, Mon 13 Jun 1859: Deaths. On Saturday, at the advanced age of 65, Mary, the beloved wife of Captain Michael McNamara, of Greenpark, near this town.
Clare Journal , Thur 20 Oct 1859: Deaths. We deeply regret to have to announce the demise, this morning, at his residence, Greenpark, at an advanced age, of Captain Michael McNamara, half-pay, 60th Rifles. He was an old and most respectable inhabitant whose highly honourable and estimable qualities gained for him the respect af a numerous acquaintance by whom he is deeply and deservedly regretted (see topic “Mr James Healy died aged 100, and some other deaths, 1859": viewtopic.php?t=7281 ). See also under “Donated Biographical Notices of Clare people in various newspapers 1851-1946”: ... 1_1946.htm. See also headstone inscription for vault no. 680 under “Donated Material: Drumcilff Old Graveyard, Ennis: Transcriptions arranged by Grave Number – Grave No’s 644-1077”: ... umber4.htm.
But, if these McNamaras were Protestant, then the Rev. James Finucane McNamara is definitely not one of them.


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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by smcarberry » Sun May 28, 2023 10:47 pm

Sheila and Jimbo,

I also see a Catholic Rev. James Finucane McNamara as a bit of an anomaly for his time, and I heartily likewise send congrats on connecting the dots revealing his demise. I have spent some of the past days looking over what I can find definitively on his birth family. The good news is that, in both Clare and the U.S., references to the Finucane surname are remarkably spelled uniformly, even well back into the 1700s. I have only a vague mention of a Finucane man marrying a Caholic woman in mid-upper Clare in the right time period. I cannot refine this mention by using any other material, in view of the several locations that could be called his home locality of Creg as the involved newspaper called it. No luck finding him by locating a family of the right stature in freeholder lists and similar materials. Nothing that I can see for RC parishes' baptism registers that could show later-arriving children in this family:

Rosemary ffolliott surname summary taken for O'Connell of Clare, my notes from the microfilm viewed in Dublin:
1808 Ennis Chronicle
"At Clover hill, Mr. Finucane of Creg in this county fo Miss Connell, daughter of the late Maurice O'Connell of Moriesk, Esq."

The only solid expansion on this line of the O'Connells who arrived in Clare after their Kerry was confiscated during the 1640 (Cromwellian era) is this:
15 Aug 1791 Ennis Chronicle
"Married...Last Saturday Mr. Maurice O'Connell of Brenthrea to Miss Swiny, daughter of Mr. Roe Swiny of Moyriesk."

The Sweeney family involvement with this O'Connell line is well established in other sources. Moyriesk has only one location in CLA, although there are references that can refer to either Clooney or Doora civil parishes -- it's in mid-upper CLA, in or near the location now called Crusheen, the DED Spancilhill. Creg/Cregg,Crag/Cragg, etc. has many iterations around the county, in view of its linguistic origin linked to a rocky place. I have far too many early references to the O'Connell family newly placed in Clare mid 1600s, but it may be that the original relocation area, "Breantra-Braintree" (Breintir-Fearmacach) in West Clare, eventually gave way to other locations, some via marriages, in mid and east sections of the county so that by the mid 1800s the distinguished family of a Maurice O'Connell resided at Kilgorey, stlll Catholic.

Unfortunately in this digital era, the ffolliott surname summaries are still only on microfilm (copyright reasons, I believe), not widely available, but I do urge consulting that set for both Finucane and McNamara, because it covers the right period of time and is easily read, once you get to it.

I would happily provide my extensive Connell-O'Connell material to a serious researcher who can make advances in mapping out the incoming family from Kerry, into its sub-branches around Clare, including the era of the early 1800s in mid-East Clare, where my Ann Connell married Michael Donnellan, with their daughter Catherine b.c. 1826, emigrating as Mrs. Carberry (first to LIM city) out of Ireland by 1854.


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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Sduddy » Mon May 29, 2023 9:30 am

Well, I’ve found that those McNamaras (of Greenpark) were Catholic. The inscription on the vault in Drumcliff says that it was erected by Michael McNamara, Solicitor, and, although Michael the Solicitor had died by 1901, I was able to find his widow, Mary [Sampson] and three children, in the 1901 census: ... e/1070020/. They all give their religion as Roman Catholic.

19 Sep 1878, Greenpark, Ennis: Birth of William Francis to Michael McNamara, Solicior, and Mary Sampson: ... 076485.pdf

28 April 1874: Marriage of Michael MacNamara, Solicitor, Ennis, son of Michael MacNamara, Army Officer, to Mary Sampson, maiden, Williamstadt, son of Francis C. Sampson, Medical Doctor, in Williamstadt House, in the registration district of Mount Shannon, Scarriff Union; witnesses: J. F. Rowan, Charlotte Sampson; celebrant: Patric Brennan, C.C. [Catholic Curate]: ... 121626.pdf.

14 Jan 1900, Greenpark, Ennis: Death of Michael Macnamara, married, aged 80, Solicitor; informant: Michael J. Macnamara, son, Greenpark: ... 629737.pdf.

Baptisms of three children of Michael McNamara and Mary Sampson are recorded in the Drumcliff parish baptisms, and I see that one of the sponsors for Emily Catherine McNamara, on 15 Oct 1876, was one Emily Finucane. I think this Emily (the sponsor) belonged to the Ballymacooda Finucanes (Kilmaley parish). Some years ago, I did some research on the Foleys of Ballymacrogan, Ruan parish (Thomas Foley and Eliza Brew), and, in the course of that, found that Michael Foley married Emily Finucane, in Kilmaley, on 5 Apr 1883. At the time Michael was a civil servant in Revenue, in Kilkenny, but later moved to Dublin: ... 992775.pdf. Michael and Emily are buried in plot 13 Glasnevin cemetery.
The Landed Estates data on the Ballymacooda Finucanes ( says that a Michael Finucane, a distiller, of Clonroad, Ennis, purchased Ballymacooda in 1796. I wonder if Mary Finucane, who married Captain Michael McNamara, was a sister of Michael Finucane, the Clonroad distiller, and if one of her sons was Rev. James Finucane McNamara.


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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Sduddy » Tue May 30, 2023 5:07 pm

No, that's all wrong. According to the Finucane family tree, Mary Finucane, who married Captain Michael MacNamara, was born in 1891, so Rev. James Finucane McNamara cannot possibly be her son. He must belong to an earlier generation.

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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Jimbo » Fri Jun 02, 2023 8:58 pm

Hi Sheila, thanks very much for sharing your research which attempted to show a link between the Rev. James Finucane McNamara (≈1800 - ≈1835) and Captain Michael McNamara of Greenpark, Ennis, and the 60th Rifles. I had immediately picked up that Mary Finucane would have been too young to be the mother of the Rev. James Finucane McNamara. Father Murphy in The Diocese of Killaloe didn't provide any sources, but stated that he died in his early 30's in the 1830's. The 1859 obituary notice for Mary Finucane stated that she died at the age of 65, so born about 1794. The Finucane family tree source you mentioned stated a birth year of 1791. Either way, she was too young to have a son named James born about 1800.

Both the 1859 obituary and Finucane family tree could have understated her age. However, the known children of Michael McNamara and Mary Finucane of Greenpark were born between 1814 and 1824. See McNamara family tree below. If James Finucane McNamara, born about 1800, was their child, this would have created a large gap between births.

The McNamara's of Greenpark do appear to be a Catholic family of the same wealthy class as the Rev. J. F. McNamara. Their son Michael was an attorney, as you mentioned previously. Another son, was a surgeon and had been stationed in China for seven years prior to his death at a young age. Their eldest daughter, Emily, married the sub-inspector of Newmarket-on-Fergus.

Most interesting, and perhaps unbelievable, was the 1900 obituary (see below) for Michael McNamara, Jr., which stated that his father, Captain Michael McNamara of the 60th Rifles was stationed at St. Helena and part of the attachment sent to guard Napoleon. Apparently, Mary Finucane McNamara must have also been there, since according to this obituary, Michael Junior was born in 1819 on the voyage returning from St. Helena. A tall tale passed down through the generations? There is no evidence of the 60th Rifles ever having been on St. Helena.

Sheila, not sure why you had initial doubts that Michael McNamara could have been a Catholic based upon the fact that he was a Captain of the 60th Rifles. Catholics in the British army were not precluded from the officer class during his lifetime (will need to research further to obtain the year this was allowed). Maybe if he were a Captain in the local Clare militia, he would have unlikely have been a Catholic? But even this I'm not so sure.

Captain Michael MacNamara (≈1781 - 1859) and Mary Finucane (≈1791 - 1859) of Greenpark, Ennis

Michael MacNamara enlisted as an ensign with the 60th Regiment on 2 November 1809 at the age of 28 years, so born about 1781. The 60th Regiment was located at the Cape of Good Hope between 1811 and January 1819.

Per Griffith Valuation at the askaboutireland website, and viewing Clonroad More townland on the map view, Greenpark House was at Plot 48A. Michael McNamara, held Plots 48A and 48B; lessor Francis Gore; house, offices & land; over 27 acres; land value, £41, 15 shillings; house value, £8, 5 shillings. Total value: £50. Just south of Plots 48A&B was Plot 54, which is now St. Flannan's College, Ennis.

Michael MacNamara and Mary Finucane were the parents of at least four children:

1. Emily MacNamara (1813 - 1870)

Born on 10 December 1813, according to her father's reporting of "Names of Children" and "Dates of their Birth" on "Services or officers on Full and Half Pay. Returns to the circular letter 27 Oct., 1828" at the UK National Archives (see links in next posting). Birthplace was the Cape of Good Hope based upon the location of the 1st Battalion of the 60th Regiment (see news articles in next posting).
At Greenpark, Ennis, by the Very Rev. Dean Kenny, John Donovan, Esq., Constabulary, Newmarket-on-Fergus, to Emily, eldest daughter of Captain Macnamara, half-pay 60th Rifles. [on 2nd of December per other newspaper accounts]

Limerick and Clare Examiner, Saturday, 9 December 1854
John Donovan and Emily McNamara, both reported as being from Ennis, were married on 2 December 1854 per the Drumcliffe Catholic marriage register of 1837-1880; witnesses Edward Blake, Helena Finegan.
With unfeigned sorrow we announce the unexpected death on the 13th inst., at Greenpark, Ennis, the residence of her brother, Emily, the beloved wife of John Donovan, Esq., County Inspector, and eldest daughter of the late Captain MacNamara, 60th Rifles. The melancholy demise of this amiable lady has cast a deep gloom over a large circle of friends in that county.—Her remains will be interred at one o'clock on to-morrow, at the family vault, Drumcliffe.

Tipperary Vindicator, Tuesday, 15 March 1870
Emily Donovan's death was reported in Ennis in the second quarter of 1870, age 56 (civil death record not yet available). Emily MacNamara would have been about 40 years old when she married John Donovan in 1854. From reviewing the baptism registers of Newmarket on Fergus (where John Donovan was sub-inspector), as well as Drumcliffe and Six Mile Bridge parishes, they do not appear to have had any children.

2. John MacNamara (1816 - 1853)

Born on 4 May 1816 (same source as Emily in 1813). Birthplace was the Cape of Good Hope based upon the location of the 1st Battalion of the 60th Regiment (see news articles in next posting).
War Office, March 15.

Hospital Staff.
John Macnamara, M.D., to be Assistant Surgeon to the Forces, vice Hoskins, appointed to the 1st foot.

Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser, Thursday, 21 March 1844
Dr. M'Namara, of Ennis, who has been for the last seven years in China, on the military staff, has returned to his father's house at Greenpark, county Clare, on leave of absence.

Cork Examiner, Friday, 24 January 1851
30TH [Foot]—Assist. Surg. Wm. Johnstone Fyffe, M.B., from the Staff, to be Assistant-Surgeon, vice John Macnamara, M.D., who retires upon half-pay.

Cork Examiner, Wednesday, 6 April 1853
December 9, at his father's residence, Green-park, Ennis, John Macnamara, Esq., M.D., late Assistant Surgeon 39th Regiment.

Cork Examiner, Wednesday, 14 December 1853

3. Michael McNamara (1819 - 1900)

Born on 24 January 1819 (same source as Emily in 1813). Birthplace near St. Helena as the 60th Regiment was being transported back to England from the Cape of Good Hope (see news articles on next posting).

We regret to have to announce the death of Mr. M. Macnamara, Green Park, Ennis, one of the oldest solicitors in Clare, which took place on Sunday after a few days' illness. Mr. Macnamara was born in 1819 on the voyage from St. Helena, where his father, Captain Macnamara, of the 60th Rifles, had been for some time as one of those in charge of Napoleon. After serving his time to the late Mr. M. Cullinan, Ennis, he was admitted to practice at the Hilary Sessions, 1842. The funeral will take place from the Cathedral at 12 o'clock.

Irish Independent, Tuesday, 16 January 1900
Death of Mary Gertrude [Sampson] McNamara on 11 March 1930; informant, son M.J. McNamara ... 332300.pdf

As noted in prior postings, Michael McNamara married Mary Sampson on 28 April 1874. Per the 1911 census, the widow Mary Sampson MacNamara reported that she was the mother of four children, three surviving (Michael Joseph, William Francis, Mary Charlotte). <Clonroad More, Ennis Urban, House 1; Clonroad More, Ennis No. 4 Urban, House 1> However, per baptism/civil birth records Michael MacNamara (1819 - 1900) and Mary Sampson (≈1846 - 1930) were the parents of five children:

............ 3.1 Michael Joseph MacNamara (1875 - 1943) <Clonroad More, Ennis Urban, House 1; Clonroad More, Ennis No. 4 Urban, House 1>

Michael Joseph, residence Greenpark, Ennis, was born on 4 March 1875, to Michael McNamara, solicitor, and Mary Sampson (Ennis registration). Baptized on 7 March 1875 at Drumcliff Parish; baptism sponsors John Donovan and Charlotte McNamara (1824 - 1913), his aunt.

Michael Joseph McNamara, residence Greenpark, bachelor, 66 years, solicitor, died on 21 December 1943; informant Mary C. McNamara of Greenpark, sister of deceased (1944 Ennis registration).

............ 3.2 Emily Catherine MacNamara (1876 - 1951)

Emily Catherine, residence Greenpark, Ennis, was born on 11 October 1876 to Michael MacNamara, solicitor, and Mary Sampson (Ennis registration). Baptized on 15 October 1876, and also on 11 November 1876, at Drumcliff Parish; baptism sponsors Henry Sampson and Emily Finucane.

Unknown location in 1901 and 1911; possibly living in London. Emily Catherine MacNamara died in Dublin in 1951; her estate was left to her sister, Mary Charlotte MacNamara (see next posting).

............ 3.3 William MacNamara (1878 - 1954)
<Clonroad More, Ennis Urban, House 1; Clonroad More, Ennis No. 4 Urban, House 1>

William Francis, residence Greenpark, Ennis, was born on 13 September 1878, to Michael MacNamara, solicitor, and Mary Sampson (Ennis registration). Baptized on 25 September 1878 at Drumcliff Parish; baptism sponsors William McNamara and Victoria Samson.

"Francis" McNamara, of Green Park, Ennis, bachelor, farmer, 60 years old, died on 14 August 1955 at St. Laurence's Hospital in Dublin (Dublin North registration).

............ 3.4 John MacNamara (1880 - 1889)

John, residence Greenpark, Ennis, was born on 1 August 1880, to Michael MacNamara, solicitor, and Mary Sampson (Ennis registration). John MacNamara, at Greenpark, Ennis, died on 25 April 1889 of bronchitis; informant his father, Michael MacNamara, solicitor (Ennis registration).

............ 3.5 Mary Charlotte MacNamara (1883 - 1955) <Clonroad More, Ennis Urban, House 1; Clonroad More, Ennis No. 4 Urban, House 1>

Mary Charlotte, residence Greenpark, Ennis, was born on 22 February 1883, to Michael MacNamara, solicitor, and Mary Sampson (Ennis registration).

4. Charlotte MacNamara (1824 - 1913)

Born in June 1824 (same source as Emily in 1813). Birthplace most likely in Ennis as father Lieutenant Michael MacNamara had returned in 1819 from the Cape of Good Hope, and was on half-pay. Drumcliffe (Ennis) Parish baptism records do not start until 1842.

Living with sister-in-law, Mary Sampson MacNamara, at Greenpark in 1901 and 1911 census. <Clonroad More, Ennis Urban, House 1; Clonroad More, Ennis No. 4 Urban, House 1>

Charlotte Augusta MacNamara, at Greenpark, Ennis, age 88 years, daughter of a Captain in Army, died on 16 November 1913; informant, nephew M.J. MacNamara, present at death at Greenpark. ... 481792.pdf


John Donovan, who married Emily McNamara in 1854, was the Sub-Inspector at Newmarket-on-Fergus for 23 years between about 1846 and 1870. During this period, the strong efforts of Sub-Inspector John Donovan were responsible for sending many a convict to Australia.

Newmarket-on-Fergus, June, 1st

DEAR SIR,—We the Magistrates, Clergy and others, resident in, or concerned with, your late district, in the county Clare, most sincerely congratulate you on your well-earned promotion to County Inspector; but, at the same time, we must express our regret at your departure from amongst us, after a residence of nearly twenty-three years, during which time you were the means of suppressing crime by bringing the guilty to justice, at a period when there was the greatest difficulty in obtaining evidence sufficient to procure a conviction; but, by your intelligence, courage, and determination, you eventually succeeded in overcoming all obstacles, and in reducing a very disturbed district to a very quiet one.

We request your acceptance of the accompanying Testimonial, as a slight mark of our appreciation of your very valuable services in this County.

We hope it is unnecessary for us to add how sincerely we wish you every possible happiness in your new County, and we congratulate it inhabitants on their acquisition of so valuable an Officer.—We remain, Dear Sir,
Your Sincere Friends,

Inchinquin, Lord Lieut., Dromoland (£10); Dunboyne, D.L., J.P., Knoppogue Castle (£5); Hugh P. Hickman, D.L., J.P., Fenloe (£10); Robert W. Studdert, J.P., Cullane (£3); Robert O'B Studdert, Cullane (£1); Thomas George Studdert, Cullane (£1); Charles F. Studdert, J.P., Newmarket House (£3); Theobald F.W. Butler, J.P., Knoppogue Castle (£2); William Halpin, Ralahine (£1); James Coffee, Crow Hill (£1); Edward Maunsell, Deerpark (£1); . . . Denis Molony, P.P., Cloughjordan (£1); . . . Michael McNamara, Greenpark (£3); . . .

MY LORDS, REVEREND AND DEAR FRIENDS—Twenty-one years have passed since the Grand Jury of Clare, and the Magistrates of the Districts of Newmarket-on-Fergus and Sixmilebridge unanimously expressed their high approval [through an earlier "testimonial"] of my conduct and exertions in the suppression of crime which then unhappily prevailed in your County, when I was almost a stranger there, and now, after having continued for so long a period amongst you, it affords me more than ordinary gratification to learn that I have all through retained your confidence, and that on my promotion you have deemed me deserving of this valuable Testimonial as a proof of your kind approbation and regard.

It is too true that agrarian outrage had existed to a fearful extent when I went to Clare, and that at the Special Commission held at Ennis in January, 1848, and at the three following Assizes, large numbers of criminals were brought to justice, and made pay the forfeit of their crimes; but, in the particular instances I was concerned the fortunate results were mainly attributable to the cordial co-operation at all times received by me from those of your respected body more immediately concerned, and to the very efficient aid rendered by several of the old and faithful men then under my command, to whom great local knowledge and untiring zeal the greatest merit is due.

I feel much satisfaction, however, in being now able to state that for several years past agrarian crime had altogether disappeared from the district, and that the good sense of the people resisted some attempts that were made to re-establish the "Reign of Terror" that formerly prevailed, and that I have left Newmarket-on-Fergus—as I always hope it will long continue to be—one of the most peaceable and prosperous districts in Ireland.

The recent domestic affliction [death of his wife, Emily McNamara Donovan] which it pleased the Lord to visit me with, prevented an earlier reply to your very kind address, or my receiving at your hands the costly service of plate accompanying it—a testimonial indeed which the highest public servant in the land might justly feel proud to receive.

In conclusion, I beg leave to say that this unsolicited and valuable expression of the high sense you have pleased to entertain of my humble merits, shall be ever remembered by me with feelings of the most sincere gratitude and respect, and I shall preserve it as a fond souvenir that cannot fail to stimulate me, as well as others, to persevere in the faithful and impartial discharge of the duties connected with the important office I hold.—I have the honor to remain, my Lords, Reverend, and Dear Friends, your faithful and obliged,
J. DONOVAN, County Inspector.
CAVAN, 7th June, 1870.

Clare Freeman and Ennis Gazette, Saturday, 11 June 1870
Not all convicts sentenced to transportation were sent to Australia. In 1849, four men from Newmarket-on-Fergus (or nearby districts) were sent to Bermuda to build the British Navy dock at Ireland Island. These men, Mortimer Collins, Thomas Collins, John Boland, and Michael McMahon, were convicted in Ennis on 9 July 1849 of the October 1846 attack and robbery of guns of Hugh Palliser Hickman of Fenloe. There was "the greatest difficulty in obtaining evidence sufficient to procure a conviction", yet three years after the attack, the young Sub-Inspector John Donovan, through his "intelligence, courage, and determination", and "overcoming all obstacles" succeeded. Sub-Inspector John Donovan was generously rewarded for obtaining their conviction:
Sub-Inspector Donovan, whom the Ennis grand jury complimented for his zeal and efficiency in bringing to punishment at the late assizes the party who grievously assaulted Mr. Hickman, of Fenloe, has received from his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant a purse of 25 sovereigns **.

Limerick Chronicle, Saturday, 28 July 1849

** A "sovereign" is a British gold coin worth one pound sterling. Many Irish of the 19th century, I reckon, would consider "25 sovereigns" morally equivalent to "thirty pieces of silver" of biblical times.
On the Clare Past Form, back in April 2018, Polycarp in the thread "Convicts, transportation, tickets of leave" transcribed a news article from 1860 which stated that these four men were allowed to return to Ireland:


But were Mortimer Collins, Thomas Collins, John Boland, and Michael McMahon even guilty of attacking the Hickman family of Fenloe? Or was the evidence against them manufactured? And what happened to the four Bermuda convicts if they indeed were able to return to Ireland?

To Be Continued (on "Convicts, transportation, tickets of leave" thread, linked above)

Edit 1 on 6 June 2023: update MacNamara family tree of Greenpark, Ennis, based upon discovery of 1828 military record for Lieutenant Michael MacNamara at British National Archives; also include five children of Michael MacNamara, Jr., and Mary Sampson in family tree.
Last edited by Jimbo on Wed Jun 07, 2023 3:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Sduddy » Sun Jun 04, 2023 9:24 am

Hi Jimbo,

Thank you for that interesting posting, with its promise of more to come.
I don’t know why I imagined that Captain McNamara would not be a captain in the army if a Catholic. Especially as I had posted the following on 8 Feb 2019 on the topic of “Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara of Glandree” (page 16): "From the very little that I’ve read on this subject, I gather that until about 1750 Irishmen were more likely to go to France or Spain or Austria and join regiments in those countries than to join the British army …. The failure of the Jacobite cause after 1746 (Culloden) led to a fall off in recruitment to French/Spanish regiments. At the same time there was a relaxation of the Penal Law which had prohibed Irish Catholics from joining the British army. Whether this relaxation was in any way connected with the ripe harvest of men suitable for soldiering, I cannot say, but from that time on recruitment was mainly to the British army".

In my posting I gave the name of the author of an article* on the Clare Militia as Kieran Sheedy, but he was Kieran Kennedy - I’ve fixed that mistake now.
* “The Clare Militia 1793-1909”, in The Other Clare, Vol. 27 (2003)

Before we move away from the Greenpark McNamaras, I want to mention that “Captain Mac’s Cross” is still used as a placename in Ennis.The house was still standing in 1952: A Terrace of Houses – A Passion of People, by Brian Dinan, (2013), includes a photo of Captain Mac’s house taken c. 1952. Brian Dinan writes,
It was positioned on the corner where the Turnpike Road intersected with the Clare Road. The O’Brien family who owned the house and much of the land now in the hands of St. Flannan’s College, farmed in the area. The residents of St Flannan’s Terrace rarely if ever saw the inhabitants of the house, who seemed to be shut off in a world of their own.
(A Terrace of Houses - A Passion of People was published in 2012, in association with Clare Roots Society, to celebrate the centenary of St Flannan’s Terrace).

This report from a Limerick newspaper, 1918, on the funeral of Inspector-General Fitzgerald, Roughan House (Kilnaboy parish), mentions Michael J. Macnamara, solr., and Wm F. Macnamara, Greenpark, among the chief mourners: ... 20obit.pdf


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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jun 07, 2023 1:36 am


The death occurred on January 13 at his residence, Greenpark, Ennis, of Mr. Michl. M'Namara, one of the oldest and most respectable solicitors in the South of Ireland. Mr. M'Namara's father was Captain Michael M'Namara, of the 60th Rifles, and during Napoleon's detention in the Island of St. Helena, Captain M'Namara was stationed there in charge of the illustrious prisoner. The Captain was married to a Miss Finuncane, of a well-known Clare Catholic family, who resided in the Island with him, and it was on the voyage home in the year 1819 that the subject of the present notice was born. Mr. M'Namara was educated at the local college, conducted by Mr. King, father of a well-known writer of that name. He served his apprenticeship with the last Mr. Michael Cullinan, solicitor, Ennis, and passed his final examination at the Hilary Term in 1842. He represented Jail-street Ward on the Board of the defunct Town Commissioners, and his sound, practical knowledge of local affairs generally was thoroughly appreciated by his colleagues. The deceased gentleman was a devout Catholic.

The Catholic Weekly, Sydney, Australia, 3 March 1900
Above is another obituary in 1900 for Michael MacNamara of Greenpark which repeated the story, but with greater detail, about his father, Captain Michael MacNamara, married to a Finucane [Mary], and how both were at St. Helena during Napoleon's captivity. It is interesting that the Finucane side of the family was emphasized as a "well-known Catholic family", and not the MacNamara's whose origins remain a mystery.

The obituaries for Michael MacNamara (1819 - 1900) were likely written with information supplied by his son, Michael MacNamara, born in March 1875. There are many books written about Napoleon at St. Helena. Including "History Of The Captivity Of Napoleon At St. Helena: From The Letters And Journals Of The Late Lieut.-gen. Sir Hudson Lowe" by William Forsyth (1853), which is available and searchable on google books: ... frontcover

Captain Michael MacNamara, under any spelling, does not appear in the three volume "History of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena". But could there still be some truth to the story?

Shelia, thanks very much for your earlier providing a link to the Finucane family tree. The primary sources were 'Genealogy of the O'Finucan of County Clare' compiled by Philip Crossle & The Irish Ancestor Vol 1 No 1, 1969 Study of 'Finucane of Co.Clare, by George Mott, Pages 1-10. ... 5.htm#f525

This Finucane family tree only mentions the marriage of Michael McNamara and Mary Finucane on "January 29, 1804 in Will St". I suspect that "Will Street" should be "Mill Street" in Ennis. Also, if Mary Finucane was indeed born in 1791 as noted in the family tree, she married very young in January 1804.

The Finucane family tree made no effort to research/document the children of Captain Michael McNamara and Mary Finucane of Greenpark, Ennis. However, a google search of the words "Greenpark", "Ennis", and "MacNamara" led to the well-sourced wikitree family tree of "Robert MacNamara (1781-1859)" (an obvious typo which should state "Michael MacNamara (1781-1859)":

The primary source of the MacNamara wikitree was "Services or officers on Full and Half Pay. Returns to the circular letter 27 Oct., 1828", a document available on-line for free (registration required) at the UK National Archives. ... /C13320245

I downloaded Document WO-25-766-1 from the UK Archives, and scrolled down until I found Michael MacNamara (pages 105 and 106 of 119). Michael MacNamara had enlisted with the 60th Regiment on 5 November 1809, and was promoted "without purchase" to Lieutenant on 10 October 1810. He went from "full-pay" to "half-pay" in 1819 due to "reduction of the Battalion". Married officers were required to gives details on their marriage, as well as children. Michael MacNamara was married in Ennis in January 1804 (name of bride was not required, thus Mary Finucane does not appear on MacNamara wikitree). The names of four children (boys, then girls) were:

John MacNamara: 4th May 1816
Michael MacNamara: 24th January 1819
Emily MacNamara: 10th December 1813
Charlotte MacNamara: June 1824

My last posting originally had Michael McNamara as the first born son. With the parents of Mary Finucane reported to be Michael Finucane and Ellen O'Brien, it does make more sense that their second born son was Michael, named after his maternal grandfather. I've gone back to the MacNamara of Greenpark family tree to reflect this new information.

The locations of the births of their children were not reported, but can be determined based upon where Lieutenant Michael MacNamara of the 60th Regiment was stationed.
The 1st battalion of the 60th Regiment, at present lying at Jersey, is ordered to be removed to the Isle of Wight to be in readiness for immediate embarkation for the Cape of Good Hope, to replace the troops gone from that station to the Isle of France. The following Company's ships will take out the 60th Regiment, viz. LOWTHER, PERSEVERANCE, WARREN-HASTINGS, WARLEY, CHARLES GRANT, MARQUIS OF ELY, and CERES.

Star (London), Monday 4 March 1811
The transports Minerva, Nearchus, William Pitt, and Astrea (Lieut. Mudge, Agent), with the 1st battalion 60th Regiment on board, have arrived at Portsmouth, from the Cape of Good Hope, whence they sailed on the 9th, and from St. Helena on the 26th of January. Bonaparte was in good health, and continued to live in the same state of seclusion. . . .

London Packet and New Lloyd's Evening Post, Monday, 29 March 1819
Between 1811 and 9 January 1819, Lieutenant Michael MacNamara, of the 60th Regiment, was stationed at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Emily MacNamara, born on 10 December 1813, and John MacNamara, born on 4 May 1816, must have both been born in the Cape of Good Hope colony.

Amazingly, Michael MacNamara, born on 24 January 1819, did indeed have a connection to St. Helena. The transport ship returning the 60th Regiment to England from the Cape of Good Hope, left St. Helena on the 26th of January. The transport ships likely had arrived in St. Helena a few days prior. While "Captain" Michael MacNamara was not "in charge of the illustrious prisoner", Napoleon, nor was he ever stationed at St. Helena, the MacNamara family was indeed passing through St. Helena when Michael was born "on the voyage home" on 24 January 1819.

Sheila, thanks for sharing a quote from "A Terrace of Houses – A Passion of People", by Brian Dinan, (2013), but I reckon the location given for Greenpark House is not accurate. In looking at the Griffith Valuation map, Greenpark House was located on the eastern boundary of Plot 48A at the intersection ("cross") of Clare Road (R458, which cuts through the cross), Clon Road (from the northeast), and Limerick Road (from the northwest). The western boundary of the MacNamara property was the Turnpike Road, and the MacNamara's had at Plot 48B what appears to have been a cottage on their property facing the Turnpike Road (possibly for their herdsman). Travelling north on the Turnpike Road it first intersects with the Limerick Road, and considerably to the north, and quite far from Greenpark Houe, is "the corner where the Turnpike Road intersected with the Clare Road". There is a bus stop at "Macs Cross" and a google search confirms its Griffith Valuation location as noted above.

"The O'Brien's who owned the house" appears also to be incorrect, as Captain MacNamara and his descendants lived at Greenpark House for over one hundred years, from at least 1855 to 1955. Mary Charlotte MacNamara died on 14 February 1955, at Green Park, Ennis, the last of Captain MacNamara's grandchildren. The informant was "Michael Quealy, adm, parochial house, Ennis"; the administrator (parish priest) of Ennis Parish between 1951 and 1960, according to "Ennis Cathedral: The Building and Its People" by the Clare Roots Society (2009). ... 158580.pdf ... -Roots.pdf

Using google satellite view, it appears that Greenpark House might still be there and now utilized by St. Flannan's College. The google street view is blocked unfortunately by many large trees. "A Terrace of Houses" sounds interesting with the added bonus of the Greenpark House photo from 1952.

Sheila, your earlier posting had mentioned the baptism of Emily Catherine MacNamara in 1876, the daughter of Michael MacNamara, Jr., (born 1819 near St. Helena - 1900) and Mary Sampson (≈1846 - 1930). In the 1911 census, the widow Mary Sampson MacNamara reported that she was the mother of four children, and three were living: ... re/353770/

Since the widow MacNamara was living with three of her children (Michael J., William F., and Mary Charlotte), it would be very easy to assume that Emily Catherine had died prior to 1911. But upon further research this was not the case. In fact, according to baptism and civil birth records, Mary Samspon was the mother of five children. Have updated the MacNamara family tree of my prior posting to reflect this research. One son named John (1880 - 1889) died young. Emily MacNamara as a young lady appears to have been somewhat talented in the arts; she died in Dublin in 1951 at the age of 75 years old.
I AWARD the handwork prize to —
Miss EMILY MACNAMARA, Green Parks, Ennis, Co. Clare,
for a "wooden shoe" pin-cushion. I am amazed at the small number of competitors for this special competition, as I had hoped for quite a large number, and regret to say that I cannot highly commend any but the prize-winner. By the morning of Thursday, 6th September, I shall expect a large collection of water-colour drawings; the subject to be—FRUIT.

The Social Review, Dublin, Saturday, 1 September 1894
And in the "Lady of the House" newspaper of 15 October 1902, "Miss E. MacNamara, Green Park, Ennis" was listed under "Special Honourable Mention" in a contest to creatively define the word "Flirtation". While unable to locate Emily in either Irish census of 1901 and 1911, her death in 1951 was reported in the National Probate Calendar of England in 1952:
MacNAMARA Emily Catherine of 7 Royal-terrace East Dunloughhaine Dublin spinster died 5 April 1951. Administration London 11 June [1952] to Mary Charlotte MacNamara, spinster. Effects £9,485 17s. 10d. in England.
1951 Civil death record for Emily K. MacNamara, "age 68", independent, of 7 Royal Terrace, E. Dunloughhaine; informant was the coroner: ... 185271.pdf

A Terrace of Houses – A Passion of People stated that the "residents of St Flannan’s Terrace rarely if ever saw the inhabitants of the house [Greenpark House], who seemed to be shut off in a world of their own". Based upon the local folklore of the School's Collection of the 1930's, their neighbors may have believed that Greenpark House was haunted, and thus a place to be avoided:
Captain Mack's Cross

This cross is on the main road between Ennis and Limerick just on the outskirts of the town. It gets its name because the McNamaras have lived in the house at the cross for many years. People say that Captain Mack's Cross is haunted. When Captain Mack's brother was dying the priest came to give him Extreme Unction. He had one sin to tell and he would not tell it. The priest was asking and begging him to tell it, and he would not so the priest would not give him forgiveness until he would tell the sin. Then he killed the priest and he died himself after, and ever since the priest is seen there at the gate.

Collector: Brendan Ryan of Clonroad More townland

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0610, Page 032
What an extraordinary story. The obituaries in 1900 for Michael McNamara, Jr., stating that he was born in 1819 on the voyage home, while incorrect as Captain MacNamara had been stationed at the Cape of Good Hope and not St. Helena, nor was he in charge of Napoleon, did have an element of truth. So I am now hesitant to completely dismiss this story. Who was Captain Mack's dying brother? Could the story have been referring to Captain Mack's son, John, who returned to Greenpark House after seven years military service in China and died in 1853? Was a Catholic priest really murdered and if so when?

The gate to Greenpark House remains today (visible on google street view). On google maps, there is now a bed & breakfast located a few doors north of Greenpark House on the Limerick Road, and it is named "Sleepyhollow B&B". Surely, named after the ghost story, "The Legend of Sleepyhollow". I reckon the owners in naming their B&B were aware of the ghostly legend of nearby Captain Mack's Cross. And possibly will be knowledgeable about any recent sightings of the mysterious ghost of the murdered priest at the gate of Greenpark House.

Sheila, based upon this further research, I reckon we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss your theory of a possible connection between the Rev. James Finucane MacNamara and the family of Captain Michael MacNamara of Greenpark, Ennis.

To Be Continued,

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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by smcarberry » Wed Jun 07, 2023 11:11 pm

I realize that more is coming on the Capt. MIchael Macnamera thread, for which the Macnamera side is outlined through the early 1900s. I can't contribute directly on the Finucane-O'Brien birth family of Mary who was the military man's wife, the one who seems to be too young to fit an 1804 wedding (which seems to be to set this up for an actual 1814 nuptial event, in view of her children's births starting 1816). However, in view of smaller social set for RC military families of that era, arranged marriages could have been in vogue. This set of published notices indicates that another Finucane of Clare was in those circumstances in that general era:

Boston Pilot 27 Jan 1849
"At Lahinch, county Clare, Bidelia, fourth daughter of the late John Finucane, Esq., M.D. of the Royal Navy."

Boston Pilot 12 Sep 1857
"Of Michael Finucane, son of John Finucane and Bridget Kennedy, native of Ennistymon, who was supposed to be in California about 3 years ago in the American service. Please address his brother Daniel, 76 King Street, Toronto, Canada West."

Is this a case where the Bridget of ordinary usage becomes Bidelia, when passed down from mother to daughter in a Clare Finucane family ? And thus perhaps the Finucane mother in the Macnamera military family is the source for an Emily and Charlotte.

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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Sduddy » Sat Jun 10, 2023 8:31 am

Hi Jimbo

I’m afraid I have nothing more to contribute on the Greenpark MacNamaras, so writing this just to say Well Done for finding so much more and for posting it, and for finding Emily (1876-1951), despite her mother did not counting her in 1911. Emily died in Dun Laoghaire in Co. Dublin. It was called Kingstown at the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses, and Royal-Terrace East was a very “desirable” place to live in, with its own park (it still is). I looked for Emily, but she was not living there at the time.


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Re: John McNamara, of Barberton, Ohio, returns to County Clare in 1892

Post by Jimbo » Mon Jun 12, 2023 2:53 am

Hi Sheila,

Yes, Royal-Terrace East in Dublin does look to be a very desirable place to live. In the Kensington and Chelsea Electoral Register of London for 1900-1901, there was a Emily MacNamara living at 10 Colville Terrace. Her name was crossed out which I believe meant that she was no longer living there at the time of the subsequent register in 1901-1902. As I've now discovered upon researching a previously unknown uncle of Emily MacNamara, you never know where the children of wealthy Irish Catholic families of a military and / or medical background will end up in the world. Hopefully, the elusive Emily MacNamara will be easier to find when the 1926 Irish census becomes available.

Hi Sharon,

Thank you very much for your feedback. The first child of Captain Michael MacNamara and Mary Finucane was Emily born in December 1813, and not John born in May 1816 (on the 1828 military document, boys are listed first, then girls). But your point still stands. Mary Finucane, married in January 1804 according to two independent sources, did not have a child until 1813. This delay was not typical of most Irish families and might indicate that she was very young when married.

"The law governing marriage in Ireland was based on the common law as amended by statute. An individual was regarding as having reached marriageable age of 14 years, if a male, and 12 years, if a female. However, he or she did not reach full age until 21" according to the historical background of a "Working Paper" from 1983 relating to the "age of majority" and "age for marriage". It appears that the ages weren't increased to 16 years in Ireland until 1972. ... jority.htm

So it appears that Mary Finucane in January 1804 could have indeed married at a very young age, but I still have doubts she was born in 1791 as stated in the Finucane family tree website: ... 7.htm#f537

In the above family tree, the parents of Mary Finucane were Michael Finucane (1761 - 1827) and Ellen O'Brien (1776 - ?). Ellen O'Brien definitely appears too young to be the mother of Andrew Finucane born in 1786, the reported elder brother of Mary Finucane, supposedly born in 1791. The source footnote also raised doubts whether or not Ellen O'Brien was the first or second wife of Michael Finucane (1761-1827):
[Michael Finucane] was living at Kilmacrethy [Kilmacrehy, Clare] census in 1821, age 60, of Ferry Park & of Mill St Ennis. If her age [referring to Ellen O'Brien Finucane] shown as 45 in 1821 is correct, she must have been a second wife, but no trace has been found of another, and it is probable that the age is correct.
There is considerable doubt whether Ellen O'Brien was the mother of Mary Finucane and entirely possible that her mother was an "Emily", the name of her first born daughter. Why the Finucane family wanted to marry their daughter off at a very young age in 1804, I suspect, like many marriages in Ireland, had to do with land.

Regarding the 1821 census, noted as source for Mary Finucane's parent's ages, I was not aware that County Clare had any 1821 Census fragments surviving; there are none noted for Clare at the National Archives of Ireland website:

Sharon, thanks also for the 1849 news clip referring to the "late John Finucane, Esq., M.D. of the Royal Navy". Upon further research, the MacNamara family of Greenpark, Ennis, had two sons in the medical profession who served in the British army. Lieutenant "Captain" Michael MacNamara reported that he was the father of four children in the British military document of 1828 (see prior posting). However, Michael MacNamara and Mary Finucane had a fifth child in 1829; another indication perhaps that Mary Finucane was indeed born in 1791 or very close to it.
Local Intelligence.

We are glad to mention the arrival, at his father's residence, Greenpark, of Dr. Macnamara, Assist.-Surgeon 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards. He is, we are rejoiced to say, in excellent health, after all the fatigues and dangers of the Crimea.

Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser, Thursday, 6 November 1856
Who was the Dr. MacNamara who visited his father at Greenpark, Ennis in 1856? I reckoned he had a very good chance to have been the mysterious "William MacNamara" who was the baptism sponsor for William Francis MacNamara, born in 1878, to Michael Macnamara and Mary Sampson of Greenpark. This was indeed the case:

We refer with considerable gratification to the following letter, and to the letter of Capt. Singleton, R.A., which appears in our fourth page. They show that Clare's sons are not disgracing her at the Seat of War, and that, as usual, they are second to none in intelligence, zeal, and courage.

Balaklava, Nov. 12, 1854

MY DEAR_____________As I dare say "the home folks" are anxious to hear from me just now, I will give an idea of how matters get on with me here. I left England on board the "Karnack" steamer for Constantinople, with 14 of the Medical Staff, we had a good passage out, save in the Channel, where it was very rough, and all on board suffered a good deal. On reaching Constantinople I was sent on duty with three others to the hospital at Scutari to attend the wounded, after the battle of Alma [20 September 1854], of which you, of course, heard long since. The beauty of the Bosphorus is beyond conception, and Constantinople from the sea, appears the most delightful place imaginable, but when you land how changed—it is the most abominable town in the creation—the streets are so narrow that the day light is nearly excluded, and so filthy and rough that one can scarce walk through them.

I met B.T. and O'C. D. at Scutari, where they are quartered, both are quite well; there is an immense number of our men in hospital badly wounded, however, they are tolerably well attended to, and the statements in the Times as to their being neglected, are incorrect, at least as far as I could see; of course they have not all the comfort and accommodation one would expect in an hospital at home.

After being at Scutari for a week I was ordered here [Balaklava], where we are within seven miles of Sebastopol. There is a most picturesque little harbour here, surrounded by high cliffs, capable of containing thirty ships of the line; the depth of the water is very great, so that the largest vessels can approach within a very few yards of the shore. A small village lies on the south side, occupied by our troops; the harbour can scarce be discovered from the sea unless one was aware of its precise locality.

Our troops are posted thus, viz.—on the right side of the harbour is a mountain on with the Royal Marines are stationed with a strong battery, in front of them or neared to Sebastopol our army are stationed, covered in front by a battery, which is close on Sebastopol. To the right of the army is a large plain about six miles in circumference, on the opposite side of which is an immense army of Russians, so that in fact the videttes of both armies are within about three miles of each other. I could see them plainly from on horseback to-day, entrenching themselves, and forming batteries on the opposite side of the plain, our men have been under arms for the past three days, expecting a battle, in fact we were sure of one to-day, as the Russians appear partial to a blaze on Sunday; however, we have been disappointed; but it is most probable we will have an encounter with those fellows during the week, in which from our position, and the formidable strength of our batteries, we calculate on giving them "a sound thrashing."

To resume my description, on the left side is first, the Transport Camps, which is flanked by the sea; in front of this, the French are encamped with their battery in front, which commands the South side of Sebastopol. The Engineers are actively engaged making trenches which are now within 6 or 700 yards of Sebastopol and the French are following up with their great guns. There has been an incessant cannonade against Sebastopol with very little good far as we could judge, however, it is said was causing sad havoc among the Russians in the town.

It is currently reported that must winter here, and I believe it, as Sebastopol must be taken at all hazards. The Russians give out that it is all undermined, and that if matters come to the worst they will blow it up sooner than surrender; be that as it may, they are good soldiers and fight like devils.

There was a fearful encounter on last Sunday morning, in which the Russians, with a powerful force, thought to surprise and annihilate us, they also made a sortie from Sebastopol at the same time but were generally repulsed. Our loss amounted to 600 killed and 1480 wounded. We here have not yet clearly ascertained the enemy's losses, but believe them to be far more considerable. [He was referring to the Battle of Inkerman on 5 November 1854]

We have a Russian Major prisoner here, and wounded, who states the force in Sebastopol to be 35,000, and that in the Crimea 95,000, no joke !

We have not completely invested in all as we have not half enough men; the whole northern side is open, and as fast as the men in Sebastopol are knocked up they can be replaced, so that, in fact, we are fighting, as it were, the whole Russian army. The weather is good up to the present. There is a temporary hospital here in which the operations are performed and wounds dressed after the battle. You can form no idea of the desperate nature of the wounds inflicted on numbers of our poor fellows, it is fearful to witness human suffering in such manifold variety—and yet their intrepidity is undaunted.

It was great mistake to send out the Guards and such regiments here, in place of hardy Highlanders, and Irishmen, for though the Guards are brave men and have fought like Lions, still most of them are young overgrown fellows and cannot stand "Camp life," many of them are miserable spectacles. Indeed, generally speaking, the French seem to stand it far better than our men. Diarrhea is very prevalent, and we have had some cases of Cholera. So much for matters generally, now for myself, I am in excellent health thank God, and attached to the Commissariat as Medical Officer, with an Hospital of my own and a house to live in, which although a Russian one is no less desirable, and as regards rations, you may be sure I won't starve. The only apprehension I have is lest those rascals on our right may make a descent on us some fine morning, which would interfere a little with my domestic arrangements, however, as that may cost them dearly, there is no use in my troubling myself overmuch about it at present. By the way I have heard that all our Lancaster guns, save three burst, and that there was no shot for those.

Farewell, write soon, sending me the news with some Clare Journals, they would be a great treat. With kind regards to all at home.

Believe me, yours, &c.
Staff Assistant-Surgeon.

Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser, Thursday, 7 December 1854
Why did William MacNamara write the long letter which clearly he wanted published in the local newspaper? Most likely to refute the Times coverage of the horrible conditions at the Scutari military hospital where MacNamara was sent to tend the wounded after the Battle of Alma (see second paragraph above). Florence Nightingale arrived at Scutari in November 1854 and had a vastly different opinion than MacNamara's. "Her team found that poor care for wounded soldiers was being delivered by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. There was no equipment to process food for the patients" (per

4th Dragoon Guards—Assistant-Surgeon W. MacNamara, from the Staff, to be Assistant-Surgeon, vice [as in replacing] Armstrong, who resigns.

Dublin Evening Post, Saturday, 12 May 1855
As noted in the first news article above, William MacNamara returned to Greenpark, Ennis, in November 1856. Most likely only for a short visit to his parents, who both died in 1859.

The General Commanding in Ireland approves of assistant Surgeon W. Macnamara, 4th Dragoon Guards, being re-called from Longford [in County Longford] to Dublin, for the purpose of assuming medical charge of head-quarters of that corps.

Irish Times, Saturday, 22 March 1862
Medical Department—. . . [10 or so moves, including] . . . Assistant-Surgeon W. Macnamara, M.D., from 4th Dragoon Guards, to be Staff-Surgeon. . . .

Inverness Courier, Thursday, 21 March 1867
William MacNamara, Assistant Surgeon, 4th Dragoon Guards, was reported in the 1860 through 1866 issues of the Medical Register of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. His "date of registration" was 29 June 1859; and "qualification" as "Lic. R. Coll. Surg. Irel. 1854". In the 1867 medical register, William MacNamara is still "Assistant Surgeon, 4th Dragoon Guards", but his qualifications now included "M.D. University of Glasgow 1866". In the 1872 medical register, and through to 1879, William has been promoted to "Surgeon, 60th Rifles", the same regiment of his father, Captain Michael MacNamara.

From 1880 through 1902, William MacNamara was reported on the Medical Register of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland as "Army Medical Department". A British military document from 1892 of officers retired on half-pay or retired pay, under "Brigade Surgeons (with honorary rank of Deputy Surgeon-General)" reported "MacNamara, William, MD" as "First Appointment" of "6 October 1854" and both "Date of Retirement" and "Date of Honorary Rank" as 21 July 1880.

William MacNamara was nearly 26 years as a surgeon in the British army. In reviewing the Medical Registers of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, there appear to have been many Irish "Mc's" in the medical profession in the British military. William MacNamara had a very interesting personal life.

On the 19th inst., at the British Church, Leghorn, by the Rev. H.J. Huntington, William Macnamara, Esq., Assistant Surgeon 4th Dragoon Guards, to Catherine Amelia, eldest daughter of Captain Elphinstone, R.N., of Livonia, Sidmouth, Devon.

Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, Wednesday, 1 April 1863
"Leghorn", to my surprise, was the English name for Livorno, Italy, a harbor town located a short distance from Florence. The Rev. H.J. Huntington was the pastor of the English Episcopal Church in Leghorn. Catherine Amelia (1831-1911) was the Russian born daughter of Alexander Francis Elphinstone (1789-1865), who was the only son of Samuel William Elphinstone (1758 - 1789), "who died as a captain in the Russian service" and was the son of John Elphinstone (1722-1785), a "senior British naval officer who worked closely with the Russian Navy after 1770, with approval from the Admiralty, during the period of naval reform under Russian Empress Catherine II".

On 3 August 1889, William MacNamara, age 60, "bachelor", surgeon, Hotel Victoria, Geneva, son of Michael Macnamara, Captain, 60th Rifles, married Catherine Amelia Elphinstone, age 56, "spinster", daughter of Alexander Frances Elphinstone, Captain R.N., at the British Consulate, by D.F. Barton, British Consul; witnesses John Jacob des Combes and John George Shxxx (unclear). Per UK Register of Marriages from British Consulates, 1810-1868, available at ancestry website.

The only reason for the 1889 marriage in Switzerland that I can come up with is that there was no record of their 1863 marriage in Italy? A bit of trivial information, the long-time British Consul at Geneva, Daniel F. Baron, two years previously, in 1887, had married Victoria "Julia" Peel, the eldest daughter of Sir Robert and Lady Peel at the Chapel Royal Savoy in London.

There are over 60 family trees on the ancestry website for the extended Elphinstone family, with lots of coats of arms etc. William MacNamara and Amelia Catherine Elphinstone do not appear to have had any children, so none of the family trees were created by a MacNamara descendant. From the 1889 marriage at the British consul in Geneva, they are mostly aware that the father of William MacNamara was Michael MacNamara of the 60th Rifles, but no other information about his mother or other family members in County Clare, his time in the Crimean War, or William's death in 1902 (documented in the probate calendars of England):
MACNAMARA, William, of 50 Viale Margherita, Florence, Italy, died 11 February 1902. Probate London, 9 June [1902] to Catherine Amelia Macnamara, widow and Archibald George Bogle, rear-admiral in the Royal Navy. Effects £11,572, 10 shillings, 11 pence.
MACNAMARA, Catherine Amelia, of 8 Leopardi, Florence, Italy, widow, died 26 January 1911 at the Casa di Cura via Bolognese, Florence. Probate London, 28 February [1911] to Archibald Howard Lobach Elphinstone, artist, and Arthur Tyler, solicitor. Effects £3,523, 9 shillings.
Not the most academic of sources, but from having seen A Room with a View, Florence was a popular destination for British tourists. And, apparently, Florence was also popular for British retirees to take up residence. From several sources on-line, in the second half of the 19th century, a third of the population of Florence was foreign, mostly British, and also French and German — and at least one Irishman. E.M. Forster obtained the inspiration for his novel A Room with a View from a trip he and his mother took to Florence in 1901, when, quite possibly I reckon, they could have crossed paths with William and Amelia MacNamara.

The fact that two of the children of Captain Michael MacNamara, of the 60th Rifles, were medical doctors in the British army, along with Michael's 1804 marriage to a very young Mary Finucane, of a prominent Catholic family in Clare, as well as the marriage of his son, William, into the prominent Elphinstone family, are all very important clues which will surely lead to the origin of the MacNamara family of Greenpark, Ennis.

To be continued,

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