More About Kilmartin
The Kilmartin name is hardly mentioned in any
story, activity, or highlight of the 16th or 17th century.
All census reports of early Ireland (1821, 31, 41) were lost, destroyed, or not
available. It appears the Sept grew very rapidly from the census of 1659. When
details of the 1854 Land Evaluation Records were published and available in the
Dublin Castle office, we find Kilmartin’s and Gilmartin’s scattered
throughout the counties of Roscommon, Sligo, and Leitrim, under many different
first names. It indicates that many families were live and active. We will try
to pull the pieces together as well as the facts are known.
My research began in 1971, when Mary, the three
children, and I brought Rosanne to Le Moyne College, in Syracuse. After leaving
Rosanne to her studies, we headed south to our cousin, Mary Ann (Stratton)
Coddington, who lived in Horseheads, Pa. She showed us the way to Blossburg,
Pa., and St. Andrews Cemetery, where John and Rose (Donegan) Guiry, my maternal
grandparents, are buried. While in the cemetery, we asked the children to look
for any grave stones marked "Gilmartin". Soon we heard a shout and
hurried over to an old stone marked with a double inscription. It was the burial
of Thomas, age 9, who died on Saturday, May 21, 1873, and Luke, age 1 year and 7
months, who died December 18th, 1873. Their parents were Thomas
and Ann KILLMARTIN. With this information I checked the 1860 New York State
Census, the 1870 U.S. Census for Bloss Township, Pa., the St. Andrews Church
records of birth, and the New York City records of death.
1870 Census Bloss Township, PA
I verified that Thomas
Kilmartin, and Ann (Neary) Kilmartin were indeed my great grandparents on my
fathers side. In making genealogy charts the male line is followed to show the
continuation of the surname. All records said they were born in Ireland but to
date, (1989) I have not located a specific parish, barony, or county. I have
accumulated a mass of material secured from microfilm of the counties of Leitrim
and Sligo, showing many "Kilmartin’s" and "Gilmartin’s,"
but have been unable to discover the actual county as yet.
born in 1828 in Ireland. From the records of his four children, we know he was
in England in 1851 until 1859. He was listed as a Mason Laborer in the town of
Bradford and North Bierly. Both towns are in the Leeds area of Lancashire. It
was the practice of Irish laborers to go to England during harvest time to earn
enough money to return and pay the rent on the land they were working. It could
have been that the Great Famine, which started in 1843 and continued through
1846, was the reason to go to England. There are many other possibilities. After
looking at church records of death and birth in the Catholic churches of St.
Mary’s, Mount St. Marie, and St. Patrick’s, in Lancanshire, I found many
"Kilmartin’s" and "Neary’s," but none arrived before
1824. They may have been related, so perhaps Ann stayed with them when Thomas
left for America in April of 1859.
Their first child, Mary, was born June 10th,
1851, in the workhouse in Leeds. This may tell us that this was the place to
take a pregnant wife if you were traveling, or out of work. The father is not
mentioned in the records because he wouldn’t have been admitted to the
workhouse. The second child was Margaret, born in 1853, based on the
census reports. We were unable to find the birth record. Michael, the
third child, was born on the 27th of March, 1857, at 100 Vincent
Street, Bradford West. Thomas was listed as a mason laborer. The fourth child
was John, born on November 26, 1859 at 68 Longcroft Place, Bradford West.
By this time Thomas was in Corning, New York, having left in April. The child
was conceived in February, and Ann either stayed at this address, or moved in
with her parents or friends.
If we could visualize the situation, it may show
that they were in a confused condition with three children to care for and a
husband so far away in America. I have another theory that could take many years
In a book by Oscar Handlin, Boston Immigrants,
he tells of the Union of Tailors in London. They assisted 7000 unemployed
tailors in emigrating to America. Upon Thomas’s arrival in America, he stayed
with a "Michael Kilmartin." Michael, a tailor by trade, had been in
America since about 1848. Michael could have financed Thomas’s passage, helped
in planning the trip, or just encouraged him to come. Thomas was reassured that
this was the thing to do, as he was not likely to leave his family alone in
Bradford. As we learn later, Ann left when their fourth child John was a year
old, on the same ship Thomas took, the Great Western.