Categories: Convicts from Boho, Fermanagh | Hercules II 1830 | Convicts After the Third Fleet | Macken Fight | Family Brick Walls | Port Jackson Penal Colony | Fermanagh, Cassidy Name Study | Gortgall, Fermanagh | Tobradan, Fermanagh | Hercules II 1830, Australian Convicts FTDNA Project | Parramatta, New South Wales | Marsden Park, New South Wales | Prospect, New South Wales | Australia, Cassidy Name Study | 52 Ancestors - 2018 Week 4 'Invite to Dinner' | Boho, Fermanagh.
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Thomas CASSIDY was born between 1799-1807 in Fermanagh Northern Ireland, to parents Stephen  and possibly Catherine CASSIDY (nee BRITTON). Both the death certificates of Thomas and his brother Phillip, indicate their mothers name as Unknown BRITTON. His death certificate indicates he was from Bow, Fermanagh. Further research has determined this to refer to the civil parish of Boho, more probably the townland of Gortgall.
A Thomas CASSIDY is recorded in the tithe records for the parish of Boho in 1827 in the Townland of Tubberan/Tobradan/Toberadon (Tobradan is listed on http://www.irish-place-names.com) which means he could have rented extra lands in these townlands (Source: Nuala Cassidy).
There is some conjecture about Thomas' age. The convict arrival list indicates Thomas was 25 when he arrived in 1830 which gives him a DOB of 1805. The convict ticket has an alternate date of 1804 and the 1837 general return of convicts suggests 1807. One record on the birth of his daughter Margaret suggests he was 60 years of age in July 1859 which indicates he was born abt 1799, his wife Mary was the informant so this record could be reasonably accurate. His death certificate indicates he was 62 when he died in November 1862 which also suggests he was born in abt 1800, the informant of his death being his eldest son John.
Thomas was convicted, along with his brothers Phillip and Edward in 1830 at the Enniskillen Assize of killing his landlord's horse, and transported to Australia on the Hercules 11 (1830) for life. Their father Stephen was also tried but was given a lesser sentence presumably due to his age.
Newspaper accounts of the time indicate that the offence occurred on 9th September 1829 and the brown horse was the property of Andrew Whaley. The prisoners were identified by an Irwin ROBINSON on the lands of Gortgall , was afterwards on Moyleat...saw them having hold of a horse belonging to Andrew Whaley by the head, they were about 40 perches off witness; sometimes they led the horse, sometimes they rode himon the mountain; they brought the horse forward to a precipice, tied his feet with gads, struck him with a hammer in the forehead, witness was then in the heath below, the prisoners on the hill above, from which they threw the horse down a precipice of of 20 perches; it was a water course, water formally ran down. He saw the horse next day, dead; the rock had stopped him in descent; he was greatly mangled, burst and the rock quite through him.
Evidence provided in the trial suggests that it was the day before the fair at Enniskillen and it had been a light night, the moon and stars shining. The land of Moyleat was owned by a Mr Clarke, a carpenter, with Mr Robinson indicating he had never heard that Mr Clarke wanted to get (these people) out of the land.... but did indicate he had heard they were being put out of their land by the landlord Christy Buchanan and that he had a farm there, gave it up for fear of being killed. Mr Robinson also indicated he believed Mr Clarke and the prisoners had some misunderstanding. Other newspaper reports gave a slightly different account.
The horse was found lying in Cultagh (townlands are now called Gortgall and Moylehid which are Belmore Mountain and Cullaigh at the bottom of the cliff face). There is some suggestion by the defence cross examination of Mr Whaley that he and Mr Robinson spent part of the night of the 9th together and did not report the missing horse until a couple of days later, Robinson only telling him on the 11th. He is reputed to have said along the lines of transporting a family is not a bad way of ejecting, if they deserved it, witness (Whaley) gave up his land from the threats he received; would take a farm if he got it, but does not want their land; Mr Buchanan is the landlord; does not know of any ejectment being brought against Cassidy's land. There is some suggestion that there was known to be a stray horse, with Robinson not telling Whaley about the incident with the horse on the night of the 9th, possibly suggesting it may have been fabricated.
A witness George FIDDIS claims he had a conversation with Stephen CASSIDY 12 months prior about a neighbours land and being put out of the land, a person by the name of Andrew FLANAGHAN is mentioned with Cassidy indicating that if he were in similiar circumstances if witness would be loyal and true, it would be well done to put the cattle off the land and put Clarke out of the way! Other newspaper reports give a slighlty different account. He says the conversation was only with Stephen, but that Thomas CASSIDY had been in the house at the time. It is suggested that either George or his brother had previously fought in drink with Thomas CASSIDY. Fiddes admits a fight with Thomas 4 years before but states there were no odds between them.
Another witness John BREEN, a church warden of the parish (Boho, Cleenish?) also indicates a conversation with Stephen CASSIDY about 18 months prior about 'depredations being committed in the neighbourhood' (apparently Mr Clarkes cattle had been damaged before). Breen advised him 'if he was the mover of these things he should quit'. Breen states that Stephen said ' he could not forget what had been done to him by putting him out of his place, and that if he was dead, and all his family out of the country, there would be some persons to have revenge (for what he has suffered).' There is some suggestion a notice was served on him by Robinson striving to take the price of him (the horse) off the county or parish , Breen suggests this prosecution was got up in consequence of having failed to get money off the county. The Imperial Reporter goes into this aspect in more detail and advises that Judge JEBB required more information on this point. It was confirmed by Mr Breen that what he meant was that when he, as churchwarden said, if they had done the act were not prosecuted, he would withold his signature and prevent them getting damages, that that was his meaning for saying they had failed in getting them.
A witness for the defence, John DOLAN gave evidence that Robinson came and asked him if he had seen a stray horse on 11th. Dolan was living in the same townland as the CASSIDY's for 2 years. Another witness for the defence Charles LOVE told that he had seen Mr Whaley at the fair on 10th and he had told him about a lost horse. He also claimed he spoke to Robinson, which Robinson denied, that Robinson was going to Mr Clarke to give information about it.
Witness Alexander CARNEY (tenant to Colonel Montgomery), lives about 16 miles from Gortgall, claims Thomas CASSIDY visited him on the night of the 9th between 9 and 10 o'clock and told him there was 'a decree against him for rent by on Pat NOUGHER and that he had been at Flush Hill (Slush Hill)' Swears Thomas stayed the night. Also indicated Thomas was to go to the fair the next day 'to make up part of the decree money'. Both Alexander and his wife Ellen swear the house was locked each night and they had the key. Ellen indicated that she had no recollection of Thomas being in her house previously, his father (Stephen) and her husband were well aquainted. (Note: Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Montgomery was a member of the grand jury on this case - Seamus McCanny).
The trial was held on the 23rd March 1830 the same day and with the same judge as the famous MACKEN case. Records from the parlimentary papers indicate that a Thomas CASSIDY from the town Fort Richard gave evidence in the Macken trial. It is unclear whether this is the same Thomas. It could indicate there is a connection between the two cases, particularly given the later issue surrounding the recording of their sentence. (I have been unable to identify where Fort Richard was but it could be Gortadrehid townland ? - fits with Corracoash!!)
The Macken Fight is a very well-known event in Fermanagh history as it was the most serious sectarian clash of its time, happening in 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipation. It happened on the 13th of July. The Orangemen normally march on the 12th but as this fell on a Sunday it was postponed until the following day. There are various tellings of the event but there was a major confrontation as Orangemen passed through Macken, a Catholic district, and four of them were killed. Some Orange historians not wishing to see the event as a defeat claim that numbers of Catholics were killed as well but that their bodies were taken away and hidden. Catholics do not see the event as a victory however, rather they see it as a great injustice as one man, Ignatius McManus was hanged, others were transported and others fled to other parts of the country. In the Catholic version of the event the Orangemen were the aggressors and the Catholics' lawyers were unhappy with much of the evidence and the legal proceedings (Source: Seamus McCanny).
The evidence given by a Thomas CASSIDY of Fort Richard was taken on 3rd August 1829. It states (to be added)
Thomas and his two brothers were transported to New South Wales on the Hercules II, which was built in 1822 at Whitby. The Hercules II sailed from Dublin on the 3rd July 1830 and arrived at Sydney Cove on 1st November 1830, a journey of 121 days. Thomas was described in the convict indents of being 5' 8" tall with brown hair, grey eyes, a ruddy complexion and a sharp nose. He is listed as a labourer. His conduct on the voyage was descibed as very good. On the arrival record it states that the brothers had indicated their sentence was 7 years, not life.
It is interesting to note that there were conflicting newspaper accounts from the trial about the sentence, The Enniskillener on 20th March 1830 (date conflicts with most versions of trial date) suggesting 7 years, but others reported death.
The historical records of Australia indicate that the three brothers reported an error in the indent papers regarding their sentences and lodged a petition on 9th February 1832. Indents, or Indentures, were the documents written to formally transfer the prisoners from the custody of the master of a transport ship to the Governor of the colony receiving them. Governor Bourke acknowledged on the 19th January 1833 advice from Viscount Goderich about their compliant that the indent showed them as being transported for life instead of the sentence only being for 7 years. Viscount Goderich provided a copy to Governor Burke of a letter from the home office which indicated that there "was no foundation whatsoever for the statements made by the prisoners". The letter from Sir William Gossett to Mr G Lamb advised that the books of the department and the official records indicated that the sentence was commuted from death, to transportation for life and advised the indent was correct. Unfortunately, some of the relevant dispatches in 1832 and 1833 have been omitted from the record. Shortly after this on 24 July 1833, his brother Edward escaped.
When Thomas arrived in NSW in 1830 he was attached to the Government Domain. His occupation later noted as Grounds Colonel.
Marnie Dann provided details of the following reference in the Hayes Collection in the University of Queensland Library where Thomas has been working as a constable; "Item 1415. List of persons charged by Thomas Cassidy per "Hercules" attached to Government Domain Parramatta (as Overseer and Constable). March 1831 - November 1837. Signed Henry Bailey, Clerk of Petty Sessions, Parramatta.21.ms".
Lesley Ubel from Claim a convict provided the following information that explains how Thomas became a constable:
:: Government Order 30th May 1831.
: 9. Any person who shall employ any of these or any other paid Constable, contrary to their duty, will be made responsible for the same as far as circumstances may permit.
Thomas was granted a ticket of leave on 28th Dec 1838. A ticket of leave allowed convicts to work for themselves on condition that they remained in a specified area, reported regularly to local authorities and if at all possible, attend divine worship every Sunday. Thomas' TOL allowed him to stay within the district of Parramatta.
Thomas is not listed in the 1841 NSW census as that only lists the names of householders as Thomas was still a serving convict at that time (His brother Philip is listed, it is unclear why this was the case).
Convicts with life sentences generally received pardons, Thomas gained a 2nd class conditional pardon on 2nd March 1846. Conditional pardons freed convicts and were granted on the condition that convicts did not return to England or Ireland. Original copies of the pardons were sent to England and duplicates remained in Australia.
When Thomas was transported in 1830 the convict indent stated that he was married and had two female daughters.
Thomas applied for marriage bans late in 1838 to marry a Margaret Reeves aged 74/54 (aka McKeale or McKee), stating himself as a bachelor, he was about 38 years of age at the time. The application to marry at St Patricks Parramatta was disallowed. The record stating "Thomas Cassidy per Hercules 1830 on arrival stated that he was married and had 2 children" (Reel 734, 4/2391.2).
Thomas had taken up with Mary Sweeney by 1840, having their first son John in March 1841. It is believed they were unmarried at the time and they took him to be baptised to the Catholic Church at Parramatta. John's baptism certificate is noted as illegitimate. No record can be found of a valid marriage. It is concluded that this was due to him having a wife and 2 daughters living back in Ireland. This fact may have never been revealed to their children with various death records indicating the couple were married at Prospect in about 1840.
Thomas and Mary had 12 children together. A family bible notes their 11 children and their birth dates (including some death dates).
It is understood that at around this time there was a controversial government policy that encouraged reformed married men to apply from the colonies for the free passage for their wives and children. It is unclear why Thomas would not have sought to have his wife and children join him in the colony.
Several possibilities have been explored.
Thomas died on 30th November 1862 after having been in decline for a period of six months at the age of about 62. The informant of the death was John CASSIDY, son. He left his wife Mary with the care of their 9 living children, ranging in age from 3 years to 20 years. Thomas was buried on 2nd December 1862 at St Patricks Cathedral in Parramatta with his son Philip and daughter Anna Maria. Witnesses to the burial were listed as John CASSIDY and John H Gain.
His death notice appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 20th December 1862 and read:
Ten years after his death his wife Mary and most of her children made the move to Glen Innes in Northern NSW after she was granted a freehold lease of 140 acres of land, known as Shannon Vale.
DNA matches of their great grand daughter, great grandson, second great granddaughter and a second great grandson have confirmed the accuracy of the CASSIDY line research back to the relationship of Thomas CASSIDY and Mary SWEENEY.
The maternal line is confirmed to the shared ancestor of:
Paternal ancestry is confirmed:
I have chosen Thomas to be my entry in the Week 4 of the 52 Ancestors challenge for 2018 - 'Invite to Dinner'. These are some of the questions I want answers to!
This will be the subject of a future post on my blog.
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