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2. John Meaney

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My Great Granddad John Meaney was probably born in 1853 and was baptised at Dromara RC chapel on 5th September the same year[1]. His father was Hugh Meaney and his mother Mary Jane Baird. He is known to have had three brothers Hugh, James and David and three sisters Lizzie, Mary Ann and Rose.

John a twenty-year-old bachelor employed as a servant probably on a farm as a labourer married tailors daughter Jane Morgan aged twenty-one in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Leitrim[2] on February 13th 1877. John’s residence at the time of their marriage is recorded on the marriage certificate, as ‘Muninatan’ which is believed to be the townland of Moneynabane about three miles east of Dromara. Jane was living in the townland of Backaderry about four miles further south.

Seven of John’s children were born in the parish of Drumgooland. The eldest five: Mary Jane(1), Mary Jane(2), Hugh (my Grandafather), Patrick and John were all born in the townland of Ballydrumman a mile or so to the west of Leitrim. Mary Jane(1) also died there. It is not certain where their sixth child Elizabeth was born. James, the youngest was born in Ballymaginaghy Townland about a mile southeast of Leitrim.

The family moved to Tollymore on the edge of Newcastle sometime between September 1889 and January 1890 so that John could take up a job as a ploughman perhaps employed by a farmer who had a large estate[3]. Elizabeth Meaney died at Tollymore and John’s eighth child Annie Meaney was born there.

The 1901 census for Tollymore records John a 47-year-old Roman Catholic agricultural labourer who is unable to read as head of his family consisting of his wife Jane and their six remaining children[4]. The house John was living in at Tollymore at the time of the 1901 census was shared with William Leneghan a single farm labourer aged 42. The house is described as having walls of stone, brick or concrete, a roof of iron slate or tiles with three windows at the front. Two of its four rooms were occupied by William Leneghan and the other two by John Meaney and his family. The house was on land owned in 1901 by Jules DeSpalia a 64 year old C of I Belgian widower who earned an income from farming and dividends.

In the 1911 census[5] John and son Hughie are living in six rooms of an eight roomed house described as having walls of brick or concrete, a roof of slate or tiles, five windows at the front and three outbuildings. The other two rooms are occupied by the landowner Sarah O’Flyn. This house is next to a house occupied by son John and his wife Mary Ann who had been married for under one year at this time. John’s wife Jane is recorded as living at another house at Tollymore with Mary, Annie and James.

On February 15th 1915 John purchased the tenancy on a “farm of land and [the] premises therein”[6] measuring ten acres, one rood and five perches. The rent at the time, payable to the Earl of Roden, was six pounds eighteen shillings per year. Straddling Middle Tollymore Road the farm is thought to have been about 500 to 600 yards from where John was living in the 1911 census.

John bought this farm from Alexander Halliday for £495 by paying £295 as a down payment and mortgaging the remaining £200 at 5% interest per annum paid twice yearly until the amount owing was paid off.

John made his last will and testament on 16th January 1924 twelve days before he died of Bronchitis on 28th January 1924 aged 69. Annie Joyce his youngest daughter who was present when he died registered his death[7].

Probate[8] was granted on 2nd May 1924. Sons John & James Meaney were appointed executors of his will. His other two sons Hugh and Patrick were in America at this time. John bequeathed £200 to his oldest daughter Mary Jane, £20 to his youngest daughter Annie Joyce and £10.00 to his grandson Peter Joyce. He left the remainder of his estate, including the farm and property he bought in 1915, to his youngest son James.


John is believed to be buried with his wife Jane and daughter Annie's oldest son Peter Joyce in St. Mary's Churchyard on Main St. Newcastle Co.Down [9]

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[1] Dromara Parochial Records LDS Film No: 0926080

[2] John Meaney marriage registration.

[3]Alice Meaney, Letter1, page 1

[4] LDS Church, 1901 DED 63/1-11, FHL British Film 829992.

[5] LDS Church, 1911 Newcastle, FHL British Films 2094227-8

[6] Deeds assignment dated 15/02/1915 Alexander Halliday to John Meaney.

[7] Death Certificate

[8] Photocopy of Probate document, John Meaney deceased

[9] Alice Meaney, Letter 2 page 1.



Page Last Updated 06/05/07