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Sunday, March 11, 2018

#52ancestors Post Ten: Bridget Brannelly Quinn

The Quinn family on the Ireland Census, 1911. Only five children remained at home.
Mary Ann and Margaret Mary (Maggie) were living in the United States. 

This week's writing prompt for #52ancestors is strong woman and Bridget Brannelly Quinn is one of many, many strong women found in the families I research.  Bridget's husband died leaving her with seven minor children. She managed to keep a roof over their heads and her children attended school. Eventually, all but two of her children left Ireland for the United States. Her family was involved in the Irish Uprising and her home was burned. She moved on, rebuilt her home, and remained in that home until her death. 

Bridget Brannelly married William Joseph Quinn on March 9, 1886 in Beagh Parish, County Galway, Ireland. Bridget and William were my husband's great-grandparents. 

I know nothing about Bridget's life before her marriage to William Quinn. I can only estimate her birth year (about 1855) using her death record and census records. Her parents are unknown. 

The wedding of Mary Anne Quinn (daughter of Bridget)
and Lawrence Meaney (both on the right) in Louisville,
Kentucky. Mary Anne's cousin, Catherine Keaney and Lawrence
Meaney's brother, William are also pictured. Catherine Keaney's
parents are Michael Keaney and Mary Brannelly. Could Mary
be Bridget's sister or cousin? When Mary Anne Quinn arrived
in the United States she stayed with her Aunt, Mrs. Dwyer in
nearby Jeffersonville, Indiana. Could Mrs. Dwyer be a Brannelly?
Bridget had eight children; John (thought to have died at or near birth), Mary Ann, John Patrick (went by John Joseph), Margaret Mary (Maggie), William Joseph, Peter, Celia, and Bridget (Delia). When her husband died in 1903, she had seven children between the ages of 2 and 14. The two room home was owned so the family had a place to live. William Quinn had been a farmer. Did Bridget continue farming? 

Mary Ann, John Joseph, Maggie, William, and Celia left Ireland for the United States. I cannot imagine how it would feel to know I might never see my children again. I know Bridget never saw her oldest daughter, Mary Ann, after she left Ireland in 1905. William visited in 1928 and John around 1924. Visits by Maggie and Celia are not known. 

Bridget's son, William didn't leave for the United States until April 1921. Two months prior to his leaving, his family's home was burned. This article, found in the Connacht Tribune - Saturday, February 19, 1921, appears to be Bridget's account of the burning of her home. 

(From Our Correspondent)
            On Friday night, the 11th inst. a party of men, numbering about fourteen, visited the house of Mrs. Bridget Quinn, widow, Caheraroneen, Kinvara. The party wore false moustaches and beards. On entering the house, where about nine young men were card-playing, they ordered’ “Hands up!” and questioned each man.  Then they searched the house, and put the men outside the door.  As each man passed the threshold he is alleged to have been ill treated. When the last man had come out, all were placed against a wall and ordered to take off their clothes. At this moment two of the men made good their escape by running away, seven or eight shots being discharged in their direction.
            The remaining seven men had to take off their clothes, which were then placed in a heap and burned to ashes.  Meanwhile the dwelling-house was set on fire, and when this was done the barn and two stacks of corn were burned. The barn contained oats, potatoes, machinery, etc. in the stable were two horses which had narrow escapes from the flames. 
            The owner, Mrs. Quinn, implored the raiders to allow her to free the animals while the buildings were burning, and they did so. Fowl fled to and fro in the yard, and were killed.  While the young men’s clothes were burning, they had to lie on the road, face downwards. After about an hour, when the second party of raiders came from another house {Patrick Glynn’s home}, the men were ordered to stand up, and, it is alleged, they were marched about one-and – a – half miles to where two lorries were situated, and compelled to sing “God Save the King,” the words being repeated after one of the men in charge. Ultimately they were told to “clear off,” several shots were fired after them. The flames from Mrs. Quinn’s house lighted up the village.  The young men were scarcely able to move after the terrible ordeal they had gone through. 
            Mrs. B. Quinn, in an interview stated: “When the raiders arrived my daughters and I were placed in a room, and instructed to stay there. The outer door was locked on us, and they began to set fire to the house. We were told to go out the back door.  There was no back door to the house; so I informed them of this.  We were then allowed to go out the front door.  Immediately the house was set on fire, and then the barn, stables, and two stacks of corn were burned. While all were burning the young men who were at my home were being badly treated on the road.  My two horses were badly burned, as it was with great difficulty I was able to loose them from their stalls.  The raiders stated they were looking for the murderers of police. No murder of Crown forces has taken place in this district.  I am now left with my house and everything inside it burned, and I did not get one moment to take out anything.” 

To see more about the house burning click here. 

On August 7, 1922, the Freeman’s Journal reported a brief list of those who applied for reconstruction loans “in respect of injury to property in pursuante of the Irish Provisional Government’s Public Notice No. 10. dated 14th May 1922” Bridget Quinn’s loan # 123 for £450 was for property described as “Dwelling-house and out-houses, Caheroroneen, Kinvara, County Galway.”

Bridget built this larger two-story home some distance away from her original home.  

The home was vacant in 1981. 

The home was being used for storage and had attached outbuildings in 2016. 

Bridget Brannelly Quinn died on September 19, 1929 in Caheravoneen at the age of 74. 


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© 2018


Bridget Quinn in the Ireland, Census, 1911.  Web. 11 Mar. 2018. <

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn

Family photograph from the collection of Mary Margaret Meaney Weber. 2007. Kentucky. Used with permission.

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