Time to stop researching and start writing! My goal was to post every two weeks as I work best with a looming deadline however the current pandemic we are in the midst of has distracted me a bit. This post will contain some things that will be of interest to the history buffs among you and gives some insight into the life of the Kaine (also known as Keane) family before they emigrated to Canada.
Some of my questions when I embarked on this project were “What was life like In Ireland?” and “What occupations did they have?”.
In this post, I am sharing what I discovered about where the Kaine family lived and what their religious and political affiliations were.
I could not find birth records or any census data in my research but I did find the Griffith’s Valuation that helped me know where the family lived. As mentioned in Wikipedia, the Griffith’s Valuation “is a vital document in genealogical research, since in the absence of census records in Ireland before 1901 the valuation records in many ways can act as a substitute.”
Richard Griffith was a geological surveyor and surveyed all of Ireland. Griffith completed his survey of Freshford County in 1853 and I was excited to find Charles Keane (Kaine) on a list. Also mentioned was James Keane Junior. This was not a farming family as the Kaines had houses and gardens in the town of Freshford. Even an office is mentioned. They were tenants in the Freshford Lots on Bohercrusha Road in numbers 23, 24 and 25. This was just up the street from St. Lachtains Church where Aunt Bess worked. I looked up the addresses on Google Earth and there is now a factory where their houses once were. In one of the letters to his Aunt Bess, James Kaine says to say hello to all the Bohercrusha friends. I now know that he meant friends on the street where he grew up. One mystery explained!
There were other Keanes (Kaines) listed on Johnstown Road so if you are really curious you can follow this link: http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/
Here is some of the original information from the Griffith’s Valuation.
As mentioned in previous posts, the Kaine family were Protestants and members of the Church of Ireland. I found the following information about the Church of Ireland and it gives some understanding of the history of the conflicts regarding British rule that exist in Ireland to this day.
“In 1534, Henry VIII, the King of England, separated from the Roman Catholic Church to establish the Church of England, because the pope would not grant an annulment of his first marriage. The Act of Supremacy established this new Anglican church in Ireland calling it the Church of Ireland. This was part of a broader plan to anglicize Ireland, to make it more alike and obedient to England. Most Irish spoke Gaelic, not English, and did not consider themselves British subjects. In 1541, King Henry VIII declared himself King of Ireland, and passed laws that outlawed Catholicism, ordered Bibles and church services be made in English, and granted Irish lands and buildings to the Church.”https://study.com/academy/lesson/church-of-ireland-history-lesson-quiz.html
As members of the Church of Ireland, my ancestors were clearly aligned with the British and their interests in Ireland and enjoyed certain privileges because of that.
The Kaine support of the British is illustrated in an incident that John Kaine (b. 1829), my great great grandfather was involved in. In the boxes of Kaine family documents, I found that an unknown person had composed brief narratives of the military history of the Kaine men and the following excerpt was about John.
Author Unknown: Military story John Kaine (1829) transcribed by Kerrin Churchill
Major John Kaine
First soldiering was done in Ireland in connection with the Smith-O’Brien rebellion. He was a boy of seventeen and acted as a spy for the Royal Irish Constabulary. He would wander out on the moors and locate the meeting places of the rebels. One night he was chased by a bloodhound, He ran for his life but the hound gained on him. It was followed by a number of rebels. In desperation he turned and fired his old pistol and was lucky to hit the dog. The firing drew the attention of the Constables and they ran out and rescued him. They were outnumbered and retreated into Lord Beresfords Castle where the rebels besieged them for a fortnight.
He emigrated to Canada and helped to organize No. 8 Co. Battalion to repel the Fenians who were threatening Goderich. He was under arms again during Riel’s second rebellion.
He received the Long Service Medal.
What an interesting tale! I have a fear of dogs having been bitten badly by one so John’s terror certainly resonates with me. It was clear that the Kaines did not support the rebels as John was a spy for the Irish Constabulary. I can envision 17 year old John running about the green country side looking for rebels. I searched for information on Lord Beresfords Castle but could find nothing relevant so have concluded that the “castle” was the Widow McCormack’s House as described below. The siege most likely lasted for a few hours not two weeks as described. Ballingarry where the battle took place is about 16 miles from Freshford.
Here is some information about the Smith-O’Brien Rebellion:
“Historically, Ballingarry found fame in the mid-19th century when a rebellion broke out there on 29 July 1848 against British rule. The site of this uprising, the McCormack House, known also as the Warhouse (officially Famine Warhouse 1848) has since been designated as a national memorial and historical building by the State. It was here during the ill-fated rebellion that the national tricolour of green, white and orange was unfurled for the first time by the rebels, led by William Smith O’Brien, thus emulating the French rebels who also took to the streets with their tricolour for the first time earlier that year. Sub-Inspector Trant and 46 other local policemen took refuge from the rebels in a large two-story farmhouse, taking the five young children in the house as hostages. They barricaded themselves in, pointing their guns from the windows. The house was surrounded by the rebels and a stand-off ensued. Mrs. Margaret McCormack, the owner of the house and mother of the children, demanded to be let into her house, but the police refused and would not release the children. Mrs. McCormack found O’Brien reconnoitring the house from the out-buildings, and asked him what was to become of her children and her house.
“O’Brien and Mrs. McCormack went up to the parlour window of the house to speak to the police. Through the window, O’Brien stated, “We are all Irishmen—give up your guns and you are free to go.” O’Brien shook hands with some of the police through the window. The initial report to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland stated that a constable fired the first shot at O’Brien, who was attempting to negotiate. General firing then ensued between the police and the rebels. O’Brien had to be dragged out of the line of fire by James Stephens and Terence Bellew MacManus, both of whom were wounded. “
Luckily young John Kaine survived to go on to make a life in Canada otherwise I would not be here to tell this tale! My next post will take us out of Ireland and back to the letters written from Canada.