Close by the Marmion home were several prominent Protestant families. The Rev. Gustavus Warner lived in Dunaman House near to Ballyardle. The Warings who lived at Bellhill prior to the Marmions were also close friends as were the Thompsons, Moores and Atkinsons. James Marmion’s six daughters would have been frequent and welcome guests in these homes. Gustavus Warner came from County Monaghan and it might not be stretching the imagination to think that Jane met her Monaghan husband at Dunaman House.

In 1831 and ’32 James raised two mortgages, one for £250 and the other for £225 on the same portion of the Ballyardle farm. Each was for a twelve month period; as soon as he paid off the first he raised another. Both were with William Newell of Drummond.
John, the youngest son of James and Jane, died on 30th September 1834. He may have been in poor health for some time. He does not appear as a witness at marriages or a sponsor at christenings.
Alexander suffered a setback in 1835, Ballymagart mill burned down. He argued that the burning was malicious and claimed £1,200 in compensation but there is no evidence to say he received it.
Meanwhile Elizabeth, popularly known as Bessy, and the youngest daughter had met and was planning to marry Charles Murphy, a broker, of Mill Street, Newry. Her father assigned to Joseph Murphy of Newry and Charles Lewis of Kilkeel, as trustees, her marriage portion of ten plantation acres in the Ballyardle farm. The land comprised the Kiln Fields and part of Kearnsy Hill. These placenames are not known to-day. James was to continue receiving the rents until his death when they were to be paid to Bessy’s husband Charles.
Father Curoe conducted the marriage service on 10 April 1835. Two children, James and Michael, were born to the young couple and shortly after the birth of the second Charles died, aged 36 years, on 21 October 1837. They had enjoyed just over two years of married life.

In November 1840 Bessy was to remarry. With her new husband, John Walter Dowdall of Newry, she was to have five or possibly six children over the next ten years; Jane born 1843, Mary in ‘45, Ann in ’47, followed by two sons, Patrick in ’49 and Thomas, the youngest. All were baptised in Newry except possibly Thomas whose baptism could not be found. The family moved to Bellhill around 1849. Thomas may have been baptised in Massforth but no record was found there either.

The Newry baptismal register contains an entry as follows,
‘John of John Dowdall and Mary Marmion born 22 January 1842. Sps., Pat McParlan and Rose Glover’. This may well be a child of John and Bessy –  with ‘Mary’ having been incorrectly entered. Was Rose Glover a daughter of Bessy Marmion’s sister Margaret who married John Glover in 1819?
James Marmion had died in 1843. Probate was granted to Jane Marmion, Margaret Glover and Rose Marmion. His property amounted to £195.10.00. He must have disposed of some of his wealth prior to his death, possibly to family members as the amount specified is surprisingly small. Bessy, on her father’s death came into possession of about sixteen statute acres. John Dowdall bought the remainder of the farm from his mother in law.

This was the second legacy received within two years by Margaret Glover. Her great uncle Richard’s property and will was finally probated in 1845. His effects were valued at £214. A precise date cannot be found for his death. He conveyed his Drumcrow farm to Christopher in 1803. His other nephew James was in possession of his second property, the Bellhill Demesne farm, in 1825. This was the Richard who together with Pat leased the mill in 1765. He must have been dead for quite some time before probate was granted. A family dispute may have prolonged the business.
The Search for Catherine Marmion otherwise Shaw otherwise Murphy.
A search through various south Down parish registers for leads as to Arthur Marmion produced baptismal entries in the parish of Clonallon where he was named as the father of two children, James Roger Marmion born 1830 and Henry Murphy Marmion born 1831. The mother was given as Catherine Shaw, alias Murphy, and a Latin phrase indicated that the children were illegitimate and the parents living in adultery.

Since it was known in America by Marmion descendants that Catherine had arrived there in 1835 accompanied by five children and that she was married to Arthur Marmion who may have travelled out ahead of her, some explanation of their circumstances and background was called for.

As the entries appeared to indicate a marriage between a Catherine Murphy and someone of the name of Shaw it was felt that a search for this marriage might provide further clues as to the identities of both. Since Shaw is most commonly a Protestant name in Ireland the obvious place to begin was with a detailed search of all available Newry, Kilkeel and south Down, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian Church records.

A complete search of all such church records was not possible since some had been lost in the destruction of the Record Office in Dublin during the civil war in 1922. Having searched those available, together with those belonging to Catholic parishes, nothing was found and the search appeared hopeless.

However, suspecting that she had been living somewhere in the Clonallon parish in the early 1830s, it was felt that a search of Land Registry Records pertaining to the Barony of Iveagh Upper, which contains this parish, might just provide a clue as to her identity.

The townland indexes to these records are arranged in alphabetical order and starting with the letter‘A’, opposite the townland name ‘Aughnagon’ appeared a very cramped, closely written entry which appeared to read ‘Marmion to Newell’. Checking the reference which accompanied the entry produced a memorial of a deed of conveyance registered on the 2nd April 1835 between,

1 Catherine Marmion otherwise Shaw otherwise Murphy of Newry Co. Down formerly the wife of William Shaw of Sydney New South Wales and
2 William Newell of Drummond, Co. Down, Gent.

This provided information which had long been sought and frequently despaired of and the fact that it was contained in a legal transaction gave it some validity and authority. We now knew that Catherine was living in Newry, that she had been married to a William Shaw living in New South Wales. Designated as ‘formerly the wife of’, seemed to imply that the marriage was no longer recognised, and that somehow she had managed to free herself of her former husband who appears to be still alive. If he had been deceased she would have been referred to as ‘widow of’.

The most important piece of information however was contained in the name ‘Catherine Marmion’. She was now recognised as the wife of Arthur Marmion!
Bear in mind that this was a legal document sworn before witnesses, both legal and civilian, some of whom undoubtedly knew Catherine, her circumstances and background and probably knew her former husband. More importantly William Newell of Drummond, which is just across the Whitewater River from Ballymagart, was well acquainted with the Marmion family with whom he frequently did business.  If his title had not been correctly drawn it is unlikely he would have signed the deed.

Somehow in the four year period since the baptism of her last child in Clonallon  Catholic Church Catherine had managed to have her marriage dissolved, annulled or ended in a manner deemed to be legal and had married the father of her children, Arthur Marmion.

How did she do it, where did she remarry? We may never know. If her previous husband Shaw was a Protestant, she most probably married in a Church of Ireland. It was illegal, in those years, for a priest to conduct a marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant in a Catholic Church but some risked the wrath of the courts and did so. If she had married a Protestant in a Catholic Church such a marriage could be set aside and dissolved by the civil authorities and she might be free to marry again.

If on the other hand she had married in the Church of Ireland, while this marriage was legal in civil law, in canon law which governed the Catholic Church it would be deemed to be invalid. She might be free to remarry. I should stress that marriage law is a legal minefield and it would be foolhardy to jump to conclusions.

According to the deed Catherine sold to Newell a small farm of 5 acres approximately, then in the occupation of an Edward McGovern. It was later discovered that the name entered should have been that of Edward McGivern, a common family name in that area. However that was a minor detail, the important thing was the finding of the elusive Catherine!

The document went on to state that the farm belonged to Catherine and she had full power to sell the same. The amount was not stated but it could not have been very large. Knowing that Catherine with her five children had sailed to New York later that year she was obviously disposing of her assets before leaving.

Searching further through the Registry of Deeds produced a memorial of a Tripartite Indenture (739 412 503748) headed ‘Murphy and others to Murphy’ registered 20th April 1819.
This went on to outline a trust made between
1 Laurence Murphy the Elder of Newry, merchant and
2 Laurence Murphy the Younger of Newry, merchant, 2nd son of  the Elder and
3 Piers Murphy of Lowertown in the Co. of Louth Esq.,
whereby the elder Murphy did grant unto Piers Murphy, his heirs etc. forever, one ‘annuity yearly rent charge’ of £100 issuing from and chargeable on one moiety (half) of the townland of Aughnagon then in the possession of the elder Murphy and containing by estimation 150a 0r 7p Plantation measure (approx 225 statute acres) for the several trusts mentioned in the deed but not specified in the memorial, which is a copy, but not a complete copy of the deed registered.

Among others the deed was witnessed by William Shaw of Newry Gent!!
(Note: for further information on the Piers Murphy mentioned above see the autobiography of the Irish writer William Carleton, an edition of which was published by White Row Press in 1996. Carleton had worked for a short period as a tutor to the Murphy children. A daughter of Piers also called Catherine married a Nicholas Marmion in 1836.)

A marriage settlement (740 154 504089) registered on the 4th May 1819 threw additional light on the previous document.

The settlement was agreed between,

1 Laurence Murphy the Younger of Newry, Co. Down, merchant and
2 Jeffrey Connell of North Anne Street, Dublin, merchant and Eliza Christiana Connell of the same, spinster and daughter of Jeffrey and
3 Nicholas Connell of North Anne Street,

whereby after reciting a deed 10th Apr. 1819 in which the elder Murphy transferred to the younger the father’s home on the west side of the Turnpike Road leading from Newry to Banbridge the deed went on to outline the trust above (739 412 503748) which had been set up in anticipation of the proposed marriage between the younger Murphy and Christiana. It went on to say that the bride’s father had paid to her husband a marriage portion of £500 and in return if her husband predeceased her she was to receive £70 each year for the remainder of her life out of the annuity of £100 chargeable on the lands of Aughnagon.

The above threw some additional light on the Murphy family but nothing compared to the next. This was a ‘deed of appointment’ (818 509 551244) registered 29th Oct. 1826 and made between,

1 Bridget Murphy of Ballybought Co. Armagh, widow of Laurence Murphy late of that part of Newry which lies in the co. of Down, deceased and,
2 Catherine Shaw now the wife of William Shaw of Sydney Cove in New Holland and Anne Jane Murphy of Ballybot  Spinster – the daughters of Bridget and the late Laurence and,
3 Christopher Ross of Newry, Co. Down, Shoemaker and Francis McCann of Newry, Grocer.

The memorial went on to state that Laurence had died possessed of an undivided half of the townland of Aughnagon which he had bequeathed to his wife for the remainder of her life and after to his two daughters in such proportions as Bridget was to decide upon. She was now declaring that the farm of Edward McGivern’s should be Catherine’s but and here’s the rub ‘without the intervention of her then or any subsequent husband’! Ross and McCann were to act as trustees.

If only all wives had such far seeing and wise mothers!!

Bridget is obviously aware that her daughter’s marriage is in trouble. She also knows or suspects that Catherine has her eye on another man or he has his eye on her but where is he? Is he in Ireland or New South Wales? This goes a long way to explain why we couldn’t find Arthur Marmion after he gave up his pub in Kilkeel.

The Murphys are listed in Bradshaw’s 1820 Directory as living in Newry, the elder described as a Gent. living in Market Street and the younger, a Tanner, on the Downshire Road. The elder died in 1820 and Laurence Junior became bankrupt in 1825 (801 541 541076). To add to his troubles he was fined and named in the Newry Commercial Telegraph in March 1828 for allowing his pig to wander in the street.

He died about 1835, his will being probated in 1836. Bernard Coleman a tallow chandler and soap boiler of Boat Street and later Castle Street, husband of Laurence’s sister Anne Jane, acted as executor. Anne Jane died aged 44 yrs., in 1827 and her daughter Mary Jane in 1840. Bernard died in 1853 aged 78 yrs.

A Henry Murphy described as a journeyman chandler lived at the Kiln Yard, Catherine named one of her children Henry Murphy. Was this a favourite brother? 

But what of William Shaw, who was he and what became of him? The 1820 Newry directory lists a William Shaw, agent at the mail coach house with his home in William Street. Is he our man? The Belfast Newsletter carried in its edition of 2nd July 1850 the following death notice,
‘Sept. 9th at his residence, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Mr. William Shaw formerly of Lisburn aged 60 years’.

The Sydney Morning Herald, November 10, 1849 contained the following,
‘Died. At his residence No. 26, Elizabeth Street South, Mr. William Shaw, aged 60, a native of Lister, in the county of Antrim, Ireland’. Lister is obviously a mistake for Lisburn.

Below in the same column,
‘Funeral. The friends of the late Mr. William Shaw are respectfully requested to attend his Funeral, which will take place this day, at Three o’clock p.m. The procession will move from his late residence, No. 26 Elizabeth- street-South.
  No circulars will be issued,
   Henry Thomas
     Undertaker, Clarence Street.’

Was this the former husband of Catherine? A further clue lies in Bradshaw’s 1819 Directory for Lisburn. Thomas Shaw is given as the agent to the mail coach office in Bridge Street.

A Thomas in Lisburn and a William in Newry both working for the stagecoach – these men were most probably related. Was the William Shaw who was carried from his home for burial, that afternoon all those years ago in Sydney, the former husband of Catherine Murphy! This is certainly a line of inquiry worth following.

Did he remarry, had he a family, more importantly if he was Catherine’s husband did they have any children? If they were husband and wife they were together long enough for this to have happened - and if they had, did she take them home or leave them with the father?
Their sons went on to fight in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy as did their cousin Christopher Marmion Macdonnell. James Roger commanded Marmion’s Artillery and was later to fight in the Confederate navy. Magenis cousins, descendants of Arthur Marmion’s uncle John Magenis of Ballella, also fought for the South and the indominitable Catherine, not to be outdone by her sons, nursed in the Confederate field hospitals.

Like all civil wars this was a cruel and brutal affair. The Irish patriot John
Mitchel who came from Newry lost two sons fighting for the Confederacy;
one at Fort Sumter and the other at Gettysburg, As a
Newry man Mitchell no doubt would have been known to the Macdonnell family.

These were not the only south Down men to fight in this terrible war.
The last commander of the famous Irish Brigade of the Union Army
was Colonel Robert Nugent who was born in Kilkeel. He was later
awarded the position of Brevet Brigadier General. His death in
Brooklyn, U.S.A., in 1901, aged 77 years, is recorded on his
parents’ tomb stone in the Mourne Presbyterian Graveyard at Kilkeel.
       General Nugent
General Nugent seated, middle, with brigade staff
Alexander Macdonell and Ballymagart mill.
Following the collapse of market prices with the defeat of Napoleon the Irish economy entered a lean period. Agriculture and industry struggled to make a profit. The development of large spinning mills killed off the once prosperous business of cottage hand loom weaving. The 1836 report of the inquiry into the plight of hand loom weavers contains a section dealing with Kilkeel; it makes grime reading.

While the 1820s and 30s were a particularly difficult time the 1840s were to usher in famine, disease, emigration and death on a large scale. The potato blight struck in 1845 but ’46, ’47 and ’48 were by far the worst years affected.  Eighteen forty nine, in certain districts, was not much better. The east coast of Ireland escaped the worst ravages but everywhere the knock on effect was felt. The famine was accompanied by disease, typhus and relapsing fever transmitted by lice, and dysentery caused by poor diet and the handling of food by those infected.

Between 1841 and ’51 Co. Down suffered an 11% drop in population although in the townlands of Ballymagart and Ballyardle the rate was much higher. Ballymagart population dropped from 98 to 69 and Ballyardle from 219 to 143. This was largely attributed to emigration.

Workhouses had been introduced in 1838 and one was built in the town of Kilkeel. The first destitute were admitted in September 1841. A new tax was introduced to finance these institutions. The ‘Poor Rate’ was not a fixed sum but varied from one electoral division to another dependant on the number of poor each division contained. It was decided upon and levied by the Board of Guardians of the local Poor Law Union. This rate was greatly resented and any increase bitterly resisted.

In May 1840 Alexander mortgaged the lower half of Ballymagart and the mill premises to John Bennie, metal founder of Newry, for the sum of £500. In 1846, when the economy was struggling, he managed to rebuilt the large mill, and in ’49 he again mortgaged the Ballymagart property; this time to Dr. Patrick Connor of Newry for £200.

Alexander, however, was in financial difficulties. In December 1850, in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Ireland, William Hampton merchant of Edinburgh who was described in court as ‘one of  the people or sect called Separatists’ sued him for the sum of £337.2.5 plus £10.4.0 costs.. Alexander was described as a ‘Commission Agent and General Merchant’. Hampton was awarded £346.6.5.

So many people of property were in debt following the famine that government passed the Encumbered Estates Act. The Encumbered Estates Court was set up and the legal process was simplified to enable creditors to pursue claims. Hampton petitioned the court. The sum owed to him was secured on the Ballymagart property and this was sold to William Sinclair, merchant, of Newry, for £1000. This sum was paid into the account of the Commissioners for the sale of Encumbered Estates in Ireland. Hampton got what he was owed and the remainder was credited to Alexander.

This court disposed of other Mourne property including Dunaman House, the previous home and farm of the Reverend Gustavus Warner where the Marmion girls in better days were frequently entertained.

The forced sale of Ballymagart took its toll on Alexander. Within a year he was dead. His obituary in The Belfast Newsletter, 12.7.1854, read,

‘July 1st. at Ballymagart Mill House, Mr. Alexander Macdonnell, aged 54 years. He was for many years a respected merchant of Newry, and was descended from the Glengarry family, well known to fame in Scottish History’.

His wife Mary had predeceased him. No date has been found for her death.

Death of Christopher Marmion.
Christy Marmion as he was popularly known died in 1850. The Newry Examiner, May 11th of that year, carried his obituary;
‘Died, in his 85th year, Christopher Marmion, Esq., at his residence, Dunavan, Mourne, County Down. He was “out” in 1798, and after the storm had passed away, he was loved by all his friends for his truth, and respected by his enemies for his humanity on that occasion’.

He and Mary had by this date sold the Drumcrow farm and moved to a smaller house at Dunavan. His sister in law Jane, widow of his brother James, appears to have gone to live with them.

Deaths of Jane and Mary Marmion.
In 1856 the wives of James and Christopher Marmion died within a few months of one another. The former Jane and Charity (Mary) Magenis had both lived to a long age. Jane was in her 100th year and Mary was 94. The family of Magenis had a long and noble pedigree. Among the last of their line the sisters took to the grave with them a wealth of historical knowledge. They understood the genealogical history of the various branches of the family. Born in the middle of the eighteenth century they must frequently have listened to relatives reminisce and reflect on what was and what might have been. This once proud family paid a heavy price for its involvement in wars and rebellion.



Ballymagart Mill (about 1900).

























Allan and Mary Macdonell.
Allan Macdonell (this name is sometimes spelt with two ‘ns’ or two ‘ls’ or on occasions with one of either) obviously came to some arrangement with the purchased of his father’s property, Mr. William Sinclair of Newry, as he (Allan) is listed as living in Ballymagart
in 1856 and is described as a mechanical ngineer. Sinclair may even have been a riend of the family who bought the
property to hold until such times as the Macdonells could buy back the same.

This occurred in February 1867 when by deed of conveyance William Sinclair assigned his interest to Allan Macdonell. In July of the previous year Mr. Andrew Jennings of Newry the only surviving trustee of the marriage settlement of 29th April 1826, assigned the moiety of Ballymagart which he had been holding under this settlement to Allan and his sister Mary as joint tenants.

Alexander had died without making a will and had named no one to succeed him as the marriage settlement had entitled him to do. Jennings assigned his interest to the brother and sister, as tenants in common. It was believed that Christopher Marmion Macdonell, who had gone to America in 1847 was by then deceased leaving Allan and Mary as sole heirs.

The Ballymagart property was now back in Macdonell hands as old James and Christopher had originally intended it. C.M. Macdonell had by 1868 resurfaced and made contact with his brother and sister. He is named as one of the contracting parties in a trust drawn up in that year involving the Ballymagart property.

In June 1886 the property was sold to Richard (Dick) Nicholson for £1850. Allan and Mary signed the conveyance in Newry witnessed by Lizzie McLernon and Mr. Hunter Moore, solicitor on 2nd June 1886. On the 2nd July 1886, C. M. Macdonell signed in Loredo, Texas, witnessed by Thomas Ryan and Abraham R. Walker. The Ballymagart mill was to remain in Nicholson hands until the 1980s.

When he sold the Mourne property Allan appears to have been working at Damolly mill just outside Newry and he and Mary were living at Downshire Road in the town. Two years later their brother C. M. died in Loredo leaving considerable wealth behind him and Allan and Mary decided to sell up and move to Texas. Allan died in 1910 and Mary, aged 100 years in 1935.
  MFT                                                                                                                  www.marmionfamilytree.com