Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Prendergast - Fitzhenry letters (1)

The letters that John Joyce shared with me were between the family of Edward and Kate Prendergast in Graiguenamanagh (Graigue) and two of the Fitzhenry men who had gone to seek their fortune in South Africa.

The first of the letters was from "Mr John O'Gorman of Killan, Enniscorthy" to "Mr E M Fitzhenry" in South Africa in April 1881.

Edward Fitzhenry was the grandson of James Fitzhenry and Margaret Gorman and the brother of Father James Fitzhenry, who erected the memorial at St Mullins graveyard to his grandparents and the members of his father's generation.
Erected by the Rev. James Fitzhenry (Missionary South Africa) in memory of
James Fitzhenry died in 1847 aged 73 yrs.
Margaret Fitzhenry Nee Gorman died in 1840 aged 65 yrs.
Edward Fitzhenry died 1847 aged 40 yrs.
Patrick Fitzhenry died 1888 aged 84 yrs
Martin Fitzhenry died 1848 aged 46 yrs
Nancy Ryan died 1895 aged 71 yrs
John Ryan died 1879 aged 73 yrs
Judy Ryan died 1852 aged 74 yrs
Edward Ryan died 1891 aged 92 yrs

Edward does not appear on the newest memorial which commemorates the Rev. James Fitzhenry and his other siblings so it is likely he must have died elsewhere.

The text of the letter is about the land reforms in Ireland at the time, and John exhorts Edward not to believe what he reads in the English newspapers
"You would imagine the Irish farmers were robbers and were striving to do the landlord out of his property."
There are hundreds of ejectments (evictions) being served and fighting between the farmers and the police.
"The Whelans are in still and were never tried for the shooting of young Boyd"
I wonder if this the Whelan family of the other St Mullins memorial, in which Ann Fitzhenry married John Whelan.
"We were glad the Boers gave the English fighting enough out there."
John signs off with his regards to Edward and Father James.
What was the family relationship between John O'Gorman and Edward Fitzhenry? As yet I don't know, so if anyone recognises this family, please let me know.

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