Kerry petitioners against eviction 1828

Small Sources 8:   The list below  are the signatories to a letter of 1828 petitioning Daniel O’Connell (local lawyer and politician, and leader of the Catholic Emancipation movement – see here) to represent the tenants of Sliebheena (near Castleisland, Co. Kerry) in a legal action to resist their eviction from their homes.  An extract reads “the glaringness of the wrong offered us is obvious to anybody. They first squeezed what they could out of us by wheedling and Lamh Laidir ( in Gaelic this means literally ‘strong hand’ – meaning strong-arm tactics) and now they proceed to heave us out …. And they will do so unless that chivalrous generosity for which you are so eminently distinguished will make you advocate our cause..”.

The letter is designed to appeal to his pity, as are the descriptions of the signatories – see below.    The names are listed as given and there are some clear misspellings (e.g. Dinnis) and the descriptions are also as given (e.g. ‘miserably poor widower’).

The original document is in National Library of Ireland Ms 16,635.    At this period,  landlords had complete power over tenants and could effectively evict without cause. Our article entitled ‘Eye-witnesses to our ancestry‘ provides some first-hand accounts by 18th and 19th century visitors to Ireland of their impressions of landlord practices and attitudes.  A general description of estate management practices is also in our article on Rentals

Note also that Flyleaf Press, the publishing arm of Ancestor Network,  publish  ‘Finding your Ancestors in Kerry‘  by local genealogist Kay Caball.  It details the sources available for tracing Kerry ancestors and how they can be used most effectively in your search.

The images of the document above and below were created by Ancestor Network in the National Library of Ireland and are reproduced here through their courtesy. If you need help in following up on anything related to this source, or any other Irish research, you can outline your requirements here and we will let you know what we might be able to do for you. Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, or on other tenants of this estate. We can also obtain images of the original documents.  Click here and quote ‘Kerry Petioners offer’ in the subject line.    

Name and description given in the document.   (author comments in brackets)

Hanna McCarthy – Widow
Richard McCarthy – Orphan
Cherry McCarthy – “
Justin McCarthy – “
Charles McCarthy – “
Purdon McCarthy – “
Dinnis Flynn – Miserably poor widower
Mary Flynn – Helpless orphans
Catherine Flynn – “
Michael Flynn – “
Nelly Flynn – “
Gubblay (?)Flynn – “        (possibly Gobnet – a local name)
Margaret O’Brien – Widow and mother of young orphans
Peggy ..annon (?) – “
Mary Moriarty – “
Francis Lawson – Widowed father of 8 orphans
John O’Connor – Father of a numerous young family
John Lawson – Old father of six and seven children each
Stephen Lawson – “
Florence McCarthy sen. – “
Michael O’Daly – Needy labourers with families
Timothy O’Connor – “
Michael Brosnan – “
Christopher Harold – “

Fig 1. The signatories to a Petition to Daniel O’Connell from tenants of Sliabheena. 1828. Kerry. NLI Ms 16,635.11

Further articles in our series on Irish Family History sources include:

Kerry Sources