John Ryan (1788 - 1868)

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Birthplace: Shronell, Tipperary, Ireland, ballycohey, tipperary, Ireland
Death: Died
Managed by: Jacqueline Mary Ryan
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Ryan

John (senior) remained at Ballycohey and in a letter dated November 12, 1866 to his son Thomas tells how his youngest son John had eloped with Ellen Heffernan to America where he subsequently died. Another son, William, had been killed at the races leaving him (John senior) as an invalid in the care of William’s widow, Mary Diggin.

In 1868, in Tipperary, tenants attacked and greviously wounded landlord Scully (son of Denys Scully and Chatherine Eyre Scully), for being such a vicious landlord. 100 years later, in a cemetery near Ballycohey, a monument was raised to memoralize "The Fight Against Landordism." (Keep an eye out for descendants of: Michael O'Dwyer; Michael Hanley; Patrick Quinn; William Quinn; John Heffernan; Timothy Heffernan; John Ryan; Denis Hayes; Laurence Hayes; John Greene; John Hanrahan; Kenneth Twomey; Patrick Greene; Michael Foley."

Freeman's Journal, 14 August 1868. THE FATAL AFFRAY IN TIPPERARY. Tipperary, Saturday night. The tradegy which took place yesterday at Ballycohey, within 2 1/2 miles of this town, on the property of Mr Scully of Ballinaclough, has created intense excitement throughout the whole district. It is deeply deplored by all classes, by landlords and tenants alike, and mingled with the sincere feeling of sorrow at its occurrence is one of resentment, shared in by a large section of the community that any high-handed assertion of the "rights of property", under the aurhority of law, should have led to, if not provoked, the calamity. The general sorrow consequent upon the death of two innocent men, serves to embitter the popular feeling, which undoubtedly runs high against Mr Scully, who is openly charged with the responsibility. This feeling springs from a belief in the statements current in the district of the facts and circumstances connected with the whole transaction. I give these statements or public reports without, of course, being able to vouch for their accuracy, as I have no personal knowledge on the subject. It is said that Mr Scully is the same gentleman who, not long since underwent an imprisonment in Kilkenny jail, to which he was sentenced for a violent assault upon a woman whom he sought to eject from some holding under him. While in jail for this offence he purchased from Mr Grey, of Ballykisteen, the late agent of the Earl of Derby in Ireland, this estate of Ballycohey which has now become so remarkable as the scene of this melancholy tragedy. The property comprises about 300 acres, which are held amongst 21 tenants. They were, according to public report, industrious people and paid their rents regularly. After being about 18 months in the ownership of the property, Mr Scully desired to create a new description of landlord and tenant relation between him and those people, whose means of living depended upon his will, for they had no more title either by law or custom to their farms than the obligation upon him to give a six months notice to quit. He called upon them by notice to sign printed forms of lease or agreement containg provisions of an extraordinary character. The statement that any landlord should seek to impose such terms is almost incredible, but in order that the public may understand the whole history of this deplorable transaction it is necessary to give what is alleged. By these documents were to be tenants from year to year, to pay their rents quarterly, viz. March, June, September and December in each year ; or to surrender their holdings at the expiration of any quarter, on receiving a 21 days notice before the determination of the quarter to do so, and to have no claim to any crops in the ground at the time. They were also to pay all poor rate and county cess. Early in June last he noticed the tenants that he would attend in Dobbyn's Hotel in Tipperary on the 1st of July to receive the May rents. It is further reported he attended on that day in the same room in which Mr Braddell was shot by Hayes, that he was guarded by two armed policemen, and that jhe himself received the rents, having a five-chambered revolver on the table before him. Only four tenants came in person to pay the rents. The others attended by deputy to pay. Mr Scully asked the four to sign the documents before mentioned. They refused and it is said were willing to pay an increased rent rather than do so. Mr Scully preferred increased power to increased rent, and the men, having refused to act upon the favourite theory of some pretended political economists, who say there should be no special legislation, but that everything between landlord and tenant should be left to contract _ they were served with notice to quit. The evicting powers of the law were brought to bear upon them for not entering into an inequitable if not an illegal contract. The other tenants also refused to place themselves and their families at the mercy of a twenty-one days notice four times a year, naturally thinking the existing powers of eviction as to yearly tenants expeditious and facile enough. On Tuesday last, Mr Scully went upon the lands to serve these tenants with the notice. He had for several months past apprehended danger to himself, and was constantly guarded by two armed policemen. These men and two additional policemen and a driver accompanied him to the lands. The people assembled, and as he passed along from house to house, hooted and hissed him. In order to avoid service of the dreaded notices, regarded as death warrants by the tenants, their wives and children, they fastened up their houses and abandoned them. After some time spent in this notice-serving, and only three or four more tenants having been caught, Mr Scully and his escort seem to have become alarmed at the menacing language and aspect of the execrating crowd. He beat a retreat to Tipperary town, and, being assailed there by a body of the townspeople, was obliged to take shelter in the hotel. From this he 3was escorted to the train by a strong body of police sent specially to save him from violence. Notwithstanding all that had occurred, Mr Scully resolved to renew in person the attempt to serve the remaining tenants on Friday. He invoked the protection and aid of the authorities to enable him to assert his legal rights _ to enable him to carry out that favourite maxim of landlord advocates _ to do as he liked with his own. In obedience to his requisition he was met at Tipperary station by Constable Cleary and three sub-constables. The whole party were nine in number consisting of six policemen (including Mr Scully's two special men), Mr Scully himself, his land steward, Gorman, his driver, Maher, all armed, proceeded to the townland of Ballycohey to complete the noticeserving which was to prepare the legal way for making a clear sweep of the townland. When they arrived the people began to assemble, and, as on Tuesday, to hoot and threaten. The first house visited by Mr Scully was that of John Quinn. The only occupants were two young children. Next Richard Quinn's house which was deserted. John Hayes's house, also deserted. The party then went to the house of a man named Ryan, wherre some time was spent. On leaving Ryan's the crowd had become so large and so hostile in appearance and language _ many of the people crying out it was better to die at once than be turned out to starve _ that Constable Cleary advised Mr Scully to retire, telling him at the same time he feared he could not much longer insure his safety. Mr Scully assented, and said they would make for the junction. The party apparently faced about in that direction, but in crossing fields near the house of a man named Dwyer, Mr Scully went down the boreen in to the yard of the house, as if to serve a notice. Before leaving, Constable Cleary drew four of his men across the boreen to keep back the crowd. Mr Scully advanced to the hall-door accompanied by Gorman, Maher and Sub-constable Morrow. Just as Mr scully raised the door latch and was about entering, Constable Cleary heard two shots, and on looking round saw smoke issuing from a kind of improvised porthole in a barn that commanded the door at right angles. Gorman fell and Mr scully ran back across the yard bleeding from the head. He took shelter behind the stone pier of a gate and, from this position, fired into the hall. Meanwhile, Constable fired into the porthole from which the smoke had issued. Mr Scully then cried out, "Who will enter the house with me ?" and Cleary answered "I will". Cleary called on his men to follow, and the party rushed resolutely into the house. On entering the kitchen, Mr Scully pointed to the loft which overlooked the kitchen and the doorway in front and said "They are up there". Constable Cleary and a sub-constable sprang upon a table, and as Cleary was climbing into the loft he heard Sub-constable cty out "I am shot", and on looking round saw him fall. In the front of the loft was formed a kind of protection hastily thrown up, and the principal article of which was a feather bed. No person could be found in the loft, but on searching a hole was discovered in a corner under the thatch, large enough to allow a man to get through. There was no doubt that by this hole the firing party of the loft had escaped. They left behind some roughly made up cartridges. It should be stated that when the police rushed into the house they found Gorman lying in the hallway with his hand out across the threshold. The party, having searched the house, came out and went to the barn, the front door of which was forced open by Mr Scully and Constable Cleary. No person was found in the barn, but it was evident that those who had been firing out of it with such deadly effect had got away by a small back door. In this barn were found a blunderbus which had burst from an overcharge, a five-chambered revolver, two of the chambers of which had been discharged and an ordinary pistol. Upon leaving the barn, the dead body of Sub-constable Morrow was found lying in a corner of the yard. Therre is a good deal of uncertainty as to how the poor fellow met his death. Gorman died at six o'clock the same evening. He had five wounds, the worst being in the top of the shoulder. Colleton is wounded and is under treatment. Sub-constable got a bullet through part of his coat and constable himself was scratched or grazed by a bullet. Mr Scully's escape from instant death was surprising and to account for it, many of the people assert he wore a coat of mail, as he was made a regular target of both from barn and loft. Finding he could not be wounded about the body, the shots were directed higher, and he has five wounds on his head and neck. One bullet passed through the fleshy part of the front of the throat, there are two bullets in the neck and his temple was grazed. He is very ill, but it is believed he is not mortally wounded. The crowd had scattered during the firing. Mr Scully called a council of war, and required Constable Cleary to escort him to the junction. Constable Cleary refused to leave the body of Morrow and Gorman, who was still breathing. Mr Scully after some time made his way to Ballykisteen, guarded by his special guard and by Maher. The alarm was given in Tipperary and a large force of police arrived at Ballycohey. The country round was searched and eight arrests were made. These prisoners were brought before the magistrates yesterday evening, who discharged five of them and remanded three. Sub-constable Cahill was struck in the region of the heart and had a narrow escape of losing his life. The details of the affray are clearly given in the evidence of Constable Cleary at the inquest, a report of which I subjoin. Once more the land laws of Ireland are written in blood. A desparate tenantry, for whom there was no legal protection, had unhappily yielded to the terrible impulses of infuriate men vainly seeking to save themselves from a Draconian code which ignored the rights of labour, the claims of industry and made peaceful industrious men frantic outlaws and deadly opponents of authority. The tenants of Down and Antrim will read this sad tale, stranger than fiction, with amazement and console themselves with the reflection that their tenant right gives them security. Good landlords will be appalled to think such a case could arise. It may be said the case is exceptional ; but while one such exceptional case can occur, even in a generation, it is the duty of all goode men to provide a remedy by exceptional legislation which cannot affect just and humane landlords. The law must be maintained, crime must be punished, but the law should be founded upon justice.

THE REPORT OF THE INQUEST ATTACHED DOES NOT ADD VERY MUCH TO THE ABOVE ACCOUNT, EXCEPT FOR THE INFORMATION THAT SCULLY WAS ARMED WITH A REVOLVER AND A DOUBLE-BARRELLED BREECH LOADER. THE NAMES OF THOSE ARRESTED WERE THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE NAMED PATRICK DWYER, HIS COUSIN JOHN DWYER, JOHN AND JAMES GREEN, TENANTS, JOHN AND TIMOTHY HEFFERNAN, ALSO TENANTS AND THOMAS HOGAN AND PETER BERMINGHAM, SERVANT BOYS. NO ONE WAS EVER CHARGED WITH THE SHOOTING, DWYER HAD GONE TO TIPPERARY FOR THE DAY AND MADE SURE MANY PEOPLE HAD SEEN HIM THERE. SHORTLY AFTERWARDS SCULLY SOLD BALLYCOHEY TO CHARLES MOORE FOR THE SAME PRICE HE HAD PAID FOR THE LAND.

The battle of Ballycohy [song sheet] written in 1868 Author unknown

THE BATTLE OF BALLYCOHY

Did you hear of Billy Scully Savs the Shan Van Voch, Wud the boys of Ballycohy say etc That day ?e show'd them fun we made the tyrant run With their dubbled barrell,d gun says d

Oh S?ully you'er a rouge says c Turning t?nnants from their home says c They had always paid their rent but the tyrant not content To notice them he went says c

It is the tyrant Scully says He had steel upon says c He got plenty o the lead he got wounded in the head What a pitty he's not dead says c.

Before he went away says c We gave him bread and ter says c The gentry did agre that from the monster feed He on the ground did bleed says c

Before the tennants fled etc We left two of them dead says etc We kill'd Gormon on the floor and the Peelers at the door We thought we had kil'd more

To the Peeelers Schully said says etc What good can you do the dead says etc Come protect me from my foes But we prime'd and would not go says etc

I hear you'r very ill says etc Since you got the leaden pill says etc Your dose of phisick it was great most dismal was your fate May it never operate says etc

Remember brave Tipperary says etc Where the boys are brisk and any Blieve me its no lark in dayligh or in dark They never lost their mark says etc

You now are in the l?rch says etc Since you turn'd from the Chu eh says etc You for?uok the holy creed it was a sinful deed And disgrace'd your ancient breed says etc

Here's success to brave Moor says He's a true freind to the poor says He's an honest man wel support him like brave Dan And we'l place him in the van says etc

Let the landlords be awrre says etc And of their knoledge box take care says etc Let them be just and true they'l have no cause to me That the right path to persue says etc

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John Ryan's Timeline

1788
1788
ballycohey, tipperary, Ireland
1824
December 24, 1824
Age 36
Tipperary, Munster, Ireland
1831
1831
Age 43
1834
1834
Age 46
Shronell, Tipperary, Ireland
1837
1837
Age 49
1868
1868
Age 80
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