Thomas Ryan (c.1770 - 1841)

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Birthplace: Shronell, Ballycohey, Tipperary, Ireland
Death: Died in Emly, Munster, Ireland
Managed by: Leigh
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Ryan

The Ryans of Ballycohey, Tipperary

As you can see I already knew a great deal about Daniel and Mary Ryan and their descendants, but I have since learned that Daniel wasn’t the only member of his family to come to our shores.

Through the tireless research of Pat and Kevin Haley of Brisbane, I now know that not one but three Ryan brothers migrated to Australia to commence the very extensive collection of this family’s Australian Ryan descendants.

Daniel’s brothers, William and Michael, as well as two of his nephews, Thomas (Michael’s son), and Thomas (John’s son), and two nieces, Mary and Honora (John’s daughters) also left Tipperary for our shores.

So, who were the parents of Daniel, William and Michael?

Pat and Kevin Haley have traced the Ryan ancestry back into the 18th century to Thomas Ryan who married Mary Buckley in about 1787.

Home of Thomas and Mary Ryan on Ballycohey, Parish of Shronell, Co Tipperary.

Thomas and Mary Ryan (nee Buckley) of Ballycohey, Tipperary, Ireland

Their five children so far traced are John who married Catherine Hannon, Daniel who married Mary Connor, Michael who married Alice Quinn, William who married Bridget Hogan and Mary about whom nothing has yet been discovered.

   John Ryan was born in 1788. John married Catherine Hannon in about 1823 and they had at least seven children:
       William Ryan married Mary Diggin,
       Mary Ryan, (who migrated to Melbourne where she married William Lyons)
       Honora Ryan, (who also came to Melbourne after marrying Patrick Baragry)
       James Ryan,
       Thomas Ryan (who was the one who came to Australia, settling in Queensland),
       Kitty Ryan and
       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.

   Daniel Ryan was born in 1793. Daniel married Mary Connor. See his story from page 8 above.
   Michael Ryan was born about 1792-1793 in Tipperary

Michael married Alice Quinn in Tipperary in about 1820. The only child who is so far known is Thomas who was born in 1824 in Tipperary.

Thomas migrated to Australia and, his father Michael, after the death of his wife, Alice, also came to Australia in about 1854. Michael spent a year in Sydney before coming to Victoria where he was reunited with Thomas at Irishtown, Vic.

Thomas was also a widower and he remarried in Australia. His second wife was Margaret Looby (nee Power), a widow with six children.

Michael died in1874 and is buried at Campbells Creek near Castlemaine, Victoria.

In a letter to me in May 2008 Pat Haley wrote:

“Michael had a son Thomas, born about 1823 to 1826, who came to Australia.

On 2 Jul 1870 he married Margaret Power, a widow, who was the daughter of Patrick Power and Ellen O’Brien. She had married Michael Looby in 1853 in Victoria. He died in Nov 1866. They had six children, the eldest of whom was Mary who was born on 8 Aug 1854. It is this Mary Looby who married Walter Joseph Ryan.

On the marriage certificate of Thomas Ryan and Margaret Power on 2 Jul 1870 at St Patrick’s Daylesford, Victoria it is said he was a widower Dec 1857 with a daughter deceased. He was born Tipperary, Ireland, a labourer and aged 44 years. His parents were given as Michael Ryan and Alice Quinn and his father’s rank as farmer.

The certificate also records Margaret’s birth place as Tipperary, Ireland and that she was living at Glen Lyon. Thomas Ryan was living at Fryers Creek.

Thomas Ryan and Margaret nee Power had one son, Michael Patrick Ryan, born in 1873 at Holcombe via Glenlyon and who died in 1874. (Birth Reg. No. 1873/9603 and Death Reg. No. 1874/7802) So there are no living descendants of this Thomas Ryan.

Michael Ryan was born about 1792 or 1793 in Tipperary, Ireland. He married Alice Quinn about 1819 or 1820 in Tipperary, Ireland. We have no idea how many children this couple had but we do know of the one son, Thomas. The father Michael Ryan died 14 Jun 1874 at Irish Town aged 81 years. He was buried 16 Jun 1874 at Campbells Creek Cemetery. His death certificate says he lived one year in Sydney and 19 years in Victoria. So he came to Australia about 1854. In the column in which the names and ages of issue were to be listed is “Thomas 50 years” then “Required information of other issue is not known”. This clearly implies that there were other issue but that Thomas who was the informant had difficulty in coming up with the complete information. The registrar may have thought that no information was better than incorrect information. Even Thomas’s own age may not be accurate. When he married on 2 Jul 1870 his age is recorded as 44 years, then at his father’s death just under four years later he gives his age as 50 years.

Margaret Ryan died 26 Jan 1913 at Loddon and was buried in Kynton Cemetery on 28 Jan. Very complete information is given on the death certificate. However the information was given through a third party and it is his name as an “authorised person” whose name is recorded rather than a family member. We don’t know if Thomas was still alive at this time. It seems Thomas may have predeceased Margaret, as Margaret is on the 1903 & 1909 electoral rolls as a farmer at Holcomb but not Thomas. Margaret’s daughter Bridget Looby is also listed as living at Holcombe on both rolls.”

   William Ryan and Bridget Hogan of Tipperary and Windeyer, N.S.W.

William Ryan was born in 1797 in Tipperary. He married Bridget

Hogan (b 1803) at Cullen in Tipperary about 1816 and they had nine children:

1. Maria Ryan

2. Thomas Ryan

3. Honora Ryan

4. William Ryan

5. Margaret Ryan

6. Johanna Ryan

7. John Ryan

8. Walter Joseph Ryan

9. Catherine Ryan.

(For full details of these children, their marriages and children, see Pat Haley’s letter below.)

The whole family arrived in Australia aboard the ‘China’ in 1839 and settled at Windeyer in N.S.W., south of Mudgee.

Bridget died on 28 August 1868, William on 16 May 1872. They are both buried at Windeyer.

In the May 2008 letter Pat Haley wrote:

“I can tell you a lot about William Ryan and his wife Bridget Hogan. They arrived in Australia on a ship called the “China” on 20 Dec 1839. They had nine children with them. All lived to adulthood. Until a little over a year ago, I had three daughters that I did not know anything about. The oldest child was Maria on the shipping records, but was listed as Mary on her mother’s death certificate. Maria is Latin for Mary. Child No. 1

Maria (Mary) was born about 1816 in Ireland and married Thomas William Elmes at Parramatta on 29 Sep 1844. I have this Marriage Certificate. Her Death Certificate shows her parents as William Ryan and Bridget Hogan. She died in Brisbane on 29 Nov 1888. They had four children.

1. Annie Elizabeth Elmes, born 7 Nov 1845; baptised 23 Nov 1845 at Concord NSW. Annie Elizabeth married 10 Apr 1863 James Lennon (born on Norfolk Island the son of a soldier). They had one daughter Mary Jane Lennon born 12 sep 1865 (registered at Glebe, NSW). James Lennon died 15 Aug 1865 at Glebe just before his daughter’s birth. Annie Elizabeth Lennon (nee Elmes) married a second time to James Hogan on 29 Mar 1882 at St Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral Brisbane. They had one son named James Francis Hogan, born 5 Aug 1887. He was unmarried when he drowned 9 Mar 1915, and he was buried 10 Mar 1915 at Nudgee Catholic Cemetery, Brisbane. Annie’s only daughter Mary Jane Lennon married Charles Francis Hughes on 2 Jun 1886. They had six children. I am still recording and researching on this line with considerable help from Jan Hunter a great-grand-daughter of Mary Jane Lennon and Charles Francis Hughes.

2. Thomas William Elmes, born 20 May 1847 and baptised 17 Oct 1847 at Capertee NSW. He married a widow Eliza Drysdale nee Bradley in Brisbane on 29 Nov 1879. He died in Brisbane on14 Dec 1882 without any issue.

3. Bridget Sarah Elmes, born 29 Jul 1849 and baptised 11 Nov 1849 at Wellington NSW. She died in Rockhampton, Qld on 9 Apr 1879.

4. John Robert Elmes, born about 1858. He was alive when his mother died but we have found no subsequent reference to him. Child No. 2

Thomas Ryan born about 1819 in Ireland, married Dinah Lavinia Buckingham at Bathurst NSW on 13 May 1848. He died 25 Jul 1906 and is buried behind the Catholic Church at Windeyer NSW. I have this marriage and death certificate. They had eleven children. I have information on lots of the descendants of this couple. Child No. 3

Honora Ryan was born about 1821 in Ireland. I don’t know who she married so no further information on her. However, she was alive in 1868 when her mother died. Child No. 4

William Ryan was born about 1823 in Ireland. He married Annie Siddall. He died 7 Jul 1907. Mary Grant and Nina Ryan’s husband Ian are descendants of this couple. They had 11 children. I have lots of information on these people. Child No. 5

Margaret Ryan was born about 1825 in Ireland. I don’t know whom she married so no further information on her. However, she was alive in 1868 when her mother died. Child No. 6

Johanna Ryan was born about 1827 at Shronell, Tipperary Ireland. She married John Adams in 1869, and died 12 Dec 1909. They had no children. I have her death certificate. Child No. 7

John Ryan was born about 1829 in Ireland. He did not marry and died 2 Nov 1908. Child No. 8

Walter Joseph Ryan was born about 1834 in Ireland. He married Mary Ann Looby on 4 Feb 1875. They had a large family. He died in Victoria on 8 Jul 1911. They had a big family. Child No. 9 Catherine was born about 1836 in Tipperary, Ireland. She married James Butler and died in 1918. I bought her death certificate but have not made contact with any descendants.

I have six four-ring binders of descendants of William Ryan and Bridget Hogan. There are quite a lot of people researching their own lines. When I contacted people I explained that I was not a descendant of William Ryan and Bridget, yet people got involved and some started research so they could help me.”

5.  Mary Ryan So far as is known she was the fifth and final child of Thomas Ryan and Mary Buckley but nothing more is yet known about Mary.

Mary Ryan, Native of Shronell, Tipperary

The following is an account prepared by Pat and Kevin Haley. It tells of the life of Mary, the eldest daughter of John and Catherine Ryan, (and granddaughter of Thomas Ryan and Mary Buckley) (NOT the 5. Mary Ryan noted immediately above) and also includes information about her brother Thomas and sister Honora.

Mary Ryan was born about 1834 to John Ryan and his wife Catherine Hannon of the townland of Ballycohey in the civil parish of Shronell in County Tipperary; about four miles west of Tipperary Town. The parish of Shronell lies in the very fertile valley known as the Golden Vale.

Mary was the eldest daughter of the family and would have experienced the hardship of the “Great Famine” in her early teenage years. John Ryan and his family survived the worst of the famine by working a quarry on their rented property. It is reasonable to expect the experiences of the famine coupled with good reports from family in Australia influenced her eldest brother Thomas to immigrate to Queensland in 1850.

A new home in Melbourne

We are yet to ascertain when Mary immigrated to Victoria; perhaps it was not long before she married in 1858. She married William Lyons, son of Michael Lyons and Catherine Bourke, at Brighton on Monday 8 November 1858.[1] Neither bride nor groom was resident in Brighton. William Lyons, a labourer, gave Brunswick as his present abode, whilst Mary’s was Prahran; both nominated Prahran as their normal abode. William was aged 26 at marriage and had been born in the Catholic parish of Solohead in County Tipperary just a little to the north of Shronell.

William’s sister Catherine Lyons had also migrated to Victoria

William and Mary Lyons had five children:

1. Michael Lyons, born 1859 at Prahran, died 1859.[2]

2. Catherine Lyons, born 30 April 1860 at Prahran, died 28 January 1942 at Kensington.[3]

3. John Lyons, born 9 June 1862 at Prahran, died September 1946 at Caritas Christi, Kew.[4]

4. Michael Lyons, born 8 May 1864 at Prahran, died 1950 Perth, Western Australia.[5]

5. Mary Ann Lyons, born 8 May 1867 at Hawthorn, died 1 October 1944 at Malvern.[6]

It would seem William and Mary continued to live at Prahran until at least 1864. When living at Hawthorn, William was a railway worker.

On 24 January 1860 Mary’s younger sister, Honora Ryan, married Patrick Baragry in the Ryan home Catholic Parish of Lattin in Tipperary.

Within days of their marriage the newly-weds packed to emigrate. They boarded the Gipsy Bride and departed Liverpool on 8 February 1860, bound for Victoria, and arrived at Port Philip on 29 April 1860; perhaps to be welcomed within days by Mary with her newly born daughter, Catherine.

Honora and Patrick initially settled in Prahran and it was here that their first child Mary was born in 1861.[7] For two years Mary and Honora shared experiences in Prahran.[8] During this period they may have spent joyful times together with their daughters. Tragically Mary Baragry died aged 13 months in early 1862[9] before Honora moved to Kyneton. Their next born children were born only nine days apart in June 1862. Most likely the two sisters had few opportunities to meet from this time.

Visit from her brother, Thomas Ryan

Emigrants, before leaving Ireland, could have had little concept of the immense distances in Australia. Perhaps Mary and Honora had visions of meeting up with their brother Thomas in Queensland. Then again, we know that Thomas did not write home for nearly 16 years. We can only speculate on the reasons for Thomas’s neglect in this regard. Perhaps he left home without his father’s blessing, and then each passing year made it harder not knowing if his father was still alive.

Some time during 1865 Thomas learnt that his sister Mary was in Melbourne. Many years later Thomas’s daughter Mary, in a letter to her cousin John Lyons, recounts events in this way: “Father heard from some old hands in Melbourne that his sister Mary was married in Melbourne and he went to see her.”[10] Mary Ryan must have heard her father tell stories of his journey to Melbourne many times to accurately recount details in her letter of February 1894. She recounted that Thomas had left when the twins, her brother William and sister Eliza, were only a week old.[11] His departure from the Swan Creek area, east of Warwick, was in fact slightly longer after the birth of the twins, as Thomas registered their births in Warwick on 17th January 1866. Mary Ryan records that her father with her brother Tom “travelled overland with a mob of sheep”. In addressing her cousin John Lyons she writes that when her father visited “Your father (William Lyons) was on the lents[12] at Hawthorn. Then they were doing well and had three children. Father stayed a few days with his sister.”

Thomas would have caught up with much family news. Most importantly he learnt that his father was still alive, though a widower. Mary Ryan records that “(Mary Lyons’) father had sent her some money and that he had sent some money to their brother John’s wife in America. Their brother John was dead at the time, and Aunt Mary told father he should write home, that his father said he had money for him when he would write.” Mary’s letter continues on, “but Father did not write.” This is not correct, as Thomas did write and the subsequent three letters he received were treasured by Thomas and also very much so by his descendents. Mary Ryan would have known of the letters from her grandfather, so perhaps she was intending to explain that her father had not just written for the money. Thomas wrote to his father a letter dated 17th August 1866. This letter may well have been written and sent from Melbourne, as it was sent just on eight months after leaving Warwick. Thomas was most likely delighted to know his father was still alive, aged 77, and to have an opportunity to make peace with him.

John Ryan’s reply is dated from Ballycohey on 12th November 1866. That is only 88 days after Thomas’s letter. Interestingly, Thomas’s letter must have benefited from the newly established mail route to Britain. The Supplement to The Age (Melbourne) of Saturday 4th August 1866 announced: “The Panama Mail. English News to 2nd June. By the Panama and New Zealand Company’s steamship Tararua, which has brought from Wellington the Melbourne portion of the English mail via Panama, we have letters and papers to 2nd June from which we make the following extracts.” Mail would have gone by land across the Isthmus of Panama, and steamships could make use of a short route that was not favourable for sail.

John was obviously delighted to hear from his son but sought assurance that it was genuinely he. John wrote: “...your letter....gives me the greatest pleasure in my old days, to find you were alive and well. (If I could rely on your identity.)”, and later “Now I expect, on receipt of this, you will first make sure to me that it is no other but yourself that addresses me and I may have something else to say to you before I die.”

Thomas had arrived home from Melbourne before 10 February 1867, as this is the date of his second letter home to his father. Mary Ryan’s letter[13] provides corroboration; she recounts that her father “...was not long home when the little girl twin Eliza took ill and died.” Eliza died on 26 March 1867.[14] The return trip was completed inside six months.

Thomas was overjoyed in receiving his father’s letter and replied immediately; just 91 days after the letter was written from Ballycohey. The mail from Warwick to Tipperary took less than 74 days, with John Ryan replying on 24 April 1867. “I received your note of February 10th which gave me infinite satisfaction. Knowing by your expressions you were my son and now the only one alive. I like to hear from you often while I live.”

At the time of Thomas’s journey south, Honora and Patrick Baragry, with infant daughters Kate and Mary, were living at Major Plains, about 25 km north of Benalla. No doubt Thomas made a slight diversion to meet up with Honora, though Mary’s letter is not specific on this.

Tragedy and aftermath

Let’s return to the story of William and Mary Lyons. Their family was completed with the birth of their second daughter, Mary Ann, on 8th May 1867. This would have been a happy time for the young family. However, before long their situation became more difficult as William’s health deteriorated due to cancer of the ankle joint. After two years the disease claimed him on the 12th November 1869.[15] William’s sister Catherine provided what help she could, nevertheless Mary was unable to cope in her new situation following the loss of the breadwinner.[16] She turned to drink for some solace.

Just six months after their father’s death the four children, as a consequence of being neglected, were committed as State Wards by the Kew Bench[17]. The initial term was for one year. On the expiration of this term their case came before the Melbourne Bench[18] and Catherine was committed for six years and the three younger children for seven years. It would seem that the Melbourne Bench had no updated evidence relating to their mother, as exactly the same comment is made as a year earlier. The six years of Catherine’s term was intended to take her up till she turned 16 years. However, erroneously Catherine’s birth year is recorded as 1861 so she was not discharged until she was in fact 17. Initially the four children went to the same institution, but this did not last long.

Her inability to care for her children and then her separation from the children she loved must have devastated Mary. Under the legislation of the time officials were forbidden to allow contact between the parent and the child.[19] Even after a child was discharged and was a young adult, officials could refuse to supply details of the parent’s address where known. She seems to have lost contact with the family. We have some confirmation of circumstances when Mary Ryan’s letter to John Lyons relates that “When he (Thomas) wrote again he could get no tidings of your Father or Mother so he thought they had left the place. He heard from Aunt Baragry afterwards that your father was dead but she had no tidings of your Mother, he wrote and asked Aunt Baragry if she could find any trace of their sister Mary, and the answer was that she could find no trace. That she thought Mary must be dead.[20] So my father did not write to Aunt Baragry. He mourned for Aunt Mary as dead. She was always his favourite sister.”

This passage conveys a feeling that Thomas may have expected Honora to have made a greater effort, and also that she knew more than she was conveying. The Baragrys regarded the circumstances of Mary’s misfortune as something not to be spoken of. This is evident from the fact that Father Celsus Kelly’s manuscript,[21] of his extensive family research, records that Mary married a Lyons but misleadingly that “Mary died in child birth – no issue”. Conceivably the Baragry family did lose track of the Lyons family for a period, but thankfully the cousins were in touch with each other later on, as Mary Ryan indicates that she received the address of John Lyons from Bridgee Baragry.[22] Bridget was the fourth of six daughters of Patrick and Honora and was a maiden aunt of Father Celsus Kelly. The contacts extended beyond correspondence. Mary Ann, the younger daughter of William and Mary Lyons, and her two daughters, Haidee and Edna, used to house caretake for Bridget when she was away from her home “Roma” at North Brunswick. Helen Moloney née O’Brien daughter of Edna Jeffrey recounts that her mother “...used to like staying there - more like a holiday for them as they couldn’t afford the like in those days and minding the house for Bridgie helped supplement the income for (widow) Mary Ann.”[23]

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Thomas Ryan's Timeline

1770
1770
Ballycohey, Tipperary, Ireland
1785
1785
Age 15
1786
1786
Age 16
Shronehill, Tipperary, Ireland
1788
1788
Age 18
ballycohey, tipperary, Ireland
1789
1789
Age 19
Emly, South Tipperary, Tipperary, Ireland
1793
May 3, 1793
Age 23
Shronehill, Tipperary, Ireland
May 3, 1793
Age 23
Shronehill, Tipperary, Ireland
1800
1800
Age 30
South Tipperary, Tipperary, Ireland
1841
1841
Age 71
Emly, Munster, Ireland
????
Ireland