Monday, March 23, 2009

Irish Ancestor, Margaret O'Prey Laverty


A Women of Granite

Margaret O’Prey/Prey was born in Ballymagreeham, under the mountains of Mourne. She was one of nine children born to Patrick William O’Prey and Margaret McEvoy. The family came from a farm that was at the foot of the Morne Mountains .

‘’The Mountains were made of Granite and she was made of Granite too’’
This quotation was made by the grandson of Margaret. No doubt he had been reprimanded by the formidable lady.

Margaret had spent some of her childhood living with her fathers brother in Durham, England. It was here that she attended a private school. At a time when schooling was not compulsory in Ireland this would have been considered unusual.

Margaret’s grandson also remembers that his grandmother was always writing. What we can only imagine and wish that we could recover the thoughts that she put down on paper.

Patrick O’Prey and Margaret McEvoy, Margaret’s parents had been married on the 16th Feb. 1847 at Leitrim Catholic church. Their witness’s had been John and Ann McEvoy, no doubt these witness’s were brother and sister in law to the young bride.
The next few years saw the births of all their children starting with their first born Hugh in 1849, Elizabeth in 1853, Michael 1855, William 1857, Owen 1859 and Margaret in 1862. Owen and Michael would leave the Emerald Isle and make a new life for themselves in America.

We find Margaret in her Marriage records. She married a John Laverty from Dunturk at Ballyward RC Church, Drumgoland on the 17th February 1887. John Laverty was from a well known local farming family.

The trail goes cold over the next few years until we find the records of Margaret in the Irish 1901 census.
John Laverty is listed as a farmer in the town land of Dunturk. The census gives his age as 40 years old and Margaret his wife as 35 years old. They have a big family now with Mary Ann 12, Catherine 10, Elizabeth 8, Edward James 6, John 4 and Theresa 22 months.

Elizabeth would marry in 1914 to Michael McMullan a young farmer who had inherited a house and land in nearby Drumnaquoile. Margaret would outlive her husband John Laverty who died before his father John Laverty sn.
John Laverty sn had been planning on leaving his farm to his grandson Edward Laverty, Margaret’s son. Here again her grandson tells the tale that Margaret and her spinster daughter Mary Ann wanted the farm. John Laverty senior told his grandson Edward ‘to get the hell away from those two women’ which he did, moving across the sea to Scotland.
Margaret and Mary Ann took over the farm in Dunturk. Margaret would live well into her nineties and outlived her daughter Elizabeth who died during the 30’s of consumption. Mary Ann would remain on the land at Dunturk until she died still a spinster during the sixties.

Copyright 2009, English Ancestors

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