Monday, March 23, 2009

Michael McMullan, Drumnaquoile, Irish Ancestor

Michael McMullen 1892 to 1970

On the 19th September 1945 Eugene McMullan left Belfast, Northern Ireland on route to London. He was 22 years old, strong having been used to farm work and eager to make his fortune.

It had all come down to the toss of a coin, heads would be London, tails had been New York. He had waved goodbye to close friends as they sailed for the big apple.

Chance had chosen London.

Eugene had been born on the 15th April 1923. He was one of nine Children born to Michael and Elizabeth McMullan of Drumnaquoile, Castlewellen. Michael had been born in Harrington, Cumberland. He had moved to Ireland when his parents had returned to their homeland. Here, he had met and married a farmer's daughter from Dunturk. Lizzie Laverty had been 20 years old and Michael 22 when they had married at Drumaroad Catholic Church.

Michael had received a farmhouse and some farming land in Drumnaquoile from an uncle who had died. It was here that Eugene had been born along with his 6 brothers and 2 sisters. The McMullan clan all attended the local school at Drumaroad. Walking the 3 mile distance every day barefoot.

Tragedy would strike the young family when Eugene was 12 years old. Elizabeth became ill and died from consumption. The family struggled on without her. Aunt Mary Anne, Elizabeth's spinster sister was a big help with the young family.

Michael decided to send the two girls Margaret and Mary away to a boarding school that was run by nuns. Unfortunately, Margaret became ill and she too died from Consumption.

The 1940's came along and brought another world war. Only one son would enlist in the English army, Allan the fist son born in 1914. The land could not provide a living for all of Michael's sons. One by one they all left Ireland and moved to England. Only one son remained with Michael. Patrick would stay in Ireland .He bought some land next to his fathers, married a local girl and moved into the farm house with his young family.
Michael decided to send the two girls Margaret and Mary away to a boarding school that was run by nuns. Unfortunately, Margaret became ill and she too died from Consumption.

The 1940's came along and brought another world war. Only one son would enlist in the English army, Allan the fist son born in 1914. The land could not provide a living for all of Michael's sons. One by one they all left Ireland and moved to England. Only one son remained with Michael. Patrick would stay in Ireland .He bought some land next to his fathers, married a local girl and moved into the farm house with his young family. Michael would spend the rest of his days in a little cottage just above the lane next to the farmhouse.

Eugene arrived in London and found a country rebuilding its self after 5 years of war.

Work was plentiful and Eugene found employment in the building industry. He spent the next few years' busy working and living in boarding houses. Eventually he moved up to the north of England and bought a terraced house in Accrington, Lancashire.

He met his future wife at a dance in Accrington. She was attracted to his ‘movie star' looks. Black hair, blue eyes and a soft Irish accent.

They were married on the 2nd of January 1954 in Nelson, Lancashire. Eugene was 30 years old and his young bride was 23. Nelson would replace Drumnaquoile as home for Eugene. He would return to Ireland at least once a year to see his father. In the last year of his life, Michael visited all of his children in England, staying with each for around 6 weeks.

Michael McMullan died in Castlewellen in 1970. He was buried in the graveyard of Drumaroad Catholic church. The family plot has Michael, Elizabeth his wife and Margaret their daughter.

Eugene McMullan was a good husband and father to three children He always had dreams of lands further a field. Maybe he should have taken the boat to New York along with his friends. That wanderlust was instilled in his children. His son left England for Australia in 1979. Eugene died in 1990. His daughter left England for Australia in 1992.
Copyright 2009,English Ancestors

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