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The Pedigree of Mr. Edmund Sheehy's family, from an original document in the handwriting of Lady Blessington. This ancient family possessed a large estate in the 1400's on the banks of the River Dee, in the county of limerick, from the time of Maurice the first Earl of Desmond, whose daughter was married to Morgan Sheehy, who got the said estate from the earl as a portion with his wife. From the above Morgan Sheehy was lineally descended Morgan Sheehy, of Ballyalleanane. The said Morgan Sheehy married Ellen Butler, daughter of Pierce, Earl of Ormond, and the widow of Connor O'Brien, Earl of Thomond, and had issue Morgan Sheehy. The said Morgan Sheehy married Catherine MacCarthy, daughter to MacDonnough MacCarthy More, of Dunhallow in the county of Cork, and had issue Morgan Sheehy. The said Morgan Sheehy married Joan, daughter of David, Earl of Barrymore, in the county of Cork, and secondly, Lady Alice Boyle, eldest daughter of Richard, Earl of Cork, and had issue Morgan Sheehy and Meanus, from whom the Sheehys of Imokilly and county of Waterford are descended. The said Morgan married Catherine, the eldest of the five daughters of Teige O'Brien of Ballycovrig, and of Elizabeth, daughter of Maurice, Earl of Desmond. He had issue three sons, John, Edmund, and Roger, and five daughters. Of the daughters, Joan married Thomas Lord Southwell. Ellen married Philip Magrath, of Sleady Castle, in the county of Waterford, Esq. Mary married Eustace, son of Sir John Brown, of Cammus, Bart. Winifred married Sir James Galloway, Bart. and Anne married Colonel Gilbrern, of Kilmallock. Of the five daughters of the above Teige O'Brien, Catherine married the above Morgan Sheehy, Esq. Honoria married Sir John Fitzgerald, Cloyne, Bart. Mauden married O'Shaughnessy of Gort. Julia married MacNamara of Cratala, and Mary married Sir Thurlough Mac Mahon of Cleane, in the county of Clare, Bart. Of the three sons of Morgan Sheehy, Esq. and Catherine O'Brien, John, the eldest, married Mary, daughter of James Casey of Rathcannon, in the county of Limerick, Esq. (It was in this John's time, about 1650, that Cromwell dispossessed the family of their estates.) The said John had issue John Sheehy. The said John married Catherine, daughter of Donough O'Brien of Dungillane, Esq. He had issue Charles Sheehy. The said Charles married Catherine Ryan, Daughter of Matthew Ryan, Esq. and of Catherine Fitzgerald, granddaughter of Sir John Fitzgerald of Clonglish, Bart. and had issue John and William Sheehy of Spittal. The said John married Honoria Sullivan, maternal granddaughter to McBrien, of Bally Sheehan, and had issue one son and two daughters, William Sheehy Esq. of Bawnfowne, county of Waterford, and Eleanor and Ellen. The said Eleanor married William Cranick of Galbally, Esq. and had issue Ellen, who married Timothy Quinlan, Esq. of Tipperary. (Here there is an omission of any mention of William Sheehy's marriage, or of the issue from it, except one son, Edmund. There were three daughters. Bridget married Pierce Meagher of Rathclough. Honoria married James Fitzgerald of Kilkanabrui. Ellen married Anthony Dwyer of Ballydenaugh. The late Counsellor Ronayne's mother was the daughter of Pierce Meagher. The mother of the present parish priest of Clogheen, Dr. Kelly, was the daughter of James Fitzgerald, R. R. M) Edmund Sheehy, Esq., son of the above-named William Sheehy, brother of Eleanor and Ellen, married Margaret O'Sullivan of Ballyegate, and had issue Robert and James Sheehy and two daughters, Ellen and Mary. Robert, son of the above-named Edmund, married and had issue three sons, leaving no issue. Mary married (?) Collins. Ellen married Edmund Power, Esq. of Curragheen, in the county of Waterford, and had issue Anne who died in her tenth year, Robert, Michael, Margaret, Ellen and Mary Ann. There are now only two surviving grandchildren of Edmund Sheehy. " Priest Hanging & Beheading. Fr. Nicholas Sheehy 1728-1766 In 1766 Father Nicholas Sheehy, a collateral ancestor was executed after been found guilty of accessory to murder, by a corrupt jury on evidence trumped-up by a local Landlord, and the Rector of Clogheen in south County Tipperary. He was hung on a scaffold in Clonmel opposite St. Peters and Paul's Church, where there is a modern plaque on the gable wall of the hotel to commemorate his death. His head was severed and set on a spike over Clonmel jail as a warning against agrarian violence. Father Sheehy was born in Barrettstown near Fethard, brought up by his mother's people the Powers of Bawnfune. He was educated in France and trained for the priesthood in Louvain Belgium, Santiago and Irish College, Salamanca, Spain and was ordained in Rome. He became the parish priest for Clogheen and Burncourt. He was described in his lifetime as a man with a passionate sense of justice. He healed the sick using secret herbal cures. The Protestants landlords of south Tipperary were afraid of another French invasion like the one during the Williamite War, seventy-five years earlier, they feared been massacred and distrusted Catholics who were associated with the French. Furthermore the landlords feared him as he campaigned against landlord evictions, the enclosure of common land and the Tithe taxes. These taxes (10% of produce or equivalent in money) were for the protestant church. Fr Sheehy saw the tithes that had to be paid by half starved Catholics to Protestant ministers, representing the British occupation of their lands, as wrong. To this day Father Sheehy is regarded as a martyr and it has been suggested that he should be canonised. His trial and hanging outraged nationalist opinion. People visited his grave at Shanrahan cemetery outside Clogheen to take clay, because it was said to have healing powers. It is claimed that out of respect birds didn't peck his head for the twenty years it was left on the spike. His sister Catherine, regularly called over the years, looking for his head which she was eventually given. She took it home in a bag under her arm and had it buried with the rest of his body. Prior to his trial for murder, Fr. Sheehy was tried and acquitted in Dublin for treason for his part in the levelling of a wall by the Whiteboys, (secret oath-bound society of vigilantes) who were protesting against the enclosure of common land, by a landlord near Clogheen. At his murder trial in Clonmel Father Sheehy said, in his final speech, after he was sentenced to death, that he was being put to death for a crime, which had never been committed. As John Bridge, the man, said to have been murdered, was seen in Cork after the date of the crime, and it is thought that he emigrated. John Bridge was described as a “drivelling begging idiot”. Two years later John Bridge was found in Newfoundland, Canada. He was completely unaware that here had been a trial for his murder. When handing down the sentence, the judge said “You shall be hanged, drawn and quartered and may God have mercy on your soul and grant you sight of the enormity of your crime” In response, Fr. Sheehy thanked the judge and hoped for the same, as he was confident of his innocence. Father Sheehy delivered an eloquent and well-reasoned protest against "the shameful injustice, the gross perjury, and the deadly malice of which we are the victims," and concluded by declaring: "I leave it to God to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty." Robert Keating of Knockagh, near Cahir, at whose house Fr. Sheehy was staying at the time of the supposed murder was arrested a week before the trial on a charge of murder in Kilkenny which was subsequently dropped. This was done to disqualify him as the main witness for the defence. Fr. Sheehy was executed with Ned Meehan of Grange near Clogheen, a father of six, who allegedly struck the victim over the head with a bill-hook, killing him instantly. At their hanging, as the rope was fitted around their necks, three women broke through the police cordon. They were two sisters of Fr.Sheehy and Ned's stricken young wife, Bridget. Tears rushed to the eyes of the dying men and Ned stretched out his hands to his beloved wife, said, “O Biddy, Biddy dear, may God pity and protect you and our children, my poor wife.” Fr. Sheehy's cousin Buck (Edmund.) Sheehy of Lodge who appeared as a witness, was hanged two months later in Clogheen along with James Buxton of Killroe and James Farrell of Rehill in front of their families for the same murder. Father Sheehy's attorney on hearing the sentence of death turned to the jurors and said, "If there is any justice in heaven you will die roaring". This is how the jurors, who were mainly protestant landlords and bitterly anti-Catholic, died suddenly and unexpected. Sir Thomas Maude (M.P. for Tipp 1761) of Dundrum House, died a raving manic uttering blasphemies and screaming that Father Sheehy was dragging him down to Hell. He was responsible for selecting the bias jurors who met and conspired in his drawing room. John Bagwell of Kilmore near Clonmel, became an idiot incapable of speech and rationality. For years before his death he imagined that he saw the headless Sheehy at his elbow. William Bagnell of Marlhill near Ardfinnan, shot himself. Mathew Jacob of Mobarnane Hse near Fethard, died from a violent epileptic fit. William Barker of Kilcooley Abbey, dropped dead on the street. Shaw, choked himself to death. Ferris, a draper of main street Clonmel, went mad. John Dunville, a tallow chandler was kicked to death by his horse. Alexander Hoops, drowned in a stream after he went berserk. Minchin, died a destitute beggar, ridden with disease. Another, dropped dead grinning inanely. Osborn Tothall of Clonmel, cut his own throat, his family were prevented from burying him in the graveyard when locals filled his dug grave with stones. Jonathan Willington, of Castlewillington died in his lavatory. Even their descendants met unusual deaths. This is how the witnesses for the prosecution died. Moll Dunlea, (ill-repute) fell down into a cellar and cracked her skull, she had claimed to witness the murder even though her mother said they spent the night together. Lonergan (tinker) contracted a disease and died an agonising death. Toohey (horse-thief), contracted leprosy. The Rector of Clogheen, Parson John Hewetson produced the three witnesses for the prosecution, described as "dubious specimens of society". In Clonmel riots broke out and processions of sympathy and protest were formed against the injustice of the trial. After his beheading loyal parishioners dipped their hands in his blood and used it to make the sign of the cross on the door of the Protestant Church House. The hangman Darby Brahan was some time later stoned to death by an outraged crowd in county Kilkenny for having hung Fr Nicholas Sheehy. Local folklore has it, that on Thomas Maude death, the horses refused to pull the hearse with his coffin, the horses had to be unyoked and estate workers pulled the hearse out of the Estate. He was said to have a tail and had a saddle made with a pouch to accommodate it. His ghost is said to sit on a tree in the estate, previously he haunted the house until a mass was said after it was acquired by a religious order in 1910. Moll Dunlea was bribed to bear false witness against Fr. Sheehy on the road bridge over the river adjacent to the estate, hence its name Black Bridge. The Maudes were soldiers who received vast estates in the Cromwellian settlement and they gained an evil notoriety. Marguerite Power 1789-1849 who married Charles Gardiner - Earl of Blessington was a daughter of Fr Nicholas Sheehy mother's family the Powers of Bawnfune south of Clonmel on the Tipperary and Waterford border. Also her mother Eleanour was a daughter of Edmond 'Buck' Sheehy. Her biography was written entitled The Most Gorgeous Lady Blessington it gives account of her troubled childhood, her first marriage at fifteen, her second marriage to the earl including their extravagant lifestyle and her life as a writer after his death. Her father was Edmund Power of Knockbrit between Cashel and Fethard, he was a small landlord, magistrate and editor of a Clonmel newspaper. Fr Nicholas' father was Francis son of John of Dromcolliher. His sister Catherine Burke nee Sheehy had his gravestone erected. The burial place of Edmund Sheehy's family is in the old ruin churchyard of Kilronan near Bawnfune in the barony of Glenahiry. Daniel Sheehy 1756-1834 from Ballyporeen, a nephew who left Ireland because of his outspoken nature after witnessing the hanging as a boy of ten. He emigrated to America where he fought in the American Revolution. In 1796 he became a pioneer settler of Youngstown, Ohio after riding horseback from New York, he purchased a thousand acres for $2,000 in gold coins and founded a large family. His brother Roger also set up home there in a log cabin. The writer can trace his Sheehy ancestry back nine generations through Edmond Sheehy (1761-1827) of Cooladerry, Ballyporeen whose family is buried in the graveyard at Ballysheehan near Burncourt. Oral family history states that an old charcoal portrait drawing showed Fr. Nicholas to have a broad forehead and a narrow face. The Sheehy, or MacSheehy family belonged originally to Dromcolliher Co. Limerick. They were an old family of warriors, the retainers of the Earl of Desmond - title of the Fitzgerald earldom of Munster. They came to Ireland from Scotland in the 1400's as mercenaries, their descendants were drawn to the military and the church. They prospered under the Earls of Desmond but lost all their lands after the Desmond Rebellion of 1580. Towards the end of the 1700's they purchased a considerable amount of land from Lord Muskerry of Springfield Castle. "Hail Happy Year! Hail happy Day! That Maude's vile corpse consigned to clay; And blessed by the heavenly dart, That pierced a passage to his heart. In Dundrum's vale his mansion stood, The seat of falsehood, fraud and blood; Hell-hound accursed! Whose murderous trade The oaths of perjured wretches made. Through iron bars, and walls of stone, Burst the heart-broken prisoners' groan The orphan's cry, the widow's grief Our God has heard, and grants relief. Disgorge; fair earth, his filthy frame. That savage dogs may gnaw the same; Let ravens, crows, and eagles come, To tear the monster from his tomb. The sparkling rills proclaim their joy, Nor murmering brooks the sound allow; The fields put on a smile of mirth, Since cruel Maude was laid in earth. A traitor Maude! The basest, worst, Long, Long shall be his memory cursed; His hand with martyr's blood profaned, His heart with guilt of malice stained Wafted by angels to the skie The sainted Sheehy "vengeance" cries; Proud dweller with the Heavenly choir, Whilst Maude is doomed to endless fire. Pluto and Nero, fiend and man In hellish deeds Maude's acts outran Cromwell and Judas--two in one He was; and where they went, he's gone. Perfidious Maude! Thy long farewell To Dundrum's plain and sweet Clonmel Gives peace and hope; and all around Rejoice that flames they soul surround ..a"

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