Michael Fay, my 4th great grandfather, was probably born around 1770. There are no extant records of his baptism or marriage, but we do have records of his children, including my 3rd great grandfather, William Fay, who resided in Rathcogue Townland, County Westmeath in 1834.
Westmeath is located in the flat central plains of Ireland, about 60 miles due west of Dublin. Rathcogue today is a completely rural section of southwest Westmeath, and consists primarily of sprawling farmland and bog. Even in 1834, when the population was nearly double what it is today, Rathcogue was composed of vast tracts of estate land, small plots of which would be leased out to tenant farmers.
The nearest village to Rathcogue is Moyvore, about 2 miles away. According to the “Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland”, published in 1846, Moyvore had a population of 213 people in 1831 and 190 people in 1841. Moyvore was listed as a Fair Town in “Wilson’s Directory of Ireland” (1834). The Fair Towns were considered important regional towns, and people would walk for miles on a fair day to sell their produce. Rural farmers would have very little money until Fair Day arrived. Once their produce or animals were sold then the bills could be paid. Moyvore held their fairs on May 4, August 20, and Dec. 5. The other nearby Fair towns listed in Wilson’s Directory were Milltown ( 4 miles away) and Ballynacargy (6 miles).
Although Moyvore had a dedicated fair grounds and a police barracks it did not have a Roman Catholic church. That was located about a mile outside of Moyvore in Ballacurra (or Ballinacurra), about halfway down the road to Rathcogue. It was constructed in 1835, probably on the site of an older church built circa 1781.
In “The Diocese of Meath – Vol 2” by Anthony Cogan, published around 1867, the author reports
“There is a chapel at Forgney, and another at Ballincurra, in the parish of Piercetown. The chapel before the present was on the townland of Rathcouge. At the visitation of Dr. Plunket, on the 22nd of June, 1788, he found “three chapels rebuilt, and three schools.”
So apparently Rathcogue had its own chapel and school at the turn of the century.
We don’t know for sure where Michael Fay grew up, but judging from the number of Fays in the area it was probably close by. If so, he would have certainly lived through the depredations described in the previous chapter, that occurred in and around Moyvore during the 1798 rebellion.
Both Michael Fay and his son William were Catholic tenant farmers. The Parliamentary Gazeteer reported that in 1831 Moyvore Parish consisted of 765 Catholics and only 17 Protestants. Those Protestants were most likely resident Estate owners or the management personnel of absentee English landlords.
In the 1834 Tithe Applotments, we find William Fay occupying a plot of over 4 ¾ acres in Rathcogue. Since the acreages in the Tithe Applotment Books were given in Irish or Plantation measure, which is 1.62 times larger than statute measure, this amounted to about 8.2 acres. Adjacent to William was another Fay – James. There is no way of knowing for sure if James was a brother, a cousin or some other relative, since no ages or personal details were given in the Tithe Applotments. James occupied a slightly bigger plot, amounting to about 8 ¼ acres.
All of Rathcogue Townland only amounted to about 128 acres and the bulk of that land, about 86 acres, was “occupied” by John Devenish Meares. In fact, Meares owned all of the land but leased out the rest to the tenant farmers, who could then work their own plots as well as assisting with the estate lands to pay their rent.
The Meares Family – the Landlords
John Devenish Meares was the son of William Devenish Meares, who in 1811 had inherited the Mearescourt Estate ( of approximately 180 acres) that was located just a few miles east of Rathcogue. The estate had been originally been granted to Lewis Meares , who was a soldier in the English army sent to crush the 1641 Irish rebellion. His descendents had occupied it ever since
William Meares had been appointed a Magistrate for the County of Westmeath around 1820 and he later recommended his son John Devenish for the same position. There are a number of records that have been preserved of correspondence between Meares and his supervisors in Dublin.
In February of 1821 in a letter to Charles Grant, Chief Secretary, Dublin Castle, Meares described the agricultural distress of his local area. He recommended the “interference” of the legislature to protect the rights of the poor farmer selling butter and corn at country town markets. He also highlighted the evils resultant from the practice of buyers paying these farmers in public houses, and at a late hour. While this letter depicts a somewhat paternalistic sympathy for his tenants, another letter makes it very clear that he would have no tolerance for any challenges to the existing social order.
In his letter of Dec. 24, 1821 he reported on his efforts to maintain the peace in his neighborhood. He requested government sanction to establish a local yeomanry to assist in governance. He stated that he, his two sons, and 28 other Protestants were prepared to enroll, as well as “some Roman Catholics of known propriety & loyalty.”
In 1828 Meares wrote the Under Secretary recommending that his son John Devenish Meares be appointed magistrate, noting that John had an unencumbered estate valued at L2000 per year and he could also supply the names of 20 potential yeoman.
The other account we have of John Devenish Meares comes to us more than a century later. From 1937 through 1939 the Irish Folklore Commission initiated a program to record a fast disappearing tradition of folk history and story-telling. More than 50,000 schoolchildren from 5,000 schools in the 26 counties of the Irish Free State were enlisted to collect folklore in their home districts. This included oral history, topographical information, folktales and legends, riddles and proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts. The children recorded this material from their parents, grandparents, and neighbors. This scheme resulted in the creation of over half a million manuscript pages, generally referred to as ‘Bailiúchán na Scol’ or “The Schools’ Collection”.
Here is one account by Mary J. Murtagh of nearby Piercetown, from that collection.
“The local landlord was General Meares, who was the landlord of Mearscourt and Skeagh.
The landlord was very cruel to the tenants. There were several evictions in Mearescourt and Skeagh. The landlord used to raise the rents when he liked, and lower them also, and he used to put one family out of their house, and let in another family.
He punished the people if they did not obey him. At the time when the Land League started [1879 – Ed.], the people were looking for better rights. Several men suffered and were put out of the country for daring to rise against the landlord.”
The 1820’s in Ireland had seen the push for some form of Catholic Emancipation , chiefly through the efforts of Danial O’Connell, later known as “The Great Emancipator.” In 1811, O’Connell had established the Catholic Board, which campaigned for Catholic Emancipation, that is, the opportunity for Irish Catholics to become members of parliament. In 1823, he set up the Catholic Association which embraced other aims to better Irish Catholics, such as electoral reform, reform of the Church of Ireland, tenants’ rights, and economic development.
In 1826 Westmeath elected a pro-Emancipation candidate to the House of Commons, paving the way for O’Connell’s own successful election bid from County Clare in 1828. However, because he was Catholic, O’Connell could not legally be seated in Parliament.
The Prime Minister, the the Duke of Wellington, and the the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, even though they opposed Catholic participation in Parliament, saw that denying O’Connell his seat would likely cause outrage and could lead to another uprising in Ireland, which was about 85% Catholic. They convinced George IV that Catholic emancipation needed to be established and with the help of the Whigs it became law in 1829.
After Emancipation in 1829, an organized campaign of resistance to the collection of Tithes began. Quite apart from the obvious dislike for paying hard earned money to a minority church, the tithe was hated among Catholics because the poor (as ever) bore the brunt of it. Indeed, some wealthy landowners paid nothing while some tenants were required to pay tithes even though they farmed little more than a tiny potato patch.
Following a period of passive resistance, the tithe issue came to a head in 1830 after an incident in Graiguenamanagh in Co Kilkenny where the authorities turned up with the police and yeomanry to collect taxes, which a group of Catholic farmers had withheld.
This confrontation triggered widespread support for the anti-tithe campaign, especially among the Catholic clergy, and protests spread throughout Leinster and Munster. Although these meetings were meant to be peaceful, there were inevitable conflicts. Tithes were soon being collected by the police in the form of livestock seizures, and riots and deaths ensued. In 1831 alone there were reported 242 murders, 1,179 robberies, 401 burglaries, 280 cattle maimings, 161 assaults, 203 riots, all associated with tithe collection. This so-called “Tithe War” continued through 1836.
Eventually, the authorities introduced The Tithe Rent Charge Act of 1838, which reduced tithes and converted the tithe into a tax payable by landlords. What this actually meant was that the landlords simply included the tax as part of the tenant’s rent. This was by no means welcome, but it was certainly less contentious. The Irish tithe was finally abolished in 1869 when the Church of Ireland lost its status as the Established Church.
The Fays – The Tenants
We of course have no way of knowing where William Fay of Rathcogue stood in the Tithe War, but he probably felt no different than the majority of Catholic tenant farmers in Ireland, who greatly resented this imposition. In 1834 his annual Tithe had been set at 5 shillings, 7 pence, and that of James Fay at 4 shillings, 11 pence.
As I stated earlier, we don’t know the exact relationship between James and William Fay, although I suspect James was his cousin . Moyvore Parish records show the death of another William Fay in Rathcogue on May 1st of 1834. Although no age is given, I suspect that this was James’s father, and that he had been living with James at the time of his death.
To try to get a clearer picture of family relationships we must inevitably turn to church records. However this presents a bit of a problem in the Rathcogue area because it was right on the border of two different Catholic parishes. Rathcogue was in the Catholic Parish of Moyvore-Forgney, which actually spanned the border of Westmeath and Longford ( Forgney being the portion found in Longford). But any place directly north or east of Rathcogue would have been included in the Milltown Catholic Parish. Milltown church archives go back to 1781, whereas Moyvore records have been preserved only from 1831 forward. If a family was moving between those parishes, crucial family records could be missing for the years preceding 1831.
The year that the Tithe Applotments were recorded in Rathcogue was a pivotal one for the Fay family. Not only did the elder William Fay of Rathcogue pass away on May 1st, but the Milltown Parish records show the younger William Fay (age 29) was married in Irishtown (about 5 miles away) to Elizabeth Lyons on February 16, 1834. That William Fay, the son of Michael, was to remain on that plot in Rathcogue for the rest of his life.
Michael Fay (1770?- 1831)
My 3rd great grandfather William was baptized on June 1, 1806, in Milltown Catholic Parish. His father was Michael Fay and his mother was named Margaret Dogherty. The records, unfortunately, don’t include the name of the townland where they resided.
However the names of William’s baptismal sponsors – Christopher Ford and Mary Donnelon – give us a clue. (Mary Donellan (b. 1781) was, I believe, Chris’s wife). Christopher Ford (b. 1784), or more likely a descendant of his, showed up in 1854 farming in Balrath townland, and his relative William in Curraghboy. Both of these townlands are located directly south of the Mearescourt estate, and their lands were owned by John D. Meares. (see map below). If the Fords had remained in that area since the turn of the century then it might suggest that Michael Fay and Margaret were living around Curraghboy or Balrath (in Milltown Parish) at the time as well.
A further search of the baptismal records shows that William Fay had an older brother named Bernard, baptized on Dec 13, 1804. Margaret’s nephew Daniel Doherty (b. 1784), who in 1834 was living in the neighboring townland of Kilgawney, was a baptismal sponsor. Following the traditional naming pattern, Bernard was probably named after Margaret’s father. We have records of her older brother Bernard Dogherty (Daniel’s father) who had married in 1783 and already had eight children by 1801.
There are no Church records of Michael and Margaret’s marriage, or of any other children born to them. Of course if they had been previously living in Moyvore Parish, whose registries only began in 1831, we would not expect to find any records. And so it would be premature to exclude the possible existence of other siblings. All we know for sure is that for a brief time – between 1804 and 1806 – Michael Fay was residing in Milltown parish, probably just south of the Mearescourt estate.
Michael did not show up in the 1834 Tithe Applotments. The explanation for that is found in one of the earliest deaths recorded in the Moyvore Parish registry. On Oct 20, 1831, Michael Fay was laid to rest, and it was stated that he had lived in Relick. There were actually two adjacent townlands named Relick in Moyvore Parish – Relick Malone and Relick Longworth, each named after the principle landowners. Both were within a mile of Rathcogue. Based on typical Irish marriage patterns, Michael was most likely born around 1770 and we certainly know that he had married before 1804. He was therefore probably around 60 when he died, at a relative early age. There are no death records for Margaret, his wife, so it is quite possible that she died prior to 1831.
(click to enlarge image)
The Townlands of Moyvore and Milltown Parishes
Given the lack of baptismal records for any other children of Michael and Margaret Fay between the years of approximately 1795 through 1830 we have to rely on other later records that might help us to uncover their existence and to fill in any particulars. (See above chapter entitled “Sources” for details). Those records potentially include the following sources:
The Tithe Applotments of 1823-1837 – a list of the names of the occupiers or tenants (as well as the owners) of all rural tracts of over one acre (1.6 statute acres) in Ireland. For our area of Westmeath that information was collected in 1834.
Griffith’s Valuations of 1847-1864 – another list of the heads of households occupying property, both rural and municipal, throughout Ireland. This was used for tax assessment purposes, and was compiled in Westmeath around 1854.
Sacramental records of the Catholic Parishes – including baptismal, marriage and occasionally death records. Of particular importance, and an often overlooked source of corroborative information, are the sponsors (baptismal) and witnesses (marital) to those sacraments.
The above mentioned records provide no ages or relationships – only names and sometimes locations. There is subsequently much speculation and guesswork involved in trying to piece together a family tree from those sources .
Civil Records of Birth, Marriage and Death – beginning in 1864 all vital records were required to be registered with the government – although this was often not complied with, especially in the earlier years.
Petty Court Records – mostly 1858 to 1924
These two additional sources provided more comprehensive details, dates, locations and sometimes family relationships.
Finally, there is now another potential source of establishing family linkages – the matching of shared DNA segments of the descendants of a common ancestor. While this necessarily requires extensive research into historical documentation to try to corroborate the linkage, it has become an essential tool in revealing the path to otherwise obscured family history.
I have used all of the above sources to piece together what I believe is a potentially complete picture of the children of Michael Fay and Margaret Doherty.
Michael Fay (1794-1874)
The linkage of this Michael Fay, who would have been an elder son, to our lineage is quite tenuous. His name did show up in the Moyvore Parish records as a baptismal sponsor in 1836 – for the son of Lawrence Kelly and Margaret Caulfield. The Caulfields were a local family (Ann Caulfield died in Rathcogue in 1837). But there is little else in the way of records that are definitively his.
In March of 1859, however, he married Maria Denning (b.1808) in Ballynacarrigy, a town about five miles to the northeast of Relick Townland. Michael would have been 65 years of age at the time and Maria 51 years, so this was not a spring romance. The marriage witness for Michael was John Fay, presumably his brother (see below). Michael passed away at the age of 80, in 1874. His occupation was listed as laborer. His wife Mary died a year later of cirrhosis of the liver.
John Fay ( about 1798-?)
The identification of John Fay with the lineage of Michael Fay and Margaret Doherty originates with a DNA linkage between my family and that of the descendants of a Thomas Fay (1828-1901) who emigrated to America around 1850, and lived in Port Washington, North Hempstead, Long Island. That lineage will be expanded upon in a later section. But from records in the U.S. we know that Thomas’s parents were John Fay and Mary Quinn.
There are no marriage records for John, so we must assume that he and Mary were married in Moyvore Parish before the start of the existing records in 1831. There are likewise no baptismal records of his children – we know only of Thomas born around 1828, and a younger brother Lawrence who also emigrated to Long Island, and who was born, according to one U.S. record, on July 18, 1831 – two months before the Moyvore Parish baptismal records commenced. The fact that there was no other subsequent children recorded might suggest that Mary Quinn died soon thereafter.
John, however, continued to have a presence in the Moyvore Church records. In December of 1835 he was a baptismal sponsor to the daughter of James Hughes and Bridget Caulfield, and in December of 1837 a sponsor to the daughter of Michael Sheridan and Rose Conlon (both of whom died in Rathcogue in the famine year of 1847).
Of more significance was his sponsorship in 1843 of the son of James Hedevin and his sister Margaret (see below), and of course his participation in his brother Michael’s marriage in 1859.
I have not been able to find a death record for John, either in Parish records or in the Civil records that began in 1864, so his fate has unfortunately eluded us.
Mary Fay (1802-1870)
Like her brother John, there are no marriage records for Mary, but there is fairly complete documentation for her subsequent family, which was large and prolific. Mary married William Spelman (1784-1874) presumably in the family church at Ballacurra, around 1827. William was a wheelwright (primarily making spinning wheels) living on a small farm of six acres in Ballynagrenia (also known as Suntown) about twelve miles south of Relick.
Between 1829 and 1847 the Spelmans had eight children that we know of. During the years of the Great Hunger they lost their daughter Ann to smallpox, however the rest of her siblings survived. Like so many other Irish families most of their children joined the Irish diaspora seeking better opportunities for themselves across the seas. Their eldest son, Michael, set out for America, and Rose and Ellen emigrated to Australia in 1859 and 1863 respectively. Family oral history recounts how Ellen set off on foot to Dublin with a tied–up sheet full of large oaten cakes, having heard of the danger of starvation should the ship to Australia become becalmed. Their son William ended up moving to Argentina in 1863, where he became a sucessful sheep farmer in Monte, about 45 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. Apparently Argentinia was a popular destination for Irish emigrants, particularly those from Westmeath.
Laura Spelman, the youngest child also emigrated to the U.S. at a later date. However Bridget and Elisa remained with their parents on the farm in Ballynagrenia. Their mother, Mary (Fay) Spelman died in 1870, soon to be followed by her husband four years later. Meanwhile in 1872 Bridget had married Michael Treacy (1841-1912), a farmer from Drumraney, about six miles away, and the two subsequently inherited the holding of her parents. Elisa never married and continued living with her sister’s family until her death.
The descendants of the youngest Treacy child, Patrick (1883-1966), continued living in the Suntown/Rosemount area right into the 1980s, though several of them had moved to the Dublin area.
An extensive accounting of the Spelman descendants, especially those who ended up in Australia , has been self-published under the title “Spelman Ballynagrenia” by Kevin Reed of Brighton, Victoria, Australia, who is a great-grandson of Ellen Spelman.
Although Ballynagrenia was only some twelve miles from Rathcogue, none of the Fay relatives were ever asked to witness the baptisms of Mary’s children – most of the sponsors were drawn from William Spelman’s family. Without baptismal or marriage records how then do we know that Mary Fay was indeed the daughter of Michael and Margaret Fay? The path to that conclusion is a long and winding one – and it starts with the birth of Mary’s next younger brother, Bernard.
Bernard (Bryan) Fay – 1804-1901
As stated earlier, Bernard Fay was baptised in Milltown Parish in the brief period when Michael and Margaret Fay were living south of Mearescourt. After they moved back to Moyvore Parish we find only one record of Bernard. On April 9 of 1836 Bernard was asked to witness the marriage of his friend Peter Lynne to Ann Nolan. The other witness was Mary Wrinkle. By this time Bernard’s parents were deceased, and he could have been living in Moyvore town or perhaps leasing a cottage on a holding of less than one acre –either one would have escaped his documentation in the 1834 Tithe Applotments.
However in Griffith’s Valuations of 1854 we find a Bryan Fay leasing a small two-room cottage in Bracknahevla townland about 10 miles south of Moyvore. It must be noted that during that era the names Bernard and Bryan were interchangeable, as was described in this excerpt from – “Ireland XO Insight”:
“For example, a Bryan, in Griffith’s Valuation can turn up under Barnabus (Barnaby) and Bernardus (Bernard) in parish records. All three could be the same individual! So when a trail suddenly runs dry, it’s time to look into first name aliases. “
The 55 acre tract of land in Bracknahevla where Bernard was located was farmed by William Savage, who then sublet two adjacent buildings – one, a residence, to Bryan Fay and another to Edward Wrinkle, which housed a forge. Nearly fifty years later, in the 1901 Irish Census we find that Bernard was still living in the same cottage in Bracknahevla, which by then he owned. It was recorded that he was unmarried, a general laborer (unemployed) , and 98 years old (born 1803).
The following winter, on February 22, Bernard died of pneumonia. The Civil Death record states that he was attended at his death by his nephew, a Patrick Tracy of Rosemont. This Pat Treacy (1883-1966) was actually Bernard’s grand nephew – the grandson of Mary (Fay) Spelman, his older sister. The Spelman farm in Ballynagrenia was only about six miles from Bracknahevla, and one must wonder if that might have been a factor in Bernard’s original relocation there.
William Fay (1806-1888)
A complete history of William Fay (my 3rd great-grandfather) will be detailed in a following section of this narrative.
Anne Fay (1807-1865)
Although Anne’s death record stated she was 60 (b.1805) that was probably only an estimate. Since we have no baptismal record for her in Milltown Parish, where Michael and Margaret Fay resided in 1805, it is more likely she was born around 1807, after they moved back to Relick. (Her husband John Duffy was also born in 1807.)
John Duffy was probably the son of Patrick Duffy and Ann Kilmurry. The 1834 Tithe Applotments show three Duffys – Patrick, Daniel and John – farming in Curraghboy Townland, south of Mearescourt and adjacent to Ballacurra (see Map above). Though technically in Milltown Parish, Curraghboy was closer to the chapel at Ballacurra, and that is no doubt where John and Ann Fay were married. We can’t know how many children they had before 1832 when their first baptism appeared in the Moyvore Parish records.
For James Duffy (b.1832) Ann picked Bridget Caulfield to be a sponsor, just as Bridget would select John Fay to sponsor her daughter a few years later. Ann’s two younger siblings, Patrick and Catherine Fay (see below) were godparents to her son John in 1834. And her cousin James Fay of Rathcogue would sponsor her son Thomas born in 1838.
At some point after 1834 John and Ann Duffy relocated to Relick, where presumably Ann had been raised – perhaps even to the cottage that her father had occupied. In 1854 they were listed in Griffith’s Valuations as leasing a house and small garden in Relick (Longworth). John was a laborer, probably working the agricultural holdings of James Higgins who was leasing the townland from William Longsworth.
Ann died of bronchitis in May of 1865. She was attended by Mary Duffy, who could have been a pre-1832 daughter, or perhaps a sister of John’s. John continued living in Relick for another twelve years until 1877, when he succumbed to the ravages of age. His daughter Rose was with him at his death.
Patrick Fay ( around 1809-? )
Patrick Fay married Elizabeth Thompson sometime before 1831. We don’t know where Elizabeth grew up, but there were several Thompson families living in the adjoining Parish of Carrickedmond in Longford County. Unfortunately those sacramental records started in 1835, even later than Moyvore’s. So even if the couple had married in Elizabeth’s (presumed) home parish we would not have no way of knowing.
However we do have a Moyvore baptismal record for their son James, who was born in April of 1832. We of course have no idea if the couple had any other children previous to that. But they also had a daughter Ann who was baptised in October of 1834.
A few months before his daughter was born Patrick was a baptismal sponsor, together with his younger sister Catherine (see below), of his sister Anne Duffy’s son. When his own daughter was baptised on Oct. 29th he asked Esther Kelly to be a sponsor. Two days later, when Esther married James Conlon, Patrick was called upon to be a witness. Apparently the Fays were fast friends with the Kelly’s, because in 1838 Patrick and his younger sister Ellen (see below) were also called upon to witness the marriage of Margaret Kelly to Thomas Flanahan.
The final record we have of Patrick occurred in 1852 at the baptism of his brother William’s son Peter. Patrick and his sister Margaret (see below) were asked to be the sponsors.
Like his brother John, we have no idea of the fate of Patrick and his family.
Margaret Fay ( around 1812 – ?)
The first mention of Margaret, her mother’s namesake, occurred in November of 1836. She was cited as a baptismal sponsor for the son of James and Mary Cormick. Then in 1840 she was asked to participate in the baptism of her nephew, Patrick, son of William Fay and Elizabeth Lyons.
A year later , in May of 1841, Margaret was married in the chapel at Ballacurra to James Hedevin (misspelled as Hagivan). James (b.1799) and his brother Thomas (b.1793) had both been working small plots on the Digby Estate in Ballacurra. Two years later Margaret gave birth to a son, James. She chose her older brother John to be his sponsor. Apparently James was the only child the couple had.
Nearly a decade later Margaret was again called upon to be a sponsor , together with her brother Patrick, at the baptism of William’s last child, Peter. By that time she was likely a widow. In the 1854 Griffith’s Valuations Margaret Hedwin (Hedevin) was listed as still leasing a small house and garden on the Digsby Estate, close to Thomas Hedwin’s plot. There is no record of her husbands death, however Moyvore Parish death records are missing from 1852-1863.
The fate of Margaret, and indeed of her son James, also remains unknown.
Catherine Fay (around 1815 – 1845)
Margaret’s younger sister first appeared in the 1834 Moyvore Parish records as a baptismal sponsor, together with her brother Patrick, for the son of her older sister Anne (Fay) Duffy. Catherine would have been around seventeen at the time and would have been considered as being of a marriageable age. Two years later she sponsored the child of Michael Murphey and Margaret Walsh.
Apparently, however, Catherine never married. It is likely that she ended up living with her sister Margaret, because her death, in Ballacurra, was entered in the Moyvore Parish records in May of 1845.
Thomas Fay (1819-1892)
We know almost nothing of Thomas Fay’s life. He was only twelve when his father died, so he no doubt was raised by one or several of his siblings. He never appeared in the Moyvore church records. We do know that he never married, and that he eventually made a living as a farmer. When he died in 1892 at the age of 73 he was was with his brother Bernard in Bracknahevla. It is quite possible that as bachelors the two had been living together for quite awhile.
Ellen Fay ( 1821-1875)
Ellen was the last child of Michael Fay and Margaret Dogherty that we know of. But like her brother Thomas, we know next to nothing about her. She did appear as a witness, together with her older brother Patrick, at the wedding of Thomas Flanaghan and Margaret Kelly. That was in December of 1838, when Ellen was seventeen years of age. Ellen also never married and probably ended up living with her unmarried siblings, Thomas and Bernard. She died of toxemia in Bracknahevla in 1875, at the age of 54. She was attended at her death by Anne Fay, who probably was the daughter of her brother Patrick.