Samuel Moffatt (New Info)
Samuel Moffatt Leaves Co. Longford - 1820s
Samuel Moffatt, born in Bunacloy on 25 Oct. 1788, married a Maria Connors, most likely around 1813, but the record has not been found. Through the transcription of a family bible page we do have the birth dates of all 13 children they had and that has been an invaluable resources in finding what little we know about their time together, until Maria/Mary died in 1836, and the family emigrated in 1837.
Samuel Moffatt and Family Leave for Counties Westmeath and Kildare
On 9 Jan. 1814 we have the baptism record in the Killashee register of eldest son David Moffatt, born on 5 Jan. This birthdate is an exact match to the David Moffatt birth date in Gwen Richard's family bible transcription.
But after this there had been no record found until they they were in Upper Canada. But in 2011 records were found to give more information on them. On 28 Aug. 1831 the 11th child, James Moffatt, was baptized where he was born, at Streete, in Street Parish, County Westmeath. Most significantly, father Samuel Moffatt is named as a Constable.
The Irish constabulary had been formed in 1822 from county-based forces that had been formed about 1815, and it seems most likely that Samuel Moffatt had become a constable at that time. There was a tale passed down that the family had moved to Moate, Co. Westmeath.
In the 1825 tithe applotments for Kilcleagh Parish (the western half of Moate area), there is a Mr. Moffett at Aughanerget (later Aghanargit) Townland. This is in the same townland where the police station for Moate was located.
As to being in Streete in 1831, there had been a number of sectarian riots in that part of Westmeath around that time. Mary Connor is suspected of being from Keel, just north of Ballybeg Townland where the Walsh family lived, and this location at Streete in Westmeath was not a great distance from that suggested family home.
In Jan. 1834, daughter Catherine Moffatt was baptized in Carbury Parish, Co. Kildare, father Samuel Moffatt still a constable. They were living in the twin townlands of East and West Grange, according to the baptism record. This is right on the northwest corner of Co. Kildare.
The Carbury Parish record provides further information, relating to another birth - and to the death of Mary (Connor) Moffatt at the age of 42.
The parish register notes that on Dec. 11, 1836, one day after the birth of youngest son Charles Moffatt, the death of Mary Moffatt occurred. The family was living at Russellswood Townland, 3.7km north of Grange, and likely not coincidentally the Victorian 6in. to the mile map shows a constabulary barracks in Russellswood.
Mary Moffatt is likely buried in the Carbury Parish churchyard. This small village had been a centre for them, and in addition had a constabulary barracks right at the main intersection in the town, a few hundred metres south of the church. The Carbury Church of Ireland is just a short distance from the well-known ruins of Carbury Castle.
Samuel Moffatt and Family Emigrate to Upper Canada
The Irish Constabulary was changing in 1836, and it may be that Samuel Moffatt left the force at this time. The family story was that they had already made plans to emigrate, and Samuel carried through with them.
The eldest daughter Suzanna remained in Ireland. She was born 4 Oct. 1816 and thus would have been 20 years of age. Who she married and where is not known. It would seem most likely it was someone in the region, but there is no record in the Carbury Church of Ireland register.
When they travelled in 1837 across the Atlantic, the next eldest daughter Eleanor, who would marry Richard Walsh that same year, on 26 Sep. 1837, must have played a major role in mothering the youngest children. Three, James, Catherine and Charles were five years of age or younger.
They would have glimpsed the shore of the lower St. Lawrence or Gaspe, and passed the towering Cap Tourmente not long before landing at Quebec. It was then on up the St. Lawrence to Montreal, undoubtedly with a few days in that growing city. Arrangements would have had to be made to travel up the Ottawa River to Cumberland.
In Cumberland they would have disembarked in this small village centered around a lumber mill and grist mill. From there the muddy road led inland.
Almost certainly they lived with one of the Walsh family members in Bear Brook initially, before a first cabin could have been built on the new land. It was on Con. 5 Lot 15 East 1/2, and remained in the family for more than a century.
Homesteading and Disappearance
The family settled on the 100 acres of land designated as the E1/2, Lot 15, Concession 5, Township of Cumberland near Bearbrook, Ont., but even then it may have been that Eleanor was living with the Walshs to take care of the very young children.
All of this took place some 12 miles south of the Ottawa River village of Cumberland. An early account indicated that "the settlement of the interior (of the Township) at that date was very sparse, though pioneers had begun to locate in the back concessions as early as 1824, but the want of highways proved a serious detriment to its development. The Bear Brook settlement near the southern boundary of the township, was the most important south of the river community, according to one account.
Assessment records for 1838 and 1839 show Samuel developing the land and by 1839 he had three out of the 100 acres cultivated and owned one milch cow .
The property was valued at £24 19s with an assessment (paid) of 3s 8p.
In the 1840 assessment record, Samuel's name does not appear and David, the oldest son, now 26, is shown as occupying the property . Eight acres were now under cultivation and David owned 2 milch cows and 2 oxen. The property was valued at £40 8s and assessment 5s 91/2p. The same description held for 1841 but in 1842, David's name was missing and his brother-in-law, Richard Walsh (Eleanor's husband), was shown as owning it.
By 1840, Samuel was 52 years old, with six children still under 15, and likely died at this time. No record of the death or burial of Samuel in church records or archives at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa has been found, and he is not listed in 1851 or subsequent census records for Cumberland or anywhere else in Canada or the US. He may have gone to the "bush" as a lumberman, but that seems unlikely.
Eleanor Moffatt had married Richard Walsh in 1837. John Moffatt and Eliza Walsh, Richard's sister, were married in 1843 but John is shown as occupying part of Lot 21, Concession 4 which he continued to do until 1848, the last assessment record found.
The Bunacloy Lease in Killashee
At Bunacloy Townland where Samuel Moffatt was born, the family of his eldest brother James grew up. One assumes that before they emigrated there may have been a few visits back to Killashee by Samuel, but with the state of Irish roads, the work of a Constable, and the needs of a family, it would not have been very often.
For a history of Bunacloy Townland, click here.
Further Information on the Moffatts in Upper Canada
Download a four-generation register report that begins with Samuel Moffatt - and follows the family in Canada and the U.S.
1840 MAP OF CUMBERLAND TWP - just east of Ottawa showing the farmhouses of both Samuel Moffatt, and related Walshes and Hicks. The Walshes were originally from Ballybeg Townland in Taghsheenod, just north of Richmount. Note that NORTH is down on this map.
1960s MAP of CUMBERLAND TWP - shows the concesssion and lot numbers. Samuel Moffatt in yellow