Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Walt Disney ancestors!
Clonmelsh Co. Carlow

Walt Disney's ancestors grave

Source: Sunday Mirror, Aug 1, 2004  
The last resting place of Walt Disney's ancestors is in RUINS - even though the cartoon king's legacy is worth millions.
Walt Disney's Irish ancestors are buried in Clonmelsh graveyard, Ballyloo, Co Carlow.
But while the Disney corporation is worth millions, the graves of Walt's ancestors are overgrown and covered in mounds of filthy rubbish.
Angry councillor Jim Townsend claims locals even had to remove the gates to the graveyard to stop vandals stealing them.
He said: "What's happening is a disgrace.
"The council cleaned up the rubbish six months ago, but it's all back now."
The Disneys left Clonmesh to travel to New York in 1834, but three of Walt's ancestors are buried in the cemetery.
The all-star graveyard also boasts the family of Pierce Butler, one of the men who signed the American Constitution, and millionaire Thomas Tracy.

The Disney Family

In 1801, Arundel Elias Disney, great-grandfather of Walt Disney was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. He is a descendant of Hughes and Robert d'Isigny who settled in England with William the Conquereor in 1066. In the Primary Valuation of Tenements from May 1849, one Kepple Disney is listed as renting property of 4 acres comprising "House, offices, and land", and valued at 5 10s in the parish of Rathbeagh, Kilkenny. Also listed is one Henry Disney with over 34 acres.

In 1832 Arundel married Maria Swan and gave birth 2 November of that year to Kepple Disney. They would have a total of 16 children, including Kepple.

In 1834 Arundel and his brother Robert left Liverpool with their families intending to settle in the United States. They reached this destination on 3 October after spending a month crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Once on American soil, the two brothers separated, with Robert settling on a farm in the Midwest while Arundel proceeded to Goderich Township in Ontario, Canada. Arundel built a windmill near the Maitland River, and made his living selling corn and wood. But his fortune was temporary and he was soon in debt.

In 1858, Kepple married Mary Richardson (20 March 1838-10 March 1909) who was an Irish immigrant.

In 1859, after settling in Bluevale, Ontario, Elias was the first of their 11 children. Kepple attempted various jobs such as work drilling oil or mining salt.

In 1878, Kepple and his two sons, Elias and Robert, soon joined the rest of the family and settled in Ellis, Kansas where they purchased 80 hectares of land from the Union Pacific Railroad. They did not have the means to buy wood, so the family built a cob house before embarking on a career that would allow them to build a stone house. During this time, the Disneys farmed cattle and corn.

Kepple Disney died in 1891 at the age of 59.

  • Walt Disney

    Born: 5th December 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. USA.

    Died: 15 December 1966 in Los Angels, California. USA

    Spouse:Lillian Disney.

    Walt Disney, the son of Flora and Elias Disney, had three brothers and one sister. As the co-founder (with his brother Roy O. Disney) of Walt Disney Productions, Walt became one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world.

    Walt Disney's ancestors had emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny in Ireland. His father Elias Disney had moved to the United States after his parents failed at farming in Canada. As a child Elias moved with his family all around the United States, as his father chased various business ventures. He also worked as a mailman in Kissimmee (Orlando), Florida, future home of Walt Disney World. Elias moved to Chicago in the late 1800s soon after his marriage to Flora Call. Walt was born in Chicago.  Gowran is a small town in County Kilkenny. Kilkenny (Contae Chill Chainnigh in Irish) is located in the south east of Ireland in the province of Leinster. ... Elias Disney (February 6, 1859 - September 13, 1941) was the father of Walt Disney. Kissimmee is a city in Osceola County, Florida, United States.

    In April, 1906 Elias grew disenchanted with the violence in Chicago and moved his family to Marceline, Missouri, where his brother owned property. There he bought a house and 45 acres of farmland. While in Marceline, Disney developed his love for drawing. One of their neighbours, a retired doctor named "Doc" Sherwood, paid him to draw pictures of Sherwood's horse, Rupert. He also developed his love for trains in Marceline, which owed its existence to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which ran through town. Walt would put his ear to the tracks in anticipation of the coming train. Then he would look for his uncle, engineer Michael Martin, running the train.

    Sources: Roger Nowlan
    Walt Disney
    His parents, Elias Disney
    His grandparents Kepple Disney
  • Note:

    Roy Edward Disney died in California on December 16th 2009 at the age of 79.  He was the last member of the Disney family to be involved in the company made famous by his uncle Walt Disney. He owned a castle in Cork and came to Carlow several times to view the areas associated with his ancestors. During his last visit he was presented with copies of documents dating from the late 18th century signed by George Disney of Carlow.

    Source: Michael Purcell

    Carlow Methodist Church register transcribed by Marlborough Clarke Douglas now in PPP.


    James Thomas Disney, Farmer, married Elizabeth Mary Pierce, Farmers daughter, of Killamoate, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow. 10th April, 1912.

    Source: Michael Purcell from PPP


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