I have determined that the
father of James Clarke in Canada was William Clarke Snr. Born in 1769,
Dunleckney Parish, County Carlow Ireland. He was a member of the Carlow
Militia and formed control of Irish Catholics. He lived at an
interesting time in Ireland.
The last Gaelic chieftain
was Hugh O'Neil. He rose against Elizabeth, Queen of England and was
defeated, by Lord Deputy Mountjoy. This marked the end of Irish rule. On
September 4, 1607, Hugh O'Neil and a shipload of other Irish leaders
both old Normans and Irish left Ireland forever, abandoning their lands
to the English. The new protestant King of England, James I, decided to
divide up the earl's land and give it to protestant settlers. The
Catholic Irish were removed from their land and became slaves of the
settlers. In 1641 October the Irish Catholics had had enough and rose up
and killed and exiled thousands of Protestants. Charles I, son of James,
is executed by the Parliament and Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector
of the Commonwealth. Cromwell is a Puritan protestant and because the
Irish are Catholic and sided with Charles I against him he is out to get
even. Believing the exaggerated stories of the 1641 uprising atrocities,
Cromwell attempted to wipe out Irish Catholics. He killed one third of
the population of Ireland.
Cromwell is best known for
his ravaging of the town of Drogheda, where his troops killed 1000 men,
women and children in an act of violence that made Cromwell's name
synonymous with evil.
The Parliament got tired
of Cromwell and retuned Charles son to power. In a subsequent English
civil war the Crown shifted from Protestant to Catholic and back to
Protestant. Tensions ran rampant, and violence was widespread. In 1690
the throne ended up with William of Orange (probably the namesake of
William Snr.) William the Orange produced the hated Penal Laws which
forbid Catholics to hold office, be educated, own land, or even own a
horse valued at more than 5 pounds. During this period the Irish people
switched from Gaelic to English language. The Protestants wanted to make
sure that they stay on top this time. This period is called the
The Irish try to fight
back with several terrorist groups, Whiteboys, Hearts of Steele and
Hearts of Oak, and the Carders. To fight back the Protestants form the
Peep O'Day Boys which turns into the order of the Orange in 1795.
Theobald Wolfe Tone, father of Irish Nationalism forms the United
Irishmen dedicated to removal of English rule. Tone gets the French to
help in 1797. They send 3000 men and a fleet of ships. Unfortunately the
British intercept and capture the French Fleet.
The story of William Clarke Snr.
William Snr is born in
Dunleckney Parish, County Carlow Ireland in 1769. The Carlow Militia is
formed in 1893 as a temporary force to maintain order. All officers are
Protestants and the men mostly Catholic. The unit is established as a
draft. Due to some misunderstandings about foreign deployment and to the
general distrust of the Catholic Irish for the Protestant Irish there
are riots and much resistance to this draft. Although its not too bad in
William is Sponsored by
Col Bruen. He enlists in 1793. The unit forms in Carlow and then marches
to Nenagh in 1793. From there to Charlesfort, Kinsale and then Cobh.
They quarter in Cobh in August 1794. In 1795 they march to Waterford. In
Dec 1795 Col. Henry Bruen died. A parade is held in the morning at
Waterford. Afterwards they march to Trim, Downpatrick, Blairsmore Camp,
Drogheda and arrive at Navan in summer 1798.
The United Irish revolt
occurs at this time. The United Irish are mostly Catholic but also some
Protestants. They believe in a free Ireland. The Carlow Militia marches
to Nittstown on the banks of the Boyne. The unit engages a much larger
mob of United Irish. The mob is routed. The unit marches on to Cork,
Charlesfort, Midleton, Mullingar, and Roscrea. In 1802 peace is restored
and the Unit goes home to Carlow. This is called the Peace of Armiens
1802. William takes advantage of the peace and marries Abigail Norris on
14 July 1802, in Dunleckney Parish. Shortly thereafter his first son
Thomas is born. The peace doesn't last and in 1803 the Carlow Militia is
reconstituted. William becomes a Corporal. Around 1805 or 1806 his
second son James is born. Also in 1806 William is promoted to Sergeant.
His son William Jr. is born on 8 April 1810. Also his daughter ??? is
born. In August 1814 at a hospital in Dublin, William Snr. is discharged
for medical reasons. He is diagnosed with dyspepsia. He returns home
from Dublin. A daughter Ann is born and a son Robert is born in 17 Dec
1816. The entire Carlow Militia is disbanded in 26 March 1816. Thus
ending an important part of Irish history.
William Snr and Abigail
Norris hear of free land in Canada and sign up. William is settled on
Drummond Twp., Lanark County Ontario Canada on 22 August 1817 at age 48,
with his four sons and two daughters. Eldest son Thomas becomes a
shoemaker and marries Mary Cannon on 20 May 1828. Second son James
becomes a lumberman and farmer and marries Ann Dougherty in Perth on 15
November 1837, Third son William also becomes a farmer and marries
Elizabeth. Williamís daughter Ann marries Moses Thornton a Cooper also
from Ireland, on 16 Feb 1840 in Perth. Fourth son Robert becomes a
carriage maker and moves to Brighton Ontario. There he marries Sophie
from the USA. In 1834 William Jr. purchases 100 acres of land in Seymour
Twp., Northumberland County, Ontario. William Jr. and Thomas move to
this part of Ontario near Campbellford, Seymour Twp., Northumberland Co,
Ontario. In 1840 James buy's land in Montague Twp. Lanark Co. Ontario
from a William Watson formally of the 104 Reg. British Army. Robert
moves to Brighton Ontario.
James and Ann second son
William is born on the disputed land in Montague. In 1843 the true land
owner returns and gets in dispute with James. James loses and returns to
his Dad's farm in Drummond. William Snr. dies 5 December 1843 leaves
farm to James. James leaves Canada for Michigan in 1848. In 1850 he is
working as a lumberman in Mackinaw Michigan, where his youngest son
James is born. Shortly after 1850 he moves to Green Bay Wisconsin.