Home Biographies History Places Documents Letters Family Tree Misc Contact NEW Blog


Mary Elizabeth Johnston

John Dickson Bremner - or possibly Bremer

Born: May 9 1861 (Moorhead Birthday Book)
Died: Jan 10, 1845 Died:
Father: George JOHNSTON Father:
Mother: Mother:
Married: May 9 ( in Jeannie Moorhead's Birthday Book - no year given)


  • 2102 Oct 25: I still do not know who BREMNER was, but there are two interesting sightings of that may link to him, and one possibly of her. The 1862 China Directory lists: BREMNER, A. Turnkey, Goal. Then the 1904 Whos Who, Shanghai lists BREMNER, A.S. Bill & Bullion Broker, C/O Shanghai Club. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that in 1909, Ethel Staubb's diary of those who visited her in Hong Kong, and those she paid calls to, has multiple entries for a Miss M.E. JOHNSTONE. There may or may not be a link to Sir James John Gordon BREMER (1786-1850). He was a naval officer active in the region. A hill in Hong Kong was named after him (now known as Braemar). In 1811, he married Mrs Harriet Glasse, née Wheeler, of Waterford. SOURCE: The Irish Sea-Officers of the Royal Navy, 1793-1815 They had two sons: Edward Gordon BREMER who died age 26 in Scotland and John de Courcey BREMER (1822-1891). I have not yet been able to trace their descendants.
  • 2006 April 20: I have recently learned that she was the governness for the Gilmore family of Liscalgot - more details will be added when I can get to it.
  • There is a mention in The Edinburgh War Service Record of Bremner, A. A. (1921-27), Lt. (S), Hong Kong RN.V.R. This is a long shot.
  • 2022 May 13. She was present at the death of David JACKSON 1889 at Urker, but living at Liscalgat [Where the GILMORE's resided]. Although it is not a match with the record in Jeannie MOORHEAD's Birthday Book [May 9], there is a marriage cert Jul 7, 1904 for a John Dickson BREMNER, veterinary Surgeon of Valentia Island Co. Kerry & Mary Elizabeth JOHNSTON of Ballygroom House, Tralee, Co. Kerry [was she a governess there?] dau of George JOHNSTON, farmer. Present were: Annie JOHNSTON & Margaret S. JOHNSTON. Mary E BREMNER died Jan 10, 1845, age 84 [b 1861], at Moyligh, Clarinalour, Tralee, widow of Veterinary Surgeon. The 1901 Census records her, age 39, as one of three unmarried Presbyterian sisters living at Ballygarren, Co. Kerry, all born in Co. Kerry (also Katherine age 46, & Alice W. age 42). There is a will abstract for their father, George JOHNSTON, died Oct 9, 1899, of Baltygarron, gent. He died at Ballygarron, Tralee, age 86, son Patrick JOHNSTON present at death. NOTE: There is no trace of Mary Elizabeth BREMNER or of John BREMNER in the1911 Census.

This biography is one of my greatest leaps of faith (based upon precious little fact), but I wanted to get these two photographs out in the world so perhaps others could shed some light on them. Several of my cousins have said when seeing this photo: "She is one of us!". The physical resemblance is striking, but how she fits in is still a mystery. 2022 Hunch. I have included the name of her likely husband.

It is quite likely that she is a grand-daughter (or some-such) of the Anne JACKSON who married a Richard JOHNSTON in 1767 at Creggan Church. Anne was a daughter of George JACKSON & Margaret O'Laughlin. In 1828, a Richard JOHNSTON was in the townland of Tullydonnell Gage, Parish of Creggan.

There was a Richard JOHNSTON who was a target of murder in 1792. He assisted in the arrests of the Murphy brothers for the Berkeley outrage in 1791. SOURCE: Ten Troubled Years: Settlement, Conflict and Rebellion in Forkhill, County Armagh 1788-1798 by Kyla Madden. April 1998. Masters Thesis.

In the 1822 list of freeholders of Co. Louth it is perhaps pertinent that there is the following: Johnson John; Longfields Co. Mon.; Roachkeane and Creggan; -; Dundalk 27/10/1806; Upper Dundalk; £50; - The connection of Monaghan and Creggan is part of what intrigues me.


  • 28 April 1791. R.I.A. Charlemont MS 12 R 16 No.62; .Armagh Assize Indictments. Lent 1791
  • Freeman's Journal. 21 April 1792.

I have posted part of a Johnston Family Tree, but there is no "Mary E. JOHNSTON" showing up yet. In the Birthday book, there was also an Ena JOHNSTONE who married a STANLEY. The name BREMNER is not a common one in Ireland in the 19th century - at least from what I can see. There was a Catherine BREMNER who married a Robert HAMILTON, but that is all that I have been able to find.
Sharon Oddie Brown. August 29, 2005.



Site Map | Legal Disclaimer | Copyright

© 2003-2023 Sharon Oddie Brown