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


NAMES: John CONNELLAN, apothecary from Dundalk; John MOORE; James PILLAR; John JACKSON; John WILSON; William CUNNINGHAM; William CAMPBLE AKA CAMPBELL, innkeeper at Armagh; Mrs. McCAUL; William DONALDSON of Freeduff; John KELLY, Dundalk; Unnamed STIRLING; Hugh HERON; Daniel DEVIT; (probably Samuel) COULTER; JOCELYN; Alexander JOHNSTON; William CUNNINGHAM; John MOORE; William FOSTER of Dundalk; John HINDES of Dundalk.
Sharon Oddie Brown. November 10, 2008


1798 Aug 14

The Times, Tuesday, Aug 14, 1798; pg. 2, 3


[Continued from the times of Thursday last.]

Friday the court met at 11 o'clock, when the prosecutor for the Crown stated, that he had sent for some evidence to support the character of Connellan[1]; and in the meantime, the court might proceed, with the trial of the two other prisoners, John Moore[2] and James Pillar[3], and of the same John Jackson[4], for being present with others at a traitorous meeting, held in Armagh for the purpose of subverting the present Government, on 29 May last, and for it advising, aiding, and affiliating in the Rebellion.

The court having agreed to this proposition, John Connellan was again examined. Knows the prisoners John Moore, James Pillar, and John Jackson. Acknowledge that he was an United Irishmen, and that he'd been delegated by the United Irishmen of the County of Louth, to attend a provisional meeting of delegates from the other counties of Ulster, at Armagh, on 10 May last; that he did attend said meeting at Armagh, and saw the prisoners Wilson[5] and Cunningham[6] there; and saw the several transactions that day according to his deposition given before the court, upon the late trial of the said John Jackson, John Wilson, and William Cunningham. That the meeting of 10 May was adjourned to the 29th; that previous to the adjournment; the prisoner, John Wilson, made out tickets of admission for the next meeting, on which tickets were written, William Campble[7] 29th May, and one was given to each member. Was in Armagh the 29th and attended the Provincial Meeting appointed for that day, as delegate from the County of Louth. Witness called on Mr. Jackson for the purpose of speaking to him about the business that was to take place that day; amongst other subjects the witness mentioned to Mr. Jackson, the return he had brought of the King's troops in the County of Louth, pursuant to order of the meeting of 10 May. Jackson asked witness his opinion concerning the insurrection, and asked if he thought the United Irishmen's forces would succeed without the assistance of the French and witness told him that he did not think such an undertaking would meet with success. Mr. Jackson that he had received a message from Mrs. McCaul[8], acquainting him that she would not let any more meetings take place in her house; Jackson also expressed his doubts that Campble would not allow a meeting to take place in his house.

Witness then left Mr. Jackson's shop, and met in the street., Mr. Donaldson[9], one of the delegates of Armagh, with whom he went into the house of W. Campble; they went upstairs into a back room, and called for some drink, and whilst there all the members assembled, amongst others the prisoners John Moore and James Pillar. The persons assembled besides where Mr. Bashford, from Belfast; Mr. Campble, from Derry; Mr. Donaldson from Armagh; and some others whom he does not recollect to the amount of nine altogether. -- the prisoner John Moore was appointed chairman at that meeting. Mr. Bashford began the business by telling the persons present that the long expected messenger from France had not yet arrived. He then asked the members for the returns of the Government military forces in each country according to the instructions given by him (Bashford) at the meeting of the 10th. Mr. Bashford first called on witness for his return of the king's troops in the County Louth, which witness gave in. Witness’s report stated the regular troops, including the militia, to be few in number, but very loyal. He at same time gave in a state of the number of yeomanry corps in the County of Louth, mentioning also the number of men in each corps that witness understood would join in the insurrection; and he was instructed to say that the Barmeath corps were friends to the insurgents, excepting one or two. Mr. Bashford said, witness return of the friends in each of the other corps were so few that he would put them all down as bad, i.e. loyal men to the present Government.

After these remarks upon witness return, he called upon the members one after another for their returns. Having counted of the returns then made by the members present, he compared them with returns that had been before made by the county committees of the United Irishmen's forces, in each country, and so they found their United Irishmen's forces so superior to that of the Government, that would be a shame to wait any longer; and he was authorized to say, that they might and would commence an insurrection without the aid of France. -- it was then resolved upon to commence the Rebellion in a short time. The members were asked, if each county would be able to do its own business, for that would be all that was necessary. When his answer was that the people in general, in the County of Louth, were well inclined, but they were not organized or officered, and were not provided with arms and ammunition; and also mentioned the circumstance of Kelly[10] having resigned his office of Adjutant General of the County of Louth, and a successor not being appointed. The other members of that meeting laid their respective reports before Bashford. -- Bashford then declared that the insurrection would commence on a Friday or Saturday following at [fartheft?]  - that the insurrection was to commence in the counties of Antrim and Down, and then they would take Blaris Camp and Belfast, which would be the signal for a general rising of Ulster. He then said as the other countries were not required to rise, to news of that event taking of Blaris Camp and Belfast should arrive which would be the signal for them to rise, all that would be required would be for each county to do its own business. Bashford then told them that was their duty to return to their respective counties, and communicate that information to the people who had appointed them. He then wish them to exert themselves to prepare the people, to keep in readiness in the speediest and best manner, to join in the insurrection, according to the orders given. The meeting was then adjourned to Belfast to some day in June. He said that was only a matter of form, as the insurrection would commence before the day of the adjournment.

Witness was sent to Banbridge to attend a meeting on 4 June at the Executive, in the house of one Stirling[11]. Witness was not a member of the Executive; but was sent to Banbridge to know the result of the meeting that day, and to inform his constituents thereof. Met the prisoners Jackson and Moore at Banbridge that day; and in a conversation witness had with them they expressed their surprise that none of the members of the Executive had attended. There were tickets made out of the meeting of the 29th, to admit members to the meeting of the Executive, which was to be held at Banbridge on 4 June. Bashford told them at the meeting of the 29th, that the burning of the mail-coach have been fixed on by the Executive of Dublin and the Executive of Ulster, as a signal for a general rising; and the Executive of Ulster were very much censured by the people for not beginning the insurrection when the signal was given by the Executive of Dublin. That the reason of the insurrection not then taking place was, the Executive did not tell the officers. Witness was apprehended on 9 June last; and believes the apprehension of the leaders was the cause of the people not rising.

The witness then underwent a long cross-examination and the court adjourned till than the next day.

Saturday the court opened at 10 o'clock.

Mr. Hugh Heron[12] of Banbridge, was examined with regard to his journey to Dundalk, and the conversation that passed in the house of old Mr. Devit[13] last Saturday night; which conversation he deposed to not having heard, being in a room adjoining to Mr. Devit's bedroom.

In his cross-examination he stated, that Mr. Coulter[14], to whom he had a letter from the brother-in-law of Mr. Jackson, and went to first on Saturday last, told him that Connellan was a villain; for that he had written anonymous letters which might tend to destroy him, Mr. Coulter. -- Notes Mr. Coulter was not produced.

Hon. Mr. Jocelyn[15] sworn. -- has known that Connellan since the year 1789 and is never heard anything to make them think his oath should not be believed in a court of justice. Has always heard of his being a man disaffected to the Government. Never heard anything to the discredit of old Mr. Devit in the smallest degree; would believe the oath of Mr. Devitt before the oath of Mr. Connellan.

Alexander Johnston[16] sworn. Knows the prisoner Cunningham[17]. Recollects the fair day of Monaghan; on the 18th of may last. Is positive he saw the prisoner Cunningham in Monaghan that day: and witness went with the prisoner to his mother’s where the prisoner resided early in the evening of that day; and saw him in his mother’s house that night between 10 and 11 o'clock, and the next day saw the prisoner there. The distance of Mr. Cunningham's mother house from Armagh is about 14 miles or upwards. The 29th, prisoner was with witness. Witness was United Irishmen, but availed himself of the proclamation in June 1797, since which time he does not know anything about them. Has heard and believes the prisoner Jackson was United Irishmen. Believes all the prisoners excepting Moore[18], were United Irishmen; but cannot form a belief whether he was one or not. Does not consider the oath of United Irishmen binding; admits one-party oath is not to give evidence in a court of justice against any Brother United Man for any or all or expression in that or similar societies. If a murder were committed, he would not think the oath prevented him to give evidence. Has heard and believes that expressions and acts of Sedition and High Treason have been spoken and done in societies of United Irishmen. He thinks the oath of United Irishmen are to prevent any member giving evidence of such acts and expressions of High Treason and Sedition -- never was in any society where high treason was committed. Has heard of high treason being committed at such societies. Is positive he is not mistaken with regard to having seen the prisoner Cunningham in 29 May. After some further cross-examination, the court adjourned.

Monday -- the court met at 10 o'clock. William Foster[19]. Esq. sworn. Lives in Dundalk and has known Mr. Connellan: for 10 years past; has been in his company on different occasions, but not as an companion. Connellan was a man that got drunk in the evenings, and was suspected of being a United Irishmen; but knew nothing else against him

Mr. John Hindes[20] sworn. Lives in Dundalk and has known Connellan for nearly 8 years and thinks he ought to be believed on oath and would believe him were here juror or member of a Court-martial.

[In consideration of the Council for the prisoners not having understood that more evidence was to be brought forward by the prosecutor, the court has granted till Wednesday to bring four more witnesses on the part of the prisoners. -- adjourned.]


[1] John CONNELLAN. A most amazing story is told in Ulster in 98: Episodes and Anecdotes.  Robert M. Young. Belfast. 1893. According to a conversation that the author had with an Andrew Stilly in 1845, who had been involved in the United Irishmen of 1798, Connellan was an apothecary in Dundalk. He “was afterwards sent out as a surgeon on board a convict ship, when the convicts rose, far out at sea, and literally cut Connellan to pieces, and threw the fragments of his body into the sea. They then ran the vessel into France, where they were taken prisoners and branded; but some of them made their escape, retaining, however, on their persons the marks of the branding iron – amongst other, two brothers of the name of Bourne.” Interestingly, the name CAROLAN shows up with much the same description. Extracts from the records of the spy Thomas COLLINS indicate that  at a meeting 28/2/192 John Carolan, apothecary, Carrickmacross, admitted and then 10/5/1793 Mr. Carolan of Carrickmacross, took the “Test”. SOURCE: p. 325  At the Ford of the Birches. Murnane, James H., and Peadar Murnane, 1999. I would assume that the two names represent the same person.

[2] John MOORE. I know nothing about him.

[3] James PILLAR. I know nothing about him. There is a menion of a James PILLAR marriage to Mary GREER, but this would be a generation too soon. I would suspect they would be Quakers in the linen industry. SOURCE: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=REG&db=capenoch&id=I753

[4] John JACKSON. An excellent article on the JACKSONs in the 1798 Rebellion can be found at: http://farrell-family.org/ancestry/JacksonsKirkmans/Rebels/Rebels.html  Going from this, I would think it likely that this is most likely  the John JACKSON (1744-1824), the son of Hugh JACKSON & Elinor GAULT. The residence of John Jackson, the younger brother of James, was named Creeve House, and he is usually called "John of Creeve." John was peripherally involved in the "Poitin Affair" in Ballybay in 1797…. Other than the informer report, the evidence of John's involvement in '98 is sparse. He provided refuge for Samuel Neilson when he escaped the roundup at Bond's Dublin home in March, 1798, fleeing to Ballybay. A search was conducted at John's house "and he [Samuel Neilson] had escaped out of his bed by a back window into an adjoining house. [Madden, R. H., 1842-1846, United Irishmen, 1st Edition,, Series 2, 1:332]. After the rebellion John cared for the Neilson daughters while Samuel was incarcerated in Ft. George, and Samuel visited them their after his release from Ft. George and on his way to exile [Madden, R. H., 1842-1846, United Irishmen, 1st Edition,, Series 2, 1:332

[5] John WILSON. I know nothing. There was a Hugh WILSON mentioned in the Banishment Acts.

[6] William CUNNINGHAM. A William Cunningham of Ballymena, Co Antrim came from a family extensively involved in the milling business and with connections to Ballyaby. SOURCE” Mary France Kerley, The Rise & Fall of a Village Industry Cornacarrow & Laragh Mills 1775 – 1925 published in Johnston, J. (Ed), “Monaghan studies in Local History”, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 2008. I am unsure if he was deported. There was a William CUNNINGHAM at the time in St. Vincents. SOURCE: PRONI D/1108/A  Cunningham and Clarke manuscripts.  The name is mentioned in Historical CollectionsRelative to the Town of Belfast  by Henry Joy, 1817

[7] CAMPBLE, a publican. William CAMPBELL

[8] Mrs. McCAUL. I know nothing, although a couple of sources may come close to a connecton. SOURCE: The Parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O‘Crilly. Kernohan, M.A. 1912. McSkimm records the following proceeding at Kilrea - "A wretched vagrant named McCaul, who, a few years after, was transported for stealing cattle, made oath before Rev. John Torrens, that seven persons whom he named were captains in the army of the United Irishmen.”  SOURCE: Ros Davies site: An Elizabeth & Thora McCALL gave evidence re the burning of McKee's farm at Carricknacessagh during United Irishmen Rebellion c. 1798

[9] DONALDSON. This is most likely William DONALDSON, one of our family members (or it could be one of his brothers). William DONALDSON (1768 -20 Nov 1815) married Barbara BRADFORD (1783 -1865), both are buried at Freeduff. William was chairman and leader of the United Irishmen in Tullyvallen and Tullynaval and attended Freeduff Presbyterian Church. SOURCE: Belfast Newsletter 18 Sep 1797. Armagh Assizes. The Assizes ended the 14th instant at which the following persons were tried before the Right Hon. Lord Yelverton and the Hon. Judge Chamberlaide ... David Lawson, William Donaldson and Arthur Clark were indicted for high treason, but their trials were put off until the next assizes. Belfast Newsletter 30 Mar 1798. SOURCE: Monaghan Assizes. On the 19th instant, the Monaghan Assizes were opened before the Hon. Justice Downes and Baron George, when the following persons were brought to trial ...William Donaldson and Alex Clark also indicted last Assizes for high treason were discharged under the Habeus Corpus Act. ..? Evidently this did not deter William Donaldson from his work and the Court record

shows he was busy the next month. Jul 12, 1798. The court met this day to adjournment and proceeded to the trial of William Craig, Thomas Craig and James Hall, confined by William Barker, Esq., a magistrate, for stealing a gun. William Lowden of Camley, near Newtownhamilton, being duly sworn, says that in Apr 1797 as near as he can recollect, two men came to his father's house, to wit, the prisoners William Craig and James Hall. ..that he was in bed, and his brother came to him and said two men wanted him to join them in the United business, which he declined, and said he would rather quit the country. His brother went out of the house and returned with the two prisoners. The prisoner then asked him where he intended to go and told him he could not go ...that they told him if he did not go with them it would be too late, for the French were in the country and all the King's stores would be seized before 10 o'clock that morning. After that he got up from his bed and put on his clothes. William Craig brought a book to him. ..and swore him a United Irishman. That they made him make a roll of the names of the men they had sworn in that morning, to the number of 14 or 16 men. The prisoner said they were going to return the men to William Donaldson of Cloghog, near Newtownhamilton, as he was their leading man. In Rev. McCombe's Seatholders List is the mention of Elder William Donaldson of near Freeduff, but whose residence was in Cloghoge Townland. He attended Synod 4 times. SOURCE: TGF Patterson transcription: Underneath this stone lieth the remains of William Donaldson of Freeduff who departed this life on the 30th day of November 1815 aged 47 years. Also the body of Barbara his affectionate wife and faithful widow who departed March 31st 1865 aged 82 years. Them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.


[10] John KELLY, Dundalk. In 1798, there was the execution of John Kelly, also known as 'Kelly of Killane' – I doubt this is him.

[11] STIRLING.- I know nothing about him. I suspect that he was involved in the linen trade in Banbridge. An Agnes STIRLING married Brice SMYTH of Brookfield House. SOURCE: http://www.bob-sinton.com/smythsofthebann/milltown.php

[12] Hugh HERON. I know nothing. It may be that he was the Hugh HERON from Seapatrick “died 4 Apr 1807 aged 48; husband of Jane who d. 1 Dec 1812 aged 38; buried 1st Presbyterian graveyard, Banbridge” As with many of the names, I suspect a connection to the linen industry (the name HERON isn Seapatrick is connected to the linen trade). SOURCE: Ros Davies site.

[13] Daniel DEVIT

[14] COULTER. The most likely person (since he is a COULTER who did not come to trial) would be Samuel COULTER (1755-1801) husband of Anne DICKIE. He was from a “gentleman’ farmer from Carnbeg, Co. Louth and his son, the world famous botanist Thomas COULTER (1793-1843) inherited his United Irishmen seals. He also had a deep interest in Irish history and the Gaelic language.

[15] JOCELYN A Robert JOCELYN was the 3rd Earl of Roden. SOURCE: The Roden Collection at Louth County Archives. The Hon Jon JOCELYN was bailiff in Dundalk in 1799. SOURCE: http://www.jbhall.freeservers.com/1692-1841_dlk_corporate_officers.htm

[16] Alexander JOHNSTON.

[17] William CUNNINGHAM. A William Cunningham of Ballymena, Co Antrim came from a family extensively involved in the milling business and with connections to Ballyaby. SOURCE” Mary France Kerley, The Rise & Fall of a Village Industry Cornacarrow & Laragh Mills 1775 – 1925 published in Johnston, J. (Ed), “Monaghan studies in Local History”, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 2008. I am unsure if he was deported. There was a William CUNNINGHAM at the time in St. Vincents. SOURCE: PRONI D/1108/A  Cunningham and Clarke manuscripts.  The name is mentioned in Historical CollectionsRelative to the Town of Belfast  by Henry Joy, 1817.

[18] John MOORE

[19] William FOSTER of Dundalk.

[20] John HINDES of Dundalk



Site Map | Legal Disclaimer | Copyright

© 2006-2023 Sharon Oddie Brown