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1st Generation

2nd Generation

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The First Generation


James and Elizabeth were born and married in the time period between the decline of Daniel O’Connell and the emergence of the Irish Republican brotherhood (1845 – 1866).  The O’Connell impetus started to ebb after the cancelled rally at Clontarf in 1843, and O’Connel died in 1847.  The 1845 to 1847 time frame was a period of the great famine. 

Between 1845 and 1866 times were uneasy but relatively quite.  A system of public education slowly evolved and in 1850 a league was formed to defend the rights of farmers.  In 1866 the Fenians were making plans for a rising under the auspices of a secret society, the Irish Republican Brotherhood.  The rising, another abortive attempt, occurred in 1867. 

1.1 James Woods (1845 - c1912) 

James was 21 years old when he married Elizabeth. His occupation was listed as a ‘Herd’, meaning a herder or farm worker.  In modern terms he was a herdsman or veterinarian. 

James married Elizabeth Cluskey in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Drumconrath, Union of Ardee, on 5th May 1866. An extract from the marriage register states the chapel as St Peter and Paul. 

At the time of his wedding, James’s residence was listed as the Townland of Clonburton. Clonburton is in Drumconrath parish in the Barony of Slane. He lived with his parents when the census was taken on 2nd April 1871.  His father Richard was listed as head of the family.  In the same reference Richard’s occupation is given as ‘caretaker and labourer’, implying that neither of them owned the property. 

James exact place of birth is presently unknown, although there is some indication that his grandparents came from Wales.  James later moved to Rokeby Hall, Walsintown in the Clougherhead area where he worked as a Herdsman for Mr H Coddington Esq, the owner of Rokeby Hall. 

1.2 Elizabeth Cluskey 

The wife of James and the mother of their thirteen children, Elizabeth was born in 1847 according to her birth certificate.  She was the daughter of Thomas Cluskey and Margaret Halpeny of Mandistown.  At the time of her wedding, Elizabeth was ‘in service’ in Cortown, which meant she was a domestic servant.  Mandistown is in Inismott parish, adjacent to Drumconrath Parish.  Corton is in Drumconrath parish. 

Elizabeth’s birth place is currently unknown.  She had at least two sisters, deduced from her children’s baptismal records.  She died around 1912 and is buried with James in the Louth village cemetery.

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