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ROSE DUNCAN – A LIFE (1896-1976)
Rose Anne Duncan was born on 4th July, 1896 at 15 Strand Street, Athlone, Westmeath County. Her Dad was Henry Dungan (Duncan) and mother was Mary Kennedy.
Henry Duggan married Mary Kenedy on 26th May, 1879 in Athlone. Henry’s father was called Kieran (hence the reason for the name cropping up in the family) and Mary’s father was called Daniel.
Kennedy originates from County Clare and means helmeted or grim. The name is now very widespread in Ireland.
Duncan means brown haired man or chieftain.
The 1901 census has the family living at 15 Strand Street, Athlone.
Henry was born in 1857 at County Roscommon, very close to Athlone. He is described as a Coach Man and Domestic Servant. He could not read or write. Dad never knew him but he was a cab driver with a horse drawn open cab with lamps and blankets. He went blind before he died. Henry died in 1931 in Athlone, age 74.
Mary Duncan nee Kennedy was born in 1858 in Kings County (Offaly), also very near to Athlone. She could read. Dad remembers that she lived until she was 96 which meant that she died in 1954.
There were the following seven children who could all read and write and were all born in Athlone over the space of sixteen years:
Mary. She was born in 1880 and was a Woollen Factory Hand. She married Jack Harvey in 1912 in Athlone but I cannot find any mention of him in the 1911 Irish Census. Their children were Mary Margaret (1913) , Jack Alfred (1914) and Frederick William (1920). The two boys formed their own band in the 1940s called the Crocketts. Jackie was also head of the Musicians Union of Ireland but sadly died young while speaking at one of their meetings.
Dad tells me that Jack Harvey(the father) comes from Hounslow, and like his Dad, William Robert, Jack was in the British army in Ireland and after he was demobbed, came back to Ireland. I have found a Jack Harvey living in Pancras in the 1911 UK Census, age 33. Jack was the manager of the local saw mill, and when he died in 1954 from cancer of the stomach, his son Jacky took over. In fact Jack visited Dublin and stayed with William Robert Harrison when he was diagnosed.
Margaret Hannah. She was born in 1881 and was a Woollen Factory Hand. She eventually ended up at the Lunatic Asylum, Mullingar, Westmeath.
Kieran Henry. He was born in 1883 and was a Shop Messenger. Dad did not have this name in his family tree.
Thomas. He was born in 1886 and was a Woollen Factory Hand. Known as Tommy he had Kieran (1918) and two other boys plus twin girls. There seems to be twins on both sides of Dad’s family! I think he married a Mary Ellen Connaughton in 1912.
Bridget. She was born in 1888 and died in the same quarter.
John Michael. He was born in 1889 and was a scholar. In the 1911 census he was a Wool Warper (set up the "warp" (thread) on looms). He helped produce five children: Tommy, Shane and three girls (Rita). I think he married a Hannah Green in 1916. This was a very religious house and the girls did not mix with the village, so they never married.
Rose Anne. She was the youngest in the family. She was born in 1896 after a gap of seven years. She had the following eight children over the space of fourteen years. The first five were born in Athlone and the other three in Dublin.
William Patrick – born in 1923 and married Kay Riley and had one son William in Dublin. They separated.
Maureen Eve – born in 1924 and married Charlie Coombs and had Paul W. (1950) and Olive in Sidcup.
John Edwin – born in 1926 and married Pauline Kavanagh in 1951 and had Noeleen M. (1952), Valerie R. (1955) and John E. (1956) in Dublin.
Cecil Francis – born in 1928 and married Emily Williams in 1955 and there was no issue. They separated.
Henry (Harry) A. - (Deceased) - born in Athlone in 1931 and named after Henry the grandfather who died in 1931. He died in Dublin in 1937.
Paul G. - married Margaret Kelly in 1957 and had Paul J. (1957), Patricia M. (1963), Jacqueline A. (1965) and Maria Elizabeth (1971) in Brentford.
Ernest Dominic – born in 1935 and married Vera Marion Winter in 1961 and had Gareth Robert in 1962 and Susan Rebecca in 1966 (all in Brighton).
Noel F.J. - married Frances A. M. Jarvis in 1961 and had Karl S. and Neil V. (twins) in 1962 and Julie F. in 1965 (all in Brighton).
Dad worked alongside Charlie Coombs in a typewriter manufacturing company called Typewriter Sundries, in Hollingbury Estate, Brighton, owned by Mr. Marcus. The company later moved up to Borough High Street, Southwark and Dad went back to work in London. The wheel had turned full circle and one of William Robert’s sons was back at home in Southwark! When Mr. Marcus died in the late 50s he left the entire company to the staff. Dad had left but Charlie benefited. It is strange to think that the last factory making typewriter spares closed last week in India!
The 1911 census had the family living at 21 Court Devinish, Athlone- an old army barracks. Dad remembers the place, and there seemed to be over 31 outhouses in the street, including stables and coach houses and garden sheds. He also remembers some of them as three cottages -perhaps a main house and two sheds, as well as the church over the bridge.
Moving forward, Rose Anna Duncan married William Robert Harrison on 24th February, 1922 in Athlone at St. Mary’s Church. He was born on 9th May, 1897 at St. Catherine House, 49 Artillery Street, Bermondsey. Interestingly his father’s profession is marked as a soldier when he was a wharf foreman. William Joseph was 49 then so I suspect it was an error in putting William Robert’s past profession. His mother was Emma Jane Green who died at age 32 in March 1899.
William had left home in 1913, when he was 16, as his step mother and he did not get on. He joined the British army as a Horseman and at some time wound up in Ireland. He demobbed in the 1920s and to get back to Ireland he joined Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh as Butler for 6 months.
After marriage he worked in the labour exchange in Athlone but the union insisted that everybody be Irish after the June 1922 Home rule. So he had to leave that job and joined the Irish Army as a Quartermaster Sergeant in the pay office.
Later on he returned to the labour exchange, in Werburgh St., Dublin after passing the exams in Gaelic. They had meanwhile moved to 145 Cashel Road, Crumlin, Dublin.
When my Dad was born on 16th September, 1935 they were living at 25 Liffey Street, Dublin (a flat above a Gramophone shop) and his father’s job was a Clerk - presumably at the labour exchange.
In 1939 they were living at 21 Liffey Street, Dublin, the O’Connells were now living at number 25.