Hello Joyce, I’m David Killen of Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and I wonder perhaps if we are different branches of the same tree?
First of all, I don’t know whether you are related to, or know of, Mrs. A. M. Brady, Greenwich New South Wales.She carried out extensive research in Ireland in the late 1980s and early 1990s and picked up a lot of details.
If you know her, then forgive me if I go over information you already know.
The John Killen you mention as having been married to Nancy Roulston I believe is my great-great grandfather.
John was born about 1816 and died in 1903.Nancy was born in 1819 and died in 1879.Her parents were Andrew Roulston and Martha McClure,
Andrew Killen, married to Rebekah McGowan, and Samuel Killen, married to Martha Robinson, were two of his sons. (I’m sure of the Andrew Killen bit, and I am confident you are right on the Samuel side.)
They lived in various places in Co Donegal, though Andrew Killen made his home close to the small town of St Johnston (also spelled Johnstown).
Baptismal records of the Monreagh Presbyterian Church, which is a few miles away, show John and Nancy’s children as being Jane (DOB 28/7/1847); John (23/2/1851) ANDREW (4/5/1853); David (2/6/1854); Susan (16/8/1857); SAMUEL (5/9/1859) and James (28/11/1861). The records sometimes give Nancy’s name as Anne.John was described as a precentor (more of that later) and flax dresser.
John’s father, William Killen, was married to Mary Mitchell (or Mitchels) and they had at least two other sons, David, born 1839 and Ralph, born 1810 to 1820, married Sarah Park in 1842.
It is also a pretty firm conjecture that William had a son James who went to Canada with his family.There is a branch of the family there.Some members of that Canadian branch subsequently moved on to the USA and Australia.
William Killen’s father was James who served in the Royal Navy at the time of the wars against Napoleon.He was away from home for at least 10 years.
(All the Christian names seem to repeat again and again in the family)
I am descended from John and Nancy’s son Andrew, or to give him the name he was formally known as, Andrew Roulston Killen.
The family in Donegal appears to have been involved in the flax industry and Andrew Roulston Killen is described as a farmer and miller with land at Kinnycally, St. Johnston.(I believe they had a corn mill as well as a scutch mill).
Andrew Roulston Killen was also quite famous in the area as a noted precentor and teacher of music.In the days before organs were common in churches, unaccompanied singing was led by the precentors.In the Presbyterian Church it was all Psalms and Paraphraises until late on in the 1800s.Andrew Roulston Killen was a precentor in numerous churches on both sides of the River Foyle.Indeedthere is a family story that he used to row across the Foyle (about half a mile wide) and then walk about three mules each Sunday to the congregation at 2nd Donagheady.He was also precentor at 1st Strabane, and records show he fell out with the congregation over payments.
My grandfather, John, often told the story that he never heard a hymn sung until he went with his father (ARK) to the signing of Sir Edward Carson’s anti-Home Rule Covenant in Londonderry in about 1912.
Andrew Roulston Killen had nine daughters and three sons.One daughter, Lena, married her second cousin and went to America (or perhaps went to America first, then married her second cousin). Another son, David, died, in the great flu epidemic that swept across Europe after the First World War.
We believe the third of ARK’s sons was Samuel, who may have gone to Australia???If that is the case, his uncle, also Samuel, was probably also there
My grandfather was born in 1889, and lived to celebrate his 100th birthday.John lost his right arm in a mill accident at about the age of seven. He went on to take over the family business at Kinnycally.
The family were quite well off in the early part of the 1900s, with servants in the house.
Unfortunately, my grandfather was not much of a businessman. The family folklore is that he was too lenient in collecting money owed to the business, and it went under as part of the Great Depression of the 1930s.ARK, John and his family moved to Tyrone in 1935.ARK went to live with the Fleming family in Strabane, who were relatives through the Roulston side of the family.
John moved to the Omagh area of Co Tyrone with his wife and four children, my father, Samuel David, and my aunts Rae (sadly now deceased) Molly and Margaret.A second son, James Roulston Killen, was born in Co Tyrone.
ARK died in the 1940s and is buried in the family plot at Monreagh Presbyterian Church.
If you get in touch with me, I can get a photograph of the headstone and e-mail it to you.
Again I would recommend you getting in touch with Mrs Brady, who I think has (or had) a brother Samuel David Killen.
It is with sadness I note that Killen Hall died quite recently.I never met him, but he wrote regularly to my father’s cousin Jean (Fleming) Anderson.
I have noticed other correspondence in relation to Killens from Co Antrim.I may be wrong, but I do not think they are connected with the St Johnston Killens.