An Expanded Lineage for

An Expanded Lineage for “The Breakeys of Drumskelt”

Because the previous documents presented in this manuscript were not readily available in the past to others researching the Breakeys of Drumskelt, certain omissions are clearly evident on the extant ‘Drumskelt’ charts in circulation.  Therefore, based upon the material presented, I wish to reconstruct and expand the lineage for the Breakeys of Drumskelt by including the descendants of James Breakey of Cormeen, and his son, Humphry Thomson Breakey of Monaghan.[1]

The Lineage of Humphry Thomson Breakey


1.  William1 Breakey of the Townland of Lisgillan, County of Monaghan, Barony of Cremorne, Parish of Aghnamullen.  What little is known of William is drawn from various extant documents.

     a.  1 Feb 1753: William Breakey, Lisgallinam [most probably Lisgillan] & junior, aged 13

Source: Registry of Deeds, Dublin, landlord Verner, Book 158, Page 408, Memorial no. 106508 (Ken Breakey to author, 15 Dec 2000).

b.  30 June 1767: William Breakey of Lisgillan was alive in 1764 as William Breakey, Jr. is noted in a Memorial Deed of Lease bearing the date 18 July 1764 and registered 30 June 1767.

Source: Registry of Deeds, Dublin, No. 460, Memorial no. 166160 (Solicited by E. P. Breakey, 10 May 1968) (E. P. Breakey to author, no date).

c.  2 Dec 1773:  It may be presumed that William Breakey of Lisgillan had died prior to 31 January & 1 February 1773 inasmuch as William Breakey, Jr. now residing in the townland of Drumskelt, is no longer referenced as a ‘junior’ in a Memorial of Indented Deeds of Lease and Release bearing the date of 31 Jan & 1 Feb 1773, and registered 2 Dec 1773 (Solicited by E. P. Breakey, 10 May 1968) (E. P. Breakey to author, no date).

d.  The following references are taken from one of the untitled original books written by Thomas C. Breakey and placed for safe keeping in the Museum of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast by his son, Robert.  These books were transcribed during World War II on typewriter for Major Frank Keam Breakey of Manitoba, Canada.  It is from an unedited copy of these original transcriptions that the following references are taken.

      Page one: “My ancestor Wm. D. Breakey (William de Brequet) settled in Lisgillin (sic).  Built the house in October of 1690 now inharited (sic) by John Greer.”

      Page two: “My great grandfather had three sons.  Wm. Lived here.  He built the house now occupied by Thomas Henry at the Church for his son Isaiah & the year after Derry big house (as it is called) for his son Obadiah.” 

Author’s notes:

i.                    The lineage for Humphry Thomson Breakey will commence with William Breakey of Lisgillan as noted in the previous reference entry dated 1 Feb 1753 inasmuch as Humphry is a descendant of William Breakey Jr. of Lisgillan.  Also, from this entry it may be seen that William Breakey Jr. of Lisgillan, later of Drumskelt, was born in 1740.

ii.                   It is this author’s assumption that William Breakey who settled in Lisgillan and built the house in 1690 is not the same William Breakey Sr. of Lisgillan as noted in the previous entry dated 1 Feb 1753.  Had this been so, and had the original Huguenot William Breakey been at least twenty years of age in 1685 when he joined up with William of Orange, he consequently would have been 75 years of age at the birth of his son in 1740.  This author is not the first to question the likelihood that a generation is missing between the original Huguenot ancestor and William Breakey Sr. of Lisgillan.

According to the writings of Thomas C. Breakey, William Breakey Sr. of Lisgillan had three sons:

2.  i.  William2, born 1740

ii.  Isaiah

iii. Obadiah


2.  William2 Breakey (William1) of Drumskelt, known as ‘Billybon’ on many extant records and charts, is listed as having been born October 1732 (deed of 1 Feb 1753 implies 1740); died 11 February 1798.  (Author’s note: is this William Breakey the William Breakey of Drumskelt of Prerogative Will dated 1808 of which many copies are in circulation?  If so, there appears to be some discrepancies in the names of heirs to the estate.)  He was a linen manufacturer; married Mary Scott, and according to the Memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey, p.15, had issue:

3.  i.  James3 of Cormeen

ii.  Jane Breakey married John Scott of Aghahist

iii.  Letitia married to Elias Leekey, Solicitor of Monaghan

iv.  Elizabeth married Samuel Dale

v.  Mary died of fever when young

vi. William died quite young.  (Author’s note: is this the William Breakey of Drumskelt whose daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized on 11 December1812, and is so listed in “The Registry of Children Baptized by the Rev. James Morell Ordained to the Charge of the Presbyterian Congregation, Ballybay, August 6, 1799”?)

vii.  Robert who died when a mere child

viii. John, who was very young at his death

ix .  Isaiah died young of smallpox

x.    Jane died young of smallpox

xi    Isaiah died young of smallpox

xii.  Sarah died young of smallpox

4.xiii. John3 b. 1780


3.  James3 Breakey (William 2-1) of Cormeen was born circa 1760 [2] (this fact being supposition since he was the eldest of 13 children born to William and Mary Scott Breakey).  According to the Memoirs, James married Sarah Nixon. (Author’s note: Sarah Nixon was the stepdaughter of Humphry Thomson of Bushford, in the County of Monaghan: see chapter titled “Marriage Settlement.” William Breakey of Drumskelt was “of the third part” to this marriage settlement dated 9 Dec. 1802.  Once again, this author questions to which William Breakey of Drumskelt this applies, since according to the Memoirs, William ‘Billybon’ Breakey died in 1798).  According to Thomas C. Breakey, James was given the Townland of Cormeen as a wedding portion.  Further reference to James Breakey of Cormeen may be found in the chapter “Conditional Bond 11 April 1809,” whereby he is due receipt of funds from John Breakey of Drumskelt to the sum of  £ 2680 sterling. Further reference to James and his son William may be found in the chapter “Statement of title of William Johnston Esqre to the Lands of Carricknaveagh in the County of Monaghan.”  Dated 19 Jan 1833 it reads: “…did add insert nominate and appoint the life of William Breakey son of James Breakey of Cormeen in the County of Monaghan…”

James and Sarah Nixon Breakey had issue (from “A Registry of Children Baptised by the Rev. James Morell, M.A. Who was Ordained to the Charge of the Presbyterian Congregation, Ballybay, August 6, 1799”).

i.  William baptized 4 March 1809.  See “Statement of title of William Johnston Esqre….”; also see copy of letter from William to his brother, Humphry, dated 28 Dec 1846.  This letter may be found in the concluding chapter of this manuscript.

ii.   Margaret baptized 12 May 1811

iii.  Susanna baptized 5 Dec 1813

5.  iv.  James4 baptized 12 Jan 1817

v.  Alicia baptized 24 Aug 1819

6.  vi.  Humphrey4 baptized April 1822. (This date was not included in the Baptismal Registry and was supplied by Peadar Murnane of Ballybay, Ireland, and Ken Breakey of Portadown, Northern Ireland.)

4.  John3 Breakey (William2-1) was born 1 Dec 1780, married Elizabeth Small, and had issue. However, since John Breakey’s lineage is currently well noted on charts and in the Memoirs, the author will not include it in this document as it is felt to be irrelevant to the current subject under discussion.


5.  James4 Breakey (James3, William2-1) was baptized 12 Jan 1817.  He resided in the Townland of Carnaveagh, Co. Monaghan.  He married 1st Jane Davidson; married 2nd A. J. Armstrong.  According to historian Peadar Murnane, this family worshipped at Creeve Presbyterian Church (Murnane to author 14 Sept 1985 & 19 March 2000).  Mr. Murnane reports further: “These Breakeys moved up from Balladian or Drumskelt to found the mills at Lisnagalliagh-adjacent Townland to Carnaveagh.  All involved in linen industry.”

Additional references to James Breakey and the Townland of Carnaveagh are sited in numerous documents found in the previous chapters titled “Miscellaneous Documents Pertaining to the Townland of Carnaveagh.”  James Breakey is also recorded in the Index to Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, 1848-1864[published on Broderbund CD#188] (Ferguson to author, 1999).

Children born to James and Jane Davidson (Murnane to author, 19 March 2000):

i.                    Humphrey born 1855

ii.                   James born 1856

iii.                 William McK. Born 1860

iv.                 Thomas A. born 1862. In the graveyard attached to Christ Church Aughnamullen there is a headstone which reads: "In Loving Memory of Thomas Breakey, Carnaveigh, died 25th Aug. 1916. (See Chapter One and Appendix C).

v.                  William born 1867

vi.                 James born 1869

Children born to James and Ann Jane Armstrong

vii.               Sarah born 1871 in Co. Monaghan

viii.              William born1875

6.  Humphrey4 Thomson Breakey (James3, Willliam2-1) was baptized April 1822, being most probably named after his mother’s stepfather, Humphrey Thomson of Bushford. (Author’s note: Within this manuscript it will be noted that Humphrey is sometimes spelled without the “e.”  These are not typographical errors; the name has been recorded as found in supporting documents.)  Humphry Breakey’s name may be found in reference to the Townland of Carnaveagh in several documents: see “Statement of Title of William Johnston Esqre to the Lands of Carricknaveagh in the County of Monaghan;” and, “Miscellaneous Documents pertaining to the Townland of Carnaveagh, County Monaghan, Ireland.”

Author’s Notes

Because little has been previously recorded of Humphry Thomson Breakey, or his son, Humphry John Breakey, at this point I wish to gratefully acknowledge a twenty year correspondence with Mrs. Sadie Wallace Mullen (b.1913) of Monaghan, Ireland, daughter of Elizabeth Breakey Wallace (b.1882, d. 1944), daughter of George Breakey of Tullyard and his wife, Roseann (?) Jane Stockdale.  The reminiscences I will share throughout the continuing lineage will be appropriately noted “Mullen to author” with date of correspondence, unless credit is otherwise warranted.

Further, I wish to acknowledge Nettie C. Breakey, wife of Dr. Edward P. Breakey, who sent me much of Ed’s research after his death, all of which has been invaluable in the continuing Breakey family search.  During their 1968 visit to Ireland, Ed & Nettie paid a visit to the office of the Northern Standard, a newspaper that had been published in Monaghan at weekly intervals for many years.  In searching old files they came upon several items that have significance for this lineage.  The documentation will read “Nettie Breakey to author,” and the date of their visit, May 1968.

    On 13 March 1850 at Belfast in the Parish of Shankhill, Humphry Thomson Breakey married Isabella Gillis, daughter of James Gillis of Belfast (see: “Marriage Document for Humphry Thomson Breakey).  Isabella died 26 May 1851.  The inscription on her tombstone in First Monaghan reads: Sacred to the Memory of Isabelle Gillis, wife of Humphrey T. Breakey who departed this Life on 26 May 1851 (Mullen to author, 12 March 1989). Most probably the will of Isabella Breakey of Monaghan dated 1855 and found in circulation on extant records of Prerogative Wills 1811-1858 is that of Isabella, wife of Humphry Thomson Breakey (Loyd “Jack” Breakey to author, 1984).

    Humphry Thomson Breakey married second 1857 (McElroy to author, 29 Sept 1980) Jemima Graham who died 14 June 1881, age 57 years and is buried in First Monaghan (Mullen to author, 12 March 1989). Mrs. Breakey’s passing was noted in the Northern Standard for 18 June 1881 (Nettie C. Breakey to author, May 1968):

“Many of our readers will deeply regret to learn of the death of Mrs. H. T. Breakey of this town which sad event took place on Thursday morning last…She was a lady esteemed by all who knew her.  She was kind, gentle, amiable and of a retiring disposition.  Many sincere evidences of sorrow at her death and sympathy with her bereaved relatives have been given by the public…Business was suspended and the principal establishments closed during the funeral cortege.”

Author’s Notes

In 1968 Dr. Edward P. Breakey, in his introduction of items from the Northern Standard, asked: “Is Humphrey Thompson Breakey the H. T. Breakey who owned a ‘soft goods’ store on Church Square in Monaghan and is still associated with fine draperies in the minds of the older people?  We think he is.”  And, indeed, Mrs. Sadie Mullen confirmed this in correspondence dated 20 February 1981.

The author wishes to include the following item dated 24 June 1882(Nettie C. Breakey to author, May 1968):

        The Marriage of Lord Rossmore

                List of Subscriptions Towards Bridal Gift

"…H. T. & H. J. Breakey   £ 2-0-0   "Lord Rossmore’s Wedding – Rejoicing in Monaghan  "Early on Tuesday morning Monahgan presented quite a gay appearance.  Flags of all sizes, nationalities and colours were displayed…Among those (business houses) which displayed a profusion of bunting were H. T. Breakey… Mr. Breakey had on one flag ‘Welcome Lady Rossmore’ and on another ‘Welcome to Monaghan’ and on a third the word ‘Westenra…"

Humphry Thomson Breakey died 16 Dec 1888 age 67 years and is buried in First Monaghan (Mullen to author, 15 March 1989).

Issue of Humphry Thomson Breakey & Isabella Gillis:

7.  i.  Humphrey5 John Breakey per visit of Dr. E. P. Breakey with Humphrey’s son, John (Nettie C. Breakey to author, May 1968).

Issue of Humphry Thomson Breakey & Jemima Graham:

ii.  Jemima Graham Breakey born 1 May 1863; died 3 May 1864, and is buried in First Monaghan (Mullen to author, 15 March 1989).

iii. Martha Kezia Breakey (Ken Breakey to author 2 Feb 2000): [3]  In 1873 Martha is listed as a teacher in the Sabbath School of the Ballyalbany Church in charge of 12 girls (Orr & Haslett, p.130).  Sometime between 1874 and 1877 she married Rev. James Bodel: “Mr. Bodel married Miss Martha Kezia Breakey, a daughter of Mr. H. T. Breakey, a merchant in the town of Monaghan, and a prominent member of the congregation…“After a pastorate of 4½ years he resigned on the 29th  August, 1877, on accepting a call from Bootle Presbyterian Church, near Liverpool (Orr & Haslett, p. 106).


7.  Humphry5 John Breakey  (Humphry4, James3, William2-1) was born circa 1850-1851.  Humphry John Breakey first married Alice Maude ?; he married second Maggie Bryans who died 30 June 1890, age 33 and is buried in First Monaghan Cemetery (Mullen to author, 15 March 1989).  Most probably Humphry John Breakey is the gentleman operating a place of business in Monaghan as noted in the following advertisement taken from the Northern Standard  11 Feb 1882(Nettie C. Breakey to author, May 1968):  An advertisement for H. J. Breakey’s Wholesale and Retail Boot and Shoe Warehouse and Manufactory and Leather Stores, Church Square, Monaghan.  County Monaghan’s Tenants’ Defense Association.  "The Hon. Treasurer acknowledges with thanks the following subscriptions:  H. J. Breakey -  £ 1-0-0..."

Author’s Notes

            When Sadie Mullen responded to my many inquiries about Humphry Thomson Breakey she recalled many memories.  However, in quoting her, and knowing that neither she (b. 1913) nor her mother, Elizabeth (b. 1882) could have known Humphry Thomson Breakey (d. 1888) all that well, I realized Sadie, in her flurry of reminiscences, had confused Humphry John Breakey with Humphry Thomson Breakey.  Consequently, the author has presumed to place these anecdotal entries within this lineage.  Sadie in her correspondence of 12 March 1989 later corrected this saying:  “H. J. Breakey last of the Breakey family buried First Monaghan 1931-it was he whom I remember he visited our home.”  The following is taken from her correspondence with the author and as such will be duly noted.

 20 February 1981

     Now to Humphry Thompson Breakey.  We knew him very well.  He was a very prominent figure in Monaghan, a businessman.  He had a drapery business in the Centre town.  He sold to a Dublin firm, moved to another premises, smaller.  His first wife died-children don’t know how many.  He was a lover of music, a great opera man.  Spent quite a bit of money going to opera concerts.

     He married second time there were children two girls we know of Mona-a beautiful singer and her sister Phillis we don’t know where they are dead or alive.           

     Humphry’s second wife was a spend thrift and took him down in the world.  He then opened an antique store in the street we lived.

      He visited our home quite frequently.  I can remember my mother and I going to his antique store and she would purchase some things.  Money wasn’t just too plentiful then.  My mother carried on a catering business upon 30 years and also kept boarders-boys and girls who worked in shops and also office girls.  I stayed at home to help.  Well I can remember Humphry use to come to our home for his lunch often.  His wife mostly out or no lunch ready.  Humphry would bring mother from the store something antique as he really had not money to pay for his lunch.  I have a nice mirror with birds kingfishers embroidered on it and they are perfect to this day.  The green velvet which covers the frame is a little shabby but I will leave it. And other pictures on roof space [attic ?] too big to put up.  They are more frailed, frames marked.  I also have a book he gave to my mother I kept. Title The Lord That Healeth Thee.  I have it loaned at the moment to Mrs. Nesbitt...Humphry told my mother she was one of his clan of Breakeys.  He was a very funny man.

 23 November 1982

      Now about Humphry Breakey……a fine well built man, beautiful singer and also one of his daughters a beautiful singer.  He worshipped in First Monaghan Presbyterian Church, also his father and grandfather and some generations back...

     I can recall going to Humphry’s antique store with my mother.  I have in my room…which I cherish very much and some ornaments also and an embossed green glass decanter which all these items have been much admired.

1 July 1984

     If possible, what relation Humphry was to my mother?

     It was told my mother she was one of the Breakey clan that came from Drumskelt.  He was a terrible outspoken man.  A big boned man dressed well. Beautiful singer he sang in First Monaghan Presbyterian Church...Humphry’s second wife put him out of business spend, spend lived high poor Humphry had to pay the bill that was the reason why he had to sell his business in the Diamond the Centre of Monaghan.  A firm from Dublin bought it.  He worked there for a while and then started the antique store on Glaslough St and was there until he died. We lived in Glaslough St and Humphry would call and many a meal my mother gave him…The book I had in my possession for years Humphry gave to my mother His name on it. Humphry Thomson Breakey.  The name of the book  The Lord That Healeth Thee.

12 March 1989

    I am enclosing all names and dates of Thomson Breakey names, First. There are 2 tombstones in First Monaghan all railed around, but very badly neglected.  I think there should be some relative Northern Ireland.  They had a son Humphry’s to his first wife who owned a chemist shop near to where my uncle lived.  It was my uncle who told me but at that time you weren’t corresponding with me. 

Humphry John Breakey died 16 December 1931 and is buried in First Monaghan Cemetery (Mullen to author 15 March 1989). 

Humphry John Breakey and Alice Maude ? had issue:

i.      Florence Marguerita died 19 November 1898 age 5 years; buried First Monaghan Cemetery  (Mullen to author 15 March 1989)

Humphry John Breakey and Maggie Bryans (Mullen to author, 12 March 1989) had issue:

ii.     Annie Johnston Breakey, eldest daughter died at the Borough

Sanaterium (sic) St. Helens, Lancashire 26 April 1907 age 23; buried

In First Monaghan Cemetery (Mullen to author 15 March 1989)

                   iii.         Mona

                   iv.         Phillis

             8.    v.         John6 James Byrans Breakey (per previously noted interview with

                               Dr. Edward P. Breakey, 1968)[4]

8.  John6 James Bryans Breakey (Humphry5-4, James3, William2-1) lived in Belfast when Dr. E. P. Breakey visited him in 1968.  He was a pharmaceutical chemist by profession and had been the owner of a chemist’s shop or drug store from which he had retired.  His daughter was then (1968) managing the business.

John James Bryans Breakey married Charlotte Kennedy LaMont and had issue:

i.   Maureen7 Anne Breakey, b. 18 July 1928; md. James Alexander McCartney

 9.  ii.  John7 Bryans Breakey, b.  25 May 1932.


9.  John7 Bryans Breakey (John6, Humphry5-4, James3, William2-1) b. 25 May 1932 in Belfast.  Curriculum Vitae (Ken Breakey to author 4 Dec 1994):  From 1953 - 1960 John attended the Belfast College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art.  In 1986 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Ulster Academy of Art and in 1990 was elected an Academician of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts.  The recipient of many awards, John has had many exhibitions from 1984 to the present, including one-man shows as well as group shows.

John currently resides in County Down at the foot of the Mourne Mountains where he has a lithographic print workshop and studio.  In 1963 he married Anne Roberta Kincaid and had issue (Ken Breakey to author, 18 March 2000)::

i.  Mandy8 Karen Breakey b. 21 June 1971

ii. Colin John b. 14 June 1973


1Further information supporting the lineage of Humphry Thomson Breakey has been received from Peadar Murnane (Murnane to author, 19 March 2000) of Ballybay, Ireland & Kenneth Breakey (Breakey to author, 18 March 2000 & 14 Dec 2000) of Portadown, Northern Ireland .

2 See Appendix B


3 Orr, Rev. S. Lyle & Haslett, Alex. (no date) Historical Sketch of Ballyalbany Presbyterian Church – Formerly Second Monaghan – Formerly Belanalbany – Formerly New Monaghan Secession Presbyterian Church.


[4]This author believes this should read: 'Bryans."  Further it is noted that a John J. Bryans of the Townland of Killaneal subscribed and paid £ 10 to the “Congregational Subscriptions to Ballyalbany Manse Fund” of Ballyalbany Church (Orr & Haslett, p. 94).  Revision: research to date (28 Dec 2000) indicates name should read Bryans.