The Keane Letter

The Keane Letter

(Kevin Murphy has kindly donated an old family letter discussing many surnames and locations in Kerry. Even if you are not researching these names you might find the letter interesting. It was written by Dennis Keane to his son around 1919. Thanks Kevin for transcribing it for us and for donating it!

(If anyone else has something that might be of interest to Kerry researchers please email me!

Surnames mentioned in the letter:

Barrett, Boyle, Brown, Casey, Connor, Coody, Cullinane, Curmock, Enright, Hilt, Jones, Keane, Kearney, Keefe, Keerins, Lawler, Leo, Lyons, McCarthy, McCormick, Murphy, O'Connor, O'Conner, O'Donaghues, Poff, Stack, Sullivan, Twiss, Lord Ventry

Locations mentioned in the letter:

Ballnahalla, Ballyroe, Ballyseedy, Brahig, Castleisland, Castlemaine, Closh, Cool, Cordal, Doumullin, Dureen, Firies, Kilkushnane, Kilmurry, Knockdown, Mullin, Scartaglin, Tralee, Tullig


Chicago New Years Day (Around 1919)

Hello Timothy - Happy New Year to you all
I was going start in and give you a scolding for being so ignorant in regard to your relatives. You want to know how I am related to Mrs. Murphy, if it was through the Browns. Not at all. Me and Mrs. (Anne, Ann) Murphy could not be any nearer except if we were Brothers and Sisters. Do you know I am half O'Connor. My mothers name was Mary O'Connor and Mrs. Murphy's fathers name was Michael O'Connor and they were brothers and sisters, which leaves me and Mrs. Murphy first cousins. Same as you are to the Keanes of 48th Place or the Keanes of 43rd St. So you and Nellie Murphy (Mrs. [Warren] Hilt ) are first and second cousins. So you see I'd not have to be a Brown to be related to O'Connor of Doumullin being half O'Connor myself.

Now in regards the Browns. There were three differant families, not blood relations but related through marriage.That is the way we all get related. My grandmother on my Father's side was Norah Brown. Her sister Mary Brown, was married to Tim Sullivan of Mullin*, Father of Tim and Humphrey Sullivan in the west side if you remember him. Mrs Hilt will tell you who he was, as they came to Chicago from Washington D.C.

Another sister of Grandmother's, Peggy Brown was married to Hugh O'Conner of Mullin, Father of Ned Hugh, Mike Hugh, and Con Hugh O'Conner 1st cousins of con Coody, Mike Coody and Johnny Coody of Brahig* top of Brahig between Mrs Lyons farm and the O Donaghues.

Another sister of Grandmother's; Betsey or Elizabeth Brown was married to John Connor of Doumullin, Grandfather to the present O'Connors now in Baltimore.

Grandmother had three Brothers; Bill Brown of Scantaglin*, Edmond Brown, Castle Island*, and John Brown, Castle Island.

Ned Brown kept a saloon, grocery, dry goods and drapery in Castle Island for years. Also had some Paddocks back of the townon the banks of the River Maine. He used to come to this every year for about two months and made four thousand dollars on that trip selling books on the train from New York to San Francisco. He knew the line of books to sell, was a smart man was educated for the priesthood.

John Brown kept a saloon and owned several houses in Castle Island years ago. Also had a farm of land at Mullin, 2 farms at Knockdown, but when his first wife died he took to drink and partly lost them all. Grandfather was in one of them farms until he died at Knockdown. Now it is owned by one Tom Jones of Closh* in Cordal** Parish of Coole***.

Another sister of grandmothers was married to Daniel Keefe of Doumultin and his sister was married to one Ned Brown of Mullin. He was no relative of Tim Brown of Doumultin who, was shot at the time of the Rent Manifesto and for whose death Poff and Barrett was hanged. Brown was married to a cousin of mine Kerrins from Krau.

Now I hope you do not have to take a day off or have to buy a pair of glasses or get ____ and ____ for I am not half way yet . You spoke of one old____ who used to come here years ago . I'd say Eddie looked like Ned Brown why S _____ side, her maiden name. Her father was brother to my Keane. She was married to a Mr Casey from Fisies* near Killarney. He was an uncle to Johnnie Casey who used to board with us and was married to Nellie Enright, Jim Enrights sister. She has two daugthers in the westside married and very wealthy. You ought to remember Maggie and Mary Casey.They're cousins of yours but you did not know you did not care. Maggie got hurt some years ago by a suspension bridge downtown and got 37 thousand dollars from the City of Chicago. She has a 15 thousand dollar residence near some park in the west side. Her husbands name is Cullinane a cousin of mine also, from Mount Falvey parish of Scantaglin. Mary is married to a doctor an awful nice young ______ and at Tom Keanes funeral .

Now on my mothers side was Johanna Keane and no relation whatsoever to my fathers Keanes. She had a brother in Tullig near Castle Island. His name was Maurice Keane. His son, Johnnie Keane. He is living on the farm now and a daughter Pegg Keane married to Dan Lawler of Ballnahalla Parish of Coole. Now grand mother had a sister married to Pudd Kearney of Closh, Cordal Parish of Coole. Father of Patrick James and John Kearney of Closh or Cordal, also Peter Kearney school teacher of Kilmurry Parish of Coole. Also mother of Tom Kearney, flour merchant at Castle Island. Maurice Kearney, Ballyroe west of Tralee .

Grandmother had another brother Patrick Keane of Dureen Parish at Scantaglin. His son got massacred a few years agoin Mexico. You remember him, he was here with his little Daugther 3 or 4 years ago. Got murdered when he got back to his ranch in Mexico. He had a sister Mary Keane an old maid supposed to be rich . She was here a couple of times. She is now dead by all accounts. Mrs Hilt will tell you all about cousin Peter and cousin Mary Keane. How the Connors of Curt glas*, or Curmocks as they were called were cousins of mine. Also the Curmocks of Kilkushnane* Parish of Coole. Of course they were not all 1st cousins, but 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The same old Clan any way. The only one around there was nothing to me was Edward Boyle, Lord Ventrys game keeper at Cordal and he came from Tipperary or Hell or someplace years ago. Joe and Geo Twiss knew him well.

Now tell your young friend Mr McCarthy from Brahig to tell you one man in the parish of Scantaglin Coole or Castle Island you are not related to. I have his home in Brahig entirely surrounded all of whom he knows well. I have given you two different families of Keanes in one also three families of Browns in one. You can show this lettter to Mr.Mc Carthy he will understand it better than you as the names of the people and places I have mentioned are more familiar to him.

Tell Father Stack he does not know where the harbor was in Scantaglin. I know well where Pound Road was and so did ever old Ballad Singer and Trick o the Loop Man in Ireland. Many a mutton pie I ate there I wish I had a couple of them now. Castle Island was a great Horse Fair years ago and I suppose it is yet It was a lovely vale running from the top of Coole Headlys bridge to Castlemaine, Ballyseedy, Tralee and into the lower Lake Killarney. surrounded by hills and its three old ancient castles. The center of all surrounding towns. It was 10 miles from Killarney 10 miles from Tralee,10 miles from Listowel, 10 miles Abbeyfeale and 10 miles from Brasna* and 10 miles from King Williamstown.

Tell them boys out there to name another town in Ireland like that for me . Father Stack must be from Brasna at Feales Bridge there were quite a few Stack families there in my time. Ask him if he can kick a football and if he can he is from the Parish of Cloher* or Bally McElliyott* . Tell him I said God bless him. Maybe he thinks a Castle Island man does not talk to God at all. But we were the boys.

Your mother thought I had not enough of a letter to put in this envelope so she wrote another for me to put in it and the way she writes it is like an old horse with a broken leg walked over the paper. I received your gift to me and thanks very much. Seldom I wear them. I am all done up in Military clothes. I got several shirts from the boys. I got 20 pairs of army shirts 3 or 4 pairs of shoes so I am all done up in khaki and more my hair turned quite black, no more gray hairs. I rubbed some sage tea and sulpher to it and it turned black in one week. I got nothing for Christmas only a tin sugar bowl full of tobacco with the picture of a bald headed man on the lid. I did not lose a day in almost two years. I am not checking the cars ever since the year I was sick you got married. I am packing export meats at Armours. Kind of lively work but all activity not running around but in one spot all day for eight hours. We get 51 cents an hour 8 hours a day and sick time. Time and a half for overtime. Double time for Sundays and holidays. Daniel Leo has left the working in a bank Greenbaum and Sons, La Salle St. Everyone here is well. No sickness this winter and beautiful weather. Everbody is working and lots of money despite the H. C. L.

When you conclude reading this letter do not forget where you started as I am afraid you will not ask me about your ___ more for a long time. You can copy this off and have it printed and made into a Bible like and think of your long tail family.Very lonesome here this Christmas without a little Sup of the Creator. Had one little glass.

Was to a show Saturday night the first in 18 years and the last for 30 years. More the name of the show was "Up in Mabels Room " They are kidding me since about it. I am still waiting for Bill Connors and Jim Enright to die so as to get some of my pipes back they stole from me over the past 20 years.

I am sending you that song "The big boat that First Brought Me Over " Of course I know you can never sing it. It takes me or John McCormick to sing that song and of the two I could sing it better than he could. but my singing days are gone. One x for you 2 xx for Loretta and 3 xxx for Marion Goodbye and God bless you all. Goodbye, write soon.

Your loving Dad,
Dennis Keane

* Suggested Alternative Spellings:

Bally McElliyott - Ballymacelliott

Brahig - Breahig

Brasna - Brosna

Castle Island - Castleisland

Cloher - Clogher

Closh - Clash (Two townlands in Kerry called Clash, near Dingle and Killarney)

Fisies - Firies

Curt glas - Gortaglas

Kilkushnane - Kilcusnaun

Mullin - Mullen

Scantaglin - Scartaglin

Note: Parishes and townlands have changed and merged over the years it could account for some discrepancies.

**Cordal - could not find a parish called Cordal, but found townland called Cordal East and West in the parish of Ballincuslane, Kerry.

*** Coole - could not find a parish called Cool/Coole. I did find a townland called Cool in the Parish Kilgobban near Tralee, Kerry. Cool east and west in Valencia parish, Coolies near Killarney, and Cools near Killarney.

A Follow Up to the Keane Letter

(written Summer 1999)

Kevin Murphy, who donated the Keane letter, has taken a trip to Ireland and made contact with Tim Brown who knew many of those mentioned in the Keane Letter and has written the following regarding it:

Tim Brown Of Mullin. Scartaglen Castle Island Letter

As regards the history of the Gallivans I do not claim to be an expert in tracing the genealogy of families and am not to be compared to Coin O Mahoney who occasionally speaks over the radio. But, a lot of the information I gleaned I got it from the late Owen Sullivan of Gerah (?) Farranfore who was a great authority in family matters. As it appears that Owens mother Kitty Aherne and your grandfather Connie Gallivan were second cousins As both their grandmothers who were Hogans by name being sisters.

To begin with it appears the Gallivans originated from Breahig in the farm where Andy Leary now resides. The present Andy Leary his mother was Julia Gallivan as apparently a Leary man got married into the farm his being I believe from Ballintourig. In some far distant days toward the end of the eighth century or the early part of the nineteenth century, a family of Hogans lived near the present Edenburn Sanitorium in the townsland of Magh in the farm where the O'Neill's now reside. One of these Hogan girls got married at the early age of sixteen years to a Gallivan man at Brehig in the farm where the Leary's now live. He was according to Owen Gallivan either Denny or Jack Gallivan. This Hogan girl and her husband were the grandparents to your grandfather Connie ? and also to my grandfather Ned Brown of Mullen and I think I could safely assume they were the ancestors to all the Gallivan and their lineage around Scartinglin ? at the present time. This Hogan woman married to Gullivan had another sister a Mrs. Ahern who lived to the extraordinary age of 108 yrs. She lived at Scart Gortatlia near Nohoval School in the place where Mick Ahern now lives. She was the great grandmother to his father and

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Also to Owen Sullivan. The mother of these Hogan girls was a Reidy woman. Davy Connor of Dromulton who lived to the age of 101 or 102 years was a grandnephew to this Mrs. Aherne and a great grandson to her sister. Long livety runs occasionally in some families + in some of their members. My mother's grandmother was Johanna Gallivan. She was an aunt to your grandfather. I never heard my mother say she had any other sister or I don't think she remembered her. My mother used to say she remembered old James Gallivan an uncle to her father. He was either an uncle or the father to your grandfather and was a son to this Hogan woman. Bryan Connor who had a public house in Castleisland between Market House and the Railway Gates (Bernie's father) his mother was Norrie Gallivan. I heard the late Jack McEllistrim the creamery manager say he knew her well and so did Mrs. McCarthy who lived here at the railway station. Paddy Groves of Ballydwyer is a nephew to Bryan Connor and a grandson to this Norrie Gallivan. She told me some years ago her grandmother hailed from Breahig hence the Owen Sullivans version must be right. This Norrie Gallivan had another sister Jude Gallivan, she was the mother of Mike Johnny Fleming of Inch Kilcummin who used to be a member of the Kerry County Council some years ago. As far as I know but I am not definite these two Gallivan women were first cousins to your grandfather and also to mine and nieces to my mothers grandmother.

The Kerin family of Gortglosare sister's children to Mike Johnny and also the Daly family of Doonen Kilcummin near Coolick Bridge I well remember a sister to your grandfather Peg Gallivan (Mrs. Bob Twiss) of ? She died in June 1915 aged about 85 years. She had a sister Mary of Mullen who was the mother of Thade Rearden. I remember a good many years ago now a brother to Wade Rearden paid a visit home from America. I think his name was Dan. He stayed for a while at Geoffrey Himings of Currow. I dare say he must be dead long ago. Thade Readon had five

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sisters whom I knew of the eldest Jude (Mrs. ?) had a farm at Maugha in the remote part of Ballymacellighot which they bought some years ago and where her son is now married. Previous to that, they had been dairying. She lived to a great age and is now dead only a few years. Her husband who hailed from Knockshorow ? died in the summer of 1922. As I remember being at his funeral to Kilsacon. Another sister was Nora (Mrs. Geoffrey Fleming) who lived in Carrow village. Mary was Mrs. John Kieffe of Gerah Farranford, Maggie was Mrs. Mike Domers of Killeenturna. There was another sister who never married I think her name was Nell. I believe she died at Killenturna ? with Mrs. Somers. I am not aware if there were any others of the Rearden in America but I know that Mrs. Geoffrey Fleming was there as I heard her say at one time that she went to the States at the age of sixteen years. Another family of Gallivans lived in Bawnaglanna. He was Johnnie Gullivan a brother to your grandfather. I knew him quite well. His wife was Peg Dennehy . He had only one son Con who is now dead a long time but there were five or six girls in the family. One was Mrs. Bill Brosnan of Knockaderry Farranfore. Another was Hannie who was married to Michael Oconnor of Bawnaglanna ? . Maggie was Mrs. Fred Dwyer of Lyne Currow. Another was Mrs. Tom Reidy and the youngest was Mrs. D. Fleming, their last two being living at Currow Ross.

About the Gallivans up at Scartaglin there was Con Gallivan of Mullen whose wife was Hannah Kelliher from Direen. He had three daughters and a son, the son died when about ten years of age , one of the girls also died when young. He had two sisters married here at home. One was Mrs. Tom Hugh Brosnan of Killeenturna and the other who had no family was married to Tom Looney of Glounthane. Con Gullivan also had two other sisters And two brothers in America. One sister Biddy who my mother knew well in America and was a pal of hers was married to an O'Donnell man. The other sister Mary was a Mrs. Fleming one of the brothers of James who was never over robust died rather young in America. The other brother was Denny who was married to a Baly woman from Tureengarrive near Ballydebmond. The father of the Mullen Gallivans was James Gallivan a first cousin to your grandfather and also to mine. I remember many years ago an O'Donnell boy accompanied by his uncle Con Gullivan called to see my mother. He said she was the only person in Ireland he knew.

There was also John Gullivan who had a shop near Adurille Bridge his wife was a Herin woman one of his sons was the late P. P. of Brosna. He had another brother Denny who was in America for some time. He was married to one Maine ? ? who was also in the United States they had no family. John Gallivan of Adville had an aunt Mary who was the mother of Bell Connell and David O'Connell also of Adville. I think there were some sisters of the O'Connells in America also. I believe all the friends, Browns, O'Connells, and Gallivans in America were almost together in Waterberry. Den Prendiville an old I.R.A. man who now lives in the top of the town near Heartnetts Hotel was born and reared at Breahig. He told me some time that three of the four families of Gallivans lived at Breahig at one time but it must be long ages ago. I think I am now gone fairly well into the history of the Gallivan family and have nothing more to add as far as I know.

You may also like to know who were the descendants of this other Hogan sister who lived to the remarkable age of 108 yesrs. As I mentioned already she lived at Scart Gortatlea near the present Nohovall School. She was the great grandmother to Mick Aherne's father. The late Jim Calleghan of Kilfeilm Currans, his mother was Betty Aherne. She also

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Was a granddaughter to this Hogan woman while the grandfather of the present Mick Aherne of Kilfeilm who was the brother to Mrs. Callaghan was a Grandson. Old Joe Murphy of Ranaleen who lived on the road Kilsarcon was a brother to Fr John Murphy by one time P.P.( Parish priest K M ) of Firies. His (unlegible)the grandfather to Joe Connor who lived at the cross as you go to Edenburn Hospital. This Joe Murphy was married twice, his first wife was an Aherne woman, a sister to Mrs. Callaghan. She only lived twelve months after her marriage as apparently she may have died in childbirth.

The mother of Owen Sullivan was Kitty Aherne. She was not a sister but a first cousin to Mrs. Callaghan. She could have been reared near Nohovall School as she was an aunt to Jack Aherne and a great aunt to the present Mick Aherne and his brother Jack who has the garage in Castleisland. I forgot to mention that your mother's grandmother was Jude Brosnan . I heard my mother say a few times she knew her quite well. She died with her daughter Peg at Lisheenbawn and I believe but I am not quite definite that her husband diedthere also.

Thanks so much to Kevin Murphy for donating this letter!


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