THE NICHOLAS RYAN FAMILY OF TEMPLEBREDON, IRELAND

AND HARPER'S FERRY, IOWA, USA: 1993

 

(Nicholas Ryan: b.ca.1790,d.ca.1840)

 

By Karl Siewers and Jim Ryan

 

In the 1840's and early 1850's five energized Irish giants and their spouses and their mother made a quantum leap from Ireland to America, built neighboring log cabins in Iowa's Allamakee County, and created a new life style for themselves and their descendants. The five were Bridget, Ellen, Michael, Patrick, Margaret Ryan and their mother Margaret Cormak Ryan. Their father Nicholas (b.ca.1790) had recently died, the Irish Potato Famine was rampant, they apparently gave their farm to the church because there was no one that had the money to buy it.

 

Patrick Ryan (b.1829) emigrated on the ship "Hope of Luxbury", arriving in New Orleans October 23, 1846, from Liverpool, England. Listed as passenger #27 on the passenger list filed with the U.S.Bureau of Customs (Microfilm: M259, Roll 25). Patricck went to Maysville, Kentucky, to join his brother Michael, who had preceded him to America. Patrick was then 17 years old and Michael was 20. They came to Maysville, which was then the gateway to the entire Kentucky Territory and provided ample opportunity for two young boys to find work and establish themselves. In our research in Maysville we found them living in a boarding house of the Goest family and were listed in the 1850 census as "Pike Makers" - or road gang.

 

By 1851 they had accumulated enough savings to have filed a Land Patent for property in Lansing, Iowa and subsequently relocated there in 1853. Patrick's future wife, Margaret Guider (b.1826 in Clonmore, Tipperary Co., Ireland) emigrated with members of her family in 1848 to Maysville, Kentucky. Michael's wife, Anne Hayes, is said to have been a seamstress on a plantation in Kentucky; it is possible that Michael and Anne were married in Kentucky. On February 12, 1853, Patrick married Margaret Guider in St.Patrick's Churcch in Cincinnati, Ohio; they went by steamer to Heffron's Landing (Wexford, IA) in 1853. Patrick was then 24 years old; his first child was born in January, 1854.

 

In Jim Ryan's visit to Ireland in 1990 when he discovered the original Nicholas Ryan farm at Templebredon, he was surprised to note that the texture of the land in and around Wexford, IA was almost identical in texture to that in Ireland. The nearby Knock Derk (foothill) adjacent to the Templebredon farm, is quite similar to the rolling hills around Lansing and Wexford.

 

The two marriages of Michael and Patrick and the movement to Allamakee Co. farms were in the 1850's before the Civil War. Patrick was alleged to have been very outspoken against slavery and at one time was either arrested or almost arrested because of his abolitionist statements; perhaps this was in Kentucky.

 

Michael and Patrick received a Land Patent in 1851 for their two farms in Allamakee Co., Iowa (a copy of the Patent is in our collection). Patrick became a U.S. citizen in 1852; Patrick's citizenship papers are also in our collection).

 

Here is a summary of other information regarding the Nicholas Ryan (b.ca.1790) family:

 

His wife Margaret Cormack Ryan lived in Allamakee Co., Iowa, where her five children lived on adjacent farms; she died in 1867 and is buried in Wexford Cemetery.

 

Two of his seven children did not emigrate to Allamakee Co. and perhaps remained in Ireland; they were Mary (b.1816) and John (b.1824) of Templebredon.

 

Bridget Ryan Collins (b.1819, Templebredon; -m.1835, Timothy Collins at Wexford) arrived 1852 at Heffron's Landing.

 

Ellen Ryan Power (b.1821) and her husband Malachy "Lant" Power were married at Templebredon 1845; shortly after arriving in Iowa their name was changed from "Power" to "Powers"; their first child, James, was born in Ireland; their next three children, Nicholas, Margaret, and Mary, were born in Kentucky; the remaining children were born in their log cabin on the west section of the Patrick Ryan farm.

 

Margaret Ryan Gleason (b.1832, Templebredon) and her husband Andrew Gleason, owned a farm directly to the west of the Patrick Ryan farm; the history of the ownership of this farm is recorded in the Allamakee Co. Records Office in Waukon, Iowa as follows:

 

In 1869 there is a record of the transfer of this land to Andrew and Margaret Gleason by Patrick and Margaret Ryan.

 

In 1876 (February) Andrew Gleason received a Land Patent for the farm from the U.S.Government.

 

In 1876 (March) Andrew Gleason and wife gave a warranty deed for the farm to Malachy Power.

 

In 1877 (February) Daniel Grady and wife gave a deed for the same farm to Andrew Gleason.

 

In 1879 (November) Andrew and Margaret Gleason gave a deed for the farm to Benjamin Rotch.

 

According to John Byrne, the Andrew Gleason family moved to Mason ity, Iowa in 1885. There are descendants of Andrew and Margaret Ryan Gleason presently (1993) living in the Dubuque area as show in the Nicholas Ryan Family Chart.

 

Michael Ryan died in 1897. He had two sons, Nicholas and John; neither of them continued farming. Ownership of the farm went to Nicholas; apparently the farm was rented from that time on, until about the 1940's when it was sold to their cousin Leo Collins, who later sold the farm out of the family. Michael Ryan's farm had a spring and its original log cabin (in which Michael's children were born). The log cabinremained on the farm until the 1920's, and is shown in an accompanying picture.Michael's widow (Anne Hayes Ryan), her two sons, and her daughters  moved toDavenport, Iowa. Nicholas operated a grocery store and his  unmarried sisters(Mary Ann, Ellen, Bridget and Nellie) kept house  for him. John was married andowned a beautiful home, and a picture  is also included. Michael's widow diedin Davenport and is buried  there, which accounts for the fact that the doublegrave monument  for Michael's grave in the Wexford cemetery has only Michael'sname;  the right half of the monument is without an inscription.

 

Michael's brother Patrick died in 1901; Patrick's wife Margaret died in 1900. Patrick's son John William ("Jack" or "JW") inherited the farm and continued farming until the 1930's, with the help of his son Raymond, his wonderful daughter-in-law Margaret, and his grandson John. In the late 1930's or early 1940's Patrick's granddaughter Ila Byrne Duntemann and her husband Al Duntemann bought the Patrick Ryan farm from John William Ryan's widow and the farm is still owned by the Duntemann children today.

 

Bridget Ryan Collins died in 1891. The Collins farm is still owned by the Collins family.

 

In 1990, James Ryan (Plano, TX) located the Nicholas Ryan (b.ca.1790) farm in Templebredon, Ireland. Maps in the collection include the Ryan farm in county Limerick in different scales to show location and the actual Ordnance Survey maps of the 55 acre farm, the local cemetery and church. Jim discovered the location of the ancient church (originally on farm property), which is now completely obliterated, and even the rocks from the original church were removed, probably to construct a portion of the rock fence around the cemetery and to construct the newer "second" church, located at the crossroads just south of the farm proper.

 

That "second" church was the one attended by the Nicholas Ryan family and was the location of the baptism of their children. This church was ultimately converted to a creamery but is now abandoned. In about 1860 a "third" church was built just east of the crossroads and is still in use today. The baptismal and marriage records of all these "St. Bridget's" churches are located in a nearby rectory.

 

The early graveyard still stands in its original location on the Ryan farm and is still in use by the parrish today with several recent gravesites. However the biggest portion of the cemetery is heavily overgrown and has fallen into disrepair and many early markers are either completly burried or obliterated. It is almost certain that Nicholas Ryan is burried here but locating any marker has been fruitless and would require a major excavation project to recover it and any other early graves.

 

Regarding the spelling of Templebredon, maps of the region use several variations including Templebradan, Templebradon, Templebredin, and finally Templebredon. We have chosen the later as that is the spelling used by the offical Irish Land Office records in Dublin where Jim Ryan uncovered the original Ordinance Survey maps in his research in 1990.

 

In the church records of St. Bridget's, there is no record of the marriage of Nicholas Ryan and Margaret Cormack. Because of his additional research of the Bauggan and Graffin Townlands (near Clonmore) and the tithe records of that area showing landholdings of the Ryan's, Guider's, Whelan's, Cormacks, etc., Jim is convinced that they met and were married in the Clonmore area (or were living there at the time and may have had the ceremony at some other location) and because of the lack of available land around Clonmore, relocated to the Templebredon farm shortly before the birth of their first child, Mary, in 1816. Nicholas would have been about 25 years of age at that time. Research in the Roscrea church district (which includes Clonmore), and a professional researcher Jim contracted in the Genealogy Office in Dublin, has failed to turn up any record of their marriage. It remains to be discovered where and exactly when they were married, and the discovery of that marriage would lead us to the predecessors of Nicholas Ryan!

 

Jim's research has led him to the conclusion that after the death of Nicholas, his wife and five children moved to America; since Ireland was in the midst of the great Potato Famine at that time, and because no one had any money, it is believed that they left the farm to the church. Tithe records of 1850 show the farm at that time in the possesion of Rev. H. Banner and occupied by William Harty. William Harty was also a sponsor at the christening of Margaret Ryan, January 7, 1832!

 

In his research Jim visited the present occupants of the farm, John and Bridget Butler (nee Harty) and has obtained a copy of the original 1917 will of Jane Harty, descendant of William Harty leaving the farm to "my niece Bridget Buckley (nee Dwyer) of Detroit, USA, she being the daughter of my sister Bridget Harty". It is of interest to note in this will that her "niece Mary Ryan (nee Dwyer) of number 41 Clare St., Limerick" is named as her "residuary deviser and legatic". We have not been able to establish any connection with this Mary Ryan, but it is entirely likely that she in turn is a descendant, perhaps even the granddaughter of our Mary Ryan (b.1816)!

(File: NRYAN)