Cowzer - The Early Generations

John 1813 and his children
This is a potted history of John and his childrem. As the oldest known antecedants, this should give a flavour of their life and times. John was born in 1813, but we only have record of him from his marriage in 1836, and his longest living child, also John, died in 1935. So the time interval is 1836 to 1935 - and almost all is located in Ireland.
For most of this period, Ireland was British. A class based society. It was roughly 90% catholic, to 10% protestant, though catholics only owned 5% of the land. In general, the catholics were the native Irish, the protestants the settlers or planters encouraged by the British establishment. It was also a protestant governed society. For a century or more catholics were actively repressed through a series of penal laws, which kept them form gaining power or land. Catholics only received the right to vote shortly before 1800, and then only achieved the right to take their seat in parliament in 1829. in 1800 the Irish Parliament was abolished, replaced by direct rule from Westminster. In 1845-49 Ireland experienced the Great Famine when the potato crop failed (0.8m died, 1.5m emigrated), while land owners and land lords (mainly protestant) continued to export grain to Britain. There was a rise in both republican and unionist/loyalist extremism, unionist became synomous with protestant, and republican with catholic (with some exceptions). Home Rule was eventually voted through Westminster in 1911 but implementation was delayed after Northern Unionists armed themselve in protest, and eventually postponed by the outbreak of the First World War. In 1916 Ireland had it's Easter Rising (brutally suppressed), then the War of Independence (from Britain) in 1920-21, Civil War (between Republicn factions) 1922-25, followed by agreed partition of Ireland with the Republican Free State (26 counties) and the Unionist Ulster (6 counties of Northern Ireland). Thus John and his children lived during turbulent times.
A great site for an Irish History Timline and much more detail than I have simply outlined

John 1813
John is in Dublin in 1836-35, close to the city centre, in a region of the city known for it's Huguenot industries. Then from 1952 we know he is in Kildare, presumably Millicent Demesne near Sallins. On his son's wedding record (1875) he is recorded as being a "Land Steward" , and on his own death record he is recorded as a "Coachman". Both of these are high ranking servant categories, in fact a Land Steward would be considered a professional rather than a servant, and would be entrusted to manage all affairs of the Estate or Demesne. They were both very well paid jobs. As he was protestant and well paid, and of a professional class, it would be reasonable to think that he did not suffer greatly through any of the difficulties of the 19th century and that his views were probably unionist as opposed to republican. Also, his children would be of the same philosophy. Together with his wife Anne (Watts), he had 9 children, two died young, and the others (3 boys, 4 girls) are outlined below.

William 1838
The first son, and eldest of the children, William was single and had no children. He died in Melbourne, Australia, aged 45. There are no records of William until a report of a murder trial in Melbourne in 1883. The report in the Melbourne Herald, October 9th, 1983, of the trial of Phillip Blair for the murder of William gives an insight into his life. William was assulted by Blair on 28th August, receiving a knife wound to the hip which resulted in blood poisoning which ultimately killed William on 8th October. William was being chivalrous when he was assaulted. He was escorting a girl home from a cab where Blair had been assaulting her, Blair apperently followed him and attacked him. For the record, William was groom to a Dr. Mellrose, an elderly doctor who needed a safe driver apparently. His father's headstone at Millicent Church has William on the inscription. You can read the trial details here

John 1854
John married Maria Hughes in Fountains Church (St. Mary's Church, Fountain, Kilwatermoy, Co. Waterford) on June 1, 1875. Maria was 24, John's age is also recorded as 24, but he was 21. He was a Butler at Strancally Castle, Co. Waterford, which is a pretty high position within the servant hierarchy - does this show any influence by his father? Using his children's biths we can trace him in 1876 to Ballymahon, Co. Longford, then in 1877 and again 1882 to the area around Favour Royal Demesne in Co. Tyrone (where Doreen mentioned when we spoke). Then in the 1901 and 1911 census he is in Belfast, first as Caretaker Public Library, then as Superintendent City Hall where he had an appartment. He died 6th March 1935 at Down Mental Hospital, Downpatrick, Co. Down. John and Maria had four sons, one of whom died young, and one, Richard went on to have a very interesting life.

Thomas 1859
Born in Millicent, Co. Kildare, the youngest of all John's children, Thomas made the mistake (maybe?) of marrying a catholic girl in Dublin, Catherine Quinn, on 11 August 1879, in St Stephens Church Dublin. This was my great-grandfather, and I knew very little about him. Catherine Quinn is recorded in various documents as Kathleen, Kate, Delaney - not sure why but they are all the same person. Thomas was a Carpenter, according to my father a Master Carpenter/Cabinet Maker. Having married a catholic he went on to have a catholic family (i.e. large) but also of the R.C, religion - possibly against his wishes, but his wife was a determined woman. He lived all of his married life in or near Ringsend, Dublin, and he was an obvious figure in that area with his bowler hat (a unionist symbol which would not have been common there). He may have been estranged from the remainder of his siblings due to his marriage as there was very little knowledge of his siblings among his descendants. However, today all the survivng Cowzers are descended from Thomas and Catherine. Thomas died 01 January 1918 Dublin - 28 Gordon St, Ringsend.

Harriet 1836
Born Dublin and baptised in the Church of St. Werburgh, Dublin, Harriet married Charles Thumwood in 1857 in London. They lived in the Wandworth area, possibly near Battersby Park. They had 4 children. Harriet died in 1895.

Caroline (Anne) 1848
Born in Millicent, Anne married George Irwin McDowell in 1868 in Naas, Co. Dublin, and had 6 children. Naas is very close to Sallins and Millicent Demesne, Co. Kildare so it is likely that civil/church districts do not quite reflect the reality. George was a Land Steward like Anne's father. From the counties of birth of their children, they remained in Co. Kildare for 1-4 years, then Co. Down, then Dublin (Malahide?), before moving to Belfast, Co. Down. Anne and George had 6 children. Anne died in 1919.

Mary (Jane) 1852
Born in Millicent, Jane did not marry. She died in 1928 in Belfast. However, the 1911 Census records Mary, as Jane Cowzer, staying in the house of her brother, John, in Belfast. Her occupation is listed as Dressmaker. She was also listed as executrix of the will for her brother-in-law Charles Boroughs who lived in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England.

Ellen Frances (Fanny) 1856
Born in Millicent, Fanny married Charles Boroughs in Kildare in 1889 and lived with him in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England after her marriage. Charles was a Receiver of Tolls, in Tewkesbury, and had previously been married to Elizabeth Cole (1828) who died in 1886. Fanny and Charles had 5 children. Fanny died in 1924.

I have listed men before women only because I had more information on the men

End Cowzer - The Early Generations

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