1. Catherine REYNOLDS (caution: not verified) was born about 1780 in probably Co. Roscommon. She died in possibly 30 Mar 1835 in possibly Cloonfeacle, Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. She was buried in possibly Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
Catherine married William BERTRIDGE in 1801 in diocese of Elphin, Co. Roscommon. William was born in abt 1770s in probably Co. Leitrim. He died on 5 Nov 1866 in Cloonfeacle, Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
They had the following children.
2 M i
Michael BERTRIDGE (caution: not verified) was born about 1809. He died on 22 Nov 1839. He was buried in Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
On his burial record, Michael's surname is Bertrige, which is presumably interchangeable with Bertridge. We have absolutely no proof the Michael was a son of our William Bertridge (hence the caution) but given the rarity of the surname and the fact that the burial took place in Kiltoghert, it is a possibility.
We know Michael's approximate year of birth from his burial record which gives his age at death as 30.
3 M ii
Robert BERTRIDGE was born about 1811 in possibly Cloonfeacle, Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon. He died in possibly 5 Nov 1838.
We know of Robert's existence from the report of a Co. Roscommon court case from 1836 in which Robert and William Bertridge, sons of William Bertridge of Cloonfeacle, were tried for abduction and sentenced to death.
I am very grateful to Dan Morahan from Colorado, a descendant of Robert's father, William, for sharing the results of his research into the crime:
The abduction took place on the night of 7 April or in the early hours of 8 April 1836 when eight men, including the Bertridges and their brother-in-law John Morahan, broke into the house of a Mrs. Hanley (also spelled Hanly), a widow who lived in the townland of Pullymaughel (also spelled Pollnamoghil) in the parish of Aughrim, Co. Roscommon, a few miles south-west of Cloonfeacle. According to a letter from the local authorities to the Chief Magistrate at Dublin Castle, "they [the intruders] then searched the house for her daughter Catherine Hanley, who they dragged down off the loft where she had concealed herself while they were breaking in the door. They beat her mother, a feeble old woman, in a very cruel manner, and also two boys [Patt Hanley and Patt Conry], her cousins, who slept in the house, with the butt ends of their guns. They took off Catherine Hanley, and placed her in a car [presumably a horse-driven cart] which they had brought for the purpose, and would not allow her to put on her clothes and kept her by force on the car with nothing on her but her shift until the arrival at Carrick-on-Shannon, a distance of 7 miles from her home". In the meantime the police had been summoned and the abductors were traced to the home of William Bertridge, the father of the Bertridge brothers, in Cloonfeacle (near Carrick-on-Shannon). Catherine was rescued and the Bertridges, John Morahan and accomplice Owen Fitzmaurice were arrested at the scene. James Duffy, the boy who drove the cart, would later give evidence against them. In his deposition James Duffy mentioned that when he and the other abductors entered the Bertridge home with their captive, he saw "three females and an old man". The old man was most likely William Bertridge, father of Robert and William, and the three females may have been the three daughters of his that we know of: Mary (who had married John Morahan two weeks earlier), Catherine and Bridget.
The Bertridge brothers along with John Morahan and Owen Fitzmaurice were tried in Roscommon on 5 July 1836 and sentenced to death. However, their names appear on the Roscommon Jail transportation lists, indicating they may have been destined to be transported to Australia. The words 'Free Pardon' appear beside the Bertridge and Morahan names, with '6 months' beside Owen Fitzmaurice's name, so it appears they escaped death and transportation. Their pardon may have been due in some part to the intervention of the Bertridge family because William Lloyd, the Roscommon magistrate, recommended in a letter to a counterpart in Dublin Castle that James Duffy, the cart driver who was to give evidence against the other abductors, should be placed in custody in Dublin rather than in Roscommon "fearing least he might be tampered with". William Lloyd goes on to say that "the Bertridges are of a very respectable family, and no doubt but their relatives will exert themselves to prevent prosecution". That the group seems to have escaped serious punishment, and the apparent absence of newspaper coverage of the case, suggests that the efforts of the Bertridge family, if any, were successful.
Why this group abducted Catherine Hanley is unknown, but the following extract from "On Local Disturbances in Ireland; and on the Irish Church Question" (1836) by George Cornewall Lewis is interesting in this regard:
"It may, however, be added that the existence of factions has contributed to favour the crime of abduction of unmarried women, which is viewed by the peasantry as a kind of Whiteboy¹ offence. The crime is usually committed as follows: a party of men go by night to the house of the young woman, who is generally a farmer's daughter, with a small fortune, and somewhat above the rank of the intended husband; carry her away by force, and on horseback; and lodge her in some hiding place with the man who intends that she should be his wife. Sometimes the parties are married forthwith; sometimes a communication is made to the father that the man is willing to marry the girl, if the fortune is paid. The father, therefore, finding himself compelled either to sanction the marriage, or to take back his daughter in an impaired state, usually adopts the former alternative. In every case the abductions, which are sometimes collusive, arise from an interested motive. Their frequency was at one time so great in parts of Ireland as to affect the marrying habits² of the population".
In light of the above extract, could it be that Catherine Hanley was intended to be the wife of one of the abductors? John Morahan was newly married; and the Bertridges, who were only in their twenties and from a "very respectable" and apparently influential family, would surely not resort to abducting a woman for themselves. Owen Fitzmaurice, on the other hand, was aged 40. Was it intended, therefore, that Catherine Hanley would become Owen Fitzmaurice's wife?
Nothing is known of Robert after his pardon. We have information on the deaths of two Robert Bertridges who could possibly be our Robert. One died on 5 November 1838 and is buried in Kiltoghert (this information comes from the Leitrim Genealogy Centre) and the other was living in Summer St. North in Dublin in May 1854. He died in 1855 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. For now we are making the assumption that the Robert Bertridge who was buried in Kiltoghert in 1838 is our Robert above.
1. The Whiteboys were a secret Irish agrarian organisation in 18th-century Ireland which used violent tactics to promote tenant farmer land rights. Their name derives from the white shirts the members wore in their nightly raids. Over time, Whiteboyism became a general term for rural violence carried out by groups. Whiteboys were active throughout the latter half of the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries.
2. Because families were so fearful that their unmarried daughters would be abducted, daughters were married off at an increasingly younger age.
+ 4 M iii Thomas BERTRIDGE (caution: not verified) died. + 5 M iv William BERTRIDGE was born about 1813. He died in possibly 5 May 1888. + 6 F v Mary BERTRIDGE was born about 1815. She died in probably 18 May 1853. 7 F vi
Catherine BERTRIDGE (caution: not verified) died.
On her marriage record Catherine's surname is Bertrige, which is presumably synonymous with Bertridge. We have absolutely no proof the Catherine was a daughter of our William Bertridge (hence the caution) but given the rarity of the surname and the fact that the marriage took place in Kiltoghert, it is a possibility.
Catherine married Matthew GARVEY on 22 Apr 1838 in Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Matthew died.
Witnesses to the marriage of Catherine and Matthew were William Down and Margaret Lenahan.
8 F vii
Bridget BERTRIDGE (caution: not verified) died.
On her marriage record Bridget's surname is Betridge, which is presumably synonymous with Bertridge. We have absolutely no proof the Bridget was a daughter of our William Bertridge (hence the caution) but given the rarity of the surname and the fact that the marriage took place in Kiltoghert, it is a possibility.
Bridget married Patrick FALLEN / FALLON on 17 Feb 1845 in Kiltoghert, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Patrick died.
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