Short Notes to Dr. Mc Curdy Castlefin County Donegal
One of the surnames amongst the list of tenants is Dr Robert Mc Curdy of the townland of Corcullion. The farmhouse is inserted on the estate map near an area written in as New England showing a Mr Lafferty. (Refer map extract).
This Mc Curdy family was originally from the townland of Corcullion near Castlefin County Donegal. The doctor was a landowner in several of these townlands two of which were called Corcullion and Stranamuck, both close to each other and in the proximity of the small town of Castlefin.
When his son Robert was 11 months old this family moved to America in 1843 and settled on a farm near Crab Creek in the state of Ohio. He farmed the land with his family and practised his medical profession.
In 1861 young Robert, now 19 years old, accepted a position in the Mahoning County Bank and it was not long after that his employees recognised his potential within the extended community. When the First National Bank was organised in 1863 he received promotion and eventually became president of the bank in 1877. He was devoted to developing Youngstown into a prosperous and thriving city.
During the Civil War he enlisted, was struck with typhoid fever and was later discharged from the 155th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He always remained a staunch supporter of the Republican Party and served as a delegate at the important conventions.
On 19 September 1878 he married Isabella Porter and had three children, Isabel, Florence and a son Robert. He served as a member of the Presbyterian Church in Youngstown and remained an elder for 26 years until his death. He was deeply involved with the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Reuben Mc Millan Public Library Association and the Rayen School. He was a member of many private charities, commanding respect and admiration from all those he came into contact with.
In 1904 he died at his home in Youngstown, after an illness from Bright’s Disease.
The map extract clearly shows the original homestead of Dr Robert Mc Curdy. His home in Corcullion is identifiable including his tenancy in Stranamuck. It also leaves many unsolved little mysteries as to why he left and to whom did he sell the property to if he indeed was the proprietor. Were there any relatives left behind and if so where did they live? The Tithe Applotment Record states that he was still in residence in both townlands in 1826.
In November 1832 he married Eliza Henry of Sligo.
In Corcullion Dr Mc Curdy occupies field numbers 1 ,2, 10, 4, 5, 7, 14, 18. Field number 10, contains the house and garden. Similar to all the surveys in the collection, land description is abbreviated. All the boundaries are tinged in green and the townland is named although the spelling is slightly varied with an ending of ien compared to today’s spelling, (Corcullien/Corcullion). It is probable that the farm was held in lease although it is not indicated on the map.
The estate survey was drawn by Robert Montgomery as shown by the signature on the reverse. Robert Montgomery was the son of Gabriel Montgomery, the cartographer and hydrographer of the period. G. Montgomery was a member of the Donegal Grand Jury, the modern day equivalent would be the local County Council.
The name of Brian Mc Can appears in the townland of Stranamuck 1832 and the writer draws attention to the famous Mc Cain family of Canada and makes an assumption that this could be an ancestor of this family. The map reveals that Dr. Mc Curdy either sold or let a field to this Brian Mc Can at the time when Dr. Mc Curdy was thinking of moving to U.S.A. It is evident that he was certainly a tenant farmer on portions of the Mc Curdy land.
The writer notes a certain Widow Mary Ann Alexander who is also listed as having a tenancy in Stranamuck. Could Mary Ann be a relative of the famous hymn author Cecil Francis Alexander (nee Humphreys), born 1818 Dublin? (Refer map extract of Stranamuck).
An interesting research task would be to note all or any of the present day descendants of those family names on the above list. It would certainly be a rewarding challenge for the local genealogists and an additional historical study of Castlefin and its environs.