Visit to Carrickabweehan County Fermanagh
I visited Enniskillen on Wednesday 11 November 2011 and spoke to Mr Frank Roofe in the Town Hall. Mr Roofe is a researcher for County Fermanagh Genealogy and agreed to assist with some of the searches regarding the origins of a certain Surgeon John White of the First Fleet a Fermanagh man born and raised.
We exchanged information and areas to be followed up again and eventually agreed with the same conclusion which was that the Sergeant John White included on my manuscript map of the 1700s was related to other White Families of Drumarran but was most likely the father of Dr. John White, who was the first Irishman to set foot in Australia. The homestead marked on the antique map we identified as the original White homestead. There is no other tangible evidence to even suggest that is not the case.
We visited Mullaghadun Church graveyard to examine the vault of William White the nephew of Surgeon John and then visited the White homestead indicated on my map which we found was now occupied by a Mr. Kelly and family. This gentleman stated that the house was demolished 13 years ago but he was able to show us where the original site was positioned. He has built a new house a short distance away but on the exact same road to the old building site.
The well located on my map is still there which supposedly, had healing powers regarding scurvy. A more recent map of the period has 2 other holy wells marked in for jaundice and ague.
Mr Kelly gave us a photo of his ancestors standing in front of the old White homestead and permitted us to photocopy it as well as a drawing by a member of his family. He stated that the old house was facing exactly the same way as on the old map with the road running to the front and a small exit road from the rear of the building. He was able to identify the location of the other buildings drawn on my map such as the old dwellings formerly occupied by Carson and Brady, the Gardrum Road, the old fort behind the property and several of the old field divisions. One of the dilapidated sites was a Shebeen which is sadly out of use now.
The visit was most enjoyable and entertaining. More importantly we were able to identify the specific details registered on the manuscript map of the townland of Carrickabweehan at the margin of Belmore Mountain. With the help of Mr. Kelly we confirmed the accuracy of the map contents, the original tenants, their dwellings and land divisions, the location of the well, the proximity of this townland to the others and last but not least the homestead of Sergeant John White the father of Surgeon John White of First Fleet one of the first Irishmen to touch Australian soil and the grandfather of Dr. White’s son Douglas, who was the only Australian to fight at the Battle of Waterloo.
The son of Dr. White was born in Australia and was named Andrew Douglas White. His mother was Rachel Turner who was a convict and sentenced to seven years transportation from the Old Bailey. She was Dr. White’s housekeeper in 1792. Douglas was reared in England and joined the Royal Engineers which served on the staff at Waterloo.
Lieutenant White survived the battle and returned to England when he was awarded his Waterloo medal in 1816. His mother remained in Australia and married a wealthy merchant but did not have any more children. Andrew Douglas returned to Australia after thirty years and was reunited with his mother. Afterwards he returned to England and was promoted. Eventually he went back to the land of his birth and married. He had no children and died in 1837 in Australia.
Like his father before him he made history in that he was the first Australian to fight and survive the Battle of Waterloo. His mother treasured the Waterloo medal until her death.