The Murder of Edmond Allen – Personal Correspondence with Alison Stewart – August 2014

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Anne Cuthbert, née Allen, of Galbally, Limerick

Robert Stewart and Rebecca Cuthbert were our paternal great-grandparents, and the parents of our grandfather, Bertie Stewart. Robert Stewart, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Stewart, married Rebecca Cuthbert in Dublin in 1898. Rebecca was the daughter of Henry Thomas Cuthbert and Anne Allen. Anne Allen was born in Co. Limerick in 1848 to Robert Allen who lived on the Limerick/Tipperary border at Galbally.

Henry Thomas Culbert and Anne Allen

Our paternal great-great grandfather, Henry Thomas Culbert,  married  our great-great grandmother, Anne Allen, in Galbally Church of Ireland Church in Co. Limerick on October 3rd 1869.  At this time the Culbert family had moved south from Offaly and were living close to the Limerick/Tipperary border in the townland of Kilshane.  Henry’s father was Henry Culbert Senior, carpenter, and one of the witnesses to the marriage was a fellow carpenter, William Airey, who can be seen later on the 1901 Census still resident in Kilshane. The second witness was Richard Allen, possibly Anne’s brother. Her father was Robert Allen, a farmer of Galbally. Anne’s mother was possibly named Sarah. The eldest son of Henry Culbert and Anne Allen, Robert Culbert, was born in Milltown, Offaly, on Jan.19th 1871, this being an area close to Henry Culbert’s homeplace of Corraclevin, Offaly. Henry and Anne Culbert moved back to Anne’s hometown of Galbally for the birth on April 26th 1873 of their daughter Rebecca, our great-grandmother, who later married Robert Stewart in Dublin. Shortly afterwards the family made the move to Dublin city and were living at 4 St. Lawrence Road, Clontarf, where the remainder of their children were born.

The Allens of Galbally

Most Allens in this area were Catholic;  given that our Anne Allen married Henry Culbert in the Church of Ireland Church, I’m only focusing on Protestant Galbally Allens, although conversion on marriage was common.  Sadly, the records for Galbally Church of Ireland parish no longer exist, so I’m patching together whatever paltry slivers of information I can find.  Much of this is mere conjecture, but may be clarified later by deeper research. The tithes books of the 1830’s indicate that most of the Galbally Allen families were farming on the Tipperary/Limerick border just north-west of Galbally town.  Anne Allen’s father, Robert Allen, was born circa 1802, and, given that the tithe books only mention one Robert Allen, I’m assuming that the Robert Allen mentioned below in Ballylooby is Anne’s father.  If this is the correct man, then Anne also had an older brother, John Allen, who was farming alongside their father in Ballylooby.  This may be the John Allen who later, in 1852, was farming at Keeloges immediately south of Park, Galbally.

The 1830’s Tithe Applotment Books for Galbally, Limerick

John Allen – Ballinamona, north of Galbally.

William Allen – Ballinamona John Allen – Annagh, north of Galbally. Henry Allen – Lyre Robert Allen – Ballylooby, north of Galbally. Allen (Robert) John – Ballylooby. (ie: John Allen was the son of Robert Allen.) Allice Allen – Park, east of Galbally.

Griffiths Valuation

was carried out in Galbally in 1852; there are two Robert Allens listed: Patrick Allen – Annagh William Allen – Ballylooby, 36 acres. Francis Allen Junior – Ballynamona, 20 acres. Edmund Allen (next door to above) – Ballynamona, 21 acres. Francis Allen Senior – Ballynamona, leasing a house from William Allen. William Allen – Ballynamona, leasing a house from Edmund Allen. Robert Allen – Galbally townland, 4 acres. John Allen – Keeloges, near Park, 113 acres. William Allen – Kilgreana beside Ballynamona, 4 acres. Edmund Allen – Lissard beside Ballynamona and Annagh, 11 acres.  William Allen – Park, 32 acres. Robert Allen – Galbally town, house, garden office and pound. Neither the Tithe Books nor the later Valuation books make note of landholders’ religion so it’s impossible to say for certain which of the above men were Protestant.

(Exodus: One of the above Edmund Allens emigrated to Douro, Peterborough,  Canada and appears there on the 1851 census along with other members of this Catholic family.  His wife, Bridget Fleming, erected a gravestone for him in Douro, Ontario, when he died in 1860, on which it was confirmed that he came from Galbally.  He been born there in about 1774.  Other members of this family on the same census return for 1851 were Robert Allen, aged 30, with his wife, Johannah Curtin, and their son Edmond Allin (sic).  A third Edmond Allin, aged 30, and born in Ireland, was present too, along with his wife, Ellen Clancy, and their three young Canada-born children, Edmond, Bridget and Margaret. The 1861 census for Peterborough, Canada, records the family of William and Bridget Allen, born circa 1811 in Ireland, along with their six Canada-born children.  In the same area was the Irish-born Anthony Allen and his wife, Mary, and three children.)

Anne Allen’s father, Robert, died at Park, Galbally, on 28th December 1875. He was a married farmer, and had died of debility, aged 73;  present at death was the illiterate Sarah Allen, who signed the cert with her mark, and who may have been Robert’s widowed wife.  If Robert Allen had been born in 1803, then his daughter Anne had been born when he was 46 years old.

Other Allens of Galbally

The death of a second Robert Allen was registered in the same Mitchelstown registration district – he was born in 1834 to John Allen, and died in 1899.  The Galbally marriage of this Robert Allen was registered in Mitchelstown in 1865; his bride was Nancy/Ann Riordan – they had Alice Allen in 1865, John in 1867 and Michael in 1870. Nancy/Ann Riordan was the daughter of Michael Riordan who lived in Lissard, Galbally in 1852.  Robert was the son of John Allen – there was only one John Allen in Griffiths Valuation for Galbally;  he was farming 113 acres in Keeloges next to Park townland where Anne Allen’s father died in 1875. It’s interesting also that Robert Allen and Nancy/Ann Riordan named their daughter as Alice, given that there was an Alice Allen named on the Tithe Books in Park in the 1830s. An Alice Allen  married Edward Thompson in 1883. She was Church of Ireland and was likely the daughter of Robert Allen and Nancy/Ann Riordan – Alice and Edward Thompson make a brief appearance on the 1901 Census for Lattin, Tipperary, with their 15-year-old daughter, Eliza Thompson, who had been born in Co. Limerick in 1886, before disappearing from the records. (Emigration?) Both Alice and Edward had been born circa 1850 in Co. Limerick but were farming just across the Tipperary border in 1901. Also of interest to me is Amelia Emily Allen, born 27th December 1827 1851 in Galbally to Richard Allen and – possibly – Nellie Blackburne.  Her descendant, Marilyn Williams, published her excellent research to the web; I tried unsuccessfully to contact Marilyn using an extinct email.  Her ancestor, Amelia Emily Allen, is of interst to me, since she was associated with the same area east of Galbally as my Anne Allen, and since Henry Culbert and Anne Allen (my great-great grandparents) named one of their two daughters as Emily Amelia. (The other being our great-grandmother, Rebecca Cuthbert, who married Robert Stewart.) Amelia Emily Allen, known as Emily, emigrated to Leamington, Warwickshire, where she worked as a grocer, before marrying in the Church of The Prior, Leamington, Charles Addison Whyman in 1851. The following year she returned to Galbally briefly to take up an inheritance at Little Round Hill, which is in the same Park area of Galbally where our Robert Allen died in 1875.  Emily Whyman, née Allen, subsequently emigrated to the US with her husband, Charles, settling first in Pennsylvannia, then in Gage County, Nebraska, where she died in 1901.  Her husband, Charles Whyman, was a celebrated baptist preacher in Gage County. Emily Allen’s father was Richard Allen of Galbally, who, it is believed, emigrated also to Canada with his wife and younger daughters in about 1830; he later moved to the US where he joined the Union Army and died at Gettyburg in 1869 following a long day’s march.  It seems that, when the family left Galbally for Canada, that their daughter, Emily Amelia Allen, stayed behind with her grandmother,  who was possibly the Alice Allen named at Park in the Tithe Applotment Books of the 1830.

Edmund Allen 1848 – 1886

The following relates the murder of the Protestant Edmond/Edmund Allen, who lived at Park, Galbally. According to newspaper reports, he had been born circa 1848, although, when his death was registered in the Rathkeale area in 1886, his date of birth was given instead as 1819. The obituary of Edmond Allen, Park, Galbally, was published on 19th January 1886 in The Limerick Chronicle.

‘Shocking Murder Near Tipperary – On Saturday evening a brutal murder was committed at a place called Shronell, situate about 3 miles from the town of Tipperary, but does not seem to be connected with agrarian matters.  The victim was a farmer named Edmond Allen, living at Park, near Galbally, in this county.  Deceased, who was about 35 years of age, left his house at midday on Saturday for Damerville, Shronell, the residence of Mr.Austin Chadwick, for the purpose of taking back a farm horse which a few days ago was lent to him by Mr. Chadwick’s land steward, John Tobin.  He arrived at Damerville at about half-past 4 o’clock. He remained there half an hour, and then left for home, a distance of seven miles. He was seen walking down the avenue and passing out of the entrance gate. At the Shronell side of Damerville gate is a high wall, opposite which is another high wall closing in the kitchen garden of Shronell House. By these two high enclosures is formed for about one hundred yards a regular alley.  In this lane-like place a few minutes past five o’clock was found stretched on the middle of the road the lifeless body of the murdered man Allen. The persons who found the body were Patrick O’Neil, grocer, Lattin, Michael Daly and Thomas Looby who live near Lattin.  There was no blood on the face of the deceased nor on his person or clothes, nor any marks whatever of violence.  Hence the men concluded the deceased had suddenly died a natural death. They did not know who he was, and they searched his pockets for any papers which might have been about him that would reveal his identity.  These they found.  One of the three men then ran up to Thomas Brown’s public house, at the Cross of Shronell, and informed Brown of the matter. Brown is a second cousin of deceased. Brown and his son-in-law, an ex-policeman, David Hoey, at once proceeded in their car to the scene of the outrage. They placed the body on the car and drove back to their house.  On arriving there they immediately sent for Dr. Condon, of Shronell. On the doctor’s arrival, they removed the clothes from the body, when it was seen that the man had been foully murdered. There were three bullet wounds on the back, one near the shoulder-blade, another a little lower down, and a third directly opposite the heart. They were pistol shots. Evidently he was fired at from behind. Two of the bullets lodged in the body and death must have been instantaneous. It appears the deceased had quarrelled with his neighbours at Galbally about a right of passage, and litigation was begun about 12 months ago, and has not yet terminated. It is stated a man was sent to gaol for three months at the prosecution of deceased in an assault case, arising out of the contention of the right of passage.  Deceased was a Protestant, and was well-known in Tipperary, where he had several relatives. He was a second cousin of Allen, one of three Manchester “martyrs.” He was a widower and had no family. He held a comfortable farm, on which he kept sixteen cows.’

The inquest was also published in the same newspaper: ‘The Murder Near Tipperary – Yesterday an inquest was held in Shronell National Schoolroom, before Mr. Tobias J. Morrissey, district coroner, touching the death of Edmund Allen of Park, Galbally, who was foully murdered on Saturday evening near the town of Tipperary under circumstances related in our fourth page. Mr. P.K. O’Neill, grocer, of Lattin, deposed to finding the body of the dead man which was lying in the road in the water-course, the hands being quite warm.  His watch and knife were in his pocket. Other witnesses proved the finding of the body on the road. The result of the doctors’ post-mortem examination showed that there were no less than six wounds on the body, five being inflicted by revolver bullets and another by a dagger or some similar weapon.  One bullet had passed through the unfortunate man’s heart and two through his chest.  The following verdict was found by the jury: – “That Edmund Allen came by his death at Shronell, the result of gunshot wounds, and that said wounds were wilfully and maliciously inflicted upon him be some person or persons unknown.”  Shortly after three o’clock, the remains were removed to Galbally by the relatives of the deceased, near to which he was interred. The funeral cortege was a large and respectable one.’

Later, on February 2nd 1886, Richard Hannigan/Richard Hourigan of Damerville, Shronell, was arrested on suspicion of having shot Edmund Allen.  It was reported that Richard Hannigan ‘was cousin to Widow Hannigan, the reinstated tenant at Ballyconroy, near the Limerick Junction’.  He was about 30 years old and was married. It seems that the right of way dispute had been ongoing for many years. As hinted at in his newspaper obituary,  Edmund Allen had already been jailed in Limerick for assault.  His prison record – available to view on the LDS site – stated that he had been born circa 1848 in Galbally, and that the offence had taken place in 1876, 12 years prior to his murder.

Richard Hourigan was found not guilty of the murder of Edmund Allen in July 1886.

Edmund Allen’s second cousin, named erroneously as Thomas Brown above, was actually the publican Richard Brown who died on 31st December 1893, and whose will was administered by his daughter, Margaret Hoey who was married to David Hoey of Derry.

Edmund Allen, as mentioned in the newspaper report, was a widower;   I got the marriage cert of an Edmund Allen from the Public Records Office in Werburgh Street – Edmund of Galbally was the son of a farmer, William Allen, and he married, on 6th February 1893, in the Parish Church of Doon, Co. Limerick, Eliza Thompson, the daughter of a farmer of Gortavalla, Doon, Co. Limerick, Edward Thompson.  The witnesses were another Edmund Allen (uncle?) and a John Howard. Because Edmund Allen was also noted as a second cousin of William Philip Allen, who was one of the Manchester Martyrs, I will do a second post on this individual as well.


Hi there – I recently was doing research on my great-great grandfather, Patrick Thomas Noonan, who lived in Galbally, and came across the murder of Edmond Allen articles that you have quoted here. Do you know if anyone was ever convicted?

Hi there Angela, I’ve scoured the internet looking for further information on the trial but haven’t yet come across the outcome of this trial. I might be able to track down something in the newspapers of the day however – just keep an eye on my Allen posts on this blog, since I’m constantly updating whenever I find new info!

Personal Correspondence with Alison Stewart – August 2014

Subject: Allens in Galbally
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:10:23 -0400

Good morning – I’m a descendant of Edmond Allen, who emigrated from Ireland to Peterborough in Upper Canada in 1825. I’m interested in your research into William Allen (hanged in 1867 – one of three Manchester Martyrs) and Edmond Allen (murdered in Tipperary in 1886). Any primary reference materials would be very appreciated eg the marriage cert if Edmund Allen from the PRO in Werburgh Street, his arrest record etc I’m very happy to share my research as well! Paul Hi there Paul, It’s nice to make your acquaintance.  Unfortunately, all the William Philip Allen information was sourced online, so I have no primary source material for that.  Also, please bear in mind that I’ve no idea at all how my own Protestant Allen family of Galbally links into the other Allen families of that area.  I’m merely collating information on whatever Protestant Allen families of Galbally that I can find in the hope that eventually I can crack the case!!   There is very little information about the Robert Allen of Galbally from whom I descend, other than the fact that he lived at Park, where the murdered Edmund also lived.  I presume, because they were both Protestant, that there might be a family link, but I honestly have been unable to find enough detailed information to support this.The newspapers of the day mention that the murdered Edmund was a distant relation of the Manchester Martyr, so if I’m related to one, then I must be related to both, but this still remains a mystery! I have a marriage cert. from Werburgh Street for Edmund Allen of Galbally – the wedding occurred in the Protestant Parish Church of Doone, Co. Limerick, close to the bride’s home townland of Gortavalla, Doon/Doone, on 6th February 1883.  He was noted as a farmer of Galbally, the son of William Allen a farmer.   The bride was Eliza Thompson, the daughter of a farmer, Edward Thompson, of Gortavalla.  The two witnesses were John Howard and another Edmund Allen, although this could also be ‘Edward’ since the handwriting is slightly scrawly. I also got the death cert. for another Edmund Allen, hoping that it was the Edmund who was murdered in Shronell in 1886. However, this was an individual who died aged 67 on 14th March 1886 of senile decay, at what looks to be Ballynacogue or Ballyvacogue. A Kate Allen was present at his death and signed here name with a cross because of illiteracy.  I’ve no idea was this man Protestant or Catholic because religion is never noted on death certificates, but this may have been the Edmund Allen who witnessed Edmund Allen and Eliza Thompson’s wedding in 1883. Re: Edmund Allen’s arrest record, I believe I found that online on the LDS website, or perhaps on I hope this helps a little! Alison