RAGAN-ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > RAGAN-ROOTS > 1999-05 > 0926046728
Subject: [RAGAN-ROOTS-L] Regan Stonecutters
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 23:12:08 EDT
This evening I rcvd the following info from our cousin Bill REAGAN. It
reminded me of some other stone cutter/mason info I had on file about some of
our ancestors. You'll find that file after Bill's msg.
Michael W. RAGAN
If 4 out of 5 people *suffer* from diarrhea, one person must *enjoy* it.
Just a quick note . . .
Aurora, Colorado, USA
Researching: Alexander, Duda, Reagan, Weiler:
Weiler Surname research:
This subject is of great interest to me as well. My ggrandfather James
O'Regan from County Cork was a stonecutter. His son John also was a
stonecutter when they settled in Saugerties, NY. My great-uncle Morgan
Cregan from Limerick was a stonecutter as well. He stayed in Ireland.
==== CountyCork Mailing List ====
No flames allowed.
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The Stonemason O'Regans
by Brian O'Regan
The Regan family of stonemasons originated from the Doneraile area in
northeast Cork. Today their descendants are scattered around the world. Most
of them can trace their family roots to a small stone cottage in Carkerbeg
townland, Parish of Doneraile, Barony of Fermoy, built by the stonemason
family in the 1700s. It is on the north side of the main
Kildorrery-Doneraile Road, about one-third of a mile east of the Labbavacon
bridge. Stonemason Regans were also located in two adjacent townlands, Park
North and Park South. The Regans were Catholics who attended the Chapel at
Shanballymore, about two and a half miles from the cottage.
Shanballymore Area Stonemasons
In the early 1800s there were believed to be seven or more brothers in
the family of Regan stonemasons: Jeremiah 1805-1889; James 1808-1886; Maurice
1809-1889; Denis 1810-1887; John born c1811; Michael b c1812; and William
1813-1855. Daniel, Patrick and Cornelius may also have been other brothers.
Daniel was listed with some seven acres of land in Carkerbeg townland in
the Tithe Applotment Survey, November 1833. The known sisters were Mary and
Ellen (Mrs. William Cleary). The family head is believed to have been Thomas
Regan of whom no record could be found.
Doneraile's early church records, which include the Chapel at
Shanballyore, and did not commence until about 1817, list a large number of
baptisms of stonemason Regan children of Carker, Carkerbeg and Carker Pike
(believed to be Park North at the junction of the road to Shanballymore)
as.well as Mallow Lane and New Road, and later Main Street, in Doneraile.
The records sometimes recorded the same parents living at more than one
townland, which may have been the case depending on family size and growth.
Some of these baptisms are recorded in this document and others are attached.
Col. James G. White, in his historical and topographical notes, credits
the brothers with the masonry work on the handsome entrance gates of Creagh
Castle, formerly Castle Saffron, in the parish of Doneraile. The date 1827
is still legible on the gateway. The stonemason Regans were most likely
employed in 1816 in the building of the present castle and the high stone
wall around the demesne. The castle, about a mile east of Doneraile, on the
banks of the river Awbeg, was the residence of Captain John W. Brazier-Creagh
of the North Cork Militia in the 1821 census. His family had acquired the
147 acres property in 1788. Leaving the Homestead Most of the brothers moved
from Doneraile in the summer of 1834. Four brothers settled near
Watergrasshill, about 10 miles northeast of Cork City. They did the masonry
work on the Killaspugmullane Church of Ireland on the town's main street. It
was built in 1838 by Henry Brasier-Mitchell, late of Creagh Castle. He had
changed his name from Creagh to the maiden name of his wife to preserve the
estate of Mitchell's Fort, near Watergrasshill. The brothers also built the
long stone wall that runs through the main street of the town of Glenville,
five miles west of Watergrasshill. They were Jeremiah, Maurice, Denis, and
Michael. They may have been accompanied by another brother, Daniel.
Their sisters Mary and Ellen moved with them. Ellen married William
Cleary and raised a family: James, baptized April 8, 1839 (Mary Regan a
sponsor); and John, baptized March 3, 1844. Mary married Thomas Foley and
their son James was baptized December 1, 1841. James Regan and Ellen Regan
Family in Watergrasshill Area
Jeremiah settled on the townland of Ardnageehy West, Watergrasshill
Town, Parish of Ardnageehy. He married Ellen Baker and had issue: John
1836; and Mary 1839. In the Griffiths evaluation in 1853, he was leasing a
house from James Dunlea who leased property from the owner, Grice R. Smith.
Maurice married Ellen Calnan and had issue: Margaret, baptized December
27, 1840; John, baptized November 14, 1842; Mary, baptized November 10, 1844
(sponsors Daniel and Mary Regan); and Hannah, baptized June 27, 1852. He
died in 1889 at the age of 80 years, Ellen having predeceased him at age 70
Their son John Maurice emigrated to America after 1870 and was believed
to be a priest in Ohio. Their daughter Mary Ann, emigrated to America in
1864. She married Thomas MALONEY, and died in 1875 in New York City. Their
children were son Edward, born December 25, 1868 in Jersey City, died January
1940; and daughter Ellen, born 1870 in New York City and died in 1893.
Griffiths Valuation of 1853 did not list Maurice in the Watergrasshill
area, however, the baptisms of their children are all recorded in the
Watergrasshill Catholic church registers. A Maurice Regan was located in
Kilcolman West, Barony of Fermoy, Parish of Doneraile in the Griffiths
Valuation. He leased 251+ acres from James Hill. John Lenihan, Margaret
Lenihan, and James Regan were sublessors. Patrick Regan leased a house on
the townland from Andrew Croker.
In 1853, Denis, who also raised racehorses, had 36+ acres in the
townland of Graigue West, near Watergrasshill. His first wife is believed to
have been Bridget Kelly. They had a son Patrick, baptized 22 October 1837
with his uncle Jeremiah as a sponsor. A second Patrick, was baptized 22
March 1838 with Patrick Regan as a sponsor; and William baptized 2 February
Denis later married Ellen Clifford at Ballinaclog, and had a family of
six children, listed by baptismal dates: Michael 9 January 1859; Denis 15
August 1860; Maurice 24 September 1862; Jeremiah 7 December 1864; Ellen 22
May 1866; and William 22 March 1868. Their son Denis raised the horse Denny
which in 1929 was acclaimed champion hunter at the Dublin horse show, and was
awarded first prize at Middleton, Cork.
The elder Denis died 20 November 1887 and is buried at Ballyneglogh, six
miles north of Cork City. Buried nearby are John O'Regan of West Graigue,
Glenville, who died December 26, 1953 at age 82, and Elizabeth Regan who died
February 15, 1930.
Daniel is recorded in the Watergrasshill Catholic baptismal registers as
having had three wives:
1) Mary Cahill, whose son Daniel was baptized 18 October 1840;
2) Bridgid Wood by whom there were two children, Honora baptized 16 July
1843, and John, baptized 27 February 1845;
3) Honora Higgins by whom there were six children. They were, with baptismal
dates: Elizabeth 28 November 1852; Mary 2 April 1854; Ellen 1 June 1862;
Daniel 3 October 1864; Cornelius 31 December 1867; and Hannah, 29 April 1871.
Michael Regan leased houses 28, 29 and 30 from Henry Brasier-Mitchell in
1851 in the town of Watergrasshill. The Griffiths Valuation taken in 1853
recorded that he was located on Glenville townland, part of the town of
Watergrasshill.. He occupied a house and corn mill leased from Daniel
Denman. He and his wife Elizabeth had two children: David 1854 and Elizabeth
1857. Daniel Regan and Johanna Regan were also listed, individually, in the
town of Watergrasshill.
In the County Cork Directory for 1875, listed as landholders, were Denis
at Ardnageeby, and Michael in Watergrasshill. Living at Ardnageeby in 1898
were Denis and Michael Regan, according to the postal directory for that year.
Denis, the son of Denis Regan and Ellen Clifford (above), married
Margaret Cronin of Killuntin Townland, near Glenville. He died 29 December
1942 and is buried at Dunbollogue, six miles North of Cork City. Their
children were: Michael, born 15 August 1906, died in 1987; Denis, deceased;
Jeremiah, born c1909, who went to Australia about 1925, and is living in
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia; William, born 1910, deceased in England;
Maurice, born 1912, living in Bath, England; and Nell who lived in the Town
of Fermoy until her death in 1986.
The great-great-grandchildren of Denis, the children of Michael, still
live at Ardnageeby. They are Denis and Michael, who farm, and Margaret, who
with her late brother Jeremiah, who died in early 1993, followed in the
footsteps of their gggf Denis, and father Michael, by breeding and raising
hunting and race horses.
Margaret has a black-bordered certificate issued by the Commissioners of
Emigration of the State of New York informing the recipient that Dennis
Regan, 35, arrived from Liverpool by the Steamship Arizona on October 3rd
1887, and died February 25, 1888 at 4:45 a.m., in the State Emigrant Refuge
and Hospital, Ward's Island, New York City. He may have been the son of
Maurice Regan 1809-1889.
John to Doneraile
John, rather than follow his brothers to Watergrasshill or America in 1834,
moved into the Town of Doneraile. He married Mary Lynch (another Mary Lynch
was married at the same time to Timothy Regan of Clogher townland - no known
relationship), and had one son John Jr., born in 1853, who married Sarah
Neenan and had seven sons and four daughters born between 1876 and 1894. The
children and baptismal dates were: William 21 May 1876; Denis 22 July 1878;
John 25 July 1880; Andrew J 25 February 1883; Cornelius 12 October 1884;
Michael 15 August 1886; Johanna 14 March 1888; Jeremiah 25 August 1889; Mary
24 May 1891 (William Regan, sponsor); Sarah 4 June 1893 (Denis Regan,
sponsor); and, Eliza 5 August 1894.
Griffiths Valuation of July 1851 reported Cornelius Regan at Carkerbeg:
William Regan on New Road, and Mary Regan on Main Street, both in Doneraile;
Laurence Regan, Park North; and John Regan, Park South. They were all of the
Church records for that period also show Cornelius on New Road, and
William on Mallow Lane 1848 and Doneraile 1853. Mary Regan may have been the
widow of Edward shown on New Road in April 1851.
Guys 1898 directory listed two John O'Regans as builders: the son of
John in Doneraile, who had a large family (see above), and a cousin John at
Carker Pike. All of John Jr.'s sons were trained as stonemasons and
builders. A grandson and two great randsons are currently builders in
Buttevant. A cousin is Patrick O'Regan, a builder at Killavullen.
William to Australia
The youngest Regan brother, William, is believed to be the same William
Regan, a stonemason, who gave his birthplace as Mallow, Cork, when he was
married in Australia on September 19, 1840. He married Margaret, daughter of
Michael Taggart, born in Swords, County Dublin. They had five children:
William c1841; Catherine 1842; John 1845; James Edwin 1849; and Michael
William was a principal involved in a number of profitable land
transactions in the early 1850s involving sections 47 and 513 at Glenelg,
South Australia. The deeds listed him as a stonemason. The community today
is a beachside holiday resort known as Adelaide's City by the Sea. In his
will in March 1853, he left all his real and personal estate to his wife and
children. It was likely done just prior to his departure for the Victoria
In late August 1851, diggers James Regan, a young man, and John Dunlop,
a septuagenarian, had stumbled on surface deposits of gold at Ballarat's
Golden Point. They turned the first sods of one of the richest alluvial
goldfields in the history of the world. William Regan and his son, William,
were attracted to Daisy Hill, a principal goldfield that was part of the
famed Ballarat-Bendigo diggings. The father died at the Back Creek, Daisy
Hill, diggings on January 27, 1855.
His son reported the death in a notarized declaration, to settle his
father's estate. He said his father was buried at Daisy Hill. No records of
the burial or actual place of interment exist. The burial place is listed
under Amherst Old Cemetery for which there are no records. Some gravestones
survive. William's descendants still live in the Adelaide district. They
include Father Vincent Regan, parish priest at Mile End near Adelaide, and
Joan Whitbread in Adelaide.
William may have been the same William Regan, 21, town labourer, who had
been found guilty on 16 May 1834 in Cork city, of the theft of clothes, and
sentenced to seven years transportation to the penal colony of New South
Wales. He arrived from Ireland on August 31, 1835 on the ship Hero as
convict number 5-1911, indent number 108. The 462-ton Hero had sailed
under command of Master Henry Dowsan March 15, 1835 from Dublin. It was a
169-day voyage by way of Rio de Janiero with 202 males aboard.
This event is believed to solve the mystery as to why the brothers left
Carkerbeg townland about the same time. It also helps explain a family story
handed down from James, my great grandfather. He told his eldest son that
William came running into the field as he worked and said: "James, don't turn
around, I need your coat, the soldiers are after me." James went back to the
cottage and told his wife Mary to pack up as they were leaving that night to
get a boat to America. A local historian in Glenville said when the soldiers
were after one brother, they went after all brothers.
James to Canada
James married Mary McCarthy who was born in 1812 at or near Kilmallock,
County Limerick, about 13 miles north of Doneraile. They emigrated to Canada
in 1834. He was listed in the 1838 Census of Kings County, Parrsboro
Township, as head of a family of four, including one male under six years of
age (Thomas b 1836 in Nova Scotia), and one female under 14 years of age,
likely a servant as Mary was pregnant with their second son, Timothy born in
1838. Their other children were Daniel 1841; Anna 1842; Mary 1850; and James
1852. Some time later the family made their way to Minudie, N.S., the site of
high quality blue limestone and the source of world-renowned grindstones.
James may have been a stonecutter with Francis O'Regan who had arrived
in Saint John,N.B., in 1819, 15 years before him. Francis, in 1826, received
a land warrant with three others, including Laurence O'Regan, 21, who had
emigrated from Londonderry a year earlier. In the 1840s he worked for Amos
"King" Seaman, a noted entrepreneur at Minudie, N.S. It is near the town of
Joggins, on the shore of Chignecto Bay. James and family lived on a farm at
Minudie, and Francis lived at Ragged Reef, a few miles away. The latter
included a stone quarry.
Cousins in Canada
There were other O'Regans who are believed to have been cousins. All
followed the family craft of masonry work or stonecutting. James had a family
of six children born at Minudie, N.S. between 1837 and 1862. Francis had a
large family of 12 children, all born before 1836. He and Lawrence lived a
couple of miles away near Joggins, N.S. Lawrence, who moved to Hopewell,
N.B., after marriage to Mary McCunley, had nine children. They were: Denis
1831; Catherine 1832; Laurence 1836; Edward 1838; Elizabeth 1841; John and
Mary Ann 1844; and Hugh 1849.
Francis, born 1792 at Kilrea, County Londonderry, and his wife Bridget
Larkin, born 1790 at Castle Dawson, County Londonderry, had four children
born in Ireland: Peter 1812; Roseanna 1813; James 1815; and John 1817. Born
in Nova Scotia were: Susan 1820; Denis 1822; Peter 1824; Charles 1826;
Lawrence 1829; Francis 1831; Elizabeth 1833; and Bridget 1835.
Laurence on 23 Oct 1834 received a land grant of 209 acres, four miles
southeast of Chapman's Creek in Albert County, N.B.
Other Cousins in Canada
In addition to James, Francis and Laurence, there were at least three
other stonemason Regan families in Canada in the first half of the 19th
century. They worked for Colonel John By in the building of the 131-mile
Rideau Canal between 1826 and 1832. It linked the Ottawa River and Lake
Ontario, and was an important transportation route in the 1800s.
John Regan who, in 1829, listed his half-brother John Crosbie and family
of Bannagher, Kings County, as potential emigrants if government support was
received. He may have been the person of that name in an 1817 census of the
Perth Military Settlement in Ontario. No other records have been found;
Patrick Regan Ragan) who leased a lot in 1827 (Lot 23, Kent Street); of
whom no other information was found, and, Henry Regan, who is believed to
have had a farm called Regan's Hill near the Hurdmans Bridge over the Rideau
River, and who later settled in the Carlsbad Springs area, near Ottawa, where
his descendants live today.
Another John Regan 1817-1895 was a stonemason and builder in Belleville
and Ottawa, both in Ontario. He married 1) Jane Black 1823-1850, and 2)
Julia Cunningham 1830-1895, and had children: Ellen 1848; Jane 1852; Mary Ann
1856; and Elizabeth 18--.
Cornelius O'Regan, a stonemason believed by a descendant to have been
born in Bandon, Cork, in 1822, married Fannie McManus about 1849 and became
one of the first settlers at Ennishore, Grand Falls by 1851 when he was
enumerated for the census with Fannie and daughter Julia, 13 months old. The
settlement was named by Cornelius after what may have been his Irish place of
origin1. He and Fannie had 16 children: Julia 1849; Julia 1860-1947; Mary
1862-1926; John 1865-1920; Daniel 1866; Francis Ellen (Nellie) 1866; Michael
Edward 1868-1918; Catherine; Joseph 1870-1924; William 1871-1881; Cornelius
1877-1902; Agnes 1877-1882; James Thomas 1880-1891; Bertha 1882-1901; Twins
Annie 1885-1957 and Elizabeth Gertrude.
His stonemason artistry was applied to bridges between Saint John and
Grand Falls, including the construction in 1860 of support towers for an
"iron radiating tension bridge" suspended over the gorge at Grand Falls. A
history book described the towers as a work of art. They were, it was
reported, unnecessarily destroyed when a more modern bridge replaced it in
There was a John Regan b c1811, and Hannah Regan b c1821, both in
Ireland, and son Denis, a stonecutter, b c1844 in New Brunswick, living in
Saint John's Wellington or Kings Ward.
Other Cousins in Ireland
Other cousins in Ireland are identified by startling physical
resemblances and mannerisms to James' descendants in Canada, but the actual
relationship is unknown. Two examples are Donal and Rita O'Regan, the
descendants of Cornelius O'Regan, who live in Tralee. During a conversation
with Donal in 1983, I had an eerie feeling of listening to my father. He had
the same facial features, head and hand gestures, and manner of expressing
himself as my father who died in 1960. Rita's facial features and hair style
bore a striking likeness to those of my sister Norah.
Rita, the wife of Bob O'Connor, explained that her grandparents,
Cornelius, born about 1849, and Mary Ann Gordon, who had 16 children, arrived
in Tralee in June 1881 from Doneraile (a Cornelius occupied the stonemason
cottage at Carkerbeg in 1853). The 12 surviving children, all born in
Tralee, were Patrick, Cornelius, Daniel, Thomas,. Michael, Mary, Norah,
Margaret, Elizabeth, Hannah Bridget, Michael and Catherine. The names are
the same as those found in the O'Regan stonemason families.
The facial features of Anthony O'Regan, born in Killavullen townland,
Roscommon county in 1809, who became vicar general of the St. Louis diocese,
and the third bishop of Chicago 1854-1858, are identical to those of my
uncle, Anthony Brian O'Regan, who lived in Ottawa more than 100 years later.
The bishop died in Brompton, London and was buried in the churchyard at
Cloonfad, county Mayo in November 1866. An O'Regan widow, living in the
cottage with the portrait of the bishop, said the family originated in the
NOTE: Descendants of stonemason O'Regans are encouraged to provide family
history information to the writer at 2608- 500 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa,
ON (Canada) K1R 5E1.
Telephone 613 230-2852. E-mail:
Date: April 1996
Shanballymore/Doneraile Area Stonemason Regans Recorded in Church Events
Born to: Thomas and Joanna were Timothy 13 January 1826 (Mary Regan,
sponsor); and, Thomas 30 January 1833;
Born to Daniel Regan and Elizabeth (Betty) Barry, married 6 October
1836, Ellen 1837 and Margaret March 1841.
Born to James Regan and Judith Sheehan were James 1 November 1817,
William 3 May 1820, and David 15 July 1824;
Born to William Regan and Ellen Casey, who were married 5 March 1821
with Denis Regan and Pat Casey as witnesses, William 7 April 1822, and
Patrick 2 June 1828;
Born to John Regan and Margaret Murphy, married 11 February 1823 with
Tom Regan and Tade Murphy as witnesses, were Joan 22 December 1825; Laurence
28 July 1829 (Laurence Regan, sponsor); Mary 28 October 1832; and Margaret 29
Born to Laurence Regan and Anne Fenton were: Mary 18 March 1830;
Laurence 7 July 1832; Michael 5 October 1833; John 31 January 1836; Patrick
22 February 1837; Catherine 10 March 1838; Hannah 5 September 1841; Jonny 21
June 1844; John 20 May 1847; Margaret 1 September 1850; and William 19 July
Born to John and Catherine Riordan were Julia 27 November 1827, Margaret
26 May 1839, Michael 20 May 1839
Born to James Regan and Bridget Quinn were Ellen 24 November 1845;
Bridget 4 June 1847; John 29 July 1849; James 13 July 1852; Julia and Ellen
11 February 1855; and Patrick 21 March 1857; Mallow Lane, Doneraile:
Born to John Regan and Catherine Riordan, Julia 27 November 1827; James
Regan and Betsy Fitzgerald, Ellen 30 December 1832;
Born to William Regan and Joanna Lenihan, Denis 20 January 1834 (Main
St); Mary 15 July 1838 (Glen); Joanna 1 Mar 1841; ------------ 1 February
1841; Elizabeth 24 April 1848 (Denis Regan and Margaret Regan, sponsors) ,
and Ellen 7 August 1853.
New Road, Doneraile:
Born to John Regan and Anne Murrall (?), Margaret 10 July 1825;
Born to Edward Regan and Mary Magnier, Ellen 13 April 1851;
Born to Cornelius Regan and Sally Skully, married 6 October 1848, Mary 6
1) The church records after 1850 seldom gave a townland/street origin.
2) William Regan occupied a house and office on 11 perches of land on New
Road in Griffiths Valuation of 1851. Church records have him on Mallow Lane
at that time.
3) There was a stone quarry on the left side of Mallow Road, Doneraile
in the early 1800s.
1 Ennishore is not listed in an 1851 index as a townland, parish or barony.
There is an Ennis town in Co. Clare, and an Ennismore townland in the parish
of Dysert, County Kerry Ennis is derived from Innis, signifying an island.