An exploration of the Fleming/Mackey family from Mullinakill, Co. Kilkenny

An exploration of the Fleming/Mackey family from Mullinakill, Co. Kilkenny, ancestors of Democratic US Vice-Presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine.

William Fleming leased agricultural land in the townland of Mullinakill per the Tithe Applotment Survey 1833 being ‘co-tenant of John Mackey.’ It appears that William had at least two sons William and John. The earliest entries in the Rosbercon Catholic register date from c. 1817.

William Fleming and Catherine Mackey lived in the townland of Mullinakill, in the civil parish of Jerpoint West encompassed by the Catholic parish of Rosbercon, Co. Kilkenny. Their marriage is not recorded which simply means that it has not survived. Many marriages took place in the house of the bride in past times, and was celebrated so well that it is possible that the event went unrecorded! Their origins in the townland are evidenced by a lease to Wm. Fleming of agricultural land in 1833. Census records do not survive so there is no other means of establishing this other than from available vital records of marriage and baptism

Baptisms recorded to them were:
Thomas,30 Aug 1831
Mary, 25 Mar 1835
Richard, 27 Apr 1837
James, 26 May 1846

Evidently the family emigrated to Canada c. 1851 where their son Thomas Flemingmarried Elizabeth Downey who was born there but to Kilkenny parents who were married in St. Canice’s, Kilkenny – Patrick Downey and Elizabeth Phelan. Catherine Fleming, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth, born in Canada, married Patrick Farrell from Killashee, Co. Longford and their daughter Annabella married Tim Kaine’s grandfather.

It appears that William was a younger brother of John Fleming who married a year after William and his family left the country. John married a local girl Catherine Blanchfield on 23 March 1852 per Rosbercon parish register. The family lived in the Listerlin side of this Catholic parish. Their children were:

William, 26 January 1853
Catherine, 20 December 1855
Thomas, 11 February 1861
Edmond,26 September 1868

The Griffith’s Valuation of 1850 and cancellations up to 1889 list John Fleming as lessee of 6 acres 1 rood 6 perches and 39 acres 1 rood 29 perches from Charles Putland at Mullinakill. The holdings passed to Catherine after John’s death and then passed to Edward c.1912. According to a local land survey taken up during the twentieth century the family farmed 62 acres of land at one time [John Kennedy was the surveyor].

William’s nephew and John’s son Edward Fleming married Bridget Malone of Glenpipe on 30 Jan 1907 in Rosbercon. Edward and Bridget’s children were:

John, 24 January 1908
James, 9 June 1909
Catherine,1 September 1910
William, 1916

Edward’s daughter Catherine Fleming married Michael Conway 13 April 1942 in Rosbercon. Three daughters were born to them:

Bridget, died 24 July 1960
Mary, m. ? Frisby
Johanna, b. 10 April 1949 and m. ? O’Meara

Michael and Catherine, both now deceased, are buried in Listerlin graveyard with their daughter Bridget, Ml died 11/07/1955, Bridget 24/07/1960, Catherine 8/12/1984.

Mary Frisby lives locally; Johanna [Joan] O.Meara lives in Co. Tipperary.

Edward’s son John now deceased was a bachelor – presumed buried in Listerlin.

Edward’s son James (Jimmy) married Anastasia. The tombstone to both in Listerlin graveyard referred to Jimmy of Mullinakill and London probably emigrated for a time, died 26 Jan 1873, his widow died 18 June 1978. [No Children?]

Edward’s son William born 17 Jan 1916, married Mary ? and had one daughter Bridget who married ?Gilligan – all are interred in Listerlin.
Mary d. 17/11/1976, Wm. D 25/04/1987, Bridget 23/11/2010.

The Fleming land has passed out of the family and some of it is under forestry. Sadly, the original farmhouse is not accessible, although it is clearly visible, almost derelict, from Fleming’s Lane in Mullinakill. Edward or Ned as he was locally called seems to have been the last to live here. William built a bungalow now occupied by Noel Morrissey and his family.

The Fleming lands rose high above the locality offering spectacular views of the landscape especially on a bright sunny morning. Close by is St. Moling’s Well where the pattern is held each year in late August and the scenic views from here are wonderful.  There are few traditional farmhouses houses in the general area but one is occupied by John Kennedy who graciously took me to the Fleming lands and explained the changes in land ownership over past years.

Several Mackey families were resident in the townland of Mullinakill c. 1830, 1850 and even later. There is one Mackey family there now, but since it cannot be ascertained if they are one and the same family as Catherine Mackey who married William Fleming, parents of Thomas, it was decided not to pursue the line at the moment. Certainly all surnames above were still present in the townland c. 1976 including one William Fleming a son of Edward and Bridget born in 1916. However, some forty years later it is evident that there have been more changes in land ownership.

 Civil Births and Marriages – Courtesy of Registrar, County Clinic, Kilkenny.
Printed Book of Griffith’s Valuation Barony of Knocktopher 1850 Parish of Jerpont West.
Ms Cancelled Book Barony of Knocktopher Parish of Jerpoint West, Mullinakill townland 1860 – 1912.
Print out of ratepayers as at 1976 – Courtesy of staff at the Valuation Office Dublin.
Gravestone inscriptions in Listerlin graveyard.
Discussion and tour of locality with John Kennedy of Glenpipe, Tullogher 30/0702016.
Conversation with Joan O’Meara nee Conway 30072016.

by Mary Flood, Kilkenny Genealogy Service, Rothe House, Parliament St., Kilkenny

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