Thursday, November 19, 2009

Paddy Meehan

Paddy Meehan's story is a very difficult one to relate, because it deals with the terrible subject of wife abuse and the consequences that fell upon the Meehan children as a direct result of this abuse which ultimately resulted in the death of their mother.
I had great difficulty in transcribing the newspaper reports of Mary Mockler Meehan's death, simply because of the great sadness I felt whilst reliving the events of the night of Saturday,April 21, 1860. I am going too far ahead now...back to the beginning of Patrick "Paddy" Meehan's story:

The brother of Judith Meehan Bourke, Patrick Meehan was born in County Tipperary in c. 1820, son of Michael Meehan and Honora Ryan. He immigrated to Victoria per the ‘Duchess of Northumberland’ in 1841 with his sister and her husband, John Bourke, and like them remained in Melbourne for several years before moving to Kilmore. Spelt ‘Meaghan’ on the passenger list, he was described as “Patrick Meaghan, 20 years. Labourer, Roman Catholic, can read and write. Native of Tipperary.’
Patrick married Mary Mockler, also from Tipperary, Ireland, in Kilmore on July 30, 1853. Mary was born c. 1833, daughter of Hugh Mockler and Johanna Ryan. She had emigrated from Tipperary in 1850 at the age of 17 on board the ship ‘Sir Robert Sale’. Shipping records show that she could both read and write, and her calling was given as "house servant".
The marriage certificate of Patrick and Mary gives the following details:
On July 30, 1853, at St. Francis Catholic Church, Melbourne, Patrick Meehan, aged 32 years, born Tipperary, Ireland, presently residing in Melbourne but usually of Kilmore, son of Michael Meehan, farmer, and Honora Ryan MARRIED Mary Mockler, 22 years, born Tipperary, Ireland, of Ballarat Street, Melbourne, usually of Melbourne, daughter of Hugh Mockler, farmer, and Johanna Ryan. Witnessed by William Bourke and Ellen Bagnall.
Their first child arrived the following year.Joanna Meehan was born at Kilmore on October 25, 1854.She was baptised on November 1, 1854, at Kilmore, her sponsors being Patrick and Mary Heffernan, and her actual birth was registered on November 2, 1854. Information given on her birth and baptismal certificates is as follows:
Baptismal certificate: “…do hereby certify that I have this day baptised by the name of Joanna a female child produced to me by Michael Heffernan and Mary Heffernan as the daughter of Patrick Meehan and Mary Mockler and declared by the said Michael and Mary Heffernan to have been born at Kilmore on the 25th day of October, 1854. Witness my hand this 1st day of November, 1854.
. O’Rourke, Minister.”

Birth certificate: “ On the 25th October, 1854, at Kilmore, Joanna Meehan, not present, daughter of Patrick Meehan, labourer, 28 years of age, born in Tipperary, Ireland, who married on August 15, 1853, Mary Mokeler, 20 years of age, born in Tipperary, Ireland. Accoucheur was Dr. Pierse.”

Joanna Meehan died the following year, aged only seven months, of pneumonia. She passed away on June 5th, 1855, at Kilmore, and was buried in the Kilmore Cemetery on June 6, with Father O’Rourke officiating.

Only son Michael Meehan was born at Kilmore in 1857, and Mary Honora Meehan followed in August of 1859. Family tradition told that Mary died at the birth of her daughter, but she registered the baby’s birth herself almost four months later at Kilmore, thus proving the childbirth death scenario to be false.
The information on the birth certificate gave the infant’s name as ‘Hannorah’, and her date of birth as August 28th, 1859. Her father, Patrick Meehan, was a 30 year old carrier from Tipperary, Ireland, and her mother 22 year old Mary Mockler, also from Tipperary. They had married in Melbourne in 1854(??), and issue was 1 boy & 1 girl living, 1 girl deceased.

I will pause in the story at this point to post a few relevant certificates and records, then tomorrow will relate the traumatic story of young Mary Mockler Meehan's death.

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