Saturday, August 9, 2014

McCabe and Moloy

The McCabe name first appears in Ireland in reference to soldiers of Hebridean origin in about 1358. These men came into Ireland from Scotland, having a Scandinavian heritage of Norse connections. The usage of the battle-axe, the characteristic galloglach weapon until the sixteenth century was a result of their Scandinavian background. They were galloglasses or mercenaries.

Caba is an Irish word for cap, hood, or helmet, and the name McCabe or MacCabe means the son of the helmeted one. The motto on the earliest coat of arms which has been attributed to the MacCabe family is "aut vincere aut mori" which means "either conquer or die." People who have the surname McCabe or MacCabe are descended from the galloglas soldiers mentioned above. Since these galloglas were "the son of the helmeted one" it is likely that all McCabes are not necessarily related to one another. (Taken from The Descendants of James McCabe and Ann Pettigrew, by Allen E. Marble, Past President and Fellow of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Published in Bostom in 1986 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Copied from the book at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2005.)

Our earliest known McCabe ancestor, Francis McCabe, was born in Longford County, Ireland in 1826. His wife Mary Moloy, was born in County Leitrim in about 1825 at Carrigallen. Longford and Leitrim counties share a common border at the south end of Leitrim, and the north of Longford. The north and west parts of Leitrim were once part of the old Gaelic kingdom of Breifne, which was ruled by the O'Rourkes who were mentioned in Mr. Marble's account as being the employers of the galloglasses who came to be known by the McCabe surname and became their own sept in the area.

Francis and Mary married there, and had their first two children there. Mary Ann was born in 1848, and Elizabeth in 1850. Then in about 1851, they moved their little family to Yorkshire in England. Both of these Irish counties were badly affected by the potato famine or "Great Famine" of 1845-1847. Many people died, and many others emigrated to other places. According to statistics, these two counties, whose populations were both well over 100,000 before the famine, now contain only about 30,000 people each.

A search of the Index to Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland 1848-1864 was performed at the Family History Library in June 2005. The McCabes seemed to live almost exclusively in these two counties of Longford and Leitrim. Certain parishes had many McCabes. Of note, were Francis McCabe of Cloone and Mohill and Francis McCabe Jr. of Cloone, both places located in Leitrim and on the border with Longford. Since our ancestor was also named Francis, it is possible that they were related, or that the younger Francis was actually our ancestor, living in Leitrim prior to his move to England.

We first find Francis and Mary living in Doncaster, York, England on the 1861 census. They were living at Milner’s Yard and Francis was a laborer. They remained at that residence for twenty years, being listed there on the 1871 and 1881 census enumerations also. It was not until the 1881 census that Francis and Mary listed their counties of birth in Ireland. In 1881, Francis and his son Francis, both agricultural laborers, were out of work.

Their son, John, was born in 1852 at Bentley, York, England. The others were all born at Doncaster. They were Catherine in 1856, Ann in 1857, Margaret in 1860, and Francis, a son, in 1863.

On 11 May 1865, Mary Ann married Henry Procter at Doncaster. Elizabeth married Alexander King on 16 November 1866 at Bo’Ness, West Lothian, Scotland, where they made their home. John also married about that time to a girl named Mary and settled in Doncaster. The marriages of the other children are not known.

Francis, who went by Frank, died sometime between April and June, 1891 at Doncaster. On the 1891 census Mary is 67 years old and living at 13 Milner’s Yard. She is listed as the head of her household. Two year later, Mary died between January and March of 1893.

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