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James Keegan (1803-1881) family of Van Buren, part 1

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Dorothy Redmond

Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: 21 Jun 2005 14:32    Post subject: James Keegan (1803-1881) family of Van Buren, part 1 Reply with quote

James Keegan was born on Shrove Tuesday in 1803, in the Village, on the hill of Slane in County Meath, Ireland. His father's name was John Keegan and his mother's name was Annie Fowler. His grandfather's christian name was probably John, and his grandmother's name was Cathrine Reynolds (they were from Fermonagh, Ireland).

There were six children born of John and Annie, three boys, Thomas b.1798, James b.1803 and John. I don't know anything about the girls. Thomas stayed in Ireland and died there. James and John both came to the U.S.

James boyhood years were spent in the Village of Slane where he attended school for eight years (the school had 80 students). He came out of school with a solid education and it is said that he had excellent penmanship (his handwriting is on the records of the Registry of Deeds for Aroostook County, Northern District).

The village of Slane formed part of the Estate of the Marquis of Conyingham, whose residence, for a portion of the year was at Slane Castle. James often spoke of the Marquis, whom he described as one of the best speciments of Irish Landlords. HA.

He also mentioned the visit of George IV to Slane Castle. He said that the failure of the crops in Ireland in 1821 was attributed to that visit, as not having brought a blessing, but a curse upon the land.

James sailed from Dublin on August 3, 1826 (don't know what vessel) and landed at L'Isle Verte on September 15, 1826. About 6 of the passengers were rowed ashore and spent the night at the house of Thomas Healy, who had come down to the river shore to meet them. At the soliciation of Healy, James spent some days with him and they became fast friends. Healy gave James some good advice: not to go into the cities, but rather go to some section of the country where he could take up a farm and build a house for himself.

The next day James walked from L'Isle Verte to River de Loup and lived there for a month. He then traveled through the wilderness with a man named Vaillancourt, who was going to build a grist mill on Violet Brook Stream in Van Buren.

James arrived in St. Basil, N.B. on October 16, 1826 and was made welcome and invited to take part in the festivities of the marriage of Abraham Chapais (Chapus, Chappee-census-1833) to Marquerite Dube. (I found them in the 1851 census in French Settlement Andover Parish, p26.) James probably traveled with the wedding party from St. Basil to Van Buren.

He first acquired work from Michael Farrel for some time and then bought the farm next to Farrel's in 1827 and built his home. (The 1831 Deane & Kavanagh Report, August 3: 'Michael Farrel bought in 1821, 80 Rods front form Joseph Sansfacon, who had the original 1790 grant. The next lot was listed as being owned by James Hagan(sp) bought in 1827, Irish, New house, 8-10 acres cleared.' I found that this 60 Rods was owned by Dennis Douglas who left in 1825 and gave possession to Farrell (I think this is the farm that James bought from Farrell.) The farm on the other side of Farrel was owned by a Jean Suerette and the next farm by Jean Parent, who bought it in 1831.

I mentioned Jean Parent, because on January 31, 1832 James married Lucy (Luce) Parent, who was born in St. Mary's County of Beauce, the Provience of Quebec, March 13, 1811, father John (Jean) Parent and mother Cathrine Drouin (Drohan). They were living in Hamlin at the time.
James and Luce had ten children Nancy (Rose Ann Nancy) b.1833, John b.1835, Thomas b.1836, James b.1838, Cathrine b.1839, Mary b. 1842, Elizabeth Ann b.1844, Michael b.1846, Sophia b.1849, and Peter Charles b.1850. (The date of birth on some might be off by one year as I got the ages from the 1850 census.) Luce's parents lived with James and Luce.

After the children were grown, James and Luce gave Thomas 80 acres and gave John and Peter Charles 40 acres each. They moved to St. David, Madawaska and ran the Post Office and the Registry of Deeds. Later they moved back to Van Buren and lived with Peter Charles. They are both buried at St. Bruno's Catholic Church.
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