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The Bowles of The Commons, Kilcooly

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The Commons was a small community in a very large estate owned by Sir William Barker of Kilcooly Abbey.  It was primarily a coal mining town with a major shaft right at the town and many small pits surrounding it.  On this historic OSI map of The Commons every little circle is a coal pit.  Particularly dense concentrations of them are shown in the red ovals.  The families shared their land in common areas as joint tenants of the Barker/Ponsonby family rather than as individual lot holders.

The first Bowles to settle in The Common seems to have been a George Bowles who baptized a son at Gortnahoe RC church in 1807.  Around 1810 a John Bowles joined him in The Commons.   John had been baptized in the RC church in Killenaule in 1790, the son of Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey who were tenants on the Springhill estate just to the west of Killenaule.  As a young man John settled in The Commons where he worked in the coal mines.  He was a collier (coal miner) of The Commons in the 1814 parish register entry when he married Mary Pollard, also at the Gortnahoe RC Church.

I believe George and John were brothers and that they were then joined at The Commons by their brother Charles, who was 'of the Commons' when he married at Ballingarry in 1822.  Ballingarry is the next parish south of Gortnahoe and is where the Pollard family was from.  It's likely that the Widow Simple listed immediately after John Bowles in the Tithe Applotment of The Commons in 1826 was their sister Rose who had married a John Simple at Killenaule in 1813.  Her husband likely died sometime after their third child was baptized in 1819 and before 1826.  Rose re-married in 1828 also at Gortnahoe. 

The 1826 Tithe Applotment Book for the tenants of C. B. Barker, Esq. in The Commons shows two groups of people sharing two of his large common areas.  In one James Pollard and Joseph Pollard were 2 of the 20 parties sharing a 60 acre Common at an annual value of 15s per acre for an annual tithe assessment of 3£ 18s 9d which would be shared between them.  Then there are 27 tenants listed as sharing a 40 acre Common at an annual rate of 8s 9d per acre (not quite as good land as the first common) for a total annual tithe assessment of 1£ 10s 10d for the group.  This second group included Widow Commons, John Bowles, Widow Simple, Widow Pollard, Widow Ryan, Widow Bowles and Joseph Pollard in exactly that order in the tenant list.  This looks like their group of related families.  John Bowles' wife was a Pollard.  His sister Rose would be the Widow Simple.  A Bridget Commons was the godmother of one of Rose's daughters in 1817.  John's brother Charles had married an Anne Ryan in 1822.  The Widows Common and Ryan could be from those families.  There is no proof of their relationships in just a list of names close together but it is consistent with the proposed 'most likely' family tree shown below.

In 1826 this Catholic Bowles family in The Commons lived only about 2 miles south of a Protestant Bowles family in Bawnlea. My belief that they were closely related has been proven by DNA tests taken by Canadian descendants of both branches.  The Tithe Applotment of 1826 had established an annual amount of money that every landholder had to pay directly to the Protestant Minister of their parish as his own income and to pay for the maintenence of the parish church regardless whether they were Protestants or not. This was a period when Catholic rights activists were at their height in Ireland and this area in particular was where some of the most violent actions took place against the Protestant minority by underground groups like the Whiteboys and Captain Rock.  This must have created an immense strain between the two communities.  

However, John Bowles was already packing up his family to take them to Canada.  The research done by Dominic Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec states that John, wife Mary Pollard and their six children arrived in Canada in April 1826 and that shortly after arriving Mary died in Quebec City.  I can confirm the death of a 'Feme Bowell Marie Polard' in Quebec City on May 25, 1826 (ref: Drouin).

The situation came to a head when the list of Barker's Protestant tenants who signed an Anti-Catholic Petition was published in a Tipperary newspaper in May 1827.  Charles Bowles of Bawnlea was amongst the signers as were other of their Protestant Bowles relations in nearby Crohane parish.  The backlash against the signers of the petition is not known in any detail but Charles Bowles must have feared a reprisal as he left Bawnlea and emigrated to Canada that same month.

The Bowles of The Commons settled at Valcartier, Quebec where a descendant, Dominic Bowles of Valcartier, did an excellent job the hard way, tracing his Irish descendants by correspondence and family interviews, in the pre-ancestry-online 1990's.  My own research has been largely based on his findings.  See The Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec.

For more on these events see The Bowles of Bawnlea

Also please see The Bowles of Kilcooly, co. Tipperary's Connection to the Bowles of Oola, co. Limerick, The Possibility of a Connection between The Bowles of Killenaule and John Bowles of Woodhouse and Sorting Out The Bowles of Kilcooly and Killenaule and Area for my theory on these family connections which now has some pretty good evidence.

Tentative Family Tree

Joseph Bowles b. ca. 1760's, m. Ellen Mackey (may have been common-law, possibly due to one of them having been divorced or they were of different religions)
1.      George Bowles b. ca. 1785 (he is placed here as the eldest based on the above assumption only, the birth order is not certain)
 m. Margaret Maher ca. 1806
(they were living in The Commons in 1807 and 1812 when they baptised children at Gortnahoe (RC) church)
1.1  unreadable name (son, possibly Thomas or James) bp. Dec. 9, 1807 Gortnahoe, Kilcooly; Sponsors: William Barran and Mary Courtney
1.2  Elizabeth Bowles bp. Feb. 23, 1812 Gortnahoe; Sponsors: Patrick Fogarty and Rose Bowles (George's sister)
1.3  Ellen Bowles bp. June 12, 1822 Gortnahoe; Witness: Catherine Courtney
2.      John Bowles b. Springhill, co. Tipperary, Ireland bp. Sept. 14, 1790 Killenaule (illegitimate) (witness: Maria Phelan)
m. Mary Pollard (b. ~ 1794) Feb. 15, 1814 Gortnahoe Catholic Church; Witnesses: Patrick Fogarty, Patrick Pollard and David Bowles
(their marriage record in 1814 states that he was a collier (coal miner); their parish records from 1814 to 1821 say they lived in The Commons except for one reference in 1817 that they were ‘of Williamstown’ which borders The Commons to the northeast)
2.1  James Bowles bp. Mar. 19, 1816 Gortnahoe , co. Tipperary; Sponsors: D... Bowls and Mary Mathew (?)
2.2  Thomas Bowles bp. Sept. 10, 1817 Gortnahoe; Sponsors: Richard Dugan (?) and Margaret B....
2.3  William Bowles bp. May 20, 1819 Gortnahoe Sponsors: Joseph ?
2.4  John Bowles bp. June 10, 1821 Gortnahoe Sponsors: P.... (Pierse?)B.... and Mary ?
2.5  Martin Bowles bp. Nov. 24, 1822  Ballingarry Sponsors: Thomas and Ellen Pollard
2.6  Charles Bowles b. ca. 1824 (this baptism has not been found but it was not in Gortnahoe or Ballingarry)
Above family emigrated to Canada in April 1826.
See The Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec for more on this family.
3.      Charles Bowles
(almost certainly the one of The Commons who m. Anne Ryan Feb. 19, 1822 Ballingarry, co. Tipperary Witnesses:  J. (?) Pollard and Anne Wilson)
4.      Thomas Bowles
5.      Margaret Bowles
m. James Cummins of Moyglas, labourer Sept. 13, 1812 Killenaule (RC) Witnesses: Phil. Cunningham, Alice McDonnell, Laurence Bourke
6.      Rose Bowles
m. John Simple July 21, 1813 Killenaule (RC) Witnesses: Thomas Hearn, Tim. Murphy, Ellen Cunningham
6.1  Anna Simple bp. Oct. 2, 1814 Killenaule (RC) Sponsors: John Bulfin and Catharine Hannahan
6.2  Eliza Simple bp. Apr. 26, 1817 Killenaule (parents lived Foulkstown near Moyglass) Sponsors:  Patrick Birmingham and Bridget Commons (in the 1826 Applotment Levy of The Commons there was a Widow Commons in the same common area as John Bowles etc.)
6.3  Andrew Simple bp. Nov. 29, 1819 Gortnahoe (parents lived Glangoole) Sponsors: John .... and Cath Butte (?)
John Simple d. betw. 1819 and 1826; a Widow Simple is listed right beside John Bowles in the 1826 Tithe Applotment of The Commons.
 Rose m.(2) Thomas McGrath Feb. 10, 1828 Gortnahoe; Witnesses: John Hanrihan and Judy B....
(also possible that this was a Rose in the next generation that we don't know about yet)
7.      Ann Bowles
m. Peter Perry Nov. 1817 (witnesses: Thomas Dwyer, Michael Quigly (?) and Alice Sa....) Springhill (entered in the Killenaule RC church register; I don't believe there was a church or even an RC chapel in Springhill so the marriage was probably celebrated in a house, likely the Bowles house)
7.1  Mary Perry bp. Apr. 18, 1819 Hellenpark; Sponsors: John Tyne and Ellen Hackett  (this entry is in the Killenaule RC register)
8.      Catherine Bowles
(possibly the one who m. Laurence Shea  Nov. 30, 1825 Gortnahoe Witnesses: Larry (? Lawrence) Meaghan and Cat. (?) Cohil (Caughill?))

Joseph d. ?
Ellen d. ?

Also to fit into the above, although this family lived in Cashel parish, the parent's marriage entry refers to them as of Commons.  There were comman areas in many townlands so this could just refer to a couple from the Cashel commons.  It doesn't secifically say 'The' Commons but all of these family names are known in The Commons so it is included here just in case:
George Bowles m. Bridget Morrissy of Commons Nov. 29, 1854; Witnesses: Pat Ryan Jr. (?) of Commons and Bridget Morissy
1.  Mary Bowles bp. Feb. 26, 1855 Cashel (parents lived Roes Green)
Sponsors: William Cleary, Bridget Morressy
2.  Bridget Bowles bp. Dec. 20, 1856 Cashel (parents lived Racecourse); Sponsors: Patrick Grady and Mary Maher
m. Patrick Looby of Friar Street Aug. 7, 1876 Cashel; Witnesses: William Butler and Anne Moressy
2.1   Patrick Looby bp. May 9, 1877 Cashel (parents lived Friar Street); Sponsors: Richard Looby and Bridget Morrissy

This site was last updated 11/05/21