Bartholomew DIGNAN and Mary MACNAMARA / McNAMARA
from County Leitrim, Ireland to Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, before 1830

ML# 32 on the McCabe List

May 15, 2002:

On page 115 in the book 
SMITHS FALLS: A Social History of the Men and Women in a Rideau Canal Community, 1794-1994,
by Glen Lockwood, there is a photograph of the tombstone of Mary DIGNAN, wife of Bartholomew.

Bartholomew is on the McCabe List of 1829. In 1840 he was a squatter on land near 
Smiths Falls. Lockwood's book documents the social and economic tensions which occurred 
among the early settlers in the Smiths Falls area - tensions among the "American elite",
the Irish Protestants and the Irish Catholics. 

Here's another quote from the same page: "The confidence of Irish squatters ultimately 
was based on their ability to muster a mob of neighbours, thus beginning the trend of
local violence".
October 17, 2011: Attached is the quotation I was after, Al: it’s page 142 of South Elmsley in the Making: 1783-1983 by James R. Kennedy, published by the Corporation of the Township of South Elmsley, 1984. Bartholomew Dignan, Stone Mason, Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada I’m happy to see that Bartley was prosperous! Also, for your page on Bartholomew Dignan, attached is the 1851 census page for South Elmsley. Bartholomew Dignan, 1851 Census, Stone Mason, Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada And here’s the marriage record for Jane Dignan, and we find there the maiden name of Bartholomew’s wife: McNamara. St. Francis Xavier Church, Brockville 11 November 1872 Jno. Cotton, son of John Cotton and Catharine Robison to Jane Dignan, daughter of Bartholomew Dignan and Mary McNamara Witnesses: John Balf / Balfe and Mary Fitspatrick / Fitzpatrick From the McCabe List entry, we know that McNamara was the name of Bartholomew’s brothers-in-law: “Bartholomew Dignan has two Brothers in Law, John Macanamara & James Macnamara, both having families, they reside at Carrick on Shannon, Parish Killort, County Leitrim, and can be recommended by Edward Waldrum Esqr of Lisheehan” The parish is, I think, Kiltoghert, in County Leitrim. He had to travel far afield to get his children baptized, Al. Here’s the baptismal record for his daughter, Elizabeth: St. John the Baptist Church, Perth: 23-6-1844 Elizabeth, born June 1 to Barth Dignan and Margaret (sic) McNamara of Elmsley Sponsors: Michael Wall and Bridget Burke. There was quite a little settlement of Canal workers not far from the Poonamalie Lock (note the other lock labourers on the 1851 census page with Bartley). I’ll see what I can find in the South Elmsley history book. Anne Burgess

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