The Glynn/Glenn/McGlynn family originating in Culkeen, Co. Roscommon 1825 - 2015

Biography- B14 Patrick J Glynn (Paddy, Dunmore)

Biography contents



When researching my Glynn family history, as well as learning about those who remained in Ireland, I also heard about the many Glynns who had departed the home shores for England, the US, Canada and Australia.  I had a certain amount of success in tracing those who went to England, Canada and the US, as their descendants still live in those countries today.  It looked as if the Australian line had died out however, none of the relatives in Ireland had heard from them for years and nobody seemed to know much at all about them.
What was known was that Paddy Glynn, against the wishes of his family, had married a relative of his stepmother’s and he and his new bride Katie emigrated to Australia immediately after the wedding, which had taken place sometime around the turn of the century.  Further enquiries revealed that they settled in Perth, had a couple of children, Katie died, Paddy remarried, moved to Kalgoorlie and gold was found on his property there!
Two photos, from family in the US, show individual head and shoulder shots of what was supposedly Paddy and Katie – a very young Paddy and Katie, dressed in their “best bib and tucker”. It transpired that Paddy had gone to Kansas, to visit the Glynn cousins there, and in one of his infrequent letters to them after his return to Ireland, had enclosed these studio portraits.
Two other photos in the possession of Great Aunt Kathleen showed a very pretty little girl of about six and a boy of about three years of age.  Inscribed on the back was “Mary Winifred Glynn daughter of Paddy” and “Patrick Joseph Glynn, son of Paddy, Perth, Australia”.
Quite a lot of information and clues to follow up on.
I established, from the Dunmore, County Galway parish records, that Paddy had been born on 16 February 1887 to James and Winifred (nee Glynn) Glynn.  He was the first child of James, aged 32, and his young 21-year-old bride.  A daughter, Mary was born the following year, on 11 October 1888.  Sadly, both Mary and Winifred died shortly after the birth leaving James with 21-month-old Paddy to rear.  A little over a year later, in the spring of 1890, James married 33-year-old Eleanor (Ellen) Crawley from Feamore, County Mayo.  They had four children, Mary born in 1890, Sarah Josephine born in 1892, Brigid Mary born in 1895 and James born in 1897.
James senior ran a shop and public house, in the Square, Dunmore town, and he and his family were found there in the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census.  It was a prosperous business, capable of supporting the family and two live-in servants.  The house was a first class one, with living quarters above and behind the business.  James also had a farm in Ballymoney, about a mile from the town, off the road to Tuam.  It was a large farm of about 120 acres and, it would appear, that Paddy worked there as he referred to himself in the 1911 census as a “farmer’s son” rather than the son of a merchant.  It seemed that all was not harmonious between James and his eldest son however.  Paddy wasn’t an easy young man and his actions proclaim him to have been willful and spoilt.  James had worked hard to build up his retail business and expected Paddy to help out behind the shop/bar counter, but it looked as if Paddy was of no mind to assist.  When Paddy went to Kansas in 1911 – he sailed from Liverpool on the Celtic arriving in New York on 22 September 1911 – he took £700 with him.  This was an enormous amount of money at that time and apparently he returned home without a penny, having spent the lot, much to his father’s disappointment and probable annoyance.
James had at least one other reason for being annoyed with Paddy.  Paddy was enamoured of his stepmother’s first cousin, Katie Crawley.  Katie and her two sisters, Maria and Ellen, were orphans. Their parents had died in 1883 and 1884 and the girls lived with their uncle and aunt, Thomas and Sally Crawley and their seven children, of whom James’ wife Ellen was the eldest. Katie was 20 years Ellen’s junior but she was still 10 years older than Paddy.  James would not have viewed Katie, a penniless orphan and an older woman to boot, as a suitable match for his son and heir.
Paddy and Katie won out however and were married in Dunmore on 1 September 1912 when Paddy was aged 25 and Katie 35. Perhaps James threatened to disinherit Paddy if he insisted on marrying Katie against his wishes or the atmosphere was beyond bearing. Whatever, family lore has it that James and Paddy argued and this resulted in the newly married pair packing their bags and heading for Australia.  Katie had cousins living in Perth, Western Australia, so it was only natural that she and Paddy should head there. They sailed from London to Fremantle on the ship Orama, arriving in Australia on 18 March 1913.  There, on the quayside, to meet them was Katie’s cousin Maria and her 16-year-old daughter Mollie.  Maria and her husband, Michael Tighe (originally from Aghamore, near Ballyhaunis), were doing well in Perth.  They had emigrated to Australia, seeking a climate kinder than that of Ireland, as Maria’s health wasn’t great.  They went to Melbourne originally, but the extremes of temperature there were no better than home, so they opted for the milder climate of Western Australia.  Michael and Maria owned a couple of grocery shops in Rokeby Road, Subiaco, on the outskirts of Perth. The shops were located less than a mile apart, one each side of the railway that ran from Freemantle to Perth, thereby catering for trade from both directions.  Michael, Maria and their family lived in the rooms above one of the shops
Katie and Paddy stayed with the Tighe family in Subiaco for some time. Katie fell pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Mary Winifred, in 1914. Less than two years later a son, John Thomas, was born but unfortunately didn’t live long, dying at under a year old on 5 February 1916.  It’s not known exactly when they moved out of the Tighe family home but Katie and Paddy were living at 384 Barker Road, Subiaco, according to the 1916 and 1918 versions of the Perth Post Office Directory. Two more children were born – Patrick Joseph in 1919 and on 8 February 1921 a stillborn boy that they called James.
Paddy and Katie managed to save enough money to invest in a substantial property at 12 Salvado Road in Subiaco and were well established there by 1925. There was a very nice looking cottage on the property, a milking shed, a dairy and enough land to run a small herd of cows on. This property was just up the road from the local Catholic Church and Hospital run by the Saint John of God nuns. Paddy became the local milkman and, as such, delivered milk to the hospital, presbytery, convent, businesses and houses in the vicinity. The Glynns remained on friendly terms with the Tighe family, in part because they were the only kin they each had in Australia but also because Kate and Maria were genuinely fond of each other.  Photographs bear testimony to Paddy and Kate’s attendance at Tighe family gatherings, such as the marriage of Mollie Tighe to Michael O’Dea in 1919. They were familiar enough for Paddy to borrow Maria’s car whenever his vehicle broke down. Paddy did however manage to upset some of Katie’s relatives by being a bit of a “smart alec” and, it would appear, that they didn’t altogether approve of his treatment of Katie at times either.
Patrick junior and Mary grew up in Subiaco and attended the local convent school of St Joseph, run by the Sisters of Mercy. Mary sang in the church choir for many years and Patrick was an altar boy at the local Catholic Church of St Joseph. A class photo taken circa 1926 shows Mary Glynn in a school uniform, of pinafore and blouse, as part of a 6th Standard class of 12 girls and 9 boys.
Kate Glynn died at St John’s Hospital, Perth on 11 February 1940.  She had suffered from chronic Endocarditis for two years. According to her death certificate, she was aged 55 but, if the records of Annagh Roman Catholic Parish, County Mayo are correct, then she had been born on 4 December 1877 so was, in fact, 62 years old.  The Western Australian newspaper carried the following death notice:
Glynn, on February 11 1940, Kate, dearly loved wife of Patrick Joseph Glynn of 12 Salvado Road, Subiaco, loved mother of John and James, deceased, and Mary and Paddy. RIP
Kate was buried on 13 February in the Roman Catholic Section of Karrakatta Cemetery with her two young sons, John Thomas and James.
Mary worked for a number of years as office manager for a furniture store called Zimpels, in Perth City. She then worked as a receptionist in various hotels. The last one she worked at, and in which she died, was The Ocean Beach Hotel on Marine Parade in Cottesloe, a suburb of Perth. Apparently, she had been dead for a number of days before her body was discovered.  She was aged 66. It would appear that she had been engaged at one time but never married.  The Western Australian newspaper carried three death notices in the days following her death:

Friday 14 November 1980

Glynn (Winifred Mary) Fond memories of a good friend Thelma, Lil and Mal
Glynn (Winifred Mary) In memory of Miss Glynn, May she rest in peace.  From Sue, Barbara, Glad and Lorraine.
Saturday 15 November 1980
Glynn (Mary) A tribute to a good friend of Athol and Gerry Higgins and Staff – Hyde Park Hotel.  Thank you Mary for your help.
Patrick never married either. He seems to have had a rather sad life, living on the streets and possibly suffering from alcoholism.  His death on 12 July 1973, aged 54, was subject to a coronial inquiry, which concluded that “acute congestive cardiac failure” was the cause.  He died en route from 108 Bulwer Street, Perth to The Royal Perth Hospital.  He was buried on 19 July 1973 in a paupers’ grave at Karrakatta Cemetery and his death certificate says his parentage is unknown.  The grave has no headstone, as it is a common grave, and there are two others buried there also.  His sister, Mary, may never have known of his death. 
The Brigidine Sisters (or Sisters of Saint Brigid), at the invitation of Archbishop Prenderville, came from their motherhouse in Sydney, in early 1942, to open a school in Western Australia.  They were looking for a property to buy for a convent and Paddy was keen to move from Salvado Road so he sold number 12 to the order.  In the early years the house was used as a convent and the original farm buildings and Paddy’s dairy were used as schoolrooms.  Over time, the nuns extended the property, to cater for their growing community, but the original cottage on the property was finally demolished in 1972 and the present, more comfortable convent built.
Once he had sold the property, Paddy moved inland from Perth to the West Australian goldfield town of Kalgoorlie.  He had a job, as a miner, with a local company called GMK (Goldmines of Kalgoorlie).  It was wartime, Paddy was too old to enlist - even if he had wanted to - labour was in short supply and the mining companies paid good wages.  Shift work meant working unsociable hours but miners were well paid for the inconvenience. Paddy met and married in Kalgoorlie, on 6 May 1944, Alice (Tod) Mary Howieson, a schoolteacher at the local Kalgoorlie Primary School.  She was the daughter of Alice (nee Gannon) and John Howieson.  Her father was Scottish and her mother Irish.  Tod had been born in New South Wales in 1903 so was 41 at this, the time of her first and only, marriage to Paddy.  
Paddy and Alice had no children of their own but Alice had lots of nieces and nephews who came to stay on a regular basis.  One of these, Jenny Heumbes, recalls how she and her brother Lucius were taught to “swing the Kelly” by Paddy and how she still considers herself a good woodchopper.  Jenny enjoyed Paddy and Alice’s company, said they both had a great sense of humour and she has very fond memories of her holidays with them.  They had a big back yard and always kept hens.  There was however no sign of the gold that family lore said was found on the property!  She recalls that Paddy wasn’t very tall, had dark hair, smoked a pipe and always wore a hat.  Paddy and Alice both loved the beach and to fish and each year after Christmas would have a holiday at the Brighton Hotel in Mandurah or Rottnest Island.  They both enjoyed the races too and Paddy loved his beer.
Paddy made a trip home to Ireland sometime around 1960.
Paddy died on 10 February 1963 at the Saint John of God Hospital in Kalgoorlie.  He had suffered from cancer of the larynx for two years and was aged 75 at the time of his death.  He is buried in the Roman Catholic section of the local Kalgoorlie Cemetery. No headstone marks his final resting place – just a grave marker bearing the number 12841.
It’s not clear what kind of relationship Paddy had with his children or, after his death, how strong Alice’s relationship with them was.  Clearly, Patrick junior was estranged from his family.  It was Alice however, accompanied by her sister Barbara, who had to clean out Mary’s room at The Ocean Beach Hotel, after her death.  Jenny recalls that Alice was very upset at the time, especially as Mary’s body had not been found until some days after her death.
Alice went teaching in Katanning (south of Perth) after Paddy’s death in 1963.  On her retirement from teaching, she moved back to Perth and lived in a retirement village at the back of the North Perth Monastery.  She wanted to be close to her sister Barbara and family.  Her later years were spent in a nursing home called The Two Pines in the suburb of Maylands.  When she died, on 24 April 1990, Alice was buried with her sister and brother in law at Karrakata Cemetery as they had always had a close, loving relationship.  She was aged 87 at the time of her death.
More on Alice (Tod) Howieson in the letters page - Letter 6