The largest grouping of Minogue families in Ireland in the mid-1850s was in County Clare. Our family, however, came from south of there. When Mathew Minogue was discharged from the Army, he stated that he had been born in Ballycallan, County Kilkenny. (Military Discharge Records, Minogue, Mathew, GBM-WO97-2052-170-001-004 (Kew, England: The National Archives). In this same document, which Mathew signed on September 6, 1871, he stated he was 40 years, 9 months old. This would place his birthdate between November 6 and December 6, 1830. Other records where his age is stated place his birthdate in this same timeframe.
Death Registration - state he was born in 1831, based on age of 69 at death. (Find My Past, online www.findmypast.com, from their database, "Irish Deaths 1864-1958", search for Mathew Minogue, death 1900. Accessed 17 January 2015.) (Mathew Minogue, Death Certificate for Mathew Minogue)
Royal Irish Constabulary - he stated he was 22 years old when he joined the RIC on December 22, 1852, this would put his birthdate between October 16, 1828 and October 16, 1829. (Service Record, Mathew Minogue, Royal Irish Constabulary, HO 184/7 (Kew, England: The National Archives)
Marriage Record - stated he was 29 when he was married on March 15, 1860. This would suggest a birthdate between March 15, 1829 and March 15, 1830. (Marriage Certificate for Ann Carter and Mathew Minogue, General Record Office of United Kingdom, Certificate Services Section, P.O. Box 2, Southport, United Kingdom PR8 2JD. Copy of certificate held by Patricia Monogue Balkcom)
Around 1851, Mathew joined the British Army. This was not unusual. Approximately a third of the British Army of that time consisted of regiments of Irish and Scots. The vast British Empire required troops all over the globe.
Mathew’s regiment was the Royal Irish Rifles, also known as the 83rd Regiment of Foot. This unit was raised (organized) in Dublin, which leads us to assume that Mathew was possibly a native of the Dublin area. Although the Minogue surname is most common in County Clare and Galway in western Ireland, it is a fairly common name all over the county. The British Army customarily placed men from the same community in the same regiment for greater harmony in the ranks, so at this time we would suspect that Mathew came from the eastern part of Ireland.
The “troubles” (rebellion against British occupation) in Ireland were at their height about this time, and it was decided to post the Irish regiments overseas for fear of rebel sympathy within these units. The 83rd was sent to India during the Indian Mutiny of the 1850’s, and Mathew would have taken part in the numerous battles they faced. After the mutiny came to a temporary close, the regiment returned to England. Mathew came back to the British Isles as a corporal, an indication he was considered a good soldier: no enlisted man got two “stripes” easily in those days. His records indicate that he was a military policeman at this time. Pat Balkcom found his regimental playbook record in London, and he is often recorded as absent at pay due to provost (military police) duty. Mathew met Ann Carter when he was stationed at Chichester in England. She was an English girl from nearby Littlehampton, a small coastal town on the English Channel. She had been born here on the 11th of March, 1837, the first daughter of Sarah (nee Winter) Carter. Due to its location on the English Channel, Littlehampton was the home of many sailors in the British Navy.
Ann's date of birth has caused some speculation as censuses taken in 1881, 1891 and 1911 place her birth date between 1842 and 1851. Information provided by her son on her death certificate states that her birth date was March 11, 1842. However, her baptismal entry in St. Mary's Anglican Church on the 26th of March, 1837 states she was born on the 11th of March 1837. Since the month and day agree with the date on given on the death registration, I think we can conclude that we have identified the correct Ann Carter. Also, Ann's marriage certificate in 1860 states that she married Mathew Minogue when she was 23 - this would also place the year of her birth in 1837. The 1851 and 1861 verifies this date also. After all, it's not unusual for women to grow younger as they age!
We do not know who Ann's father was. The baptismal entry lists only Sarah Carter as the mother and the father is unlisted. Ann's marriage certificate states that her father was William Carter. However, further research has shown that Ann was illegitimate and that she probably listed her brother, William Carter, as her father to save herself embarrassment. Ann's mother, Sarah, had been married to Richard Carter and had four known children (all boys) with him. Richard however, was buried in Littlehampton on the 1st of January 1833 at the age of 34. Like many men in the area, he was likely a mariner and possibly died early as a result of this hazardous occupation. Since death registration in England did not begin until 1837, it is difficult to know exactly what happened. Sarah remarried 10 years later, but in between these two marriages, she had Ann. The only clue we have as to who the father might have been is a listing on her death certificate. Her son, Thomas Monogue, stated that Ann's father was "John Easter". We will probably never be able to verify this information.
When Ann was baptized in 1837, the family was living in "West Lodge" in Littlehampton (Sussex County).From other research that I have done, I suspect the "Lodge" was a group housing arrangement, maybe similar to rooming houses, where naval families lived together. Although the accommodations were likely quite sparse, having others close by would have been a support to the widowed Sarah who had five young children to care for. There were probably other young women with children who were alone as a result of widowhood or their husbands being at sea for long periods of time and I imagine they relied on each other for help with child care and other necessities.
When Ann was born, her mother was 33. Ann had four older half-brothers - John, aged 3; Thomas aged 6; William, who was 8 and Richard who was 10. There might have been other children or children who had not survived, but these are the only ones I have found evidence of through baptismal records. Ann was six when her mother remarried. Sarah's second husband, James Richardson, was also a mariner born and living in Littlehampton. He was quite a bit younger than Sarah - she was 43 and he was 28 and had never been married before. The family continued living in the tiny coastal village and Sarah had a second daughter, named Sarah Richardson, a half-sister to the nine-year old Ann. It appears that Ann did not attend school as the 1911 census states that she was not able to read or write.
Living in a naval town increased the likelihood that Ann would marry a sailor. However, at some point, maybe while he was on leave from the nearby town of Chichester where he was stationed, Ann met a young Irish corporal, Mathew Minogue, a soldier in the 83rd Foot division of the British Army. Mathew was 29 and Ann had just turned 23 when they were married on the 15th of March 1860 in St. Mary's Anglican Church, the same church in which she had been baptized. The witnesses were Henry Hudson and Wilhemenia Town, assumedly friends of the bride and groom. Although we know that Ann was brought up in the Anglican religion, it appears that at some point she converted to Catholicism as she is buried in a Catholic cemetery. However, as late as the 1911 census, she is listed as Anglican.
Within a year, Mathew and Ann had been relocated by the Army to a post to the east of London in the town of Chatham. It is possible that once Ann left Littlehampton, she never saw any of her family again. Although the towns are only 80 miles apart, in the 1860's, the time to travel this far was significant and both families likely had modest financial means. A year and a half after they were married, Ann and Mathew, while living at the corner of King and Brook Streets in Chatham, had a daughter, who they named Mary Ann Minogue (born 23 October, 1861).
About 1861, Mathew transferred to a militia regiment called the Royal Canadian Rifles. He must have been at the end of the term of his enrolment obligation (usually ten years) to the Royal Irish Rifles. He was also an experienced military policeman. His services would be of value in Canada, especially near the United States border. Desertion was a serious problem for British units in that area.
We need to realize that Canada was not a country in 1861. It consisted of two adjoining British colonies, which were referred to as Canada East (later Québec) and Canada West (which became Ontario). The Royal Canadian Rifles was a British militia unit. The “Canadian” part of its name only indicated the area of its service. We now know how and why Mathew came to arrive on this continent. His regiment was ordered here to maintain order, and he had the privilege of living with his family in barracks. We assume that his wife, Ann, and baby Mary Ann would have arrived with him. However, we lose track of Ann for about six years. Military paperwork shows Mathew in Canada by 1863, but no evidence of Ann has been found until the birth of their second child, Thomas Henry, in October of 1869. It's interesting to note that seven years lapsed between the births of the two children. Several possibilities exist - Ann stayed in England after Mathew went to Canada to "check it out" and joined him later; or she might have gone to Canada with him but did not see him often as he was stationed at different posts in Quebec and Ontario; or there were other children between but they did not survive infancy; or finally, there were only two children in seven years.
The Royal Canadian Rifles were an elite militia unit made up of British Army Veterans. Mathew had to sign on as a private to get in, probably because this unit would have attracted other NCO’s. All of the regiment had to be actively serving British soldiers of line regiments. They were required to have a good service record to be eligible. The term of enlistment in the RCR’s was ten years. Mathew served at Kingston during the Fenian Raid of 1866, and his army records indicate that he was a guard on duty there. We originally thought he would be seeing after Fenian prisoners, but in light of what we have described above, they were likely deserters from his own forces. We have transcripts of records from Kilmainham Military Hospital in Dublin, which shows that he was still in RCR until November 1871. At that time, the regiment embarked on ships and sailed back to England. Relations in the United States had improved by then, and the Fenians were no longer a threat. Mathew left the military at that time and remained in Canada to start a new life.
Based on what we have related above, we understand that Mathew came to Canada as a member of his British regiment in late November 1861. We know that his first child Mary Ann was born in England on October 23rd of that year. This and the ten - year term of duty matches his discharge date of November 28, 1871. If he had stayed with the British Royal Rifles in 1861, he would have been eligible for posting anywhere on Earth where the British government had interests. Thus we can see that this ten year term in Canada was of great benefit to him. He and his wife had already started a family, and the prospect of being discharged in ten years in a country like Canada must have seemed very appealing. He had to give up his hard earned corporal’s stripes, but the sacrifice was relatively small in relation to gain. Al Pryor’s friend, Harvey Mitchell, a very knowledgeable military historian, also points out that vast numbers of British veterans, especially those sent to non-European assignments, suffered from tropical diseases which killed far more of then than enemy action. Mathew’s eligibility for treatment was quite possibly due to a long term infection such as malaria. This would have made him willing to accept an “easier” posting in a Crown colony which was not in any significant war.
First son,Thomas Henry was born in Quebec. Family tradition states that he was born in an army barracks. Could this have been the fort in Quebec City? Further research is needed here. Military life must have been unpleasant for Ann and the children. Families in barracks were subject to military regulations, and their husbands would be disciplined for any breach of these rules. The wives were required to clean the barracks and the sanitary facilities.
When Mathew retired from the army in late 1871, the family settled in Hamilton. It appears that they went to Hamilton so Mathew could get a job with the railway. While here, Ann, at the age of 35, had another child. Annie Joseph was born on the 8th of October, 1872. During this time, they occupied a small house at 26 Guise Street overlooking the Hamilton harbor. The building housed railroad families on a temporary basis. It must have been rough accommodations, because in 1874 the house had been demolished and the lot lay vacant.
By 1872, Matthew has secured employment with the Great Western (later Grand Trunk) Railway, as a line laborer. He would have been part of a crew sent out for weeks at a time on a work train, and they would have broken up rocks for “ballast” (stone of appropriate size to form a track bed) and laid them in place.
A third child, daughter Annie Joseph, was born to Mathew and Ann on October 8th, 1872 while they were in Hamilton. They moved within a year to London, Ontario. Their home was in East London on Quebec Street, where they remained until all their children were grown and married. They had a fourth and last child in London. This was Mathew junior, born in 1876, but he died at 5 months of age. Ann being close to 40 now did not have any more children.
During the next seven years, the family moved four times, all to houses in the same general area of London - first to Murray St., then Queen's Avenue, and finally to two different houses on Quebec Street. It is likely that they were renting and moved as prices changed or more favorable properties became available.
Eventually, Mathew was appointed a railroad yard foreman in London, and later was in charge of the supply depot. He was “getting on” in age and his family was rapidly growing up. All three children married. Mary Ann married Terence Byrne, an immigrant from Ireland. Annie married Edward Rourke, a large, robust house painter and they had six children. Thomas married Mary Ann Gibbons. In time they would also have six children and make their home in Hamilton, Ontario.
In late 1897, when Ann was 60, Mathew returned to Ireland where he was admitted to the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin. This was an old soldier's home so we can assume that he was in poor health and needed care. It is possible also that he wanted to return to Ireland for his last years since he had left there as a young soldier. So far, I have not been able to find out if Ann went with him or if she remained in Canada either due to a lack of funds or a a place to stay in Ireland.
Mathew died on the 14th of November in 1900 in Dublin. I cannot find Ann in London, Ont. documents between 1895 and 1902, however, this does not mean she was not there. If she did remain behind, it must have been very difficult for her saying goodbye to Mathew knowing she would never see him again. Ann was 63 years old at the time of his death.
While Mathew was in Kilmainham, a military campaign medal was sent to him from Canada, in recognition of his service at Kingston at the time of the 1866 Fenian Raid. Marlene Pryor, his great-grandaughter, still has this medal, along with one for service in India during the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58.
In 1903, Ann was listed as living with daughter Annie and her husband Edward Rourke in London. Edward died suddenly in 1909, leaving her a widow with six children at the age of 36. A month later, she lost her infant to infant cholera, a disease that children often got from tainted milk. Having her mother there with her must have been a big help. Annie returned to full-time tailoring in order to support her children, all less than fourteen years of age. By 1920, Annie and her children, now grown, moved to Hamilton to 157 Barnesdale Ave. Ann senior must have accompanied them. Later, Annie moved to 139 Sherman Ave., next door to her niece, Mary Byrne Davern. Annie died in 1942, and her remains were transported to London, where she lies buried beside her husband Edward.
Daughter Mary Ann, married Terence Byrne in London, Ontario on July 7, 1881. He was born in Ireland, and gave his parents’ names as James and Bridget Byrne. We have very little information about Mary Ann and her husband. We do know that they had at least two daughters. One who married William Manion, and made her home in Detroit, Michigan, and Mary Emma, who married Michael Davern. This latter couple had children John, Veronica, William, and Loretta Davern. Loretta married Edward Bernier, and several descendents of this couple live in Hamilton.
Mary Emma Byrne was born January 15, 1885 in London. She died July 25, 1958 in Hamilton, eight years after her husband.
Thomas Henry Minogue, the second child of Mathew and Ann, was born in Québec, grew up in London, and became a tailor. Thomas changed the spelling of his surname to “Monogue” when he was a young man. His descendants who bear the surname use his spelling variation to this day. (A separate biography is written on this website).
Ann Carter Minogue spent the last three years of her life in a “Aged Home for the Incurables” in Hamilton, which is the present day St. Peter's Hospital. She died on Saturday, the 5th of April, 1924 at the age of 87. Her cause of death was listed as general myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, and bronchitis, in other words, general heart failure. The funeral was arranged by the James Dwyer funeral home and was held in St. Ann's Church. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Section S, Row 4, Lot 32 at Holy Sepluchre Cemetery in Burlington, Ontario.
Written and researched by the late Al Pryor, Burlington, Ontario, and Patricia Monogue Balkcom, great-great granddaughter of Mathew and Ann. Updated April, 2008