BADGER FAMILY CHRONICLES© Christopher Earls Brennen
Appendix 3A. Memories of Elizabeth Finlay Brown, 1940
This appendix reproduces the memories of Elizabeth Finlay Brown of Winnipeg, Canada, written in the month of December, 1940. Elizabeth was the daughter of Mary Badger and granddaughter of James and Mary (Clark) Badger. It was provided to me by Anne Hobbs:
Badger Families - Religion and Romance.:
The Badger families were somewhat scattered abroad. Some of the families, indeed I never became intimate with. It was in the year 1849 that my Grandfather, James Badger married a young school teacher by the name of Mary Clark. In those days they always spoke of the 'Mistress of the School'. My Grandma Badger was an expert in needlework and knitting. Indeed she was clever, capable, sincere, hard working and truly religious. She had a way of getting things done, and done right. I never heard any remarks about her particular beauty of face, but she had beauty of character without doubt.
At the time of their marriage my Grandpa Badger held a responsible position with a wealthy squire or baron, in the County of Roscommon, Connaught. The estate was not far from the town of Boyle, which is second in importance in that county. James Badger was in charge of the farming, the cattle, horses, machinery and the workers connected with all these.
My Grandpa and Grandma Badger had a good sized house to live in, close to the road when they got married. It was called 'Camlin House' and may still be there until this day. Their children were all born there, except one, Jennie their youngest girl. They had eight children, but always said seven, because their first were twin boys, but only one lived. Both my Grandpa and Grandma Badger managed things well and so they saved money. They kept on saving all they could for perhaps twelve years or more, until they had enough to purchase a good farm of their own. They wanted to feel independent and give their children more freedom as well. The farm they bought had about forty acres, I think. It was situated in the townland of Druminard, County Tyrone. There was no large important city near that part of the country, but the old-fashioned town called Cookstown was about seven miles away in one direction and about seven or eight miles in the opposite direction there was the village of Coagh, situated on the river Coagh. It had a post office, mills and several stores. These places have changed but little since the time my mother was a small girl. In that district every one used turf for fuel, they called it peat. There were large peat bogs throughout that section of the country.
During all the years that my Grandpa and his family lived on the farm in Druminard they all were members of the Saltersland Presbyterian Church. The church was perhaps about two miles from my Grandpa's place. My Grandpa Badger always having been a particular churchman, and observing family worship from day to day, was an Elder in the church until he was perhaps seventy years of age or more. He never could understand why my mother should desert the Presbyterian church for any other. He even wept about it as he was really upset. I fancy the old Saltersland Presbyterian Church will still be there until this day. I was often in that old church on Sundays, when I was eight years old, but never since then.
Saltersland Presbyterian Church.
Things went well at my Grandpa's farm for years until my Grandma was over forty five years old of age. Then she became afflicted with that dreaded disease, called dropsy. Her case was severe and they could do little to help in such a condition. She was confined to bed for about one year, receiving treatment and light diet. Shortly after her forty seventh birthday she passed away. My mother was a small girl, eight or nine years of age, and her brother James and sister Jennie were both younger than she. During the period when Grandma Badger was so ill they kept a hired girl to do the heavy work. There was a very friendly family living on another farm not too far away from Grandpa's. There name was Carnaghan. One of the girls, called Maria, about thirty seven years of age, came over every day to help in caring for my Grandma to attend to the cooking and see that the children went to school regularly. This young woman appeared to have no beaux at all. She soon got accustomed to the ways of things and kept the children very nice. After Grandma died, it just seemed they couldn't get along without Miss Carnaghan so she continued to come over every day as usual. About one year later, and it seemed natural enough, my Grandpa Badger got married quietly to Miss Maria Carnaghan.
In the years that followed they had four children, two boys and two girls. Now this stepmother planned as best she could to get all my Grandpa's first family nicely on their careers as quickly as possible. She managed to bring about circumstances by one way or another, until one by one, they had departed, all except one boy called James, who was slightly sub normal. He was always a willing worker and became a sort of family drudge as years went on. However, he liked to be there with them all and seemed happy enough. He didn't go away from home very much but always attended the Orange Lodge in that part of the country. At last he became badly crippled with rheumatism, and for some time before he was compelled to remain in bed and was rather helpless. He was over sixty two years of age when he died and he was unmarried.
My Grandpa Badger and his second wife, whom he always called Grandma, both lived to be fairly old. Grandpa had passed his eighty fifth birthday and Grandma died within the next year after Grandpa was gone. She was either seventy four or five years old. Grandpa Badger suffered three different strokes, and at last became completely paralysed. Grandma Badger simply grew aged and decrepit and could not stand at all for a year or two before she died. Now my Grandpa Badger, his two wives and some other relations are all buried in the old churchyard cemetery which adjoins Saltersland Presbyterian Church.
My Grandpa Badger's home in County Tyrone came into the possession of Thomas Wilson Badger, being Grandpa's eldest son by his second wife. Uncle Tom, as we called him, remained on the farm for nearly eight years after my Grandpa and Grandma had died, then he decided to sell the place and emigrate in Winnipeg, where his wife already had two brothers. About the time he sold out the trouble in Ireland was getting serious. It was all about boundary line between Ulster and Eire. Finally County Tyrone remained in Ulster.
The distance from my Grandpa Badger's farm in County Tyrone to the city of Belfast was about seventy miles. It happened that when my Aunt Lizzie Hill was a girl of seventeen or eighteen years, she went to visit her Auntie, Mrs Hugh Boal, who lived in the townland of Lisnabreeny, Co. Down, about six miles from Belfast. Mrs Boal had been Miss Grace Clark as a girl. [Text missing from original.] All at church on Sunday. After the service they introduced their niece to John Hill and, well maybe it was a case of love at first sight, it wasn't more than one year until John Hill made the trip to Druminard, Co. Tyrone, to marry his sweetheart Lizzie Badger, who was then nineteen years of age. My father went along with John Hill to the wedding to be his best man. It was on this occasion that my father first met my mother who was then only sixteen years of age. Her name was Mary Badger as she had been called for her mother, who had formerly been Miss Mary Clark before she married my Grandpa.
In the years that followed my father made as many trips as he could afford from time to time. On these occasions my father would arrive on Saturday and usually remain till the following Monday or Tuesday. There was a small railroad town called Moneymore, about 4 miles from my Grandpa's farm. Perhaps someone would drive to the station to meet him, though likes as not, he might have walked that distance and thought nothing of it.
Remembering my Grandpa Badger's old rustic garden, I can visualise my mother and father when they were younger, strolling along the narrow paths bordered with evergreen boxwood. Some of the boxwoods were 6ft high since they had never been trimmed but simply left to have their way. There were many tall spreading trees about the garden as well. Along one side of the garden, close to the narrow country road, there was an old ivy covered wall, 7ft high and built of stone and mortar. In the springtime, no doubt, they would walk in the old apple orchard when the trees were in full bloom and 'love was in the air'.
When my mother had reached the age of 19 years they arranged to get married the following June. That was in the year 1879. In Ireland, as you must know, there are superstitions of long standing. On my mother's wedding day in June the tall hawthorn hedges were massive and at their best. My Grandpa and Grandma Badger went along in the bride’s carriage to the Church, as was the custom. It was an old fashioned carriage with a high covered top. A short distance from the house it happened that a large straying brace from the hawthorn hedge scratched across the top of the bride's carriage. This was regarded as a bad omen and sure to bring tragedy into the bride’s married life. Well now, believe it or not!
The married ceremony for my Mother and Father was performed in the Saltersland Presbyterian Church by The Rev. Alexander Minnis. He spent nearly all his life with the same Church. My Father brought his young bride home to the farm in Knockbracken, Co. Down, the one that his father had purchased for him some time before. All went well at first and my Mother had high hopes. I think it was in March 1881 that my sister Mary was born. There was a slight disappointment felt because a girl had arrived first instead of a boy. Later on my sister Sarah was born one Christmas day and still later I arrived on a New Year's night, January 1st, not very minutes before twelve o'clock midnight. Well that was enough, my Grandma Finlay said with a note of regret "William (meaning my Father) is going to get no help at all". She was wrong however, as in the years that followed 5 boys arrived all in a row. One baby boy died when only 6 days old. Still later 3 more girls arrived, making a grand total of 11 children altogether.
They had now reached the year 1903. My sister Mary died of tuberculosis at the end of November, 1902. She was interred in the little ancient, walled in cemetery call Lower Breda (pronounced 'Braida') within the grounds of the estate owned by Sir Thomas Bateson. His title was Lord Deramore. This ancient Burying-ground (lower Breda) was given, more than 200 years ago, to the workers on Lord Deramore's Estate and in the castle. Our little baby brother had been buried there many years before, also my Father's sister Mary, and his aged mother. The last burial that was allowed in Lower Breda was that of my Father's sister Elizabeth. Tuberculosis developed in her throat while she was in Chicago, USA. She wished to die in Ireland so made the trip over there. The doctor thought an operation might help her. However, the operation was not a success and she died in hospital. She was 64 years of age and unmarried. Lord Deramore had declared that no more burials should be allowed in Lower Breda cemetery. Visitors may go to see the cemetery by special permission. Should you walk through the place in the month of April or May, or any time during the summer, you would be compelled to tread upon a carpet of primroses, cowslips and forget-me-nots all intermingled. These flowers have simply run wild down the years until every inch of ground is now covered with them. In and around the cemetery there are tall spreading ancient trees, such as oak and beech. It is a solitary spot. Wild rabbits hide in holes they have dug close to the old fashioned wall, which is perhaps 8' high and built of stone and mortar. Some of my Father's relations are buried in the churchyard cemetery adjoining the Knockbracken Reformed Presbyterian Church, and some others are buried in the churchyard cemetery which adjoins Castlereagh Presbyterian Church.
Now there is something which I should not omit, perhaps, as someone might even wish to Know. My Father and Mother had 11 children but not one of us was ever baptised as an infant. My Father registered each child, giving the full name and date of birth, at the District Dispensary in the townland of Ballylesson, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. Dr Gawn Orr handled all the registrations. I'll give the names in order as follows: MARY FINLAY, SARAH FINLAY, ELIZABETH FINLAY, WILLIAM FINLAY, JOHN SMITH FINLAY, then the baby boy that died unnamed, JAMES CAMPBELL FINLAY, CHARLES SPURGEON FINLAY, JANE BADGER FINLAY, MAGGIE FINLAY, and ANNIE FINLAY. Another thing I must mention about the County of Down, which is historic. The tomb of Ireland's own saint - Saint Patrick - is in the south of County Down. It is near to the town called Downpatrick, and not far away from the Mountains of Mourne that roll down to the sea.
When my Father was a boy he was healthy and very lively. He learned to dance at an early age and also learned to play dance tunes on the violin. There seems to have been plenty of country dances in those days and my Father attended most of them. When my Father was along in the twenties, it happened that a series of revival meetings started in that part of the country. They were conducted by two Plymouth Brethren Evangelists, John Smith and James Campbell. My Father along with a group of young men, used to make a disturbance outside the large tent while the preachers were speaking. One of the evangelists would come outside and urge the young men to step inside and hear the gospel message, which he said, was just as much for them as it was for anyone else. After a few days they decided to go in and listen. Most of them were converted at that time, but not every one. My Father and his young sister Elizabeth, both left the Presbyterian Church and joined the Plymouth Assembly. My mother joined the Assembly too, some time after she was married. My Father and Mother attended regularly for 25 years. There was "Breaking of Bread" every Sunday morning at their meetings.
The day on which we left Ireland to sail for Canada was on a popular holiday, Easter Monday. It was early in April 1904. We travelled all the way by the World's Greatest Highway. The old C.P.R. Boat called Blake Manitoba, was the one that carried us over the great Atlantic. It took 14 days to make the trip at that time of the year, from Liverpool to Saint John, New Brunswick. The fog was extremely dense for days and the fog horns were blowing intermittently day and night. Somewhere near to Newfoundland, one certain night, the "crow's nest" reported having sighted an iceberg at a considerable distance. Luckily, however, we knew nothing about that until the next day.
In Ireland, Easter Monday is a general holiday, so our friends had a chance to see us before we sailed. When we were ready to board ship, just before 8 o'clock p.m. at the Belfast harbour, there was a great crowd of our relations and friends all about us to say 'goodbye'. Then as we stood upon the deck of the ship, waving farewell, the big crowd joined in singing "God be with you till we meet again". Many of them kept throwing kisses to us until we were lost to view.
Now we believe, that my father's family - the Finlays, have lived on the same land for more than three hundred years. The name William Finlay, seems to have been the name of my father's great-grandfather, or maybe even his great-great-grandfather (to this generation it would be Great-great-great-grandfather). Then it was the name of his first son, then his first son, and so on until it came to my brother and he gave the family name of William to his first son, but the infant boy died in Jebba, Nigeria, when only six days old. In the year 1912 when my son was born I called him for my father, William Finlay Brown. At the present time there seems to be no other William Finlay amongst our families, at least I haven't heard of any.
The old "Finlay Farm", about forty acres I believe, had the ancient name of "Whaupknowe - pronounced as "Wahup'now". It is situated in the townland of Clontonacally, County Down. I think the distance from the old farm to the City of Belfast is about five or six miles.
Now think of this - my Grandfather Finlay was born in the year 1806, the same year that Lord Nelson won the great battle at Trafalgar. Did you know that Lord Nelson made secure on the mast of his Flag ship a lucky horse shoe to bring him luck. Then he really expected to win and he did.
When my Grandpa Finlay was thirty-eight years of age he married Miss Marg Petticrew, who was then twenty-five years of age. She lived in the townland of Ballygowan, about four miles distance from the old farm in Clontonacally. The wedding took place in the year 1844. The ceremony was performed in the old-fashioned Castlereagh Presbyterian Church. This ancient building still stands and has been kept in good condition until the present day (1940). My father, and all his sisters and brothers were baptised there as infants and, I imagine, the records could still be found somewhere in the building.
My Grandmother Finlay, as a girl, had been brought-up in the reformed Presbyterian Church, commonly called the "Covenantors". All the Petticrew families had belonged to the Knockbracken Reformed Presbyterian Church, and their descendants still belong to that same old 'Kirk. Now when Mary Petticrew got married to a staunch Scottish Presbyterian, it was considered proper, and becoming, that she should attend the same church as her husband - who was regarded in those days as the "masterman". They both attended the Castlereagh Presbyterian Church regularly as long as my Grandfather lived. Then, in the years that followed my Grandma Finlay used to go alone to the Covenanters Church at Knockbracken.
When my Grandma Finlay was a girl she was considered pretty. She was fairly tall with brown hair and clear complexion. I'm not too sure if her eyes were blue or brown. I think maybe blue. Grandma Finlay was born in the year 1819, the same year as Queen Victoria of England. She died in the year 1901 and was a little over eighty-two years old. My Grandpa Finlay had died sixteen years before, at the age of seventy-nine years. That was in the year 1885.
I must explain here that many of the Petticrews had golden hair, and any blondes that appear in our families inherit their fair hair from my Grandmother's side of the family tree.
According to the custom of the times, the old farm in Clontonacally should have been given to my Father, since he was considered the rightful heir. When my Father was thirty-two years of age he planned to get married. My Mother was only nineteen years of age at the time. Now when my Grandparents married, they had eight children. My Father was the first of the boys to get married. His sister Mary had died before the age of twenty-one, and his sister Jane had gotten married before she was seventeen years of age. His brother John had gone away to the USA just to see if he would like it. Later, he returned to Ireland, got married and went back to Kansas City, USA. He remained there until the end of his life. My Grandpa and Grandma, and my Father's youngest brother Robert, as well as my Father's three young sisters were all living at the old home. My Mother would not consent to come to live with my Father's family, as she felt sure disagreement would arise. My Grandpa Finlay then bought a farm in the townland of Knockbracken, more than one mile distance from the old farm, and gave it to my Father for his own. This farm had thirty-two acres of land and was not far from the main road (the Saintfield Road) leading to the City of Belfast.
It was because of all these circumstances that my Father's youngest brother Robert came into possession of the old farm at Clontonacally. Now his son, James Graham Finlay, is in possession of the old place at the present time and he has purchased two other farms adjoining my Grandfather's land.
When my Grandfather Finlay died in 1885 he left a will. In it he said that my Father should pay one hundred pounds to each of his three younger sisters, Margaret, Sarah and Elizabeth. That would be the same as five hundred dollars each in Canadian money (1940). My Grandpa said the reason why he asked my Father and also given him several head of cattle at the time my Father got married. Now my Father had to pay rent to the landlord every year, twenty shillings per acre as well as the 'poor rates' and 'road taxes'.
As time passed a new baby arrived in the home about every two years. It is easy to see how difficult it was to make money fast enough to pay for everything. A few years later my Father's two sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth, demanded their money by law. My Father was compelled to borrow the money from two rich men he was acquainted with. He got a loan of one hundred pounds from a farmer named Samuel Mehaffy, and another loan from a farmer named Robert Shanks for one hundred pounds. My Father promised to pay a rate of interest per annum. They did not trouble to have any lawyers or witnesses in the matter. In those days respectable people had confidence in each other. My father did not pay his little Sister Sarah, (who was slightly sub-normal) until we were about to leave Ireland in 1904 to come to Canada.
All the worry and inconvenience suffered by trying to pay these loans with interest stirred up considerable strife in the families. At length, when my Father and Mother were twenty-five years married, they decided to sell all, pay their debts, and make a home in the Dominion of Canada.
Last updated 3/5/04.
Christopher E. Brennen