John McCullagh January 23, 2007

The photograph is of Thomas Martin, who was great grandfather to our esteemed readers Patrick J White (who supplied this information) and John McCaul.

Thomas was known as Red Thomas, for the colour of his hair. His father Nicholas had a blacksmith’s forge in King Street in the early nineteenth century. His name however is not included in Bradshaw’s directory of Newry business people of 1819.

Thomas’s wife was Mary Curren, daughter of Hugh Curren – and Mary featured on our pages here in December last, in a photo taken at Aileen Terrace.

Thomas worked in Fisher’s Builders Yard. In later life he served as doorman at the Catholic Workingmen’s Club. Among his grandsons are Pascal McCaul (my Bridge adversary, and father of John) Bill and Desmond McCaul.

Patrick White was born in Upper Norrth Street from which his family left for Church Street. We of course remember this family from O’Neill Avenue where they moved to later and, indeed, Eamon lives there still, to the best of my knowledge.

Other Church Street people who moved to The Avenue at the time were the O’Connors, the late Rory and Kevin: McCauleys: Finnegans, Michael and Oliver: the McVeighs, David, Seamus and Michael; and Frank Murphy from St Patrick’s Avenue, and his wife Bridget, nee Kean.

Patrick’s father was a carpenter and made coffins for E A Byrne in Water Street. Patrick clearly recalls his mother taking him down to the Water Street workshop, beside Sparky Keenan’s forge. There he saw the horse-drawn hearse of John (Curley) Murphy alongside of which his father would have walked.

E A Byrne’s family emigrated to the USANew York – and the undertaking business went to his sister who married Patrick’s great grandfather Butterfield from Mayobridge. He also had a whiskey store on Water Street and two pubs on Monaghan Street.

John Francis McCourt’s (now of New York) family lived next door to E A Byrne’s yard on Water Street. John Francis’s father was also a coffin-maker for Byrne. His mother was a Butterfield from Mayobridge. By the way, Harry O’Rourke’s (from Fisher’s Builders Suppliers) mother was also a Mayobridge Butterfield, and all of these people are of Patrick White’s line.

A few other snippets supplied by Patrick White:

‘Frank Trainor, of the first house in Church Street was from Banbridge. His son Brian married a sister of Tommy McGrath’s.  Brian is now deceased.  Patrick’s mother and old Maggie McGrath of North Street were great friends.

I remember Joe Fleming (later the postman, deceased a decade or so ago) living up in the Church Street area. Joe was the first Fianna Eireann Boy Scout in full uniform in the whole area. Joe was later in the Newry Amateur Band with Joe Campbell. His brother Teddy signed all us boys into the Fianna in his Boot & Shoe Shop in Castle Street. It was about 1951-2 that we all joined Fianna Eireann.’

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