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pages 126 to 156

Ulsterheart Chapter 4 (St. Kerog's)
pages 121 through 125

Page 121

he is building." Capt. Sandy Moutray was Kerog Warden 1817 and 1827. The Church till then had been thatched. He got it slated. He and Maria had 14 children. Three sons, Fred, John, and Hercules emigrated to Australia where their families still live. Maria died aged 84, and Sandy 91.

His great-grandson and namesake was over seventy years in Kerog Choir. He was five times Churchwarden, as well as being Secretary Treasurer and Nominator. In 1974, at the suggestion of the 40th Rector he presented Kerog with the Thames and Hudson edition of the Book of Kells in memory of his great-grandfather, and crowned all by financing the Hallelujah Screen to commemorate his wife's 22 years as Kerog Organist. Co-incidentally, the last Moutray lady to live in the parish bore the same name as the first, underlining Gladys Ingram's 1973 discovery that in the middle of the Moutray years, about 1825, the most popular Kerog name was Ann. And to crown the co-incidence the last Ann married the name of the Rector when the Moutrays inherited Favor Royal -- Semple.


About 1690 Kerog got a Speer in the heart. With Neely and Harvey in the north, Moutray in the south, Hamilton in the east, and Morrison in the west, it was in the very heart of Kerog that John Speer settled after defending the Walls of Derry.

The Speers were Orcadians, probably of Scandinavian origin. Capt. John Speer of Hobson's Horse moved from Orkney to Caledon about a century before his great-grandson built Carron Mount. His wife Margaret was probably of the Hamilton family of Lurgacullion, who got the O'Neill lands in Caledon after 1641. This would explain why his grand-daughter was buried under the oldest stone in the Kerog churchyard. Below the name of John Hamilton of Muliks 1636-'67 there is inset the inscription: --

Here lies the Remains of Eleanor Kellett, daughter of the late Henery Speeer Esqr. of Carron who in her 83rd year dept. this life, January 12th 1838.

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Another grandchild, James Speer of Desertcreight married Catherine Hamilton. So the Speers had at least a double connection with this premier Kerog family.

The Speers had eventually three residences along the spine of Kerog. John Speer built Carron Mount about 1690. His son John jr. built Clonally House about 1730, and his grandson built Tullybryan House in 1771. After a century, the Carron family moved down to Cheshire. One of them, Dr. Thomas Charlton Speer had a distinguished career as a Surgeon in the 5th Dragoon Guards in the Peninsular War against Napoleon. His son, Dr. Stanhope Templeman Speer was one of the pioneers of Swiss tourism, when on 25th August 1844 he was the first man to climb the Wetterhorn. It was a grandson of this Alpine hero, the Rev. Lionel AT. Speer, Rector of Launceston, Cornwall, who financed the reno­vation of the Speer memorials in Kerog Churchyard in 1970.

The Clonully and Tullybryan Speers remained in Kerog for a further century. In 1828, John Laurence Speer (1767-1830) re­built Clonully Mill and Water-wheel.


Two wealthy Speer bachelors in Tullybryan felt they were likely prey for Tyrone's own 'Dick Turpin'. Shaun Barron, whose stables are still to be seen remote in the bleak highlands south of Clogher, relieved the opulent of weighty purses all over the Clogher Valley.

One summer evening the Speer brothers returned from market with heavy purses. As they sat down to supper there was an omi­nous rap on the door. "It's Shaun Barron," shouted the elder brother "get the gun from the parlour." His younger brother dashed into the parlour, and ran back loading both barrels. At this prospect, the intruder made off, but the loaded shotgun was left on the supper table.

As the brothers relaxed after a good supper, there was a slight rustle, and the beardy whiskered face loomed at the dusky window. Alert now, the younger Speer swung up the gun, and emptied both barrels into the marauder's forehead. "You should have frightened him. Now we'll have to clear the country, or the magistrates will get us" said the shocked elder brother.

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There and then they decided to make for America. The Ulster-tide to the Shenandoah was in full flow. All night the brothers toiled, packing clothes, money, and other valuables. As they rushed through the small hours, they kept the oven busy with cakes of soda bread, and rolled the loaves in flour bags for the long trek to Derry and the Ocean.

The east was glowing around 4 o'clock when they were ready to go. Fresh on the dewy meadow they found the two work horses, and brought them in to the front of the house. When all the baggage was strapped on one of the horses, the elder brother addresses his younger brother abruptly. "You're the cause of all this, so you can take the other horse around to the back of the house, strap Shaun Barron to him, and we'll dump him in a flax-pond on the way." Reluctantly, the younger brother took the bridle reins, and led the empty horse around the gable. Slumped beneath the kitchen window, forehead peppered with shot, the dawn revealed a Nubian goat!!!

One of the family who was swept away by the Ulstertide was James Speer. He married Mary Patterson, and emigrated to Lan­caster, Pennsylvania in 1756. Later, they moved to a farm near Gettysburg. Their daughter, Elizabeth Speer, was mother of America's 15th President, James Buchanan.

Henry Speer who built Tullybryan House in 1771 had two sons, Laurence (1767-1830) and John (1772-1848). Descendants of Laurence's daughters still live in Kerog. John founded a Store in Aughnacloy. His ledger was discovered by Lemuel Somerville in 1965.70 As well as a record of local prices in Napoleonic days, it reflects contemporary attitudes and affairs, as well as alluding to his wife Jane, and his children, Henry, Jane, and Mary Ann.

The family is now dispersed, the nearest of the name being in Aughnacloy. But by a happy co-incidence Kerog's last Speer is near its heart, in Ballinasagart House.

So, in the 80 years leading up to the Boyne, Kerog had 8 Rec­tors. Six families owned most of the parish, and with them many other Scots returned to Ulster: Kirkpatrick, Mulligan, Simpson, Johnston, Buchanan, Happer, Little, Smith, Hethrington, Cairns, Bell, Montgomery, Rea, Hadden, Rainey, Lough, Coote, Allen, Soutar, Myles, Maxwell, Carlton, and many others like the Eng-

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lish sounding Bingham, Burton and Barrett. Of most of them we have little record beyond their names on lists and rolls compiled for various purposes since 1624.

Kerog's 25th Rector, Dr. George Walker, died 13 years before the Boyne. His son led a host of refugees, which seems to have included some Kerogites, from Castle Caulfeild to Deny in 1688, and then south to the 'green grassy slopes' for the only conflict of international significance ever fought on this Atlantic island.

Postscript to Chapter Four "St. Kerog's"

Deduced from terminal dates on stone memorials

ARMSTRONG Robert 1651  
ARMSTRONG Elizabeth 1655 married Robery Wilkin
BLEAR Jean 1696 married Archibald Wilkin
FOSTER John 1656  
GEMEL John 1678  
GRAHAM Mary 1682 married Thomas Harvey
HALBERT John 1700 of Millix
  Mrs 1697  
HAMILTON John 1636 ? of Miliks
  Jane   wife to John
  William 1658 son of John
HAPER Baptis 1652  
  Samuel 1654  
  Samuel jr. 1692  
HARVEY John 1699  
  Thomas 1663 of Tullygliss
MORRYSON Andrew   of Culligary
  Askin 1689 of Roughan
NEELY James 1692 of Churchland
  Margret 1692 wife to James
  Margret 1680 married William Watson of Clininally
SIMPSON Isabella   married Samuel Haper
SPEER John 1697 of Belnasagart
TAYLOR Catherine 1664 wife to Robert Tayler
  James 1699 son of Rbt. Taylor
  Robert 1658  
WALTHAM Richard c. 1580-'90 had Aughnacloy license 20-11-1617
WATSON William 1677 of Clininally
WILKIN Archibald   married Jean Blear
  John 1677  
  Robert 1650  
LITTLE Andrew 1693  
KIRKPATRICK Robert 1700  

Chapter 4 ends here.