Section 16: The South West 1610-1700

Section 17
Ireland to 1851

Chapter 17.1

A single source?

In addition to the BRUSH families of England there are other BRUSH lines. One of the more interesting is an extended family group in Ireland, all of whom are commonly said to descend from a single individual - John BRUSH.

During the 1970s and 80s there was an extended correspondence between Auriol Henry Brush (1912-2001) of the Northern Irish family ("AHB",) and my late father, FWB. AHB had researched the Irish family extensively and I have a handwritten tree apparently produced by him (1). It has proved helpful but I fear there are a number of errors in it.

One of the problems with Irish research is that (as recorded in one of my father's notes, quoting AHB) unfortunatly "all our original documentation was destroyed in the Four Courts, Dublin, in 1922". The Four Courts is Ireland's main courts building, housing the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Dublin Circuit Court and, until 2010, the Central Criminal Court. During a week of fighting between forces opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the new National Army the historic building was destroyed on 30 June 1922. The west wing of the building was obliterated in a huge explosion, destroying the Irish Public Record Office at the rear of the building. Nearly a thousand years of archives were destroyed by this.

The interesting thing about the AHB tree, which keeps drawing me back to it, is that so many of the individuals have full dates given for births dates and marriages. Despite the errors, it feels as if there was real evidence (and inherited family knowledge) behind it, which appears to have been lost along the way. In the quote above AHB refers to "our original documentation". He may have been referring to Irish records generally but may also have been using 'our' more parochially for his own family.

A single source for all Brush residents in Ireland may not be strictly true but it is the root for most of those bearing the Brush name - especially the prominent ones. The other entries are considered in section 17.C . There are however two versions of the single source story.

One, as described in the AHB tree, identifies the root individual as Captain John BRUSH of Kent who is said to have travelled to Ireland in 1599 as part of the Elizabethan army led by the Earl of Essex. I fear however that this is a mangled piece of family folklore. The other version, which seems much more credible, is that the common ancestor, John Brush, was an officer in the later Williamite campaign of 1688 to 1691. In order to get straight to the regular family history I have for the moment relegated the 1599 theory to a separate chapter - section 17.B .

The second version of events appears in two articles by Eugene A.Coyle & John J. Duffy. The first about two descendants of John, both called Crane, or Crean; Loyalty and its rewards in 18th century New England and County Down:The cousins Crane Brush (2). The second about the Crean who went to the USA; Crean Brush vs Ethan Allen: A winner's Tale (3). The two passages are very similar; this is an amalgam of them.

This masonic badge featuring Wiiliam III, 'of Orange' came from the workshop of James Brush of Dublin (section 17J)

The common ancestor of the cousins Crane Brush was John Brush (1662- 1741) who served as a Williamite officer in a Dutch Regiment against the Jacobites in the major Irish battles of the 1680s and 1690s including at Londonderry, Aughrim and the Boyne.

This masonic badge featuring Wiiliam III, 'of Orange' came from the workshop of James Brush of Dublin (section 17J)

He was rewarded [for his staunch loyalty to the British Crown] with a treasury warrant in 1696 for his military service in Ireland, with which he bought a small number of the forfeited Abercorn properties near Omagh in County Tyrone. He later purchased properties at Kilrush in County Meath and in Dublin City from the Williamite Commissioners sale in 1703"

They cite, as the source for this, the Blackwood Pedigree for County Families but this does not appear to be available online; only in the Linen Hall Library in Belfast.

More detail on John's military career was given in a now deleted webpage on the FLATT family history(4). It added three little details, though without identifying the source. First that John was an ensign before being a lieutenant. I'm unsure if this is real detail or if all lieutenants began their service as ensigns. Second that he served in Colonel Crofts Regiment. Thirdly (relying on Burke, below?) it says "he was granted property at Darkmoney, Omagh for his services".

The AHB tree states that "Captain" John BRUSH "was an ensign in Col CROFTON's regiment [illegible](5) garrison of Derry 1698-9 [sic - it was in 1688/9] & fought the Irish at the Boyne, Aughrim and Limerick …" AHB identifies this individual also as a great-grandson of the John said to have arrived in 1599 (as discussed in section 17.B).

Of the two named regimental commanders, Crofton seems to be correct. I haven't been able to find mention of a Col.Crofts. Crofton however is clearly a historical figure. According to Walker's diary of the Siege of Derry (6) , Colonel Crofton's regiment was already in Ireland by April 13th 1689. What was hoped (but failed) to be a relieving force under Colonel Cunningham only arrived at the Lough on April 15th.

An article on an Ancestry message board (7) (which sounds authoritative and quotes a number of sources including House of Commons Journal, Vol.12m 8 June 1698) refers to :

"…a company formed in Jan 1689 in Colonel Skeffington's Londonderry Regiment, also known as the Antrim Volunteers, for service during the siege of Londonderry. During the siege, Skeffington's Regiment unofficially became Major John Mitchelburne's Londonderry Regiment…... On the lifting of the siege the Regiment amalgamated with Crofton's Regiment. This new Regiment was taken onto William III's Irish Army establishment as Colonel Mitchelburne's Londonderry Regt on 4 August 1689. "The Antrim Volunteers" went on to fight at The Battle of the Boyne, 1 July 1690, where William III decisively defeated James II's 30,000 man Franco-Irish army."

Dr John Childs (a bona fide and detailed military historian, emeritus professor of military history at the University of Leeds.) in The Williamite Wars in Ireland gives a similar version of events but refers initially to Major Richard Crofton. He also states that Crofton's regiment (of 12 companies) was merged immediately following the relief of Derry into Mitchelburne's regiment. At some point during the siege Crofton was designated as a colonel. More specifically he says that Crofton's regiment was disbanded and its men incorporated into the new regiment. He gives more detail in General Percy Kirke and the Later Stuart Army.

"Following the relief of Derry Kirke had seen only a disorganized, ramshackle, undisciplined, amateur militia in need of comprehensive and rapid restructuring. Accordingly the eight infantry battalions…were immediately demobized and disarmed, an action that caused enourmous resentment. The more promising men were re-engaged and allocated to four, new, regular battalions…. Richard Crofton [and others] lost their colonelcies….The new regiments were entered onto the Irish establishment ensuring lower rates of pay than comparable English units. Kirke appointed the field officers and captains allowing the men to elect their own lieutenants, ensigns and NCOs.

If, as AHB suggests, John Brush had been part of Crofton's regiment then he was not part of the 'invading' Williamite Army but had been part of an Irish militia already present in Ireland. Richard Crofton had "been among the Protestant officers cashiered by Tyrconnell prior to the Revolution"(8). Which is very different to the Coyle and Duffy reference to him being part of a Dutch regiment in the Williamite Army that arrived in 1689 and 1690. Two armies were sent to Ireland. The first, and insufficient, force went in 1689 and a bigger force under William himself in 1690. I am not clear whether the relieving force sent to Derry under Colonel Cunningham was part of the first 1689 army or a separate detachment sent directly from England.

At least everyone agrees on his date of death, 1741. The AHB tree says he died at Kilrush on 4 July 1741 and was buried at Mullingarr (which is about 20 miles SW of Kilrush). This is one illustration of the detail information AHB provided but which seems impossible to corroborate from other sources. There is also a reference to Omagh [??????] in County Tyrone.

All the sources seem to agree that Lt. John acquired land at Kilrush and at "Darkmoney" and in Dublin, though there is some difference between being granted land and being granted funds which were then used to buy land. Searching online for 'Darkmoney' only seems to loop us back to this one story about John Brush. But it is also the spelling used in the 1740 deed discussed below. It appears to be a mistranscribing (or earlier spelling) of Dergmoney which is within the parish of Drumragh, in or adjacent to Omagh in Co.Tyrone.

The website https://www.cotyroneireland.com/hearth/drumragh.html displays the Drumragh (Drumra) Parish Hearth Money Roll, Co. Tyrone c1670 ("Extracted from FHL Film #1279356") and records John Brush as holding land at Omagh. This is noted as "undated, but believed to be 1670". If this listing is correctly dated it reinforces the idea that John did not arrive with a Dutch regiment of the Williamite Army in 1689 but was already in Ireland. It seems perfectly possible that John used his treasury warrant to purchase additional land near land he already owned, or had some say in the location of land he was granted.

There are some other early entries in the limited Irish records going back some thirty years before the Williamite invasion, These are considered in section 17.C . Interesting though they are, they are nowhere near enough to document a link back to another military John arriving in 1598.

From Lt. John Brush ( who I designate as [Ir10] ) there descended an extensive and often prominent family. Coyle and Duffy include this tree showing the development of the family.

They expand on this in the text of their article on the Crane cousins:

One site that keeps cropping up if you search for John Brush is one called thepeerage.com which looks very authotitative but actually seems to add nothing to what was previously in Burke's Irish Family Records of which only the 1976 edition appears to be accessible online (9). This contains a similar, but different version of the first three generations:

The AHB tree at this point is rather messy. It seems to follow the Burke statement that John [Ir13], James [Ir14] and Crean [Ir15] were brothers but suggests they were sons of Lt John[Ir10] rather than grandsons and sons of Crane [Ir12]. He also asserts that Rowland Ash Brush [Ir11] was a brother of Lt John.

Coyle and Duffy agree with Burke that James and Crane were sons of Crane [Ir12] who was the son of John[Iir10]. But they make no mention of John[Ir13] and say that Rowland was a son of Crane rather than his uncle. With a variance of two generations they must be talking of a different Rowland.

None of these three versions mention any wives. A very early draft of this article suggests that Lt John married a Ms KINGHAM but it contained no mention of any source for this, and it may be complete rubbish. Whatever the forename and maiden name of Mrs John BRUSH might be she would be [Ir10a]

The only mention of a birth date for Lt John Brush is by Coyle and Duffy. They give the dates as firm in the text but in the family tree they put question marks against both dates. The suggested birth date for John[Ir10] is 1662 and for his son Crane [Ir12] is 1680. No question marks are added to the 1680 date.

These dates would mean that John was 18 when Crane was born. Possible of course but relativly unusual. Pushing John's birth date back to, say, 1655, to make him 25 in 1680 makes him 34 in 1689. If he had served in a regular English foot regiment that would seem to be still possible for a lieutenant (though rather too old to still be an ensign). But if he was in a locally recruited militia unit the age seems much less of an issue.

However, even a 1655 birth date makes him too young to be paying hearth tax in 1670. So could John of Drumagh [Ir8] be his father? The earlier his birth date the older he is in 1741 when he dies. Born 1662 would make him 78/79, born 1655 would make him 85/86.

The agreement between Crean and three sons is mentioned by all three; AHB, Burke & Coyle and Duffy and is perfectly cited with a detailed reference in the deed book. Yet the cast list differs for each of them. I had assumed that the original had gone up in the 1922 explosion but it is in fact online. Clear, readable and comprehensive. Only those immersed in genealogy will appreciate the fire of exctement on finding such a document. Known about but hidden out of sight. Online but never appearing in a search engine.

The parties to the deed being recorded are "John Brush of Killrush and County of Meath Gent James Brush of Dromore and County of Downe [???] and Crean Brush of Omagh and County of Tyrone Gent." Crean Brush senior, "father to the aforesaid" is referred to in the recitals to the document and is a beneficiary but is not actually a party to it. Crean senior[Ir12] is referred to as as being of Dromore - not of Omagh. Crean of Omagh is the son[Ir15]. Provision is made for the maintenance of Crean senior and for that their sister Catherine. Burke has the names right but a couple of small details wrong. There is no mention of Rowland and is clear beyond doubt that Crean[Ir12] is the father of John, James and Crean the younger.

The deed states that the "Town Lands" at Darkmoney and the proceeds of sale of a large tenement in Omagh are to be divided into three parts each to be owned by one of the three brothers. Some of the land was already owned by the three brothers and some by Crean senior, subject to a mortgage in favour of John. The division was done by and with the consent of Crean senior though for some reason he is not a party to the deed. The brothers also bind themselves to pay (in equal shares) a total of twenty pounds a year to Crean senior for the rest of his life. They also commit to pay in equal shares a total of £150 to their sister Catherine. Most of the land they are dividing is let out but interestingly the "the parcell of land in Darkmoney now in the immediate occupation of Crean Brush of Omagh" goes to John rather than to Crean himself. A full transcript of the deed is in Appendix X.

While the existence of Crane[Ir12] is established beyond doubt by the memorialised deed the connection back to Lt John as his father continues to lack any primary evidence. Burke and Coyle&Duffy both show it and presumably it appers in the unseen Blackmore Pedigree.

Coyle & Duffy give dates for Crane[Ir12] as 1680 to 1758 but I'm not aware of any primary evidence for this. By coincidence a later Crane Brush (Crane Richard) died in 1858, age 69 - so born1778/9.

The AHB tree has an entry for Crean of Omagh though it appears to say he died at 1730. Which cannot be right. Both Crean[Ir12] and Crean [Ir15] are alive at 1740.

Before moving on to the three sons and their families it is worth exploring briefly if there is a possible links to the 'other' Irish entries relegated to section 17.C . I have already mentioned John of Omagh[Ir8] from the 1670 Hearth tax list as a possibility for Lt John or his father.

Around the same time another John Brush was living in Dublin. [expand once that chapter is written]

Crean would fit, on these dates, as another son of John and Elizabeth. Is the invading army story a fiction? Bishop Maule worked in association with vicar of Machin on big schools project Crane at machin

    Chapter 17.B: John in 1599?

    Chapter 17.C: Other early Irish entries

(1) back to text    In FWB papers there is a single A2 sheet including a handwritten tree (not FWB hand). An FWB comment on it refers to A.H.B. as the author and to correspondence or conversations in 1977 and 1987.

(2) back to text    Published in the journal Eighteenth Century Ireland Vol 16, 2001 www.jstor.org/stable/30071253

(3) back to text    Published in the Vermont History journal Vermont History 70 of the Vermont Historical Society 2002. www.vermonthistory.org/journal/70/vt703_402.pdf

(4) back to text    http://braddonsmith.tripod.com/id5.html) "John Brush (died 1741) was an ensign and later a lieutenant in Colonel Crofts Regiment, fought at the Battle of the Boyne (1690) and the siege of Derry. He was granted property at Darkmoney, Omagh for his services"

(5) back to text    The missing text is illegible but I think it says "of immortal" which is a reference to the 'Orange Toast' which begins "The glorious, pious, and immortal memory of the great and good King William…"

(6) back to text    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kgYwAAAAMAAJ

(7) back to text    www.ancestry.co.uk/boards/localities.britisles. ireland.ldy.general/7565/mb.ashx

(8) back to text    A phrase from More Irish families by Edward MacLysaght (not fully viewable online). Childs also says in General Percy Kirke and the Later Stuart Army that Crofton "had suffered the ….indignity of being purged by Tyrconnell in 1686".

(9) back to text    Burke's Irish Family Records. London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976

The BRUSH Families of the British Isles
       © David Brush 2006 to 2020

The BRUSH Families
of the British Isles
© David Brush 2006 to 2020