Foley Family History Handed Down from Daniel Edmund Foley
One of the documents that ignited the search for information on the Foley family genealogy was dictated by my great grandfather, Daniel Edmund Foley prior to his death in the 1930s.
Before you read this, please remember wise Irish adage "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."
FOLEY FAMILY HISTORY AS HANDED DOWN FROM FATHER TO SON
(As Told By Daniel E. Foley To Daughter, Margaret)
One of our ancestors was one of the company of Brian Boru about 1050 A.D. The people of his company scattered after Boru’s death; our folks going probably to Cork or Kerry in the hills.
The next record then was that one of our ancestors settled in Waterford in the south of Ireland; married and had a family.
A son was accused of stealing a sheep from a neighbor and at that time there were no penitentiaries but the punishment for stealing was deportation. He was held in a dungeon of the manor house awaiting to be shipped away. A vessel landed at Dungarvin, close by, manned by pirates, English, French, Spanish. Our ancestor, Liam Foley (O’Foley) was sold by the Lord of the manor to the pirates for one pound. He sailed the seas for three or four years. The captain of the vessel was English; and there our ancestor learned the English language, also Spanish and French.
They struck the coast of North America, believed to be the state of Maine, about the year 1608. The crew landed to get water and the Irishman deserted, going to an Indian camp. He roamed with the Indians for several years. While camped on the coast (Massachusetts) some years later a vessel came in (The Mayflower). William or Liam made the acquaintance of the pilgrims and was taken into the group as interpreter. After six months they disagreed because of religion and after declaring his faith he was thrown into jail from one Saturday to the second Sunday and still would not go to (their) church. He was put into stocks. Later, the daughter of one of the pilgrims released him at night and they deserted together to the Indians. They traveled north from one Indian settlement to another, to lower Canada, probably Quebec, and settled down, living there about 25 years. William’s (Liam’s) wife died there leaving three boys and two girls. The oldest son named William, the second, Pat; others unknown.
William’s son, William, married a French woman. One of their sons becoming a priest and going to France for his education. Another son was killed by Indians.
William’s son, Pat, returned to Massachusetts to his mother’s (Pilgrim) people. Found the grandparents dead but two sons and three daughters living.
One daughter of Pat’s married an O’Brien, a shipbuilder, and settled down in Maine. Their descendants built the first ships for the United States. One of them becoming an admiral.
About 1800 two boys went back to Ireland, one settling in Cork and one in Waterford.
The one who married and lived in Waterford had two boys who came to the states about 1840, as grown men. They went into the Army during the war with Mexico. One returned to Illinois after the war and for his bounty from the government took a piece of land near Quincy, 320 acres. His descendants are at the present time still in that vicinity, one of whom is a priest.
The other boy died after the war and is buried in the soldiers cemetery at Springfield, Illinois, his is the first grave east from the entrance; his name is Patrick Foley. (Camp Butler Cemetery) Patrick 12/17/11865
My father’s father went back to Ireland, married a Fitzgerald. My father had an older brother, Patrick, Edmund; sisters, Bridget, Ellen, Mary.
Bridget married a man named Carey. William Carey, a first cousin came to Illinois, stayed a couple of years and went to Massachusetts. Carey had a brother who stayed in Ireland and studied maritime engineering. His son was captain of the vessel VESTRIS which sank so disastrously in 1927. (Captain Carey of Dungarvin, Waterford, Ireland.)
Ellen married an O’Donnel of Massachusetts.
Mary married in Massachusetts but died within a month and her married name is not known.
Michael Foley married Bridget O’Brien. Bridget had two half brothers named Daniel Hehir and Michael Hehir. Dan was a sergeant in the constabulary in Ireland (borne out of communications in 1871). Mike joined the army and died in Lajore, India. There were five sisters. One married a Cahill. A son was a member of the Irish constabulary (Witness: Picture in possession of family.)
Bridget’s parents had twenty acres of land, without deed, but granted to them as long as grass grew and water ran, for one shilling per year.
Bridget is buried at Teutopolis; Michael at Champaign.