Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mill

Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills

Kenneth C. Breakey

Marilyn J. Breakey

- 2004 -

(c) 2004 - Kenneth C. Breakey & Marilyn J. Breakey


It gives me great pleasure as editor of The Breakey Collection to co-author the following manuscript with Ken Breakey, Portadown, Northern Ireland, for without his diligent and unceasing research assistance Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills would not have come to fruition.

                                                                                    Marilyn J. Breakey




Historical Perspective

The Memoirs

A Chronology

Comments for Consideration



Works Cited


We wish to acknowledge our appreciation to Dr. John C. Greene who, with a team of indexers, compiled The Belfast Newsletter Index.  Without the benefit of this index   Isaiah Breakey would have appeared no more than a skeleton within family records. It is our wish that more Irish newspaper articles may be indexed.

We are indebted to The Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Ireland, and most especially to Miss Rebecca Hayes, archivist, who so willingly assisted our research by providing pertinent data regarding the Freemason membership of Isaiah Breakey and family.

Our gratitude is extended to Alan McMillan, Librarian at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast, Northern Ireland for assembling the Breakey memorabilia that photographs might be taken of them.

Our appreciation, also, to Attorney Richard Hollembaek of Baldwinsville, NY for enabling us to understand the contents of the deed copies and reduce the legal jargon to everyday terms.

 And last, but not least, our deepest gratitude to Peadar Murnane, Ballybay, County Monaghan, Ireland for his unfailing interest and support during our many years of Breakey research.  And, in particular, for his willingness to share local Breakey history, his patience in answering endless questions, and his cooperation in providing a guided tour that photographs of Breakey sites might be taken -even tho’ late back for tea, - we say, “Thank You, Peadar.”




Any mention of Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills in current extant Breakey genealogical research has been predicated upon historical narratives taken from various journals, diaries, letters, memoirs, occasional registry deeds, as well as, and including the Isaiah Breakey artifacts  (Breakey, M. 1) housed in the Museum of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Church House, Fisherwick Place, Belfast.  However, in recent months documentation has been forthcoming that may provide a more complete picture of the man known as Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills.

Historical Perspective

Numerous Breakeys in the counties of Monaghan and Cavan have long been associated with the linen industry in Ireland. In fact, Thomas C. Breakey states in his memoirs,  “It can honestly be said our Huguenot ancestors brought the knowledge of manufacturing and bleaching linen to this country” (Breakey, E. 4).  Perhaps, in light of the previous statement, a bit of historical perspective is in order.

The cultivation of flax has a long history in the recorded annals of time.  Its myriad uses may best be summed up in the following:

"Bartholomew the mediaeval herbalist, refers to the making of linen from the soaking of Flax in water till it is dried and turned in the sun and then bound in ‘praty bundels’ and afterwards ‘knockyd, beten and brayd and carflyd, rodded and gnodded; ribbyd and heklyd, and at the last sponne’; of the bleaching, and finally of its many uses for making clothing, and for sails, and fish-nets, and thread and ropes, and strings (‘for bows’), and measuring lines, and sheets (‘to reste in’), and ‘sackes and bagges, and purses (‘to put and to kepe thynges in’) ...Of the making of tow ‘uneven and full of knobs’ used for stuffing into the cracks in ships, and ‘for bonds and byndynges and matches for candelles, for it is full drye and taketh sone fyre and brenneth.’ ‘And so,’ he concludes somewhat breathlessly, ‘none herbe is so needfull to so many dyurrse uses to mankynde as is the flexe" (Greenwood, 7-8).

Documented evidence for the early cultivation of flax in Ireland apparently is lacking, yet Hall states, “Flax growing has a long history in Ireland when linen was part of the national dress until about the Tudor period (Hall 1993)” (17). However, she notes, even though County Down “was one of the great linen producing areas of Ireland during the 18th century…evidence showed that flax had been part of the agricultural system in mid Down probably only since the 18th century and not earlier as had been surmised by some historians” (ibid).  Clarke concurs regarding absence of archaeological evidence yet reports,  “Ecclesiastical linen made from Irish yarn was in use in Winchester Cathedral in England by 1272, during the reign of Henry III.  This is the earliest reference to a trade in Irish linen” (Clarke,  8).

Although Irish linen made during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I may be considered as something approaching an Irish industry (Clarke,   8), Dr. W. H. Crawford has this to say:

"In the late seventeenth century, however, among the many thousands of families who emigrated from Britain to Ulster hoping to rent land cheaply, there were skilled weavers.  They knew that for very many years considerable quantities of yarn made by the Irish in Ulster had been sold in Manchester.  The best of these weavers were able to make cloth fit for sale in the London Market and when the British government in 1692 removed the tax on plain linens from Ireland many English dealers began a (sic) buy Ulster cloth because it was cheaper than the Dutch and German linens" (Best, III).

Perhaps the most significant impetus for advancing the Irish linen industry was the influence of Samuel-Louis Crommelin. An emigrant from France with a long-standing family history of linen manufactory, Crommelin, at the request of the British government, arrived at Lisburn in 1698 with other exiled Huguenots proficient in the production of linen.  Appointed ‘Overseer of the Royal Linen Manufacture in Ireland’, Crommelin published a treatise in 1705 in which he wrote:

 "The people here are extremely ignorant of the mysteries relating to the manufacture of linen…the looms in this kingdom for the making of all sorts of linen cloth are looms intended for the making of woolen cloth.  The reeds are uneven and too thick" (Best, III).

In addressing the economy and society in South Ulster during the 1700s, counties encompassing Fermanagh, Monaghan, Cavan and south Armagh, W. H. Crawford reports:

"More important, however, than the agricultural revolution in the economic development of Monaghan, Cavan and south Armagh, was the advance of the linen industry.  It is difficult to date with any certainty when the trade in linen yarn began to develop in South Ulster…In County Monaghan Edward Lucas of Castleshane established a colony in 1703 and William Cairnes later set up another in Monaghan town.  By 1739 it had spread over the whole county and cloth fairs were being held monthly in other market towns" (Crawford, 4).

Because a Monaghan/Cavan/Breakey/linen family connection exists in family tradition, the following reference taken from “The History of Bailieborough” would appear to be of interest:

"1750: Flax growing was introduced to East Cavan.  During this time a small linen mill was started on the banks of a local river.  A bleach green was laid out on Vale Meadow for the purpose of bleaching linen cloth.  The mill closed at the end of the century.  Many years later the mill was re-opened as a woolen mill and stayed in production until 1908" (Treacy, 1750).


For the time period in which Isaiah Breakey lived certain socio-economic demographics, as well as environmental influences, may be of interest.  And, because it is often difficult to appreciate ‘times gone by’ from the vantage point of nearly three hundred years, the following excerpts are included to provide a glimpse into the lives and times of an individual living in Ireland during the late 17th century, and  the 18th century.

* 1666 *

As for the introduction of the potato into Ireland, the ‘who’ and  ‘when’ cannot easily be answered with any certainty, yet potato cultivation is closely intertwined with the history of Ireland. And, as many a descendant of Irish ancestry can tell you, it was not uncommon for laborers, or the poor, to daily consume upwards of ten to fourteen pounds of potatoes prepared in a variety of ways. However, Regina Sexton, noted food historian and food writer, suggests that potatoes may have been utilized in a less familiar manner:

"Lady Ross had a recipe book (also known as a receipt book) dating back to 1666 and written by Dorothy Parsons.  Some of the recipes would have been gathered earlier than this.  One recipe treats potatoes very differently almost as though they were a fruit rather than a vegetable. ‘You make a pie and then you slice the potatoes in the pastry and then you fill it with rosewater and currents and orange peel and two spoonfuls of cinnamon and raisins.  At the end you close the pie and then pour in a cordial, a sweet drink made with white wine and egg yolks and sugar so it becomes something very different to the usual potato pie’ "(Sexton, 4).

* 1676 *

A little known episode not often found in recorded American history is that of The Irish Donation of 1676.  The recipients of this largesse were the American colonists who suffered dire hardships after the war with the Indians. In one particular instance Samuel Edson of Bridgewater, Massachusetts was “appointed, along with Elder Bratt and Deacon Wells, to distribute The Irish Donation of £7-00-00 to those families distressed by the Indian Wars” (Devlin, 1.4).  In addition, John Richmond, as a member of the Town Council in Taunton, Massachusetts “received, for the City of Taunton, money known as ‘The Irish Donation’ to help ease the plight of the citizens of Taunton as a result of the war with the Indians” (Walton, 6).


But perhaps the report to most arrest our attention is that recorded in “The Irish Donation – 1676” by Michael J. O’Brien: "In these times of distress and misery the people of Ireland promptly came to the relief of the sufferers in New England, which event is known in history as ‘The Irish Donation’.  No other country but Ireland is recorded as having come to the rescue of the famished Colonists…The ship KATHERINE, of Dublin, brought the relief.  It was directed that it be distributed ‘among the poor distressed by the later war with the Indians,’ and it was further directed that there was to be no distinctions as to the religious belief; all were to share according to their needs" (114-115).

* The Turn of the Century *

Catholics continued to be persecuted for their religious beliefs during this time period and continued to  live under numerous restrictions imposed by the  ‘Laws in Ireland for the Suppression of Popery,’ also known as the ‘Penal Laws,’ yet when additional  penal statutes  were  passed by the Protestant Parliament of Ireland  early in the 18th century,  Ulster Presbyterians were thought to be the target (Radford, 7). 


Under the reign of Queen Anne, the following statutes assist in defining a ‘Protestant’ (Schaffer):

2 Ann c.6 (1703)

An Act to prevent the further Growth of Popery

Sec. 15.  No person shall benefit from this act as a protestant unless he shall conform to the Church of Ireland as by law established, and subscribe to the declaration against transubstantiation and the oath of abjuration.

8 Ann c.2 (1709)

An Act for explaining…an Act to prevent the further Growth of Popery

Sec. 11.  No persons who have turned from the popish to the protestant religion shall be deemed to be protestant or take benefit thereby unless such persons shall within 6 months of declaring themselves protestant, receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper according to the usage of the Church of Ireland, and make the declaration against transubstantiation, and shall take the oath of abjuration, and shall file in the high court of chancery, certificates thereof.

Under the reign of King George I, in reference to marriages (Schaffer):

12 Geo. I c.3 (1725)

An Act to prevent Marriages by degraded Clergymen and Popish Priests, …

Sec. 1.  Any popish priest or person pretending to be a clergyman who shall celebrate marriage between two protestants, or a protestant and a papist, shall be guilty of felony and suffer death.

12 Geo. I c.3 (1725)

An Act to prevent Marriages by degraded Clergymen and Popish Priests,…

Sec. 2-3. And any two justices of the peace may summon any person suspected of having been married by a popish priest or to have been present at such a marriage to appear and be examined under oath where and by what persons, and with what ceremonies such marriage was celebrated, and what religion the persons so married professed, and who was present at the marriage.  Failure to respond shall be punishable by three years in the common gaol, unless they submit to be examined sooner and enter into a recognizance to appear at the next assizes to prosecute such persons as shall appear by the examination to have offended contrary to this act.


It is reported that “in the reign of William III the only serious Presbyterian complaint was that their marriages were not legal and dissenters had to be wed in Church of Ireland churches” (BBC), yet the previously listed statutes were passed after the reign of King William III.   Radford reports “dissenter marriages were illegal until the 1730s” (7).[1]


Inasmuch as ninety-one Acts of Parliament under the reigns of King William III, Queen Anne, and King George I, II, and III, encompassing the years 1701 – 1794, have been identified as ‘legislation relevant to roads’ (Webb & Webb), perhaps it is appropriate at this point to address the issue of road construction and maintenance. Briefly, and at best, it might be described as minimal in some regions.


Whereas today, by law, we pay taxes for such, in the first half of the 18th century road construction and maintenance continued to be carried out by statute law.  Under this system six days’ of labour were required each year from “farmers and their under-tenants” (Crawford, 10).  Crawford writes, “At about the same time the agent for the Barrett-Lennard estate was promoting the construction of roads in Monaghan.  In July 1741 he reported considerable progress on the road from Clones to Cumber bridge but informed his master that his friends were not enthusiastic about making a road from Clones to Monaghan because it would take twelve to fifteen years to complete and so be ‘a great oppression’ on the country” (ibid.). Such statute labor was abolished in 1765 (Ernle, 16).

* 1714-1741 *

The Great Famine was not the only famine in Irish history, for such was seen during the years 1726-29 due to bad harvests, and 1741 is known for a terrible reoccurrence (Cruithni, 2).  Murnane and Murnane report in At the Ford of the Birches: “…the first half of the 18th century was marked by the occurrence of unusually heavy storms, not unlike the El Nino phenomenon of recent times. (1741 was called Blian an Air, ‘the year of misery’.)  There had been severe drought in almost every year between 1714 and 1718.  Poor harvests forced up the price of foodstuffs to the highest level in living memory and a great frost in 1739-41 was followed by famine and disease” (320, reprinted with permission).

* 1725 *

The Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Ireland was constituted in 1725.

* Mid-18th Century *

“In the mid 18th century around two thirds of the population still used Irish as their everyday language.  However, by the close of that century, the number had declined to just over half" (Taigh Arainn, 6)

* 1750 *

“By 1750, the potato had been acclimatized to the Irish climate and spread into Connaught (where the lazy-bed was invented) and Leninster, where it became the main food for the farm labourers” (Abbott, Prelude: 2).  A lazy-bed is a garden that is conducive to a high yield of crops with the minimum of maintenance (Ecology Action Pubs.).

* The Close of the 18th Century *

A formal census for Ireland was not undertaken until 1821, and a majority of those returns were destroyed in 1922.  However, based on census substitutes, the population ranged from three million in 1700 to four million at the close of the century (Abbot, Prelude 4).

* From the 20th Century - Reflections on the Past *

[Author’s note:  I have taken the liberty as silent editor to compensate for Mr. Montgomery’s faulty typewriter for which he apologized many times during our years of correspondence ~ MB.]  In speaking of nearby Crieve and Carnaveagh:

Firstly I think you have to picture what the terrain must have looked [like] at the time of confiscations.

Firstly there were no roads, no permanent fencing [and] no permanent buildings except in the immediate [vicinity] of the towns.  In fact so far as one judge, an undeveloped no-man’s land.

The only noticeable feature being on [a] high hill, the remains of what was called a fort, the most primitive kind of earth work enclosing a space of from 80 yards upward and so arranged that fire or other methods of sending warning of any kind of invasion, and [to] allow the inhabitants to collect with their livestock into the shelter of the forts.

            Looking at the viable country could show really nothing so you were left with only deeds and similar papers drawn by lawyers, and it is well known how skilled they are in obscuring any meaning they might ever had (Arthur H. Montgomery, personal communication, 7 March 1983).

The Memoirs

Over the years Breakey family members looking for their ancestry have turned to whatever contacts that might come to hand: some looked in telephone books for the surname ‘Breakey’, or variations thereof; others have spent hours searching on microfilm; and others wrote letters sharing personal family history always hoping to find a common ancestor. But in the main, the memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey have provided the most clues from which the many family lineage charts have been prepared.

To date there is no current documentation that the actual memoirs have recently been   seen by the new generation of Breakey researchers, they having only at hand the typewritten copies transcribed during World War II, or the more recent edited version of Book I completed by Dr. Edward P. Breakey in 1963.  However, on 17 April 2003, after previously asking permission to view and photograph the memoirs, the linen seal of Isaiah Breakey, and the belt with buckle bearing the family crest, author Ken Breakey visited the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast and, with their kind permission, was able to photograph the original journals. Copies of the photographs, in addition to a verbal description of each, can be found in Appendices A and B.[2]

Inasmuch as most readers do not have access to the memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey, and because much of the new documentation that will be presented has a bearing on what has been previously recorded in the memoirs, the following extracts represent all, and inclusive, references to Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills.

From Book I of the memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey as edited by Dr. Edward P. Breakey-

Page 4:  My great grandfather had three sons.  William lived here.  He built the house now occupied by Thomas Henry at the Church for his son Isaiah and the year after, Derry Big House (as it was called) for his son Obadiah.  Said house is now occupied by John McCreery.  Those two men bleached the linen that was manufactured near here.  The flat lands of Greenvale reaching up to near Veldon’s cross were covered with linen.  All the Greenvale Mills were built by Isaiah Breakey.  It can honestly be said our Huguenot ancestors brought the knowledge of manufacturing and bleaching linen to this country. 

Page 11:  Father’s Uncle, Isaiah Breakey of Millmore House (as it is now called), had 4 sons.  John came first…George came next…Next to George Breakey came Andy…Obadiah died when a boy of 16.

Page 12: It was Captain Johnstone who gave the house its present name.  Isaiah Breakey called it Sallyvale, others Milford, and people this side Greenvale.

Page 35:  Father’s aunt, Mrs. Isaiah Breakey, was a very pretentious woman, used a Sedan chair coming to Derryvalley of a Sunday, would have 8 men out of the work to carry her from Millmore House, where Thomas Henry now lives in Aghnamullen.  She and her men would dine here on her way back.  One of the shafts of her Sedan is in my kitchen.  Her maiden name was Gibson of Drumlun House now in possession of John Primrose.

From Book II of the memoirs of Thomas C. Breakey as transcribed during World War II-

Pages 56-57:  I was asked lately how the Breakeys lost Greenvale bleach greens and all.  Colonel Kerr when a minor was reared in my fathers uncles house Isiah [sic] Breakey called in Captain Johnstones time Mealmore House and built by my Grandfather Billy Ban Breakey, ban is the contractions of bonny and nick names was the order of the day in those days.  When Colonel Kerr of the Yeomen come of age he so disliked the Breakeys who reared him he turned the water off the Greenvale bleach mills and Isaih [sic] Breakey had to take all his webs to Killishandra & get Thomas Berry to finish them Isaih [sic] Breakey entered an action against Kerr who was afterwards Colonel & lived in Mountain Lodge.  The action went against Kerr and he had £300 to pay & all costs for diverting the water prior to possession.  This is the point to be at.  Some time after the law about the water, the lease fell with the option of Ker and Isaih [sic] renewing it & paying the fines jointly.  Before Kerr would renew the lease of Greenvale and a portion of Mealmore with Isaih [sic] Breakey he forfeited all to the loss of Isaih [sic] Breakey & himself forever and you will see in this book he died in poverty & had a very strange funeral as ever come to Aughnamullan (sic).

To date such has been our knowledge of Isaiah Breakey; however, recent documentation has been compiled that provides a more personal glimpse of the linen draper of County Monaghan. Yet this has not been the easy task we authors anticipated for our research indicates the possibility that more than one Isaiah Breakey was living in County Monaghan during the same time period.


A Chronology


The following data will be presented in the format of a chronology, and each presentation will be cited as to source.  Every reference to an Isaiah Breakey that came to our attention for the time period under investigation will be included.  Unless otherwise noted, the briefest of abbreviated references will be provided in order to identify an Isaiah Breakey with his place of residence.[3]  Each entry will be preceded by a date to facilitate the necessary cross- referencing that will be utilized in the following section, ‘Comments for Consideration.’ For those reference entries relating to The Belfast News-Letter the transcription appears as it is written in the original publication.[4]  And, further, for a better understanding of the various deeds and documents that follow, a rudimentary map is provided.  Data for the map illustration were taken from:

1.      Ordnance Survey of Ireland – Sheet 69. Surveyed in 1834-36 & published by Colonel Sir H. James, F.R.S., M.R.I.A., RE.,  Director General. Revised in 1900 & published by Colonel Duncan A. Johnston, R.E.,  Director General, 1902.  Published at the Ordnance Survey Office.

2.      Index to the Townland Survey of the County of Monaghan.  The Six Inch Engraving of the Townland Survey Engraved in the Ordnance Survey Office, Phoenix Park under the direction of Lieutenant Larcom, R.E., in 1836 by Sergeant West of the Royal Sappers and Miners; the ornament by George Muir; the writing by J. Aikerman (?) & C. Darling. Transferred by photographic process from copper to zinc (1970). © Government of Ireland, 1970.

3.      County Monaghan – Six Inch Sheets XI, XII, XIII, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXVI -             Townland Index. Published by the Director at the Ordnance Survey Office, Dublin.  Copyright reserved – no date.

4.      Map survey, property of Robert Montgomery, surveyed by Josh Fleming in 1796, indicates Millford is in the townland of Latton, Co. Monaghan.

5.      The areas of the Townlands in statue acres are taken from:  Census of Ireland - General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes, and Baronies of Ireland originally published in Dublin, 1861.

In order to clarify locations on the following map, certain observations from the original sources, as well as solicited information,  are noted:

  1. Utilizing two of the above sources, the flax mill and Sallyville appear to be at the same location on the west side of the stream leading from Lake Avaghon.
  2. The townland of Latton borders the north shore of Lake Avaghon; the westerly border of Latton, separated by the previously mentioned stream, borders the eastern portion of Lisnagalliagh; the northern most neck of the townland of Latton borders the southern most tip of the townland of Derry.
  3. On the 1796 survey map, although Millford in the townland of Latton is shown east of the stream, a parcel of land, # 17 & A, encompassing a bit over five acres, west of the stream and with frontage on the stream, and in the townland of Lisnagalliagh, is shown to be in the possession of Isaiah Breakey per the reference attachment to the survey map. [The authors do not have a reference map to the exact location of Millford within the townland of Latton.  It is difficult to ascertain where Millford is located in reference to the flax mill and Sallyville].  Peadar Murnane of Ballybay explains, “Millford on the map I sent you would appear to be in the townland of Latton but the stream which is the townland boundary conveyed the water from Lough Avaghon to run the mill at Milford. It [the mill at Millford]  is definitely in the townland of Lisnagalliagh” (personal correspondence to author, 19 May 2003). Murnane further reports, “Yes Sallyville is in Lisnagalliagh where the Breakeys lived.  When the Irwin family lived there, it was known as Greenvale (personal correspondence to author, 19 May 2003); also, “I have been speaking to the gentleman who bought the farm in Lisnagalliagh and he has confirmed that Greenvale was the name of the house when Irwins lived there.  In fact, he states that it is named so on the 1908 map. He also told me there were two mills in Lisnagalliagh but didn’t know the original owners” (personal correspondence to author, 21 May 2003).
  4. When queried about the townland location of Millmore House, Peadar Murnane replied, “It is difficult to say where Millmore House is situated.  I would reckon it is ‘Derry’ although [the townland of] ‘Moylemore’ is very close. I would go for ‘Derry’ (personal correspondence to author, 23 May 2003).

Map Illustration

1.  Aghnamullen crossroads is approximately 3 miles SW of Ballybay.

2.  The Flax Mill, as well as Sallyville, is located approximately .75 mile SW of the crossroads of Aghnamullen.

3.  The location of Veldon’s Cross-  (Peadar Murnane to author, 16 May 2003) is approximately 1.5 miles SW of the Aghnamullen crossroads.

With the necessary  background data in place, we  commence the actual chronology.

* 1758 *

From surviving issues of The Belfast Newsletter, “an Irish newspaper that began publication in Belfast in 1737 and continues in business until this day” (Greene 1), the Breakey surname first appears in print in 1758.  The Linen Board, in a lengthy report, lists the names of those individuals who complied with a requirement to return an impression of their linen seals and securities, urging other purchasers of linen to utilize caution in dealing with individuals whose names are not represented.  In all, the names of 154 individuals are listed from diverse counties; the names of 28 individuals are listed from County Monaghan, two of whom are Isaiah Breakey and James Breakey.

For the following entry, the document ID number pursuant to The Belfast Newsletter Index (Greene) is: 21675.  [For an abstract of the article, including the names of all involved, see “The Belfast Newsletter Index Database Search Page” (Greene) at and submit the document ID number in the appropriate window of the search database]. The date of issue for the following entry is 7 July 1758; page number reference is 4.  A transcript of the microfilm version of the original document housed at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast is presented. [Authors’ note: the above procedure will apply to all following references from The Belfast Newsletter  Index.]



In purfuance of an advertifement of the 28th of April laft, requiring all lappers of linen cloath to return to Arthur Newburgh, Efq, an impreffion of their feals with their fecurities, in three weeks from the date thereof (exprefly fetting forth that thofe who neglected or refufed complying therewith, fhould be difcharged; agreeable to the faid advertifement, the following herein named lappers have returned their fecurities, and all merchants, exporters, and others dealers in linen, are hereby defired to be cautious in buying linens, from lappers whofe names are not contained in the here inferted lift of lappers.

[List of omitted names, by county, follows]

And whereas, it hath hitherto been found difficult to punifh lappers and their fecurities, where frauds have been committed, and that fuch frauds have increafed of late years to the difcredit and great prejudice of the Linen Manufacture of this kingdom, and there being an act of parliament paffed laft feffion, intitled an act to prevent frauds in lappers and others, and to prevent abufes in manufacturing of kelp, and to prevent unlawful combinations in weavers and others, it is enacted.

That if any merchant or dealer in linens fhall fuftain any lofs or damage by means of any fraud in the lapping of linen, and by damages concealed in the lapping thereof, or by fhort meafure concealed in length or breadth, fuch merchant or dealer may fue either the lapper of fuch linen, or the fecurity or fecurities which fuch lapper gave, on taking out his feals, or either of them, and may recover from fuch lapper or his fecurities, double the lofs or damage which he fhall fo fuftain; the fame to be recovered, if under twenty pounds, by civil bill at the affizes in the county where fuch lapper or his fecurity refides, and if the fum exceeds twenty pounds, the fame fhall be recovered in  any of his majefty’s courts of records in Dublin.

Provided, That if the truftees of the linen manufacture fhall have fined fuch lappers fo offending, and recovered the fine or penalty impofed by virtue of the law now in being for that purpofe before fuch fuit commenced; That in fuch café fuch lapper or his fecurity fhall not be fined for fuch damage as aforefaid.  And that the certificate of the clerk of the truftees under his hand and feal (which certificate the faid clerk fhall be obliged to give to any fuch merchant or dealer) fhall be evidence againft the fecurity or fecurities of any lapper or lappers.

N. B.  This act takes place from October 11th, 1757, being the 1ft day of this laft feffion of parliament.

The faid truftees think it proper to publifh fo much of the faid act in order to facilitate the execution thereof by perfons aggrieved by fraudulent lappers, of which all dealers are cautioned and required to take notice.

            Dublin-Caftle,                                      Signed by order,

            June 9th, 1758                                              ARTHUR NEWBURGH

* 18 July 1764 *

 A memorial of a deed bearing the date 18 July 1764 and registered 30 June 1767 between Rev. Rob’t Smith of Co. Down and Wm Breakey, Junr of Lisgillan for “that part of Carrickneveagh remaining of the lower half Tate of Carrickneveagh,…lying and being in the Estate of Ballibea in the County of Monaghan.”  Witnessed by Wm. Daly of Ballybay, Andrew Wilson of Derinalubnagh & Isaiah Breakey of Derry, merchant.  Memorial witnessed by said Isaiah Breakey and David Williamson of Lisgillan. Source: Registry of Deeds, Dublin (ROD): book 250; page 618; reference number 166160.

* 10 March 1767 *

A memorial of a deed poll bearing the date 10 March 1767 and registered 6 May 1774 between Isiah [sic] Breakey of Aghnamullen   and William Ker [sic] of Newcastle in the County of Meath whereby the said William Ker [sic] did grant to Isaiah Breakey for the consideration therein mentioned  “part and parcel of the land of Latton then in his possession together with the corn mill therein with the dams and watercourses visually belonging to the same situate lying and being in the parish of Aghnamullen and County of Monaghan.”  [The original deed was executed in the presence of John McGeough of Le?ey, farmer, and William Breakey of Drumskelt, linen draper].  The  memorial was signed by said Isaiah Breakey (see Appendix E)[5]; memorial signed and sealed in the presence of William Breakey of Drumskelt and William Beck.  [ROD 305 55 200458].

*1769 *

As noted in numerous sources, the theft from bleach-greens was not an infrequent occurrence. Various deterrents included “watch houses overlooking the greens” (Murnane & Murnane 256), as well as “armed guards… dogs ‘of a particular breed…little less formidable than tigers’…the imposition of the death penalty in 1763” (Black 10 – 12).

The name of Isaiah Breakey next appears in the 28 November 1769 issue of The Belfast Newsletter with reference to just such a crime: page reference 3, document ID number 118390.


WHEREAS on the Night of the fourth inftant, fome Perfon or Perfons did felonioufly take out of the Bleach-Green of William Brunker of Creeve in the County of Monaghan, eight Pieces of yard-wide Linens, the Property of faid William Brunker, marked on the one End W. B. and the Numbers on the other End, almoft white, and ready for rubbing.  Now we the under named Perfons, having a juft Abhorrence of fuch Practices, do promife to pay the following Sums annexed to our Names, to any Perfon or Perfons that fhall within the space of three Calendar Months from the Date thereof profecute to Conviction any Perfon or Perfons concerned in the above Robbery; and if any of the Perfons concerned as aforefaid, will in the Time above fpecified, difcover and profecute to Conviction any of his of their Accomplices concerned in faid Robbery, he fhall not only be intitled to the following Rewards, but all Means fhall be taken to obtain his Pardon. Given under our Hands this 8th Day of November 1769.

                                                            l.            s.            d.

Brabazon Brunker                                5            13            9

Robert Forfter                                      5            13            9

Thomas Brunker                                  11            7            6

John Brunker                                        5            13            9

Ralph Brunker                                       5            13            9

William Brunker                                    11            7            6

Mungo Noble                                        5            13           9

Ifaiah Breakey                                       5            13           9

James Hamilton, Efq;                              3            8            3

Francis Johnfton                                     5            13          9

Archibald Dobbin                                   1            2            9

William Cranfton                                    1            2            9

Joseph Nelfon                                        1            2            9

David Williamfon                                    1            2            9

James Jackfon                                        3            8            3

John Johnfton                                         1            2            9

Henry Young                                          1            2            9

* 1770 *

This is an approximate birth date for Isaiah Breakey, Lismagonway, Co. Monaghan, father of Rev. Andrew Breakey who served in Keady, 1819-1831, and later in Killyleagh, 1831-1882 (David McElroy to M. Breakey, personal communication, 2 Feb 1980).  The matriculation albums for the University of Glasgow 1728-1858 state:  “No. 8748 – Andreas Breakey, Filius natu Maximus Isaiae Artificis in parochial de Aughabog in comitate de Monaghan in Hyb. M.A. 1816 (ibid).

In speaking of his brother’s death, Thomas C. Breakey reports in his memoirs: “…one of the chief mourners was Rev’d Andrew Breakey, a blood relation.  He was born and reared in Lismagonway in the house now occupied by Mr. Powell beside the Monaghan road Station” (E. Breakey, 6).  It is further noted that Rev. Andrew Breakey was “the eldest son of Isaiah Breakey, a merchant of Rockcorry” (Nesbitt, 106).  As an aside, Ms. Hayes reported that a William Breakey is recorded on 4 November 1797 in Masonic Lodge 673 of Rockcorry; in the same Lodge Andrew Breakey is recorded on 14 April 1806 (personal communication to author, 2 April 2003).

* 12 April 1774 *

12 April 1774; registered 20 January 1775.  Lackey to Breakey.  Isaiah Breakey of Milford, merchant, [ROD 307 59 202993].

* 19 April 1774 *

19 April 1774; registered 6 May 1774; [ROD 305 55 200457/8]. Boyd to Breakey. Isaiah Breakey of Derryard; Parish of Aghnamullen.  Witness Wm Breakey of Drumskelt, linen draper. [When queried as to the location of Derryard, Peadar Murnane replied:

 “I think this should be Derry.  There is no townland in Co. Monaghan by the name Derryard” (personal communication to author, 29 May 2003].

* 9 January 1778 *

9 January 1778; registered 13 July 1778.  Dawson. William Breakey of Drumskelt, linen draper.  Witness Isaiah Breakey of Millford, linen draper, [ROD 321 346 216628].

* 8 February 1780 *

8 February 1780. A Memorial of an Indented Deed between John Ker of Thornhill, Co. Monaghan, and John Breaky (sic) & William Breaky (sic), sons of Isaiah Breaky (sic), Millford, ‘Linnen’ Draper, for all that part and parcel of the town and lands of Lisnagalliagh in County Monaghan containing 33 acres for the natural life and lives of them and George Breaky (sic), fifth son, age six, of Isaiah Breaky (sic), [ROD 336  614  226735].

* 18 May 1782 *

18 May 1782; registered 31 May 1782. Breakey to Humphrey Thomson & another;  Isaiah  Breakey of Milford –Humphrey Thompson & William Breakey of Drumskelt.  Derry & Millmore, [ROD 347 241 232067].

* 18 May 1782 *

18 May 1782; registered 31 May 1782.  Breakey to Thompson: John Breakey of Milford, linen draper; William Breakey, Milford, linen draper.  Lisnagalliagh. [ROD 347 241 232068]

* 6 – 9 Aug. 1782 *

Belfast Newsletter

Document ID number: 206783

Date of Issue: 6 – 9 Aug. 1782

Page reference: 3

[Authors’ note:  for those family members familiar with the linen seal impression of Isaiah Breakey, this article may be of particular interest.  And, once again, due to the length of the newspaper article only that portion of the article pertinent to Isaiah Breakey and John Breakey, County Monaghan, was copied and herein transcribed.  Should the reader wish to view the names of the other 400+ participants, see the URL address for “The Belfast Newsletter Index Database Search Page” (Greene) and submit the document ID number in the appropriate search window].


At a general meeting of the Linen Drapers of the North of Ireland held at Armagh the 5th day of Auguft, 1782, perfuant to publick notice, HENRY BELL in the Chair; The following refolutions were unanimoufly agreed to:

1ft Refolve.  That we are ever ready and willing to obey the laws of our country in all cafes, where it is in our power, confiftent with good confcience and the fafety of our property.

2d. That it is with the greateft reluctance we declare we cannot, unlefs we fubject ourfelves to the rifk of perjury, take the oaths inferted in an Act of Parliament paffed this feffion, that are made conditions without which we are prevented from obtaining feals.

3d. That we will therefore never take out feals under that Act; and as we cannot in thefe circumftances carry on our trade without expofing ourfelves to grievous and weighty penalties, we are neceffitated and determine, to ceafe from this day to buy, or fuffer to be bought for us, any more brown linens, until we obtain fome affurance, upon which we can rely, that will enable us to reaffume our faid trade without the hazard of perjury or confifcation.

4th. That we are willing to give every reafonable fecurity upon our property, by bond without warrant as heretofore, for the faithful and confcientious difcharge of our duties as feal-mafters, and for the redrefs of any miftake or fraud we may commit.

5th. That whoever acts contrary to the general fenfe of the trade, ought never to be confidered as one of our body, or a friend to the linen manufacture of Ireland; nor will we on any pretence whatfoever, bleach any linens for fuch perfons who will not ftrictly and uniformly adhere to this our general determination.

                                                                                    HENRY BELL, Chairman

…. County of Monaghan,

George Crawford

John Jackfon

John Wray

John Fowler

William Fowler

Jofeph Nelfon

Samuel Cunningham

Ifaiah Breakey

John Breakey

Samuel Nelfon

* 6 – 10 December 1782 *

Document ID number: apparently not indexed in The Belfast Newsletter Index. This entry was accidentally happened upon in Belfast at the Linen Hall Library while retrieving other articles from the microfilm archives for photocopying.  A possible explanation for this may be the lack of clarity in Isaiah Breakey’s name in the original newspaper.

Date of issue: 6 – 10 Dec. 1782


At a Meeting of the Linen Drapers of the North of Ireland, convened by publick notice at Armagh 2d of December, 1782.  JACOB TURNER, Efq; in the Chair.

Refolved, That the under named perfons be appointed a committee (any feven to be a quorum) to meet to-morrow morning at nine o’clock, for the following purpofes, viz.

Firft, To return proper acknowledgments to fuch members of the Linen Board, &c. as exerted themfelves in obtaining a temporary relief to the trade and manufacture, in its later perilous fituation, by their timely interpofition.

Secondly, To revife the linen laws, and diftinguifh between the ufeful and improper parts of faid laws as they now ftand.

Thirdly, To fix upon the moft eligible mode of obtaining redrefs, in thofe parts which may appear grievous and unneceffary.

Fourthly, To attend the Linen Board and Parliament, to explain and folicit fuch repeal or amendments as may be agreed upon.

Fifthly, To draw up a Memorial to be prefented to the Linen Board, praying their interference with government to have Ireland put on a footing with any other country in regard to the linen trade with Spain in the treaty for peace, and make report thereof to the next meeting of the trade, (viz.)

Antrim, John Barclay and Thomas Sinclaire

Armagh, The Chairman and Robert Jackfon

Down, William Ogle and Robert Bradfhaw

Louth, Benj. Thompfon and Matt. H. Taylor

Monaghan, John Jackfon and Ifiah B_eaky

Tyrone, Thos. Greer and Thos. Jackfon to revife the linen laws

            John Willcock and Charles Duffin to attend parliament

Refolved, That if any of the above perfons cannot (missing portions) purchafed any linens that may be fealed with fuch feals after the firft day of February next.

Refolved, With one diffenting voice, that it appears to us that a general market for the fale of while linens in the North of Ireland, would be highly advantageous to the trade.

Refolved, With two diffenting voices, That Newry appears to us the moft eligible situation for the eftablifhment thereof.

Refolved, That James Maxwell, William Bleakly, James McClelland, James Clibborn, James Davis, Thos. Trouten, Geo. Crawford, Wm Forfter, John Willcock, and Edward Shaw be, and hereby are appointed a committee (any feven to be a quorum) to digeft a proper plan for carrying the fame into execution, and bring to our next meeting.

Refolved, That the thanks of this meeting be prefented by out Chairman to William Needham, Efq; for his gift of land, rent free for ever, and a generous fubfcription to carrying this plan into execution.

Refolved, That thefe refolutions be publifhed in the Belfast News-Letter and Newry Journal.


The Chairman having left the Chair, and Mr. Adam Cuppage having taken it:

Refolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to Jacob Turner, Efq; for his very proper and impartial conduct in the chair.

Refolved, That this meeting do adjourn to Monday the 6th day of January, 1783, at this place, at 12 o’clock, to receive the reports of the committees, and to adjuft fuch other matters as may be laid before them.

                                                                                    ADAM CUPPAGE

The Committee appointed having met agreed to the following Addrefs:

To the Right Hon. And Hon. Truftees of the Linen Board (missing portion) who exerted themfelves in granting (rest of article is missing).

* 1783 *

The following article is of interest inasmuch as Isaiah Breakey appears to be interested in what we might say today is a ‘progressive approach to business.’ For as Murnane and Murnane report, before water power the bleaching of linen was a disgusting procedure.  The peasant weaver had to do his own and the process was lengthy:

            "The process took 6 months to complete – April to September – that part of the season when labour was less required on the farm.  It required continuous attention and was, from beginning to end, primitive and disgusting to the utmost degree.  The cloth was given at least 12 boilings in a veritable witches’ brew of cow’s urine, solutions of cow dung, buttermilk, potash, bran, salt and other ingredients depending on the weaver’s whims.  Between each boiling, the contaminated bleaching solution was rinsed out in the nearest dam or stream.  The cloth was then spread on grass to dry after which it was again watered and dried.  The boiling process was then repeated. At the end of all the boilings, the cloth was beetled by hammering on a flat stone with a wooden mallet or beetle…The cloth was generally sold in the unbleached condition and it was left to the purchaser to arrange the bleaching"  (Murnane & Murnane, 257, reprinted with permission).


Belfast Newsletter

Document ID number: 188413

Date of issue: 14 – 17 Jan. 1783

Page reference: 3

Belfast Newsletter

Document ID number: 170541

Date of issue: 24 – 28 Jan. 1783

Page reference: 1

Photocopies of both news articles were made from the microfilm archives, and the second article, identical to the first, appeared to be a repeat in the 24 – 28 Jan. 1783 issue.


At a Meeting of the Linen Drapers of the North of Ireland, at Armagh, 6th of January, 1783, purfuant to adjournment.

                                                                        JACOB TURNER, Efq; in the Chair.

The Committee appointed by the laft meeting to revife the linen laws, &c. having brought in a report in writing, diftinguifhing the amendments which they think neceffary

Refolved, That 500 copies thereof be printed and diftributed to the trade for their confideration; and it is requefted that whoever may think any further alterations requifite will communicate the fame to the Committee, who are authorifed to meet at fuch time and places, as they may think proper, to execute that important bufinefs, (three to be a quorum) and give publick notice of every fuch meeting.

Refolved, That when the Committee have propofed heads for forming a bill, adequate to the (illegible) trade, they requeft

The Right Hon. William Brownlow,

Right Hon. John Forfter, and

Sir Richard Johnfton, Bart.

To introduce the fame into the Houfe of Commons, and fupport it therein; and that they alfo requeft

His Grace the Duke of Leinfter,

The Right Hon. The Early of Hilliborough,

Right Hon. The Earl of Moira, and

Right Hon. The Earl of Charlemont

To patronize it in the Houfe of Lords if it fhould be brought in.

Refolved, That we apprehend the time fixed by laft meeting to difcontinue the ufe of the old brown feals is too short, it appearing that a fufficient number of new ones are not as yet procured: We therefore think it neceffary to continue them one month longer than was then agreed on; and the above Committee is impowered to extend the time to two months if it fhould appear requifite to them and give publick notice thereof.

The Committee appointed to digeft a Plan for carrying into execution the eftablifhing a market for the fale of white Linens in the town of Newry, brought in a report of their proceedings, and requefting that the following perfons be added to the prefent Committee, their number being found infufficient, they are hereby appointed, viz.

Antrim.            Jofeph Grub, Alexander Stewart

Armagh.           Samuel Holmes, James Chrifty, junr.

Cavan.             Jofeph Benifon, Geo. Neale

Derry.              James Boyle, Robt. Campbell, Kennedy Henderfon

Donegall.            Andrew Sayers, Jofeph Barclay

Down.              Jofeph Phelps, Achefon Thompfon

 Fermanagh.      John Armftrong, John Burnfide

Louth.              Mathew B. Taylor, Benjamin Thompfon

Monaghan.      John Jackfon, Ifaiah Breakey

Tyrone.            Thomas Greer, Charles Duffin

Newry.             William Glenny, Andrew Thompfon, and James Pollock

Refolved, That no perfon is competent to be one of the above Committee who will not be a fubfcriber to faid Hall.

Refolved, That it appearing to us that Sir Richard Johnfton, Bart. Having exerted himfelf in a very particular manner in our behalf, be prefented with an Addrefs expreffive of our gratitude, accompanied with a fervice of plate; and it is hoped that every perfon not infenfible of obligations will liberally fubfcribe towards a fum for providing the fame; and the following perfons are hereby appointed a Committee to carry the above into execution, viz. Jacob Handcock [sic] , junr. Jofeph Grub, David Bleakly, junr. James Chrifty, junr. Achefon Thompfon, James Clibborn, James Davis, Matthew B. Taylor, John Jackfon, George Crawford, Thomas Greer, and Charles Duffin.

Mr. Dunlap Adams having addreffed this meeting refpecting his Plan for a faving in the ufe of afhes, and reform in the prefent mode of bleaching, and defiring that a number of perfons might attend the procefs to receive demonftration of the utility thereof:

Refolved, That the following perfons be and hereby are appointed a Committee for that purpofe, viz. Henry Betty, John Barclay, Sam Holmes, David Bleakly, Kennedy Henderfon, Andrew Crawford, James McClelland, James Clibborn, Benjamin Thompfon, Matthew B. Taylor, Ifaiah Brekey, John Jackfon, Thomas Greer, and Charles Duffin who are requefted to inform the trade if it appears fatisfactory to them and to affift in procuring fubfcription for him.            JACOB TURNER    

The Chairman having left the chair, and Mr. Adam Cuppage taken it:

Refolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to Jacob Turner, Efq; for his proper and polite conduct this day in the chair.  ADAM CUPPAGE

Mr. Turner having reaffumed the Chair:

Refolved, That this meeting do adjourn to this place forty days previous to the next meeting of Parliament.  JACOB TURNER

* 25 February 1785 *

25 February 1785; registered 26 August 1785. Isaiah Breakey of Milford & John Breakey of Sallyville, Lisnagalliagh, his son to John Rogers and Mary Rogers, his daughter, Newbliss, County Cavan.  Witnessed Andrew Breakey, Lismagonway, Parish of Aghabog.  Deed reference: 373 175 248272.  Although the authors do not have this particular deed, we feel this may represent an anticipated marriage settlement whereby the groom and his father made a settlement on the future bride (Ffolliott, 150).  For further details see 7 August 1802 in this chronology.

* 19 February 1788 *

Although a Manuscript held in Trinity College Dublin references working Lodges in Ireland in 1688, the first reference to the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland is in the Dublin Weekly Journal of June 1725.   On 6 December 1749 the earliest Lodge in County Monaghan was founded at Sporthall, residence of the Corry family of Rockcorry. The Lodge, numbered 201, “removed to Cootehill, Co. Cavan between 1758 and 1771; to Rockcorry about 1760; it was erased in 1804; revived on 1st March 1810; and cancelled on 7th December 1843” (Rebecca Hayes, personal communication, 9 April 2003).

“Lodge 419 in Ballybay received its warrant on 5 July 1764” and was in existence from then until 1843 (Murnane & Murnane, 295).  Isaiah Breakey Junior is recorded in Lodge 419 on 19 February 1788 (Rebecca Hayes, personal communication, 2 April 2003).

* 17 April 1789 *

17 April 1789; registered 4 May 1789. Breakey to Maguire.  John & William Breakey of Milford, linen drapers, Lisnagalliagh, [ROD 401 215 268225].

* 4 June 1789 *

Isaiah Breakey is recorded on 4 June 1789 in Lodge 693 Ballybay.  “His name appears third in the register for this Lodge of which he was a founding member…An entry from the Grand Lodge Minutes reads as follows – ‘Ordered a Warrant to Bros. Thomas Crawford, James Hamilton & Isaiah Breacky (spelling in Minutes) to hold a Lodge in the Town of Ballibay Co. Monaghan’”  (Rebecca Hayes, personal communication, 2 April 2003).   Miss Hayes reports further:

"As far as Isaiah Junior is concerned the fact that the term junior is used would suggest that there was an Isaiah Senior in the Lodge as well.  However, there is no other Isaiah recorded under listings for Lodge 419.  The oldest extant register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland dates from circa 1760.  It seems however that some of the entries may have been copied from an earlier book, which has not survived.  For example, a Lodge 2 listing reads, ‘John Mullen – from old book.’ So it is possible that Isaiah Senior’s name was not transferred from the old book.

            It may be that Isaiah senior or junior was the same individual as one of the founding members of Lodge 693…It would not be possible to be a founder as a new member, so he would have to have been a member of another Lodge prior to 1789.  Considering the date perhaps it is more likely that the 693 member was Isaiah Senior.  Another thing, which may be of interest, is an entry beside the name of Isaiah of Lodge 693; it reads – Dead 1790"  (Rebecca Hayes, personal communication, 9 April 2003).

Miss Hayes responded to numerous other queries that were of concern to us: can two Lodges exist simultaneously in one community; for what reason would another Lodge be founded; could an individual be a member of two existing Lodges; is there an age requirement for membership?  Her reply:

            "Two Lodges could have existed in the same area at one time and in this instance [Ballybay] they did.  It would have been a case of numbers I imagine.  There was obviously a large enough demand for membership to support more than one Lodge.  It would have given more people a chance to hold officers positions during their Masonic careers.  It is quite possible that some men would have been members of both Lodges and if so they should be recorded twice in the registers.

            Lodge 419 was founded in 1764 and cancelled in 1843.  It did not return its Warrant in 1824.  Lodge 693 handed in its Warrant in 1824 in exchange for a different number, which was 192.  192 still meet.  This procedure was not uncommon in Ireland where the Lodges preferred to hold the lowest number possible, suggesting that they were a body of greater antiquity than those Lodges with higher numbers"  (Rebecca Hayes, personal communication, 23 April 2003).

* 14 April 1790 *

14 April 1790; 16 July 1790; 20 November 1790. Breakey to Jackson.  William Breakey, linen draper &  James Breakey, Drumskelt, James Leckey age 20.  Witness Isaiah Breakey of Milford [ROD 427 153 270409].

* 1791 *

The name of Isaiah Breakey once again appears in newsprint in March and June of 1791.  Along with his name is that of  a William Breakey.  In both cases their names appeared in an advertisement in the Belfast Newsletter.

The following entries will include:

1.      A document ID number pursuant to The Belfast Newsletter  Index

2.       Date of issue

3.      Page number

4.      A facsimile of the advertisement

5.      For clarity, a transcription of the original advertisement that is held on microfilm in Belfast at the Linen Hall Library 


The Belfast Newsletter

Document ID number: 215006

Date of issue: 22 – 25 March 1791

Page:  3

For Philadelphia, Newcaftle, and New - York; The Brig HAVANNA, Thomas Suter, Mafter, Britifh built, and a conftant Trader, with a new Mediterranean Pafs.

Has good accommodation for Paffengers, and will fail for the ports aforefaid the 28th day of April next.

For Freight, or Paffage, apply to Mr. Henry Wallace, Banbridge; Mr. Thomas Prentice, Armagh; Mr. James Falls, Aughnacloy; Mr. Leflie Kirk, Monaghan; Messrs. Ifaiah and Wm. Breakey, near Ballibay; Mr. Farrell, Cavan; Mr. Geo. Caruth, Coal-Ifland; the Captain on board, or at Mr. Thumboe’s, Warren point, or to HENRY OGLE.

It is totally unneceffary to exhibit any encomium on the condition of the Veffel, or the abilities and attention of the Captain, who, for many hears paft, has had the thanks of all the paffengers he took to America, uniformly returned to him in the public papers at Philadelphia and New – York.

                                                                        Newry, 18th March 1791


The Belfast Newsletter

Document ID number:  217934

Date of issue: 3 – 7 June 1791

Page: 3

Now in Port.  For Philadelphia, Newcaftle, and New – York, The Brig HAVANNA, Thomas Suter, Mafter, Britifh built, and a conftant Trader, (with a new Mediterranean Pafs) has good accommodations for paffengers, and will fail for the ports aforefaid the 18th inftant.

For freight or paffage apply to Mr. Henry Wallace, Banbridge [sic]; Mr. Thomas Prentice, Armagh; Mr. James Falls, Aughnacloy; Mr. Leflie Kirk, Monaghan; Meffrs. Ifaiah and Wm Breakey, near Ballybay; Mr. Farrell, Cavan; Mr. George Caruth, Coal-Ifland; the Captain on board, or at Mr. Thomboe’s, Warren-point, or to HENRY OGLE.

* 9 January 1792 *

January 1792; 15 April 1793;  [ROD 471 52 297890].   Breakey to Burgess; Isaiah Breakey, James & George Breakey, Derry, Parish of Aughnamullen, linen drapers.  This document will be addressed in “Comments for Consideration.’

* 29 February 1792 *

A Memorial of intended marriage between James Breakey, son of Isaiah, Milford, linen draper, & Mary Fleming, eldest daughter of Ann Fleming, Bawn, Co. Meath, widow, [ROD 622 244 429331].    (See Appendix D for transcription of memorial).

* 3 November 1794 *

3 Nov 1794; registered 12 Nov 1794; [ROD 473 576 310289]. John Breakey & William Breakey Sallyvale, linen drapers, & Isaiah Breakey of Milford – Lisnagalliagh, George Breakey 5th son of Isaiah Breakey, age six. Witness Wm Breakey Drumskelt, James Breakey of Derry.  This document will be addressed in ‘Comments for Consideration.’

* 7 November 1794 *

7 Nov 1794: Breakey to Coleman.  Isaiah Breakey of Milford, John & Wm. Breakey of Milford, linen drapers – Lisnagalliagh – George 5th son of Isaiah Breakey, then age six, [ROD 489 376 310290].    This document will be addressed in ‘Comments for Consideration.’

* 3 Dec 1794 *

3 Dec 1794/registered 11 Feb 1795.  Isaiah   Breakey of Millford, Barony of Dartry (Dartree) John Breakey, [ROD 489 541 312016].

* 3 Dec 1794 *

 3 Dec 1794; registered 11 Feb 1795; [ROD 489 541 312016]. A memorial of an indented deed of release between Isaiah Breakey of Millford and Margaret Gendinen of Mahernaharn, County of Monaghan, widow, for all the ‘half tate of Kilmore eastward containing forty nine acres ten perches profitable with seven acres three roods and sixteen perches bog and Curragh situate in the Barony of Dartry and County of Monaghan” in consideration of the sum of two hundred pounds sterling and subject to the yearly rent of twenty one pounds four shillings ‘and subject also to the Equity of Redemption on the payment of the said sum of two hundred pounds.’  Memorial witnessed by Robert Hall and James Nixon of Rockcorry.

* 7 January 1796 *

7 Jan 1796; registered 13 Feb 1796. Breakey to Byrne.  John & William Breakey of Sallyvale, linen drapers, Isaiah Breakey of Millford, linen draper – Lisnagalliagh.  George Breakey 5th son; Mary Breakey wife of John Breakey, 2nd son.  [ROD 496 487 320191].  This document will be addressed in ‘Comments for Consideration.

* 14 February 1796 *

George Breakey is recorded in Ballybay Masonic Lodge 419.

* 1796 *

In 1796 the Trustees of the Linen Manufacture devised a plan to encourage and promote the linen industry in Ireland.  Awards, or premiums, were to be given to any individual sowing sound flax seed between the specified dates of March 10th and June 1st, 1796.  Premiums were to be dependent upon the amount of acreage sown to flax:

            not less than 1 acre  - 4 spinning wheels

            3 roods            - 3 spinning wheels

            2 roods – 2 spinning wheels

            1 rood – 1 spinning wheel

Not less than 5 acres – “a Loom, or Wheels, Reels or Hatchells to the Value of 50  Shillings, and for every 5 Acres over and above the first  five a like Premium” (Murnane & Murnane 269)

In 1796 the Irish Linen Board created a list of those receiving premiums for the various acreage of flax cultivation.  Known as the 1796 Flax Seed Premium Entitlement list, the Flax Growers List of 1796, or the Spinning Wheel List, the names of nearly 60,000 individuals are recorded.   In the Parishes of Aughnamullen and Tullycorbet, County Monaghan, several Breakey surnames appear in the list of 1796  (Murnane & Murnane 269 – 273; reprinted with permission):

            Parish of Aughnamullen

            The following received 4 wheels –

                        Isaiah Breakey

            The following received 3 wheels –

William Breakey

            The following received 2 wheels –

John Breakey

                        Andrew Breakey

                        William Breakey

            The following received 1 wheel –

James Breakey

            Parish of Tullycorbet:

            The following received 2 wheels –

                        William Breakey

            The following received 1 wheel –

                        James Breakey

7 August 1802

In addressing marriage settlements, Rosemary Ffolliott reports that it is “noteworthy that the heyday of registered marriage settlements (c. 1790 – c. 1820) corresponds to the heyday of bankruptcies!” (Ffolliott, 150). As well as the bride’s father, or family representative in the case of his demise, providing a bridal dowry, “sometimes the bridegroom’s father joined with him in making available a settlement on the bride…The bridegroom’s settlement on the bride was invariably charged on the demesne lands – outlying farms were not considered good security – and possessions” (ibid).


A Memorial of intended marriage between George Breakey of Millford, County Monaghan (1st part), son of Isaiah Breakey of Millford Linen draper, and Ann Ross of Derryhee (2nd part), Isaiah Breakey (3rd part) and John Ross of Derryhee and Andrew Breakey of Millford, linen draper (4th part). [ROD 564 24 373934].

In this Memorial Isaiah Breakey is mentioned as being in possession of the town and lands of Derry together with part of the town and lands of Millmore containing eighty plus acres thereabouts, together with one-half of the Millmore Bog “by virtue of a lease to him made by John Ker, Esqr. dated the twenty-fourth day of May one thousand seven hundred and eighty one for the term of twenty years renewable for ever at the rent of forty eight pounds four shillings.”  In consideration of the intended marriage, Isaiah assigned and made over to George Breakey, Andrew Breakey and John Ross 30 acres Irish plantation measure of the lands of Derry and Millmore together with that part of Millmore Bog in possession of Mathew Wright and Owen McEntee being about one acre.

At the time of this memorial, Ann Ross herself “is as seized and pofsefsed” under the last will and testament of her father, John Ross deceased, of “part of the town and lands of Leek and Cormeen and Lisnalee, a proportion able part of the town and lands of Derryhee and Emyvale in the County of Monaghan and of a proportion able part of the lands of Revella in the County of Tyrone.”

The above Memorial was signed and sealed in the presence of James Breakey of Drumskelt and Robert Ross of the town and county of Monaghan. It was sworn before William Wilson at Monaghan in the county of Monaghan by virtue of his commission for taking affidavits; he knew the deponents. Dated: 23 August 1802.

* 13   May 1807 *

13 May 1807: registered 29 May 1807. Breakey to Gibson. Isaiah Breakey, Milford, linen draper, to John Gibson of Drumlun in the County of Cavan.  [ROD 589 226 401400].  This document will be addressed in ‘Comments for Consideration.’

* 1841 *

Isaiah Breakey, Ballybay; County   Monaghan  – 1841.  “Breakey Wills.  County Monaghan in the Diocese of Clogher:  wills 1661 – 1858”  (Loyd ‘Jack’ Breakey, personal communication, 1984).

Comments for Consideration

Our investigation is at an end, and we feel there is no conclusive evidence as to the identity of Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills.  However, due to the new data presented in the previous section, as well as significant data in the appendices, there are numerous discrepancies and glaring omissions contradictory to the narratives of Thomas C. Breakey, as well as unanswered questions, about which we wish to comment.  We offer the following observations with the intent of providing a basis for further research and documentation.

An analogy might best explain our dilemma at presenting the following comments. Rather like the task of assembling a human adult skeleton from the two hundred and six bones at one’s disposal, each bone in some manner essential to the composite whole with the crucial question being which to select in order to begin the assembling process in an orderly fashion, it has been so with us.  We ask the reader’s indulgence if at times our observations and notations appear redundant. [For the purpose of cross-referencing within this section we have numbered each discussion entry.]

I. The first task at hand was an attempt, based upon our findings, to determine the birth date   of Isaiah Breakey. It was not given in the memoirs, yet most extant records provide the   date 1742.  However, if we consider the 1758 Belfast Newsletter article (see   Chronology) whereby Isaiah and James are listed as among those individuals “who complied with a requirement to return an impression of their linen seals and securities,” we would propose it highly unlikely that Isaiah Breakey of Milford [also referenced in Thomas C. Breakey’s narratives as Isaiah of Millmore, Sallyville/Sallyvale, and Greenvale Mills] at age sixteen, and Isaiah Breakey of the newspaper article be one and the same.

Other data has provided a birth date of circa 1734 for Isaiah  (see Appendix B, correspondence from Drumskelt House 17/7/1945).   Could this be a logical birth date for Isaiah of the news article?  One would have to consider the likelihood of whether a twenty-four year old individual in the mid-1700s could be an eminently successful businessman in that he had a linen seal and was able to provide securities.  Further, if we consider the 1734 birth date then we must also consider the possible ages of Isaiah’s sons, John and William Breakey when they were parties with John Kerr of Thornhill in the County of Monaghan to an indenture bearing the date of 8 February 1780 for ‘’all that part and parcel of the town and lands of Lisnagalliagh containing thirty acres or thereabouts.” Based on generation estimates, is it likely that John and William, barely in their twenties, would be parties to an indenture that would find them fourteen years later in debt to Isaiah, their father, for over three thousand pounds (see entry III)?

Also of interest is the James Breakey mentioned, along with Isaiah, in the 1758 news article.  Was he a relative of Isaiah Breakey?

II.  In his memoirs, Thomas C. Breakey states, “Father’s uncle, Isaiah Breakey of Millmore House (as it is now called)...It was Captain Johnstone who gave the house its present name.  Isaiah Breakey called it Sallyvale, others Milford, and people this side Greenvale” [see section quotes of The Memoirs].   Further, when speaking of Mrs. Isaiah Breakey in the memoirs it states that she “would have eight men out of the work to carry her from Milmore House, where Thomas Henry now lives in Aghnamullen [sic].” [Authors’ note:  the memoirs also state that William Breakey built the house where Thomas Henry lives at the church for his son, Isaiah.  This house is in the hamlet of Aughnamullen, townland of Derry, and a stone’s throw from Derry Big House where Obediah, brother to Isaiah, was purported to live in a house also built by William].  It is the opinion of the authors that this confusion surrounding the residence and mill names proved troublesome in earlier research efforts for documenting the identity of Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills.  Therefore one of the major concerns undertaken during this investigation was to qualify the statements of Thomas C. Breakey in reference to the residence of Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills, as well as the location of the mill.  [Readers may wish to refer to the previously presented map in order to clarify the above-mentioned locations].

The following, subtitled ‘Greenvale Estate (Sallyville or Milford)’ is taken from the History of Latton Parish – Aughnamullen West by Seamus Drudy, Derrygooney, Latton (Peadar Murnane to author, 6 June 2003): "The Greenvale Estate in Famine times embraced the Townlands of Lisnagalliagh, Cormeen, Corfad and Drumlood.  It was in the possession of the Goodman Family in 1849.  Round 1850 the Irwin family bought it…A family named Breakleys [sic] earlier built the flax and corn mills (1760).  The tenants of the Breakley estate had to pay tithes and a collector called ‘Johnny the Proctor Duffy’ saw to it that the tenants did not evade their questionable obligation."

On 12 June 2003 the author received the following reply from Peadar Murnane (personal correspondence to author): "There may have been two mills in Lisnagalliagh.  I was speaking to the present owner of the lands and he intimated that there were two, one at Millford and one further upstream.  Maybe one was Sallyville and the other Milford.”

In earlier correspondence Mr. Murnane reported:  “I have been speaking to the gentleman who bought the farm in Lisnagalliagh and he has confirmed that Greenvale was the name of the house when Irwins lived there.  In fact he states that is named so on the 1908 map.  He told me also that there were two mills in Lisnagalliagh but didn’t know the original owners  (correspondence to author, 21 May 2003).

In our attempt to ascertain the identity of Isaiah Breakey, and clarify where his residence might have been, we present the following data that came to our attention during this investigation.

In the public record of 18 July 1764 (see Chronology) Isaiah Breakey of Derry, Merchant, is a witness to a deed memorial. Might Isaiah Breakey of Derry be one and the same as Isaiah Breakey of Aughnamullen in the following entry?

In the public record of 10 March 1767 (see Chronology) William Ker granted to Isaiah Breakey of Aghnamullen part and parcel of the land of Latton together with the corn mill therein with the dams and watercourses visually belonging to the same then in his possession.   (See 10 March 1767 in Chronology for a brief transcription of the deed poll that according to Ffolliott is synonymous with rent charges  (Ffolliott, 145).  Also see Appendix E for facsimile of Isaiah Breakey’s legal signature). Might one suppose that since this land acquisition entailed a mill already built that Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills had built one previous to this? And further, might one suppose that since a certain Isaiah Breakey had securities and a linen seal in 1758 that he also had a mill and bleach greens prior to this acquisition?

It has also been reported that “Isiah [sic] Breakey, described as a linen draper in [illegible,] lived in the town land of Derry and is said to have built the first beetling mill in that town land.[6]  It would have been located on the left bank of the river flowing through Aughnamullen village. Isiah [sic] was William’s brother as was Obadiah who is also said to have been in the trade” (see Appendix F for Pearson correspondence to author M. Breakey, February 2002).

In public records of 12 April 1774 (see Chronology) there appears the first mention of Isaiah Breakey of Milford [which lies in the townland of Latton]. 

In public records of 19 April 1774 (see Chronology and comments) Isaiah Breakey of Derryard is mentioned.

In public records of 19 February 1788 (see Chronology) the name of Isaiah Breakey, junior, appears in the register of the Freemasons, Lodge 419 in Ballybay.

In public records of  4 June 1789 (see Chronology and comments) the name of Isaiah Breakey appears in the register of the Freemasons, Lodge 693 in Ballybay.  Also recorded is “dead 1790.”    This Isaiah Breakey could not be Isaiah Breakey of Milford inasmuch as deed memorials bearing the signature of Isaiah Breakey of Milford appear at later dates.

Inasmuch as the above data does not conclusively address the residence of Isaiah Breakey of Greenvale Mills, the authors offer the following proposals for consideration: (1) Isaiah Breakey of the townland of Derry was father to Isaiah Breakey of Millford; (2) Isaiah Breakey of Millford inherited from his father part or parcel of the townland of Derry; (3) Isaiah Breakey of the townland of Derry and Isaiah Breakey of Millford in the townland of Latton were one and the same. An unanswered question: did Isaiah Breakey, married to Sarah Gibson, at one time live at Millmore House?

Also inconclusive were our research findings relevant to the location of the mill based on the statement of Thomas C. Breakey that, “All the Greenvale Mills were built by Isaiah Breakey.” 

Perhaps the first order of business is to provide an explanation for the term ‘linen draper’ that we often find affixed to various Breakey names shown in the indentures. In today’s vernacular we might refer to the early linen industry in Ireland as a cottage industry, the growing of flax and the weaving of same done by farming households to increase their meager revenues.  If not bleached by the weavers, the linen was then sold at market as brown linen, the weavers being the sellers, and “the linen drapers (bleacher or their agents)”, the buyers  (Murnane & Murnane, 255).  The drapers then sold the final product “at home or…abroad” (Murnane & Murnane 256).

In the public records we have at hand, the first Breakey connection to the linen industry is John Breachy of Corduffles in 1750 [see Appendix F for circa birth date 1714 and deed reference 158 409 106510].  Within the indenture John Breachy is listed as a weaver.  Authors’ note: of the other three 1750 deeds in Appendix F  [circa birth dates 1712-1715] only that for Joseph Breachy/Brekey is given: a farmer.

As noted in Appendix F, Corduffles, along with the townlands of Corryhagan and Lisgillan, were significantly located for the pursuit of the manufacture of linen (see Appendix F), yet Peadar Murnane states “that there was no mill at Cordevlish or Corryhagan although they were surrounded by water,.. but not flowing water to generate power.  There was a corn mill in one of those townlands belonging to Morell but it must have been along a stream entering the main Dromore system.  Maybe this was originally a linen mill.  I will take a look at the 1837 map and see if it is marked” (Murnane to author M Breakey 5 February 2004).  [Authors' note: Author M Breakey did find a corn mill in the vicinity so marked on her 1836 map].

The next Breakey connection to the linen industry is the previously presented Belfast News-Letter of 1758 in which Isaiah Breakey and James Breakey are listed as representing County Monaghan.

Of particular interest to the authors, based on Thomas C. Breakey’s statement, is the previously mentioned deed poll of 10 March 1767 [deed reference 305 55 200458] whereby William Ker of Newcastle leased to Isaiah Breakey of Aghnamullen part and parcel of the lands in the townland of Latton “together with the corn mill therein with the dams and watercourses’ for the term of thirty three years.  As noted in the earlier reference, William Breakey of Drumskelt, linen draper, witnessed the deed of 1767 as well as the registration of the memorial in 1774.

Could the above indenture represent the ‘building of Greenvale Mills’?   Murnane & Murnane report:  “Landlords like the …Kers, the Verners… were willing to offer long leases at advantageous terms to people prepared to invest in bleaching mills. The investment needed was not small: the widening and deepening of streams and watercourses, the construction of mill races, dams and sluices and the erection of treatment and storage buildings together with the clearing of land for use as bleach greens all amounted to a large investment that would warrant the generous terms on offer” (p.257). 

There is, however, one point of interest in reference to the above deed poll that warrants discussion: the span of years between the original deed and the registration of the memorial. Ffolliott reports:  “A deed could be sworn and registered within two days of being made, but normally it was done within a couple of years.  There are, however, innumerable cases of deeds being registered after a lapse of many years…The sudden urge to register was usually caused by death, and the registration date of deeds registered more than six or seven years after their execution should be noted, as it can hold useful significance” (140-141).  Might we assume that Isaiah Breakey’s lease was terminated upon the death of William Kerr? Or, was the lease terminated upon the death of Isaiah Breakey of Aghnamullen?  If so, might either of the above  be an  explanation behind the deed references in the following entry?

III.  The following deed copies are in possession of the authors; for brevity’s sake, as well as clarity, they have been shorn of their legal verbiage after consultation with Attorney Richard Hollembaek of Baldwinsville, NY.

A memorial of an indented deed of mortgage [deed reference: 473 576 310289], dated 3 November 1794 between John Breakey and William Breakey, both of Sallyvale in the County of Monaghan, linen drapers, and Isaiah Breakey of Millford, wherein was recited an earlier indenture bearing the date of 8 February 1780 whereby John Ker of Thornhill, County Monaghan, conveyed to John and William Breakey “all that part and parcel of the town and lands of Lisnagalliagh in the county of Monaghan containing thirty acres… for the natural lives of John and William Breakey and George Breakey fifth son of the said Isaiah Breakey, then about age six years.”  In indenture of 3 November 1794 John and William Breakey stood indebted to Isaiah Breakey for the sum of three thousand two hundred and ninety one pounds seventeen shillings and three pence.  In other words, Isaiah Breakey held the mortgage on Sallyvale.  It was subject to redemption, meaning that if John and William paid off the mortgage, Sallyvale reverted to John and William

A memorial of an indented deed of assignment of a mortgage [deed reference 489 376 310290], dated 7 November 1794 between Isaiah Breakey of Milford in the county of Monaghan, linen draper, and Thomas Coleman of Dundalk in the county of Louth, merchant, once again reciting the earlier indenture bearing the date of 8 February 1780 whereby John Kerr of Thornhill demised to John Breakey and William Breakey of Milford, linen drapers, part and proportions of the town and lands of Lisnagalliagh containing 30 acres with 10 acres of  turf bog in the bog of Lisnagalliagh.  In this particular indenture of 7 November 1794, Isaiah Breakey, being in debt to Thomas Coleman, assigned to him the mortgage on Sallyvale.

A memorial of an indenture [deed reference 496 487 320191] dated 7 January 1796 between John Breakey and William Breakey of Sallyvale, linen drapers, Isaiah Breakey of Millford, linen draper, Thomas Coleman of Dundalk, County Louth, merchant and Edward Byrne Dublin, merchant, whereby John and William Breakey had agreed to sell and dispose of all their Title Equity of Redemption and interest in and to the lands and premises of Lisnagalliagh together with houses, edifices, buildings, bogs, hosses, river waters, kives,  water courses, riverlets, mills, mill dams, ways easements and Edward Byrne Dublin, merchant, whereby John and William Breakey had agreed to sell and dispose of all their Title Equity of Redemption and interest in and to the lands and premises of Lisnagalliagh together with houses, edifices, buildings, bogs, hosses, river waters, kives,  water courses, riverlets, mills, mill dams, ways easements and appurtenances including furnace tables, clips, and all the other utensils and fixtures belonging to the said bleach green or to the houses mills or buildings erected thereon.  This lengthy legal document was simplified after conferring with attorney Hollembaek:  John and William Breakey were indebted to Isaiah Breakey for a small sum which Edward Byrne paid on their behalf; Isaiah Breakey was indebted to Edward Byrne, as was Thomas Coleman.  When all was said and done, the other parties mentioned in the indenture conveyed the lands of Lisnagalliagh, along with the right of redemption, to Edward Byrne in lieu of their indebtedness to him.  Also mentioned in this indenture is an annuity of ten pounds a year to “Mary Breakey, wife of John Breakey during her life in case she should survive the said John Breakey and after her death for her second son by the said John Breakey during his life.  

Before presenting the remaining two deed references that have no bearing on  Lisnagalliagh, nor were discussed with Attorney Hollembaek, we wish to offer our comments.

In Book II of his memoirs, as presented early on in this report, Thomas C. Breakey relates how the Breakeys lost the Greenvale bleach greens (see section ‘Memoirs).  We propose this might not be the case.  If John Kerr so disliked the Breakeys who reared him, why did he lease the lands of Lisnagalliagh to John and William Breakey in 1780?  Is it possible that he disliked Isaiah, but not the boys?  Is it possible that Isaiah Breakey gave his young sons the money, unbeknownst to John Kerr, to purchase the lands of Lisnagalliagh in their own names?   We cannot, of course, answer these questions, but they are interesting to consider.

Of interest also are the names of Sallyville/Sallyvale and Milford.  Thomas C. Breakey implies they were used interchangeably, yet in the first deed reference of this entry John and William are of Sallyvale, whereas Isaiah is of Milford.  However, in the second deed reference of this entry, all parties are listed as of Milford. We propose for consideration that the property in Lisnagalliagh was known as Sallyvale, while the property in Latton was known as Millford.  It is difficult to determine   to which property the mill belonged for in the deed of 1767 between William Kerr and Isaiah Breakey the land mentioned in the townland of Latton included the corn mill, dams and watercourses; the 1780 deed between John Kerr and John and William Breakey included land in the townland of Lisnagalliagh including corn mill, dams, watercourses, etc. Or, were there indeed, two mills in the area as mentioned by Peadar Murnane in his correspondence of 21 May 2003?

According to Murnane & Murnane,  the Lisnagalliagh property and mill changed hands, “ceased to operate as a bleaching mill and the property was sold to William Kierans who changed over to corn milling” (261).  It is further reported by Murnane & Murnane that the mill operated by Kierans was ‘formerly Breakey’s beetling mill” (267).

The remaining two deeds are included at this point solely because of their interest to the discussion at hand, that of Isaiah Breakey’s indebtedness to others.

A memorial of an indented deed of assignment  (deed reference 471 52 297890) bearing the date of 9 January 1792 between Isaiah Breakey, James and George Breakey of Derry  and John Burgess of Cornabrock in consideration of the sum of two hundred and thirty pounds did demise to John Burgess all that and those that part of the town and lands of Derry and Milmore therein the possession of the said Isaiah Breakey, James and George Breakey containing eighty three acres with the “ rights members and appurtenances there to belonging  and all the Estate Right Title Interest property claim and demand of the said Isaiah Breakey, James and George Breakey…”

Portions of the following deed are extremely faded and illegible, however it is being included here due to the person Isaiah Breakey was indebted to – John Gibson. [According to the Breakey memoirs, Isaiah Breakey married Sarah Gibson, daughter of John Gibson of Drumlun, County Cavan.]  John Gibson of the indenture   may indeed be Sarah Gibson’s father, or perhaps brother.

A memorial of an indented deed of mortgage (deed reference 589 226 401400) bearing the date 13 May 1807 between Isaiah Breakey of Millford and John Gibson of Drumlun in the county of Cavan, whereby Isaiah Breakey was then justly indebted to the said John Gibson in the full sum of five hundred and sixty one pounds five shillings and seven pence thereby did grant in mortgage to John Gibson  [a considerable portion is illegible] of Derry together with [illegible] of the towns and lands of Millmore containing in the whole 84 acres and three roods…together with the ½ of the turf bog of Millmore held by lease therein recited to have been made by John Kerr Esqr to the said Isaiah Breakey for the term of thirty one years from the first of May 1788.  Andrew Breakey of Millford, and Mrs. Mary Breakey of Lea witnessed the memorial.

Of interest on this memorial is the signature, or at least her mark, of Mary Rogers Breakey, wife of John Breakey of Sallyville.  Rosemary Ffolliott addresses this phenomenon when speaking of women mentioned in registered deeds: "Married women did not hold property and any assets that might be theirs by right of inheritance were automatically vested in their husbands.  However, as a precaution, husbands were inclined to make their wives parties to any deeds that concerned either the wife’s hereditary property or the lands on which her marriage settlement was charged …Spinsters and widows, of course, regularly made deeds on their own account…" (Ffolliott,  p. 154 ).  One might conclude from this that Mary Breakey was a widow at this point in time; however, to our minds there is another possibility to consider.  Had John and William Breakey, after the losses and indebtedness they sustained, emigrated from Ireland?

IV.  Thomas Breakey states in his memoirs that Isaiah Breakey of Millmore House had four sons: in birth order - John, George, Andy (who went to Canada) and Obadiah [sic].  Due to the confusion of the names of the Breakey residences previously mentioned, and due to the long-standing confusion as to which Breakey family journal Thomas Breakey was using when he penned his memoirs, there has been considerable difficulty in correctly compiling a lineage for this particular branch of the Breakey family.  However, we do know that Isaiah Breakey of Milford had at least five sons.

Referencing deed number 336 614 226735 (see Chronology for 8 February 1780), Isaiah’s three sons are listed: John, William and George.

Referencing deed number 622 244 429331 (see Chronology for 29 February 1792), Isaiah’s fourth son, James, is mentioned in a memorial of intended marriage to Mary Fleming, eldest daughter of Ann Fleming.  John Gibson of Drumlun in the County of Cavan witnessed the memorial.   [This James Breakey immigrated to Sullivan County in New York State circa 1818.  Inasmuch as an extensive lineage has been documented for him after his arrival in the United States, the memorial has been transcribed in its entirety in Appendix D].

Referencing deed number 564 24 373934 (see Chronology for 7 August 1802) Andrew Breakey of Milford is mentioned in a memorial of indented marriage between George Breakey of Milford and Ann Ross of Derryhee.   Referencing deed number 589 226 401400  (see Chronology for 13 May 1807) Andrew Breakey of Milford is again mentioned in a memorial of an indented deed of mortgage.


The majority of this report was written January-March 2003 when at times the authors had only deed references from which to refer.   Documents deemed important to this investigation were then requested from the Registry of Deeds in Dublin.  Those documents provided further insight, as well as engendered more unanswered questions and proposals for consideration.  However, once again the authors wish to advise the reader that (1) all data supported by documentation in public records are facts; (2) all unanswered questions or proposals for consideration are just that – unanswered questions and proposals for consideration.  

Perhaps it is as Oscar Wilde said:  “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

* * *



[1] In his memoirs, Thomas C. Breakey, b. 1834, writes, “Now I think I will take a note of Balladian school…Two of the teachers in my father’s time were degraded ministers, Caldwell and Moharg.  These could marry people in the school.  Father saw frequent marriages by them…Joseph Cunningham, the father of John and Sam, was a lapper to Creeve under the Jackson’s when at the bleaching of linen…one of the Miss Jacksons was married to him by what was called a bucklebeggar or in other words a degraded minister” (Breakey, E. 64)

[2] Due to the size of the file, each appendix must be viewed independently of the main article.  This has been done to reduce ‘download’ time

[3] In some entries two dates will appear.  When this occurs the first date given is that of the original deed, the second being the date when the memorial of the original deed was registered.  As Ffolliott explains: “There are, however, innumerable cases of deeds being registered after a lapse of many years…The sudden urge to register was usually caused by death, and the registration date of deeds registered more than six or seven years after their execution should be noted, as it can hold useful significance” (141).

[4] Reading 18th century documents is difficult; transcribing them even more so due to the use of the ‘Long S’ as a legitimate form of “S” (Irby).  What appears in such documents as a lowercase ‘f’ is actually the symbol for “s.”   “The long s letter can better be described as an ‘f’ without the crossline traveling through the vertical line.  The crossline only extends to the right of the vertical line.  Also, the long s was never used at the end of a word or to denote the possessive or to pluralize” (Davis).  In transcribing the following articles from the Belfast News-Letter the typed lowercase symbol for the letter ‘f’ has been utilized to provide the reader with a better understanding for the difficulty involved in reading documents from the 18th century.

[5] In discussing the seals and signatures that may be found on deeds, Ffolliott notes, “The only original signatures in the records of the Registry are those of the person who registered the memorial and his two memorial witnesses” (Ffolliott, 155).

[6] “Beetling was the last stage in the manufacture of linen which gave the damask cloth its characteristic smoothness and gleaming sheen” (Gulliver Ireland).