Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in USA

Anna Maria McManus (Annie), born on 23 March, 1850, was the eldest daughter of Henry Edward McManus and Margaret Anna Morton. She had a twin sister, Elizabeth (Bessie), so since she styled herself "eldest daughter" she must have been born first. It's likely she was born at Bogwood in County Roscommon, in a house Annie's father had built in 1846 on land Margaret Morton inherited from her father, Lewis Hawkes Morton, Esq.

I believe Annie's father died in 1865 when she was just fifteen. At any rate, he was deceased at the time of her marriage in August of 1868. While she was still in her teens she seems to have fallen hard for a charming bounder by the name of Richard Alexander Lynden, a man who was ten years older than she. I shouldn't say such a disparaging thing about my own great-grandfather, but reading between the lines, I'm very much afraid that "bounder" fits him pretty well. It seems likely he had drinking issues. At any rate, he managed to marry into the landed gentry by securing Annie as his wife, and together they moved to Strokestown and he set up shop as a draper on Church Street. He had been a draper in Killashee whilst living in Ballyclare, but seems to have expanded his horizons once he married Annie.

On 27 May, 1869 their daughter Margaret Anne Lynden was born. (That is the name on her baptism record, although her tombstone reads Anne Margaret.) By 1871, the family was beset by grief and financial troubles. Little Margaret contracted scarletina just after Christmas 1870, and died on the 6th of January 1871. Annie was nearly 9 months pregnant with her second child, so doubtless they did not allow her to tend her dying daughter. She must have been the joy of their lives, for despite their mounting debts, Annie and Richard paid for a handsome tombstone for their little girl in the churchyard of St. John's in Strokestown (now the Family History Centre): 




The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Job 1 st Ch 21st Vs

On January 28th, Annie gave birth to a boy, John Ross Lynden. By August, Richard Lynden was declared bankrupt. The declaration was made in absentia, because he had absconded, leaving Annie and her baby boy behind. Annie had taken the baby on a visit to her mother in July, and when she returned, Richard was gone. On August 9, 1871, Annie appeared in court and testified that Richard had left her sufficient assets to pay their creditors "pound for pound," and that she had carried on business from that day until the day the messenger from the Bankruptcy Court had arrived. The Court seems to have been impressed with her. A Mr. Martin, appearing for the asignees, stated that she had "acted honourably throughout." It was believed that Richard Lynden had gone to his sister in California.

Be that as it may, and despite Richard's assurances that he had left Annie enough to pay their creditors, the bankruptcy proceedings continued and in December, Richard Lynden managed to appear in court. I am skeptical of their story about his traveling to California, since that is a terribly long way to go and return from in a matter of a few months...and since Annie gave birth to their third child, James Henry Lynden, in June of 1872, I'm thinking Richard was hiding in Ireland, not California, in September of 1871. But perhaps I have a suspicious nature.

Facing ruin in Strokestown, Richard and Annie took off for America while little Jimmy was still an infant--and, shockingly, left both their sons behind in Ireland. This time they really did go to Richard's sister Isabella in beautiful Santa Cruz on the central California coast. She had married a Canadian immigrant, George Boomer, who was a lumberman and dairy farmer, and also served as City Marshal. George and Richard immediately went into business together, it seems. In June of 1873 George sold Richard Lynden a lot in Santa Cruz for $1,200, and by October plans were trumpeted in the local newspaper for a "first class" two-story brick building to be built directly beside the best hotel in town, Pacific House, on the main street leading through Santa Cruz to the sea. Before it was even built they had a druggist as a tenant for the ground floor, and at least two tenants for office space above. It looked like a successful venture in the works, certainly. On Christmas Eve, 1873, they signed the mortgage papers. It must have been a merry Christmas in the Boomer and Lynden household(s); Annie was pregnant again and it looked like a whole new life was beginning. 

Tragically, Richard Lynden died on February 16, 1874, at George and Isabella's home. I do not know what he died of, or if it was an accident. Family lore says that he was buried in a pauper's grave, although I do not know the truth of that either. He was only 34 years old, and he never knew his children. His boys came over from Ireland in the 1890s; his daughter Ellen Jane Lynden was born in April of 1874, in Santa Cruz. But he was gone.

And Annie was left alone again, bankrupt in a strange country, with an infant daughter. In June of 1874, with the cooperation of relatives back home, she seems to have sold her interest in the family property at Bogwood and used the proceeds in October to purchase three small lots: one on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz and two on Taylor Street in San Francisco. For the next few years, I have no record of her. I don't know where she went or what she did. In November of 1875 there is a notice in the newspaper that a letter is waiting for her at the post office in Santa Cruz. Does that mean she was living in San Francisco? Richard's sister Isabella and family took off for the Black Hills of Dakota in 1878 and, sadly, the vultures gathered fairly swiftly and foreclosed on that Lynden/Boomer lot on Pacific Avenue, the one with the "first class" building on it next to Pacific House. Nobody was around to contest it. The Boomers were in Dakota Territory, and Richard Lynden was dead. I don't know if Annie made a push to do anything, but it seems not. She was not listed on the foreclosure documents, so she may not even have known it was happening.

On the 5th of November, 1880, Annie married George Clifton, a Civil War veteran from Kentucky about eight years her senior, in Santa Barbara. She was thirty years old. I don't know why she was in Santa Barbara, but it may very well be that after Richard's death she went to Lompoc, a pretty little farming community in Santa Barbara county, where two of Richard's brothers were farming and ranching and doing very well. I don't know why she never sent for her boys in Ireland. It's possible that she simply didn't have the money, and once she married George Clifton he may have felt very differently about taking her six year-old daughter into his home than he would have felt about inviting two older boys he didn't know, sons of Annie's first husband. I know my grandfather never understood it and never forgave her.

In December of 1882, Annie's last child, recorded only as "Infant Clifton," died and was buried in the Santa Barbara cemetery. George Clifton died at the age of 44 in 1886, and Annie was once again widowed and on her own with twelve year-old Ellen. And again, I don't know where she went. In the summer of 1890 she sold one of her San Francisco lots for $300. (It would be worth millions today.) 

The 1900 census finds Annie Clifton living with Ellen and her husband, Frank Burton Smith, in Santa Barbara. The house is still standing; an elegant "Queen Anne" style Victorian on a corner lot. Frank was the son of a prominent citizen and wealthy man, and the Smiths probably provided the seed capital to launch Smith, Lynden & Co., a wholesale produce and dairy concern wharfside in San Francisco and incorporated in the summer of 1906. The company was run by Frank and his brother-in-law, my grandfather John Ross Lynden.

Annie is listed in the 1900 census as the mother of five children, three living. Hers was a difficult life, beginning with relative prosperity and family pride, then dragged through bankruptcy and flight to America by her husband. Once in California, she never returned to Ireland as far as I can tell. Only her daughter Ellen remained with her and stood by her; her sons never recovered from her abandonment and her relationship with them was never repaired. The death of two children and abandonment of two more surely dragged on her spirit, but no records remain to indicate her reasons or her feelings. By the end of her life, she had returned to prosperity and comfort through the marriage of her daughter to a man of means. She died in 1903 at the age of fifty-three and is buried in the beautiful Santa Barbara Cemetery, overlooking the sea.

Attachment Size
annie grave.jpg (292.69 KB) 292.69 KB
Additional Information
Date of Birth 23rd Mar 1850
Date of Death 21st Jun 1903
Associated Building (s) Bogwood House St John's Church of Ireland STROKESTOWN  


  • This is a fascinating read. Who knew the walls of Bogwood had so many stories to tell!

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Tuesday 21st July 2020 10:36AM
  • Family lore said that when Annie died her eldest son, my grandfather-- well-to-do by then, but still understandably bitter about her abandoning him-- refused to pay a penny for her grave or headstone or anything else. We were all told she was buried with no marker in a pauper's grave. He may have actually believed that, or the story may gave gotten garbled, since his father, Richard Lynden, was indeed buried in an unmarked grave. I was very surprised when some helpful soul found Annie in the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Either her second husband or her wealthy daughter set her up in a truly lovely, well-marked "room with a view." George Clifton and "Infant Clifton" are also buried in the Santa Barbara Cemetery but not directly beside her, which is why I'm not sure who paid for the plot.


    Wednesday 22nd July 2020 05:49AM

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