Matthew Joseph aka 'Mick' Barrett 1809


MAITIÚ BAIRÉAD aka MATTHEW JOSEPH BARRETT of Ballinvilla (1809–c.1874) was the son of Patrick Barrett & Sabina Lannon of Ballinvilla. He was named for his grandfather, Matthew Barrett (1749-1815).

His father gave him a share of 38 acres of land + 37 of bog in north-east Ballinvilla at farm #5 [GV1857]. The farm buildings were of good quality and rated at £1 per annum. The 1842 Tithe Applotment Books are the oldest record of Matthew’s holding in Ballinvilla, however as he would have married as soon as he had land to his name, so we can presume he was farming there since at least 1827 - the year he wed.

On 25 March, 1827, Matthew Barrett of Ballinvilla married Susan Kelty aka Kielty (1810–c1860) from the parish of Aughrim (Witness: Patrick & Frances Brackin). The couple were very young (Matt could have been no more than 18). An extract of their 1851 Census return survives thanks to their daughter Sabina. It confirms they were in Ballinvilla in 1851 and that Matthew, age 41, was just a year older than his wife, Susan (confirmed to be Kelty). It also states they were married in 1839 (in error).

Baptismal records show the following children:

Mary Barrett b. 2-Mar-1828 (died in infancy)
Bridget Barrett b.1829 (married John McGreevy Jan 1852). EMIGRATED Wakefiled England
Patrick Barrett b.09-Apr-1832
Anne Barrett b.1834
Sabina* Barrett b.03-Sep-1837  EMIGRATED New York & Patterson New Jersey.
Michael Barrett b.02-May-1842
Honor Barrett b.20-Jul-1843
Mary Barrett b.1845
Eleanor Barrett b.03-Jan-1846
John Barrett b.16-Feb-1847
Stephen Barrett b.25-May-1852

In January 1852, their eldest daughter, Brigid, married John McGreevy. (By 1865 only 6 children were living: Brigid, Pat, Sabina, Michael, Mary II, and John F.)

On Friday 15 August 1856, Matthew Barrett and his wife attended the regatta in Carrick on Shannon. They left a child home alone in charge of the house. Upon their return “the lifeless body of their child was presented to them.” A coroner’s inquest was held. It’s not clear which child this was. [Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette 16 Aug 1856]

In 1857, Land Valuation records show Matthew Barrett as the lessor of farm 5a. However, the next entry in these Cancellation books notes Matthew “Gone” in 1864. He had, in fact, been evicted by his landlord.


On December 21st 1863, Matthew Barrett (age 55) and family suffered the horror of a winter eviction. We don’t know which sibling gave them refuge in Ballinvilla, but Matthew did remain in the townland for a while.

Their landlord, Robert Caddell (residing at Harbourstown Co Meath) was reputedly a good landlord who gave tenants generous reductions on arrears payments during the Great Famine. In spite of this, Matthew and his brother, Michael Barrett, struggled to make ends meet in the aftermath and both lost their farms in 1863.

Within 6 months of his eviction, Matthew broke into his old house in an attempt to reclaim his home. On May 12th 1864, Caddell’s agents summoned him to court seeking an order to have the County Sheriff enforce the eviction once more.

PETTY COURT 12 May 1864
That on the 21st day of December, 1863, at Ballinvilla in the County of Roscommon the Sheriff for said county under a certain Ejectment Decree, did defer on to the complainant, the possession of certain land with the dwelling house thereon, then in the possession of Defendant.

And that the Defendant, within six months afterwards, without lawful authority, did re-enter into and resume possession of the said premises and that an Application will be made to have the said Decree Executed ansus by the said Sheriff. (No Appearance).

This is how it came to be that, Patrick Regan (1837-1905) and wife, Catherine Harrington replaced the Barretts as tenants of farm #5 in the summer of 1864. Pat Reagan was from the parish, possibly Drummin (a subtownland of Bunreagh on the northern boundary of Ballinvilla).


It would appear that, by this time, Susie was deceased and only 6 children were still living, all unmarried save for Brigid. Without a farm of land, there was no hope of taking a wife for his sons, no dowry to be had for his daughters, and the only remaining option they had was to take the boat to America.

On 29 Jun 1864, aboard the Sidon,  Matthew Barrett and children Pat (age 28) Sabina (26), Michael (23), Mary (18) and John F. Barrett (11) arrived in New York City, at the time of the American Civil War (1861-65). The family settled in Newark, NJ, at South Market Street initially.

By 1908, Matthew Barrett “was long dead” and only Sabina and her younger brother John F Barrett were still living.

Matthew may have died in New Jersey in the 1870s.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1809  
Date of Death 1875 (circa)  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Sabina Lannon  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Patrick Barrett of Ballinvilla  
Townland born Ballinvilla, Croghan, Boyle, Co Roscommon  
Names of Siblings Anne Barrett m. Hugh Boyd Patrick Barrett m. Mary Moraghan Michael Barrett m. Margaret Dowd John Barrett m. Mary Dowd Mary Barrett m. Daniel Collins  
Occupation Farmer  
Place of Death USA  
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