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Thomas Maxwell was born in Elphin in 1830, the son of Timothy Maxwell, a blacksmith on Chapel Street. He followed in his father's profession and also became a blacksmith. In the 1840s or 50s, his family began living and working in Carrownageelaun, Ogulla. 

Sometime before 1874, Thomas Maxwell somehow ended up as a blacksmith in the village of Rathdrum in County Wicklow, on the other side of the country. He married a dairymaid called Brigid Farrell and had five children. Shortly after the birth of his fifth child, the Maxwells were evicted and ended up in the workhouse. Brigid died in an asylum in Dublin and their daughters were sent to an industrial school in Wexford. Thomas was in Rathdrum until at least 1888, but by 1901 he was back in Roscommon, in the family forge at Ogulla, with his son Timothy. His daughter Mary Jane came to live with him shortly before his death in 1904 and he willed her his house and forge.

The biggest mystery with him is why he chose to go to Rathdrum in the first place, and then later come back. Would a blacksmith travelling this far for work be common? Would it have been more likely for him to have gone this far to find work or because he did something in Roscommon that he had to leave? He was illiterate so I don't see how he would have known about jobs or relatives in Wicklow. Also, I don't know much about the area of Rathdrum, but would it have been an area with industry or job opportunities? I'll probably never know for sure but it would be nice to get some idea so to why and how he went to Rathdrum. Any help or info would be appreciated.


Thursday 13th Jun 2019, 06:34PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Alicia
    The Maxwell's seem to have come from the Parish of Aughrim Diocese of Elphin
    And have a burial plot in Old Aughrim Graveyard. It seems generations of of them were Blacksmiths according to records I have seen.


    Monday 13th Apr 2020, 07:27PM
  • Sory Alicia didn't sign my last post
    Patrick O'Flynn


    Monday 13th Apr 2020, 07:29PM
  • I would dearly like to get in touch with whoever wrote the article on the Maxwell / Flanagan families, I am related to the Flanagan family, the Margaret Rushe refered to in the article was my great grandmother from Rathcroghan, she was originally Margaret McGarry from Derruquirle. I was born in Tulsk so would love to contact the person.

    Kind Regards

    Una Doyle


    Sunday 4th Apr 2021, 12:16PM
  • Hi Una, 

    We must be cousins so! My email is if you want to discuss! 




    Wednesday 7th Apr 2021, 06:44PM

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