Clancy/Carron of Kinawley, Co Fermanagh

The Clancy/Carron family were farmers who lived in Crocknacreevy townland, Kinawley parish, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The father, Edward "Ned" Glancy (c1800-1865), may have been from Glenfarne, County Leitrim. The mother, Catherine "Kitty" Carron (c1801-1884), may have been from the neighboring parish of Killesher. Ned and Kitty had nine issue - eight sons and one daughter. Between 1855 and 1868, seven sons emigrated Ireland for the United States, settling in Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, and South Dakota. In addition, four children of their daughter, Catherine Clancy Leonard, emigrated Ireland in the 1870s and 80s for Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Two of the sons went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. and one of those returned to Ireland. One son went to New York City. Four sons came to McHenry County, Illinois, U.S.A. One of those returned to Ireland, and another continued west and homesteaded in Lincoln County, South Dakota, U.S.A.

The most plausible explanation for this mass emigration of Clancys is - economic opportunity. There were virtually none in County Fermanagh. Any other grass must have looked much greener. The Clancy homestead in Crocknacreevy was not large enough to support more than one family and prospects of increasing their meager holdings must have been bleak indeed.

Surname spellings

Until the late 1800s, civil servants, priests and other officials charged with the responsibility of recording various events in Ireland, had to spell surnames phonetically because the principals being recorded in the records were illiterate.

In our Clancy's area of this planet, the pronounced hard "C" in Clancy sounds like the "G" in Glancy. According to the Rev. Patrick Woulfe, in his Irish Names and Surnames, the Irish surnames MacFlanncada and Mac Flanncaid, which translate as "son of the ruddy-warrior", have been anglicized as (Mac)Clancy and furthur, that Glancy is a variation of Clancy.

Nineteenth century records in the United States often contain the Glancy spelling also. Presumably, again, because the subjects were illiterate and the recorders had to spell the surname phonetically. Glancy has been preserved here when that is the only or last variation that appears in the available records.

Crocknacreevy townland

An atlas with the detail of a Hammond's Contemporary World Atlas, will not show Crocknacreevy, or even Kinawley but it should show the nearby village of Swanlinbar in County Cavan. The Clancy farm was northeast of Swanlinbar, just over six miles by road from the Cavan-Fermanagh border. There are no buildings on the farm today. The land is owned by Patrick "Long Pat" Murphy who lives on the adjacent farm.

Crocknacreevy is the official townland name listed in the Griffith's Valuation of the parish and on Ordnance Survey maps. However, that's not the name that the people who live there use. They call it Knocknacrieve, which is a closer approximation of the Irish. Within this site, variations in the record have been normalized to Crocknacreevy.

Crocknacreevy is from the Irish Cnoc-na-Craobhaigh, which translates literally as "hill of the wide spreading tree." For the word Craobh to have been used as a place name suggests that the tree being so honored was of some significance. In ancient times, religious ceremonies were held under large trees, clan chiefs were inaugurated under large trees, games were played under large trees. The significance of this particular tree is hereby recognized by us with our own translation, "Hill of the Sacred Tree."

Kinawley village and parish

The parish of Kinawley lies partly in County Cavan and partly, but mostly, in County Fermanagh. Kinawley is the name given to both the parish and the village within. Kinawley in Irish is Cill Náile which means "Saint Náile's church." According to the Very Rev. O. F. Traynor in his essay The Parish of Kinawley, Saint Náile was a sixth century saint and friend of Columcille who was born in Tir Conaill (Donegal) and founded the Church of Kinawley. His feast day falls on 27 January and is still celebrated. The ruins of a later medieval church, erected maybe in the twelfth century, survives. This medieval church was confiscated by the crown and by 1620 was being used as a protestant church. By 1770, the church had been returned to the Catholic bishop. In about 1811, a new slated church was built on the site of the present church.

Ireland vs Northern Ireland

The island country of Ireland is subdivided into 32 counties. "County" in this context is analagous to the subdivision "state" in the U.S.A. When the Irish won independence from the British in 1922, Ireland became divided as a part of the settlement. Twenty-six of the counties made up the Republic of Ireland. The remaining six-counties remained in the British Empire and became known as Northern Ireland. County Fermanagh is one of the six that remained under British rule. On this site this county is listed as Fermanagh, Ireland for events before 1922 and as Fermanagh, Northern Ireland for events of 1922 or later.

County subdivisions in Ireland were imposed by the British as a part of their system of local government. The subdivision of the island began in the twelfth century and was completed in 1606.

McHenry County, Illinois, USA

McHenry County is in northeastern Illinois. It is bounded by Wisconsin on the north; by Lake County on the east; by Kane and DeKalb Counties on the south; and by Boone County on the west. It was formed in 1836 from Cook County, and originally included what is now Lake County. McHenry County covers 612 square miles today.

The climate is characterized by severe cold in winter with frequent and sudden changes. Almost constant breezes make the summer heat tolerable. The surface is varied with prairies, wooded ridges and hills of some height. There is an abundant water supply. The area is drained by the Fox River which enters from Wisconsin and flows south roughly along the eastern McHenry County border with Lake County.

Various American Indian nations and tribes have lived in northeastern Illinois over the centuries. The earliest known, to the white man, were probably Algonquin. Later occupants were Menomonees, Winnebagos, and Pottawatomies. A series of treaties, ending with one signed on 26 September 1832, ceded all lands east of the Mississippi to the whites and gave the native Indians until August 1836 to vacate the premises.

Hartland township, the northwest town of the central four in the county, was originally mostly timberland, with little prairie. The township held great appeal to the Irish. They began settling almost immediately after the government opened the land for sale in 1839. When construction of the Illinois & Michigan Canal was halted for lack of funds, about the time the township was being settled, out-of-work Irish laborers came to Hartland because they had friends there. Their coming induced others. Eventually the township was principally Irish and has been known ever since as the Irish township. This is where the Clancys first appear in McHenry County.

The only church in the township, a Catholic church, was built in 1840 of wood. It has been replaced with brick ones several times, usually after a fire. The present church is located across the road from the original. There is a cemetery on the grounds of the original church. Many of the graves are unmarked because of past neglect. The several fires burned any burial records.

Edward Clancy also spent many years in Hebron township although there doesn't appear to have been any ethnic or religious reason for him to have done so. Presumably it was availability of land that drove his decision to live there. The Catholic church in Hartland was still the closest to the farm by far. Edward donated a stained glass window for one of the several resurrections of the Hartland church. Unfortunately, the window has not survived and neither has a photograph of it.

Clancy clan history

There were two Clancy clans in ancient Ireland: one in County Leitrim, the other in County Clare. Because of the relative proximity of County Leitrim to Crocknacreevy, we shall only concern ourselves with the County Leitrim clan.

According to Lorcán Ó Rúnaì in From Rosclogher to Rooskey - The Leitrim Story, Clan McClancy were the rulers of Dartry from very early times. They were underlords to the O'Rourkes of Dromahair.

Lorcán goes on to explain that ancient Dartry, on the shores of Lough Melvin, encompassed an area from Glack townland in the east to Bunduff in the west (six miles) and from Mullnaleck in the north to Ahnlish in the south (three miles) - totaling about twenty square miles.

The earliest McClancy stronghold was probably Duncarbery Castle at Tullaghan. Lorcán believes that at some later date, the clan moved inland and built an almost impregnable fortress, Rossclogher Castle, in the deep protecting waters of Lough Melvin. He believes that this inland move was prompted by British invasions that threatened the Tullaghan location so near the sea.

In the rebellion of 1641, McClancy sided with the rebels. Eventually, Rossclogher Castle fell to Cromwell's army and the McClancys were routed from Dartry - forever. The McClancy chief was killed and all the rich lands of Dartry were confiscated. Lorcán continues, "From now on the winds and waves of the Melvin were free to whistle at will through the ivied walls of Rosclogher. No longer would the voices of McClancy men and women resound through the deserted halls of the age old castle. From now on its only occupants would be the gulls and ravens. A dynasty older than the throne of England had finally fallen. From now on the power of the McClancys was gone. Many descendants of the Clan still live among the hills of North Leitrim."

Lorcan continues, "A glorious era closed in Dartry around 1650. As the power and glory of Rosclogher faded a Protestant ascendancy appeared at Kinlough. Mount Prospect and the Johnstons were now the powers that be and the rightful Chieftains were either flown to foreign fields or wandering as poor peasants in the barren fields of the west. Through the length and breadth of the land terror and desperation reigned, and through the awful gloom and degradation resounded in horrible starkness the damning edict of Cromwell: "To hell or to Connaught"."