Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday's Obituary/James Scully of Tipperary


     While doing a little digging into the life of my 4x great grandfather Andrew O'Dwyer of Silverhill in South Tipperary I chanced upon the obituary of his landlord James Scully published in 1846.  I thought it interesting enough to include here:

     Died, at his residence in Tipperary, on the night of the 31st ult. after a short but severe illness, James Scully Esq. sen. in his 70th year. Mr. Scully was the only surviving son of the late James Scully Esq. of Kilfeacle, in this county, and was for many years the leading partner in the respectable banking establishment in Tipperary carried on under his name. 

     During several years he acted as Grand Juror of this county, and when the Penal Laws were relaxed, giving Roman Catholics the privilege of holding the Commission of the Peace, he was amongst the first of that class appointed to the responsible situation of magistrate. Mr. Scully was the senior magistrate of the barony in which he resided, having held the commission for nearly forty years.
      During the last half century few individuals had more intercourse with the gentry and population of the South part of Ireland than the late Mr. Scully, arising from the different public institutions which were so ably directed. In whatever character we view the late Mr. Scully, whether as a landlord or as a contributor to the public charities of his locality, we find as a landed proprietor of considerable estates he was kind considerate and indulgent ; his charitable donations were on all occasions most liberal ; and there is no doubt that an over anxious desire to forward the interests of the poor of his town laid the foundation of that malady which hurried to the grave this worthy man, respected by the rich and lamented by the poor. 
      It is quite unnecessary to say one word more of departed worth, but as long as the name of the late James Scully will be remembered, it will be associated with recollections of generosity, high-mindedness, independence and sterling principle which through life marked his character. May he rest in peace. Upwards of £10000 a year falls in to different landed proprietors by the death of Mr. Scully, upon whose life several leases were depending.

     It seems reasonable to assume James Scully died of one of the fevers that were so common in 1846, a famine year, and his contact with the poor was the source of infection.  The obituary almost seems to blame him for his, "over anxious desire to...the interests of the poor".  It also notes he was a kind and indulgent landlord, I certainly hope so, since Grandpa O'Dwyer had to deal with him. 

     The references to the Penal Laws and the one to several leases depending upon his life are informative too.  At that time in Ireland leases were sometimes written as a "lease for lives".  Typically, such a lease would name three persons, usually the lessee and perhaps a child of his, and often a prominent person.  Under the terms of such a lease, it remained in effect until all persons named in the lease had died.  Apparently James' life was the last one on several local leases.


  1. Hello, James was my 4th great-grandfather. Thanks so much for sharing. I too hope he was a good landlord to Grandpa O'Dwyer xx

  2. Hello Dora, thank you for commenting, very nice to hear from a 4th great-granddaughter!

  3. Really interesting. Thank you for publishing this. James Scully was an ancestor of mine too. I have his portrait painted in about 1820. David Scully

  4. You're welcome, thanks for stopping by and leaving a note!