Ballaghduff Breakdown 1903

The Petty Sessions Court Register of 1903 records a dispute over fences and right-of-way between five families of Ballaghduff and John Steevens of neighboring Miltown, both townlands on the D’Arcy estate. It started with Patrick Collins (1859-1924) using pastureland he claimed the right to use. John Steevens said no way and a terrible row ensued. The next week, I guess the village matriarchs had enough and tore down Steeven’s fence.

The details

On July 28, in Mountbellew, John Steevens of Miltown (to the east of Ballaghduff, see map below) brought the following charges against these residents of Ballaghduff:

  • Mrs. Ellen Dunne [age 50] of Ballaghduff West, that on 21st July 1903 at Ballaghduff East in said county, Defendant did willfully or maliciously cut & break & throw down the complts [complainant’s] fences. (Damage fences).
  • Catherine Dunne [my great-grandmother, age 32] of Ballaghduff West, that on 21st July 1903 at Ballaghduff East in said county, Defendant did willfully or maliciously cut & break & throw down the complts [complainant’s] fences. (Damage fences).
  • Catherine Stephens [either wife of Patrick, age 42 OR the widow Steephens, age 45, ancestor of Robert Stephens] of Ballaghduff West, that on 21st July 1903 at Ballaghduff East in said county, Defendant did willfully or maliciously cut & break & throw down the complts [complainant’s] fences. (Damage fences).
  • Bridget Mullen [age 35] of Ballaghduff (W) , that on 21st July 1903 at Ballaghduff East in said county, Defendant did willfully or maliciously cut & break & throw down the complts [complainant’s] fences.
  • Patrick Collins (Peter) [age 44, father of Peter, future father-in-law of Katie Dunne] of Ballaghduff, that on 12th July 1903 at Ballaghduff Defdn [Defendant] did unlawfully make use of threatening & abusive language towards the compln [complainant] & keep him in dread & terror of his life (Threats, menaces)
  • Patrick Collins (Peter) of Ballaghduff, that on 12th July 1903 at Ballaghduff Defdn did commit willful trespass by entering on compls [complainant’s] pasture land (unlawful trespass)

By the same token, Patrick Collins (Peter) charged John Steevens as follows:

  • That on 12th July 1903 at Ballaghduff in said county defendant did unlawfully prevent compl [complainant] from using a certain right of way which he had a legal claim to use. (Right of way)
  • That on 12th July 1903 at Ballaghduff in said co [county] defendant did unlawfully make use of threats & menaces toward complainant

According to the records, John Steevens asked that the matter be adjourned till the next court date. On August 11, all the charges were entered again, but the Justice dismissed everything with the note “No jurisdiction.” Apparently, it was a matter to be decided by someone else.

Excerpt from Petty Court record, 11 Aug 1903
Map of Ballaghduff-Milltown area

2 comments

  1. Susan, I loved seeing this post. All the names mentioned are reminders of family named by my mother when my brother and I were growing up.

    Like

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