Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents



William Miller signs his letter of 1 Oct 1829.
See larger and full size.

William Miller,
William T. Miller.
Policeman in the County Constabulary (which much later became the RIC).
No service record found for him in police service records (only includes those who were serving in 1836 and later).
He is listed in [RIC officers].

Policeman in South Co.Tipperary as at 1826-27:
He risked his life to take on Mathew Hogan (or Matthew), head of a group of Co.Tipperary faction fighters, "the Hogans".
The story is told in [CSORP, 1827] and [Miller file, pleas in Sept and Oct 1830] and [CSORP, 1831].
On 10 July 1826 (NOT 1827), at the fair of Kilfeakle (Kilfeakle par, Barony of Clanwilliam), SW Co.Tipperary, Miller arrested faction fighter Mathew Hogan and other armed men.
[CSORP, 1827] says Miller arrested "a man of most desperate character named Matthew Hogan, the head of a lawless faction".
Miller says he arrested Hogan and the others "in view of upwards of 800 men, their comrades, all of whom were armed". He says: "every Fair and Market day in the County of Tipperary was a scene of bloodshed and murder until I at the risk of my life apprehended the leader of one of the most desperate Factions armed at the Head of Hundreds". He says Hogan's faction were "after committing many barbarous murders on that day as well as having disturbed the peace of the county with riots and murders for many years before".
He brought a successful prosecution to conviction against Hogan and 6 of his party in the 1827 Spring Assizes at Clonmel. He says he prosecuted "the Hogans".
Mathew Hogan was sentenced to transportation (would be to Australia).
The faction threatened Miller's life, and he "was obliged to quit that County" [Co.Tipperary] "to avoid assassination".
His father and himself had to leave Co.Tipperary in 1827 to avoid reprisals (this would suggest the family was from Co.Tipperary).
The Grand Jurors of Co.Tipperary at Clonmel wrote a letter [CSORP, 1827] to Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. They confirm that Miller's life is threatened, "and he can not in consequence return to his home", and they recommend him to a post as Chief Constable, "as a spirited active young man".
He got a commission in Co.Kerry to protect him from the faction "who were sworn to be revenged on me for being the cause of transporting their leader".

Chief Constable of Listowel, Co.Kerry, 1827-29:
He was appointed 1827 as Chief Constable of Listowel, Co.Kerry. Apparently appointed Apr 1827 [CSORP, 1827].
He wrote from Listowel on 30 Mar 1828 [CSORP, 1828, no.410] to William Gregory, Under-Secretary for Ireland, Dublin Castle. He is worried about a report "that a reduction will take place in the police establishment". He says that if he loses his position his life will be at risk.

Miller got into trouble for being absent without leave in June 1828 (in the weeks before his wedding).
In [CSORP, 1828, no.946] there is a letter of Fri 13 June 1828 from Matthew Singleton, Sub-Inspector for Co.Kerry [RIC officers], writing from Tralee to Major William Miller, Inspector General for Munster, at Clonmel [RIC officers] (confusingly same name as our Miller). Singleton says he attended the Petty Sessions at Listowel on Thur 12 June, no police present. He found Miller had left Listowel on Wed 11 June, not due back until Sat 14 June. His letter formally reports Miller absent without leave.
On 17 June 1828, Major William Miller forwards this report to William Gregory, Under-Secretary for Ireland, Dublin Castle.
There is then a letter from Listowel, 18 June, from the Magistrates of Listowel to Major William Miller, saying they gave Miller permission.
On 21 June 1828, Major William Miller forwards the Magistrates' letter to William Gregory, though he thinks it irregular.
Miller is listed in marriage settlement as Chief Constable of police stationed at Listowel.
Newspaper report of marriage lists him as "Chief of the Iraghticonnor Constabulary Force" (the whole area N of Listowel).

He mar 28 June 1828, Kilflynn, Co.Kerry, to Mary Ponsonby [bapt 20 February 1804, descendant of Henry VII].
Marriage settlement is about her Ponsonby inheritance. It covers a sum of £1,880, the remainder of her inheritance of £2,000, her share of the £4,000, the remainder of the original £6,000 inheritance on Ponsonby lands in Co.Kerry.
Marriage settlement witnessed by William Ponsonby, junior, of Crotto and John Herbert, carpenter, of Crotto.
They are living Listowel as at [Deed, Apr 1829, Crosbie].
[Patrick Carroll's Notebooks] list him as Chief Constable of Listowel in 1829, living Listowel.

Chief Constable of Kilfinane, Co.Limerick, 1829-30:
He became Chief Constable of Kilfinane, Co.Limerick, 1829 [RIC officers].
He was at Listowel until at least 30 June 1829, according to [Miller file, letter of 10 May 1830].
He moved from Listowel to Kilfinane around 1 July 1829, according to [Miller file, letter of 8 May 1830].
He had moved to Co.Limerick by Sept 1829 [Miller file].
William T. Miller, chief constable, Kilfinane, Co.Limerick, writes letter of 1 Oct 1829 to George King, 3rd Earl of Kingston about suspicious characters with firearms in his locality.

William Miller's investigation, arrest and dismissal, 1829-30:
There is a complaint about Miller, dated 11 Dec 1829 [Miller file] written by Mr. Smith, Sub-Inspector for Co.Limerick, from Rathkeale, Co.Limerick (this must be William Smith, see [RIC officers]), sent to Major William Miller, Inspector General for Munster.
Smith complains that our Miller's reports are late or absent, "indeed since he came to this County, he has been generally late with any returns he has made." He says Miller is not responding to correspondence. He has sent Miller pay for his men, and the men are meant to return signatures that they got it, but: "There are three months' pay issued by me to his District without a single document in my possession to show that the men have been paid."
There is a letter, 15 Dec 1829 [Miller file] from Major William Miller to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Francis Leveson-Gower, recommending that our Miller be suspended.
He was suspended from the constabulary on 17 Dec 1829.

An Investigation was held at Bruff, Co.Limerick, on 21 Jan 1830 (and reassembled at Limerick on 26 Jan). A witness said they visited Kilfinane and found Miller's police station with no food for the horses. The investigation found that the horses had been neglected, and that Miller had kept no proper accounts for horse supplies.
There is a report dated 22 Mar 1830 [Miller file] on the proceedings of the Court of Enquiry. This says that Miller had taken the money given him to pay for forage, while putting the horses out to grass instead (without permission).
There is a letter, 22 Apr 1830 [Miller file] from John Church, apothecary and postmaster, Listowel (see [Gaughan, 1974]) to the Lord Lieutenant Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland. Church complains that Miller - who is now in Kilfinane - left debts behind in Listowel, including debts incurred on police business. Church accuses Miller of diverting money for the constabulary to his own use. He refers to Miller's debts on postage as "this amount having been received by him from the Government and converted to his own use." Church has tried to collect the debts, but Miller left to go to Kilfinane and won't respond to letters.
A letter of 8 May 1830 [Miller file] says Miller received from the police the money for his expenses in Listowel, but he "has applied it, the public money, to his private use."
A letter of 10 May 1830 [Miller file] from Matthew Singleton, Sub-Inspector for Co.Kerry, says Miller "is guilty of gross dereliction of his public duty."
A letter of 13 May 1830 [Miller file] by Major William Miller says our Miller's "pecuniary difficulties ... are in a great measure to be ascribed to his habitual extravagance". He says he has had to deal with many other complaints about Miller's debts.
Miller was arrested and jailed in Limerick jail for debt.
A letter of 29 May 1830 [Miller file]. says he was then in Limerick jail for debt, and calls for his dismissal from the constabulary.
He was dismissed from the constabulary on 5 June 1830, see [Miller file, plea in Sept 1830].
[RIC officers] says he was dismissed "for gambling and being frequently in arrears to the men under his command". There is no mention of gambling in [Miller file].

After he was dismissed, Miller wrote a letter dated 28 Sept 1830 [Miller file] to the Lord Lieutenant Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland, pleading to be re-instated. He attaches a plea dated 25 Sept outlining some of his history. It says that after the Hogan case, his father and other relations had to move to Co.Kerry too, to avoid reprisals. He claims that his expenses are related to this rather than to any personal extravagance. [CSORP, 1831] says that when they moved, he became responsible for his father's debts.
His plea says he has lost his job, and "was obliged to hand over his property to pay his creditors and is now ... destitute of any means of support". There is no mention of his wife's money.
He says he still lives "in imminent danger of having his life taken by a Faction, who have sworn to be revenged of him."
He travelled to Dublin, hoping to be seen at Dublin Castle.
He wrote another plea, from Dublin, to Dublin Castle, 26 Oct 1830 [Miller file]. He says his life is under threat from the Hogans. He pleads to be given a position, "I care not in what part of Ireland".
He says "I am here without a shilling or means of getting it. I have no home to go to, for I dare not return to the country where I'm known unless to be murdered." There is no mention of his wife's money.
He wrote another letter to Dublin Castle, 6 Nov 1830 [Miller file] from his temporary lodgings at 5 South Frederick St, Dublin (see map, think no.5 now demolished). He says "I still remain in Dublin" hoping to hear a reply from Dublin Castle.
He got a reply on 16 Nov 1830, regretting that he cannot be restored.
There is another plea from Miller, temporarily in Dublin, 18 Nov 1830 [Miller file] to Dublin Castle. Apparently no answer.

There is an internal letter of 17 Nov 1830 [Miller file] by Major William Miller, about our Miller "appropriating to his personal use" a fine collected from a man for having unregistered arms.
[CSORP, 1830, no.10248] is a letter from Miller from Kilmallock, Co.Limerick, 11 Dec 1830, to Dublin Castle, responding to a request to know where fines collected for unregistered arms had gone. He admits that he kept them. During the 6 months that he was suspended "all which time I was not receiving pay. I was obliged either to see my family starve or make use of them." There is no mention of his wife's money. He says: "but for the charity of a Friend I would not have been able to leave Dublin or now remove my family from this neighbourhood."
He went up to Dublin again, and sent another plea to Dublin Castle, writing on 22 Feb 1831 [CSORP, 1831] from Sandymount Lane, Dublin (now Sandymount Avenue, see old maps) to the Lord Lieutenant, Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey. He refers to his jailing: "[I] am now being some time released from a wretched confinement, reduced to the greatest misery, not having the means of supporting myself or wretched family". He begs for restoration to a position "in any part of Ireland". The Lord Lieutenant reviews the case, declines to interfere.

William Miller is party to [Deed, 1842] about his wife's Ponsonby inheritance. His wife is not listed as one of the parties. She might be dead.
Not known if any issue.
In letters of 1830-31 above he said he had to take money in order not "to see my family starve" and of "not having the means of supporting myself or wretched family", but it is unclear who his "family" refers to.

This must be William Miller's father:

James Miller,
born 1773 or 1774.
Listed in [Letter, Nov 1829] as age between 55 and 56.
He was a policeman.
[RIC officers] says he was first in Dublin Police, then joined Peace Preservation Force 1816.
[Letter, 1829] says he had 12 years of service as Chief Constable in the Barony of Clanwilliam, SW Co.Tipperary (the area of Kilfeakle, where William Miller was a policeman).
[Patrick Carroll's Notebooks] say he was Chief Constable of the Barony of Clanwilliam as at 1822. He was then living Tipperary town (the main town of Clanwilliam barony).
He is described in [Letter, 1829] as "Late Chief Constable", pensioned after 1826.
[Letter, 1829] is a letter dated 14 Nov 1829 from him to the Chief Secretary, Lord Francis Leveson-Gower. Miller writes from Kilfinane, Co.Limerick (must be living with his son William). He says he wants his pension converted to a lump sum payment because of certain difficulties he has (perhaps bailing out his son).
The request was apparently refused.

Listowel police station

William Miller was Chief Constable of Listowel, Co.Kerry, 1827-29.

Christy's pub ("The Well"), E corner of The Square, Listowel. From Google street view.
[Griffiths Valuation, 1852] lists the "Police-barrack" at property no.31, The Square, Listowel.
Local historian Vincent Carmody says this is now Christy's pub.
He says "The Well" was short for the Bridewell (the local prison).
This may have been Miller's station.

Christy's pub ("The Well"), The Square, Listowel.
Photo 2013. See full size.
See other shot and other shot and other shot.

The "Bridewell" (the prison), Church St, Listowel.
From 1829 to 1842 map.
This is the site of the modern police station.
[Gaughan, 1974] says that as at 1845 the modern police station site was the Bridewell.
A bridewell sometimes had a police station attached, but that does not seem to be the case here.
[Griffiths Valuation, 1852] lists the Bridewell at property no.70, Church St, Listowel, but has a separate listing for the police barracks in The Square.
Church St used to be called Church Lane in the 19th century.

The constabulary barracks, Church St, Listowel (at Bridewell Lane, later called Forge Lane, now Colbert St).
From 1887 to 1913 map.
The magnificent new Listowel RIC station (which stands today) was built maybe around the 1880s at the site of the old Bridewell.
See Listowel police station in 1901 census.
In 1918, Church St was renamed Ashe St but the new name did not catch on.
Listowel police station was in 1920 the site of the Listowel Mutiny.

The burning of Listowel police station in the Civil War, Aug 1922.
Republicans held Listowel. They burnt the police station as Free State troops advanced on 3 Aug 1922.
See larger and full size. Courtesy of Vincent Carmody.
This building was restored, and today is the impressive Listowel Garda station, Church St. See Google Street View.

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