James O'Mara (see here),
Family origin story seems false: Most of the above story seems false:
So from what we can see, James grew up near Clonmel.
It seems he worked for a time in the woollen mills near Clonmel.
His mother's family Casey are said to have owned a woollen mill at Clogheen, near Clonmel.
Comes to Limerick:
James' brother Andrew moved to Limerick and married there in 1837.
James came to Limerick before 1839. Probably lived with Andrew for a time.
In Limerick he worked in the wool trade, before he got into bacon.
[PAT/1, p.10] says that years later the O'Mara's still did a thriving business in wool with the Ebrills during the slack bacon period.
Settles in Mungret St:
James settled in Mungret St, Limerick. His brother Andrew lived on Mungret St. James may have lived with brother for a time before he married, but later they clearly have two different houses on Mungret St.
got a job in a bacon company in Limerick
as a clerk.
1924 letter (which is an eyewitness source) says this was John Russell's company. James O'Mara worked in the bacon department.
See John Russell of Upper William St listed under "Provision Merchants" in [Slater's Directory, 1846, p.276].
I had another story that he worked for Mattersons bacon factory, Limerick. I had this story before 1992 but cannot find source. See Joseph Matterson of Roches St listed under "Provision Merchants" in [Slater's Directory, 1846, p.276]. But the source for Russell's is much more convincing.
The story is he went home from his employer one day and said: "This is the last day I'm going to work for anyone".
He set up business on his own. He opened O'Mara's Bacon Company in 1839. He originally sold for his old employer, then started curing his own.
James and Honora
living Mungret St around 1844-1860 (their children baptised in nearby St.John's).
[PAT/1, p.4] says: "It was in the basement of this house in Mungret Street that bacon was first cured by them."
His wife worked in the business with him. Slowly, over the years, he worked his way up to become one of the prominent businessmen of the city. Honora worked with her husband in setting up O'Maras through the terrible years of The Famine (1845-50).
Think he is spelt "O'Mara" in all children's baptisms after 1844.
He sp bapt of his nephew Michael O'Mara Sept 1846.
"James O'Mara" is listed on Mungret St in Griffith's Valuation, 1850. He is leasing a very modest house, at plot 28. He is clearly not rich yet.
They are right beside Honora's sister Mary Foley and her husband Andrew Lynch at plot 30.
Also on Mungret St in Griffith's Valuation is James' brother Andrew and other people of interest.
"James O'Mara", Mungret St, is listed under "provision dealers" in [Slater's, 1856, p.310].
"James O'Mara" wit mar of his niece Margaret O'Mara 1858.
Move to Roches St:
James and Honora moved by 1862 to Roches St, Limerick. Living there as at children's births 1862-1866. Children now baptised at St.Michael's on Denmark St.
James set up a dedicated O'Mara's Bacon Factory on Roches St, Limerick.
He is listed as "James O'Mara", "provision merchant" at children's births and marriages.
"James O'Meara" sp bapt of Mary O'Mara 1868.
Obituary says he was "an ardent Nationalist".
He was an early supporter of Isaac Butt's Home Rule movement. He was a member (with his son Stephen) of the famous Butt Committee, which secured Butt's election for Limerick city, in by-election, 20 Sept 1871.
"James O'Mara" is listed in contributors to "The Butt Testimonial" in Irish Times, May 5, 1875.
"James O'Mara", of St.Michael's par, Limerick, is among those writing an open letter, 4 May 1877, to the Bishop of Limerick, expressing their wish to organise celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Pope Pius IX (50th anniv of him becoming a bishop).
See letter in Freemans Journal, 9 May 1877.
Honora dies, 1878:
She spent a lot of time in Co.Clare resorts. Undated letters from Stephen to his wife show he is often in Lisdoonvarna with his mother and his aunt.
Honora died in Kilkee, Co.Clare, 30 Aug [grave] or 31 Aug [GROI] 1878, age 56 yrs [grave] or 60 yrs [GROI].
[GROI] lists her as "Honor O'Mara".
She was bur 31 Aug or 1 Sept [burial record] at Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.
James erected grave, spelt name "O'Mara".
In 1878 he moved house to
17 Thomas St
(just N of Roches St),
one of the old town houses.
The factory stayed on Roches St.
His wife's address is still listed as Roches St in burial record 1878. He is listed at Thomas St from 1878.
He is listed as "James O'Meara, merchant" at Jack's mar 1880.
He became a Limerick Poor Law Guardian, listed as such at time of appointment as High Sheriff.
He became a Town Councillor (T.C.) on Limerick Corporation.
He is "James O'Mara" listed as Town Councillor for Dock Ward in [Thoms] at least 1888 to 1898.
[PAT/1, p.7] says he was known as "The Grand Old Man" in later life. This refers to a letter of 31 Dec 1889: "Give my best love to dear Mr. James O'Mara - our own Grand Old Man - to see him jumping into the Pollock Holes last summer like a young boy. I never saw anything like his vitality." (The Pollock Holes are deep pools off Kilkee.)
There was a Christmas dinner custom in the O'Maras that none of the many children or their husbands and wives or the grandchildren were allowed to speak a word during dinner, no matter how old they were. Great opportunity for the parents to expound their views.
In 1891 he bought the rights of the Russian Bacon Company, and until 1903 they leased and worked the slaughter and curing houses, situated in or nr Gryazi, on the railway line, near Lipetsk, Russia. "A Russian manager carried on the business and produced bacon which was shipped to Dad in London" [Pat Lavelle].
He is "James O'Mara", T.C. (Town Councillor), in Limerick Chronicle, 14 January 1892, and at Thomas Ray's funeral 1892.
Listed as "TC" at a talk in Limerick in Oct 1892.
described as a Justice of the Peace at his son Jim's
death and funeral 1893.
Limerick Corporation passed a Vote of Condolence, saying that the father
was "long connected and much associated with the Corporation".
He is listed as J.P. at son Jack's mar 1895, also in [Thoms, 1898], also at death 1899.
[Modern Ireland, 1899] says he was also a member of the Limerick Harbour Commissioners, a Governor of the Fever Hospital, and a Trustee of the Limerick Savings Bank.
Obituary says he was a magistrate of Limerick, and a "Visiting Justice of the Male and Female Prisons".
He is still listed as Town Councillor for Dock Ward in [Thoms, 1898]. Looks like he was NOT an Alderman.
Obituary 1899 says he represented the Dock Ward until he resigned at "the termination of the old council".
Obituary says he was nominated for Mayor of Limerick but declined.
James dies, 1899:
James was living 17 Thomas St, Limerick, at death.
He died Thur 20 Apr 1899, 17 Thomas St, Limerick, age 82 yrs [obituary], [grave], [death cert].
See death cert from here. He is "bacon manufacturer".
See obituary in Limerick Chronicle, 20 April 1899.
Funeral Sun 23 Apr 1899 [funeral report]. NOT 21 Apr [burial record].
He was bur Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.
Letter of 25 Apr 1899 confirms he died Thur and was bur Sun.
See funeral report in Limerick Chronicle, 25 April 1899.
Attendance included Bishop of Limerick and "Lord Emly" (would be Gaston Monsell, 2nd Baron Emly).
Probate of will granted 2 Nov 1899 to his sons Stephen and Frank. See entry from here. Estate £5,036. This is about £2m in today's money.
James and Honora had issue:
The marriage of James O'Mara to Honora "Fowloo" (Foley) in 1841 in the register of St.John's, Limerick.
See full size.
Extract from 1924 letter from David Murphy (born 1831).
Murphy says he and old James O'Mara worked for John Russell's company in Limerick city. O'Mara in the bacon department and Murphy in the leather department.
O'Mara's bacon company was said to be founded 1839. Murphy would be only a boy.
Note Murphy does think he and O'Mara were in Russell's before 1844 (when Stephen was born) and agrees he was a boy.
See full size.
See full size.
4 generations photo, 1898.
James O'Mara, his son Stephen, his son James, his son Stephen (born Sept 1896).
See larger and full size.
See close-up of old James.
See crop of old James. From [P40/916]. Used with permission of [UL Archives].
Baptism of Stephen O'Mara, 26 Dec 1844 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Peter O'Mara, 11 Mar 1847 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Margaret O'Mara, 28 Aug 1848 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Mary O'Mara, between 18 and 31 Oct 1850 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of John O'Mara, 27 Dec 1852 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Kate O'Mara, 10 Nov 1854 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Jack O'Mara, 26th Dec 1856 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Jim O'Mara, 23 Nov 1858 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Honora O'Mara, 24 Oct 1860 [St.John's, Limerick].
Baptism of Frank O'Mara, 18 Sept 1862 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
Baptism of Joseph O'Mara, 16 July 1864 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
Baptism of Nan O'Mara, 21 Aug 1866 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
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