Cary and Rankin Families, Donagh, Co Donegal

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Letters concerning the Tenancy & Arrears of Rent

Sara has transcribed most of the 300 or so pages of John Norris Thompson's Nondescript Book.  Within the section of letters there are a number of ones concerning the tenancy and arrears of rent etc of part of the three quarterlands of Donagh ie these appear to be Carricktemple or the Churchland Quarter, BallyBrienougher Mough Moyshandoney and Carrick - taken from one of the Micah Cary's daughter’s marriage settlement.

It seems that the lands originally were bequeathed to Tristram Cary, son of Edward Cary of Dungiven, and Sarah Brazier, widow of Paul Brazier, daughter of Sir Tristram Beresford.  

"To my 3rd son Tristram Cary the two towns which I have in the Parish of Bovevy being parte of the lands which I hould from the Bishop of Derry and also the three quaterlands of Doneugh lying in the Barony of Enighowen"

 George Cary was Tristram Cary's son by ? and he probably inherited these three quarterlands of Donagh and established the branch of the Cary family, based at Tiernaleague.  One of his sons was Micah Cary who married Mary Anne Hamilton, widow of Tristram Cary (possibly a second cousin) and died in 1789.  He died intestate and so the lands held by lease under the Bishop of Derry were divided - 1/3 to the widow and 2/3 equally to the 8 children, 4 boys & 4 girls.  Each child therefore received a 1/12.  The eldest daughter, Mary Anne Cary, married Charles Hamilton; Martha Cary married William Rankin, Frances Cary married Samuel Rankin (not a brother but almost certainly a cousin of some kind to William) and Jane Hamilton Cary married Thomas Levet Metcalfe. The eldest son was George Cary who left, probably having reached a settlement with his youngest brother Robert of an annuity in exchange for his 1/12 share – this is mentioned in Robert Cary's will.  William Cary died prior to 1813. Tristram Cary married but little is known about him, although various family letters refer to him.  Robert Cary the youngest did not marry, but did have an illegitimate son, Matthew Cary, to whom he left property in his will and who is also referred to in some of the family letters as having gone to sea.  When Mary Anne Cary (mother) died abt 1813 she left her 1/3 share to Robert Cary, this must have caused a certain amount of family friction because advice was sought from Counsel as to whether she had the right to will her 1/3 share in this way.  Robert Cary took over the management of the estate for the rest of the family but clearly from the letters, this caused yet more aggravation and by 1820s he was getting thoroughly fed up.  There appears to have been some division of the holding within the family, such that some of them were collecting rents etc on their own behalf.  The initial agent, as far as Martha Rankin nee Cary and her son Samuel Rankin were concerned, was Robert Moore, however he clearly had a falling out with Robert Cary and is dismissed as agent.  Robert Cary then appointed Dan Doherty as agent, possibly for the whole estate but certainly for himself and his sister. Dan Doherty seems from the letters to be a less educated man than Robert Moore.

The letters are mainly concerned with Martha Cary. Samuel Rankin was Martha Rankin nee Cary's son and so he obviously involved himself in dealing with her affairs.



Robt Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown 30th July 1819

Dear Madam (Mrs Rankin - JNT - 1883/4)


I received a note from Miss Rankin saying you were in very great want of money, which I believe to be true, as it is a general complaint at present from the King to the beggar.  I suppose you will consider me very indolent for not sending money or answering the letter sooner, but through neglect of the postmaster I did not get the letter until late on Monday evening last the next day I took the bailiff and went through your tenants and all I could make of them was £2-4/9 which I did not consider worthwhile to send you.  However I endeavoured to make it £10 myself which I have endorsed and sent you by the bearer I thought it hard to send a man one errand with less or yet to pay postage for a less sum. I would have been able to send you one year's rent, but as there was a good deal of arrears due upon your land, when I began to receive the rent. I was giving to Mr Cary as I procured it until I gave him £33 or £34 which was out of this last crop and you know very well, that people who run so far behind, could not bring themselves forward with one, as there is nothing now but the crop to make money of.  Before this there were other means of making money, that enabled them to pay off rents with less trouble.   There is more difficulty now in raising one hundred pounds than was about five years ago in raising one thousand.  At the time I gave Miss Rankin the account of arrears due by your tenants I knew nothing of Richard Bradley who was then due £19 something, and is not cleared out yet, besides his rent running on since. So soon as there is some money made out of the barley. I will go to Ramelton and settle and pay you off until the 1st Novr last.  I hope you will not stand in need of any money sooner than the tenants can get some of the barley sold.


I remain your most obedient and humble servant

                                                                                    Robert Moore



Robt Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown Augt 25th 1821

Mrs Rankin


I have sent £5-19/7 1/2 to be left for you at Mr Wm Doherty's Bridge Street, Derry, which you can have the first convenient opportunity by sending there.  You complain weighty of the payments that have been made this year, but I assure you there are very few landlords in Ennishowen as well paid as you are.  I hope in the course of nine or ten weeks to clear you off as usual before the first of Novr. although some of your tenants are two years behind against the first of Novr I mean Neal Richard and Michl Bradley some others nearly as bad. I suppose they will have to be noticed before November next.

                                    I remain your most obedient H (humble) Servant

                                                                                                Robert Moore



Robt Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown October 23rd 1821

Mrs Rankin


I have sent £34-7/10 1/2 to be left at Mr William Doherty's in Bridge Street for you which you can have by the first opportunity.  I thought to have gone to Ramelton about this time myself but being so much disappointed by the lateness of the harvest and the weather still continuing so stormy that I was afraid of the uncertainty of crossing the ferry and the harvest was so much later than I expected that I have not so much money to send as I thought I would have (have is crossed out - SEDL - 2010) been able to have taken with myself however I thought better to send, what I had gathered at present lest you should be in want of some by this time.  If the weather comes in good perhaps I may go over about the fair in Carn and will hand you whatever money I can raise till that.  Barley is greatly fallen here this eight days, it was worth one shilling per stone until eight days ago and it is now fallen in our markets to 8d and 9d per stone.  I have not got the exchange of the note yet but hope I will very soon.


I remain your most obedient humble servant

                                                                        Robert Moore

I will be uneasy until I hear of your receiving the money you will have the goodness to write immediately after the receipt of it.



Robt Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown April 23rd 1822

Mrs Rankin


I have sent £20-11-0 to be left for you at Mr William Doherty's Bridge Street Dery which you can have the first opportunity. The first time you write to me mention to me that you expect Master Sam home from Dublin in June or July next and that immediately after that time that you will have ejectments sent down and served upon Harry Bradley, Owen Bradley, Michl Bradley and Richard Bradley and some others altho I am endeavouring to keep pretty well forward with you, the tenants I have mentioned are not inclined to do so with me.  You can mention that the cost of every ejectment will be twenty shillings or upwards together with every other expense attending the same. You wish to know whether Mr Cary has renewed lately, or not, I believe he has not, but I do not wish to ask him any questions respecting it, lest he should think I was rather meddling.

            I remain your most Obedient Humble Servant

                                                                                                Robert Moore


Robt Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown Sepr 11th 1822

Mrs Rankin


I would have some money collected and sent you before this, but Mr Cary has taken his agency from me in consequence of some little dispute between Grace Gorman and me that has displeased him and he has also discharged me from raising any rents on your property either.  He proposes settling with me tomorrow and whatever money is in my hands of your (which is but trifling for the reason I tell you) I will have it sent to the usual place in Derry again Tuesday or Wednesday next. I thought matters would have been settled before this or I would have written sooner.  I consider it is with you that I ought to settle the accounts of your dividend of the property. I intended going to Ramelton in the course of one month to settle up till last November as usual but if Mr Cary insists on me settling your accounts with him I suppose there will be no necessity.  I believe he intends receiving the rents in future himself, but if he should not I would expect a continuance of your part in preference to a stranger as I hope you always found me punctual enough considering the difficulty that is now in making up rents.


I remain your most obedient servant

                                                            Robert Moore


Robert Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown September 21st 1822

Mrs Rankin


The last letter I wrote you I considered that I would got settling with your brother on Friday as he had proposed, but he was so engaged with the harvest that he had not time, and at the same time that I would have remitted whatever balance was in my hands of yours on Tuesday as I had promised.  I have got no settlement made as yet however I find that I have about two pounds in my hands which I have enclosed and sent by post. I could get no safe opportunity going to Derry on Tuesday or I would not (have) disappointed you.  This sum is very small but I would had it a good deal larger and sent in better time had I been permitted to raise it.  I believe no person that has been so honest and correct in their accounts as Mr Cary acknowledges I always was ever lost an employment for so frivolous an occasion.  According to my account this is £53-16/11 out of the year's rend due at Novr 1821 which would I suppose be necessary for you to mention in a letter that there would be no mistake between us.


I remain your most obedient Humble Servant

                                                                        Robert Moore



Robt Cary to Mrs Rankin

Tiernaleague Sepr 30th 1822

Dear Matty


I have seen a letter from you to Robt Moore in which you find fault to my desiring him to cease receiving your rent. I have good reason for doing so and I hope you will not continue any person in your business who treats me or my place so ill as he and his family have done.  If Sam could come down for a few days and bring an account of the money sent you by R Moore since he commenced receiving for you he could settle matters with him, and I will pay Sam the balance due him on my bond.


I can get a man to receive you money until we get a general division of the property, who is worth £300 and will give you sufficient security.  I have done all in my power at all times for the improvement of the property and I hope to convince the family shortly of it.


I am with love to all with you

                                    yours truly

                                                            Robt Cary


Robt Moore to Mrs Rankin

Churchtown Octr 9th 1822

Mrs Rankin


I received your letter and am extremely obliged to you for your kindness.  I showed Mr Cary the letter and he said if I would impound any cattle that he would return them again to the owners.  He also desired me not to receive any rents in your land for he was lessee and would do as he thought proper.  He mentions that Master Saml was to be down and that he would then have matters arranged.  I sent you two pounds by post, which was about the balance in my hands which I hope you got safe.


I am your most obedient Humble Servant

                                                                        Robert Moore



Robt Cary to Mrs Rankin


Dear Matty


I send you £10 which I got from Dan Doherty for you.  The tenants cattle were impounded and no one to purchase them.  I wish Sam could come down for a few days, and see how the state of the country is to money.  I will send you the £30 so soon as I get it


                                                Yours Truly

                                                                        Robt Cary

8th July 1823




Dan Doherty to Mrs Rankin 


I have seen a letter which Mr Robt Cary received from Mr Samiel Rankin desiring mee to go to your place i woud wish there was a settlement made on the Rock but the road is so far and off this at this severe time of the year i still expected Mr Rankin woud bee here and wee coud have it done.  Mr Cary thought hee woud bee here likewise. With respect of demanding possession from your tenants which was noticed plese to send mee word if it is to bee done and what time to bee demanded your tenants seem to bee in a good way of paying up the arrears i will mention to you within are all they are due and the last year's rent. the arrears i expect to get up in a few days i have sent some days back to Mr William Doherty's care to send to you £14-1/8 Irish which i have not received a receipt.


Arears due on the year 1826


Patrick Brison £0-6-0 Widow McGoyaghan £3-12-5
Michael Doherty £1-11-6 John McGuinness £1-10-2
Neal Bradly £1-4-6 John Bradly £2-9-6
Henery Bradly £5-18-4 Richard Bradly £1-12-0
William Doherty £0-8-6 Dennis Lafferty £0-16-9
      £17- 8- 8


                                                Yours sincerely

                                                                        Daniel Doherty

Carn Jany 6th 1827



Robt Cary to his sister Martha Rankin


Dear Matty


On the other side I have copied from D Doherty's book an acct (account) of the rent recd from the tenants for 1826.  He says you know the amount of the arrear due for 1825.  I am glad to hear from Fanny that Mary Anne is so well but sorry that Sam is so long confined,  it is very severe on a man of his early age.  I intend please God to go to Lifford Assizes and will go to see you, when I can tell you every thing about the renewal. 

     I am yours truly, in haste

                                                R Cary

16th March 1827

Rent recd for Mrs Rankin due 1st May 1826



Novr 28 Cash from M p Doherty £1 11 6
  Dennis Duffy   5 6
Decr 6 John Maginness 4 4 0
      12 Dan Callaghan, W Owen      
  Bradley Les 2 7 3
Feby 6 Dennis Canny £4 6 8
  Dennis Duffy F Millcown £1 16 9
  Wm Doherty Finagaluf £3 3 0
March 1 Dennis Canny £3 5 0


I now send to Mr Wm Doherty's £10-11-3 Irish this sum would have been in Derry long since but the storm prevented any person going.


P.S. Both people and cattle are in a bad state here: cutting heath for cows and trying to save potatoes.  They sell here now at from 9/0 to 8/0 per sack of 24 stones -




Dan Doherty to Saml Rankin

Carndonagh March 7th 1828


Dear Sir I woud remitted money sooner only waiting to have more i have got from the tenants a good of the May rent which will be with Mr William O Doherty on Saturday the 8th to send it forward.  You can have a look out to receive it. Richard Bradly, Neil Bradly and John Bradly has paid me none of the May rent as yet.  the rest of the tenants are i think dooing very well. Mr Robert Cary is demanding possession from the tenant that he notisd.  We have none of your Mother's tenants due arears only Henery Bradly less about £1-15-0 to pay up to 1st Novr 1826.  I have been often with him telling him the last of it woud be to loose his place. The most part of his last year's crop he sold to pay me the last money hee gave i made Neil Lynch demand possession from him trying be every means we can  Im yours truly

                                    Daniel Doherty



Dan Doherty to Mrs Rankin


Dear Madam


I have got up the arrears due by your tenants all to a remainder due by Henery Bradly Liss of £1-18/0 he is always behind in payment I cep close to him to get him this far up i want to know from you if im to begin for the last years rent as grain is so low at present.  Coud you bear of for some time to see if there woud be an advance in its price. Mr Robt Cary is giving 10 per stone for oats in his arrears I have sent this time enclose £15 3/4


            Im yours sincerely Daniel Doherty


Carndonagh January 11th 1828



Dan Doherty to Mrs Rankin


Dear Madam                         Mr Colhoun to Day was talking to me if i had any money to send ass hee woud take it to you i coud get no money from your tenants sins the past i sent that lay in Mr William Doherty's Derry from the 27 May last.  Mrs Rankin write to mee to send a list of what arrears is due by your tenants


Arears due on the year 1827              
  £ s d   £ s d
John Bradly 0 15 1 Henery Bradly 2 2 10
          £2 17 11
Arears due on the year 1828              
  £ s d   £ s d
Dennis Dufey 2 12 2 Henery Bradly 4 14 6
Patrick Brison 1 8 0 Widow McGyogham 2 12 6
Own Bradly 4 4 0 Denis Doherty 1 16 9
Daniel Brison 1 14 0 John McGinnes 2 19 5
James Bradly 2 16 0 John Bradly 3 13 6
Denis Kerney 14 11 11 Richard Bradly 5 13 9
Daniel Callaghan 2 7 3 Denis Lafferty 7 16 9
Neil Bradly 8 9 0 James Dufey 3 13 6
          £65 2 5


The within is the areas due by your tenants to exclusive of Neil Lynch ass hee is to get credit on his fees by mee.  My own part of fees i generally keep ass you desired mee to do so at the time i was at Ramelton.  With you wee will do all in our power to have moony from your tenants ass soon ass possiible.


[The rest is in Sam Rankin's writing added to the original letter - JNT 1883/4]


Neal Lynch's arrear due to Novr 1828 after paying him his fees £3-8-9 1/2


    £ s d    
1 Dennis Duffy 6 6 0 Fringlug  
2 Patrk Brison 2 16 0 do  
3 Wm Doherty 3 3 0 do  
4 Mich Doherty 3 3 0 do  
5 Owen Bradley 4 4 0 do  
6 John McGiness 4 4 0 do  
7 Neal Lynch 4 4 0 do  
8 Danl Brison 2 16 0 do  
9 Widow Friel (Jack Bradley) 2 16 0 do  
10 Dennis Kerney  18 18 0 Liss  
11 Danl Callaghan 4 14 6 do  
12 Neal Bradley 9 9 0 do  
13 Henry Bradley 4 14 6 do  
14 Wm Doherty 3 13 6 Milltown  
15 Widow McGeigham 5 5 0 Milltown  
16 Denis Doherty 3 13 6 do  
17 John McGinis 3 13 6 do  
18 John Bradly 3 13 6 do  
19 Richard Bradly 9 3 7 do  
20 Denis Lafferty 1 16 9 do  
21 Denis Duffy 3 13 6 do  
    £106 0 10 [Rental of Mrs Rankin's share - JNT]


[I think my uncle Sam Rankin must have made some mistakes as to the town lands in which some of the tenants lived but perhaps not - JNT 1883/4]




Dan Doherty to Sam Rankin

Mr Samiel Rankin Esq


Dear Sir i am dooing all i can to raise mony of the tenants for Mrs Rankin.  What i can send, will bee at Mr Thomas Rankin's Derry on Wensday the 11th. Some of them are backward in paying. i think something are in their minds of the Rout was in this country about lowering lands.  The Dufeys of  Frinyglug told mee one day last week they would pay no rent they came to mee on Monday night i was passing at the crane(?), i requested of them to come up on Tuesday morning. No they damned their souls if i would not come in imediately that i would not get it again so i came in.  they were due a balance of £1-10-0. i told them i woud have that in the first place they began to damn their souls again if they would pay that they threw down two pounds six shillings each of them i was giving them an acknowledgment for the money still I wanted the balance of them.  They threw back the papers and gave mee and the mistress the most insulting language they could envent out of their horrid lying throats. Every lie they coud think of fornenst a crowd of people. they said too they did not care a damn for either landlord or Agent and not a drop of liquor in them at this time; however i heard they fought down the street before they went home again. Not but those fellows coud pay their rent well it woud bee a pity of a poor man that had it not but they have it  I went down to Neal Lynch next morning with the mony they left to leave it with them and to strictly tell them i woud not take one halfpenny less than the full year's rent and to tell them i woud give them a supena for their scandalous eyes that night which I think dear Sir i will. Neal left that mony with them i want to know ass soon ass possible from you directions how i may have the rent from them.

                        I am ever yours truly

                                                            Daniel Doherty

Carndonagh April 3rd 1832



Dan Doherty to Samuel Rankin

Mr Samiel Rankin

Dear Sir


Neal Bradley Liss complains of John McGinness by breaking up his luef (?) Banks which hee says he had still in his property. Neal summoned John McGinness and Neal Lynch ass a witness Mr Harvey told them he woud have nothing to do with it and dismissed the case. Your uncle Mr Robt Cary desired Neal to cut his banks ass formerly John McGinness woud not stand to that but is persevering in grazing the Banks. Wee woud wish to know how it woud bee settled between them from you untill you woud bee here and see the concern yourself. wee have got no mony from Mrs Rankin's tenants since the last mony sent by Mrs Thompson. Richard Bradly says hee will soon pay up his rent and arears in full the man that purchased woud wish to have credit in £5-0-0 or the mony due by Richard Bradly

                                                Yours truly

                                                                        Daniel Doherty

Carndonagh March 2d 1834



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