The O’Brien Line

Last year, I bought a book: “North America’s Maritime Funnel: The Ships that Brought the Irish, 1749-1852” by Terrence M. Punch. I was hoping to find specific information on my Lipsett and O’Brien lines; yet there was little genealogical information there. Instead I got a feel as to why my Irish ancestors may have immigrated to Canada in the late 1700s/early 1800s. Apparently Ireland was becoming overcrowded and with that, job opportunities became increasingly scarce. Even those who farmed had limited land on which to cultivate and provide for their families.

Michael O’Brien (born 1726) and his wife Catherine Quinn lived in Cahir, County Tipperary. They had at least two and possibly three children. Things took a turn for the worse when Michael passed away. Some online trees say that he died on October 18, 1770, but he had to have been dead at least two years beforehand, as we shall see.

An Internet search brought me to an article written for the September 2012 issue of “The Seniors’ Advocate” by Terrence Punch. (This is someone whose work I need to give more attention to!) Dr. Punch told the story of Catherine’s brother James, who was a Halifax, Nova Scotia innkeeper. He died intestate in 1768, which proved to be fortunate for Catherine, his only heir. When she heard of her brother’s death, it seems that she saw a great opportunity for herself and her family. She was able to gather the necessary paperwork that proved their relationship and whatever was needed to make the trip to Halifax in 1769. Of course Catherine was able to procure James’ land.

Eventually Catherine’s son Patrick and his family immigrated to Halifax to join her and inherit her land. This established my O’Brien line (below, in bold) in Nova Scotia. Catherine passed away on April 16, 1806 in Halifax.

The children of Michael O’Brien and Catherine Quinn:

  • John O’Brien – b. 1750 Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; d. 1819 (so far, I’ve only been able to find him on on-line trees)
  • Patrick O’Brien – b. 1751 Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. Mary Anglin; d. Jan 10, 1813, Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Mary Anglin – b. 1763 (Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland); d. July 20, 1813, Halifax, Nova Scotia. They seem to have immigrated between 1786 and 1790 from Ireland to Nova Scotia.
  • Ellen O’Brien – b. Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland

Children of Patrick and Mary:

  • Michael O’Brien – b. circa 1781, Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. Ann Elizabeth Prescott, June 4, 1816, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia; d. Dec 18, 1821, Caen, Normandy, France
  • Catherine O’Brien – b. circa 1784, Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. William Newman, May 24, 1806, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Sep 1, 1824, Pope’s Harbour, Nova Scotia
  • Ann Nancy O’Brien – b. circa 1786, Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. George Matthew, Dec 6, 1812, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Mary O’Brien – b. circa 1790, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Robert William Barber, Nov 30, 1816, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Feb 2, 1881, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • John O’Brien – b. 1794, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Jan 21, 1819, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • David O’Brien – b. 1796, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Margaret Seckar, Apr 12, 1825, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Jan 7 1844, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Thomas O’Brien – b. 1798, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Eliza _____; d. Jan 7, 1868, Manchester, Nova Scotia
    Eliza _____ – b. circa 1800
  • Matthew O’Brien – b. 1798, Halifax, Nova Scotia (could he and Thomas be twins?); d. Oct 16, 1839, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • James O’Brien – b. 1804, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Jan 22, 1828 at sea
  • Eliza O’Brien – b. 1806, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Francois Laurent, Jul 15, 1822, St. RochDesAulnie, L’Islet, Quebec; m. Charles Hilaire Tetu, Sep 19, 1837, Quebec City, Quebec; d. circa 1877
  • Eleanor O’Brien – b. Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Henry Newman, Dec 7, 1822, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Children of Thomas and Eliza:

  • James Patrick O’Brien – b. 1822, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Sarah Sophia Bruce, Jan 13, 1853, Guysborough, Nova Scotia; d. 1898; buried Boylston Cemetery, Boylston, Nova Scotia
    Sarah Sophia Bruce – d. 1898
  • Mary Ann O’Brien – b. Nov 30, 1824, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. James Mitchell Whitman, Jan 25, 1853, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. Mar 16, 1915, Mulgrave, Nova Scotia
  • William M. O’Brien – b. Jan 5, 1830, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Lydia Elizabeth Martin, Feb 16, 1858, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Margaret McKeough, Feb 27, 1868, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia; d. 1904, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia
  • Thomas Masters O’Brien – b. Apr 1, 1833, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Michael England O’Brien – b. Nov 29, 1835, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Robert Barber O’Brien – b. Apr 15, 1837, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Eliza Master O’Brien – b. Sep 5, 1844, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Joseph Henderston before 1866
  • John Henry O’Brien – b. Nova Scotia; m. Catherine Livingstone; d. circa 1856, Manchester, Nova Scotia

Children of James and Sarah:

  • John Bruce O’Brien – b. 1854, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. Aug 22, 1876, drowned in the Salmon River, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia
  • Caroline Eliza O’Brien – b. Sep 6, 1855, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Edward Stanley Lipsett, Dec 29, 1883, Gloucester, Essex County, MA; d. 1934
  • Eva Amelia O’Brien – b. Apr 26, 1859, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. before 1881
  • Annette Morton O’Brien – b. Jan 19, 1861, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Parker Hart, before 1880
  • John Winslow O’Brien – b. Mar 11, 1861 (I believe he may have been adopted. A 9-year-old appears on the 1871 census as “Basto Bruce”; in 1881, an 18-year old “James.”)
  • Sarah Sophia O’Brien – b. Aug 31, 1864, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Robert Fenwick Lipsett, Jan 18, 1893, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. July 23, 1932, Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Robert Fenwick Lipsett, b. Jan 23, 1866, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. Feb 19, 1948, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
  • James Robert Cooney O’Brien – b. Apr 20, 1867, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Irene _____, between 1883 – 1892; d. 1956 (“Jim” is the only O’Brien of whom I have a picture.)
  • Effie May O’Brien – b. Feb 23, 1870, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. 1951
"Uncle Jim" O'Brien, August 1953, Manchester, Nova Scotia. Author's collection.

“Uncle Jim” O’Brien, August 1953, Manchester, Nova Scotia. Author’s collection.

Lipsetts Beyond Robert Fenwick

Robert Fenwick Lipsett’s father was Robert Bruce Lipsett, born October 25, 1819. I have not been able to determine whether he was born in Ireland or Nova Scotia (censuses give conflicting information). He was definitely in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia by 1838. He married Christina McMaster on January 8, 1859. They seem to have lived and farmed in Clam Harbour, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia (which is southeast of Manchester) between July 1859 to March 1864, but lived in Manchester for the remainder of their lives (although Robert’s probate package states he farmed in Clam Harbour, so perhaps he moved back there after his wife’s death). They had eight children, whom I’ve blogged about previously. Their religion was listed in censuses as Church of England. Christina died June 15, 1891 and Robert died February 26, 1894. Both are buried in Manchester Cemetery. (Much more on Christina in a later post!)

Robert Bruce Lipsett was the second child of eight and second son of Edward Lipsett and Mary Irving, my 4x great-grandparents. I believe they are from Kesh, County Fermanagh, Ireland (which is currently in Northern Ireland). Because of the conflicting information of their children’s birthplaces, I am not sure when exactly they immigrated to Nova Scotia, but they were definitely living in Manchester by 1838, as Edward is enumerated there on the census as a farmer at that time.

Kesh, County Fermangh, Ireland. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Kesh, County Fermangh, Ireland. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Edward and Mary’s eight children were:

  • John, born 1818; married Mary Ann Torrey, September 18, 1855
  • Robert Bruce, born 1819
  • Ann Jane, born 1821; married William Frederick Porper Scranton on June 23, 1870; died January 26, 1907
  • Edward, born 1822; married Mary Jane MacKay, April 6, 1859; died between 1881 and 1891
  • George Irving, born April 28, 1826; I’m not sure how long he lived, but I believe he may have been alive in 1838, as represented by one of the tick-marks of males 14 and over in his father’s home.
  • Margaret Elizabeth, born September 27, 1827; married James Richard Bruce, March 24, 1857; died October 22, 1917
  • William Daniel, born October 13, 1832; died April 15, 1837
  • Richard Christopher (who went by his middle name), born Feb 13, 1836; married Sarah Ann Campbell, October 10, 1872; died June 15, 1891 (it was his daughters Margery, Iola and Jennie with whom his niece Edith lived in Gloucester)

Edward died in Manchester on May 1, 1857. Mary died much later on March 10, 1868. I assume they are buried somewhere in the Manchester area, but I have no record of where.

As a side note, Edward had a brother Jared who also immigrated to Nova Scotia, though I don’t know when. He was not in Manchester as of 1838, but was definitely in Guysborough County by 1861 with his wife Ann and daughter Eliza. He passed away on May 24, 1885.

Third Great Aunt Edith B. (Lipsett) Grimes

Edith B. Lipsett was the eighth and last child of Robert Bruce Lipsett and Christina McMaster. She was born June 1879, most likely in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.

Once her mother died in 1891, Edith immigrated to the United States in 1892. The 1900 Census finds her living (listed as “Edette”) with her second cousins Margery, Iola and Jennie Lipsett at 12 Centennial Ave, Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts. She worked as a seamstress.

On September 15, 1902 she married William F. Grimes in Gloucester, where it appears they lived for the rest of their lives. Their only child George G. was born between 1903 and 1905. I believe George died on October 12, 1976 in Gloucester.

In the 1940 Census, William seemed to be unemployed, like so many during the Depression, so Edith took in laundry at home. Later city directories show William working as a gardener. From what I can tell, the last city directory Edith is in is 1957, where she is shown as a widow. I have not yet been able to locate either of their death or burial information.

Third Great Aunt Carrie Lipsett

Carrie Lipsett was born on June 2, 1877. She was the seventh child of Robert Bruce Lipsett and Christina McMaster. The only record I have of her existence is an old index of her birth on FamilySearch (and I can’t even locate it on FamilySearch now; fortunately, I recorded the microfilm number (Project 102871-8, Film 1318353)). She must have died sometime before 1881, as she was not on the census of that year. For all I know, she may even have been a stillbirth.