BRENNEN FAMILY CHRONICLES© Christopher Earls Brennen
THE CHILDREN OF BERNARD AND SUSAN BRENNEN
- May Dorah Brennen was born on May 26, 1875, at 14 Lower Wellington Street, Dublin. Though known as ``May Dorah'' (and also as Maeve) she was baptized ``Dorah Mary'' and the name on her birth certificate was ``Dorothea Mary''. That certificate also gives her father as Macaulay Brennan, a teacher, and her mother as Susanna Dorothea, maiden name Quinn. She was baptized in St. Patrick's Parish Church, Donaghmore on March 15, 1878 at the same time as her brother, Alfred. In May, 1899, she married Edward William Grieve who was born in Scotland about 1874. They took up residence on the estate of John Turnly on the coast of County Antrim near Carnlough. The estate was called Drumnasole and was in the parish of Ardclinis. Edward was the shepherd or landsteward on the estate and May played the organ in Ardclinis church which was also on the estate. In the census returns of 1901 they are listed as William and Dorothea Grieve, aged 27 and 24 and the shepherd and the organist on the estate. Edward's father and brothers were involved in bringing sheep over to Carnlough and he may have obtained the job through this connection. They must have moved to County Down before 1904 and then Belfast before 1909 for their children Gertrude and Cyril were born in those locations. May and Edward had four children. Their daughter, Gertrude, claims that neither parent contributed anything to the children's upkeep or education (after 1909 the children were living with their grandparents). About 1911 May and Edward abandoned the children, leaving them with Bernard and Susan Brennen in the Railway Cottage in Donaghmore and going to live in Belfast. The memoirs of Margaret Mary Devlin (see Appendix) state that Maeve was ".. was very musical and she was a marvellous singer, she was invited to open all the big Orange Balls around the locality. My mother's aunt was a Dressmaker, Anne Hamilton, and she made Maeve Brennans clothes, she would write to her from Belfast when she wanted a gown for one of these big occasions and as she knew her measurements and her taste in clothes she would go into Dungannon and buy the material and make up the gown and post it to Maeve in Belfast. When Miss Brennan would come home she would come over and pay my aunt for her work." In the 1911 Census, 35-year-old Dorah Grieve is listed as living in Donaghmore with her parents along with her children, Irene, Gertrude and Edward. Dorah's husband Edward is reputed to have been drowned at sea during the First World War. Later the eldest surviving child, Irene, went to live with her mother in Belfast. The two younger children remained with their grandparents in Donaghmore and later lived with their Aunt Maud (Eileen Maud Brennen). May is buried in Belfast City Cemetary. The children:
- Anne Grieve was born prematurely and died as an infant in 1899. She is buried in the family grave at St. Patrick's, Donaghmore.
- Irene Bertha Grieve was born in Carnlough, County Antrim in May 1900. In the 1911 Census 9-year-old Irene is listed as living with her grandparents in Donaghmore. She accompanied her parents to Belfast when the family broke up. She may be the daughter that Margaret Mary Devlin calls "Renee" and writes "Renee went to Belfast, she was a clerk for Mr Reynolds the attorney in Dungannon for an number of years before going to Belfast where she died." Irene never married and died about 1940. She is buried in Belfast City Cemetary.
- Gertrude Mildred Grieve was born in May 1903 in County Down and, as described above, was raised by her grandparents in the Railway Cottage in Donaghmore and later by her Aunt Maud. In the 1911 Census 7-year-old Gertrude is listed as living with her grandparents in Donaghmore. She was trained as a teacher in the Church of Ireland College in Dublin, the same college that trained her maternal grandparents. ``Gertie'' married Samuel Jamison Scott, a farmer's son and motor engineer and sometime taxi driver. After their marriage Gertie and Sam lived in Coleraine, County Derry but frequently visited Donaghmore and provided food. They often invited Maud Brennen and Cyril Grieve for holidays at their home. They had four children listed below and Gertie continued to teach in later life. Sam died of a coronary in Nov.1959 when he was 61 and shorly after they had moved into a new house in Portstewart, County Derry. A year later Gertie retired from teaching. She continued to have regular visits with Maud until the latter's death in 1970. In 1985 Gertie was living in a retirement home called York House in Portrush, County Antrim. She was a valuable source of information in compiling this chronicle. Gertie and Sam's four children:
- Dorothy Scott who married and had four children, Brian, Raymond, Susan and Derek. She and her husband retired from business in 1985 and went to live in Portrush, County Antrim.
- Wilson Scott became a business man in Coleraine, County Derry. He was married.
- Sydney Scott became a business man in Coleraine, County Derry. He was married.
- Mervyn Scott married and had five children, Denise, Jeanette, Malcolm, Alexandria and Gwyneth Scott. He emigrated to Australia and in 1985 was the manager of a plumbing business.
- Edward William Cyril Grieve, known as Cyril, was born in April 1908 and was therefore very young when he was separated from his parents. In the 1911 Census 2-year-old Cyril, born in Belfast, is listed as living with his grandparents in Donaghmore. He was raised by his maternal grandparents and later lived with his aunt Maud Brennen. Cyril trained as a teacher at Stranmillis Teacher Training College in Belfast and taught for a time in Donaghmore School. In 1950, he married Daphne Gettings from Greystones in County Wicklow and they lived in Londonderry where Cyril taught. Cyril died from a brain tumor in the Gransha Hospital in Londonderry on June 1, 1968 and is buried in Londonderry. Cyril and Daphne had one daughter:
- Cynthia Grieve.
- Alfred Macaulay (or McCauly) Brennen was born on Dec.3, 1876, in Corlatt, a village that is about a mile southwest of Newtonbutler, County Fermanagh. On the birth certificate his father is given as Barnard Macaulay Brennenn, a National School teacher, and his mother as Susanna Dorothea, maiden name Quin. A Dorotha Quin, nurse, was present at the birth. Alfred was baptized on March 15, 1878 in St. Patrick's Parish Church, Donaghmore. He became a surveyor and architect working first for County Down where he would later claim he built all of the bridges. About 1900 Alfred married Jean Fraser Grieve, the sister of his sister May's husband. Jean was born in Scotland about 1872. In the 1901 Census Alfred is listed as Assistant County Surveyor for County Tyrone and he and Jean were living in Loy, Cookstown. At that time they had a boarder, Katherine McCausland, a 28-year-old Post Office clerk. In the 1911 Census Alfred is listed as a 35-year-old Civil Engineer living in Number 9, Burn Road, Cookstown, with his wife, 38-year-old Jean Annie F Brennen, four children and 38-year-old Civil Servant Catherine McCausland. Alfred and Jean continued to live in Burn Road, Cookstown, for the rest of their lives. In the mid-1920s Alfred was promoted to be a County Surveyor and was responsible for the design and construction of subsidy houses in the county. Alfred enjoyed singing in the choir of the Derryloran Church in Cookstown. In her memoirs Margaret Mary Devlin remembers Alfie as " .. a great comedian, he would be asked to all the concerts around the district and he was also a great singer". He also was something of a country gentleman who loved dogs, guns and grouse shooting; he also went on the occasional drinking spree. His neice, Gertie Scott, recalled that he was, at times, a nuisance as he often came to the Railway Cottage in Donaghmore and someone had to leave him home where his wife kept him in bed until he was sober and then ``he was splendid''. My father, Wilfred Brennen, stayed with his uncle Alfie in Cookstown and enjoyed the freewheeling country life so different from the austere life in his parent's home. He recalled returning from a trip one evening in Alfie's Morris car. Alfie had had a few drinks and was singing lustily when they arrived at the entrance to the entry between Alfie's home and his neighbour's. Alfie stopped the car and disappeared into his office in the rear of his home, emerging a few minutes later with an armful of old drawings. These he placed in the entry and set a match to them. Then, to the terror of my father, Alfie proceeded to drive his car through this bonfire singing with even more vigour. My father remembers swimming in the local streams much to the consternation of Alfie's wife, Jeanie, who believed that one risked catching tuberculosis from the water. Jeanie's fears about tuberculosis were understandable since that disease tragically decimated her family. In addition to her children, her brother (and Edward Grieve's), Rodney Thomas Grieve, died of tuberculosis (he was nursed by Susan Brennen in Donaghmore). During World War II my father, Wilfred Brennen, who had not seen Alfie for a long time, returned home one evening to an empty house to find Alfie sitting by the piano. He had been to Belfast for the day. He gave my father a silver cigarette case and then left. Alfie died in 1948 and his wife Jeanie in 1958. They are both buried in the churchyard of St. Patrick's Parish Church in Donaghmore where there is a gravestone with the inscription ``BRENNEN'' standing alone on the headstone. On the left hand sidestone are the inscriptions
Fraser Victoria 1915
Dorothea Lorna 1908
Alfred McAuley 1948
while on the right hand sidestone are the inscriptions
Jeanie Fraser 1958
Colin Wilfred 1929
Cyril Alfred 1930
Alfred and Jeanie Brennen had the following children most of whom died of tuberculosis. It may be that the cow that they kept in the backyard of their Cookstown house was tubercular.
- Fraser Victoria Brennen was born about 1900 and is listed in the 1911 Census as a 9-year-old schoolgirl living with her parents in Burn Road, Cookstown. Fraser died in 1915 of tuberculosis at the age of 15.
- Colin Wilfred Brennen was born about 1903 and is listed in the 1911 Census as a 7-year-old schoolboy living with his parents in Burn Road, Cookstown. He was a singer and an entertainer and entered the banking business in Cookstown. He also contracted tuberculosis and was sent to a tuberculosis home in Midhurst, Surrey where he died in 1929.
- Muriel ElFreda Brennen, known as Freda, was born about 1904 and is listed in the 1911 Census as a 6-year-old schoolgirl living with her parents in Burn Road, Cookstown. Freda was a great singer, winning the coveted Rosebowl in a Belfast competition. She was offered a scholarship to study at the famous La Scala Opera House in Italy but turned it down. Freda married Derek Finney, a fairly wealthy man from Banbridge who owned cinemas. They retired to a house in Portballintrae, County Antrim. They died of cancer within a year of each other. Freda and Derek had children:
- Colin Finney who died as a child at the age of 4.
- Lindsay Finney who married.
- Dorothea Lorna Brennen who died in 1908, perhaps of tuberculosis.
- Cyril Alfred Brennen was born about 1910 and is listed in the 1911 Census as a 1-year-old living with his parents in Burn Road, Cookstown. Cyril was blind and also contracted tuberculosis. He died in 1930 as a teenager.
- Dorothy ``Dot'' Brennen, the youngest child, also had a beautiful voice. She first married Gordon McKeown by whom she had two children, Clare and Elizabeth. Tragically Gordon died of tuberculosis after they had been married for only about two years. Later Dot was married to James Simpson, a merchant who had a business on the Main Street in Cookstown. They had two children, Brian and Judith Simpson. Dorothy's children:
- Clare McKeown and later Simpson married Douglas Acheson and they had four children, Fraser Acheson, Jeremy Acheson , another child and Elizabeth Acheson.
- Elizabeth McKeown and later Simpson who died in the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt at the age of 25.
- Brian Simpson who married a woman called Susan. Brian took over his father's business in Cookstown.
- Judith Simpson married James Milligan.
- Wilfred Brennen was born on June 26, 1878, in Donaghmore, County Tyrone, and was baptized in St. Patrick's, Donaghmore on Sept.29, 1978. On his birth certificate his father is listed as Bernard Macauley Brennen, a schoolteacher, and his mother as Susan Dorah, maiden name Quin. Wilfred died in 1897 at the age of 19.
Herbert and Norah on their The summer resort at Fish Lake. wedding day, May 19, 1911.
- Herbert Edwin Brennen (1880-1952), according to his birth certificate, was born on May 19, 1880, in Mullygruen just outside Donaghmore. Kate Brennen is listed as having been present at the birth. He was baptized in St. Patrick's, Donaghmore on July 25, 1880. He belonged to the Dungannon Cycling and Rugby Clubs. Herbert was musical and enjoyed singing, often to his own accompaniment. He taught school for a year before earning his C.E. (Civil Engineer) degree. In the 1901 Census he is listed as living in Mullygruen with his parents; his occupation is given as ``County Surveyor's clerk''. Sometime prior to 1905, Herbert met Norah Winifred Johnston. Norah was born on Jan.29, 1881, one of 14 children of Ronald Hill Johnston (from Mullaghmore Knox) and his wife S. Emily Ewing, born Jan.9, 1859. At the time of Herbert and Norah's marriage, her father had died and her mother was living at 3 Northland Row, Dungannon. Marjorie Kelsey possesses some postcards that were exchanged between Herbert and Norah during the period 1905-08. Herbert mentions wins and losses of the Dungannon Rugby Club for whom he played. Some of the postcards were addressed to Norah at 60 Upper Queen St, Belfast, some to c/o Mrs. Ward, Tyneholm, Raglan Rd., Bangor, some to c/o Dr.Cliborn, Kilcrenagh, Castle Park, Belfast, her resident address in 1907. Some were also addressed to Norah at ``Ballymaclinton'', Sheperd's Bush, London and at Nightingale Home, St. Thomas Hospital, London. For a period, Norah worked at ``Ballymaclinton'', a model of an Irish village erected at the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908 by the makers of M'Clinton's Soap. The village was modelled after Donaghmore. It seems possible that Norah was a nurse. On Feb.15, 1907, in County Antrim Herbert enlisted as a Private in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry Regiment and was discharged on Jul.6, 1908, as a result of the disbandment of the Regiment.
Herbert and Norah were married on May 18, 1911, in May Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast, and they left for Canada shortly thereafter. On May 26, 1911, they left Liverpool aboard the S.S. Virginian and arrived in Quebec City on Jun.2, 1911. In Canada, Herbert began work as a surveyor with the Canadian Pacific Railway. When their son, Ronald, was born on Feb.23, 1912, Herbert and Norah were living in Estevan, Saskatchewan. During the seven years they lived in Estevan, Herbert worked with a general contractor and operated the local Orpheum Theatre. About 1920 they moved to Wawota, Saskatchewan where Herbert became manager of the Imperial Lumber Company. The family were active in St. Mary's Anglican Church; Herbert was a warden and sang in the choir. During the winters curling was a favorite pastime as were shooting and hunting in season. In the spring of 1929 Herbert became manager of a summer resort called We-Non-Cha on Fish Lake (later called Kenosee) about 25 miles from Wawota. In the fall of 1929 when the resort closed for the winter the family rented an apartment in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, where their children, Ronald and Emerald, went to school. Norah travelled to Regina for surgery and died in Regina General Hospital on Dec.17, 1929. She was interred in Wawota. Spring of 1930 saw Herbert and the children back at the resort for another season; they moved back to Wawota in the fall. When the depression arrived in the early thirties, Saskatchewan suffered from a drought at the same time. Consequently Herbert was mostly unemployed, though he may have found some work in the relief camps. During these years people were leaving Saskatchewan in droves for either the west coast or Ontario. Herbert went west, driving a car for a family moving to British Columbia. Unable to find work in the lower mainland, he caught a ride on the back of a truck to the Bridge River Valley about 300 miles by road from Vancouver. There he became manager of a lumber yard near Bralorne and as soon as he had a few dollars saved he sent for Ronald and Emerald to join him.
Herbert with grandson Ronald Ron and Joyce about 1980. in British Columbia in 1939.
In January of 1942 he had a massive stroke and never regained his speech or the use of his right leg or arm. After three months in hospital he came to live with Ronald and family in a one bedroom house. In May of 1943 Ronald moved to Fort Langley, in earlier days a Hudson Bay post near Vancouver. Herbert began to go for walks in the village. One favorite was over the bridge to an Indian Reserve on an island in the Fraser river. With the consent of one of the Indian families he would rest on their porch before walking home. After his death on July 26, 1952 and before the burial the Indian couple stood outside Ronald's home and silently paid tribute to the man unable to hold a conversation with them. Herbert was buried in Fort Langley Cemetary. The children of Herbert and Norah Brennen:
- Ronald Macauley Brennen was born on Feb.23, 1912 in Estevan, Saskatchewan and moved to the Bridge River Valley in British Columbia in the early thirties. He married Marjorie McCannel on Dec.12, 1937 and they had five children listed below. In May of 1943 Ronald and his family moved to Fort Langley near Vancouver; Fort Langley was a Hudson Bay post in earlier times. Ronald excelled at hockey and baseball in his younger years and at golf and curling when he grew older. Among various jobs he worked as a miner and a bus driver. The family moved to New Westminster in 1955.
Here the story becomes complicated because Ronald had a second family and set up a home with a woman named Marion ?? who assumed the name Marion E. Brennen. The four boys born of this relationship and their descendants are included after Ronald's first family. Marion died in 1971.
On Dec.12, 1965 Ronald died as a result of a stoke suffered while curling. A decade later Marjorie married Henry Kelsey, a consultant gynaecologist and in 1985 their address was Apt.1101, 740 Hamilton St., New Westminster, British Columbia V3M 5T7, Canada. The Kelseys and Emerald Kelly visited Donaghmore and Northern Ireland in 1968. Ronald and Marjorie's children:
- Ronald Arthur Brennen was born on Oct.13, 1938 in the town of Bralorne, British Columbia, Canada. In 1956, after high school, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force where he specialized in radar. After five years he left the air force and went to work in the artic on the early warning system. Ron married Joyce Wilson in Renfrew, Ontario and has worked for a computer company in Ottawa for over twenty years. The company was taken over by Control Data Corporation. For some years Ron and Joyce and their family have lived at 218 Munro St., Carleton Place, Ottawa K7C 1G8. Ron enjoys owning and flying his own plane. They have a cabin by a lake in Quebec and Ron built his own landing strip near the cabin. Ron died on Sep.28, 2011. Ron and Joyce had two children:
- Kimberley Elizabeth Brennen was born on Oct.29, 1961. On Sep.5, 1981, she married Peter Francis Nephin, born Apr.5, 1960. For many years Kim has worked for the Centennial Pharmacy as book keeper; Peter is the Manufacturing Manager at Neptec Design Group Ltd., a prime contractor for NASA. They live just outside Carleton Place, Ontario. They have three children:
- Kirsten Elizabeth Nephin, born Oct.30, 1985, plans to attend university in 2002.
- Alexandra Shea Nephin, born Oct.26, 1986, is an avid hockey player.
- Danielle Lauren Nephin, born Aug.22, 1988.
- John Edwin Brennen was born on Jun.8, 1964, and graduated from Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, in 1987. After working for Superior Propane for several years, he returned to school and graduated from Algonquin College, Ottawa, in Business Administration in 1997. He is currently (2002) purchasing manager for Neptec Design Group Ltd., working for his brother-in-law, Peter Nephin. On Aug.14, 1999, he was married in St. Mary's Catholic Church, Carleton Place, to Rita Simone Louisa Regimbal, a French-Canadian from Lachine, Quebec. They live in Beckwith Township just outside Carleton Place. They have one child:
- Elizabeth Grace Brennen, born Apr.5, 2002, in Ottawa Civic Hospital.
- Herbert John Brennen was born on Oct.28, 1941 at the Bralorne, British Columbia Hospital, Canada, and lived for the first two and a half years of his life in Gold Bridge, B.C. a few miles from Bralorne. Both towns were in the gold mining business during that period. In 1944, he moved with his parents to Fort Langley, B.C. where they lived until 1954; then they moved to New Westminster, B.C. Herb left there in early 1966 to live on Vancouver Island in a town called Courtenay. In May 1966 he moved to eastern Canada to a town called Oshawa, Ontario, the home of General Motors Canada. There he worked for the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Automotive Museum for two years before returning west to Calgary, Alberta. On June 25, 1971 at the St. Giles Presbyterian Church, he married Donna Marie Hope Lyons (nee Cappler) born Feb.7, 1943, in Port Hope, Ontario. In Sep. 1972, they moved to Vancouver where Herb took a job with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. In Apr. 1972 they bought their first home in Beach Grove a former summer community for Vancouver families. In 1974 Herb completed the offical adoption of Donna's two children by a previous marriage. The family returned to Calgary for five years from Jul.1974 to Sep. 1979, at which time Herb accepted a position of Managing Director with the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association in Ottawa, Ontario. Since Oct.1979, they have lived in Kanata, Ontario, only 15 miles from Carleton Place where his brother Ron lives. Donna retired in Apr. 2002; Herb continues (2002) to work on a part-time contract as the General Secretary for the Nav Canada Joint Council. He marshals at a local golf course during golfing season and plays hockey during the winter. Their children:
- Scott Andrew Brennen, born Feb.23, 1963, the son of Donna and her first husband Andrew Lyons, studied mechanical engineering and graduated from Carleton University in 1986. He spent the next 15 years working Nortel Networks before taking a job as a Technical Sales Representative for Molex. Scott married Lisa Ward on Oct. 5, 1991, at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kanata and they live in Kanata, Ontario. They have three children:
- Emma Jane Brennen, born at the Grace Hospital, Ottawa on Mar. 21, 1994.
- Joshua Scott Brennen, born on Apr. 4, 1996, at the Riverside Hospital, Ottawa.
- Hannah Hope Brennen, born on May 9, 1998, at home in Kanata.
- Lorelei Hope Brennen was born on May 13, 1964, the daughter of Donna and her first husband Andrew Lyons. She attended Algonquin College taking a program in travel.
- Michael James Brennen was born on May 14, 1946 in New Westminster, British Columbia. He served for a time in the Canadian Navy and saw a good deal of the Far East. In 1985 Michael was the manager of an auto parts store in Castlegar, British Columbia and his address was c/o General Delivery, Nelson, Brit. Columbia U1L 5R3. Michael's first wife was Jeanne Arnold and they had two children listed below. Michael and Jeanne were divorced and Jeanne died a few years later. Michael then married Beverly Ruth Arkado and they had one daughter:
- Toni Diane Brennen, the daughter of Michael and Jeanne Brennen was born on July 19, 1968.
- John Stephen Macaulay Brennen, the son of Michael and Jeanne Brennen was born on March 18,1970.
- Tammy Lynn Brennen, the daughter of Michael and Beverly Brennen was born on July 4, 1972.
- Joel Douglas Brennen, the fourth child, was born on May 19, 1951 at Murrayville, British Columbia. After high school Joel spent about a year and a half travelling throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Back in British Columbia Joel was a postman until injured in a motorcycle accident; he still works for the Post Office in the labelling and printing department. In 1985 his address was Apt.104, 659 E.8th Av., Vancouver, British Columbia V8T 1T2. Joel married and divorced Carol Lasuta. His second marriage was to Jane Carter and they had one child:
- Rachel Brennen was born April 22, 1982.
- Emerald Mary Norah Brennen, known as Mary, was born March 13, 1954. Mary studied criminology in a college on the island of Victoria. She married Robert Graeme Doak who in 1985 was working in the personnel department of the chemical division of Occidental Petroleum. At that time their address was 3491 Green Tree Lane, North Vancouver, British Columbia V7R 4C5. Graeme and Mary have two sons:
- Michael James Doak was born Nov.30, 1980.
- Eric Brennen Doak was born May 15, 1983.
Ronald Macauley Brennen's family with Marion E. Brennen:
- male Brennen was born in 1954.
- Wayne Paul Brennen was born in 1961. He provided much information on this second family (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- male Brennen was born in 1962.
- male Brennen was born in 1963.
- Emerald Brennen was born in Saskatchewan on Nov.11, 1913, and served as a transport driver in the Canadian Army during the second world war. Before and after the war she worked as a telegrapher, first on Vancouver Island and then in Barkerville in northern British Columbia. During her stay in Barkerville she met George V. Kelly who asked her to marry him. Emerald declined because of her obligation to look after her stricken father. However after the death of her father she returned to Barkerville in about 1953 and George repeated his proposal; this time Emerald accepted him. Emerald and George had two children listed below. Emerald lived the later part of her life in Rosedale, British Columbia which is about 70 miles from Vancouver. She fulfilled a lifelong dream in 1992 when she went on a 3 week tour of Israel. Emerald died in her sleep on Dec.17, 1992, and was buried in Rosedale.
- Jon Kelly was born Oct.7, 1956 and in 1985 was living at 52662A Bunker Rd., Rosedale, British Columbia U0X 7X0. Jon married Joy White and they have one daughter:
- Kristine Lynn Kelly, born April 28, 1984.
- Gary Kelly was born Dec.15, 1958.
- Ernest Edmond Brennen was born on Jan.17, 1883, baptized in St. Patrick's on April 8, 1883 and died in 1887 at about the age of 4.
- Ethel Brennen was born on Sept.14, 1884, baptized in St. Patrick's on Nov.23, 1884 and died in 1887 at about the age of 3.
Cecil Brennen in his youth. Cecil in the uniform of the Cecil and Anne about 1944. Signal Corps about 1914.
- Cecil Brennen (1886-1950), my grandfather, was born on Jul.22, 1886, in Mullagruen just outside of Donaghmore. K. Brennen was present at the birth. He was baptized in St. Patrick's, Donaghmore on Sept.26, 1886. I recall him slightly. At the age of about 13 he was given a small pack at Donaghmore railway station and was sent of to Belfast to seek his fortune. In Belfast he got a job in the Post Office for whom he worked for the rest of his life. On Aug.26, 1907, Cecil was married to Anne Shaw Gibson (see next chapter) in the Presbyterian Church at Castleton in the Parish of Shankill in the City of Belfast. On the marriage certificate he is listed as a clerk. The witnesses were William Beattie and Edith McChesney. Cecil and Anne lived in Glenbrook Avenue, Bloomfield, Belfast, moved to 21 Kensington Avenue, Bloomfield and later lived first at number 87 and then at number 23 University Avenue, Belfast. They had six children Muriel, Wilfred, Dorothy, Gibson, Anne and Cecil. Cecil (the father) joined the Signal Corps of the Royal Engineers at the beginning of the 1914-18 war. He may have been in France briefly though he spent most of the war running some kind of training course at Fenny-Stratford Signal Depot of the R.E.(Signals) near Bletchley, Bedfordshire, England. On one occasion he was supposed to sail from Dublin to England on the troopship ``Leinster'' but missed the boat, perhaps because of the birth of one of his children. The ``Leinster'' sank with great loss of life. After the war Cecil rose through the ranks in the Post Office becoming head postmaster in Londonderry. At one point he was offered the job of head postmaster for Torquay, County Devon, England but turned it down much to the consternation of his wife. Cecil was a very religious person and was an elder in the Fitzroy Avenue Presbyterian Church in Belfast. He was a quiet person but he also used to laugh alot and make fun of everything. He was very good with his hands and was also a keen long-distance runner (a harrier) and would run to the top of Cavehill several times a week. Cecil and Anne do not seem to have had much contact with the rest of the family in Donaghmore. After retirement Cecil and Anne were given the use of a large Georgian manor house called ``Church Hill'' in Ballykelly, County Derry by a Major Patton who was also an elder at the Fitzroy Avenue Presbyterian Church. I recall visiting them while they lived there. Cecil died of a coronary thrombosis on Mar.10, 1950, and my grandmother, Anne, died about 1955. They are buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetary of the Ballykelly Presbyterian church just across the road from ``Church Hill''. I attended her funeral.
- Edith Mabel Brennen was born on Aug.8, 1889, and was baptized on Oct.27, 1889. She married William Olds, a widower who was the railway station manager in Donaghmore. They did not have any children. Edie was very bright and musically talented. She taught music and piano to the blind in the Belfast Institute for the Blind. Edie died on the Jun.29, 1971 and is buried in Donaghmore. Her husband was buried beside his first wife in County Cavan.
- Eileen Maud Brennen was born on Jan.20, 1892 and was baptized in St. Patrick's, Donaghmore on Apr.3, 1893. Maud was a teacher in the Granville School for 33 years and lived her life in Donaghmore. She never married but helped raise her neice and nephew, Gertie and Cyril Grieve. After Gertie's marriage Maud and Cyril used to go on holiday to Gertie's home. Maud used to enjoy visiting Carnlough, County Antrim where Gertie and Cyril's father and mother once lived. A photograph of Maud is included; this was taken on the occasion of the dedication of the gifts she made to St. Patrick's Parish Church, Donaghmore. Maud died on Jun.8, 1970 and is buried in the graveyard of St. Patrick's in Donaghmore.
- Mervyn Brennen was born on Oct.14, 1894, was baptized in St. Patrick's on May 5, 1895 and died in 1897 at the age of about 3.
The gravestone at St. Patrick's mentions a baby who died in 1894 presumeably before he or she could be baptized.
Last updated 9/9/99.
Christopher E. Brennen