© Christopher Earls Brennen



Map of the Carncastle area showing some of the places occuring in the story of the Dale family.


The family of our ancestor, Letitia (Letty) Dale, was as follows:

  1. John Dale was born in the late 1700s and became a farmer in Tobergall, near Carncastle in County Antrim. His will quoted below suggests that he was married twice and that he had one daughter by his first wife whose name is unknown. That first wife must have died for he married again to a woman named Margaret (or Peggy). We note that the 1834 tithe applotment book for Carncastle includes a John Dale with 4 acres, 3 roods and 7 perches of land in the townland of Droagh. John died on Oct.6, 1839, leaving the following will which was written on May 24, 1839, and a copy of which has survived. It is labelled Will No. 570 and listed the effects of John Dale as under 20: ''In the Name of God Amen. I John Dale of Tobergell senior farmer being weak of body and sound of mind do make and publish this my last Will as follows viz I will all my Worldly property to my wife Peggy during her Widowhood or untill my youngest Child then living shall be eighteen years of age for her own use and the use of my Children by my said wife but if she do marry before my youngest surviving Child arrive at the age of eighteen years then my said wife shall forfeit all right & title to my houses and lands but I will that she retain m chattels for her own use. When my youngest surviving child arrive at the age of eighteen years the said houses and lands are to be sold and divided amongst my surviving children by my present wife share and share alike but my two daughters by my present wife are to pay from their shares to my daughter Letitia wife of Robert Dick five pounds sterling in the course of two years after my demise or fifteen pounds when the property shall be divided amongst my family. I will that if my wife Peggy remain single to the time specified above viz till my youngest surviving child be eighteen years of age then she shall be entitled to an equal share with my children in my houses and lands. I nominate and appoint William Dale of Ballygally Millar(!) and my wife Peggy Dale executors of this my last will and testament sined(!) sealed and delivered in presence of the witnesses and in presence of each other this twenty fourth day of May eigheen(!) hundred and thirty nine.'' John Dale made his mark on this will which was witnessed by Dan Sheriff and Thomas Caldwell. The witness, Thomas Caldwell, could well be the unmarried farmer Thomas Caldwell, born in 1806, who is listed in the 1851 Census as living in Drains (near Tobergall) with his sister Elizabeth Caldwell. In the same household listing is their deceased mother, Jane Caldwell (born about 1777, died 1850) and a 6-year-old child, Mary Dale. We also note the connection with the miller, William Dale of Ballygally, whose family is described in Appendix 7A. John was married to his second wife, Margaret (possible maiden name, Johnston, born about 1798), in 1826 and her Dale family are listed in the 1851 Census in Droagh which is adjacent to Drains and Tobergall and just south of Carncastle. The head of the household is Margaret (or Mary?) Dale, 53-years-old, a widow married in 1826. The household includes three children listed below, Abraham (or James), Jane and Daniel Dale as well as an 8-year-old nephew of the householder by the name of John Dick. This helps link this family with Letitia for she did have a son John Dick though our records suggest that John was born in 1846. The household also includes an absent daughter Mary, a dead son Robert and a visitor Mary Johnston aged 56 who died of infirmity in the spring of 1846. This could be Margaret's sister. The will quoted above proves that John Dale's daughter by his first wife was
    1. Letitia Dale, known as Letty, was born in 1804, the daughter of John Dale of Tobergall, near Carncastle in County Antrim. Prior to her father's death in 1839, she married Robert Dick, a carpenter of Ballymoney, Islandmagee, County Antrim on Jan.7, 1837, in the Carncastle Presbyterian Church. They lived in a now-ruined homestead in Ballymoney close to the Methodist Church but on the opposite side of the road. Letty is remembered standing at the door of their cottage and pointing toward Carncastle where she was born. Their seven children are listed in a later chapter.
    The children of John Dale by his second wife, Margaret (or Peggy) can be constructed from the 1851 Census Record of the household of a Margaret Dale in Droagh:
    1. Mary Dale was born about 1826 and at the time of the 1851 Census was a house servant somewhere in County Antrim. Note that a Mary Dale, daughter of John Dale, was married in Cairncastle on Dec.16, 1853, to James McConnell, son of John McConnell.
    2. Robert Dale was born about 1828 and died of bleeding of the nose in 1847 (see 1851 Census).
    3. James (or Abraham) Dale was born about 1830 and is listed as an unmarried labourer living with his mother in the 1851 Census.
    4. Jane Dale was born about 1833 and is listed as an unmarried daughter living with her mother in the 1851 Census. One of the other enigmatic pieces of information on Letitia is the tradition that one of Letitia's sisters was the grandmother of John Crawford, ``The Hollow'', Islandmagee. Jane may be that sister.
    5. Daniel Dale was born about 1836. He is listed in the 1851 Census as a 15-year-old attending Mr. Robinson's school. Daniel was married in Jun.1880 in the Larne registration district to a woman named Ann. The Carncastle Presbyterian Church Stipend Book has entries for Daniel Dale and his wife in 1872, 1876 (of Tobergall) and 1888. Annie Dale of Tobergall is listed in May 1907 and shortly after as dead. Daniel Dale of Carncastle is recorded in a deed [PRONI D300/1/5/991] dated Mar.7, 1898. Adminstration of the estate of Daniel Dale, late of Tobergell, Carncastle, County Antrim, farmer, who died Dec.12, 1897, granted at Belfast to Ann Dale of Tobergell, the widow. The 1901 Census for Drains, townland of Killyglen, lists the 58-year-old widowed farmer Ann Dale (Presbyterian, born in County Antrim) as living in Drains with her unmarried daughter, Annie Dale. In the 1911 Census, 69-year-old widowed farmer Anne Dale, is again listed as the head of the household at house #19 in Drains, Carncastle, county Antrim. Again her 26-year-old unmarried daughter, Annie Dale is living with her. The Annie Dale of Tobergall, Carncastle, spinster who died on Dec.16, 1924, at Salisbury Terrace, Curran Road, Larne, and whose will was probated in Belfast on Jan.12, 1926, to Clements Robinson, motor garage proprietor (effects 15 pounds) may be either the mother or her daughter. The daughter of Daniel and Ann Dale:
      1. Annie Dale, born about 1885, is listed in both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses as unmarried and living with her mother in the Drains, Carncastle.

In Appendix 7A we detail other branches of the Dale family of Carncastle.

Last updated 7/28/11.

Christopher E. Brennen