From Drogheda to Liverpool
John Keegan - Drogheda - 1823 - Stonemason
John Keegan was born in 1823 in Drogheda on the Banks of the Boyne. In about 1838 he began his apprenticeship as a Stone Mason which was a very important profession in Drogheda at the time. Even today if you visit Drogheda’s Millmount museum there are tapestries dedicated to the stonemason’s profession.
The 1840s were a very difficult time to live in Ireland as it was struck by the worst famine in European history. In fact one of John’s contemporaries, a kinsman called Gerald Keegan, wrote about the difficulties posed by the potato famine. (see page on Keegan Poetry)
In about 1850 John married a woman called Mary who was born in 1824 in Cork. Their first son John was born in 1852 in Drogheda where they lived but then we know they moved, probably to find work. Because their second child William was born in 1866 in Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire). They moved again in 1856, this time to Dublin where their third child Mary Ann was born. In around 1859 John, Mary and their children John, William and Mary Ann, embarked on a journey to England. They settled near liverpool and their fourth child Elizabeth was born in 1859 in Bootle.
In the 1850s more than 20 per cent of the population of Liverpool were Irish.
John died very young in about 1860 and Mary remarried to a man called Phillip Smith as seen in the 1871 census.
By the time of the 1881 census, John Keegan (1823) is long dead, Phillip Smith is not listed (dead or possibly away at sea?) and Mary who is 57 at the time, is living with her daughter Elizabeth (1859) who is a 22-year-old domestic servant and step-son Henry Smith who is a 16-year-old dock labourer. They reside at 129 Braemar St, Kirkdale.
John and Mary's eldest son John Keegan (1856) is shown on The 1881 Census as age 28, a labourer with wife Margaret, age 24, living at 114 St John Road, Bootle, with sons John Henry and William; and Margaret’s widowed mother Esther Hose nee' Chew.
Children of John Keegan (1823) and Mary:
- John (1852) Drogheda
- William (1855) Dun Laoghaire
- Mary Ann (1856) Dublin
- Elizabeth (1859) Bootle
John Keegan - Drogheda - 1852 - Timber Stacker
John Keegan, like his father, was born in Drogheda but had moved to Bootle by the time he was seven.
He later lived at 36 Haddock Street, married Margaret Hose and worked at Webster’s Timber Yard. Margaret ran a
General Store from their house. They had at least 8 children and possibly as many as 16!
The 1881 Census reveals that John, age 28 and Margaret, age 24, lived at 114 St John Road, Bootle, with sons John Henry and William; and Margaret’s widowed mother Esther Hose nee' Chew.
Children of John Keegan (1852) and Margaret Hose:
- John Henry (1875)
- William (1878)
- Esther (1881)
- Paul (1893)
- Margaret (1906)
- 8 other children (16 in total)
Paul Keegan - Bootle - 1893 - Ship's Fireman
Paul Keegan (son of John, son of John both born in Drogheda, county Louth) was born 10.11.1893 in Bootle.
Paul who lived at 25 Haddock Street and Catherine Stafford, of 80 Keble Road, Bootle, married on 21.5.1919. They lived at 56a Forth Street and later 32 Syren Street, Bootle.
Paul was, like his father, a timber stacker but then he became a Horse Breaker. In Liverpool at the time, it was frowned on for Irish Catholics to be allowed to have trades such as this. In fact many Liverpool families were arrested for harbouring Irish Catholics in their basements and areas like Bootle became a 'ghetto' for immigrants. But Paul Keegan did become a Horse Breaker of some repute, taking packs of wild horses and training them to become tame cart-horses. Later in life he became a fireman on the docks.
Children of Paul Keegan and Catherine Stafford:
- John Richard (1920)
- Mary (1922)
- Walter (1925)
- Paul (1928)
- Richard (died young)
- Margaret (died young 1930)
Walter Keegan - Bootle - 1925 - Boiler Maker
Walter Keegan was born on April 16 1925. Like his elder brothers he left school young with no qualifications and became a docker. While working as a boilermaker he educated himself and attended nightschool and eventually became the head buyer for British Leyland and Triumph motors.
Children of Walter Keegan and Joan Lawless:
- Paul Keegan (1950)
- David Keegan (1950)
- Mary (1952)
- Susan (1960)
David Keegan - Bootle - 1950 - Exports Clerk/ Freight Forwarder
David Keegan and his older twin brother Paul were born on December 19 1950.
They were born in Bootle but moved to Kirby as youngsters. They went to St Kevin’s High School.
He married Carol Ann Nelson on October 12 1974.
Children of David Keegan and Carol Nelson:
- Simon Keegan (1979)
Simon David Keegan - Liverpool - 1979 - Journalist
Simon was born in Fazackerly Hospital, Liverpool and they lived in Melling, between Aintree and Kirby, when he was born. He grew up in Wigan and later lived in Prestwich, Heaton Chapel and Hyde.
He married Sally Smith on February 2 2008.
Simon is very keen to re-establish the link between the Keegans of today and our ancient clan heritage. He has made multiple trips to Dublin and Drogheda and also visited Redwood Castle.
Poppy May Keegan - Ashton Under Lyne 2009