Thomas Smyth and Ann O’Reilly
Thomas Smyth was the son of John Smyth and Mary Sheridan and lived in County Longford before he emigrated to Australia. The birth certificate of Thomas and Ann’s third child, Margaret, identifies Thomas’ place of residence as Cleenrah, a townland in the northwest of County Longford, close to the border with County Cavan. Cleenrah is an agricultural district and is known for the portal tomb shown above. Together with three other similar structures in nearby Aghnacliff, the monuments have a traditional connection with the ancient legend of Diarmaid and Gráinne. It is believed to be one of their resting spots on their flight from Gráinne’s fiancé, the legendary hero Fionn MacCumhaill.
Ann O’Reilly (Reilly) was possibly baptised on October 10, 1843, in Colmcille Parish with her parents listed as Thomas and Ann (translated from Latin). There were no other likely records among the records across numerous parishes in County Longford.
Thomas Smyth and Ann O’Reilly were married in Colmcille Parish on October 1, 1859. The sponsors were Jacob Sheridan and Bridget Reilly.
Ann gave birth to three children in Ireland, all of whom were baptised in Colmcille parish.
Thomas baptised December 5, 1860
Maria (Mariam in Latin) baptised August 5, 1842.
Margaret baptised July 31, 1864.
The sponsors for each of these children potentially identify relatives of Ann, Bernard, Rose, and Johanna or maybe John, Reilly. The O from O’Reilly was often omitted apparently in Latin transcripts. Bernard, John, and Rose appear later as names for their children. All three children’s records show a location as Aughagreagh.
Margaret’s birth certificate includes details of the usual residence of Thomas as Cleenrah and identifies Thomas’ place of residence as Aughagreagh, shown on the map below. Also shown on the maps is Edgeworthstown, identified as the residence of Thomas O’Reilly on immigration records of the Smyth children.
In March 1865 Ann and Thomas emigrated to Australia, arriving at Port Phillip Bay on August 5, 1865, on board the “Annie Wilson”. Ann and Thomas traveled, without children, as unassisted immigrants, traveling in steerage, with Thomas playing his violin to assist with their food expenses on the long, 140-day voyage. The violin is still in the possession of family members although the rumours that it was a Stradivarius were untrue.
Having traveled 21,000 kilometres, Ann and Thomas stayed in Melbourne until December when they boarded the 816-ton coastal vessel, “City of Melbourne” for the journey to Sydney, arriving on December 11, 1865. Maria, 15, and Margaret, 13, together with a 21-year old Thomas O’Reilly, for whom a ticket was purchased by Thomas Smyth thus confirming his link, arrived on December 30, 1877, on the “Trevelyan”. Thomas Smyth junior received a refund for his ticket on this voyage and purchased another deposit, with Thomas O’Reilly a resident of Colmcille listed as his residential contact in Ireland, in March 1878, and arrived on August 15, 1879, on the Northbrook. The deposit receipt for his trip paid on 21st March 1878, shows Thomas O’Reilly as his contact in Ireland and Thomas Smyth in Australia paying the deposit. Thomas states his home as Edgeworthstown, a small town in the east of County Longford, near the border with County Westmeath. Longford is nearby and Cavan is 42 km away. He is shown as being from Cavan on his immigration record.
It was always believed that Thomas and Ann had emigrated to join Thomas’ brother who was raising cattle in Australia. James Smith also a native of Cleenrah, County Longford, and the son of John Smith and Mary Sheridan, was a resident of Murringo, near Moppity, and is almost certainly the brother that Thomas and Ann set out to find. James Smith acknowledged his County Longford origins on his headstone and thus it is likely that his farm was the same Longford Farm on which Rosannah Smyth was born soon after Thomas and Ann arrived in Australia.
Thomas and Ann had 10 more children in Australia: Rose Anne (Rosannah) born 1866, Ellen (Nell) born 1968, John Joseph born 1869 at Cattle Station Creek near Boorowa, potentially the property of James Smith, Thomas’ brother, Annie born 1871, Bridget born 1873, an unnamed male in 1874, Caroline born 1875, Patrick born 1877, James born 1878 and William Bernard born 1881. In February 1879 they had established a property eventually consisting of almost 700 acres in the Parish of Moppity, 13 kilometres from Young, NSW. The property is now the Moppity Vineyards and has fields of grapes rather than sheep.
This photo, possibly taken at Moppity, about 1908, shows, from left, Patrick Joseph, Nell (seated), Mr. Kenny (friend), Thomas snr., Carrie with Margaret Herrett, Ann (nee O’Reilly) and Ann Smyth.
Margaret Smyth (Herrett) died in 1905 and her youngest daughter Margaret, 4 months old when her mother died, was raised at Moppity.
Thomas and Ann remained at Moppity until they died. Ann died on April 30, 1913, and Thomas died on June 16, 1928.
On December 1, 1922, the deed for the Moppity property was transferred to Ann, Nell, and Willie. Willie had an unfortunate accident, falling out of a tree and landing on his head. He was apparently laid out on the table for an unknown period and his father and sisters ate their meals around him. He survived the fall but may have been left with an impairment as the deeds were changed again on July 15, 1933, and the property was divided 50:50 between Ann and Nell. Ann’s share was sold in 1959 while Nell’s share was left to Don and Jack Smyth and the last sections of the property were sold to non-Smyth owners in 1979.
Thomas’ obituary in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post of June 25, 1927, restates the Dunbar story that most Smyth descendants know, however, as the Dunbar sank in 1957 and Ann and Thomas did not marry until 1859, they would have traveled as single passengers which is unlikely. The obituary also notes that he was 99 years and 6 months old which is an error as he was close to 97 at the time of his death. He was noted as an interesting conversationalist and in full possession of his mental faculties.
Thomas Smyth and Nell (daughter) Ann Smyth (O’Reilly)
Maps, Photos, Certificates, War Service Records and Other Information are available from:
Family Tree Document – in need of additional information: