If you were committing a robbery – not that I am suggesting that any of you would – but, if you were, wouldn’t you at least try to be a little bit clever about it? Put it this way - would you steal something and display the spoils in your front garden, for all the world to see? Well that is exactly what one roguish couple did, in the village of Malahide, Co. Dublin, in December 1912. Sadly, this hapless duo, Ellen and Patrick Mahon, were related to us Malahide Byrnes.
The cause of complaint against Ellen Mahon: ‘Defendant between 9th and 14th day of December 1912, at Beechwood in said district and county [Malahide, Co. Dublin], did unlawfully uproot, steal, take and carry away a quantity of privet shrubs to the number of about 90, value for ten shillings, the property of Mr. Wm. Trumbell of Beechwood. Contrary to the Statute in such case made and provided.’
The cause of complaint against Patrick Mahon: ‘Defendant on 14th December 1912, at Carrickhill in said district and county [Malahide, Co. Dublin], had knowingly in his possession & planted in his garden at his dwelling house a quantity of privet shrubs to the number of about 90, value for ten shillings, alleged to have been stolen & the property of Mr. William Trumble [sic] of Beechwood; and defendant is hereby required to satisfy the justices that the aforesaid shrubs were lawfully in his possession.’Transcribed from the Petty Session Register, Swords Court, 1912 (items 82-83).
Both Patrick and Ellen were found guilty and fined ten shillings each plus costs, or alternatively, they each faced seven days hard labour in Mountjoy Prison.
When I first came across these charges in the Petty Session Register for the courthouse in Swords, Co. Dublin, I saw the defendants’ address was given as Carrickhill, Malahide. Carrickhill was situated nearer Portmarnock, at the opposite end of Malahide to Yellow Walls, the home of our Mahon ancestors. So, I initially thought that they belonged to the other Mahon family of Malahide, the one whose relationship with our family has not yet been established, but which dates way back into the eighteenth century.
1912 court case, Patrick and Ellen Mahon, Malahide.
Freeman’s Journal, 24 December 1912, p. 2.
So, I did some more digging into Patrick’s origins, to see just how closely related we were. The 1911 census found him living in Malahide, with Ellen, his wife of six years, and their two sons, Michael, aged three and Gerald, aged one. Their 1905 marriage register revealed that Patrick was the son of Patrick Mahon senior, a farmer. In 1901, young Patrick was living with his parents, Patrick and Catherine Mahon, in Yellow Walls.
I was already familiar with this household. Patrick junior was a first cousin of my great-grandmother, making him my first cousin, three times removed. Patrick senior and my great-great-grandfather, James Mahon, were brothers. My Dad even remembers young Patrick’s little sister, Teresa Mahon, who was a very respectable National School teacher in Malahide when my Dad was a boy.
Twenty shillings plus costs was a lot of money for a general labourer, in 1912. Bet they got nothing but the proverbial lump of coal in their Christmas stocking that year!
Still, it’s hard to believe that she dug up the man’s hedge!
Sources: ‘Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912’, Swords court, accessed on www.FindmyPast.ie; Freeman’s Journal, 24 December 1912, p. 2; 1901 and 1911 Census of Ireland, National Archives of Ireland; Copy marriage register, General Register Office. Black sheep image adapted from one found on The graphics fairy.
……………….© 2014 Black Raven Genealogy